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Mental health: The great depression

Mental health: The great depression | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it
Depression causes more disability than any other disorder. A special issue explores how science can help.

 

http://www.nature.com/news/mental-health-the-great-depression-1.16306


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Spatial patterns of close relationships across the lifespan

The dynamics of close relationships is important for understanding the migration patterns of individual life-courses. The bottom-up approach to this subject by social scientists has been limited by sample size, while the more recent top-down approach using large-scale datasets suffers from a lack of detail about the human individuals. We incorporate the geographic and demographic information of millions of mobile phone users with their communication patterns to study the dynamics of close relationships and its effect in their life-course migration. We demonstrate how the close age- and sex-biased dyadic relationships are correlated with the geographic proximity of the pair of individuals, e.g., young couples tend to live further from each other than old couples. In addition, we find that emotionally closer pairs are living geographically closer to each other. These findings imply that the life-course framework is crucial for understanding the complex dynamics of close relationships and their effect on the migration patterns of human individuals.

 

Spatial patterns of close relationships across the lifespan
• Hang-Hyun Jo, Jari Saramäki, Robin I. M. Dunbar & Kimmo Kaski

Scientific Reports 4, Article number: 6988 http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep06988


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Strategies for containing Ebola in West Africa

Effective drugs and vaccines for Ebola virus are not available, so what can be done? Pandey et al. used a mathematical model to analyze transmission in different scenarios: the community, hospitals, and at funerals. Achieving full compliance with any single control measure, such as case isolation, is impossible under prevailing conditions. However, with a minimum of 60% compliance, a combination of case isolation, hygienic burial, and contact tracing could reduce daily case numbers to single figures in 5 to 6 months. Success will also require persistence and sensitivity to local customs.

 

Strategies for containing Ebola in West Africa
Abhishek Pandey, et al.

Science 21 November 2014:
Vol. 346 no. 6212 pp. 991-995
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1260612


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Is Gaming a Viable Method for Urban Design?

by Ekim Tan, Founder, Play the City

caption id=attachment_14050 align=aligncenter width=1764 Play Khayelitsha - A Visionary Local Business - © Play the City Studio/caption

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Statistical physics of crime: A review

Containing the spreading of crime in urban societies remains a major challenge. Empirical evidence suggests that, left unchecked, crimes may be recurrent and proliferate. On the other hand, eradicating a culture of crime may be difficult, especially under extreme social circumstances that impair the creation of a shared sense of social responsibility. Although our understanding of the mechanisms that drive the emergence and diffusion of crime is still incomplete, recent research highlights applied mathematics and methods of statistical physics as valuable theoretical resources that may help us better understand criminal activity. We review different approaches aimed at modeling and improving our understanding of crime, focusing on the nucleation of crime hotspots using partial differential equations, self-exciting point process and agent-based modeling, adversarial evolutionary games, and the network science behind the formation of gangs and large-scale organized crime. We emphasize that statistical physics of crime can relevantly inform the design of successful crime prevention strategies, as well as improve the accuracy of expectations about how different policing interventions should impact malicious human activity deviating from social norms. We also outline possible directions for future research, related to the effects of social and coevolving networks and to the hierarchical growth of criminal structures due to self-organization.

 

Statistical physics of crime: A review
Maria R. D'Orsogna, Matjaz Perc

http://arxiv.org/abs/1411.1743


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Saberes Sin Fronteras OVS's curator insight, November 30, 2014 5:46 PM

La estadística como fuente de información para comprender el por qué la criminalidad es mayor o menor en ciertas zonas. 

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Alternative to the Turing test: The Lovelace 2.0 Test

Alternative to the Turing test: The Lovelace 2.0 Test | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it

Georgia Tech associate professor Mark Ried has developed a new kind of “Turing test” — a test proposed in 1950 by computing pioneer Alan Turing to determine whether a machine or computer program exhibits human-level intelligence.Most Turing test designs require a machine to engage in dialogue and convince (trick) a human judge that it is an actual person. But creating certain types of art also requires intelligence, leading Reid to consider if that approach might lead to a better gauge of whether a machine can replicate human thought.


“It’s important to note that Turing never meant for his test to be the official benchmark as to whether a machine or computer program can actually think like a human,” Riedl said. “And yet it has, and it has proven to be a weak measure because it relies on deception. This proposal suggests that a better measure would be a test that asks an artificial agent to create an artifact requiring a wide range of human-level intelligent capabilities.”

 

Here are the basic test rules:

 

The artificial agent passes if it develops a creative artifact from a subset of artistic genres deemed to require human-level intelligence and the artifact meets certain creative constraints given by a human evaluator.The human evaluator must determine that the object is a valid representative of the creative subset and that it meets the criteria. (The created artifact needs only meet these criteria — it does not need to have any aesthetic value.)A human referee must determine that the combination of the subset and criteria is not an impossible standard.

 

The Lovelace 2.0 Test stems from the original Lovelace* Test as proposed by Bringsjord, Bello and Ferrucci in 2001. The original test required that an artificial agent produce a creative item in such a way that the agent’s designer cannot explain how it developed the creative item. The item, thus, must be created in such a way that is valuable, novel and surprising.

 

Riedl contends that the original Lovelace test does not establish clear or measurable parameters. Lovelace 2.0, however, enables the evaluator to work with defined constraints without making value judgments such as whether the artistic object created surprise.

Riedl’s paper, available here, will be presented at Beyond the Turing Test, an Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) workshop to be held January 25–29, 2015, in Austin, Texas.



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Carlos Garcia Pando's comment, November 21, 2014 3:59 AM
Is it a better machine for the tasks of machines if it passes the Lovelace 2.0 test? It proves the machine can imitate certain human habilities, but I expect the machines to surpass us humans on our weaknesses and limitations.
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Imagination and reality flow in opposite directions in the brain

Imagination and reality flow in opposite directions in the brain | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it

As real as that daydream may seem, its path through your brain runs opposite reality. Aiming to discern discrete neural circuits, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have tracked electrical activity in the brains of people who alternately imagined scenes or watched videos.


"A really important problem in brain research is understanding how different parts of the brain are functionally connected. What areas are interacting? What is the direction of communication?" says Barry Van Veen, a UW-Madison professor of electrical and computer engineering. "We know that the brain does not function as a set of independent areas, but as a network of specialized areas that collaborate."


Van Veen, along with Giulio Tononi, a UW-Madison psychiatry professor and neuroscientist, Daniela Dentico, a scientist at UW-Madison's Waisman Center, and collaborators from the University of Liege in Belgium, published results recently in the journal NeuroImage. Their work could lead to the development of new tools to help Tononi untangle what happens in the brain during sleep and dreaming, while Van Veen hopes to apply the study's new methods to understand how the brain uses networks to encode short-term memory.


During imagination, the researchers found an increase in the flow of information from the parietal lobe of the brain to the occipital lobe -- from a higher-order region that combines inputs from several of the senses out to a lower-order region. In contrast, visual information taken in by the eyes tends to flow from the occipital lobe -- which makes up much of the brain's visual cortex -- "up" to the parietal lobe.


"There seems to be a lot in our brains and animal brains that is directional, that neural signals move in a particular direction, then stop, and start somewhere else," says. "I think this is really a new theme that had not been explored."


The researchers approached the study as an opportunity to test the power of electroencephalography (EEG) -- which uses sensors on the scalp to measure underlying electrical activity -- to discriminate between different parts of the brain's network.

Brains are rarely quiet, though, and EEG tends to record plenty of activity not necessarily related to a particular process researchers want to study.


To zero in on a set of target circuits, the researchers asked their subjects to watch short video clips before trying to replay the action from memory in their heads. Others were asked to imagine traveling on a magic bicycle -- focusing on the details of shapes, colors and textures -- before watching a short video of silent nature scenes.

Using an algorithm Van Veen developed to parse the detailed EEG data, the researchers were able to compile strong evidence of the directional flow of information.


"We were very interested in seeing if our signal-processing methods were sensitive enough to discriminate between these conditions," says Van Veen, whose work is supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. "These types of demonstrations are important for gaining confidence in new tools."


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Vloasis's curator insight, November 22, 2014 11:10 AM

So imagination input flows from the parietal to the occipital lobe, while visual input flows vice versa.

Diane Johnson's curator insight, November 23, 2014 8:46 AM

Interesting findings from electrical and computer engineering studies. Useful connections to the information processing DCI's.

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There Is No ‘Healthy’ Microbiome

There Is No ‘Healthy’ Microbiome | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it

IN the late 17th century, the Dutch naturalist Anton van Leeuwenhoek looked at his own dental plaque through a microscope and saw a world of tiny cells “very prettily a-moving.” He could not have predicted that a few centuries later, the trillions of microbes that share our lives — collectively known as the microbiome — would rank among the hottest areas of biology.

These microscopic partners help us by digesting our food, training our immune systems and crowding out other harmful microbes that could cause disease. In return, everything from the food we eat to the medicines we take can shape our microbial communities — with important implications for our health. Studies have found that changes in our microbiome accompany medical problems from obesity to diabetes to colon cancer.


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Rowan Norrie's curator insight, November 10, 2014 6:14 AM

The fascinating world of the microbiome and the opportunities it heralds for future medicine

Dmitry Alexeev's curator insight, November 12, 2014 3:45 AM

Our microbes are truly part of us, and just as we are vast in our variety, so, too, are they. We must embrace this complexity if we hope to benefit from it.

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Scaling: The surprising mathematics of life and civilization

Scaling: The surprising mathematics of life and civilization | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it

So what is “scaling”? In its most elemental form, it simply refers to how systems respond when their sizes change. What happens to cities or companies if their sizes are doubled? What happens to buildings, airplanes, economies, or animals if they are halved? Do cities that are twice as large have approximately twice as many roads and produce double the number of patents? Should the profits of a company twice the size of another company double? Does an animal that is half the mass of another animal require half as much food?


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Ecology 2.0: Coexistence and Domination of Interacting Networks

The overwhelming success of the web 2.0, with online social networks as key actors, has induced a paradigm shift in the nature of human interactions. The user-driven character of these services for the first time has allowed researchers to quantify large-scale social patterns. However, the mechanisms that determine the fate of networks at a system level are still poorly understood. For instance, the simultaneous existence of numerous digital services naturally raises the question under which conditions these services can coexist. In analogy to population dynamics, the digital world is forming a complex ecosystem of interacting networks whose fitnesses depend on their ability to attract and maintain users' attention, which constitutes a limited resource. In this paper, we introduce an ecological theory of the digital world which exhibits a stable coexistence of several networks as well as the domination of a single one, in contrast to the principle of competitive exclusion. Interestingly, our model also predicts that the most probable outcome is the coexistence of a moderate number of services, in agreement with empirical observations.

 

Ecology 2.0: Coexistence and Domination among Interacting Networks
Kaj Kolja Kleineberg, Marián Boguñá

http://arxiv.org/abs/1410.8865


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Second-Order Science: A Vast and Largely Unexplored Science Frontier

Second-Order Science: A Vast and Largely Unexplored Science Frontier | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it

Context: Many recent research areas such as human cognition and quantum physics call the observer-independence of traditional science into question. Also, there is a growing need for self-reflexivity in science, i.e., a science that reflects on its own outcomes and products. Problem: We introduce the concept of second-order science that is based on the operation of re-entry. Our goal is to provide an overview of this largely unexplored science domain and of potential approaches in second-order fields. Method: We provide the necessary conceptual groundwork for explorations in second-order science, in which we discuss the differences between first- and second-order science and where we present a roadmap for second-order science. The article operates mainly with conceptual differentiations such as the separation between three seemingly identical concepts such as Science II, Science 2.0 and second-order science. Results: Compared with first-order science, the potential of second-order science lies in 1. higher levels of novelty and innovations, 2. higher levels of robustness and 3. wider integration as well as higher generality. As first-order science advances, second-order science, with re-entry as its basic operation, provides three vital functions for first-order science, namely a rich source of novelty and innovation, the necessary quality control and greater integration and generality. Implications: Second-order science should be viewed as a major expansion of traditional scientific fields and as a scientific breakthrough towards a new wave of innovative research. Constructivist content: Second-order science has strong ties with radical constructivism, which can be qualified as the most important root/origin of second-order science. Moreover, it will be argued that a new form of cybernetics is needed to cope with the new problems and challenges of second-order science.

 

Müller K. H. & Riegler A. (2014) Second-Order Science: A Vast and Largely Unexplored Science Frontier. Constructivist Foundations 10(1): 7–15. Available at http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/10/1/007.introduction


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Why Are So Few Blockbuster Drugs Invented Today?

Why Are So Few Blockbuster Drugs Invented Today? | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it
Our high-tech process of pharmaceutical research is broken — and the solution might be old-fashioned trial and error.

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On the bioeconomics of shame and guilt

Shame has biological roots, possibly enhancing trust, favoring social cohesion. We studied bioeconomic aspects of shame and guilt using three approaches: 1—Anthropo-linguistic studies of Guilt and Shame among the Yanomami, a culturally isolated traditional tribal society; 2—Estimates of the importance different languages assign to the concepts Shame, Guilt, Pain, Embarrassment, Fear and Trust, counting the number of synonyms listed by Google Translate; 3—Quantitative correlations between this linguistic data with socioeconomic indexes. Results showed that Yanomami is unique in having overlapping synonyms for Shame, Fear and Embarrassment. No language had overlapping synonyms for Shame andGuilt. Societies previously described as “Guilt Societies” have more synonyms for Guilt than for Shame. A large majority of languages, including those from societies previously described as “Shame Societies”, have more words for Shame than for Guilt. The number of synonyms for Guilt and Shame strongly correlated with estimates of corruption, ease of doing business and governance, but not with levels of interpersonal trust. We propose that cultural evolution of shame has continued the work of biological evolution, but its adaptive advantageto society is still unclear. Results suggest that recent cultural evolution must be responsible for the relationship between the levels of corruption of a society and the number of synonyms for Guilt and Shame in its language. This opens a novel window for the study of complex interactions between biological and cultural evolution of cognition and emotions, which might help broaden our insight into bioeconomics.

 

On the bioeconomics of shame and guilt
Klaus Jaffe, Astrid Flórez, Marcos Manzanares, Rodolfo Jaffe, Cristina M. Gomes, Daniel Rodríguez, Carla Achury

Journal of Bioeconomics
September 2014

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10818-014-9189-5


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Saberes Sin Fronteras OVS's curator insight, November 30, 2014 5:42 PM

Las bases bio-económicas de los sentimientos de culpa y vergüenza.

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Antibody landscapes after influenza virus infection or vaccination

Each one of us may encounter several different strains of the ever-changing influenza virus during a lifetime. Scientists can now summarize such histories of infection over a lifetime of exposure. Fonville et al. visualize the interplay between protective responses and the evasive influenza virus by a technique called antibody landscape modeling (see the Perspective by Lessler). Landscapes reveal how exposure to new strains of the virus boost immune responses and indicate possibilities for optimizing future vaccination programs.

 

Antibody landscapes after influenza virus infection or vaccination
J. M. Fonville et al.

Science 21 November 2014:
Vol. 346 no. 6212 pp. 996-1000
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1256427


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His brain, her brain?

There is a long history of scientific inquiry about what role biological sex plays in differences between brain function in human males and females. Greater knowledge of the influence of biological sex on the human brain promises much-needed insights into brain function and especially dysfunctions that differentially affect the sexes (1). Certainly, advancing technologies and an increasing wealth of data (with more sophisticated analyses) should prompt robust future research—carefully conducted and well replicated—that can elucidate sex effects in the brain. However, this field of research has spurred an equally long history of debate as to whether inherent differences in brains of males and females predispose the sexes to stereotypical behaviors, or whether such claims reinforce and legitimate traditional gender stereotypes and roles in ways that are not scientifically justified—so-called neurosexism. Although this topic remains controversial, a commonly held belief is that the psyches of females and males are highly distinct. These differences are perceived as natural, fixed, and invariant across time and place (2), presumably due to unique female versus male brain circuitry that is largely fixed by a sexually differentiated genetic blueprint. A major challenge in the field is to crtically view previous experimental findings, as well as design future studies, outside the framework of this dichotomous model. Here, gender scholarship can hasten scientific progress by revealing the implicit assumptions that can give rise to inadvertent neurosexism.

 

His brain, her brain?
Cordelia Fine

Science 21 November 2014:
Vol. 346 no. 6212 pp. 915-916
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1262061


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Saberes Sin Fronteras OVS's curator insight, November 30, 2014 5:47 PM

Hay que seguir estudiando las relaciones entre género y actividad cerebral

Tammy Sykes's curator insight, January 1, 11:06 AM

Is gender biological or socially learned. Research is quoted in the article. 

 

Module 1 - SOCI 330

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Is Gaming a Viable Method for Urban Design?

Is Gaming a Viable Method for Urban Design? | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it
by Ekim Tan, Founder, Play the City

caption id=attachment_14050 align=aligncenter width=1764 Play Khayelitsha - A Visionary Local Business - © Play the City Studio/caption

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Antibody landscapes after influenza virus infection or vaccination

Each one of us may encounter several different strains of the ever-changing influenza virus during a lifetime. Scientists can now summarize such histories of infection over a lifetime of exposure. Fonville et al. visualize the interplay between protective responses and the evasive influenza virus by a technique called antibody landscape modeling (see the Perspective by Lessler). Landscapes reveal how exposure to new strains of the virus boost immune responses and indicate possibilities for optimizing future vaccination programs.

 

Antibody landscapes after influenza virus infection or vaccination
J. M. Fonville et al.

Science 21 November 2014:
Vol. 346 no. 6212 pp. 996-1000
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1256427


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First look at nuclear fuel in a meltdown scenario

First look at nuclear fuel in a meltdown scenario | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it

Scientists have managed to take their first close-up look at what happens to nuclear fuel when it becomes molten, as it would in a nuclear reactor meltdown. In an innovative lab experiment, they discovered that uranium dioxide fuel behaves differently when molten than in its solid state.


The findings, reported in the journal Science, may help researchers improve safety at nuclear power plants, by better understanding uranium dioxide's behaviour under extreme temperatures.


"In extreme events like Fukushima and Chernobyl the uranium dioxide literally melts, and we wanted to study the material to really understand it," says the paper's lead author Dr Lawrie Skinner of Stony Brook University in New York. "We can now pin down a little bit more accurately what the properties and temperature of the melt will be. Any sensible reactor design should take into account the real structure, physical properties, and behavior of this melt."


Until now, the extreme heat and radiation has made it impossible for scientists to study uranium dioxide's characteristics and structure in a molten state. Uranium dioxide melts at over 3000°C, far too hot for most furnace container materials which would melt and react with the test samples.


Skinner and colleagues got around the container problem by floating a tiny 3 millimeter bead of uranium dioxide in a gas stream and heating it with a laser. They were able to study the relative positions of the atoms in both hot solid and molten uranium dioxide beads using high energy synchrotron X-ray diffraction. "We didn't really know what to expect, it's not something we've measured before," says Skinner.


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Mathematical Model for the Dynamic Behavior of the Demographic Transition

A mathematical model (Core Model) is presented that describes the gross dynamic behavior of the demographic transition—falling death rates lead to population increase, temporarily rising birth rates, temporarily increased population growth, decreased
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Clustering memes in social media streams

The problem of clustering content in social media has pervasive applications, including the identification of discussion topics, event detection, and content recommendation. Here we describe a streaming framework for online detection and clustering of memes in social media, specifically Twitter. A pre-clustering procedure, namely protomeme detection, first isolates atomic tokens of information carried by the tweets. Protomemes are thereafter aggregated, based on multiple similarity measures, to obtain memes as cohesive groups of tweets reflecting actual concepts or topics of discussion. The clustering algorithm takes into account various dimensions of the data and metadata, including natural language, the social network, and the patterns of information diffusion. As a result, our system can build clusters of semantically, structurally, and topically related tweets. The clustering process is based on a variant of Online K-means that incorporates a memory mechanism, used to "forget" old memes and replace them over time with the new ones. The evaluation of our framework is carried out by using a dataset of Twitter trending topics. Over a one-week period, we systematically determined whether our algorithm was able to recover the trending hashtags. We show that the proposed method outperforms baseline algorithms that only use content features, as well as a state-of-the-art event detection method that assumes full knowledge of the underlying follower network. We finally show that our online learning framework is flexible, due to its independence of the adopted clustering algorithm, and best suited to work in a streaming scenario.

 

Clustering memes in social media streams
Mohsen JafariAsbagh, Emilio Ferrara, Onur Varol, Filippo Menczer, Alessandro Flammini

http://arxiv.org/abs/1411.0652


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Viral Misinformation: The Role of Homophily and Polarization

Viral Misinformation: The Role of Homophily and Polarization | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it

The spreading of unsubstantiated rumors on online social networks (OSN) either unintentionally or intentionally (e.g., for political reasons or even trolling) can have serious consequences such as in the recent case of rumors about Ebola causing disruption to health-care workers. Here we show that indicators aimed at quantifying information consumption patterns might provide important insights about the virality of false claims. In particular, we address the driving forces behind the popularity of contents by analyzing a sample of 1.2M Facebook Italian users consuming different (and opposite) types of information (science and conspiracy news). We show that users' engagement across different contents correlates with the number of friends having similar consumption patterns (homophily), indicating the area in the social network where certain types of contents are more likely to spread. Then, we test diffusion patterns on an external sample of 4,709 intentional satirical false claims showing that neither the presence of hubs (structural properties) nor the most active users (influencers) are prevalent in viral phenomena. Instead, we found out that in an environment where misinformation is pervasive, users' aggregation around shared beliefs may make the usual exposure to conspiracy stories (polarization) a determinant for the virality of false information.

 

Viral Misinformation: The Role of Homophily and Polarization
Aris Anagnostopoulos, Alessandro Bessi, Guido Caldarelli, Michela Del Vicario, Fabio Petroni, Antonio Scala, Fabiana Zollo, Walter Quattrociocchi

http://arxiv.org/abs/1411.2893


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Lost in the City: Revisiting Milgram's Experiment in the Age of Social Networks

Lost in the City: Revisiting Milgram's Experiment in the Age of Social Networks | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it

As more and more users access social network services from smart devices with GPS receivers, the available amount of geo-tagged information makes repeating classical experiments possible on global scales and with unprecedented precision. Inspired by the original experiments of Milgram, we simulated message routing within a representative sub-graph of the network of Twitter users with about 6 million geo-located nodes and 122 million edges. We picked pairs of users from two distant metropolitan areas and tried to find a route between them using local geographic information only; our method was to forward messages to a friend living closest to the target. We found that the examined network is navigable on large scales, but navigability breaks down at the city scale and the network becomes unnavigable on intra-city distances. This means that messages usually arrived to the close proximity of the target in only 3–6 steps, but only in about 20% of the cases was it possible to find a route all the way to the recipient, in spite of the network being connected.

 

Szüle J, Kondor D, Dobos L, Csabai I, Vattay G (2014) Lost in the City: Revisiting Milgram's Experiment in the Age of Social Networks. PLoS ONE 9(11): e111973. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0111973


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Mathematical Model for the Dynamic Behavior of the Demographic Transition

A mathematical model (Core Model) is presented that describes the gross dynamic behavior of the demographic transition—falling death rates lead to population increase, temporarily rising birth rates, temporarily increased population growth, decreased
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