Just a few days ago I finished a book entitled Bursts: The Hidden Pattern Behind Everything We Do. Destree and I picked it up from a Borders going out of business a while back, and I've just now gotten around to reading it. As the title suggest, the purpose of the book is to see if we can mathematically predict group behavior. In short, yes we can predict group behavior, but individual behavior is much harder.
Without getting into too much of the math (the author, Dr. Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, doesn't delve too much into any equations), human actions are full of bursts. Take me for example. I love reading, but I don't finish books with the frequency that I would like to, though that's probably due to the fact that I usually read five or six books at a time. In the past week and a half, I've started and finished two separate books. I'll probably go for a few weeks before I finish anything else, at which point I'll have a few more books finished in a relatively short period.
The same is true of my blogging. It's been two months since my last post. If all goes as intended, I'll probably have a new blog up every day for the next week. Then I'll ease back into a slower pace until sometime in the future I have another burst of blog posts.
I had never thought about human patterns like that before, but it makes sense. For whatever reason, we tend to operate in bursts. We will spend a period of time focusing on one activity, then let it lay dormant for a stretch of time before we pick said activity up again. I have no profound thoughts on this unique sociological phenomena, but it's an interesting thought to ponder during my introspective moments. It makes me feel a little better about having posted nothing in the last two months.
On a side note, I learned a little bit of history while reading this book. To illustrate how closely everything is connected, he used the story of György Dózsa, a crusader turned freedom fighter in 16th Century Hungary. It has kindled in me an interest in Eastern European history.
Bursts is a great pop science book, easy on math/physics and very entertaining. I highly recommend it (see link below).