Abstract: Identifying and communicating relationships between causes and effects is important for understanding our world, but is affected by language structure, cognitive and emotional biases, and the properties of the communication medium. Despite the increasing importance of social media, much remains unknown about causal statements made online. To study real-world causal attribution, we extract a large-scale corpus of causal statements made on the Twitter social network platform as well as a comparable random control corpus. We compare causal and control statements using statistical language and sentiment analysis tools. We find that causal statements have a number of significant lexical and grammatical differences compared with controls and tend to be more negative in sentiment than controls. Causal statements made online tend to focus on news and current events, medicine and health, or interpersonal relationships, as shown by topic models. By quantifying the features and potential biases of causality communication, this study improves our understanding of the accuracy of information and opinions found online.
Abstract: Power lines, roadways, pipelines, and other physical infrastructure are critical to modern society. These structures may be viewed as spatial networks where geographic distances play a role in the functionality and construction cost of links. Traditionally, studies of network robustness have primarily considered the connectedness of large, random networks. Yet for spatial infrastructure, physical distances must also play a role in network robustness. Understanding the robustness of small spatial networks is particularly important with the increasing interest in microgrids, i.e., small-area distributed power grids that are well suited to using renewable energy resources. We study the random failures of links in small networks where functionality depends on both spatial distance and topological connectedness. By introducing a percolation model where the failure of each link is proportional to its spatial length, we find that when failures depend on spatial distances, networks are more fragile than expected. Accounting for spatial effects in both construction and robustness is important for designing efficient microgrids and other network infrastructure.