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Emergence 362

evanstiegel's picture

Commentary on Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point

      A ‘tipping point’ is a critical juncture when isolated events are unified info a significant trend.   In our Emergence course, we explored how what many people consider complex behavior arises from a number of simple entities interacting without an architect or creator.  We have examined many these phenomena in order to better understand how their smaller, simpler components allow for their complex behavior.  In his 2000 book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell closely examines why change happens as quickly and unpredictably as it often does.

Sahitya P.'s picture

Nexus-Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Theory of Networks by Mark Buchanan

Nexus-Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Theory of Networks by Mark Buchanan

jguillen's picture

Linked: the New Science of Networks


ssv's picture

Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age

Stephanie Viggiano
3 April 2009

Response to Six Degrees:  The Science of a Connected Age by Duncan J. Watts

kdilliplan's picture

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

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EMR's picture

Emergence and The Blind Watchmaker

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Jessica B's picture

Linked and the Discovery of Scale Free Networks

The book begins with a river in Prussia. In the 18th century, there was a series of bridges in Konigsberg that connected the banks of either side of the river to each other an island in the middle. A popular topic of discussion in cafes at the time asked if you could cross each bridge only once and come back to where you started. A man named Euler finally solved this problem. It's not significant that he solved it. The significance is in how he solved it.

Euler abstracted the bridges into a series of nodes and links. The nodes were the landmasses the bridges connected and the links were the bridges themselves. Using this graph, Euler discovered that the only way such a feat is possible is if the nodes with an odd number of links are either the starting or ending point in the traversal. That means there can only be two such nodes. Unfortunately, all the nodes on the Konigsberg bridge graph had an odd number of links so the answer to the problem is no.

This is important because Euler representing a real-life construct and as graph which had inherent properties through which its behavior could be deduced. Considering that graphs are just small networks, this discovery is significant.

Linked discusses "scale free networks," which are networks that consist of a huge number of small nodes connected to a small number of huge hubs via links. Scale-free networks can be found in naturally occurring systems such as the food web and social networks and in man-made systems such as the Web. Despite their dissimilarities, they all share some important properties.

rob's picture

Murray Bookchin's The Modern Crisis

by: rob korobkin


Murray Bookchin was one of the great twentieth century American anarchist thinkers and activists.  From his birth on January 14, 1921 to his death last year on July 30, 2006, his life impacted many, both politically as a leader of the anti-nuclear movement and the Green party and intellectually through his theories of “social ecology” and “libertarian municipalism.”  His largest influence on the radical intellectual theoretical canon came primarily in his introducing concepts of “ecology” and emphasizing the role of the natural world to movements that had previously been entirely social in orientation.  His book of essays, The Modern Crisis offers four essays that explore many of these key ideas.

shikha's picture

The Tipping Point

“Look at the world around you. It may seem like an immovable, implacable place. It is not. With the slightest push – in just the right place – it can be tipped.” - Malcolm Gladwell

In his book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell describes how major changes in society happen rather unexpectedly and quickly. The main focus of the book is why some trends, including epidemics, fashion trends, ideas, messages, etc., manage to become very popular, and spread like viruses of infectious disease, while others do not. He gives examples, such as how Syphilis spread in Baltimore, how Paul Revere spread the initial message of the British attack and in turn initiated the American Revolution, and how television shows like Sesame Street were able to teach children how to read, to explain how he believes trends spread. Gladwell believes that when a certain trend reaches a “tipping point,” it instantly becomes popular. This tipping point is reached when three important conditions are met.

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