Measures global happiness
There are many measurable quantities in the universe, but we would not have called “happiness” one of them.
Since 2008, however, a team of scientists from the University of Vermont and the Mitre Corporation, led by mathematicians Chris Danforth and Peter Dodds, have been figuring out a way to try.
Together, they’ve been working on a piece of software called the Hedonometer that measures — and graphs — data pulled from Twitter Garden Hose, a random sample of 10 percent of all tweets, to gauge how happy the world is on any given day.
A paid team of volunteers from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service analyzed 10,000 of the most-used English words on Twitter, assigning a numerical value to the happiness level of key emotional words, such as “sad,” “party,” “scary,” and “win.” Each day, the tool crawls through the random tweets — some 100 million words — for these key terms, tallying up the overall score. And it seems to work — the day of the Boston Marathon bombing, for example, was the saddest day in the nearly five years the team has been collating data.