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A bake-off for sentiment analysis

As a grad student trying to understand the emotional content of some unreadably large collection of texts, a typical night can often go something like this: You’re up late at night planning a new research study, thinking about trying some of this fancy sentiment-based text analysis. You resort to your favorite search engine with the query “sentiment analysis package python.” We …

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Socio-technical instruments for public health

How do we quantify the well-being of a population in real time? Traditionally, we’ve done so with a mixture of key economic indicators, from GDP to consumer confidence indices. But are people happy? Do they believe their lives—their personal stories—are going well? Do they have hope for the future? More than 2 billion people use social media such as Twitter, …

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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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Connecting every bit of knowledge

What is the shape of all knowledge?  How has knowledge grown over time?  Can we anticipate ways in which knowledge will grow? Knowledge is certainly hierarchically structured but it’s also richly scaffolded and networked with concepts and ideas linking within and across domains. We can attempt to answer some of these questions by computationally exploring the Network of …

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The shapes of stories

Stories help us encode and understand our collective existence, underpin cultures, and help frame the possible. Describing the ecology of all human stories is an essential scientific enterprise.  With the advent of the internet and massive digitization this vital work has become, in part, a data-driven one. There are many aspects of stories to characterize and here we take …

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Transitions in climate and energy discourse between hurricanes Katrina and Sandy

Climate change is real, and that’s just science.  But if we aren’t feeling climate change on a day-to-day basis, then how do we know it’s really happening? The problem is especially challenging considering that weather in the U.S. has actually become more pleasant over the last few decades. Behavioral economics studies have repeatedly shown that human beings respond best to …

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Where does Twitter stand on climate change?

There is an overwhelming consensus among scientists that anthropogenic climate change is real. However, politicians often benefit from disagreeing with this consensus, and media coverage tends to confuse the general public. With a myriad of different ideas, opinions, and sentiments surrounding this controversial topic, we were curious, what does Twitter think about climate …

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Hedonometer 2.0

Over the summer of 2014, we have worked very hard to bring many new pieces to our Hedonometer, and we're pleased to tell you about what we've done, and where we're going next. All along, one of the central goals for the Hedonometer has been to provide a new instrument for society's dashboard, one that measures population-level happiness in real time from …

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