In the data, Chicago's crooked cops are so obvious they practically glow

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The data are interesting

Like nails on a chalkboard! I’m never going to get used to that construction.


"police may behave more aggressively albeit still within the boundaries of the rules "

HA HA HA HA! What a knee slapper!


The City of Chicago fought hard to keep data about police complaints from being released under Freedom of Information Act requests, and the Fraternal Order of Police is trying to keep any further data from coming to light.

What’s that saying about “If you have nothing to hide, …”? Why are the City of Chicago and the Fraternal Order of Police so afraid?


Silly person!! “If you have nothing to hide,…” only applies to little people! Not to the city or the police union!


I understand Baltimore’s night-sky view is substantially diminished from the glow of its own protect-and-servers.


It seems to be almost invariably used by scientists (and others) making a point of sounding ostentatiously sciencey.

If you feel like starting an argument about it, ask them to define a “datum.”


It would be interesting if the personalities of prolific criminals and prolifically offending police could be compared. I suspect they would be very similar.

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And then ask a haberdasher (for example) to define a scissor.

Oh god, I am so there with you :angry:

I think I’ve figured out what I find annoying though; there is an implied word omitted, as in “the data ____ are interesting”.

I have always assumed that the missing word is ‘set’, as in ‘the data set are interesting’, which is grammatically horrible. It should, of course, be ‘the data is interesting.’

‘Set’ makes sense as the missing word, because what you analyse is the (singular) set of data you have. And even if you merge multiple sets, your final merged set which is analysed is still a singular set. If the individual sets are of importance, then you can specify that with ‘the data sets are interesting.’

But I think that in that horrible construction the implied missing word is actually ‘points’, as in ‘the data points are interesting’, which makes grammatical sense, but is kinda nonsense in analytical terms. The data points are not interesting, except in the most facile while. Information comes from analysing multiple data points (which we call a set :wink: ), and making correlations and identifying trends, not from pulling random numbers out of a pile and saying ‘look at this interesting random number!’


In that vein, “CompStat” and its derivatives and imitators are all the rage for data-driven-policing. It would appear that they have some low hanging fruit in data-driven-internal-affairs that could likely be picked with minimal modification to existing algorithms…

If for no nobler reason, I’m a bit surprised that larger municipal PDs aren’t tracking “Who keeps generating expensive settlements, and how can we get rid of them?” I understand that smaller ones might benefit(at least in the short term) from having access to officers that have burned out their more prestigious and/or better paid options; but it’s hard to imagine any other class of municipal employee getting away with repeated ‘costing the organization 10s to hundreds of thousands of dollars through questionable conduct’ incidents.

Sure, cops are Our Heroes and whatnot; but just ask the VA how much we think ‘heroes’ are really worth paying for.


The reason is ancient and well known: quis custodiet ipsos custodes? When Teresa May tried to rein in the Metropolitan Police, they demonstrated their power to get rid of a Minister (not seemingly a terribly nice man but he was stitched up).

Or a “pant.” (Which is actually used in catalogs and such when they’re trying too hard to be fancy: “New for Spring, our raw silk Palazzo Pant. In Dusty Eggplant, Devonshire Cream, Saint-Barth Seafoam, and Nantucket Cornflower. $480.”)

I work in data with a bunch of niggardly, persnickety nitpickers and I hate it too. At this point, it’s as bad as who/whom.

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In case you want to do something:

“the data set is interesting” (set is singular), “the data are interesting” (data are plural).

Data is a noun, not an adjective. You don’t need a “helper” word in this case.

“Datum” may not be a terribly useful word, but consider the fact that “sand” is singular even though it never refers to a single thing, and that it’s strictly speaking a synonym of its plural: “sands”.

But that’s not even true, or a sensible sentence construction. The “data” aren’t interesting. What you do with the data set is.

“analysis of the data provides some interesting conclusions”, that makes sense.

“We collected data relating to …” That makes sense.
“We collected the data that related to …” That makes sense too.
“We analysed data, finding that …” sensible
“We analysed the data, finding that …” also sensible (perhaps more sensible, as you’d be referring to a specific, presumably relevant, data set)

Data on its own has no meaning, only when interpreted by some kind of data processing system does it take on meaning and become information.

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“data” is a mass noun. Anyone who thinks otherwise can go to hell, including Cory “full of himself” Doctorow

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