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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: The Saddest Spot in New York
20 August 2013 1:00 pm
If you could look down from space and see the emotional state of every person in a city, what would it look like? We don’t have that technology yet, but Twitter is providing the next best thing. In a new study, researchers harvested every tweet that was geographically tagged to Manhattan and its surrounding boroughs during a 2-week period in April 2012. That was the easy part. The trick was deciphering the emotional content of those 604,000 utterances. Luckily, a large portion of tweets come with emoticons—for example, :) and :( for a smile or frown. By using these tweets as a training set, the team taught a computer to distinguish negative, positive, and neutral emotions. After projecting those emotions as colors on a map of New York City (pictured)—blue for positive, red for negative—the city’s mood landscape was suddenly revealed. Some of the patterns are no surprise. For example, people tended to be happiest near green areas such as Central Park and unhappiest around transportation hubs such as Penn Station and the entrance to the Midtown Tunnel. But the fine-grained details are striking. The closer people were to Times Square, the happier they got. And the city’s mood had a daily rhythm, mirroring that of the individuals who live and work there. People’s feelings—both positive and negative—were muted in the morning and peaked around midnight. The happiest place in Manhattan was Fort Tryon Park; the location is way uptown and thus takes effort to get to—the kind of effort people make when they're enjoying a day off. The saddest? Hunter College High School. No surprise there. The data were collected the week students returned from vacation.