Friday 18 July 2014

Just Blew In From The Windy City

A long hot day, too much to do and with little inclination to do it and interruptions, where politeness and patience is needed. So rather than make a misjudged hasty comment on present events this is restricted to something more technical.

This article today in the Telegraph by James Kirkup is not just another about the government reshuffle and the dumping of Michael Gove it's thrust is how politics have changed in the last decade or so and how the coming election might be very different from those before.

We are joining the 21st Century and it is not the same.

This is a sample:

"And this is where the next big change in political operations beckons, a change that offers the difference between trying to forecast the English weather by holding a licked finger to the wind while looking at the horizon, and American hurricane watchers using a network of GPS satellites to track anticyclonic activity patterns over the South Atlantic.

The 2012 US presidential election campaign was fought using data, almost unimaginable amounts of it, about voters: their finances, families, beliefs, even their television-watching habits and Facebook friends.

President Barack Obama’s successful re‑election campaign built a computer system, named Narwhal [after the tusked whale], that assembled more than 50 terabytes of data on voters. Printing that on paper would mean cutting down 2.5 million trees."


Quite what will happen and whether these changes do have salient effect we shall have to see.  But as a dedicated hurricane watcher since the day I took to the net, at least I understand what he is trying to say.  The picture above is of Doris Day in "Calamity Jane" explaining the rapidity of social change in Chicago to the inhabitants of Deadwood in the wildest of the West around 150 years ago.

Blow the wind southerly......

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