When we covered power laws in Chapter 18, we discussed a number of cases in which power laws…

When we covered power laws in Chapter 18, we discussed a number of cases in which power laws arise, generally reflecting some notion of “popularity” or a close analog. Consider, for example, the fraction of news articles each day that are read by k people: if f (k) represents this fraction as a function of k, then f (k) approximately follows a power-law distribution of the form f (k) ≈ k−c for some exponent c.

Let’s think about this example in more detail, and in particular consider the following questions. What mechanisms for providing news to the public will tend to accentuate this power-law effect, causing the most widely read articles to be even more widely read? What mechanisms will tend to diminish the power-law effect, more evenly balancing readership across more and less widely read articles? Give an explanation for your answer.

This is an open-ended question in the sense that the range of possible correct answers is quite broad; also, it is fine for your answer to be informally stated, provided the explanation is clear.

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