What Smoking did for Data Science
How survival analysis was born out of necessity
Anyone who is, like me, a fan of the US TV show Mad Men, will recall that a substantial thread of the plot and historical context of that outstanding period drama revolves around smoking. In the 1960s, the US medical establishment were pivoting towards a point of view that smoking was a cancer-causing habit — a hard thing for them to face up to since they pretty much all smoked themselves.
Today, massively fewer numbers of people smoke habitually or at all. We are…