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Among Often Used Words, “Data” Now Outranks “God”

Tuesday, November 19, 2013   (0 Comments)
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Term Usage Over the Years Offers an Eye on Culture 

Jean Baptiste Michel and Erez Aiden, two mathematicians and authors of a new book   Uncharted: Big Data as a Lens on Human Culture,  were Harvard grad students when they came up with the idea for a tool that would chart the frequency of words and phrases used over time in the huge digital library of Google Books. Wired Science Blogger Jason Kehe writes that Ngram Viewer, which went live in 2010 with 500 years worth of data, now tracks 8 million of Google's 30 million volumes. Ngram offers interesting data based ways to view the world.  Over the last century, the word science” has been used more, and the word "religion” has been used less. The word "evolution” spiked in  1859 when Darwin's On the Origin of the Species was published, Kehe writes,   then again in 1953 with the discovery of the DNA double helix.  In recent decades references to alcohol have declined and references to drugs have spiked, and we mention entitlements more than the safety net.  Between 1800 and 2000,references to god have remained fairly constant and mentions of data have soared.  Use the tool for your own favorite searches.

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