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The Google Books project doesn’t (yet) reflect cultural evolution

The Google Books project is a wonderful, vital enterprise with the potential to open up new quantitative ways to deeply explore culture, history, and language. And so it was with much anticipatory rubbing of hands together that we dove into the data set to see what we could find about the evolution of language. And then, after some standard suffering, and with much …

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Our compost ecosystem: Breaking down Vermont’s food scraps

Every year, the folks at MassMutual Life Insurance get together for "Data Days for Good", where team members work to help a local agency or organization with a data science project. Through a research partnership between the University of Vermont Complex Systems Center and MassMutual, I learned about the Data Days for Good initiative, and in the spirit of that event, I turned …

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Divergence, derailment, and diversity of #BlackLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter discussions

Hashtags on Twitter have become well established as a way for people to come together around seemingly any topic. Hashtags allow us to collectively tell jokes (#IceCreamAMovie), mark celebrations (#HappyNewYear), refer to sports (#SuperBowl51, #IPL),  and engage in (or enrage about) politics (insert your hashtag here). Hashtags are clickable catchphrases. For social and …

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