For many years, the Worlding.org used to be invited friendly “Oscar Parties”– not the Hollywood kind, but the sorts of parties where guests bet on who they think will win awards. Unlike guests who would bet their own hunches, we would just copy the newspaper predictions. And we would always win-so much so that the invitations eventually stopped (at least we think that is the reason).
This year a similar version of Oscar predictions is all set to ruin the suspense, as election pollster has entered the fray. Below are his somewhat self-conscious preliminary words before he announces his picks: Continue reading “Oh no! Nate Silver predicts the Oscars”
Only a severely disturbed individual marches into an elementary school or a movie theater and guns down innocent people.
But how can society stop such people in time to avert tragedy?This question now “drives the public longing for a mental health system
that produces clear warning signals and can somehow stop the violence.And it is now fueling a surge in legislative activity, in Washington and New York,” reports a story by Benedict Carey and Anemona Hartcollis in today’s New York Times. The piece continues: Continue reading “Difficulties in predicting violent acts”
Spying is all about predictions: about knowing what someone else can or will do next, about thinking how to win.
At least that is how governments tend to think about spying. In this context it makes sense that the Obama administration would spend some time prognosticating. Turns out they spend billions to satisfy their curiosity, as the U.S. and many other countries have done for decades. Asia Times carries a story today about this curious and expensive enterprise, which begins with the paragraphs below:
“Think of it as a simple formula: if you’ve been hired (and paid handsomely) to protect what is, you’re going to be congenitally ill-equipped to imagine what might be.And yet the urge not just to know the contours of the future but to plant the Stars and Stripes in that future has had the US Intelligence Community (IC) in its grip since the mid-1990s.
“That was the moment when it first occurred to some in Washington that US power might be capable of controlling just about everything worth the bother globally for, if not an eternity, then long enough to make the future American property. Continue reading “Intelligence community tries to predict what’s next”