But if the mitochondria are me, doesn’t this mean I have two sets of genes? Aren’t I a mosaic of both my own cellular DNA and that of my mitochondria? The fact is that all of the “others”—whether they are parasitic or mutualistic, cheaters or straight-shooters, long-term residents or one-night stands—have a significant characteristic in common: They each carry their own DNA. And this means that, for however long they are inside their host’s body, two genetically distinct organisms are living under the same skin and, to one extent or another, are biologically intertwined. Deep down, at the core of our tissue, we are a gigantic, symbiotic array, a ragtag assortment of organisms. All of these are to some degree us.
The social brain hypothesis predicts that humans have an average of about 150 relationships at any given time. Within this 150, there are layers of friends of an ego, where the number of friends in a layer increases as the emotional closeness decreases. Here we analyse a mobile phone dataset, firstly, to ascertain whether layers of friends can be identified based on call frequency. We then apply different clustering algorithms to break the call frequency of egos into clusters and compare the number of alters in each cluster with the layer size predicted by the social brain hypothesis. In this dataset we find strong evidence for the existence of a layered structure. The clustering yields results that match well with previous studies for the innermost and outermost layers, but for layers in between we observe large variability.
Calling Dunbar's Numbers Pádraig MacCarron, Kimmo Kaski, Robin Dunbar
I have been teaching systems thinking as an approach to deal with complexity for many years. Complexity has become a catch word, something that is recognized as a part of modern life, something that should not be ignored or simplified. We have too many examples of reductionist approaches that tried to solve a problem through... Read more »
The hypothesis is that most designers that are deliberately working with complex adaptive systems cannot help but be humbled by them. Maybe those who really design systems-interacting-with-systems approach their relationships to said systems with the daunting complexity of influence, rather than the hubris of definition or control. The designers of complex adaptive systems are not strictly designing systems themselves. They are hinting those systems towards anticipated outcomes, from an array of existing interrelated systems. These are designers that do not understand themselves to be in the center of the system. Rather, they understand themselves to be participants, shaping the systems that interact with other forces, ideas, events and other designers. This essay is an exploration of what it means to participate.
Despite the common misconception of nearly static organisms, plants do interact continuously with the environment and with each other. It is fair to assume that during their evolution they developed particular features to overcome problems and to exploit possibilities from environment. In this paper we introduce various quantitative measures based on recent advancements in complex network theory that allow to measure the effective similarities of various species. By using this approach on the similarity in fruit-typology ecological traits we obtain a clear plant classification in a way similar to traditional taxonomic classification. This result is not trivial, since a similar analysis done on the basis of diaspore morphological properties do not provide any clear parameter to classify plants species. Complex network theory can then be used in order to determine which feature amongst many can be used to distinguish scope and possibly evolution of plants. Future uses of this approach range from functional classification to quantitative determination of plant communities in nature.
Networks of plants: how to measure similarity in vegetable species Gianna Vivaldo, Elisa Masi, Camilla Pandolfi, Stefano Mancuso, Guido Caldarelli
On social media algorithms for content promotion, accounting for users preferences, might limit the exposure to unsolicited contents. In this work, we study how the same contents (videos) are consumed on different platforms -- i.e. Facebook and YouTube -- over a sample of 12M of users. Our findings show that the same content lead to the formation of echo chambers, irrespective of the online social network and thus of the algorithm for content promotion. Finally, we show that the users' commenting patterns are accurate early predictors for the formation of echo-chambers.
Users Polarization on Facebook and Youtube Alessandro Bessi, Fabiana Zollo, Michela Del Vicario, Michelangelo Puliga, Antonio Scala, Guido Caldarelli, Brian Uzzi, Walter Quattrociocchi
Existing research depicts intergroup prejudices as deeply ingrained, requiring intense intervention to lastingly reduce. Here, we show that a single approximately 10-minute conversation encouraging actively taking the perspective of others can markedly reduce prejudice for at least 3 months. We illustrate this potential with a door-to-door canvassing intervention in South Florida targeting antitransgender prejudice. Despite declines in homophobia, transphobia remains pervasive. For the intervention, 56 canvassers went door to door encouraging active perspective-taking with 501 voters at voters’ doorsteps. A randomized trial found that these conversations substantially reduced transphobia, with decreases greater than Americans’ average decrease in homophobia from 1998 to 2012. These effects persisted for 3 months, and both transgender and nontransgender canvassers were effective. The intervention also increased support for a nondiscrimination law, even after exposing voters to counterarguments.
Durably reducing transphobia: A field experiment on door-to-door canvassing David Broockman, Joshua Kalla
This visionary reframing of health and healthcare uses a complexity science approach to building healthcare systems that are accessible, effective, and prepared for change and challenges. Its holistic map for understanding the human organism emphasizes the interconnectedness of the individual’s physical, psychological, cognitive, and sociocultural functioning. Applications of this approach are described in primary, specialist, and emergency care and at the organizational and policy levels, from translating findings to practice, to problem solving and evaluation. In this model, the differences between disease and illness and treating illness and restoring health are not mere wordplay, but instead are robust concepts reflecting real-world issues and their solutions. Topics covered include:
• Coping with complexity and uncertainty: insights from studying epidemiology in family medicine • Anticipation in complex systems: potential implications for improving safety and quality in healthcare • Monitoring variability and complexity at the bedside • Viewing mental health through the lens of complexity science • Ethical complexities in systems healthcare: what care and for whom? • The value of systems and complexity thinking to enable change in adaptive healthcare organizations supported by informatics • If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the theory: implications for health system reform
How much of our choice of profession depends on who our parents are? Parents pass on their genes, set an example, provide opportunities, and give advice to either aim for or steer clear of their own lines of work. In the end, do their children end up in the same type of job? Do siblings choose the same occupation? And is this more or less true for different professions? To study these questions, we analyzed in aggregate two related sets of de-identified Facebook data: one a sample of siblings' choices of profession, and the other of parent-child choices. The sample included those pairs of individuals in English-speaking locales who specified a sibling or parent-child relationship on Facebook, along with filling in their occupations. The occupations were mapped to major occupation categories 1. The military occupation category is over-represented because it is mapped based on both employer and stated occupation and past military service, whereas other job categories were mapped based on stated occupation only. Since the data excludes those not specifying an occupation on Facebook, it may not be representative of the population overall, but is interesting to study nonetheless.
Do jobs run in families? Ismail Onur Filiz, Lada Adamic
Until conveners and organizers discover what it means to design gatherings for building communities and networks, they naively believe speaker or entertainment based events can do so. They don't because they can't. People congregate with familiar people talking about familiar things. The worst scenario is when people don't interact with each other at all because they're all passively listening to or watching others talk or entertain.
Existing connections don't deepen and new connections don't emerge. This only happens when gatherings are specifically structured to make these possible. This happens when we invite people to name new conversations and invite others present into them. It happens when we have network weavers present actively connecting people who don't know each other, making rich introductions and inviting connecting conversations. It takes a whole different kind of social architecture.
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