When I was a 90s kid, my family got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a Nielsen Family. Pre-internet and pre-black box, they sent us a survey packet in the mail and we had to write down which TV shows we watched and when. I vividly remember my mom writing down that we were watching PBS when actually we were watching Family Matters on TGIF. “Well, we want PBS to stay on the air,” my mom said. “They don’t need to know what we’re really watching.” These days, with households either having some kind of black box attached to the TV or streaming shows via the internet, big data knows exactly who watches what and when. There’s no way to cheat the system. And the same goes for music streaming services.
Last Thursday night’s Mixcloud panel on the Future of Music Discovery at Good Room had a line stretching around the block outside in the rain. I think some came just to see David Byrne say some wacky things on stage, but most likely others attended with a genuine interest in the modern and intimate relationship between music and data. Nico Perez from Mixcloud moderated the panel of four music experts: music legend David Byrne of Talking Heads; Emily Friedlander, Editor-In-Chief of Vice’s Thump; Ryan Schreiber, founder of Pitchfork; and Alex White, founder of The Next Big Sound (recently acquired by Pandora).
We can all be scientists, civilian scientists that is. Researchers, including ornithologists, rely on data collected from us regular people because they can’t be everywhere at once to observe everything all the time!
Today begins the Great Backyard Bird Count, an annual 4 day event that “engages bird watchers to create a real time snapshot of where birds are across the continent.” After our Winter Bird Walk on 1/28, we learned there are lots of different kinds of birds in Greenpoint!
It takes as little as 15 minutes on any day between today 2/17- 2/20. Your data helps birds!
How? Just look out your window, or any location in Greenpoint, and count the number and types of birds you observe.