Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Daisy, Da-azzz-eeeeeeeeeeeeee

Guambat is reminded of the scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey, where Dave strikes back at HAL, ever so slowly ejecting HAL's memory, one memory bank at a time, and as HAL begins to lose it, he starts singing Daisy, Daisy, slower and slower, evoking a memory of childish dreams of long ago, and a much more simpler and naive time than the one HAL and Dave found themselves in.

And what evoked this memory of memory lost?

His old read, Barry Ritholtz, but this post by Invictus:

If Information Is Power, What Is Lack Of Information?
I’m going to take the charitable (though probably mistaken) view and say that Representative Daniel Webster was not deliberately trying to turn out the lights on Americans’ access to critical data when he proposed an amendment to defund the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS).

I tried (unsuccessfully) last year (here, here) to salvage the Statistical Abstract of the United States, a vital source of data since 1878. So the “most essential reference work” utilized by government documents librarians is now gone, for a savings of about $2.9 million, not even a rounding error on a rounding error.

And the ACS is apparently next. The effort to kill the ACS is opposed by even the right-leaning Wall St. Journal, as well the New York Times and the Washington Post (see also here).

The charitable view is that it’s all about cost savings. The not-so-charitable view is that it’s about death by a thousand cuts to the vital information that informs us as to where we’ve been, where we are, and helps us plan where we’re going and craft a better future for all Americans. “Operating in the Dark,” as the Times puts it. This must not stand.



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