Note to Self: I am told that what we are doing here is something called "data science"...

I find myself feeling somewhat surprised—like the "Middle-Class Aristocrat" title character in 1600s-era French playwright Moliêre's Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, who is astonished and gratified to learn that he has, his entire life, been a master of that highbrow literary accomplishment of speaking "prose": "Well, what do you know about that! These forty years now I’ve been speaking in prose without knowing it!"

I had thought that I was simply:

  • Studying and analyzing cases to understand how pieces of the world worked.
  • Counting and aggregating statistical totals to understand which case studies were in fact broadly representative of the world as a whole.

But I am now told that this is "data science": the combination of substantive expertise in my particular area, the ability to use mathematical and statistical tools properly and sensibly, plus knowing how to make my computers dance (or, rather, shamble forward in a stumbling zombie-like walk). So let me roll with it and see where it takes us...