Data Quotes

University, as institutions, pre-date the information economy by many centuries and are not for-profit cultural entities, whose reason of existence (purportedly) is to discover truth, codify it through techniques of scholarship, and then teach it. Universities are meant to pass the torch of civilization not just download data into student skulls.

Initially I objected to the Data makeup. I said, “Why do I need this makeup? Why can’t I just look like me?” In fact, I said to Gene Roddenberry, “Don’t you think that by this time in history, they would’ve figured out how to make skin look like skin?” And he said, “What makes you think that what you have isn’t better than skin?” And I went, “Um, okay.”

Permafrost in the soil [is melting], in the boreal and arctic areas in the world, and, probably even more alarming in the last six or eight months, the data on what is happening to the ice shelves in Greenland and the west Antarctic has begun to cause people to radically reassess the earlier conviction that those ice shelves were stable on a kind of century-long time scale.

We’re putting more carbon into the atmosphere than the atmosphere can absorb. And everybody told us when we started, coz we knew nothing when we started – we still don’t know very much – but everybody told us ‘this is crazy, you don’t use a scientific data point, it’s a number, people don’t respond to numbers’.

That’s when the vast consensus of the world’s climatologists, brought together by the UN and The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, really announced that this was going on, and since then the accumulation of data and wickedly hot years has served to only congeal that consensus much more firmly.

If you look at the polling data, long before anyone had thought about Iraq, it was the [George W.] Bush Administration’s decision in the first few weeks in its tenure in office to abnegate the Kyoto treaties that set our international perception into a nose-dive. People around the world looked on in amazement as the biggest part of the problem decided it wasn’t going to make any effort to help with the solution.

We’re still missing about a dozen vaccines that will make a huge difference. For adults, we’ve got HIV and TB are still huge; for kids malaria is still killing a half million kids a year out of that 6 million. We probably need some vaccines, but we need a little more data to make sure we’re getting the vaccines that will save the most lives.