Always Retain Your Data
January 4, 2011 4:24 PM   Subscribe

Measurements separated by decades can yield a wealth of knowledge. Old Weather is a citizen science project (part of the Zoouniverse initiative for crowdsourced analysis) to transcribe the weather logs of Royal Navy ships from WWI in order to gather data on climate change; analysis of the data on punch cards from 1967 were recently used to form one of the longest retrospective studies ever on cholesterol.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul (5 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
transcribe the weather logs of Royal Navy ships from WWI in order to gather data on climate change

I hope they are triple checking everything. "Hide the decline!" Or on the other side, what's to stop astroturfers?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 4:34 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

amazing how much data was pushed aside, because the time was before computers!
posted by tustinrick at 4:54 PM on January 4, 2011

Likewise, we should be thinking of the future before we hide vital data inside proprietary data formats today. How much data is locked up inside junk like Access, Excel or PowerPoint?
posted by DU at 5:29 PM on January 4, 2011

Holy Cow! I can imagine the almost-sisyphean amount of effort needed to decode* the punch card data, then hunt down the original participants... and only to have it published in Atherosclerosis with only a 4.5-ish impact factor =(

... and the conclusions weren't all that interesting/surprising. Lipoprotein subfractions differ in their relationship to CHD**.

*first, they have to pull the data from the cards, but more insanity-inducing is to figure out how the bloody hell the original researcher(s) formatted/organized the data and whether/how they stored the metadata

**coronary heart disease

posted by porpoise at 7:58 PM on January 4, 2011

I heard about this on public radio a few weeks ago and thought it would be an interesting FPP. I got really lazy and decided to skip it, so thanks for bringing this MeFi.
posted by d1rge at 9:11 AM on January 5, 2011

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