Abstract: Large-scale emergencies and disasters are an ever-present threat to human society.With growing populations and looming threat of global climate change, the numbersof people at risk will continue to grow. Thus there is great need to optimize responseefforts from search and rescue to food and resource disbursement. Human dynamicsresearch offers a promising avenue to understand the behaviors of large populations, andmodern datasets derived from cutting-edge telecommunications such as online socialmedia and pervasive mobile phone systems bring a wealth of potential new information.Such massive data offers a promising complement to existing research efforts in disastersociology, which primarily focus on eyewitness interviews, surveys and other in-depthbut small-scale data.
Abstract: The individual movements of large numbers of people are important in many contexts, from urban planning to disease spreading. Datasets that capture human mobility are now available and many interesting features have been discovered, including the ultra-slow spatial growth of individual mobility. However, the detailed substructures and spatiotemporal flows of mobility - the sets and sequences of visited locations - have not been well studied. We show that individual mobility is dominated by small groups of frequently visited, dynamically close locations, forming primary 'habitats' capturing typical daily activity, along with subsidiary habitats representing additional travel. These habitats do not correspond to typical contexts such as home or work. The temporal evolution of mobility within habitats, which constitutes most motion, is universal across habitats and exhibits scaling patterns both distinct from all previous observations and unpredicted by current models. The delay to enter subsidiary habitats is a primary factor in the spatiotemporal growth of human travel. Interestingly, habitats correlate with non-mobility dynamics such as communication activity, implying that habitats may influence processes such as information spreading and revealing new connections between human mobility and social networks.
Abstract: Social media, such as blogs, are often seen as democratic entities that allow more voices to be heard than the conventional mass or elite media. Some also feel that social media exhibits a balancing force against the arguably slanted elite media. A systematic comparison between social and mainstream media is necessary but challenging due to the scale and dynamic nature of modern communication. Here we propose empirical measures to quantify the extent and dynamics of social (blog) and mainstream (news) media bias. We focus on a particular form of bias - coverage quantity - as applied to stories about the 111th US Congress. We compare observed coverage of Members of Congress against a null model of unbiased coverage, testing for biases with respect to political party, popular front runners, regions of the country, and more. Our measures suggest distinct characteristics in news and blog media. A simple generative model, in agreement with data, reveals differences in the process of coverage selection between the two media.