Ever wonder why hipsters wind up looking, acting, and talking alike? A fascinating new paper examines this as a physics problem.
“The hipster effect: When anticonformists all look the same”
Jonathan Touboul models a hipster system using statistical physics methods: A hipster looks at a representation of the people around him and based on some interaction probability, decides whether or not to follow the herd. What’s the long-term result? It’s a delightful paper, full of analytic firepower, and not easy to follow.
Jake Vanderplas uses the powerful and friendly Python programming language to explore the problem through computer simulation. He finds “In other words, with enough hipsters around responding to delayed fashion trends, a plethora of facial hair and fixed gear bikes is a natural result.”
Vanderplas’s instructive electronic IPython Notebook is available at http://nbviewer.ipython.org/url/jakevdp.github.io/downloads/notebooks/HipsterEffect.ipynb