Thursday, January 5, 2012

Its Called A Power Law Distribution: Many Fundamental, Natural Events Follow It And Yet People And The NY Times Are Surprised

Network, cell phone and other traffic and uses follow power law distribution rules, where a few use a lot. The power law distribution is a naturally occurring event, like binomial distributions, and many naturally occurring processes conform to power law rules. It is a fundamental rule of many natural processes and it is not a surprise when it turns up. The only surprise is when people rediscover power law rules and get upset and demand something be done about it. Even letters, words and word sizes (number of letters) follow power law rules, as does the Internet and income distributions.

From The New York Times, "Top 1% of Mobile Users Consume Half of World’s Bandwidth, and Gap Is Growing" by Kevin J O'Brien:
The world’s congested mobile airwaves are being divided in a lopsided manner, with 1 percent of consumers generating half of all traffic. The top 10 percent of users, meanwhile, are consuming 90 percent of wireless bandwidth.
The imbalance in mobile phone consumption is another example of a relatively small group of individuals dominating the consumption of a particular resource. The United States, with less than 5 percent of the world’s population, consumes about 23 percent of the world’s daily oil production, according to American government figures. Japan, Germany and Italy, whose populations together make up less than 4 percent of the world’s total, accounted for 31 percent of global natural gas imports in 2010, according to the International Energy Agency.
Also, see my recent post on this blog, "US Income Inequality And Pareto Distributions."

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