Stealing information can be just as lucrative--and destructive--as stealing anything else. Our look at the history of data theft touches on some of the major (or just really interesting) crimes in history. The father of the American Industrial Revolution? A glorified data thief. That tea you're drinking (let's say just for the duration of this sentence, you are drinking tea)? That's a stolen secret recipe, the theft of which involved a Scotsman dressed up in "traditional mandarin garb." And if you're a PlayStation Network user or a Gawker commenter, you'll be familiar with some of the latter items on our list. And don't forget to check out the rest of Data Week, our exploration of all things data.
The full ramifications of the Industrial Revolution on this planet may never be known, not because the scope of the those changes can't be measured but because the same rapid, spastic technological changes that hurled industry forward into a new era did the same for science. As such, pre-industrial science didn't possess many of the instruments and technologies that allow modern science to happen. So how do you, say, find out what air quality was like before the Revolution wrecked it?