How Obama Used Big Data to Rally Voters | MIT Technology Review
After the voters returned Obama to office for a second term, his campaign became celebrated for its use of technology—much of it developed by an unusual team of coders and engineers—that redefined how individuals could use the Web, social media, and smartphones to participate in the political process. A mobile app allowed a canvasser to download and return walk sheets without ever entering a campaign office; a Web platform called Dashboard gamified volunteer activity by ranking the most active supporters; and “targeted sharing” protocols mined an Obama backer’s Facebook network in search of friends the campaign wanted to register, mobilize, or persuade.
But underneath all that were scores describing particular voters: a new political currency that predicted the behavior of individual humans. The campaign didn’t just know who you were; it knew exactly how it could turn you into the type of person it wanted you to be.

How Obama Used Big Data to Rally Voters | MIT Technology Review

After the voters returned Obama to office for a second term, his campaign became celebrated for its use of technology—much of it developed by an unusual team of coders and engineers—that redefined how individuals could use the Web, social media, and smartphones to participate in the political process. A mobile app allowed a canvasser to download and return walk sheets without ever entering a campaign office; a Web platform called Dashboard gamified volunteer activity by ranking the most active supporters; and “targeted sharing” protocols mined an Obama backer’s Facebook network in search of friends the campaign wanted to register, mobilize, or persuade.

But underneath all that were scores describing particular voters: a new political currency that predicted the behavior of individual humans. The campaign didn’t just know who you were; it knew exactly how it could turn you into the type of person it wanted you to be.

Observations: Climate change cover-up? You better believe it: Scientific American
Sadly for the potential fate of human civilization, rumors of the demise of climate change have been much exaggerated. The past decade recorded nine of the warmest years in recent history as well as the rapid dwindling of Arctic sea ice, surely the result of imminent global cooling if climate change contrarians are to be believed. After all, one of the most “damaging” emails in question from Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., is actually mourning the paucity of Earth observation systems and data in the past decade, such as satellites (gutted by a lack of funding and launch miscues in recent years) to monitor climate change in the midst of natural variability.

Observations: Climate change cover-up? You better believe it: Scientific American

Sadly for the potential fate of human civilization, rumors of the demise of climate change have been much exaggerated. The past decade recorded nine of the warmest years in recent history as well as the rapid dwindling of Arctic sea ice, surely the result of imminent global cooling if climate change contrarians are to be believed. After all, one of the most “damaging” emails in question from Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., is actually mourning the paucity of Earth observation systems and data in the past decade, such as satellites (gutted by a lack of funding and launch miscues in recent years) to monitor climate change in the midst of natural variability.

Political prediction markets — in which participants buy and sell “contracts” based on who they think will win an election — accurately predicted Barack Obama’s 2008 victory. Now Northwestern University researchers have determined that these markets behave similar to financial markets, except when traders’ partisan feelings get in the way.