by    in Data Science, Popular Lists, Rankings

In Good Company: Varieties of Women we would like to Drink With

They say you’re defined by the company you keep.  But how are you defined by the company you want to keep?

The list “Famous Women You’d Want to Have a Beer With”  provides an interesting way to examine this idea.  In other words, how people vote on this list can define something about what kind of person is doing the voting.

We can think of people as having many traits, or dimensions.  The traits and dimensions that are most important to the voters will be given higher rankings.  For instance, some people may rank the list thinking about the trait of how funny the person is, so may be more inclined to rate comedians higher than drama actresses.  Others may vote just on attractiveness, or based on singing talent, etc…  It may be the case that some people rank comedians and singers in a certain way, whereas others would only spend time with models and actresses.  By examining how people rank the various celebrities along these dimensions, we can learn something about the people doing the voting.

The rankings on the site, however, are based on the sum of all of the voters’ behavior on the list, so the final rankings do not tell us about how certain types of people are voting on the list.  While we could manually go through the list to sort the celebrities according to their traits, i.e. put comedians with comedians, singers with singers,  we would risk using our own biases to put voters into categories where they do not naturally belong.  It would be much better to let the voter’s own voting decide how the celebrities should be clustered.  To do this, we can use some fancy-math techniques from machine learning, called clustering algorithms, to let a computer examine the voting patterns and then tell us which patterns are similar between all the voters.   In other words, we use the algorithm to find patterns in the voting data, to then put similar patterns together into groups of voters, and then examine how the different groups of voters ranked the celebrities.  How each group ranked the celebrities tells us something about the group, and about the type of people they would like to keep them company.

As it happens, using this approach actually finds unique clusters, or groups, in the voting data, and we can then guess for ourselves how the voters from each group can be defined based on the company they wish to keep.

Here are the results:

Cluster 1:

Cluster4_MakeCelebPanels

Cluster 1 includes females known to be funny, and includes established comedians like Carol Burnett and Ellen DeGeneres. What is interesting is that Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence are also included, who are also highly ranked on lists based on physical attractiveness, they also have a reputation for being funny.  The clustering algorithm is showing us that they are often categorized alongside other funny females as well.  Among the clusters, this cluster has the highest proportion of female voters, which may explain why the celebrities are ranked along dimensions other than attractiveness.

 

Cluster 2:

Cluster1_MakeCelebPanels

Cluster 2 appears to consist of celebrities that are more in the nerdy camp, with Yvonne Strahovski and Morena Baccarin, both of whom play roles on shows popular with science fiction fans.  In the bottom of this list we see something of a contrarian streak as well, with downvotes handed out to some of the best known celebrities who rank highly on the list overall.

Cluster 3:

Cluster2_MakeCelebPanels

Cluster 3 is a bit more of a puzzle.  The celebrities tend to be a bit older, and come from a wide variety of backgrounds that are less known for a single role or attribute.  This cluster could be basing their votes more on the celebrity’s degree of uniqueness, which is somewhat in contrast with the bottom ranked celebrities who represent the most common and regularly listed female celebrities on Ranker.

Cluster 4:

Cluster3_MakeCelebPanels

We would also expect a list such as this to be heavily correlated with physical attractiveness, or perhaps for the celebrity’s role as a model.  Cluster 4 is perhaps the best example of this, and likely represents our youngest cluster.  The top ranked women are from the entertainment sector and are known for their looks, whereas in the bottom ranked people are from politics, comedy, or are older and probably less well known to the younger voters.  As we might expect, cluster 3 also has a high proportion of younger voters.

Here is the list of the top and bottom ten for each cluster (note that the order within these lists is not particularly important since the celebrity’s scores will be very close to one another):

TopCelebsPerClusterTable

 

In the end, the adage that we are defined by the company we keep appears to have some merit–and can be detected with machine learning approaches.  Though not a perfect split among the groups, there were trends in each group that drew the people of the cluster together.  This approach can provide a useful tool as we improve the site and improve the content for our visitors.   We are using these approaches to help improve the site and to provide better content to our visitors.

 

–Glenn R. Fox, PhD

 

 

by    in Popular Lists

Dirty Airline Secrets, ’90s Supermodels + Not-So-Smart Criminals

Spring is in full swing and we can hear the birds chirping. Passover, Easter, Earth Day, 4/20… there sure is a lot to celebrate this month! Our gift to you: a handy roundup of our favorite new lists on Ranker.

9 Bad Things That Happened on Good Friday
Though it is not the merriest holiday for Christians (or Jesus for that matter), it still seems pretty crazy that so many murders, crimes, and disasters have gone down on Good Friday.

18 Dirty Facts About Flying That Airlines Don’t Want You To Know
Warning: some of these appalling airline practices cannot be unseen. If you’re squeamish, there is still time to turn back and continue to be blissfully unaware that your aircraft’s wing may or may not be held on with duct tape.

15 Criminals Who Got Caught By Bragging About Their Crimes
Some people are just in the habit of sharing everything about themselves on the Internet. You eat mac n’ cheese for dinner, you tweet a pic of yourself enjoying your meal. You rob a bank, you post a pic of yourself fanning out the money–D’oh!

Easy Things You Can Do Today to Help Your Environment
You don’t have to be a hero or a hippie to know that our environment could use a little help. In honor of Earth Day this month, here’s a fun roundup of easy things you can do to make a difference.

Stunning Snapshots of ’90s Supermodels (Then and Now)
Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell. . . they were all household names back in the ’90s. We all know that Tyra Banks is as crazy as ever, but what are the rest of these beauties up to and how have they aged?

20 Jobs That No Longer Exist
It’s insane that PEOPLE ever did some of these tasks. (See: the job that was replaced when alarm clocks were invented.) But they did and we have the pictures to prove it.

The Worst People On Planes
Whenever you board a plane, you hope that everything runs smoothly. Of course, that means safely, but it also means not having to deal with the many types of obnoxious people you’re likely to encounter. Here’s a rundown of the usual suspects.

by    in Popular Lists

Crazy Things Girls Do, Presidents Gone Wild + Sexy Co-Star Couples

Happy spring! Here are the best lists you crazy kids have been upvoting this month:

Which Ex-Presidents Would You Want to Go on a Bender With?
Did you know that some of the former presidents of the U.S. were huge drinkers and recreational drug users? Huge! Read about the scandalous habits of these former POTUSes (or would that be POTI?) and then vote for the ex-pres that you’d most want to get down with.

The Craziest Things Girls Will Do to Make You Like Them
Quit playing games with my heart! Really. No, not really. We all can get a little crazy when it comes to romance. Whether they’re just flirting or looking to put a ring on it, some ladies will do some pretty insane things to get noticed.

25 Celebrities Who Lost a Ton of Weight (Before and After Photos)
These stars transformed themselves from fat to all that! From flabby to fabby. From obese to bitch, please! Okay, I think we’re done here.

 

Who Did These Eventually Famous Kids Grow Up To Be?
When kids are young, they have the potential to be anything: astronauts, politicians, police officers… or they could go the way of Darth Vader and cross over to the Dark Side. From these vintage childhood photos, can you guess who turned in to whom?

The Biggest Turn Ons in a Person
Wondering how to be charming and attractive to the opposite sex? This is what men – and women – truly want.

25 Movie Couples Who Got Together in Real Life
After pretending to be an item on the silver screen, these sexy celebrities rode that wave of attraction all the way to Couplesville.

 

Top 10 Most Ironic Deaths of All Time (Vol. 2)
These incidents are far more serious than having “too many spoons when all you need is a knife.” Folks died here, people. Bonus: If you really love yourself some ironic deaths, check out Volume 1: The Top Ironic Deaths of All Time. You weirdo.

20 Celebrities Who Have Had Hair Transplants
We aren’t 100% certain how these balding men managed to halt the cruel hands of time… but we’re guessing that science had something to do with it, because most human beings don’t lose hair and then miraculously get it back.

by    in Trends

Bruno Mars Is Disliked, But Mostly by Older People

Bruno Mars With His Grammy

Bruno Mars is #98 out of the 468 worst bands of all time, as voted on by over 12.5k voters. But it turns out that older people dislike him way more than younger people.

Super Bowl XLVIII is upon us! Woop, woop! Time to prepare for head-spinning sensory overload: brawny men knocking each others’ lights out, sassy cheerleaders, flashy TV ads… it’s almost too much to handle. And what about the crown jewel of the day’s entertainment: the halftime performer, Bruno Mars?

Will Peter Gene Hernandez, aka Bruno Mars, have the charisma to command a crowd of 100,000 screaming fans, not to mention the 110 million Americans who are expected to watch the game from home?

According to our data, it’s not looking good. At least not on the surface. Bruno Mars is currently ranked #98 on our list of The Worst Bands of All Time.

As of right now, 12,627 people have voted on this list, which means that there are a whole lot of haters out there. Compound that with the fact that people always complain about the Super Bowl halftime performer, and it’s looking like Bruno Mars may not get a lot of love for his performance.


Puppy Bowl FTWLove for BeyonceStanding up for Amurika

However, when we slice the data up a little, it actually looks like things may not be that bad for the incredibly short crooner.

Why’s that, you ask?

1. Not to be taken lightly: Bruno Mars Has Got Some Serious Dance Moves.

Even though he was voted as one of the worst bands of all-time, people also acknowledge that he’s got some moves, which bodes well for him as a performer—especially in a situation where he is expected to wow the crowd. He was voted #29 out of 54 on this list of the best dancing singers.

Bruno Mars Dancing GIF
Bruno’s got moves.

2. Young people like Bruno Mars way more than this list would have you believe.  

Statistically Speaking: If we isolate the votes coming from only young people—people ages 30 and under, that is, Bruno Mars would drop all the way down to #381 on the list of worst bands of all time.

Only 5 out of 12 young people who voted on this list upvoted Bruno Mars. That’s about 40% who agree that he should be considered one of the worst bands of all time.

Compare that to say, Justin Bieber who received 16 upvotes for every 19 people who voted on him, which is close to 85%.

*Or, in Plain English if You’re Starting to Get a Headache: Being #381 on a ‘worst bands’ list is way better than being #1. Young people voting him down on this list means that a lot of them do not think that he is the worst.

3. Old people hating on Bruno Mars is making him rise in the ‘worst of’ rankings. 

Bruno Mars loses the mic GIF
What do you have to say about that, Bruno?

Let’s look at how old people (over the age of 50) feel about our buddy Bruno. If we strip out all of the young and middle-aged voters, Bruno Mars would climb up to #82 on the list of worst bands of all time. Remember, getting closer to #1 on a ‘worst’ list is not a good thing.

The ratio for this demographic is much higher. 3 out of 5 old-timers who voted on this list upvoted Bruno Mars as the worst band of all time. That’s 60% for those of you who are keeping track.

While we can crunch the numbers for preferences according to age, it must be noted that we do not have a specific reason as to why people voted this way. Why do people over 50 dislike Bruno Mars? Is it his cavalier attitude, his voluminous hair, his sexy lyrics? His widely-publicized cocaine bust?

Bruno Mars' mug shot actually isn't that bad.
Bruno Mars’ mug shot actually isn’t that bad.

Either way–we’d bet that Bruno would rather be pleasing young’uns than winning the hearts of old folks. They are the ones, after all, who will be more likely to pay to see him perform live (they’ll also be way more likely to pirate his music, but that’s another conversation).

So, while you are eating your triple beany cheese nachos and downing Bud heavies this weekend and one of your friends starts to complain about how much he hates Bruno Mars…you can think to yourself (or gently point out) that maybe he’s just too old to understand him.

by    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    in Popular Lists

List of the Day: Kim Kardashian's Divorce Explodes the Internet

When professional celebrity Kim Kardashian married sports star Kris Humphries  in a two hour E! TV special, it seemed like a match made in Reality TV Producer heaven. I mean, after all the suffering and heartbreak that poor Kim had gone through, what with a leaked sex tape that happened to slingshot her into stardom and on again off again relationships with multiple football players, the nation wept to see her finally settle down with her hulking Prince Charming.

Now all our hopes and dreams of a happy ending for little Kim have come crashing down. With the announcement today that Kim and Kris’ epic 72-day old marriage was coming to an end, the internet exploded in response. It was with great remorse that Ranker user Ariel Kana has put together the Funniest Reactions to Kim Kardashian’s Divorce.

God Speed Kim. We all hope that your heart heals and you learn to love again. Hopefully in time for next May’s sweeps.

by    in Popular Lists

Today's List of the Day is Full of Band Geeks

Remember that movie Drumline and how unmistakingly badass it made marching bands look?

Yeah, neither do we. 

BUT, turns out that a lot of the band geeks you might have picked on in high school may actually turn out to be quite the famous celebrities, so watch who you pick on.

Please.

This comes from experience. Being a band geek wasn’t like in Glee. One assembly didn’t lead to people singing along with you, a huge fanfare and you somehow getting the girl/guy; it most often led to your parents buying you some ice cream on the way home before you tried to fit in as much Nintendo as you could before bed. 

No, this is not the way of marching band nowadays. Geeks are taking over the world and everything that used to be weird or nerdy is now okay and downright cool. So if you were in marching band, you were most likely missing out. Although it seems lately that we’ve gone from this…

to this…

although nowadays you do get a fair amount of this…

So, just to prove that people in band CAN be cool, here’s a list of celebrities that, at some point in their school careers, were in marching band. From Halle Berry, Gwen Stefani and Woody Allen, to Julia Roberts, Steven Spielberg and even Bill Clinton.

Wear your band geekdom proud today, nerds, and let your flag fly (and please, try not to drop it).

30 Famous People Who Were Once in Marching Band

by    in Popular Lists

You Are Now Free to Move About the List of the Day

For most Americans, it had probably been a while since they had reason to think about iconic French actor Gérard Depardieu. Sure, he’s made Stateside film appearances here and there. “Green Card.” “My Father, the Hero.” That ridiculous Ridley Scott debacle where he played Christopher Columbus. But he’s hardly a household name, and he’s focused largely on movies lately that… how shall I put this… have no chance of actually appealing to Americans in any way, shape or form, what with all them foreign-y words and lack of fighting space robots.

But today, today Depardieu’s name was on everyone’s lips, both in the US and abroad. For today, word spread that the actor – waiting an unbearably long time on the tarmac for a flight from Dublin to Paris – simply stood up and relieved himself right there in the airplane’s aisle.

Obviously, as Larry Flynt’s Hustler Airlines remains in the early planning stages, this sort of thing is universally frowned-upon in the air travel industry. (We should note as well that Depardieu disputes this specific version of events, and insists he was attempting to urinate in a bottle when, regrettably, “spillage” occurred. Which I think we can all agree is the least tasteful use of the term “spillage” since the Exxon Valdez disaster.)

Depardieu seen here in character as the French guy from that early “Simpsons” episode who put antifreeze in his wine.

The whole ugly incident (and I don’t use that term lightly) inspired Alby Thompson’s list of Celebrities Who Have Behaved Badly on Airplanes.

Most surprising? Christian Slater got caught at New York’s JFK Airport trying to board a plane with an unlicensed gun in his luggage. I’ll repeat myself, because that is so ridiculously stupid, and I don’t trust you to go back and re-read the last sentence for comic effect. HE WAS TRYING TO BOARD A PLANE WITH AN UNLICENSED GUN IN HIS LUGGAGE. Bear in mind, though, this was a pre-9/11 world, where passengers frequently engaged in casual, spontaneous games of Russian Roulette to pass the time on trans-continental flights.

Maybe I’ll just keep the entire can of 7 Up. What are you gonna do about it, smart guy?

by    in Popular Lists

The List of the Day PLUS!

Y’all on Google+ yet? Ranker wanted to join, but then Google said you had to be a real person with a real name to join and not just some company. And they caught on to our “Ranky McRankerson” plan pretty quick. Clever girl…

Anyway, we’ve now been reduced to sitting on the sidelines and encouraging our faithful users and employees to do the +1-ing for us. (Please give it a try! It’s that colorful +1 button you see under the titles of every Ranker list! Vote us up and I’ll come to your house and hand-deliver to you a delicious muffin basket!)

NOTE: We have no intention of really giving you a muffin basket. How do they even keep the muffins fresh long enough to basket and then deliver them? This is not a good business strategy.

Twitter owes a lot of its present popularity to the A-list cast of celebrities who frequent the microblogging service. I mean, can you imagine ever hanging out there if Kanye West weren’t sharing insights about Persian rugs with cherubs on them constantly? UNLIKELY!

Will the same happen for Google’s upstart new social network, Google+? It seems increasingly possible. The site is already being called “the fastest-growing in history” and has added over 25 million new users while still in beta. (For comparison, it took Facebook 3 years to get to 25 million users, and Twitter nearly 30 months.) And now, the celebrities have started pouring in.

Check out Ranker’s guide to Celebrities on Google+ for a fairly thorough listing of everyone who’s using the service, from NBA great Carmelo Anthony to socialite Paris Hilton to Dell Inc. founder Michael Dell. (Dude you’re getting a Dell…post!) Imagine, being able to experience Soulja Boy cranking that in REAL-TIME. Truly, we live in a remarkable age.

The glasses are helpful whenever he forgets his own name. Hey, it happens.

by    in Popular Lists, Trends

Happy List of the Day, Mr. President…

It’s not only the glorious first day of June, but it’s also the birthday of not one but TWO celebrity beauties.

Legendary actress, model and icon Marilyn Monroe was born on June 1st, 1926, meaning she’d be a ripe old 85 today. To commemorate the occasion, we’ve gathered together 20 of Marilyn Monroe’s famous quotes and sayings here. And remember, “It takes a smart brunette to play a dumb blonde.”

Today, they’d probably just figure out a way to fake this with CGI.

You may have noticed, Marilyn was surprisingly erudite, despite her frequent roles as a bubbly, somewhat dim caricature. Her final film, “The Misfits” (in which she co-stars with Clark Gable) gave some indication that there was more to her than the iconic sexpot that became her persona. Regrettably, while determining what would be her follow-up role, on August 5, 1962, she died in her Brentwood, California, home.