The National Security Agency says its massive new data center near Salt Lake City will enhance the agency's ability to analyze the email, text message, cellphone and landline metadata it collects. Rick Bowmer/AP hide caption

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Booting Up: New NSA Data Farm Takes Root In Utah
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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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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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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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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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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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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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