How Presidential Debate Audiences are Like Fireflies

“Like ‘congregating fireflies,’ humans show massive sustained entrainment across hundreds of thousands of individuals, in matters of seconds and minutes.”

Riccardo Fusaroli, Marcus Perlman, Alan Mislove, Alexandra Paxton, Teenie Matlock, and Rick Dale published “Timescales of Massive Human Entrainment” in the 10th volume of PLoS ONE, April 2015.

Why the study? Profs Fusaroli, et al., point out that much research has been devoted to a multitude of presidential debate components, but no models have yet been developed to study the collective communication behaviors of human agents in a complex system during a presidential debate. This is the first study to do so. Like fireflies “are entrained in that they match their behavior to the temporal structure of events in the environment,”  the authors aim to understand how massively shared sociomedia events (like presidential debates) might entrain audiences.

They ask, “How does the unfolding action of debates and other broadcasted events impact real-time public attention and response in social media?

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Post-Occupy: Another Way to Do Unions

“Oakland, by acting on the premise that they have a moral right to strategic workplaces in the economy, has emerged as a leader in the Occupy movement. Their strategy, which we argue is an extension of solidarity unionism from one workplace to the entire economy, will challenge the ruling class’ monopoly on the distribution of value.” Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), 2011

Prof Derek Keenan published “Is Another Unionism Possible? Solidarity Unionism in the Industrial Workers of the World in the U.S. and Canada” in the 18th volume of WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society, June 2015.

Why the study? The Starbucks Workers Union in NYC recently succeeded in organizing and changing policy by using Solidarity Unionist strategies, which were started by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). However, even in the face of recent unprecedented attacks on traditional unions, very few labor movement researchers have looked at Solidarity Union arguments. Given the current significant challenges to unionism, this study asks, “Is another unionism possible?”

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