So a mister Paul Butler, an intern at Facebook's Data Infrastructure Engineering Team, was sitting around yesterday and he decided to visualize the world. There are 500 million people on Facebook - a maddeningly large amount of people for a study, so Butler took a sampling of "about ten million pairs of friends" from Facebook's data warehouse Apache Hive and began by combining that data with each user's current city, summing then the number of friends between each pair of cities. Confused yet? That data was then merged with the longitude and latitude of each city.
Long story short, even though it's already long, as Butler explored the data in open-source statistics environment R, he parred it down and down and move it around and found something fabulous. That's the map you see above. A finely detailed map of the world made real not by the traditional coasts, rivers, and political borders, but by "real human relationships." Really amazingly fantastic, super great job Butler. This makes not only Facebook look really monstrously powerful, it makes social networking the new global government. Watch out countries, the internet's comin for ya.