Value and meaning come from relationships and context. A physical object, such as a quarter, only holds the value we give it. It has no intrinsic worth. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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iStockphoto.com

Big Data may not be much to look at, but it can be powerful stuff. For instance, this is what the new National Security Agency (NSA) data center in Bluffdale, Utah, looks like. George Frey/Getty Images hide caption

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George Frey/Getty Images

Jonathan Bush, co-founder, athenahealth, at Health Datapalooza IV, where he urged the government to release more data on health care quality and costs. FotoBriceno for Health Data Consortium/Health Data Consortium hide caption

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FotoBriceno for Health Data Consortium/Health Data Consortium

Datapalooza: A Concept, A Conference And A Movement

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Information, like light, flows through cities in interesting, often beautiful, patterns. Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images

What Big Data Means For Big Cities

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The Orion nebula is the brightest spot in the sword of the Orion, or the Hunter constellation. NASA hide caption

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NASA

When Digital Dust Is Gathered, Constellation May Be Muddled

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Shwetak Patel (foreground), a MacArthur Fellow, recognized that every device in a home has a unique signature that can be used to track energy usage. The data collected by Patel's system showed that digital video recorders were responsible for 11 percent of this home's power use, just one example of The Human Face of Big Data. © Peter Menzel 2012/from The Human Face of Big Data hide caption

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© Peter Menzel 2012/from The Human Face of Big Data