Tuesday, March 11, 2008

As Above, So Below, As Within, So Without....,

This article is available in its entirety to registered users at Technology Review. So click the link and go and register, abundant good material with an underlying dot-connecting editorial sensibility. Anyway, the discussion of neural density, dendrites, synapses, and so forth was serendipitous to me in view of the beautiful blogospheric visualizations presented in the current issue of the magazine. Here are a couple of those visualizations - look an awful lot like the bioflourescent and fMRI visualizations of cytoarchitechtonic structure in the human nervous system, don't they?

Blogosphere
The core of the blogosphere, made up of several thousand popular blogs that are heavily connected to one another, divides into two regions when seen up close. The region on the left, at the center of which are two areas showing a lot of pink, contains political blogs; the region on the right, divided from the first by the triangular indentation at the bottom, contains blogs focused on gadgets and technology. The two regions are held together by popular blogs with ties to both subject areas. The size of the ­circle representing a given blog is proportional to the number of other blogs linked to it. Hurst notes an apparent difference in culture between the two regions: pink lines, which represent reciprocal links, are much denser among the political blogs than they are among blogs focused on technology.


Twitter Social Network

People have different intentions when they share information through social networks, says Akshay Java, a member of the eBiquity Research Group at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He cites three purposes that bring users to the microblogging site Twitter, where they share brief updates via text message, instant messenger, and the Twitter website: finding information, sharing information, and having conversations. These images show the different networks produced by the different types of communication. When all connections as of April 2007 are mapped (top image below), news sources appear as huge nodes. When maps show only mutual relationships (bottom image below), in which all users both share and receive information, nodes are smaller and the network appears more tightly knit. (The different colors reflect a loose attempt to group close contacts together.)