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Who to trust in a world or experts, pundits and bloggers?

26 Mar

ask_an_expert

The answer:  no one!  A study described in the NYT today, says that “expert” predictions, although they do have a slight impact on public opinion are no better than random guesses. The best part too is that the better name recognition with this expert, the more likely they were to be wrong!  Sigh…who can we trust nowadays.  Is Krugman wrong too!?

The expert on experts is Philip Tetlock, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. His 2005 book, “Expert Political Judgment,” is based on two decades of tracking some 82,000 predictions by 284 experts. The experts’ forecasts were tracked both on the subjects of their specialties and on subjects that they knew little about.

The result? The predictions of experts were, on average, only a tiny bit better than random guesses — the equivalent of a chimpanzee throwing darts at a board.

“It made virtually no difference whether participants had doctorates, whether they were economists, political scientists, journalists or historians, whether they had policy experience or access to classified information, or whether they had logged many or few years of experience,” Mr. Tetlock wrote.

Indeed, the only consistent predictor was fame — and it was an inverse relationship. The more famous experts did worse than unknown ones. That had to do with a fault in the media. Talent bookers for television shows and reporters tended to call up experts who provided strong, coherent points of view, who saw things in blacks and whites. People who shouted — like, yes, Jim Cramer!

Were moustaches always this cool?

26 Mar

Guys love facial hair.  Most ladies do not.  But facial hair prevails all the same, especially lately.  In the last week alone I’ve read 5 or more articles about facial hair and its range of uses for marketing and publicity.  The themes range from its use to raise money for non-profits

Whether waxed, curled, combed or crocheted, moustaches can be a way to impress or intimidate the people around you.  But growing facial hair can also be a way to raise money and awareness.  For 826 Boston — a nonprofit writing and tutoring program — they have taken advantage of the moustache craze to support their growing organization.

…to a bingo-esque game at a Harvard grad school, or the newly formed NYC Beard and Moustache Championships.

I bite.  Guys…what gives?  Why is growing facial hair that cool?  And if you think it is indeed that cool (or even if you don’t) , check out these sites.  American Mustache Institute, Moustache Me, Fake Moustache.

Guess who might be next in the moustache revolution?

obamastache

Mike Lux: The Progressive Revolution

13 Mar

I had the pleasure of hearing Mike Lux speak this past Wednesday night at the Cambridge Democracy Center, courtesy of Drinking Liberally Cambridge.  I had started reading his book that same day and was impressed by the accessibility of his prose.  His book, The Progressive Revolution, leaves out the leftist intellectual vocab and plainly says what being a progressive or a conservative actually means.  His clarity is refreshing in a world of political correctness and cautious bi-partisanality.  In the introduction he defines the ‘Conservative Argument’ and the ‘Progressive Argument.’

The Conservative Argument in his words,

Successful businessmen and their allies make America great, and we should not undermine their authority or cost them money because that will mean bad things for the economy and all of us.  Their freedom to run things as they like benefits everyone in the long run.  

Just a year ago, conservatives would have adhered to that postulate.  So, in the grand scheme of life and America maybe it was good that the securities market busted.  How else we would have been able to ultimately say, capitalism is not the answer!  It failed, even the old school Financial Times said it.  He then goes on to explain why conservatives think we should keep traditional values, “once we tamper with tradition, society goes to hell.”  Lastly, he takes the most infuriating of all conservative arguments, “If people are poor it’s probably their own fault because they are too lazy to work, didn’t study in school, and are generally bad people.”  This is the most upsetting of all conservative values I believe.  How have we become so judgmental of those not as privileged?

Then he goes on to describe the progressive movement as one that believes all men were created equal but are not equal because of the current stratification and why we believe that we should all run the government…not just the elites.  Darn straight!

The point of the book isn’t to define conservatives and liberals — it is to explain how a few moments in our history have changed everything and that the moments we now revere were progressive ones.  Suffrage, the New Deal, and Civil Rights to name a few.  It really is a history book with a leftist vibe.  

I was in a awe of Mike Lux when I met him and enjoy following his thoughts on his blog at the Huffington Post as well as on OpenLeft.com.  He also generously offered his support of LadyProgress and wrote an extremely nice excerpt about me in his latest post. Read it here.  So, thank you, thank you Mike Lux for teaching me through your book and inspiring me through our conversation.  I look forward to staying in touch with you in the future.  Keep up the good fight :)!

Laid off, woohoo!

9 Mar

Ok, my title might be kind of cruel given the dismal work climate.  But you’ve got to check out this site.  Its the new Stuff White People Like…but with a contemporary twist. 

It is called Stuff Unemployed People Like

I feel like I’ve lived in the Wal-Mart era, the Whole Foods era and now the Unemployed era.

Fun social networking stats

9 Mar

Thanks Adam Ostrow, interesting stuff.

In 2008, users spent 63% more time on member communities than they did in the previous year. However, within member communities, Facebook saw growth of 566% in time spent on it by users worldwide. As has been reported elsewhere, Facebook’s fastest growth demographic is older users – the social network tacked on 12.4 million people between ages 35-49 in 2008 according to Nielsen.

Some other key findings from the report:

– Globally, Facebook reaches 29.9% of global Internet users, versus 22.4% for MySpace.

– MySpace remains the most profitable social network, generating an estimated $1 billion in revenue versus $300 million for Facebook in 2008.

– Facebook is the top social network in all countries except Germany, Brazil, and Japan (Nielsen still has MySpace as tops in US in the report, but as of January ’09, that had changed).

– On Twitter, CNN, The New York Times, and BBC have the greatest reach among mainstream media companies as of late February.

Meghan McCain “I consider myself a progressive Republican”

9 Mar

meghanmccainAfter watching Meghan McCain on the campaign trail I never thought I would agree with a lot she has to say in her blog for the Daily Beast.  But she really does seem like a progressive Republican (which I previously thought to be a oxymoron).  Plus she is a great voice for the conservative youth which has a new agenda, different than their older counterparts.  Meghan talks about how this new progressive Republican ideology differs.

I am sure most extreme conservatives and extreme liberals would find me a confusing, walking contradiction. But I assure you, there are many people out there just like me who represent a new, younger generation of Republicans.

I’m often criticized for not being a “real” Republican, and I have been called a RINO—Republican In Name Only—in the past. Many say I am not “conservative enough,” which is something that I am proud of. It is no secret that I disagree with many of the old-school Republican ways of thinking. One of the biggest issues from which I seem to drift from the party base is in my support of gay marriage. I am often criticized for previously voting for John Kerry and my support of stem-cell research. For the record, I am also extremely pro-military and a big supporter of the surge and the Iraq war.

I also love that she is talking smack about Ann Coulter.  Now I believe in Meghan’s semi-sanity ever more!

To make matters worse, certain individuals continue to perpetuate negative stereotypes about Republicans. Especially Republican women. Who do I feel is the biggest culprit? Ann Coulter. I straight up don’t understand this woman or her popularity. I find her offensive, radical, insulting, and confusing all at the same time.

I  did however find many of Meghan’s musings rather sophomoric, sorry Meg.  Especially her views on dating people of the opposite party — something I’m pretty adamant about and something that she thinks is just plain stupid.  I’m adamant about it because I pay attention to the party line of the RNC and the DNC.  I don’t agree with everything the DNC says, but I am unable to think anything the RNC says makes sense or is ethical.  How can you like someone who you don’t think is ethical?

The election killed my personal life.  OK, maybe killed is a bit of an exaggeration. But it does seem to be on life support. Of all the things people warned would happen post-election, no one ever said anything about how complicated dating would become. Especially if your dad loses the election. There are things that have been difficult, but nothing quite as tough as dating. I fear the election has destroyed my ability and desire to date. Now, I cannot say at any point in my life that I have been very good at dating. But I have become something I used to despise: people who let politics dictate his or her attraction to someone.

I am a person that has always prided myself on keeping politics out of my relationships. I think I would have probably graduated from Columbia friendless had I made politics a focal point in any of my friendships during college. I have many friends who openly voted for Barack Obama (many of them also didn’t). Who my friends voted for is of no concern to me. I am adult enough to understand that people vote for their own personal reasons, and I know how personal politics can be to someone.

Of course politics are personal, so personal that they should play a big role in your choosing of friends and mates.

Tin Yurl?

5 Mar

No, no, no it is Tiny URL…oh, now I get it.

tinyurl

These tinyurl links kept popping up in my twitter feed, my facebook status updates and my gchat away messages.  I finally figured out that their use, as you can read above, is to shorten a link (duh) so that you don’t exceed your character limit on sites like Twitter and so you don’t send around to your friends this clunky URL that is 5 lines long.  That can be annoying at times, I liked seeing the full link, but they are definitely a new phenomenon that enables a lot more content to be floating around the web.  So, hopefully next time you see one — you won’t have to wonder what it is.