Wednesday, September 10, 2014 is the Internet Slowdown, a protest in support of “net neutrality“. Currently internet service providers (ISPs) are not required to provide the same internet delivery speeds to all traffic. In theory they can decide to speed up or slow down data from individual websites. The fear of the supporters of net neutrality is that the ISPs will only provide fast access to those sites that pay them extra money. This has the potential to have a large economic impact on small businesses and noncommercial entities (such as Universities and Libraries) who can’t afford to pay to be in the “internet fast lane”. It could also have ethical consequences if ISPs have the ability to suppress the messages of certain sites by controlling their network speeds. For a visual representation of what preferential network speeds could look like in practice, see A Guide to the Open Internet.
Data science is all the rage lately. Harvard Business Review even named it the sexiest job of the 21st century. Even though the term is rapidly gaining mind share, many are still confused about what data science actually is. When you cut through the hype, the core of data science is actually pretty simple: it’s the study of data. What kind of data is being studied, how it is being studied, and what the individual data scientist is looking for all depend on the specific case. Data science is just another field of study using digital methods, putting it firmly under the umbrella of Digital Scholarship.