Physics Explains Why All Hipsters Look the Same

Friday, 07 November 2014 - 11:31AM
Physics
Friday, 07 November 2014 - 11:31AM
Physics Explains Why All Hipsters Look the Same

In a 2011 Huffington Post article called "Who's a Hipster?", Julia Plevins wrote, "The whole point of hipsters is that they avoid labels and being labeled. However, they all dress the same and act the same and conform in their non-conformity. Doesn't the fact that there is a hipster look go against all hipster beliefs? Hipsters are supposed to hate anything mainstream or trendy." This paradox has puzzled many ever since the concept of a "hipster" became a part of popular culture (which hipsters are supposed to abhor, of course), but now scientists from College de France have taken the time to study and explain this phenomenon using statistical physics.

 

The statisticians essentially conclude that hipsters all dress alike because- they're slow. Their attitudes towards certain trends follow the same trajectory as a "generic phase transition": they see what the mainstream trends are, they try to buck them, and then because so many people are trying to buck them, the alternative trends become mainstream, but it takes a while for the hipsters to integrate this fact into their behavior and eschew the alternative trends (probably because they're too busy insisting that they "liked it before it was cool.") The authors also claim that this study could have a wide variety of practical applications, aside from providing amusement. They asserted that the same model could be used to analyze trends in finance, for example, in which "speculators may make profit when taking decisions in opposition to the majority in stock exchange."

 

From the hilarious paper: "Trying hard to be different often ends up in hipsters consistently taking the same decisions, in other words all looking alike. We resolve this apparent paradox studying a canonical model of statistical physics, enriched by incorporating the delays necessary for information to be communicated. We show a generic phase transition in the system: when hipsters are too slow in detecting the trends, they will keep making the same choices and therefore remain correlated as time goes by, while their trend evolves in time as a periodic function."

 

Now excuse me while I go write for #NaNo in a Brooklyn coffee shop (not Starbucks) while intermittently staring at my black Converses.

Science
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Physics

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