Zika’s Alarming Spread


Recently there have been confirmed cases of the Zika virus in the United States and because of this the CDC has issued advisory warning to pregnant women to avoid countries that have high rates of infection. The Zika virus is mosquito borne and potentially linked to a rare syndrome known as Guillain-Barré and microcephaly, a rare birth condition.

How this connects to what we have been discussing in class is that it in a broad sense shows the concept of the strength of ties and the structure of networks through the tracking of infectious disease. According to the Washington Post the epicenter of this outbreak is Brazil and so it has the largest cluster of infected persons. Some of those that have traveled to Brazil have then been infected and subsequently traveled back to their country of origin infecting their population. We see that countries with tropical climates have higher infection rates likely due to the climate being favorable to mosquitoes. What we see is interweaving networks of people who have visited countries that have high rates of Zika outbreaks and mosquitoes populations. Additionally the CDC has mentioned they fear now that the Zika virus cases have appeared in the U.S. that there would be a rapid spread of the virus show casing that the CDC is aware of how the densely connected networks of urban cities presents a challenge in preventing the spread of contagious diseases.


Netflix and the Prisoner’s Dilemma

During this weekend, the blizzard did not really allow people to be out and about, but instead many were inside watching their favorite shows and movies on Netflix. Popularity for this company is high and ever growing. An article states that Netflix is economically at the top of the television industry with more people subscribing to it daily. In the past, television networks would first run the pilot and if that was successful, then they would purchase the rest. However, Netflix broke out of that pattern and buys shows in complete two season packages at a time.

This is putting pressure on regular networks since they can either sell to Netflix and receive more money, or not sell to them and make less. The article describes this as being a prisoner’s dilemma. The prisoner’s dilemma for the media companies is that they can either continue selling to Netflix in order to gain short term profits, or stop selling to help preserve the industry in the future.

The company who stops selling to Netflix first will be cutting their revenue and they would not know if the rest of the networks would end up following them or not. This classic example of the prisoner’s dilemma is one of the things that we will be discussing in this weeks lectures. It is described as being a scenario where two people act or pick a strategy which is benefiting themselves instead of picking the strategy which will benefit them both. They end up not getting the best outcome if they had chosen otherwise.

The article went on to talk about how Netflix has millions of people subscribed “to an unsustainable model.” I am interested in seeing how other media companies deal with Netflix and how long it can stay at the top of the industry.


Graphs in the World

An interesting article I read was by Russel Jurney from Radar.com called, Graphs in the world: Modeling systems as networks. The article is about how networks are all around us, but most people cannot see them or do not notice them. Graphing markets is a new way to create value. The graphs show what the data is hiding. Russel goes on in the article to create graphs for a startup ecosystem and a network-driven marketing.

The startup ecosystem network used in the article was the Atlanta Security Cluster. Each node was a company and each link represents someone who worked at that company and went to found another security company. The most interesting part of the graph is the fact that so many security companies form in Atlanta. This type of information is valuable to people looking to fund a security startup. This is important information that people can gain from making a network, it allows for larger understanding of the whole market. It also gives outsiders insight into the markets that they are not familiar with.

Another network that Russel created was a network of his own emails. This is something that I think is interesting and plan to do myself. The network allowed Russel to see whom he was emailing the most and all the different email subscriptions and groups he was getting emails form. It is easy to know who you receive many emails from just by looking through your inbox, but once graphed into a network it allows for a different interpretation of the network and data.

The article was very interesting. The idea that networks are all around us is something that makes you think. Data is all around and being able to put that information into networks will help to see what the data is saying in new ways.



How many of your Facebook “friends” do you really know?

When going through your friends list, how many people are you actually friends with? According to an article by The Indian Express, you have no more than 200 real friends on Facebook. It says in the article that our brain can naturally group people into a cluster of 100-200 people. This study is known as The Social Brain Hypothesis. The article also shows that women had a much higher average of friends on Facebook then men. Women average about 181 friends and men average about 151 real friends on Facebook.

The article also brings up a good point about the increase of social media use over the past 10 years. With increased social media use, there is also an increase of “online” friends on top of friends you know outside of the social media universe. It states in the article that with the ability to post pictures and respond to multiple people in a quick manner, then it is easier to interact with people and create more relationships.

When looking at our friends on Facebook, we can think of them as one big network. We all have friends in common that link together. Each friend we have is a node and we are linked together with friends we have in common. When we become friends with someone and have no friends in common, another node is created and there is a chance for more links to be made off of that node. I agree with the main point of the article of only having 100-200 real friends. I have over 700 friends and when asked to give a list of people that I interact with regularly, it would be between 100-150 people.


Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/life-style/you-just-cant-have-more-than-200-friends-on-facebook-wanna-bet/

If I go down, I’m taking all of you with me

While we have been learning about networks and how they relate to each other and the ins and outs of networks, I have been monitoring the stock market for several weeks. One thing I have become more aware of due to this class was how stocks are so connected and dependent on each other. When oil prices plummeted at the beginning of the year, the rest of the stock market fell drastically too. This was the lowest year beginning in the history of Wall Street with major companies losing billions of dollars in stock worth.

One of the highest losers was Apple (AAPL) which went from $120 and change right before the end of the year to a low of $93 last week. This added up to a loss of around $30 billion just in Apple stock. This was a huge loss and a shocker to many of the investors stockholders. But Apple’s stock loss was newsworthy because it is such a large and well-known company. The real losers were the energy companies.

Every energy company in the market was losing money in big percentage points. And I mean BIG. Ultra Petroleum (UPL) lost 25%, EXCO Resources (XCO) lost 28%, Comstock Resources (CRK) lost 38%, Southcross Energy Partners (SXE) lost 51%, the list goes on. This is because the price of oil has violently declined. Last year oil was over $100 per barrel. Last week oil hit $26 per barrel for the first time in two decades. The price of oil is so low because the production of oil is so high and cannot be stopped. Shale oil technology has greatly impacted standard practices of producing oil. Unlike other kinds of oil wells, shale oil wells cannot be turned off once they are drilled. Therefore, the price of oil can no longer be as controlled and regulated by controlling the amount of oil being produced. This, in addition to Iran boosting their oil exports since the nuclear deal was signed, has made oil prices plummet recently.

Sure there are people that say the stock market isn’t completely driven by the price of oil. But with oil production very high and the price very low, smaller energy companies that relied on oil having a high markup just to stay afloat are now drowning, hoping shale oil production ends soon. Cheap gas is great now and no one really can complain about that, but once it affects phone companies, the majority of iPhone users will definitely have something to say — or tweet, snap, insta, post, like, blog, share…




Networks: Global Health Project in Honduras

In today’s modern society, networks are everywhere. Examples of networks include financial systems, global communication systems, and social networks. The behaviors and the dynamics of networks are often complex because of numerous influencing factors. Various forms of studies such as Social Sciences and Economics are use to interpret these complex theories. In the article, “Does the secret to social networking lie in the remote jungle?” illustrates a modern day study that uses network mapping to combat a social problem. In this project, researchers use the concept of the graph theory, to study behavior change amongst rural communities in Honduras.

One of the challenges, these rural communities face is a high infant mortality rate. This study funded by the Gates foundation consist of over one hundred researchers whose task is to map out the communities’ social networks using advance computer software. In class, we learned that a network is defined as collection of objects that are connected by links. In this study, these links are determined by the strengths of ones relationship in the community. The goal of this project is to find and target the most active and influential person in their town, who would help communicate effective health messages. The idea is that once this influential person adopts the introduced infant-care regimen, it would help reshape the villages cultural norms, which would lead towards the acceptance of these new concepts by the residents of the village. Due to limited sources, techniques like this can help towards combating humanitarian crises and change the lives for those living in undeveloped communities around the world.


Low percentage of Female entrepreneurs roots on Homophily

Low percentage of Female entrepreneurs roots on Homophily

In the field of business founding, start-up, it is quite obvious that men are overwhelmingly dominating the field than women. This phenomenon has been discussed a lot in terms of discrimination among researchers. However, a professor of Wharton management Ethan Mollick states that the reason for such gap does vary, but in a social structural manner such gap roots on Homophily– a principle that homogeneous network surrounding contexts drive the formation of its links.

The Logic is simple. People tends to follow and like people who are like themselves. People related with the field of entrepreneurship are mostly male. Venture capitalists are male. The friends or acquaintances they talk and discuss about are mostly male. The surrounding link formations are all consisted of male, so it’s hard for women to get a funding from a venture capitalist among group where women are minority.

Mallick did an experiment to figure out whether the project being created by different gender made a difference, and two-third of women played the role as a funder thought project created by women were better than the project created by men. And what turned out from this experiment is that those of women who thought project created by women was better were “activists”, Activists women thinking that women are being suffered in field work than men and getting less opportunity than men. They choose to support women for better opportunities and better funding backgrounds to actualize entrepreneurial ideas. So what Mallick found here was another example of homophily. As there were enough woman funders who actually act out to support and make formation of link with women entrepreneur, women got involved in each other more and a chance for women entrepreneur’s further expansion got bigger.

Though Mallick also stated gender tendency as another reason for why men heavily outnumber women in entrepreneurship, the homophily principle gives a broader and structural view of why such gap could not be filled up. It’s a vast structural problem than expected but at least gave us which step we should step on first to fill up the gap.

Why Are There More Male Entrepreneurs Than Female Ones?