by   Ranker
Staff
in Trends

Synchronized Diving with Bain and Bill Murray

Just kidding, but have you guys seen The Dark Knight Rises yet? No spoilers, promise, but here are a few of the best TDKR movie quotes to get you jazzed. In other news, it’s 1.1 million degrees outside here in sunny Southern California, and we’re thinking about trying a few of these delicious summer cocktails to beat the heat. Vote to let us know which are your faves, or click Re-Rank to personalize your own list.

And as long as you’re in a voting mood, we’re looking for Ranker fans to fill out a brief survey for us. We’ll pick 20 participants and award them each a $5 Amazon gift card as a thank you. So get on in there!

Here are a few other awesome and interesting lists the Ranker Community has been upvoting this month…

The Best Summer Olympic Games Events

The 2012 Olympics in London are upon us. Opening ceremonies begin this Friday, July 27th, at 20:12 (get it?) BST. What do you most love to watch? Basketball? Synchronized Swimming? Equestrian Dressage? Hold on… that’s a real thing?

The Most Outrageous Emmy Snubs of All Time

The annual nominations were announced last week, replete with a fresh batch of 2012 Emmy snubs. This list looks at the 50+ year history of the prestigious TV award and all the deserving actors, writers, and best boys who were never given one of those lovely statuettes of a woman catching a beach ball and being struck by lightning at the same time.

The Coolest Employers in Tech

Now that the economy is booming again [citation needed], tech geeks across the country are out securing for dream jobs at amazing companies. These big players look out for their workers, whether by offering stock options, sand volleyball courts, or, simply, a pleasant and stimulating work environment. Where would you like to spend most of your waking hours?

The 50 Greatest Discontinued ’90s Foods and Beverages

Nostalgia, thy name is hunger. The 1990s saw the rise and fall of some of the most delicious, innovative, and ridiculous snacks and drinks to ever be advertised during Nicktoons. From Shark Bites to Crystal Pepsi, which delicious, colorful ’90s foods were you most likely to trade for in the lunchroom?

10 Roles Almost Played by Bill Murray

Bill Murray: One of the greatest living actors, or THE greatest living actor? A favorite of audiences and directors alike, Murray was offered, attached to, or rumored to be considered for many roles you know and love, from Willy Wonka to Detective John Kimble.

Best Books for Toddlers

Despite the influx of new children’s books hitting Amazon every year, some old classics have stuck around for decades. Included are the best stories for toddlers and the very same books that taught you how to read, count, and share.

New American Idol Judge Picks

It’s official. The newest “American Idol” judge is… MARIAH CAREY. The “Butterfly” singer will replace Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, who are departing the show prior to its 12th Season. (Yeah, she’s Mariah, she can replace two people.) All week, Ranker users have been voting on who THEY’D like to see in the judge’s chair. See if you think they know better than Ryan Seacrest!

 

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by   Ranker
Staff
in Market Research

A Look Inside the Ranker Data Tool

You may have looked through some of the more fascinating, insightful posts her on the Ranker Data Blog and thought… how can he possibly come up with some of these connections?

Well, to be perfectly fair, the Ranker data tool does a lot of the heavy lifting. It allows me to quickly look through topics that have received a lot of up or down votes on Ranker, and make quick comparisons to other topics easily.

And here’s a quick look at how it all works…

We start by picking a general category we want and a specific item (or “node” in this case) from that topic. So under the category of TV, I’m going to pick the item “Boardwalk Empire.”

Now the tool knows that I only want to look at people who voted on “Boardwalk Empire.” The next step involves the tool looking for correlations – that is, relationships between “Boardwalk Empire” votes and other votes cast on Ranker. I could compare votes cast for or against “Boardwalk Empire” with votes cast on pretty much any other subject – films, foods, people, gadgets… you name it. Sometimes, this can be very interesting, as in this post, where we correlated people’s taste in breakfast cereals vs. films and tv shows.

But for the sake of explanation, let’s look at a more direct comparison, which usually yields more interesting results. So we’ll compare votes on “Boardwalk Empire” to votes on other TV shows, to see how well we can predict what fans of HBO’s Prohibition drama might also enjoy on the tube.

The results are pretty standard, and really show off exactly what the tool can do. When searching “Boardwalk Empire” correlated with other TV shows, here’s what I see:

Those percentages to the right represent what we call the “Lift %,” which basically just means “how much more likely is a “Boardwalk Empire” fan to enjoy X show, over a random person who does not have an opinion about Boardwalk Empire”? I’d ask Ravi to explain it to you directly, but his answer would likely involve fractals, and I don’t want to put you through that.

Trust me on this part, though… The higher the Lift %, the MORE likely a “Boardwalk Empire” fan will also enjoy whatever show we’re discussing.

Keeping that in mind, most of the results seem fairly predictable and straight-forward. A “Boardwalk Empire” fan would naturally be likely to enjoy “The Shield” or “The Killing,” two different hard-edged crime dramas with occasionally similar themes. Similarly, “Deadwood” seems an obvious fit – both are violent HBO series exploring crime in different periods of American history. In fact, there’s really only two outliers that make this list kind of compelling… What the hell are “Thundercats” and “Police Squad!” doing there?

There’s probably a very reasonable explanation for this. Maybe a big chunk of people went to the “Boardwalk Empire” page and then immediately voted on their favorite ’80s cartoon series as well? It’s possible, but seems unlikely, as there aren’t any other animated shows in the Top 10 (or even 20!) of this group. Maybe people who like “Boardwalk Empire” – or crime shows more generally – also enjoy occasionally making light of a very serious subject by throwing on the adventures of Detective Frank Drebin of “Police Squad!” To investigate this, I’d probably look at a similar chart for the show “Police Squad!” and see if a lot of more serious crime fare appeared.

And what do you know? It does! Along with the expected other comedy series from the same era – “Welcome Back Kotter,” “WKRP in Cincinnati” and so on, sure enough we see that “Police Squad!” fans have also voted positively on “The Sopranos,” “Boardwalk Empire” and even “Miami Vice.” We could certainly do more research to confirm, but this definitely points me towards a preliminary hypothesis – fans of crime shows don’t really differentiate between funny or serious content. They just like the topic of crime and criminals.

To keep investigating, I’d probably look at some other crime dramas and comedies to see if I also got similar results. If, say, “The Wire” fans also tended to enjoy “Pink Panther” movies, or fans of “Hackers” also cited “Sneakers” as a favorite film, we’d be on our way to a full-fledged theory. But that’s a blog post for a different day, kids. Now it’s time for bed.

– Lon

by   Ranker
Staff
in Data Science, Google Knowledge Graph

How Ranker leverages Google’s Knowledge Graph

Google recently held their I/O conference and one of the talks was given by Freebase’s Shawn Simister, who was once Freebase’s biggest fan, and has since gone on to work at Google, which acquired Freebase a few years ago.  What is Freebase?  It’s the structured semantic data that powers Google’s knowledge graph and Ranker, along with many other organizations featured in this talk (Ranker is mentioned around the 8:45 mark).  This talk gives organizations that may not be familiar with Freebase an overview of how they can leverage the Freebase’s semantic data.

How does Ranker use the knowledge graph?  Freebase’s semantic data powers much of what we do at Ranker and the below graph illustrates how we relate to the semantic web.

How Ranker Relates to the Semantic Web

We leverage the data from the semantic web, often via Freebase, to create content in list format (e.g. The Best Beatles Songs), which our users then vote on and re-rank.  This creates an opinion data layer that is easily exportable to any other entity (e.g. The New York Times or Netflix) that is connected to the larger semantic web.  Our hope is that just as people in the presentation are beginning to create mashups of factual data, eventually people will also want to merge in opinion data, and we hope to have the best semantic opinion dataset out there when that happens.  The more people that connect their data to the semantic web, the more lists we can create, and the more potential consumers exist for our opinion data.  As such, we’d encourage you to check out Shawn’s presentation and hopefully you’ll find Freebase as useful as we do.

– Ravi Iyer

 

by   Ranker
Staff
in New Features

Embed Voteable Lists ANYWHERE With Ranker's New Widget

It’s fun and easy to make voteable lists on Ranker. You’ve been there, you’ve seen it. Everyone knows that. But until now, if you wanted your friends, your followers and your community to vote on a list, you’d have to send them a link (or post one on your blog) and hope for the best. Sure, sometimes that works out great. Check out how many people have voted for their favorite wrestling finishing moves or the best summer movie seasons!

But sometimes, you want to embed a voteable Ranker list on your own site, to poll your readers and start conversations. Well, now you can embed any Ranker list practically anywhere, whether it’s a list you’ve created or just something interesting you’ve found on the site. So whether you want to poll your readers about who should play Ana Steele in the “50 Shades of Grey” movie, Google’s smartest acquisitions ever or an original topic of you’re own, it’s now simple to do and will look great on your website or blog.

Here’s how it works:

Go to any Ranker Vote List and look for the “Embed” button near the top of the page.

Ah, yes, there she is…

Customize the coloring and size of your widget and we’ll give you an embed code which will then work on Tumblr, WordPress, Blogger and pretty much any other blog or website you can think of.

The Ranker widget in the wild!

Still have questions about embedding the widget? Check out our Widget FAQ or this helpful PDF overview of Ranker Widget features for more info. Bear in mind, the widget is still very new, and we’re still making tweaks, but you can install the widget at any time and it will update on your site automatically!