Saturday, September 06, 2008

Phone Politics

We may get excited about political campaigns going mobile in the beginning but as the interaction and messages remain stale so will our excitement eventualy become.

"When that happens," Wark points out, "people tend to refuse communications that do not come from a reliable source. So if you want to get out an email or a text send it to a friend, ask her to pass it on to a friend and so on." To its credit the Obama text campaign does ask you to "Forward to a friend" but if I understand what Wark is saying correctly there is a difference between being asked to do that by an automated Barak text message robot instead of your brother, or best buddy or cute boy or girl.

From TechPresident.

Putting you on Holde

Late to this, but still fun.

Strategy 101

John McCain’s convention gambit is a culture war strategy. It depends for its execution on conflict with journalists, and with bloggers (the “angry left,” Bush called them) along with confusion between and among the press, the blogosphere, and the Democratic party. It revives cultural memory: the resentment narrative after Chicago ‘68 but with the angry left more distributed. It dispenses with issues and seeks a trial of personalities. It bets big time on backlash.

At the center of the strategy is the flashpoint candidacy of Sarah Palin, a charismatic figure around whom the war can be fought to scale, as it were.

From Pressthink at NYU.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sometimes we need the Economist

That point is the extraordinary myopia of a line much-written by the European press in recent days: that the European Union has ended up in charge of the Georgia crisis, because the United States is so "distracted" by the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq and by the weakness of a lame-duck administration.

From the often useful Certain Ideas of Europe blog tucked inside The Economist site somewhere.

A weakened, distracted America has just promised a billion dollars (€700m) in aid for Georgia with about half of that earmarked for "fast-track" delivery, sent two warships to Georgia bearing humanitarian relief supplies, and is about to send the USS Mount Whitney, flagship of the 6th Fleet, into the Black Sea. It has also sent the vice president, as mentioned above.

Even more here.

Who needs The Economist?

“Sarah’s smile is sincere, which I never felt from Hillary, who has anger and resentment in her eyes,” said Ann Schmuecker, a delegate from Mountain Home, Arkansas, where she met the Clintons decades ago.

Friends of Mrs. Clinton, meanwhile, say she is the Obama campaign’s greatest weapon in pointing out Democrats’ differences with Ms. Palin and Mr. McCain.

From the NYT.

Surely the literary quote of the year?

Much of the zest in English fiction comes from rogue individualists looking for new ways to lose money by leaving orphaned books for future scavengers to discover and promote.

Iain Sinclair in the Guardian while writing about a man called Roland Camberton, "the great invisible of English fiction" - it seems.

Tom and Now

Thanks Google.

Makes it all much easier. Betwixt continues, and will be back regularly soon.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Future of Polling

Since betting real money keeps people honest (to reduce their loses), markets with real money are considered a much better indicator of opinion than a mere poll — which has no “penalty” for being less than honest. But real money prediction markets are (stupidly) illegal in the US. So token markets like Long Bets and Bet2Give are devised to innovate around the law.

Kevin Kelly.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Get Happy!

Using data from the British Household Panel Survey, where people were asked about their sense of wellbeing, the researchers were able to draw up a map of happiness down to district level across England, Scotland and Wales.

After adding in factors such as employment, health and educational qualifications, the team found that the area of Brecknock, Montgomery and Radnor in Powys was the happiest place.

It's Wales.

Unmapped: good for driving

"Corporate cartographers are demolishing thousands of years of history - not to mention Britain's remarkable geography - at a stroke by not including them on maps which millions of us now use every day.

"We're in real danger of losing what makes maps so unique, giving us a feel for a place even if we've never been there."

The president of the British cartography society on new maps.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Even if this is fiction it is worrying...

...and the author is a novelist.

Live from the Obama afterparty (ft. Oprah).

"Nice to meet you, Congresswoman," our driver said a few minutes later as we exited and Friend Two led us purposefully toward a black town car that miraculously sat idling next to the bus we were planning to jump on.

I smiled magnanimously. What can I say? A dozen years of Catholic school might be a black mark on my record, but it made me a good liar and an even better politician.

From radar online.