InfoPollution

November 10, 2006

Back

Filed under: Uncategorized — giantslor @ 3:31 am

I haven’t blogged in a few days. I guess I forgot. One of the main reasons I want to blog every day is to get into the groove of it. I lost the groove for a few days, but hopefully I’ll get my groove back.

Unfortunately, I don’t feel like writing anything of substance at the moment, except that the last few days have been completely awesome. The Democrats won a majority in the Senate, House, Governorships, and state legislatures. Plus they didn’t lose a single incumbent– the first time in American history that a party has done this. Woo-hoo!

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November 7, 2006

Soon the Dems will control Congress

Filed under: Uncategorized — giantslor @ 2:47 am

There’s lots of talk of momentum slowing for the Dems in the past week, but if you ask me, the latest polls show the Dems in very strong position to take over the House and a good chance at the Senate. Polls are showing Democratic Senate candidates in the tightest races with a slight edge over their GOP opponents, so if people vote according to the polls, we’re going to see a Democratic Senate. I can’t wait!

Mind you, I’m not a giant Dem fan (they’re too centrist), it’s just that they’re way better than the Republicans, and this will be a huge rebuke to the Bush administration. I hope the Dems take the high road and win even more votes next time around.

November 6, 2006

Opening Pandora’s box

Filed under: Uncategorized — giantslor @ 10:10 am

I recently began listening to Pandora, which is similar to Last.fm in that it recommends music based on music you like. While Last.fm recommends songs based on community filtering, in Pandora does this by matching a song’s traits with other songs’ traits in a huge database. To start, you can enter an artist or song name, and it begins playing back songs with similar qualities, based on information entered into the database. You can create “radio stations” based on a collection of artists or songs you enter.

Pandora.comI attempted to create a “Postmodern Radio” station, using Frank Zappa, Mr. Bungle, Radiohead, Flaming Lips, Beck, etc. as a foundation. The results were scattershot– some of the songs fed back to me were the perfect aesthetic; others were way off base. (Mercyful Fate? Uh, no.) Pandora works better when you select an artist with distinctive traits. For example, selecting Portishead sets into motion a string of songs mostly with the same slow, trippy aesthetic.

I actually am using a Pandora/Last.fm mashup cleverly called Pandora.fm. On the surface it seems more the former than the latter, but it adds the songs you play to your Last.fm account so they’re saved for posterity, and you benefit from all that social goodness.

Pimpin myself out to the Dems

Filed under: Uncategorized — giantslor @ 9:36 am

Today I volunteered down at the county Democratic HQ. They put me to work on the phones. My job was to call the “lazies,” people who voted in ’04 but not in ’02. In other words, people who think presidential election years are the only ones that matter.

I don’t know who writes these scripts. They’re not too good. After a number of people hung up on me, I shortened my script by removing a sentence about George Bush and our state Attorney General, Phill Kline. People don’t need to be reminded of how much they hate these two– after six years, Bush’s infuriating smirk is burned into everyone’s conscience. I also made sure to introduce myself as a volunteer– people are more likely to listen to a concerned citizen than a paid hack. After these two modifications, I had no hang-ups. My naturalistic delivery surely helped as well. People don’t want to listen to a recorded message, so why would they like listening to someone who sounds like a recorded message?

The voter lists were a bit of a mess– quite a few disconnected numbers. But then I can’t compare it to anything, since this is my first time volunteering for a political campaign. (Where was I in my idealistic college years? Why didn’t I volunteer? I guess I was too busy running my student freethought group… and surfing the internet.)

Johnson County, Kansas Democrats

November 5, 2006

The best election poll sites

Filed under: Uncategorized — giantslor @ 9:46 am

For a while now I’ve been keeping tabs on the tight races for U.S. Senate. Democrats need to gain six seats for control of the senate, and several states are too close to call, including Missouri, Virginia, Montana and now Maryland. To win control, Dems must win all of those races. (Note: Tennessee was a toss up, but it now looks out of reach.)

For a overview of where the senate races stand, check out the following sites, all of which average out the last several polls from multiple pollsters (Zogby, SurveyUSA, Rasmussen, etc.) for each race:

Pollster.comPollster.com, run by a Democratic pollster, gives a U.S. map with each state color-coded to represent a Republican lead, a Democratic lead, or a toss up. A box above the map gives you the total numbers at a glance. Hover over a state and you get the average of the last five polls; click on the state to see the polls.

RealClearPolitics, a conservative site, is another option. This site has no map and includes only the most interesting races, but it lets you see the last several polls for each and their averages on one page.

National Review Online‘s Senate Boxscore is similar to RealClearPolitics, but the polls seem to be updated more quickly.

I recommend checking all three sites regularly, as the mix of polls is slightly different between each (for example, RealClearPolitics doesn’t include internal polls). Also, RCP and NRO both give a running prediction (often differing) of how many seats the Dems will pick up.

A dream of Digg

Filed under: Uncategorized — giantslor @ 8:58 am

Last night I dreamed that my first post here had been Dugg 300+ times, putting it at the top of their front page. “Wow, this is easy!” And I thought I’d have to work to get just one comment…

Then I woke up. Oh well, it was a nice little dream.

November 4, 2006

Hi folks

Filed under: Uncategorized — giantslor @ 9:46 am

Hello, everybody or nobody, and welcome to my vanity blog. Here I’ll write about whatever is on my mind. There will be no set subject, though certain topics may pop up regularly. It depends what I’m thinking about. Eventually I’d like lots of people to read this blog, or some other blog that I create later, but for now I have just a few modest goals:

  1. Post at least once a day.
  2. Get good at blogging.
  3. Enjoy myself.
  4. Get at least one person to leave a comment. After that, get two people to comment on a single post. And so on.

Let the fun begin!

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