Stacks Image 3
Stacks Image 3

Blog


What’s the most important theorem?

Mathematical truths are organized in an incredibly structured manner. We start with the basic properties of the natural numbers, called axioms, and slowly, painfully work our way up, reaching the real numbers, the joys of calculus, and far, far beyond. To prove new theorems, we make use of old theorems, creating a network of interconnected results—a mathematical house of …

Continue Reading

If you’re happy and we know it … are your friends?

Do your friends influence your behavior?  Of course they do.  But it's hard to actually measure their influence.  Social contagion is difficult to distinguish from homophily, the tendency we have to seek relationships with people like ourselves. In response to the "happiness is contagious" phenomenon promoted by Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, we here at onehappybird …

Continue Reading

Question: Where is the happiest place in New York City?

Possible answers: Immediately adjacent to any hot dog stand. Madison Square Garden during moments of Linsanity. Tim Tebow's new apartment building. No really though, let's measure some stuff. Facts: (1) New York City is the most populous city in the US and (2) Manhattan streets are arranged on a rectangular grid. We have already seen how cities, airports, and even streets …

Continue Reading

Does QWERTY affect happiness?

Last week, news broke of a paper published in the Psychonomic Bulletin and Review by Kyle Jasmin and Daniel Casasanto claiming to observe a positive relationship between the “right-handedness” of a word and its emotional valence. This is being called the ‘QWERTY effect’. (You may recall that ‘valence’ is psych-speak for ‘happiness’ associated with words.  What I called …

Continue Reading

Chaos in an experimental toy climate

In the 1960’s, MIT meteorologist Edward Lorenz was investigating the effects of nonlinearity on short-term weather prediction in a model of convection. In his ground-breaking paper "Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow," Lorenz showed that numerical solutions of the model exhibit sensitive dependence on their initial position, leading virtually indistinguishable states to diverge …

Continue Reading