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What do your Instagram photos reveal about your mental health?

“Photographs open doors into the past, but they also allow a look into the future.”—Sally Mann “In photography there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated.”—August Sander When you’re feeling sad, the people around you probably know it. Moody playlists, slumped shoulders, drawn-out sighs—there are many ways we signal to the rest of the world when we’re having a …

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Moose on the Loose!

Note: a version of this post was given by the author for Invocation at the UVM College of Engineering & Mathematical Sciences graduation ceremony, Flynn Theatre, May 18, 2014. A few weeks ago—on one of those beautiful spring mornings that makes the long winter seem like it happened elsewhere—something quite remarkable took place here at the University of Vermont. At the …

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How our storytelling nature means we deeply misunderstand the mechanics of fame (and much else…)

Should the Mona Lisa be our most famous painting? Was Harry Potter destined to (repeatedly) sweep the globe? What would happen to everyone and everything famous if we ran the experiment that is our world over again? Find out why fame is truly unpredictable, how it lives and dies entirely in our social stories, and why “... there is no such thing as fate, only the story of …

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A data-driven study of the patterns of life for 180,000 people

Here at the Computational Story Lab, some of us commute by foot, some by car, and a few deliver themselves by bike, even in the middle of our cold, snowful Vermont winter.  Occasionally, we transport ourselves over very long distances in magic flying tubes with wings to attend conferences, to see family, or for travel.  So what do our movement patterns look like over time?  Are …

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Chaos in an atmosphere hanging on a wall

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the 1963 publication of Ed Lorenz's groundbreaking paper, Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow, by the Journal of Atmospheric Science. This seminal work, now cited more than 11,000 times, inspired a generation of mathematicians and physicists to bravely relax their linear assumptions about reality, and embrace the nonlinearity governing our …

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