The Saints Go Marching In / Counting Viewers v. TVs

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Last nights Super Bowl victory of the New Orleans Saints over the Indianapolis Colts was watched by more people than “any scheduled program in U.S. TV history,” topping the 1983 finale of M*A*S*H, the previous record holder, according to an article by Dave Walker in The Times-Picayune. I’m not surprised. This article lists a number of reasons, all of which came into play, I’m sure.
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The Wired Campus – Think You’re Happy? Song Lyrics May Have the Answer – The Chronicle of Higher Education

How can we track how happy we are? Just look at blogs and song lyrics, two professors say.

Peter S. Dodds and Christopher M. Danforth, a mathematician and a computer scientist from the University of Vermont, downloaded more than 230,000 songs composed since 1960, along with 2.3 million blog items posted to WeFeelFine.org since August 2005, and State of the Union addresses. Using a nine-point “happiness” scale for words from the Affective Norms for English Words study, they looked for what sentences using the word “feel.”

Their results are reported this week in the Journal of Happiness Studies in an article titled “Measuring the Happiness of Large-Scale Written Expression: Songs, Blogs, and Presidents.”

And what the two scholars found certainly was interesting. The last U.S. presidential election produced the happiest day in four years. Among the least happy were the day of Michael Jackson’s death last month, the fifth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, and the day before.

It is an intriguing study.

Mr. Danforth thinks data on happiness could help in the future. “A gross national happiness index could help design public policy and understand people’s reactions,” he says.

For their next project, the two professors are looking at people’s Twitter accounts, taking in 1,000 tweets per minute. Unlike blogs, which are typically daily reflections, tweets are constantly updated and can show people’s immediate feelings, Mr. Dodds says.

Read more at The Wired Campus