Language, of course, is a sporder like many others – where we can conceive of individual words as the “agents” that collectively cultivate a vocabulary that emerges among speakers. Roughly, individual words compete against other words for describing precise ideas, and certain words are collectively selected over time based on their characteristics (length, spelling, economy, phonetics, aesthetics, dialects, etc).
The authors classify their findings under the new empirical science of culture, or “culturomics” as they call it.
Unfortunately, I was unable to find the original journal article with the published findings in Science.
Earlier this fall, an article came out on Geekwire’s website featuring an interview with Gabe Newell, the man in charge of one of the most successful PC game developers and distributors – Valve Corporation. This interview highlights a lot of strange, interesting, and puzzling phenomena found in the online PC market that puts a lot of economic principles to test.
Valve is in a unique position to collect data and analyze economic theories, being the largest distributor of online PC games through their Steam distribution service. Through Steam, Valve can observe consumer behavior, purchases, and game activity in real time and base policies on data trends.
I want to highlight three interesting insights that emerge from the interview, and provide some brief commentary on what makes them so strange, and how we might go about exploring their consequences. Some of the language of the interview is a bit unclear, so below is my attempt to glean the basic results of it. Continue reading →
We’re making it happen. ”Sporder,” is short for “spontaneous order” and is used to describe any scenario where such an order can be found. It’s catchy, economical, and intuitive and it requires but 2 syllables as opposed to 7. We have come up with a precise definition for a sporder, as well as categories the various types of sporder found within our universe. Continue reading →