A new paper offers an instructive look into the fascinating perusing habits of warm-blooded Internet users, and compiles all that revealing data into useful charts.

Here, for example, are two terms that may help chart the progress of a popular acronym.

If you'd like, you can compare the popularity of multiple content terms at once. Here is a fairly innocent example.

And for what it's worth, our viewing habits may be developing a softer side, too.

Porn, Big Data, And What We Search For When No One's Looking

Porngram is a new data tool that mines the depths of human sexuality--in charts.

Ah, porn. The reason incognito mode was invented. A new paper offers an instructive look into the fascinating perusing habits of warm-blooded Internet users, and compiles all that revealing data into useful charts. (Hat tip to The Atlantic and Wired.)

We've seen before how porn sites use data to deliver targeted advertising. But this study's aim is a bit different. The accompanying totally suitable-for-work tool, Porngram, was engineered by data scientists at Sexualitics, an organization whose mission is to "contribute to human sexuality understanding through a Big Data approach." Think Google's literary-focused Ngram Viewer, but, you know, for recreational bedroom pursuits.

How does Porngram work, you ask? Researchers combed through some 800,000 videos uploaded between 2008 and February 2013 to Xhamster.com, a streaming site not ostensibly concerning furry pets. Using a script, the team tallied the frequency of keywords in video titles and metadata (taken from keyword tags), using algorithms to filter out non-revealing information. (The word "sex," for example, which can be used for anything.) "Traces left by billions of users give us cultural snapshots of tastes," write researchers in the abstract. "[M]ore importantly, they enable researchers to look for structures and patterns in the evolutionary dynamics of practices adopted by a significant and growing proportion of the human population." You can read the whole study in its SFW entirety here, but it's the the tool itself that gives us the most revealing look into what people are watching when the blinds are drawn.

Here, for example, are two terms that may help chart the progress of a popular acronym:



If you'd like, you can compare the popularity of multiple content terms at once. Here is a fairly innocent example:



And for what it's worth, our viewing habits may be developing a softer side, too:



Porn as a window into human consciousness. Who would have thought?

[Image: Wikipedia]

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