This analysis of modern history is a prime example of why big data really matters

Originally posted on Gigaom:

We might be tiring of the term big data, but there’s still a lot of value to be squeezed from the concept. This is true even in its purest form, where we’re doing relatively simple operations on a mountain of data in order to see if there’s a notable trend or correlation in there.

The latest example of why this is true comes from GDELT, the massive geosocial-event database that’s now housed in Google’s cloud. Its creator, Georgetown professor Kalev Leetaru, has analyzed the Arab Spring uprising in Egypt, as well as the current situation in Ukraine, against data dating back to 1979 in an attempt to answer the question of whether history really does repeat itself.

Finding the answer, he acknowledges, will take a lot more expert analysis, but his data can give researchers a great start. The process of generating it was a single SQL query (researchers can…

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