Sniffing out Paul Revere with basic social network analysis

It's just metadata. What can you do with that? Kieran Healy, a sociology professor at Duke University, shows what you can do, with just some basic social network analysis. Using metadata from Paul Revere's Ride on the groups that people belonged to, Healy sniffs out Paul Revere as a main target. Bonus points for writing the summary from the point of a view of an 18th century analyst.

What a nice picture! The analytical engine has arranged everyone neatly, picking out clusters of individuals and also showing both peripheral individuals and—more intriguingly—people who seem to bridge various groups in ways that might perhaps be relevant to national security. Look at that person right in the middle there. Zoom in if you wish. He seems to bridge several groups in an unusual (though perhaps not unique) way. His name is Paul Revere.

You can grab the R code and dataset on github, too, if you want to follow along.

Favorites

Interactive: When Do Americans Leave For Work?

We don’t all start our work days at the same time, despite what morning rush hour might have you think.

Where People Run in Major Cities

There are many exercise apps that allow you to keep track of your running, riding, and other activities. Record speed, …

Most popular porn searches, by state

We’ve seen that we can learn from what people search for, through the eyes of Google suggestions: state stereotypes, national …

Think Like a Statistician – Without the Math

I call myself a statistician, because, well, I’m a statistics graduate student. However, the most important things I’ve learned are less formal, but have proven extremely useful when working/playing with data.