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The Center of the Internet
The Internet is often thought of as a forum that enables egalitarian communication among people from diverse backgrounds and political persuasions, but a University of Georgia study reveals that online discussion groups display the same hierarchical structure as other large social groups.
“About 2 percent of those who start discussion threads attract about 50 percent of the replies,” said study author Itai Himelboim, assistant professor in the UGA Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. “So although we have this wide range and diversity of sources, only a few of them are actually attracting attention.”
Himelboim, whose latest findings appear in the early online edition of the journal Communication Research, examined discussions among more than 200,000 participants in 35 newsgroups over a six-year period. He focused his analysis on political and philosophical newsgroups on Usenet, the oldest Internet discussion platform, and is currently exploring patterns of communication in newer social networking services, such as Twitter.
To identify the differences, if any, that exist in the content posted by popular participants and their less popular counterparts, Himelboim and colleagues Eric Gleave and Marc A. Smith of Connected Action Consulting Group examined the content of a subset of the messages. Only 12 percent of messages from the popular posters presented their own comments and opinions; most of the time, they simply imported content from other news sources.
Of the imported content, 60 percent came from traditional media, such as The New York Times, CNN and other national and local outlets, while 8 percent came from blogs and personal websites. Fifteen percent of posts used content from online-only news sites, and 6 percent of posts used content from government and nonprofit organizations.
“For the news media, these findings are pretty encouraging,” Himelboim said. We still need someone to go out and search for information to bring it to us, and that’s a traditional journalistic role.”
For those who fancy the Internet as a great equalizer that brings equality to the voices of the masses, however, the findings suggest that it could never meet that lofty ideal.
Himelboim said he wasn’t surprised to find that online discussion groups tend to become hierarchical. Even in grade school, he pointed out, everybody wants to be friends with the most popular kid.
What did surprise Himelboim was that the larger the group gets, the more skewed the network of interactions becomes.
People exhibit what’s called a preferential attachment toward those with many connections, which suggests that having many connections makes it easier to make more connections.
Himelboim said that because people can only spend so much time communicating with others, the growth of these so-called hubs comes at the expense of their less-connected counterparts.
In a related study that randomly assigned nearly 200 participants to one of several simulated forums, Himelboim and his colleagues found that posting high-quality content is necessary for attracting attention — but not sufficient. That is, high quality posts with few replies drew few additional replies and never became hubs.
So what does one need to do to attract attention on the Internet? “That’s the million dollar question,” Himelboim said. ‘But just posting a lot will not make you a hub for attracting attention.”
Story Source: ScienceDaily (June 12, 2011) — The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by University of Georgia.
The Center of Music
What is a climax in music? A climax is essentially the most intense and emotional part of a phrase. It is not necessarily the highest or the loudest tone, but it is the most emphatic one in the cycle of a performance phrase or a musical section. There is always a beginning, a climax and an end. The climax can occur at any point between the beginning and the end of the cycle, but usually occurs in the middle.
To really get a grasp of what a climax cycle is, let’s take some nonmusical examples. Let’s take laughter, for instance. While one is laughing, they hit a point where the laughter is most emphasized, usually followed by some sort of breathlessness (especially in the case of deep laughter) and winds down. The emphatic part is the climax. Another example would be drinking a glass of water. In the actual motion of the glass, which is changing from one point in space to another, when the bottom reaches the highest level of elevation, it technically marks the climax of that cycle. A third example would be, say, a party or an event of some sort. It may take months to plan but when the day comes and the ceremony happens, that is the climax of that cycle.
As a musician plays several phrases in any given piece of music, they hit several climaxes. This actually varies from performer to performer and is perhaps one of the most distinguishing factors in a musician. As music is not just some mechanical action and involves sense and feeling, including emotion, determining the climax and bringing it out is a more of a human element than “just a mechanical” element. Therefore, it is an essential aspect for musical performances of any kind. Unfortunately, however, it is all too commonly neglected, which results in mostly mechanical “performances” which do not impart any meaning to the listener, thus actually violating the very principle of music!
How, then, can a musician remedy or improve this? There are two movements which one can do that will help you gain a sense about this. They are not just theoretical, but involve actual practical doingness. Try it whether you are a musician or not. First, turn your hand so that the palm is facing up and make a fist. While listening to one performance phrase, gradually and slowly open your hand, extending it until you perceive the climax in that phrase, wherever you personally perceive the climax to be. Your hand should be entirely open and you should see your palm when the climax happens. Then gradually close your hand into a fist shape again while the cycle of that phrase ends after its climax. Repeat this action with that same phrase, over and over, until your movement is in sync with that climax cycle. Try this with other phrases as well until you feel you can do this easily.
The other movement is called “fountain like”. To do this movement, first stand up. Take one phrase and, while listening to it, gradually and slowly lift your arms above your head, much like a fountain. Your arms should be extended towards the ceiling when you perceive the climax. Then drop your arms loosely, thus concluding the embodiment of that cycle of the phrase. Again, repeat this action with that same phrase, over and over, until your movement is in sync with the climax of that piece. Try this with other phrases as well.
By doing these two movements (especially the “fountain like” one), you will actually reach a higher awareness of the climax, and, if you are a musician, this will make a marked improvement in your own ability to perform emotionally as well as technically, no matter what level you are. Please note, you will only fully comprehend this by actually DOING these movements, not just hearing about them. This is very crucial. For example, one can explain all they want what an apple tastes like to you, but if you have never actually eaten one, you will never truly understand the taste. Well, the same philosophy applies here. It is that important for one to actually DO this.
This is all part of a philosophy known as “movement education” or “body in performance”, developed by Dr. Alexandra Pierce, Professor Emeritus, University of Redlands, whom I studied under. Movement Education embodies the several aspects of music (such as phrasing) in a physical, kinetic form away from the instrument. The results are a much more meaningful performance, as music becomes much more sensational, using one’s entire existence
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4386901
The Center of the Bible
A key message of Centerpath is all things have a center—atoms, cells, solar systems, societies, etc. And apparently the Bible as well. Check out the insightful observations of the bible’s structure at this link.
The Center of Turbulence
Dr Sotos Generalis from Aston University in Birmingham, UK and Dr Tomoaki Itano from Kansai University in Osaka, Japan, believe their discovery of the Hairpin Vortex Solution could revolutionise our understanding of turbulence and our ability to control it.
This rigid, set structure, named after its hairpin like shape was found within Plane Couette flow. This is a prototype of turbulent shear flow, where turbulence is created in fluid flow between the space of two opposite moving planar fluid boundaries, when high- and low-speed fluids collide.
Everyone from Formula One drivers experiencing drag, through to aeroplane passengers suffering a bumpy flight, will have experienced clear-air turbulence, the mixing of high- and low-speed air in the atmosphere.
This newly found turbulent state is constituted by a number of elements found in a coherent flow structure and has been described by the research team as a “tapestry of knotted vortices.”
While structures, known as wall structures have been found on the ‘edge’ of turbulence, an elusive middle or wake structure has never been discovered, until now.
Dr Generalis believes that finding a regimented structure within the very heart of Couette flow could prove invaluable to controlling turbulence and the effects of turbulence between two moving boundaries, in the future. This could include working machinery parts, medical treatment involving blood flow, and turbulence in air, sea and road travel.
“Ten years ago scientists believed turbulence was in a ‘world’ of its own, until we began to find ‘wall structures’ on its side. We believed a middle or wake structure might exist, and now we can prove there is regimented structure at the very centre of turbulence. This new discovery paves the way for the ‘marriage’ between wake and wall structures in shear flow turbulence and provides a unique picture of the Couette flow turbulent eddies only observed but never understood before.
The team’s findings of this missing central link have been published in Physical Review Letters and come after nearly five years of research, created by thousands of computer generated shear flow models. The result was obtained by replicating the exposure of two opposite plates to hot and cold conditions, moving from a static to dynamic position. The research team are now aiming to find if similar structures exist within other cases of turbulent fluid flow.
“The hairpins expose an all new ‘view’ of the transition to turbulence and it is our aim to ‘unify’ this idea discovered in Couette flow, into other areas of shear flow in general.”
Article Source: Science Daily (07 May 2009)