big data

How researchers around the world are making use of Weibo data

Zoufan posted her last words on Weibo on 18, March, 2012. She was suffering from a major depressive disorder, and shortly after - committed suicide. Weibo is a microblogging application, launched by Sina Corporation back in 2009, based on user relationships to share, disseminate and get information. In essence, it is similar to Twitter, although it has a number of other useful capabilities. The app has more than 400 million users (compared to Twitter’s 300 million) and features that enable the study of emotional states and responses to the topics being discussed or spread across the web.

Three exciting possibilities for combining data science and social science

As the leader of a data science team at the Urban Institute, I get to work on interesting issues that intersect data science and social science every day. By data science, I mean technical tools, architectures, and processes that are borrowed from computer science and are atypical in the social sciences. This is a slightly more limited definition than most would have for the term data science, but because so much of what defines a data scientist at Urban also defines a researcher — cleaning data, analyzing it, visualizing results, etc. — my definition draws a finer line.

Humans broke the internet, understanding them better might help fix it

By Timo Hannay

Here's a multiple-choice question: Is the internet (a) the most open, egalitarian and empowering means of communication ever devised, or (b) a dystopian nightmare populated by hucksters, trolls and miscellaneous abusers of human rights? The answer is, of course, (c) all of the above and much else besides. This stark contrast between the internet's light and dark sides has become a defining characteristic of the digital age, but is not an inevitable consequence of the mostly innocuous technologies on which it's built. Rather, it is the product of their bewilderingly diverse and eccentric user base – otherwise known as humanity.