Digital keys for unlocking the humanities' riches, New York Times, Nov 19, 2010
This story claims the "next big idea in language, history and the arts" is "data". It's an "alliance of geeks and poets". The NEH and NSF band together to create the "Digging into Data Challenge". It's an interesting concept but way overhyped here. Where there exist data, one can do some innovative work; but what about the time before computers?
Statistics and storytelling: the grudge match, Nielman Storyboard (Harvard), Nov 19, 2010
They picked up my "story time" complaint, and wrote a thoughtful article about the uses and limits of stories. To clarify my own position, I am not against narratives in general. Narratives are necessary to explain statistical correlations; I'm against narratives not substantiated by evidence. Narratives can and should be subject to reality checks before they get published.
There is no college cost crisis, New York Times, Nov 15, 2010
Professor Stanley Fish really should stick to subjects he know about, such as what books first-year college students should be taught. He is completely out of his depth here, putting his weight behind a new book, in which the authors claim that college is becoming "more affordable". There is no indication he understands any of the numbers; he approvingly cites "massive data", "economic sophistication", and "buttressed by statistical tables" as if having lots of data is sufficient as an argument. Here's Felix Salmon mincing Fish's blog post. Here's Brad Delong smelling stinking fish.