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The Iowa enigma - the wonders of data mining

An old fashioned tool for data mining - a magnifying glass
An old fashioned tool for data mining - a magnifying glass
Wikimedia Commons and the German Federal Archive

Data mining is an extraordinarily powerful computing tool that allows us to examine typically large data sets and identify trends or linkages between the data that would not have been otherwise apparent. It is used extensively by many retail companies, for example, to find out what people are buying and maximize revenue from that knowledge. Walmart and Amazon use data mining in different but clearly related ways, for example. Walmart uses the process to ensure that optimal numbers of products are available to meet demand in their stores across the country, while Amazon uses it to recommend purchases of interest to their customers. Banks and credit card companies use it too, both to offer new products and to track and identify possible fraud.

Data mining is not, of course, infallible. It will identify correlations between bits of data or information, but as famously noted, "correlation does not imply causation." And sometimes the leaps of imagination needed to find valid links appear to be beyond even the best data mining software.

One such example has recently been unearthed by a notable and venerable blogger who goes by the name of Iowahawk, and it is clearly relevant to the local area, focusing as it does on undeniable links between the University of Iowa Hawkeyes (specifically the football team) and North and South Korea. That there is a link is quite clear, but the nature of the link is far from obvious. If you would, please see if you can unearth what the links might be, and feel free to share your explanation in the comment section. Do not be dissuaded by those who mutter darkly of such things as conspiracy theories - clearly this is no mere conspiracy - that Hawkeye helmet in the music video proves that beyond a doubt!


  • hawkfan 5 years ago

    I wonder if any of the members studied here at some point in their academic career and loved, like the rest of us, hawkeye football???