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Math

The Data Crunching Prowess of Barack Obama 334

Hugh Pickens writes "Micah Sifry, co-founder of the Personal Democracy Forum, writes that Barack Obama may be struggling in the polls and even losing support among his core boosters, but when it comes to the modern mechanics of identifying, connecting with and mobilizing voters, as well as the challenge of integrating voter information with the complex internal workings of a national campaign, Obama's data analysis team is way ahead of the Republican pack. Alone among the major candidates running for president, the Obama campaign not only has a Facebook page with 23 million 'likes' (roughly 10 times the total of all the Republicans running), it has a Facebook app that is scooping up all kinds of juicy facts about his supporters and inside the Obama operation, his staff members are using a powerful social networking tool called NationalField, which enables everyone to share what they are working on. 'The holy grail of data analysis is data harmonization, or master data management,' says Alex Lundry, a Republican data-mining expert at TargetPoint Consulting. 'To have political talking to finance and finance talking to field, and data is flowing back and forth and informing the actions of each other — it sounds easy, but it's incredibly hard to implement.' Sifry writes that if the 2012 election comes down to a battle of inches, where a few percentage points change in turnout in a few key states making all the difference, we may come to see Obama's investment in predictive modelers and data scientists as the key to victory."

Comment Re:Come on. (Score 2) 90

You may be correct on the Chinese fire sale. However, your assertion that the taxpayers of the United States are going to see all that money recouped is patently false at this time. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703916004576271382418887092.html http://www.autoblog.com/2011/04/21/report-fed-mulling-summer-sale-of-gm-stock-would-take-big-loss/ The stock owned by the government needed to be sold at $50/share to break even. But what's 11 billion dollars when you want to raise government spending by another 1.6 trillion? A rounding error, to be sure.

Comment Response to TFS (Score 1) 403

"So far I haven't heard anyone blame the Rock 'n Roll music, but if social networks aren't a good enough culprit, you could also try blaming video games." Love the snide tag there, Taco. While the discussion of turning off the social media is one that is disturbing, do you think they are considering this in response to some hooligans who are staying out late, smoking a cigarette or three? Perhaps you missed the chavs and chavettes stating that this was about showing the rich and the police that this was a demonstration that they could do what they wanted. As you seem to imply that this plan is a poor one, can you suggest a better plan? Here's mine - arm all shop owners with shot guns.

Comment Re:Bad. (Score 1) 932

Was the Stimulus Program not mean for "Shovel-ready" projects? Such as road improvement, bridge refurbishment, and other "necessary infrastructure" projects? Question: How much have state and local taxes risen on gasoline since the early 80's? Question: If the Federal Gas tax goes into a trust fund, and said trust fund is completely exhausted, does that mean that there have been no tax collections to cause said depletion? If not, then what other factors have affected the highway improvement costs? How have environmental sustainability studies, indigenous species reports, and unionized labor costs affected this fund's disbursements? Question: If construction is the primary driver of the unemployment figure (and I sincerely doubt that), then why have four years of non-construction not created a higher unemployment number? Question: Who was in charge of the Senate, House of Representatives, and Executive Branch up until 2010? Could you say that there would be some culpability by those parties in not passing that all-important SAFETEA legislation? Question: Those environmental studies - how effective are they? Question: How much does a petroleum company make off off a gallon of gasoline? 2-4 cents. Question: What is the combined amount of taxes on a gallon of gasoline, on average? 45-55 cents. Question: Is another 17 cent increase going to make things better, if as you point out, the current fund is tapped out, and unable to start work in a timely fashion?
Earth

Boeing 747 Recycled Into a Private Residence 239

Ponca City writes "Nicholas Jackson writes in the Atlantic about a woman who requested only curvilinear/feminine shapes for her new home and has purchased an entire Boeing 747-200. They transported it by helicopter to her 55-acre property in the remote hills of Malibu and after deconstructing it, had all 4,500,000 pieces put back together to form a main house and six ancillary structures including a meditation pavilion, an animal barn, and an art studio building. 'The scale of a 747 aircraft is enormous — over 230 feet long, 195 feet wide and 63 feet tall with over 17,000 cubic feet of cargo area alone and represents a tremendous amount of material for a very economical price of less than $50,000,' writes Architect David Hertz. 'In researching airplane wings and superimposing different airplane wing types on the site to scale, the wing of a 747, at over 2,500 sq. ft., became an ideal configuration to maximize the views and provide a self supporting roof with minimal additional structural support needed.' Called the 'Wing House,' as a structure and engineering achievement, the aircraft encloses an enormous amount of space using the least amount of materials in a very resourceful and efficient manner, and the recycling of the 4.5 million parts of this 'big aluminum can' is seen as an extreme example of sustainable reuse and appropriation. Interestingly enough, the architects had to register the roof of the house with the FAA so pilots flying overhead would not mistake it as a downed aircraft."
Earth

Debunking a Climate-Change Skeptic 807

DJRumpy writes "The Danish political scientist Bjørn Lomborg won fame and fans by arguing that many of the alarms sounded by environmental activists and scientists — that species are going extinct at a dangerous rate, that forests are disappearing, that climate change could be catastrophic — are bogus. A big reason Lomborg was taken seriously is that both of his books, The Skeptical Environmentalist (in 2001) and Cool It (in 2007), have extensive references, giving a seemingly authoritative source for every one of his controversial assertions. So in a display of altruistic masochism that we should all be grateful for (just as we're grateful that some people are willing to be dairy farmers), author Howard Friel has checked every single citation in Cool It. The result is The Lomborg Deception, which is being published by Yale University Press next month. It reveals that Lomborg's work is 'a mirage,' writes biologist Thomas Lovejoy in the foreword. '[I]t is a house of cards. Friel has used real scholarship to reveal the flimsy nature' of Lomborg's work."
Privacy

Senators Want To Punish Nokia, Siemens Over Iran 392

fast66 writes "After hearing about Nokia-Siemens sale of Internet-monitoring software to Iran, US Senators Schumer and Graham want to bar them from receiving federal contracts. They planned the action after hearing about a joint venture of Nokia Corp. of Finland and Siemens AG of Germany that sold a sophisticated Internet-monitoring system to Iran in 2008. According to Nextgov.com, Schumer and Graham's bill would require the Obama administration to identify foreign companies that export sensitive technology to Iran and ban them from bidding on federal contracts, or renew expiring ones, unless they first stop exports to Iran."
The Internet

What Data Center Designers Can Learn From Legos 210

1sockchuck writes "It takes most companies at least a year to build a new data center. Digital Realty Trust says it can build a new data center in just 20 weeks using standard designs and modular components that can be assembled on site. The company equates its 'building blocks' approach to data centers to building with Legos — albeit with customized parts (i.e. the Millennium Falcon Lego kit). Microsoft is taking a similar approach, packaging generators, switchgear and UPS units into pre-assembled components for rapid assembly. Is this the future of data center design?"
Image

Parrots Can Dance Screenshot-sm 104

juuri sends in an NPR article about the consensus created among scientists that some birds actually dance to music. "The results of this study are reported in the journal Current Biology, along with another scientific paper inspired by YouTube videos of dancing animals. Adena Schachner is a graduate student in the psychology department of Harvard University. She says she was familiar with the idea that some people had made videos of birds supposedly dancing. ... She and her colleagues eventually analyzed more than 5,000 videos. 'Imagine watching YouTube eight hours a day for a month,' she says. 'That's pretty much what we did. It was amusing for perhaps the first couple of hours.'" juuri adds, "While this makes them somewhat unique in the animal world, as only three animals are now known to dance by verifiable proofs, what struck me more was that this was the first time YouTube had helped forge a new scientific understanding. Given the explosive growth of uploading videos and people watching them, what other new understandings and popular misconceptions will be proven or disproved due to this emerging media?"

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