Get ready. This week’s Data Byte is a speedy romp through the latest in the wonderful world of data.

Spurious Correlations

Are Nicolas Cage movies responsible for swimming pool deaths? Are deaths by bedsheets related to an overindulgence in cheese? The data says yes! Or does it? Spurious Correlations is a hilarious reminder of why statistical understanding and a good dose of critical thinking are key to correctly interpreting data.

Gender bias in search marketing

When the folks at Wordstream got the results of their client survey back, they were surprised to see clients consistently giving female account reps lower scores than their male counterparts. Are women naturally worse at search marketing than men? Wordstream wasn’t convinced.

The world of search marketing is inherently measurable, so it wasn’t difficult to find the truth in the data. The data showed that, on average, accounts serviced by women had an Adwords performance score 9 points higher than those serviced by men. Spotted! Remember folks, if you don’t have the data to back it up, it’s just an opinion, or an assumption, or possibly a touch of gender bias.

Big data storage goes retro

Let’s admit it. We all thought cassette tapes were over. Not so fast. Turns out magnetic tape is making a comeback in the world of data storage. Sony has just unveiled tape that holds 148 GB per square inch, this is three Blu-Rays’ worth of data.

Personal data storage

The NSA has people nervous about leaving data in the hands of Google, Facebook, and Dropbox. Do you want the government to know when and where you’re going on vacation? The specialist you’re seeing on Thursday? You’re not alone.

Indie Box is a personal web server loaded with open source software that lets you run your own web services from your personal network. Indie Box comes with its own calendar, address book, file sharing capabilities, photo albums, and an email client. An app store allows users to add additional tools. The Indie Box is currently available for pre order.

The right to be forgotten

A ruling by the European Union’s court of justice says that Google is no longer allowed to play “finder’s keepers” with personal data. The case is the first in 200+ cases brought by Spanish citizens against Google, and is setting a new precedent on how long Google can show certain types of information in its search results.

Metal-eating plant

Scientists in the Philippines have discovered what may be the most badass plant yet — it eats nickel. Rinorea niccolifera belongs to a rare plant species that thrive in nickel-rich soils. These plants are known for their abilities in phytoremediation, removing heavy metals in contaminated soils; and phytomining, the growing and harvesting of these plants to pull valuable metals from the plant shoots.

Til next week

That’s all for now, folks! If you’re not done reading up on cool data stuff, take a minute to explore some Data Byte’s you may have missed: