Books of the Year 2018

This is the time of year when the newspapers announce their books of the year. Unfortunately, the reviewers often praise each other’s books, or simply state they couldn’t put it down, without explaining why. Things are a bit different here; every one of the books …

Weapons of Math Destruction: more math please

The full title of this book is Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, which sums up the book, certainly, and at the same time the author’s  approach. In practice she is less concerned about the math, more about …

Is there such a thing as Digital Humanities? 

At this year’s ALPSP annual conference (Windsor, October 2018), there was an entertaining session called “What’s New in Digital Humanities”. Of the three speakers, one was by Peter Berkery, the Director of the Association of University Presses, one by an academic, Paul Spence – a …

Text Analytics Forum: a valuable guide to what is happening

The second year of the Text Analytics Forum took place Washington, DC, last week, and it was good to see the conference building from its first iteration and developing in range.  Tom Reamy, the conference chair and organiser, has shaped this event very much around …

Do baseball stats help you understand climate change?

Nate Silver likes a bet, so much so that he quit his job and became a full-time poker player for some years. So perhaps it is not surprising that this is an author with a passion for probability, whose interpretation of Bayesian reasoning is gambling …

Facts vs. Fake News: Who decides what is True?

The impressive title, “Facts vs. Fake News: Who Decides What is True?”, suggested a session that perhaps with hindsight was difficult to live up to. It was one of those topics that sounded self-evident, yet when people started discussing it turned out to be rather …

What semantic enrichment means for academic publishing

Anyone reading the latest issue of the invaluable Research Information (The Meaning of Semantics, Four industry figures discuss the latest developments around semantic enrichment with Tim Gillett) would be left little the wiser about semantic enrichment after reading it. Although the line-up of people interviewed

Are there good and bad metaphors?

George Lakoff is famous (according to Wikipedia) for the “conceptual metaphor theory”, which is that people are influenced by the metaphors they use.

Intrigued by this claim, I read the short book Metaphors We Live By (1980), by Lakoff and co-author Mark Johnson.  Sure enough, …

Crossing the Chasm: a classic business title

It’s so sweet to see names such as “Word Perfect”or “VisiCalc” Such names have the magical aura of products remembered from long ago, like “Bovril” or Cod Liver Oil.  Crossing the Chasm is full of such names, even though the author Geoffrey Moore candidly admits …

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