"I don't think it's a coincidence that of all the kinds of ways human beings could organize themselves into networks, that's what we do. We evince degree assortativity, and I don't think it's a coincidence that we do that. We assemble ourselves into groups, the group now has this property, this germ- resistance property, which is a property of the group, but which, as it turns out, also benefits and affects us. Now, being a member of that group, we are less likely to acquire pathogens.
And this sets the stage for a set of ideas that we and others have been exploring that shed light on multi-level selection and other kinds of contentious ideas in the biological and the social sciences. And we have a number of fellow travelers on this road—László Barabási, Dirk Helbing, Tooby and Cosmides, Frans de Waal, Nowak, Rand, Santos—people working on these related areas of interactions among animals and people, and what this means. In fact, David Rand and Josh Green and Martin Nowak just had a nice paper this past year — I was asked to highlight some papers—looking at whether you can use time to response as a kind of heuristic for understanding are people intuitive cooperators and rationally selfish, or do they exercise rational self-control over a kind of instinctive greed? The data they presented in that paper, to my eyes, was quite compelling—that we are intuitively wired to cooperate."
"Creating coherent, compelling information graphics is left largely to individual practitioners. There is very little training available for social scientists who would like to have basic graphic design skills in their repertoire. Graphic Sociology analyzes the visual presentation of social data from the perspective of social science practice. Each blog consists of a chart, table, interactive graphic or other visual display of sociologically relevant data and an analysis of the successes and weaknesses of the graphic."
Creation of effective and informative information graphics, that simplfiy complex data and promote pattern recognition, is an important topic for the social sciences, particularly in higher education and for secondary education as well. Noren's blog is devoted to critical analysis of social science information graphics.
The topic of these graphics represent important issues in hgher education and Noren's analysis raises a number of important points regarding interpretation of the illustrated trends. -JL
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