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Since long before computers were even thought of, data has been collected and organized by diverse cultures across the world. Once access to the Internet became a reality for large swathes of the world's population, the amount of data generated each day became huge, and continues to grow exponentially. It includes all our uploaded documents, video, and photos, all our social media traffic, our online shopping, even the GPS data from our cars. "Big Data" represents a qualitative change, not simply a quantitative one. The term refers both to the new technologies involved, and to the way it can be used by business and government. Dawn E. Holmes uses a variety of case studies to explain how data is stored, analyzed, and exploited by a variety of bodies from big companies to organizations concerned with disease control. Big data is transforming the way businesses operate, and the way medical research can be carried out. At the same time, it raises important ethical issues; Holmes discusses cases such as the Snowden affair, data security, and domestic smart devices which can be hijacked by hackers. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Modern statistics is very different from the dry and dusty discipline of the popular imagination. In its place is an exciting subject which uses deep theory and powerful software tools to shed light and enable understanding. And it sheds this light on all aspects of our lives, enabling astronomers to explore the origins of the universe, archaeologists to investigate ancient civilisations, governments to understand how to benefit and improve society, and businesses to learn how best to provide goods and services. Aimed at readers with no prior mathematical knowledge, this Very Short Introduction explores and explains how statistics work, and how we can decipher them. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Astrophysics is the physics of the stars, and more widely the physics of the Universe. It enables us to understand the structure and evolution of planetary systems, stars, galaxies, interstellar gas, and the cosmos as a whole. In this Very Short Introduction, the leading astrophysicist James Binney shows how the field of astrophysics has expanded rapidly in the past century, with vast quantities of data gathered by telescopes exploiting all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, combined with the rapid advance of computing power, which has allowed increasingly effective mathematical modelling. He illustrates how the application of fundamental principles of physics - the consideration of energy and mass, and momentum - and the two pillars of relativity and quantum mechanics, has provided insights into phenomena ranging from rapidly spinning millisecond pulsars to the collision of giant spiral galaxies. This is a clear, rigorous introduction to astrophysics for those keen to cut their teeth on a conceptual treatment involving some mathematics. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable
Some would argue that scarcely a day passes without a new assault on our privacy. In the wake of the whistle-blower Edward Snowden's revelations about the extent of surveillance conducted by the security services in the United States, Britain, and elsewhere, concerns about individual privacy have significantly increased. The Internet generates risks, unimagined even twenty years ago, to the security and integrity of information in all its forms. The manner in which information is collected, stored, exchanged, and used has changed forever; and with it, the character of the threats to individual privacy. The scale of accessible private data generated by the phenomenal growth of blogs, social media, and other contrivances of our information age pose disturbing threats to our privacy. And the hunger for gossip continues to fuel sensationalist media that frequently degrade the notion of a private domain to which we reasonably lay claim. In the new edition of this Very Short Introduction, Raymond Wacks looks at all aspects of privacy to include numerous recent changes, and considers how this fundamental value might be reconciled with competing interests such as security and freedom of expression. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Molecular biology has revolutionized our understanding of animals and their evolution. In this Very Short Introduction, Peter Holland provides an authoritative summary of the modern view of animal life, its origins, and the new classification resulting from DNA studies.
Few Americans and even fewer citizens of other nations understand the electoral process in the United States. Still fewer understand the role played by political parties in the electoral process or the ironies within the system. Participation in elections in the United States is much lower than in the vast majority of mature democracies. Perhaps this is because of the lack of competition in a country where only two parties have a true chance of winning, despite the fact that a large number of citizens claim allegiance to neither and think badly of both. Or perhaps it is because in the U.S. campaign contributions disproportionately favor incumbents in most legislative elections, or that largely unregulated groups such as the now notorious 527s have as much impact on the outcome of a campaign as do the parties or the candidates' campaign organizations. These factors offer a very clear picture of the problems that underlay our much trumpeted electoral system. The second edition of this Very Short Introduction introduces the reader to these issues and more. Drawing on updated data and new examples from the 2016 presidential nominations, L. Sandy Maisel provides an insider's view of how the system actually works while shining a light on some of its flaws. He also illustrates the growing impact of campaigning through social media, the changes in campaign financing wrought by the Supreme Court recent decisions, and the Tea Party's influence on the sub-presidential nominating process. As the United States enter what is sure to be yet another highly contested election year, it is more important than ever that Americans take the time to learn the system that puts so many in power.
This book is a clear and informative introduction to cryptography and data protection - subjects of considerable social and political importance. It explains what algorithms do, how they are used, the risks associated with using them, and why governments should be concerned. Important areas are highlighted, such as Stream Ciphers, block ciphers, public key algorithms, digital signatures, and applications such as e-commerce. This book highlights the explosive impact of cryptography on modern society, with, for example, the evolution of the internet and the introduction of more sophisticated banking methods. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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