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Homophily, Group Size, and the Diffusion of Political Information in Social Networks: Evidence from Twitter

November 20, 2014 Comments off

Homophily, Group Size, and the Diffusion of Political Information in Social Networks: Evidence from Twitter (PDF)
Source: National Bureau of Economic Research (via University of Toronto)

In this paper, we investigate political communications in social networks characterized both by homophily–a tendency to associate with similar individuals–and group size. To generate testable hypotheses, we develop a simple theory of information diffusion in social networks with homophily and two groups: conservatives and liberals. The model predicts that, with homophily, members of the majority group have more network connections and are exposed to more information than the minority group. We also use the model to show that, with homophily and a tendency to produce like-minded information, groups are disproportionately exposed to like-minded information and the information reaches like-minded individuals more quickly than it reaches individuals of opposing ideologies. To test the hypotheses of our model, we analyze nearly 500,000 communications during the 2012 US elections in a social network of 2.2 million politically-engaged Twitter users. Consistent with the model, we find that members of the majority group in each state-level network have more connections and are exposed to more tweets than members of the minority group. Likewise, we find that groups are disproportionately exposed to like-minded information and that information reaches like-minded users more quickly than users of the opposing ideology.

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Assessment of Stresses in the Cervical Spine Caused by Posture and Position of the Head (cell phone use)

November 20, 2014 Comments off

Assessment of Stresses in the Cervical Spine Caused by Posture and Position of the Head (PDF)
Source: Surgical Technology International

Billions of people are using cell phone devices on the planet, essentially in poor posture. The purpose of this study is to assess the forces incrementally seen by the cervical spine as the head is teilted forward, into worsening posture. This data is also necessary for cervical spine surgens to understand in the reconstruction of the neck.

The Internet Economy – Regulatory Challenges and Practices

November 20, 2014 Comments off

The Internet Economy – Regulatory Challenges and Practices
Source: OECD

The Internet has become an integral part of the everyday life of households, firms and governments. Its proper functioning over the long run is therefore crucial for economic growth and people’s wellbeing more generally. The success of the Internet depends on its openness and the confidence of users. Designing policies that protect society while allowing for Internet’s great economic potential to be fulfilled, is a difficult task. This paper investigates this challenge and takes stock of existing regulations in OECD and selected non-OECD countries in specific areas related to the digital economy. It finds that despite the regulatory difficulties, the Internet is far from being a “regulation-free” space as there are various industry standards, co-regulatory agreements between industry and the government, and in some cases also state regulation. Most of them aim at protecting personal data and consumers more generally. In many cases generally applicable laws and regulations exist that address privacy, security and consumer protection issues both in the traditional and the digital economy.

UK — Tecmark Survey Finds Average User Picks up their Smartphone 221 Times a Day!

November 20, 2014 Comments off

Tecmark Survey Finds Average User Picks up their Smartphone 221 Times a Day!
Source: Tecmark

Not only do we take to our phones to carry out more than 200 tasks a day, but we start early too! Our research found that the average user reaches for their phone before they’ve even gotten out of bed – checking the weather, picking up emails and seeing if we missed anything on our social channels before we even think about breakfast. And we’re on them late, with the average time at which we last check our phones in a day of 23:21. We amass 3 hours and 16 minutes of time on our phones over the course of the day in total.

Free registration required to download raw data, including gender and regional breakdowns.

New From the GAO

November 19, 2014 Comments off

New From the GAO
Source: Government Accountability Office

Reports

1. Labor Relations Activities: Actions Needed to Improve Tracking and Reporting of the Use and Cost of Official Time. GAO-15-9, October 23.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-9
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666618.pdf

2. Health Care Transparency: Actions Needed to Improve Cost and Quality Information for Consumers. GAO-15-11, October 20.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-11
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666571.pdf
Podcast - http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/666514

3. Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act: Additional Outreach and Notification of Tribes about Offenders Who Are Released from Prison Needed. GAO-15-23, November 18.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-23
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666974.pdf

4. Overseas Military Construction: Observations on U.S. Contractor Preference. GAO-15-45, November 18.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-45
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666981.pdf

5. Public Transportation: Multiple Factors Influence Extent of Transit-Oriented Development. GAO-15-70, November 18.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-70
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666993.pdf

6. Highway Projects: Many Federal and State Environmental Review Requirements Are Similar, and Little Duplication of Effort Occurs. GAO-15-71, November 18.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-71
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666989.pdf

7. Human Trafficking: Oversight of Contractors’ Use of Foreign Workers in High-Risk Environments Needs to Be Strengthened. GAO-15-102, November 18.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-102
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666997.pdf

Related Product

1. Sex Offender registration and Notification Act: Survey of Federally Recognized Tribes on Implementation of the Act (GAO-15-30SP, November 18, 2014), an E-supplement to GAO-15-23. GAO-15-30SP, November 18.
http://www.gao.gov/products/gao-15-30sp

Testimony

1. Information Security: Additional Actions Needed to Address Vulnerabilities That Put VA Data at Risk, by Gregory C. Wilshusen, director, information security issues, before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. GAO-15-220T, November 18.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-220T
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666969.pdf

Wireless Taxation in the United States 2014

November 19, 2014 Comments off

Wireless Taxation in the United States 2014
Source: Tax Foundation

Key Findings

  • Americans pay an average of 17.05 percent in combined federal, state, and local tax and fees on wireless service. This is comprised of a 5.82 percent federal rate and an average 11.23 percent state-local tax rate.
  • The five states with the highest state-local rates are: Washington State (18.6 percent), Nebraska (18.48 percent), New York (17.74 percent), Florida (16.55 percent), and Illinois (15.81 percent).
  • The five states with the lowest state-local rates are: Oregon (1.76 percent), Nevada (1.86 percent), Idaho (2.62 percent), Montana (6.00 percent), and West Virginia (6.15 percent).
  • Four cities—Chicago, Baltimore, Omaha, and New York City—have effective tax rates in excess of 25 percent of the customer bill.
  • The average rates of taxes and fees on wireless telephone services are more than two times higher than the average sales tax rates that apply to most other taxable goods and services.
  • Excessive taxes on wireless consumers disproportionately impacts poorer families.

USPS OIG — Guiding Principles for a New Universal Service Obligation

November 19, 2014 Comments off

Guiding Principles for a New Universal Service Obligation
Source: U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General

The U.S. Postal Service’s universal service obligation (USO), which establishes what mail services the Postal Service must provide, lacks a clear, comprehensive definition. The current USO is assumed to be a hodgepodge of various legal requirements and regulations that, in most cases, provide only broad guidance. For example, while public access to postal services is an important component of USO, there are no specifics about how many access points such as mail collection boxes or post offices must exist.

Add in the disruptive and transformative effects of digital communications, which have cut into mail volumes, and it’s clear that the Postal Service USO needs addressing: What exact services do policy makers and the American public – senders as well as receivers – now need the Postal Service to provide?

Our white paper, Guiding Principles for a New Universal Service Obligation,says that now is the appropriate time to update and clarify the USO. We used lessons learned from existing literature, input from experts, and its own knowledge of the Postal Service to develop six guiding principles, which are intended to help filter the plethora of information and stakeholder input to frame substantive discussion and debate on a new USO.

Read Full Report

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