Sunday, February 17, 2013

Some Data are Better Than Others

Some embarrassments on the interweb are not worthy of notice, but some must be stopped before they can spread their poison to the innocents.  It saddens me that I must be the one to debunk this tomfoolery, but someone must rise to defeat evil, or we're all doomed.

Firstly, I must concede that he is technically correct about data being data.  But he is soooo wrong about me having "data envy."  I mean, sometimes I literally get THOUSANDS of photons.  Know what I can do with them?  Lots.  And you know what's really cool?  They come (usually) from things millions of light-years away, not invented in some lame, Earth-bound adding machine.

However, these things I study do tend to always be "background dominated."  Hence the name of the blog.  Background is like static, or noise, in a detector.  Since we only get new telescopes, like NuSTAR, once in a blue moon, we work hard to detect the faintest things we can, which means searching for signals in the static.  That's what you see in the background of this blog — the noisy "background" from one of the detectors on the NuSTAR hard X-ray observatory.

The Turbulent Scientist's data are like imaginary friends.  Sure, you can invent tons of these "friends," but at the end of the day, they don't really exist.  I may not have as many friends, but at least they exist.  BOOM!


  1. Wow, Dan, congratulations for having THOUSANDS of photons! That's almost like real observational astronomy! Keep collecting them, and one day you might even get out of Poisson statistics.
    - Geneviève

    1. Poisson statistics are the BOMB -- don't be hatin'.

  2. Speaking of background dominating, your current background for the blog is a bit overwhelming. Just saying...

  3. I think you meant, "Some data ARE better than others."