Even the Times Knows Bad, Overhyped “Science” When They See It

Though they give it a mostly friendly review first:


The kicker:

“What caused that change?” the authors ask. “We don’t know. For now, all we have are the naked correlations: what we uncover when we look at collective memory through the digital lens of our new scope.” Someone else is going to have to do the heavy lifting.

“Uncharted” began life as an article in Science magazine in December 2010, and the authors have huffed and puffed to inflate it to book length. They digress at every turn and, to add weight at the back end, they have appended nearly 50 ngram searches.

They also overexplain. Most readers do not need a background lesson on Nazi policies toward the arts to understand why, in German books published between 1933 and 1945, the graph for Marc Chagall dips like a downward-speeding roller coaster.


You know you are overhyped, when numerous Nature and Science articles can’t get you a tier 1 faculty postion (L-A) or an independent fellowship (JBM).


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