Last month The Week ran the headline "What big data can tell us about the things we eat". It then went on to describe the differences between what, when, and where men and women consume food with the conclusion that "men are loafers who eat junk while women are ambitious calorie crunchers". The insights were drawn from a white paper published by GrubHub based on data harvested from its operations. Let me propose the following less misleading headline for The Week's story: "What big data can tell us about the food GrubHub's customers order from the takeout restaurants it represents"
As discussed in a previous post, when using big data to formulate conclusions about the world at large, one must always consider what and who is being left out. I had a dig around GrubHub's site and found a number of potential caveats to its position as an authoritative voice on the "gender wars" of America's eating preferences:
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