This TED talk has to be one of the most interesting on the website (I’d embed it, but it uses (gasp!) Flash). Nicholas Christakis studies how social networks shape us. He was part of the group whose study about obesity made headlines a couple of years ago (though he mentions some caveats, in the talk, about how it was received). Related to my research in some obvious ways, but accessible to a mainstream audience. Implications for education abound…
There’s also a story in the current issue of Harvard Magazine about Christakis and his colleagues. One tidbit:
A more lighthearted study led by a member of Christakis’s lab group searched for meaning behind users’ decisions to make their Facebook profiles public or restrict who can view them. It found that users with public profiles had a higher-than-average chance of listing the Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin among their favorite musical artists, whereas people who restricted access to their profiles were more likely to list Coldplay, Rage Against the Machine, and Ray Charles.
Make of that what you will. What about Radiohead?