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Science News

Red state, blue state

Resizing geographic areas by population gives more accurate view of 2012 election
In a typical election map (top), states are red or blue to indicate whether a majority of their voters voted for the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, or the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. Election cartograms by population numbers (middle) or electoral votes (bottom) give a more accurate visual representation of the election results.By Rachel Ehrenberg

The seemingly unending election cycle may have left you battle-weary and bleary-eyed, but that’s not why physicist Mark Newman’s election maps look distorted. He makes cartograms, maps in which familiar shapes are morphed to represent something other than just area.

In a normal map (top), it’s hard to tell who won the 2012 presidential election; in fact, the map looks dominated by red. But using an approach that treats population as a diffusing fluid, Newman, of the University of Michigan, made election maps that visually represent the distribution of votes (popular vote in middle, and electoral votes at bottom).

In the cartograms, state size is shaped by population numbers, so in the popular vote map Rhode Island is about twice the size of Wyoming. While Obama did win the overall popular vote, it’s the electoral college that matters: Note in the bottom map that least-populated states Wyoming and Vermont have nearly doubled in size from the population representation.

Technology News

An Analysis of a Perpetual Motion Machine

Perpetual Motion MachineBy Rhett Allain

Everyone loves perpetual motion machines. They are a representation of the highest level of creativity in finding loopholes in the laws of physics. Let’s take a look at this one.

What is a perpetual motion machine? Wikipedia defines it as a machine that has a continuous motion without any energy inputs. Of course, this is practically impossible since you can never fully eliminate the frictional forces. Although we say it’s impossible, people still like to come up with ideas. Perpetual motion machines are sort of like playing the lottery. People think they have a much higher chance of winning than their actual chance of winning.

Environmental News

Sea level rise overflowing estimates

Feedback mechanisms are speeding up ice melt
Global warming feedbacks are speeding up the rise of sea level, which is expected to rise 1 meter by 2100. If the East and West Antarctic ice sheets melted, waters would rise by about 80 meters, submerging Florida and the Gulf Coast.By Tanya Lewis

Sea levels may swell much higher than previously predicted, thanks to feedback mechanisms that are speeding up ice melt in Greenland and Antarctica.

Climate simulations need to take such feedbacks into account, William Hay, a geologist at the University of Colorado Boulder, told the Geological Society of America meeting in Charlotte, N.C., on November 4. So far the models haven’t incorporated such information because “it just makes them much more complicated,” he says.

Many scientists share Hay’s concerns, says geologist Harold Wanless of the University of Miami. “The rate at which ice melt and sea level rise is happening is far faster than anything predicted,” he says.

Global sea levels rose an average of about 15 centimeters over the past century. Current data suggest they will rise another 1 meter by the year 2100, and some scientists predict far more. But the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projected a rise of just 0.2–0.6 meters over the same time period. “The data weren’t available in 2007 to say Greenland and Antarctica were melting,” says earth scientist Benjamin Horton of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. “Sea levels are going to be greater than the upper estimate of the 2007 IPCC, but the big question is, when?”

Medical News

Your brain on speed dating

Activity in two regions helps calculate compatibility with potential mates
Love brainBy Laura Sanders

In the fraught, emotional world of speed dating, scientific calculations don’t usually hold much sway. But the brain runs a complex series of computations to tally the allure of a prospective partner in just seconds, a new study finds. And the strength of these brain signals predicted which speed daters would go on to score a match.

The results help explain how people evaluate others — a process that happens at lightning speed, says neuroscientist Daniela Schiller of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. “It’s a gut feeling, but here, the paper dissects it for us and tells us, ‘This is what we calculate.’”

Scientists led by Jeffrey Cooper, who conducted the work at Trinity College Dublin and Caltech, scanned the brains of single volunteers as they looked at pictures of potential dating partners. Although it’s hard to put a number on people by a photo alone, researchers made volunteers rate on a scale of 1 to 4 how much they’d like to go on a date with the person in the photograph.

In contrast to many other lab-based experiments on decision making, this exercise wasn’t just academic: Later, the participants attended three real speed-dating events loaded with many of the potential partners seen in the photos. Like a normal speed-dating scenario, volunteers’ contact information was exchanged if both of the people wanted to follow up. (Also like a typical scenario, there weren’t many love connections, says Cooper. When the scientists checked in six weeks later, only a few couples had gone on real dates.)

Space News

The Milky Way’s Black Hole Shoots Out Brightest Flare Ever

This false-color image shows the central region of our Milky Way Galaxy as seen by Chandra. The bright, point-like source at the center of the image was produced by a huge X-ray flare that occurred in the vicinity of the supermassive black hole at the center of our Nancy Atkinson

“Suddenly, for whatever reason, Sagittarius A* is eating a lot more,” said Michael Nowak, a research scientist at MIT Kavli and co-author of a new paper in the Astrophysical Journal. “One theory is that every so often, an asteroid gets close to the black hole, the black hole stretches and rips it to pieces, and eats the material and turns it into radiation, so you see these big flares.”

Astronomers detect black holes by the light energy given off as they swallow nearby matter. The centers of newborn galaxies and quasars can appear extremely bright, giving off massive amounts of energy as they devour their surroundings. As black holes age, they tend to slow down, consuming less and appearing fainter in the sky.

“Everyone has this picture of black holes as vacuum sweepers, that they suck up absolutely everything,” says Frederick K. Baganoff, another co-author from MIT. “But in this really low-accretion-rate state, they’re really finicky eaters, and for some reason they actually blow away most of the energy.”

While such events like this big blast appear to be relatively rare, Nowak suspects that flare-ups may occur more frequently than scientists expect. The team has reserved more than a month of time on the Chandra Observatory to study Sagittarius A* in hopes of identifying more flares, and possibly what’s causing them.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Better late (and short) than never?!? (23+ / 0-)

    "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." - Thomas Jefferson

    by rfall on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 09:42:20 PM PST

  •  Joe Biden lands cameo on "Parks and Recreation" (21+ / 0-)

    Leslie Knope is finally meeting the man of her dreams. Well, half the man. No, not Ben Wyatt – Vice President Joe Biden, who will guest star in the November 15th episode of NBC's Parks and Recreation, Entertainment Weekly reports. Knope – a city councilwoman in fictional Pawnee, Indiana, played by Amy Poehler – once described her perfect man as needing "to have the brains of George Clooney and the body of Joe Biden."

    In the show, Leslie's fiancé Ben (Adam Scott) arranges a meeting at the White House with Biden as a surprise engagement present. The vice president will appear at the beginning of the episode, in a scene that is less than a minute long (and was written in a way that would work regardless of who won Tuesday's election).

    - Rolling Stone

  •  Thanks rfall. (15+ / 0-)

    It's comforting to know a few others are still up this late.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 09:49:27 PM PST

  •  zomg stupid rumor floating (10+ / 0-)

    save me

    jon the traitor huntsman as secretary of state!  

    Ted Kennedy: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die…”

    by jlms qkw on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 09:52:47 PM PST

  •  also here in utah: (13+ / 0-)

    Murray Coal Lays Off 102, Blames Obama

    A Utah coal company owned by a vocal critic of President Barack Obama has laid off 102 miners.

    The layoffs at the West Ridge Mine are effective immediately, according to UtahAmerican Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Murray Energy Corp. They were announced in a short statement made public Thursday, two days after Obama won re-election.

    The layoffs are necessary because of the president's "war on coal," the statement said. The slogan is one used frequently during the election by Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray, who was an ardent supporter of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

    Bob Murray, murderer and ardent don't pay your workers supporter.  that guy.

    i have got to have a bubbly bath now.  it's still 66f in here but i am soooo cold.  and the wind is blow blow blowing!  

    Ted Kennedy: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die…”

    by jlms qkw on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 09:55:31 PM PST

  •  hi rfall ... (9+ / 0-)

    Good to see you. Hope your trip went smoothly.

    The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.― Neil deGrasse Tyson

    by maggiejean on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 09:58:49 PM PST

  •  Election news from (9+ / 0-)

    Continuing from where I left off yesterday.

    Democrats sweep Washtenaw County's Michigan House contests

    Washtenaw County's delegation to the Michigan House of Representatives will look very different in 2013 than it has for the past two years.

    Before Tuesday's election, two Democrats, Jeff Irwin and David Rutledge, represented the county's two largest cities, Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, along with some of the area outside and to the east of Ypsilanti, in the 53rd and 54th districts.  Two Republicans, Mark Ouimet and Rick Olson, represented the rest of the county in the 52nd and 55th districts.

    After Tuesday's election, all four State House districts will be represented by Democrats.  The two Democratic incumbents won re-election, while Olson retired and was replaced by Adam Zemke and Ouimet lost to Saline Mayor Gretchen Driskell.

    The two new State Representatives formed part of a five-seat swing in the Michigan House in favor of the Democrats.  Even so, Republicans still hold a 59-51 majority in the chamber.

    This was another good news for Democrats article.  As for what's still left to write, I think I'll work on the Michigan Supreme Court and the educational governing boards next.  After that, I'll have to see how much time I have and what has done, as I don't need to duplicate their articles.  I only have until 72 hours after the information becomes available to write a story consided newsworthy.  I'm taking that as 4 AM Saturday, as the all the votes in Washtenaw County were counted by 4 AM Wednesday.

    "The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butthead." ~ Paul Krugman.

    by Neon Vincent on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 10:01:19 PM PST

  •  Who will be the next SOS? (8+ / 0-)

    Bloomberg: UN Envoy Susan Rice Is Top Candidate to Succeed Clinton

    Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is emerging as the favored candidate to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, even with the political controversy over her remarks about the fatal Sept. 11 attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

    Six current or former White House officials, who all spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said Rice remains close to President Barack Obama and shares many of his views on foreign policy. They emphasized that the president hasn’t made a final decision, and Clinton may remain in her post for some months into Obama’s second term.

    Former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley and other officials said Obama’s first move will be choosing a successor to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. He also may need to find successors to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, the officials said.

    Rice is thought to be the president’s preferred choice over two other strong candidates, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry of Massachusetts and National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, according to the current and former administration officials.

    My guess is that if Rice becomes the nominee for SoS and Panetta leaves the head of the DoD, then Kerry will be Obama's SoD nominee.
  •  Doctors Without Borders set-up in NY (10+ / 0-)

    Outside: Far Rockaway: Global Diaster Zone

    International humanitarian-aid group Doctors Without Borders, best known for conducting emergency health care interventions in war-torn countries, set up a makeshift clinic for Hurricane Sandy victims in one of New York’s worst-hit communities to fill in the gaps in the government’s response. Matthew Power joined volunteer physicians for a day in the field during the group’s first operation on U.S. soil.


    After one of the worst disasters in its history, indomitable New York City seemed to be dusting itself off and returning to some semblance of its usual frenetic normalcy.


    Nearby, in Far Rockaway, an impoverished enclave of wood-frame houses and brick public-housing towers stacked along the beach at the far terminus of the A train, there was little evidence of the government relief effort that was assembling just a few miles west.


    A vast relief effort led by city, state, and federal agencies was under way, but the affected area was so widespread that many people, particularly along the poorer, low-lying margins of the city, felt forgotten and abandoned by their government. Lights were on in Manhattan, but a week after the storm there were still pockets, like Far Rockaway, that had received scant aid. When Mayor Michael Bloomberg visited the neighborhood a few days earlier, one desperate and frustrated woman screamed at him in front of rolling news cameras: “Where’s the help? Where’s the fucking help?”

    A block in from what remained of the beach and its shattered boardwalk, in a community meeting room on the ground floor of the darkened Ocean Village apartment towers, the international humanitarian-aid group Doctors Without Borders had set up an emergency clinic with a volunteer staff of a dozen or so doctors, nurses, and assorted health professionals. A folding table was piled high with medical supplies, and a sheet strung up in a corner created a makeshift private screening area.

  •  National Schadenfreude Day (13+ / 0-)

    Charlie Pierce @ Esquire: The Real Problem with the Demented Republican Party

    thought I'd wait until the National Schadenfreude Day celebrations had died down a bit before examining some of what happened on Tuesday night, in which we elected a new Democratic president and a whole binder full of new Democratic lady senators, but during which, because I was down reporting in the Duchy of Grand Clusterfkistan, I was tasked with following the election from a state in which the election just ended. Rock, paper, scissors, kids. Best three out of five. Florida doesn't need UN observers. It needs exorcists.

    The Republicans, of course, are all in a hilarious tizzy about how it all went sour. Was Romney the wrong candidate? (Of course he was. Nominating G.I. Luvmoney four years after his best pals nearly burned down the world was almost as stupid as nominating one of the other clowns in the clown car would have been. Oops. Paradox! Alert! Alert! Arrrrrooooooooogaaaahhh!!) Was the "message" bad? (Of course it was. It's been bad for 30 years. The country's just been catching up to how godawful it is. Hint: You've lost the official popular vote in four of the last five presidential elections, and the one you "won" has an asterisk the size of Alpha Centauri hung on it.) Was the moon in the seventh house? In my capacity as Gracious Winner, let me suggest an alternative general theory.

    You lost because your party has become demented.

  •  Obama has the upper hand (6+ / 0-)

    Joshua Green  @ BusinessWeek: Obama's Holding the Cards

    At first glance, the results of the 2012 election look like a return to the status quo: President Obama was reelected, Democrats retained the Senate, and Republicans held on to the House. But don’t be fooled. The political dynamic of the next four years will be almost exactly the opposite of the last four.


    To keep the economy afloat, the White House cut the deals it felt it had to. Many, such as Obama’s agreement to extend all of the Bush tax cuts in 2010, were poorly received by Democrats. Now comes the payoff. The expiration of those cuts and the automatic reductions set to take effect at year’s end—the so-called fiscal cliff—mean that Obama and the Democrats can gain a huge source of new revenue by doing nothing at all. Republican priorities are the ones suddenly in peril. The combination of tax increases on the rich, higher capital-gains taxes, and sharp cuts in defense spending have congressional Republicans deeply worried. To mitigate these, they’ll have to bargain.

    Despite their post-election tough talk, Republican leaders have dealt themselves a lousy hand. Obama can propose a “middle-class tax cut” for the 98 percent of American households earning less than $250,000 a year—while letting the Bush tax cuts expire for those earning more—and dare the Republicans to block it. If they do, everyone’s taxes will rise on Jan. 1. It’s true that going over the fiscal cliff, as some Democrats believe will happen, would set back the recovery and could eventually cause a recession. But Democratic leaders in Congress believe the public furor would be too intense for Republicans to withstand for long.

    Going over the cliff would also weaken the Republicans’ greatest point of leverage: renewing their threat to default on the national debt. Right now, the Treasury expects to hit the debt ceiling in February. But if the cliff can’t be avoided, tax rates will rise and government coffers will swell, delaying the date of default—thus diminishing the Republicans’ advantage.

  •  Cartograms? Cool! :) (7+ / 0-)

    Takes me back to 6 years ago and my very first dkos diary evah!

    What cracks me up right off the bat is my title, in which I described by diary as both "cool" and "in-depth!" LOL!

    Debunking the Myth of RedState America: Cool Maps & In-depth Analysis

  •  The universe is running out of new stars (8+ / 0-)

    Wired: Study: The Universe Has Almost Stopped Making New Stars

    Most of the stars that will ever exist have already been born, according to the most comprehensive survey of the age of the night sky.

    An international team of astronomers used three telescopes — the UK Infrared Telescope and the Subaru Telescope, both in Hawaii, and Chile’s Very Large Telescope — to study trends in star formation, from the earliest days of the universe. Extrapolating their findings has revealed that half of all the stars that have ever existed were created between 9 and 11 billion years ago, with the other half created in the years since. That means that rate at which new stars are born has dropped off massively, to the extent that (if this trend continues) 95 percent of all the stars that this universe will ever see have already been born.


    Unfortunately, then, it looks like our universe is running out of steam — in only a few more billion years, the study predicts, we may well be seeing the very last star that will ever be born. That’s if humans manage to survive that long, of course.

  •  Flight emergency (6+ / 0-)
    Praying passenger diverts flight from Denver to DC

    DENVER –  A United Airlines flight from Denver has landed safely in Washington, D.C., after its crew reported an emergency because a passenger began praying in an aisle.

    KUSA-TV reports the plane was escorted by military jets after the crew declared the emergency. The plane landed Thursday at Dulles International Airport.

    The Denver TV station reports that the crew made the decision because a male passenger started praying in the middle of an aisle.

    A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

    by Pluto on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 10:19:58 PM PST

  •  "Zerg Rush" (7+ / 0-)

    Here's the just released teaser trailer for the adaption of Max Brooks' novel 'World War Z,' directed by Marc Forster and starring Brad Pitt & Mirielle Enos.

    Usually with Zombie stories, the focus is on a small group of people holed up in a mall or a house, with the characters (and the audience) only getting sporadic reports about the conditions in the rest of the world. And more often than not, as the story continues, the news becomes grimmer & grimmer until there's no news at all & it's implied that civilization has collapsed.

    'World War Z' is different in that its main focus is on how the world's governments respond (or don't) to a zombie apocalypse, and ultimately have to fight a "zombie war" that nearly causes the extinction of mankind.

    The story revolves around United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Pitt), who traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatening to decimate humanity itself.

    'World War Z' also features Mirielle Enos, Bryan Cranston, Matthew Fox, James Badge Dale, Elyes Gabel and David Morse.

    There are a couple of aspects about this film that are interesting. (mild spoilers for the book from this point forward.)

    Firstly, judging from the trailer, the film seems to deviate from the book... a lot. While there are recognizable elements from the book (chaos in New York City, the IDF making their stand on "The Wall," etc.), the format of the book is a series of stories told to a UN investigator (Pitt's character) after the war, and this was reportedly one of the problems the production had in adapting the film. Also, in the book the zombies are not fast, and do not run. The obvious reason they changed them from the slow, lumbering kind to the fast, rabid suckers that chase people down is that if you spend $200 million on a film, it's got to look like an action film so they can market it as one.

    However, while the book has elements that lend themselves to being in action movie, it's not really an action story. Brooks' story is really a satire, since it has a combination of horror, drama, and sociopolitical commentary. For example, the story is as much about how the governments of the world ignore the problem until it's too late, as it is about the "war" fought to stop the zombies. Most governments deny the problem's existence, and do little to nothing to combat it as the evidence mounts and the problem escalates (which could be seen as an allegory for the response to the HIV virus & AIDS). One of the pivotal moments in the book is "The Battle of Yonkers," which sort of posits what might happen if the government attempted to mount a huge "Shock and Awe" media spectacle, and everything that could go wrong does go wrong.

    Reviewers have noted that Brooks uses World War Z as a platform to criticize government ineptitude, corporate corruption and human short-sightedness. At one point in the book, a Palestinian youth living in Kuwait refuses to believe that the dead are rising, fearing it is a trick by Israel. Many American characters blame the United States' inability to counter the zombie threat on low confidence in the government due to conflicts in the Middle East. Brooks also shows his particular dislike of government bureaucracy. One character in the novel tries to justify lying about the zombie outbreak to avoid widespread panic, while at the same time failing to develop a solution for fear of arousing public ire. Alden Utter, a reviewer for The Eagle, notes similarities between the government's response in the novel and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina: "Early warnings are missed, crucial reports go unheeded, profiteers make millions selling placebos, the army equips itself with tools perfect for the last war they fought and populations ignore the extent of threat until it is staring them in the face — this is, surprisingly, a post-Katrina zombie tale."
    The other aspect of this film that's interesting is that reportedly the production of it was an absolute mess. In fact, this film was supposed to be a 2012 Christmas release. However, the entire third act had to be rewritten (by "Lost" producer Damon Lindelof) & reshot. Also, the relationship between the director Marc Forster & Brad Pitt broke down to the point that they had to communicate with each other through a third party.

    From the Hollywood Reporter:

    “A nightmare from top to bottom,” describes one source with ties to the production, which appears to have been hampered from the outset by a lack of clear creative direction. Pitt hired the director of his choosing, Marc Forster (The Kite Runner, Finding Neverland), but Forster -- who has limited experience on effects-heavy tentpoles -- was not allowed to bring along his usual team. Instead, several more seasoned players were hired. The result, say multiple sources, is a seemingly headless enterprise driven by conflicts. At this point, the movie, with a price tag now said to be north of $170 million, needs as many as five weeks of complex reshoots, which are not expected to get underway until at least September. Paramount has taken the unusual step of hiring Prometheus scriptwriter Damon Lindelof to rework the film’s third act. The studio announced in March that it was moving the film to June 2013 from December.

    Trouble emerged early: Three weeks before shooting was to begin in June 2011, sources say Forster had not made critical decisions about what the zombies would look like and how they would move. “They just couldn’t get it right,” one insider says. “There was a lot of spinning of plates, a lot of talking. [But] they did not have a plan.”

  •  Ginning up a war with Iran (7+ / 0-)

    Reuters: Iran fired on U.S. drone over Gulf: Pentagon

    Iranian warplanes fired at an unarmed U.S. drone in international airspace last week but did not hit the aircraft, the Pentagon said on Thursday, disclosing details of an unprecedented incident that triggered a formal warning to Tehran through diplomatic channels.

    The November 1 intercept was the first time Tehran had fired at an unmanned American aircraft, in a stark reminder of how tensions between the United States and Iran could escalate quickly into violence.

    If Iran had hit the drone, as the Pentagon believes it was trying to do, it could have forced American retaliation - with the potential consequences that entails.

  •  Obama's headed to Burma (Myanmar) (5+ / 0-)

    Guardian: Barack Obama to visit Burma 'this month'

    President Barack Obama plans to visit Burma on 19 November and meet both his counterpart, Thein Sein, and Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, a senior government source in the country has said.

    Obama's visit would be further strong endorsement by the international community of Burma's transformation under the quasi-civilian government of Thein Sein, who took office in March 2011 to end half a century of military rule. Obama would be the first serving US president to visit Burma.

    "So far as I understand, President Obama is coming to Myanmar on 19 November and he will meet both President U Thein Sein and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, of course on separate occasions," the government official said on Thursday, using honorifics and asking not to be identified as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

  •  Obama's Data Mines (7+ / 0-)

    Time: Inside the Secret World of the Data Crunchers Who Helped Obama Win

    On Nov. 4, a group of senior campaign advisers agreed to describe their cutting-edge efforts with TIME on the condition that they not be named and that the information not be published until after the winner was declared. What they revealed as they pulled back the curtain was a massive data effort that helped Obama raise $1 billion, remade the process of targeting TV ads and created detailed models of swing-state voters that could be used to increase the effectiveness of everything from phone calls and door knocks to direct mailings and social media.

    For all the praise Obama’s team won in 2008 for its high-tech wizardry, its success masked a huge weakness: too many databases. Back then, volunteers making phone calls through the Obama website were working off lists that differed from the lists used by callers in the campaign office. Get-out-the-vote lists were never reconciled with fundraising lists. It was like the FBI and the CIA before 9/11: the two camps never shared data. “We analyzed very early that the problem in Democratic politics was you had databases all over the place,” said one of the officials. “None of them talked to each other.” So over the first 18 months, the campaign started over, creating a single massive system that could merge the information collected from pollsters, fundraisers, field workers and consumer databases as well as social-media and mobile contacts with the main Democratic voter files in the swing states.

    The new megafile didn’t just tell the campaign how to find voters and get their attention; it also allowed the number crunchers to run tests predicting which types of people would be persuaded by certain kinds of appeals. Call lists in field offices, for instance, didn’t just list names and numbers; they also ranked names in order of their persuadability, with the campaign’s most important priorities first. About 75% of the determining factors were basics like age, sex, race, neighborhood and voting record. Consumer data about voters helped round out the picture. “We could [predict] people who were going to give online. We could model people who were going to give through mail. We could model volunteers,” said one of the senior advisers about the predictive profiles built by the data. “In the end, modeling became something way bigger for us in ’12 than in ’08 because it made our time more efficient.”

    •  they even found me! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and I am way off the normal glide path...I heard noise out front and I went out to find two beautiful 30 something wymen in Obama teeshirts looking for me (oh see if I voted yet..yes.)(still happy but a different kind of happy..)

      I did push thru my remorse to say thank you for your efforts and may PBO be which she said, 'wouldn't it be awful to be precinct walking for Romney?' which I said 'I hear if you are a registered repub you get a robocall from roboWillard asking if you had voted yet and why not?

      We both said, 'eeech, creepy!'

      so we three bonded for that very short moment and they said goodbye and walked mmm beautifully away, checking me off their lists.

      I felt so happily used.

      This machine kills Fascists.

      by KenBee on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 12:28:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hu Do You Love? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jlms qkw, 2thanks, maggiejean, palantir, KenBee

    China Daily: Hu sets out path for future

    Unswervingly follow the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, combat corruption and lose no time in deepening reform, including political reform — these are among the goals Party chief Hu Jintao set at a landmark congress, held every five years, in Beijing.

    "The issue of what path we take is of vital importance for the survival of the Party, the future of China, the destiny of the nation, and the well-being of the people," Hu, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, said on Thursday at the opening of the CPC's 18th National Congress.


    "All those who violate Party discipline and State laws, whoever they are and whatever power or official positions they have, must be brought to justice without mercy," he added.


    The CPC should place greater emphasis on improving the way the Party exercises leadership and governance to ensure that it leads the people in effectively governing the country.

    "However, we will never copy a Western political system," he said.

  •  Assad vows to die before he leaves Syria (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maggiejean, palantir, Neon Vincent, KenBee

    Guardian: Bashar al-Assad vows to 'live or die' in Syria

    Bashar al-Assad has vowed to "live or die" in Syria, warning against any foreign intervention in the crisis and defending his war-torn country as the "last stronghold of secularism and stability" in the region.

    Speaking to Russia Today TV, the Syrian president made clear he had no intention of fleeing abroad – days after David Cameron suggested he could be offered "safe passage" if he stepped down.

    "I am not a puppet. I was not made by the west to go to the west or to any other country," Assad said during the interview, to be broadcast on Friday. "I am Syrian, I was made in Syria, I have to live in Syria and die in Syria. I do not think the west is going [to intervene], but if they do so, nobody can tell what is next. I think the price of this invasion if it happened is going to be more than the whole world can afford."

  •  Next for 538? "Calculate compatibility" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maggiejean, palantir, Neon Vincent, KenBee

    ScienceNews: Your brain on speed dating: Activity in two regions helps calculate compatibility with potential mates

    In the fraught, emotional world of speed dating, scientific calculations don’t usually hold much sway. But the brain runs a complex series of computations to tally the allure of a prospective partner in just seconds, a new study finds. And the strength of these brain signals predicted which speed daters would go on to score a match.

    The results help explain how people evaluate others — a process that happens at lightning speed, says neuroscientist Daniela Schiller of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. “It’s a gut feeling, but here, the paper dissects it for us and tells us, ‘This is what we calculate.’”


    The results capture what’s happening in society, says Schiller. In the digital jungle of online dating, first impressions are increasingly being made with a photo. “In the past, we went with a gut feeling,” she says. “Now in modern society, we do make these calculations, we rank and reference and give a number.”

  •  166 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The world is a college of corporations, the world is a business Mr. Beale - Network ~ Montana initiative 166: corporations are not entitled to constitutional rights because they are not human beings; in MT money is not speech; it's property.

    by anyname on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 11:04:04 PM PST

  •  You want onesies? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I got your onesies right here. :-)

    We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

    by Samer on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 11:20:39 PM PST

  •  OFA (0+ / 0-)


    When Obama campaign officials look at a map of the U.S., they see any number of viable routes toward the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the presidency.

    Dec 29, 2011

    image -pic

    The world is a college of corporations, the world is a business Mr. Beale - Network ~ Montana initiative 166: corporations are not entitled to constitutional rights because they are not human beings; in MT money is not speech; it's property.

    by anyname on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 05:48:42 AM PST

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