All posts filed under: Politics

Fracking Earthquakes In Search Of A Headline

In seismic shift, Britain orders immediate moratorium on fracking That’s a Reuter’s headline from today. A seismic shift in position to match the seismic events – the earthquakes that have followed fracking explorations in the north of England. Such low-hanging fruit is better left hanging on the tree. The pun on the word seismic is too cute, and better resisted. The facts cry out for a headline that puns, the journalists might say. Well, not exactly the facts, some assert. Some say that the statement is just a pre-elction publicity stunt, and that the Government will reverse its position as soon as (if) it wins the election on December 12th. It’s a hard one to come back from, but some people believe that some Governments change their minds, or never intended to carry out their promise in the first place. They fudge evidence and show how contrary to what they said earlier, the truth is now the opposite. A decent amount of time, a few months, other more important business to conduct, and a quiet …

Project 100,000

There’s a scene in the film Full Metal Jacket where a raw recruit joins the platoon and is instructed not to leave the path. He is of limited ability and unable to follow instructions. No sooner does he join the platoon than he leaves the path and is skewered in a Vietcong man trap. In Apocalypse Now there’s a scene where the young soldier, hardly able to follow any orders, wasted on dope, starts shooting wildly. He is out of control, as much a terrified observer as an active combatant. And in Forrest Gump the hero joins the army and miraculously manages to survive and do well despite being odd and below average in IQ. The way things work out well for him are fantastical. That’s a device used repeatedly in the film. The connection between Full Metal Jacket, Apocalypse Now, and Forrest Gump is the that the war in question in each film is the Vietnam War. You might wonder how men of below average IQ ever got into the army. I knew people from poor backgrounds, disproportionately black, were the ones who were …

From ‘The Great Hack’

Netflix showed a documentary about what went on in the campaigns to change people’s viewpoints in the US election and the EU referendum. Christopher Wylie, the data scientist who worked for Cambridge Analytica said: Cambridge Analytica are not a data analysis company: They are a data propaganda company. About an hour into the video, Alexander Nix of Cambridge Analytica said: We are a behaviour change agency Brittany Kaiser, who worked for Cambridge Analytica, said they used the data they got from those who did Facebook quizzes – which also gave them access to the data of those people’s friends. Armed with that they profiled millions of US voters and then targeted those who were ripe to be persuaded – the ‘persuadables’ as they called them. They sent them ‘news’ (real and fake) until, as she said: …they saw the world the way we wanted them to see it. The parent company of Cambridge Analytica is/was SCL, which started out as a military contractor contracted to use research to influence behaviour of hostile audiences. SCL was …