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By TheophileEscargot (Sat Jan 14, 2017 at 04:12:02 PM EST) (all tags)
Reading: "So you've been publicly shamed", "New Pompeii". Links.

What I'm Reading
So you've been publicly shamed by Jon Ronson. Short book looking at various people who have suffered through storms of outrage on social media. Some people definitely suffer serious consequences: losing their job, being out of work for considerable time. Afterwards they suffer from worry and paranoia about being rediscovered.

Also has some other bits of information. He compares it to historical and modern instances of public shaming. He doesn't really come up with any satisfactory response. Some who can afford it hire SEOs to push the results a page or two down the Google results.

Overall, fairly interesting.

What I'm Reading 2
New Pompeii by Daniel Godfrey. Science fiction: a corporation develops technology to pluck objects and people from the past. They use it to restore the town of Pompeii into the modern world, but find the inhabitants less malleable than they hoped.

I really enjoyed this. The science fiction elements are set up well. The Pompeiians seems plausible. If you're interested in science fiction or ancient Rome, well worth reading.

It's projected to be the first in a series but works fine as a standalone.

Socioeconomics. Algorithmic price fixing may keep prices high in markets you would expect to be competitive. Piketty on productivity in France and Germany.

Sci/Tech. Neuron manipulation makes mice into killers. "Alien Megastructure" May Actually Be Scraps of an Ingested Planet.

Books. Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Coming in 2017. Michael Moorcock on Arthur C. Clarke. The Devil and Hilary Mantel.

Articles. What's right with UK universities. Dark side of Cottingley Fairy hoax. Law professor challenges traffic ticket. A Handy Guide to the Archaeology of Rogue One. Woman wears men's clothes for a month.

Politics. Deep state goes to war with Trump. How the Brexit referendum was won. Classic Dominic Cummings: ridiculously long, some infuriating cod philosophy and some fascinating insider details.

Instead of spending a fortune on an expensive agency... and putting up posters to be 'part of the national conversation' weeks or months before the vote, we decided to 1) hire extremely smart physicists to consider everything from first principles, 2) put almost all our money into digital (~98%), 3) hold the vast majority of our budget back and drop it all right at the end with money spent on those adverts that experiments had shown were most effective.
About 80% of the country including almost all swing voters agreed with UKIP that immigration was out of control... This was true across party lines.

This was brought home to me very starkly one day. I was conducting focus groups of Conservative voters. I talked with them about immigration for 20 minutes (all focus groups now start with immigration and tend to revert to it within two minutes unless you stop them). We then moved onto the economy. After two minutes of listening I was puzzled and said – who did you vote for? Labour they all said. An admin error by the company meant that I had been talking to core Labour voters, not core Tory voters. On the subject of immigration, these working class / lower middle class people were practically indistinguishable from all the Tories and UKIP people I had been talking to.
There are already myths about some of these events. The press conference of 24 June is now written up as [Boris Johnson and Michael Gove] 'terrified of what they had done' but this is completely wrong. They were subdued partly because they were genuinely sad about Cameron and partly because they did not want to be seen as dancing on his grave. Some of the media created the psychologically compelling story that they were regretful / frightened about victory but this was not at all their mood in HQ on the morning of 24 June. Boris came in punching the air like Maradona after a great goal, hugging staff and clearly euphoric. It is completely wrong to portray him as regretful.
Roland Rudd and others have attacked them for their basic strategy of focus on the economy and argue there should have been 'a positive campaign for the EU'. WRONG. Cameron and Osborne were right about this big call. There was not enough time or money to change basic attitudes. As the campaign developed and there were signs of pressure from Rudd and others I crossed my fingers and hoped they would shift strategy. No10 were right to ignore him.
Since losing many inside the IN campaign now talk dejectedly as if they could never have won and tell rationalising fairy tales. They are wrong. They almost did win. Some have latched onto the idea that they were overwhelmed by an epic, global force of 'right-wing populism'. Mandelson defends himself by saying 48% looks 'like a miracle' given the populist tide. Most have latched onto the idea that their 'complex truth' was overwhelmed by 'simple lies' and they are happy with their comforting 'post-truth' sobriquet – a delusion that leaves them very vulnerable to being shocked again. Many have even argued that they lost because they could not persuade Corbyn to make more speeches.

These stories are psychologically preferable to the idea that their own errors caused defeat (just as it is for some of those in Hilary's campaign) but should not be taken seriously.

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Devil Woman | 1 comment (1 topical, 0 hidden)
Price fixing by dark nowhere (4.00 / 1) #1 Sun Jan 15, 2017 at 02:46:54 AM EST
I remember a few years back when pricing data was being mined to inform prices. You set two of these miners on one another and you get a strange bidding war. I remember it getting very messy, and the takeaway was clearly that they would need to converge on something reasonable no matter what the other party did.

See you, space cowboy.

Devil Woman | 1 comment (1 topical, 0 hidden)