Data and Reality

Amazing book about the nature of data in a computer system and how we do our best to take the real world and create models of it.

As new comers to the field often the first feelings we get once we start “getting” how to make things happen is one of practicallity which often older and more experienced thinkers do not seem to share.

I noticed this as I was learning and wondered why people insisted on talking in such vague and impractical terms about things that were only tangentially related.

One thing I liked about this book is how it framed that thinking by showing that in fact we take so many things for granted or assume things about reality which we do not have a personal basis for (other than we want/think it is) and which there is no clear “right” answer either.

A great example in the book is trying to define streets and where they end. A perfect example how the intersection of politics, culture, and pragmatism thwart anyone trying to make sense of it in a database except to say there are many right answers.