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Petraeus, Cheating, and Bayes’ Rule

Last Friday (Nov. 9th) CIA Director, and retired four-star general, David H. Patraeus resigned from his position after an F.B.I. investigation uncovered evidence that he was having an extramarital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell. He is the latest of numerous public figures including former U.S. Senator John Edwards, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and former […]

LinkedIn: Staying on Top

LinkedIn: Staying on Top                 LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional networking site, continues to grow its users and expand its applications. In this way it is making the site more valuable on two fronts. For almost any product, there are two ways it can have value: the value derived from the product itself and the […]

A social networking game for buying a 4G phone

Technology seems to advance faster and faster as companies struggle to compete in bloated technology markets for PCs, mobile phones, tablets, and other consumer technologies.  Shoppers not only have to choose what product to buy, but also when to indulge in new technologies.  Is it really worth purchasing a phone or computer that will be […]

How effective is the Network Effect? – A look at Quora

James Surouwecki’s article in the New Yorker describes the dependence on network effect in the success of most online technology companies like Facebook, Twitter and Groupon.  “The genius of these companies is that their users do most of the work and create most of the value; once the ball is rolling, it’s the users who […]

Box Office Movies: Pure Entertainment or Cascade?

Let’s face it: Almost everyone enjoys going to the movies with friends and family, especially during the weekends. Watching movies at the theaters is a fun, easy activity that almost everyone can enjoy together. But, what exactly makes one actually want to see a specific movie? Is it the movie’s promising plot-line, stunning actors/actresses, heart-pumping […]

The latest trending information cascade: Body Image and Eating Disorders

“Five to ten million people in the U.S have eating disorders. Ninety percent of people who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25. Over ½ of teenage girls and nearly 1/3 of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting and taking laxatives. Americans […]

Cash Mobs: The Direct Benefit Effect

In August 2011, Christopher M. Smith came up with the idea of a cash mob. A cash mob is an organized movement where members of a community agree on a particular time to patronize a chosen small business and spend a specified amount of money, typically $10-20. Word is usually spread through social media sites […]

Algerian Revolutionaries, BitTorrent and Decentralized Search

Revolutionaries and P2P applications may seem to have little in common. However, they are connected by the concept of decentralized search  (Chapter 20, Networks, Crowds and Markets, D. Easley and J. Kleinberg).  A decentralized search algorithm is a method of routing on a random graph that uses only limited, local, information about the realization of […]

“Information Cascades and Revolutionary Regime Transitions”

Why are some countries democratic and others not? Why do some countries have stable political institutions and others seem to be in a constant state of flux? And why do some revolutions succeed while others fail miserably? Christopher Ellis and John Fender attempt to quantify the effect of information cascades and how they relate to […]

A New Competitor to PageRank

Recently, the San Francisco Chronical published an article claiming that a “PageRank Killer” has been launched.  The article, found here, describes a new search engine system, called SEO engine.  SEO engine creatse a notion of “link neighborhoods” that are indexed and searched individually.  This goes against the traditional approach that Google and Bing implement, where the entire […]

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