Chapter 6. Data and Data Types

Data is a funny word—although not as funny as datum. Our minds are filled with data: the useful and useless trivia that clogs thought; the millions of memories that keep superficial conversations going strong. But the word “data” rarely comes up in conversation. Unless you are a computer junkie, or you hang around the office all hours of the day or night waiting for reports of crunched numbers, you never have a need to use the term. I have never been asked to lend someone a cup of data. My friends never try to judge my health by asking, “How’s your data going?” And you almost never hear it used as a character name in popular science fiction television shows.

Despite its lack of usage in everyday communication, data ...

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