"But the green beam of light really is a laser. Shot from the 3.5-meter telescope at Apache Point Observatory in southern New Mexico, the beam’s path is revealed as Earth’s atmosphere scatters some of the intense laser light. The laser’s target is the Apollo 15 retroreflector, left on the Moon by the astronauts in 1971. By determining the light travel time delay of the returning laser pulse, the experimental team from UC San Diego is able to measure the Earth-Moon distance to millimeter precision and provide a test of General Relativity, Einstein’s theory of gravity." (via APOD: 2014 April 18 - Red Moon, Green Beam)

"But the green beam of light really is a laser. Shot from the 3.5-meter telescope at Apache Point Observatory in southern New Mexico, the beam’s path is revealed as Earth’s atmosphere scatters some of the intense laser light. The laser’s target is the Apollo 15 retroreflector, left on the Moon by the astronauts in 1971. By determining the light travel time delay of the returning laser pulse, the experimental team from UC San Diego is able to measure the Earth-Moon distance to millimeter precision and provide a test of General Relativity, Einstein’s theory of gravity." (via APOD: 2014 April 18 - Red Moon, Green Beam)

Google provided a forecast and the forecast and the model underlying it was unequivocably debunked. What a novelty for the social sciences! Of course big data isn’t alone in having constantly updating forecasts that can be tested against reality, but the focus on forecasting and constantly updating data is one of the advantages it has over many other areas of the social sciences. Yes, google made a model and it was falsified. But keep in mind the famous claim John Ioniaddes that most published research findings are false. Maybe it is most, or maybe it’s only half or a quarter. But with big data if a large percent of your findings are false you find out sooner rather than later.
In a study that surveyed college students, six percent of men admitted* to raping one or more people–two thirds admitted to sexually assaulting multiple people. Let’s say for argument’s sake that Harvard students are much more ethical than the typical college student, so the frequency of rapists is ‘only’ two percent. The typical graduating class at Harvard is around 1,500 students, half of whom are men (750 men). Put all of this together and the average Harvard graduating class contains fifteen rapists, nine or ten of whom are serial rapists. […] if a university [of Harvard’s size] isn’t punishing at least one student per month for sexual assault, then it’s whitewashing the crimes.