Gladwell books...

Some amusement:


Optimal tic-tac-toe strategy, illustrated:

How to win at noughts and crosses:


Evolution and Goodness

Radiolab podcast: An Equation for Good.


Books = data.

``Quantitative analysis of culture using millions of digitized books'' by Michel et al., Science, 2011.
More here:
Data and play here: Google Books ngram viewer


The invention of Money.

The mystery of money. This American Life, #423:

A simple model of how physicists behave.



Where people take photos

Mapping places of interest based on geotags in Flickr photos (by Eric Fischer).
Excitement is had here by Fast Company and here by FlowingData. A rough effort to break apart the photos of tourists and residents is shown here:

Visualization of word frequencies

A beautiful representation of Zipf’s law for the English language by Jonathan Harris.


Predicting financial crises

The Economist ponders agent based models.

Play networks

Social networks = platform for game dynamics:

The biologists are evolving!

What will they become? Memeticists?

The story: culture is becoming recognized as one of the significant evolutionary forces shaping human evolution.

Movies, editing, attention

Some intriguing insights into the evolution of and variation of sequencing in movies:

Pasted Graphic

Slime mold and the Tokyo subway system

Slime mold hungry. Slime mold build op-tee-mul network.

Science Express article
here (open access),
Science Magazine article
here and accompanying Perspectives

A. Tero et al.,
“Rules for Biologically Inspired Adaptive Network Design”
Science, Vol. 237, pp. 439-442, 2010.

``It's all about data''

NY Times (2010-Feb-05):
U.S. Scientists Given Access to Cloud Computing
The National Science Foundation and the Microsoft Corporation have agreed to offer American scientific researchers free access to the company’s new cloud computing service.
A goal of the three-year project is to give scientists the computing power to cope with exploding amounts of research data. It uses Microsoft’s Windows Azure computing system, which the company recently introduced to compete with cloud computing services from companies like Amazon, Google, I.B.M. and Yahoo. These cloud computing systems allow organizations and individuals to run computing tasks and Internet services remotely in relatively low-cost data centers.
Full article

Some puzzling maps:


Empireal disintegration.

Feeding many people...

The dismalness of the most dismal of sciences

Krugman largely says what's obvious from the outside:

Social contagion, a review

The New York Times looks back at the work of Christakis and Fowler on social contagion.


Steve Strogatz on all things syncful:

Controlled pattern formation in sheep

Flight patterns

A spreadworthy message

An excellent viral video from a recent political campaign.

Corporate contagion

The social network component of the spreading of spreading.
(The main article is here.)

The diffusion of retail establishments

The spreading of certain buildings
across the United States.

Identity, Self-Awareness, and Twitter

From the New York Times Magazine, a great, mutlifacted article about how we communicate online.

Political book preferences

Amazon has an interactive map of the US showing which political books are bestsellers as a function of state. You’ll notice that Vermont is rather blue.

The end is nigh...

As we record more and more information about ourselves and
everything around us, Chris Anderson argues
in Wired that the end of theory is nigh.
(He’s certainly not the first to do so.)

It’s certainly true that we have moved into an age of
data abundance as far as social sciences go.
It’s worthwhile to simply dive into these streams
of data and look for patterns. Questions will naturally
appear, we will search more, and theories will form.
And while simple theories may not be available for
many problems, we at least have the task of improving the science of description.