Using data collected from Facebook, Harvard sociologists have addressed one of the great unsolved puzzles of social science — do we form friendships with people because we share similar interests, or do we share similar interests with people because they are our friends?As described in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last month, the findings suggest that while people who share similar interests in music and movies are more likely to befriend one another, few interests are likely to spread among friends. It’s a result that challenges earlier research, which found that a host of social problems, from obesity to smoking to loneliness, quickly spread across social networks.“The idea that ‘birds of a feather flock together’ is something we’ve known about for a long time,” said Kevin Lewis, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology who co-authored the paper with independent scholar Jason Kaufman and sociology graduate student Marco Gonzalez. “It’s not terribly surprising that, if you and I like the same things, we might become friends.“What we’ve been able to show, however, is that this phenomenon is not actually as widespread as we once thought,” Lewis added. “There are only certain types of tastes that breed a connection. We’re also finding that this very common notion that what your friends do and like rubs off on you is not very widespread at all. We are not suggesting, of course, that taste in movies or music necessarily operates in the same way that obesity or depression does; but this paradigm that ‘everything spreads’ — it’s simply not true.”The researchers gathered information from the profiles of students at an anonymous college. Once a year for four years, the researchers took snapshots of students’ profiles, recording their friends and what kinds of music, movies, and books they liked. That information was then broken down further, into genrelike “clusters” representing broad areas of interest that might diffuse throughout a network of friends.Armed with that data, researchers used a computer program to evaluate how students’ friendship networks and preferences evolved over time, and to model the possible causes behind the changes.“We used a simulation-based approach,” Lewis said. “So if we have a snapshot taken at two different times, the model examines all the possible trajectories that could have led from one point to another and identifies which is most likely.”Importantly, Lewis added, the model controlled for a variety of possible causes for why two people might become friends or reasons why someone’s tastes might change over time, ensuring that researchers weren’t misdiagnosing the causes of those changes.In the case of music, the results showed that people who listen to classical or jazz music are likely to be friends. The same was true for fans of light and classic rock. When it comes to onscreen entertainment, fans of raunchy comedies and gory movies are likely to be friends, as well as fans of darkly satirical films. Surprisingly, Lewis said, there was no connection between book preferences and friendship.Only one type of taste — an interest in classical or jazz music — was found to spread across friendship networks, Lewis said.“It’s not often you find a non-finding to be important, but I think this finding absolutely is important,” Lewis said. “There is a tendency to believe in peer influence — we all believe that what our friends like rubs off on us because it’s very easy to think of examples when that has happened. But we don’t remember the myriad instances that it doesn’t happen.”“Much of Facebook’s business model is based on the assumption that Facebook users ‘influence’ one another through displays of things they ‘like’,” said Kaufman. “If you say you like a band, product, movie, etc., Facebook purports an ‘influence’ effect whereby your friends become more likely to adopt that preference in turn.“What we found is that only in very specific instances does anything like ‘influence’ occur,” he continued. “This stands in contrast to an active research literature on the ‘contagiousness’ of various behaviors, such as obesity, smoking, and happiness, and gives pause at the millions, if not billions, of dollars spent every year on so-called ‘social media’ advertising campaigns.”
Hodgson was making a rare trip to the Stadium of Light, but saw little to cheer him on a chill Wearside afternoon with the Black Cats labouring in their efforts to avoid a second successive relegation fight. However, it might have been so different had referee Mike Jones seen two key first-half decisions the same way as the home fans among a crowd of 40,943. England manager Roy Hodgson watched on as his former side West Brom emerged with a 0-0 draw in controversial circumstances at Sunderland. Press Association Mr Jones opted not to send off last man Joleon Lescott despite awarding a foul for his early challenge on Danny Graham on the advice of assistant Constantine Hatzidakis, who then raised an offside flag to deny Adam Johnson a 45th-minute opener. Sunderland enjoyed the better of the game, but were unable to find the back of the net – legitimately, at least – for the third game in a row, although they looked far more likely to do so than an unadventurous Baggies side, who have now lost only once in 10 outings in all competitions. Head coach Gus Poyet, who had hinted in the run-up to the game that he would take a gamble on the fitness of Lee Cattermole after a 10-game absence and Jermain Defoe, who missed the FA Cup fifth-round debacle at Bradford with a niggling calf problem, did just that for a game he could not afford to lose. Having pleaded with fans to get behind the team in an open letter earlier in the week and urged his players to give the crowd something to shout about, it was referee Jones and his assistants who prompted the biggest reaction at either end of a drab first half. The game was just five minutes old when Cattermole played striker Graham in behind Lescott. Graham looked to be clear, but he went to ground as the defender recovered, and the home supporters were on their feet calling for blood as the flag went up. Jones produced only a yellow card and replays suggested there had been little contact, but there was a tangible sense of injustice as Sebastian Larsson curled the resulting free-kick into the side-netting. Thereafter, the half unfolded in unspectacular fashion with Cattermole adding a solidity to the Black Cats and opposite number Darren Fletcher probing for the Baggies, although with little success. James Morrison curled an eighth-minute shot on the turn into goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon’s arms, but that was the Romanian’s only notable action of the opening 45 minutes. Baggies midfielder Claudio Yacob was perhaps fortunate to escape without further action when he was lectured by the referee for pushing Defoe to the ground inside the penalty area for the second time while the pair awaited delivery of a corner. However, that was not the end of the controversy as the home side were denied what they felt was a perfectly good goal on the stroke of half-time. Ricky Alvarez crossed from the right to the far post, where Johnson controlled before rounding Ben Foster and stabbing home, only for a harsh offside flag to end his celebrations. Larsson forced a diving save from Foster deep into injury time, but the stalemate remained. Sunderland resumed where they had left off after the break, as they dominated possession, however West Brom’s organisation left little space to exploit. Full-back Chris Brunt had to block a 55th-minute Alvarez drive after the Argentina international cut inside on to his left foot, and Craig Dawson had to be equally determined to repel Defoe’s effort six minutes later. The home side should have gone ahead from the resulting corner when full-back Santiago Vergini met Larsson’s cross unopposed, but he glanced his header wide of the far post. As the game entered its final quarter, Poyet sent strikers Connor Wickham and Steven Fletcher on for Graham and Alvarez, and Wickham very nearly made a swift impact when he saw Foster bundle away his header from Johnson’s 76th-minute corner, and that was as good as it got as the last push fell short.
Astros win 6th straight UNDATED (AP) — The Houston Astros picked up their season-high sixth straight win by outlasting the Colorado Rockies in a pitchers’ duel at Minute Maid Park.Myles Straw’s RBI single with one out in the 11th inning lifted the Astros past the Rockies, 2-1. Houston starter Zack Greinke (GREHN’-kee) and Rockies hurler Antonio Senzatela each tossed three hit ball with no walks over eight scoreless innings. Raimel Tapia hit an RBI single with two outs in the 10th to put Colorado up 1-0, but a sacrifice fly by Kyle Tucker extended the game.Also on Tuesday’s major league schedule:— Brandon Lowe slammed a three-run homer and Austin Meadows hit a solo shot as the Rays beat the Yankees, 6-3 to end New York’s six-game winning streak. Tampa Bay received four innings of shutout relief after Blake Snell allowed three runs over five frames. August 18, 2020 Texas reliever Ian Gibaut threw behind San Diego infielder Manny Machado following a grand slam, leading to his ejection and subsequent three-game suspension. Woodard became incensed with the plate umpire for ejecting Gibaut, who has appealed his suspension.Elsewhere around the majors:— Braves outfielder Nick Markakis (mahr-KAY’-kihs) has been placed on the 10-day injured list after potentially being exposed to COVID-19. Markakis initially opted out of the shortened season because of concerns about the coronavirus. He rejoined the Braves a couple of weeks ago and provided a boost to an injury plagued lineup, batting .353 with six RBIs in 11 games.— Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant received an injection Tuesday for his ailing left wrist, sidelining the slugger for at least two days. Manager David Ross said Bryant also saw a specialist for the injury. The earliest the 2016 NL MVP could return to the lineup is Friday against the crosstown White Sox.— Indians manager Terry Francona is missing his team’s three-game series with the Pirates, which began Tuesday. General manager Mike Chernoff said Francona will have a “scheduled procedure” to address a gastrointestinal issue. Francona also sat out seven games earlier this month because of the ailment. — Jets wide receiver Vyncint Smith had surgery to repair a core muscle injury and could be sidelined up to two months. Coach Adam Gase confirmed the procedure and prognosis and said Smith will likely miss five to eight weeks. —The Vikings have signed former Cincinnati linebacker Hardy Nickerson for depth. Nickerson played three seasons for the Bengals, appearing in 37 games with nine starts. — The Titans won’t have fans at their home opener on Sept. 20 against Jacksonville because of the coronavirus pandemic. Nashville’s Major League Soccer team also won’t have any fans at home games in September. McCoy tore his right quadriceps muscle Monday while engaging defensive tackle Antwaun Woods during an individual drill.The injury waiver means the Cowboys pay only the $3 million signing bonus on the $18 million, three-year contract McCoy signed as a free agent during the offseason.In other NFL news:— Cardinals cornerback Robert Alford will likely miss a second straight season because of an injury suffered during the preseason. Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury has confirmed that Alford will miss four to six months. — Browns Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb has been placed in concussion protocol after he got hurt during the team’s first fully padded practice. Chubb finished second in the NFL last season with 1,494 yards. In other Game 1 action on Tuesday:— Jimmy Butler scored 28 points and Goran Dragic (DRAH’-gihch) had 24 to lead the Heat to a 113-101 victory over the Pacers. Bam Adebayo (ad-ah-BY’-oh) had 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Heat, who used an 11-2 surge that made it 107-95 with just over 2 minutes remaining. T,J. Warren and Malcolm Brogdon scored 22 points apiece for the Pacers, who played the last three quarters without Victor Oladipo (oh-lah-DEE’-poh) because of an eye injury.— James Harden’s 37 points and 11 rebounds led the Rockets to a 123-108 win over the Thunder. Jeff Green scored 22 points and Eric Gordon added 21 for Houston, which played without All-Star Russell Westbrook because of a quad injury. Gordon scored 16 points and Harden had 15 in the first half to help the Rockets take a 68-52 lead. Danilo Gallinari matched a playoff career high with 29 points for the fifth-seeded Thunder.NBA-NEWSCeltics lose Hayward for about 4 weeks Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditNBA PLAYOFFSBlazers surprise Lakers, Magic stun BucksLAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — It was a tough day for the NBA’s top seeds as the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers dropped their playoff openers. Update on the latest sports Hawerchuk scored 45 goals and collected 103 points as a rookie after being selected first overall in the 1981 draft, helping the Jets make the playoffs after winning just 11 games the previous season. He held most club scoring records after nine seasons with the Jets, contributing with 379 goals and 929 points in 713 games.Hawerchuk later spent five seasons with the Sabres before stops in St. Louis and Philadelphia. He ended his career with 518 goals and 1,409 points in 1,188 games over 16 seasons.In other NHL news: — Vladimir Tarasenko is out for the rest of the Blues’ first-round series against the Canucks after aggravating his surgically repaired left shoulder. The team says the 28-year-old winger returned to St. Louis to have the shoulder looked at by team doctors.MLB-SCHEDULE — Rays two-way rookie Brendan McKay will have season-ending surgery on his left throwing shoulder Wednesday. McKay was 2-4 with a 5.14 ERA in 13 games last season and went 2 for 10 with a home run as a designated hitter. — The Mets are placing starter David Peterson on the 10-day injured list with left shoulder fatigue and recalling Corey Oswalt (OHZ’-wahlt) to take his place. Peterson is 3-1 with a 2.91 ERA and 17 strikeouts and eight walks in 21 2/3 innings over four starts. He was due to start Tuesday’s game at Miami.NFL NEWSCowboys cut McCoy after injuryUNDATED (AP) — The Dallas Cowboys have released defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, a day after the newcomer sustained a season-ending leg injury. — Homers by Brandon Nimmo, J.D. Davis and Amed Rosario powered the Mets past the Marlins, 8-3. Rosario had three RBIs and New York’s bullpen blanked Miami over 4 2/3 innings.— The Royals’ game against visiting Cincinnati was postponed to give the Reds another day to conduct additional COVID-19 testing. The clubs are now scheduled to play a doubleheader Wednesday.MLB-NEWS-RANGERS SUSPENSIONS2 Rangers suspended for throwing behind hitter after slamARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Rangers manager Chris Woodard has completed a one-game suspension for his actions during Monday’s game against the Padres. UNDATED (AP) — The Celtics say forward Gordon Hayward will be sidelined for around four weeks after suffering a severe ankle sprain in Boston’s playoff-opening victory over Philadelphia. With him out, it could mean a shift to a three-guard lineup and more minutes for Marcus Smart.Also in the NBA:— Utah guard Mike Conley has returned to Walt Disney World after the birth of his son and will go through a quarantine period before joining the Jazz for their playoff series against Denver. Conley is subject to a quarantine of at least four days in accordance with the NBA’s COVID-19 policies. He could be back for Game 3.NHL PLAYOFFS-SCHEDULEFlyers blank Habs again…Caps stay alive — Carlos Santana launched a three-run homer that was fair by inches and upheld upon video review, giving the Indians a 6-3, 10-inning win over the Pirates. Santana also provided a two-run single before Cleveland wasted a 3-1 lead.— Tim Anderson was 4-for-5 with a solo homer and three RBIs in the White Sox’s 10-4 drubbing of the Tigers. Jose Abreu (ah-BRAY’-oo) had three hits and three ribbies in Chicago’s third win in a row.— The Blue Jays coughed up a four-run lead before Travis Shaw scored on a throwing error in the 10th inning to lift Toronto past the Orioles, 8-7. Randal Grichuk (GRIH’-chuhk) extended his torrid hitting surge for the Jays with four RBIs on a home run and a three-run double.— Wil Myers belted a grand slam and Jurickson Profar (JUR’-ihk-suhn PRO’-fahr) added a two-run blast to account for the Padres’ scoring in a 6-4 win over the Rangers. Joey Gallo slammed a three-run homer for Texas. — Mike Yastrzemski (ya-STREHM’-skee) and Pablo Sandoval homered as the Giants ripped the Angels, 8-2 to end a five-game losing streak. Yastrzemski also made a diving catch to rob David Fletcher of an RBI single and end the second inning. TORONTO (AP) — The Philadelphia Flyers are one win away from advancing to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs following their second consecutive shutout of the Montreal Canadiens.Carter Hart stopped 29 shots and Michael Raffl (RAH’-ful) scored the game-winner in the Flyers’ 2-0 win over the Habs. Hart made 23 saves in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Montreal to become the youngest Flyer to post a playoff shutout.Raffl put the Flyers ahead 6:32 into the game after being inserted on Philadelphia’s top line with Sean Couturier (koo-TOOR’-ee-ay) and Jakub Voracek (JAY’-kuhb VOHR’-ah-chehk). Phil Myers gave the Flyers breathing room by beating Carey Price late in the second period.Price stopped 20 shots for the Canadiens, who will try to stave off elimination in Game 5 on Wednesday.In other Stanley Cup first-round action: — The Dodgers pulled out a 2-1 win over the Mariners on Corey Seager’s RBI single in the eighth inning. Starter Tony Gonsolin pitched two-hit ball over six shutout innings to help Los Angeles pick up its seventh consecutive victory and improve to 18-7. — The Diamondbacks have a six-game winning streak after Nick Ahmed crushed a three-run homer and had five RBIs in a 10-1 laugher over the Athletics. and had five RBIs, Luke Weaver allowed a run on three hits over five innings, retiring the final 10 batters he faced.— Yu Darvish is 4-1 after striking out seven and allowing one run over six innings of the Cubs’ 6-3 decision over the Cardinals. Kyle Schwarber hit a two-run homer and Ian Happ opened the scoring with a solo blast as Chicago beat St. Louis for the second straight day.— Victor Robles robbed Austin Riley of a home run and every starter contributed to a 17-hit attack in the Nationals’ 8-5 win against the Braves. Eric Thames had three RBIs for Washington, which trailed 5-2 in the fifth after blowing a three-run lead to Atlanta in the ninth inning on Monday.— Bryce Harper hit a three-run homer during a seven-run sixth inning that helped the Phillies turn a 4-2 deficit into a 13-6 thumping of the Red Sox. Rhys Hoskins, Phil Gosselin and Jay Bruce also homered as Philadelphia handed Boston its ninth straight loss. — The Capitals played with determination in avoiding a four-game sweep, scoring the last three goals to defeat the Islanders, 3-2. Alex Ovechkin (oh-VEHCH’-kihn) scored the tying and go-ahead goals, with the game-winner coming 3:40 into the third period. The Islanders owned a 2-0 lead until Evgeny Kuznetsov (kooz-NEHT’-sahv) and Ovechkin scored less than two minutes apart early in the second period. Braden Holtby stopped 24 shots and blanked the Islanders after Matthew Barzal scored midway through the first period. — The Stars have a three-games-to-two lead after John Klingberg scored the tiebreaking goal in a 2-1 triumph over the Flames. Klingberg beat Cam Talbot 72 seconds into the third period, one game after setting up three goals to help Dallas beat Calgary. Jamie Benn’s short-handed goal put the Stars on the board, but the Flames tied it on Mikael Backlund’s goal later in the first period. Anton Khudobin (koo-DOH’-bihn) stopped 29 shots for the Stars.NHL-NEWSHawerchuk dies at 57UNDATED (AP) — Hockey Hall of Famer and Winnipeg Jets standout Dale Hawerchuk has died at 57 following a battle with cancer. Nikola Vucevic (NEE’-koh-lah VOOCH’-uh-vihc) scored a playoff career-high 35 points and had 14 rebounds as the eighth-seed Orlando Magic downed the Bucks, 122-110. Terrence Ross scored 18 points, Gary Clark added 15 and D.J. Augustin had 11 points and 11 assists for the Magic. The quartet helped Orlando hold reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh) without a field goal over the final 11 minutes.Antetokounmpo finished with 31 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists for Milwaukee.Damian Lillard continued his torrid scoring output by delivering a team-high 34 points in the Trail Blazers’ 100-93 win over the Lakers. Jusuf Nurkic (NUR’-kihch) had 16 points and 15 rebounds for Portland, while C.J. McCollum added 21 points.The Lakers erased a 16-point, first half deficit and led 84-78 before falling. Los Angeles also wasted LeBron James’ triple-double of 23 points, 17 rebounds and 15 assists.Lakers forward Anthony Davis finished with 28 points and 11 boards. Associated Press