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New technology is being brought to bear in ideological wars by those who think on the spot web opinion polls are worth influencing. Guess what, the first skirmishes are being fought between supporters of Israel and Palestine. Anyone surprised?

Hasn't this gone on (albeit perhaps not in such a high-tech fashion) for aslong as there have been Internet-based polls?  I can remember two high-profile BBC polls that became targeted in this way - "The greatest invention of all time" = the bicycle (apparently!) and "The greatest philosopher of all time" = Marx (!!??).

So long as it's "just a bit of fun" (© P Snow), like the man from BBC History, I don't see the problem.  The worrying thing would be if local or national government bodies start using this type of device as 'sounding boards' for public opinion without understanding the possibility of this type of abuse.  David Milliband's recent difficulties (as reported on El Reg) give an idea of what can happen.

Best wishes

Chris Miller


  Without taking time to download and investigate myself, and hoping to be clear that I am neither staunchly Pro-, nor Anti-Israel:  Couldn't the publicizing of the Megaphone dilute its effectiveness, as its use falls into the hands of increasing numbers of people who are against Israeli foreign policy? 

If the software highlights polls which the Pro-Israeli camp wish to give their attention to, could not the Anti-Israeli camp use the same software to express their opposing views in these same polls?

It seems that such P.R. measures as "Megaphone" provides will be effective only for as long as their use is promoted amongst people of homogeneous bias.

Thanks for an interesting article on the evolving tools of acquiring mind-share (as akin to market-share).

- Caleb


Take a deep breath - this one is a rant:

The point is, democracy is a sham to keep us all quiet. they complain about "low voter turnout" but they like it that way. Then some group finds a cool way to get its supporters to voice their opinion and exercise their democratic right, and it's called "ballot stuffing" ???

I fucking hate Israel with a passion, but the way to fight back is to stuff ballots with YOUR OWN, not to censor stuffed ballots coming from israel.

If everyone had an alert system like this for their views, wouldn't that be great? Instead of suppressing the zionists using their brains and voices, shouldn't we thank them for being so expressive and shout some common sense back at them?

These surveys are "not used for scientific purposes" because they are total bullshit. Trouble is, when people say "a BBC poll showed that 60% of people think clusterbombs are great" they never say "and the poll was totally unscientific to the point of absurdity so you should just fucking ignore it"

Perhaps we should just ban all inane polls instead and talk like adults instead of summarising and polarising complex debates in cute polls?

As for killing civilians and planting clusterbomb minefields all over Lebanon, my opinion is FUCK THAT SHIT.

Is this opinion more valid because nobody "alerted" me to your article? Or is the whole system SUPPOSED to work like this... we are supposed to mobilise supporters and EXPRESS ourselves, that's the game. If someone gets more support for evil, and nobody else speaks, then ... the democratic process just chose evil by default. We have to engage or let the bastards make rules in our absence.

Perhaps, shock horror, Zionist propaganda everywhere would inspire a reassesment of our support of these lunatics. Let them out in the open so we can see how twisted they are and respond to their filth. But no, the BBC says it is best to shut them up, for "rigging" the vote by COMMUNICATING!!!!

I love the idea of subscribing to "vegetarian alerts", "music copyright alerts" and anything else that fits my views. These zionist scumbags should be congratulated on furthering democracy, and we should all follow their example, so that they aren't the only ones ballot stuffing. Let's all stuff ballots. Let's have a 95% turnout at the next election.

Let's have a real choice of who to vote for, and an electorial system that doesn't rely on polarised debate, media soundbites and tactical voting. Let's have a "none of the above candidates impress me at all" box to tick so I can at last express my true views. That would scare the shit out of politicians and maybe keep them in check. THAT'S HOW IT SHOULD WORK.

*goes for a lie down*

Mark

What do you think? Are online polls a complete waste of time and energy? Or are they a useful way of getting a snapshot of public opinion. Click here to register your vote. Oh, wait...


It is odd that you should email, because we were just thinking about this:

Wow, this must be the most convincing experiment ever! Normally, experiments are considered statistically significant with only 20 to 1 odds (p<0.05) of results arriving by chance. Sheldrake claims odds of over over 1000 billion (p<0.000000000001) - an unheard of level of certainty in the entire history of science!! You would have trouble proving objects fall downwards with this level of certainty.

I do wonder how he found the time though as he would have needed to conduct something like a million million million million individual experiments to achieve this level of certainty.

Barry


Well, today I was thinking about telephone telepathy, and then I saw your article in my email. Go figure.

Mark


Maps for mobile users to resolve any lingering doubts about where, what and who they might really be. How useful and lovely:

YOU'RE ON THE TRAIN!!!!

Ian


You might want to look at Navizon, it replaces/Assists GPS with positioning from cell towers and wifi access points. It works with MGMaps.

Coverage is a thin in the UK, however they have now started to pay for the collection of location data. I've single handly managed to map large parts of SW London and the Covent Garden/Soho in a sad, geeky hobby. What makes it even sadder is that, having walked round the mapped area, I know it so well as not to need a map any more..

http://www.navizon.com/

Peter


Worldwide map coverage via gprs etc. might sound like a good idea, but you have to consider that even an unlimited data package will not help you when you're lumbered with a £600 bill for a few Mb of data abroad when you actually need to use a map!

Jonathan


Old ice suggests carbon dioxide levels are higher than they have been in 800,000 years, give or take.

The relationship of interglacial period temperatures and CO2 levels is very interesting. In studying the climate change graphs in Wikipedia (which include several cycles, instead if the 200-1000 year cycles usually shown in the news) I was astonished to find that the latest update had appended the "hocky stick" shaped CO2 increase to their former conventional graph. Instead of showing an approximate 80 ppm swing between coldest and hottest as has been true of previous cycles, the new addition doubled the amplitude of the CO2 swing to 160ppm!

It is not clear from the graphs whether CO2 leads or follows temperature, however. If the environmentalist's fears are true, we will have to go back 80 ppm to have normal temperatures. Here one sailing ships and horses!

Other interesting features of the graphs were the sawtooth patterns where the temp decline was considerably slower than the rise, the consistency of the levels between hot/cold cycles on the graph and the levels of dust which follow temperature..

Regards Toby


"We just don't have an analogue in our records," Wolff said. Ah yes, 'tis a digital age, to be sure.

Simon


And finally, we brought you news of the many unsuccessful migrations to Britain

"...South Wales would have gone from something that looked like North Africa with hippos, elephants, rhinos and hyenas"   Have you been out in Cardiff on a Saturday night recently? Cheers, Simon

Lovely. Have gorgeous weekends, y'all. ®

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