Not Six but 4.74 Degrees of Separation

Researchers from the University of Milan and Facebook have found that the average number of acquaintances separating any two people in the world is now not six but 4.74.


What's the Latest Development?

Researchers from the University of Milan and Facebook using a cohort of 721 million Facebook users–more than one-tenth of the world’s population–found that the average number of acquaintances separating any two people in the world is now not six but 4.74. In the U. S., where more than half of people over 13 are on Facebook, the average number of links from one arbitrarily selected person to another was just 4.37.

What's the Big Idea?

The research is an example of the increasing power of the emerging science of social networks, in which scientists  crunch gigantic sets of Internet data in order to study the ways people interact. With with only a few jumps, people can now share ideas with the entire population of a nation and with just a few more reach much of the world’s population.

Car culture and suburbs grow right-wing populism, claims study

New research links urban planning and political polarization.

Pixabay
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
  • Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
  • People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller on ​the multiple dimensions of space and human sexuality

Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.

Flickr / 13winds
Think Again Podcasts
  • Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
  • What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
  • Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
Keep reading Show less