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Resoundingly Human

Aug 19, 2022

Today’s episode will be a little different than most, we’re going to take a bit of a detour but stick with me and I promise, I’ll bring us back around to data science.

I’m going to take us back in time a little, back to the first time I watched what was to become my favorite movie, Jaws. It was the summer between 4th and 5th grade (probably way too young to be watching a movie about a killer shark) and I was at a sleepover where the next day, after being thoroughly terrified by this movie, we went to the beach where, wait for it, a shark had washed up on shore! Needless to say, I spent much of the rest of that summer playing in the dunes, BUT, it cemented in me an absolute fascination and, let’s be honest, fear of sharks.

So fast forward a couple of decades to this summer, I’m on my morning run through the Pennsylvania woods, far from any beach, and listening to my newest podcast obsession, “Réunion: Shark Attacks in Paradise,” which is about a series of unprecedented shark attacks on the French island of Réunion. All of a sudden, I hear the host mention “the totally fascinating academic journal Management Science.” That’s right, the INFORMS journal Management Science! He’s referring to an article by UC Berkeley professor Charles West Churchman titled “Wicked Problems” and proceeds to lay out the shark attacks on Reunion as a wicked problem! I literally stop dead in my track, I’m texting my coworkers, “The coolest thing ever just happened!” and of course, I keep bingeing the podcast.

So needless to say, I am beyond excited to welcome Daniel Duane, award winning journalist and author, and host of my new favorite podcast, to talk about what exactly data science has to do with a series of shark attacks on a small island in the Indian Ocean.