Department of How Stupid Do They Think We Are?
Facebook runs "emotional contagion" experiment on 600,000 users, without their informed consent, by manipulating their news feeds
We show, via a massive (N = 689,003) experiment on Facebook, that emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness. We provide experimental evidence that emotional contagion occurs without direct interaction between people (exposure to a friend expressing an emotion is sufficient), and in the complete absence of nonverbal cues.
Jeebus! Read below the fold...
Still plugging away covering a country on the other side of the world. Why? Because the Generals always want to turn off the Internet. They tried it in Egypt, along with cellphones (the reistance moved to flyers); they tried cutting off twitter in Turkey (it failed); and now they've tried it Thailand. Perhaps they may try it here! Of course, in Egypt the United States demanded that Egypt turn the Internet back on, but with what we know, I would bet that the NSA was ticked that it suddenly didn't have an surveillance data. That would probably be the NSA's view on shutting down the Internet in this country, so again, the methods the Thai generals use -- they are very adept at nudging their subjects with a light touch -- will be of interest to the powers that be; managing the Internet is so much more effective than simply turning it off! (And provides plenty of jobs for the boys, too, which the Thai Army knows very well.
So here's a twitter history of the junta's Facebook shutdown; think of the history as providing signs and portents you might want to watch the skies for. (Note that the Thais are heavy duty social media users; IIRC, the Bangkok airport was knocked from its perch at the top of Most Instagrammed Location Worldwide by a humongous Bangkok shopping mall. Social media, for good or ill, meshes well with the sociability and conviviality and sense of fun that are such distinctive features of Thai culture, so it's not at all surprising that Thais got ticked with the junta turned it off. No selfies! And we can back that up with data!
Hilarious. And sad. MT @RichardBarrow: Thai army takes control< 433 RT's 7-Eleven closes 10pm < 623 RT's FB blocked in Thailand < 970 RT's
— Greg (@BkkGreg) May 28, 2014
Anyhow, remember hearing the word "junta" a lot in the news when I was a kid; how thoughtful of the Thai Generals to make junta thing once more. Even if some might feel that word a bit heavy-handed. Even if the word is not the heavy handed thing:
— Pekka Oilinki (@oilinki) May 28, 2014
First, that was fast! So , why? Read below the fold...
The New York Times and Dave Leonhardt's Upshot section made a big splash a few days ago by reporting on a study showing that the Canadian middle class had caught the US middle class in median income and likely surpassed it since. The study is based on an effort to measure median income per capita after taxes, and its results are presented as something truly significant.
However, I think the study is biased in that in median income per capita after taxes, it selected the wrong measure. What is needed is a measure of income or affluence that takes account of the value of cross-national variations in Government benefits delivered to the middle classes. Since the United States has lower taxes than most comparable nations, but delivers much less in safety net and entitlement benefits, it's pretty clear that the measure used in the study reported on by The Times overestimates the real median income of the US middle class in comparison with the middle classes of other comparable nations and provides a misleading impression of the relative affluence of the American middle class. Read below the fold...
From the Times's FiveThirtyEight killer, The Upshot:
If you want to understand the 2014 midterm elections, remember this simple fact about American politics: There just aren’t that many swing voters.
Although the president’s party almost always loses seats in midterm elections, the size of the 2010 “shellacking,” to borrow President Obama’s description, created the impression that many voters had changed their minds about the president, his policy goals or his ability to get the country back on the right track between 2008 and 2010.
But only a small percentage of voters actually switched sides between 2008 and 2010. Moreover, there were almost as many John McCain voters who voted for a Democratic House candidate in 2010 as there were Obama voters who shifted the other way. That may be a surprise to some, but it comes from one of the largest longitudinal study of voters, YouGov’s Cooperative Campaign Analysis Project (C.C.A.P.), for which YouGov interviewed 45,000 people at multiple points during 2011 and 2012.
The results clearly show that voters in 2010 did not abandon the Democrats for the other side, but they did forsake the party in another important way: Many stayed home.
In other words -- lambert extrapolating here -- the 2010 result was the price Obama's rump faction of Democrats paid for 2008. (If Corrente is in any way representative, an open question, that's certainly true.) Read below the fold...
We seem to be reliving the 2008 campaign, so I thought I'd put up the talking points I use when Democratic loyalists play their trump card: "But Ralph Nader!"
Gore lost the Presidency because:
1. He followed Beltway conventional wisdom and ran away from Clinton's record even though Clinton's polling was very high;
Lately, Republicans have been riding the hobby horse of charging the President with being a dictator. Well clearly he is not that, or he would have had them imprisoned, or worse, a long time ago. On the other hand, the President's hands are far from clean when it comes to activities like illegal surveillance of Americans, drone strikes without due process, collusion of the Government with local authorities to repress Occupy exercising its rights of free speech and assembly, and failure to enforce the law with reference to torture of prisoners, and control frauds in the FIRE sector.Have I covered everything, or did I forget something?
Regardless, everything I've covered are anti-democracy activities that Republicans, apparently, have no problem with. On the other hand they're mightily concerned about the what they think is the President's “extremism” in increasingly relying on Executive Orders to get some of his objectives accomplished. Their faux outrage over this, centers around the claim that the President has issued an unusual amount of Executive Orders during his time in the Presidency. Read below the fold...
What if lawmakers put forward a federal budget plan to tax big financial institutions, enact a healthcare public option and increase spending to put millions of Americans to work on badly needed infrastructure projects?
They did. You just didn't read or hear much about it.Read below the fold...
Why abolishing the corporate income tax is good for American workersRead below the fold...
Editor’s Note: Our regular Social Security columnist Larry Kotlikoff is taking a week off from answering your Social Security questions. This week, he’s addressing readers’ concerns with his call in the New York Times to abolish the corporate income tax.
Our annual ritual is upon us: The President’s incantation of hope, recovery and promise, tinged with the need to do more will be met with applause of Congress—half of it, anyway. Television will recap in a postgame show analyzing the Republican and Democratic parties’ team scores.
How is our Union, really? Torn asunder. Going down for the third time. Circling the porcelain. Is there a post-speech Washington cocktail party discussing that? Probably not, as the Capitol does not live in the reality it creates. Read below the fold...
Yeah, because as we all know a Senator has so much more power than a President when it comes to the NSA. Read below the fold...
Time Magazine that bastion of Conventional Wisdom named Pope Francis as its Person of the Year. The whole notion of a Person of the Year is kind of hokey –there’s a word I haven’t used in a while. On one level, it’s a perpetuation of the Great Man view of history, that history is not made by the peoples of this world but by their leaders. You can see why this concept would be so attractive to the rich and elites who actually run things. Leaders, if they don’t come from these classes eventually join them, and their very notoriety distracts from the power the rich and elites wield. Read below the fold...
ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Dan Balz "he said/she said" whitewashes Obama's role in healthcare.gov debacle
My new acronym: SMFH (Shaking My Fucking Head). I don't know why I ever imagined that the November 1 deadline would be meaningful as anything other than a narrative hook; after all, these guys "met" the October 1 deadline -- by which I mean, "the October 1 fucking launch deadline" -- by launching system that wasn't completely tested, couldn't handle more than 500 users at a time before crashing, couldn't identify users properly, couldn't calculate premiums properly, couldn't calculate subsidies properly, corrupted data, and didn't even have any back office software, so the insurance companies couldn't do their billing properly. ("Yep, I'm done painting your house. Well, except for the final coat. And the primer. And I didn't do all the surface prep....") It then took these guys two weeks to figure out they had a problem and call a meeting. This after Obama's tech savvy administration had three (3) years to build the system, which was only Obama's "signature domestic initiative." I'm telling ya, I'm SMFH. Again, I wasn't nearly cynical enough!
Anyhow, back to November 1, it's no surprise that the gauzy "vast majority" baseline is and was bullshit, and such obvious bullshit even our famously free press is picking up on it. (Of course, they're pissed off at Obama for other reasons, but still.) So, now that I've got that off my chest, let's deconstruct this story from AP:
Year-End Signups Crucial Test for Health Care Site
Not bad, not least because it says, implicitly, that the November 1 deadline was not crucial. Even more amazing, however, the headline actually points out -- follow me closely here -- that the purpose of ObamaCare is to sell insurance* -- as opposed to collecting hits, or producing a pleasant user experience, or falling over at the slightest load like a cow tipped by a drunken frat boy. More: Read below the fold...
Film at 11, but the administration is about to declare the most definitely not relaunched ObamaCare website ("marketplace"), healthcare.gov, a success. Pass the victory gin:
HealthCare.gov will meet deadline for fixes, White House officials say
Administration officials are preparing to announce Sunday that they have met their Saturday deadline for improving HealthCare.gov, according to government officials, in part by expanding the site’s capacity so that it can handle 50,000 users at once. But they have yet to meet all their internal goals for repairing the federal health-care site, and it will not become clear how many consumers it can accommodate [about the lowest baseline you can set] until more people try to use it.
And they also appear to be doing some not-Expedia-like, not-Amazon-like things to make the site "work" that shouldn't come under the heading of repairs. For example, the waiting area: Read below the fold...