Political Science 4781
Political Science 4781
Overview. This assignment consists of two parts. The êrst involves setting up a web
scraper. It may take a couple of attempts and will probably take a while to run, so
you might consider setting it up êrst and then working on the second part of the
assignment while it’s running.
Part I: Stu?ed and Starved
Noted author Raj Patel is coming to Ohio State to give a talk. His book, Stu?ed and
Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System, explores the reasons behind the
simultaneous epidemics of starvation and obesity worldwide. Word of your datavisualization skills has spread among your friends, and you’ve been contacted by the
editor of the Lantern and asked to produce two world maps for the newspaper—
one exploring the distribution of poverty in the world and the other exploring the
distribution of obesity.
Go to the CIA World Factbook website and click on “View Text/Low Bandwidth Version” for the uglier (but much more scraper-friendly) version of the site.
Use Outwit Hub to collect data on (a) the adult prevalence rate of obesity and (b)
the percentage of the population below the poverty line for as many countries as you
Using GunnMap, create two graphs representing “The Stu?ed World” (obesity
rate) and “The Starved World” (percentage below the poverty line). Use whatever
color schemes you’d like, but be sure that the balance is set so that readers can see the
full spectrum of variation. Save the maps as stuffed.jpg and starved.jpg.
Part II: The Structure of Insurgency Networks
The Francs-tireurs were irregular riëemen who engaged in guerrilla warfare and what
we would now call covert operations. Their history dates back at least to the FrancoPrussian War, though they became most prominent during the French Resistance in
World War II.
?There will be a fair bit of missing data, both because some governments don’t report these êgures
and because the CIA World Factbook collects data on territories as well as autonomous countries.
Don’t worry too much about it; GunnMap handles missing data pretty well.
1Your assignment is to analyze the network structure of the Francs-tireurs partisans
(FTP), the military arm of the French Communist Party, which engaged the Nazis
as part of the French Resistance following the German invasion of the Soviet Union.
The data for connections among 175 members of the FTP have been collected
by Alexander Gutfraind at Cornell University. To download and analyze them, visit
Mr. Gutfraind’s website at http://www.cam.cornell.edu/~gfriend/research.php and
ênd the link that says “Network data on the underground network Francs-tireurs et
Partisans.” Either download the data or copy-and-paste them into a text êle.
In order to prepare the data to be read into a network-graphing program (Gephi
or Cytoscape), you will need to do the following in a text editor:
• Remove all the comments at the top (the lines that start with “#”).
• Do a global search and replace within the text êle to replace all spaces with
• Save the êle, with a .csv su?x (for example, “FTP.csv”).
You will then need to open the CSV êle in a spreadsheet program like Excel and do
• Delete the third column—the one that only contains 1s.
• Insert a blank row of cells at the top of the spreadsheet (in Excel, you do this
by clicking on row 1, going to the Insert menu, and selecting Rows).
• At the top of the êrst column, enter the word “Source”. At the top of the
second column, enter the word “Target”.
• Save as a CSV êle (for example, “FTP2.csv”).
You now have an edge list, or a list of all of the connections between nodes in the
network. Load this êle into either Gephi or Cytoscape and explore a few di?erent
layout options for the data. When you ênd one that gives you a good sense of what
the network looks like (hint: it’s not just a blob), save a copy of the network graph.
In a separate Word or text êle, answer the following question: Why do you think
the Francs-tireurs partisans network looks the way it does? (1 paragraph)
Upload to Assignment 3 Dropbox a compressed folder containing (a) your two
maps from Part I, (b) your CSV file and network graph from Part II, and (c)
your answer to the question in Part II.
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