BBC Newsnight on Cambridge Analytica

Was Britain’s EU referendum hijacked by the American alt-right using a technique known as psychographics? Gabriel Gatehouse from BBC Newsnight reports on the data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica.

I’ve said so much stuff about this already but frankly “Overzealous PR?” is total laughable crap! I actually laughed quite a lot when I heard this. Its very clear they were involved (to one degree or not) and like a kid with their finger in the cookie jar, they got caught.

Art of influence and misdirection

On the eve of another big decision, I’ve been thinking about influence and misdirection quite a bit.

I was reminded of a book and TV series I saw when I was much younger. It was called How to be Cool. Part of the thinking is influence and the theory of memetics. PBS did a series called The Merchants of Cool, although the one I remember included Douglas Rushkoff.

Everything’s going to be alright

Brexit
Frankly 2016 has been pretty shocking… Brexit, Trump, Internet censorship, Data retention, the increasing divide between the working class and middle class. I’m not saying its the worst year ever or the worst I have ever experienced, just its pretty bad.

I think this sums up so much

The Brexit campaign was centred on the idea of taking back control. That is what it said in huge letters on the red bus – a slogan that went far beyond the demand for control of our borders.

The point was that people all over Britain were desperate for a democratic system that gave them some semblance of control over their destiny, in a globalised and interconnected world where decisions often seem to be made by anonymous elites a long way away.

To them, the European Union was one obvious villain.

Ok enough… I decided a long time ago that I can’t worry about the things I can’t easily change, I can only change the things which I have direct control over. Actually trying to change everything drives you slightly nuts.

I can't change the world, but I can change the world in me

I happen to read laura’s blog while on the bus back from Bristol and it seemed to fit perfectly here, as I start to deconstruct this years love life.

Its been a busy year but honestly not nearly as much love as you would have thought. I made the effort to date less and have more purpose about my love life. This meant less time on OKcupid, PoF, Bumble and being more selective when speed dating. I tried going more organic with dating aka through friends of friends, its been ok. You do start to wonder sometimes… but I agree with Laura on bad dates…

The consistent comment is that I have such terrible luck, and always end up on these really ‘bad dates’, but I can’t help but disagree. There’s no such thing as bad dates, just the opportunity for a good story, a page in the autobiography, and the more terrible the date, the better the story. In my opinion, the worst possible kind of date are the ones that aren’t memorable, and usually they’re so because nothing of note, either good or bad happened.

Some would say this sounds odd, cold or calculated? But honestly it’s not, the point is each interaction changes you and your outlook. A new story a new experience, a new view. Some dates are memorable and some you forget about. It’s worst to be non-memorable and one worst to be memorable for the wrong reasons.

This is always a tricky time to be single and for some of my newly single friends it’s a lonely time. I can only say this is a good time to take stock, be honest with family/friends and share. Its not the time for judgement. Its time to listen and enjoy each others company.

Think about what makes you unique and focus on that rather all the things which you should be (no matter what people, media, etc say). Theres a lot of pressure to be this, that or another. One of my new years resolutions was to think humanity, being human we are not perfect but we can only be the best we are. We move through life in the best we feel (hopefully not harming ourselves or others). For me thats being as honest, genuine and open as I can be.

For me, I enjoy meeting new people (I’m very much an extrovert) and tend to make things an experience worth remembering. Focus on the present as thats what you can change now; don’t dwell on the past and think about the future.

Enjoy the holidays and each other…

Government’s response to the second referendum

 

Brexit
I fianlly got to see the orginial in Bristol just recently

 

I signed the much talked about petition,“EU Referendum Rules triggering a 2nd EU Referendum;” a while ago and finally it was debated…

The response is…

The European Union Referendum Act received Royal Assent in December 2015, receiving overwhelming support from Parliament. The Act did not set a threshold for the result or for minimum turnout.

The EU Referendum Act received Royal Assent in December 2015. The Act was scrutinised and debated in Parliament during its passage and agreed by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The Act set out the terms under which the referendum would take place, including provisions for setting the date, franchise and the question that would appear on the ballot paper. The Act did not set a threshold for the result or for minimum turnout.

As the Prime Minister made clear in his statement to the House of Commons on 27 June, the referendum was one of the biggest democratic exercises in British history with over 33 million people having their say. The Prime Minister and Government have been clear that this was a once in a generation vote and, as the Prime Minister has said, the decision must be respected. We must now prepare for the process to exit the EU and the Government is committed to ensuring the best possible outcome for the British people in the negotiations.

So that’s it… it’s looking even less possible that the EU ref will be undone.

The nightmare is real.

The dream is real

We opened Pandora’s box and now have to deal with the negative consequences which will come in one form or another… Very fitting is the annaology of panadora box with the EU Referendum, I feel.

Today the phrase “to open Pandora’s box” means to perform an action that may seem small or innocent, but that turns out to have severely detrimental and far-reaching negative consequences.

 

Nostalgia is the enemy of progress?

Nostalgia: Nostalgia Shelf

I first heard this on the psytech podcast, as I’ve been thinking about the reasoning behind family members decision to leave the EU. As you’d expect its been said many times before and it seems Steve Jobs certainly wasn’t a fan.

Don’t get me wrong nostalgia has its place, but starting to wonder if its has a lot to blame for a lot of the ills of the world? Without saying so, I realise my argument following the study of how men prefer women who are not smarter than themselves; is entwined with this.

I understand, it’s very comfortable and it clearly makes people feel better in a forever changing world; conjuring up positive memory and providing that boost of positivity.

participants who were induced to feel nostalgic also expressed more optimism of the future.  This optimism is related to two other factors.  First, nostalgia makes people feel more socially connected to others.  This social connection boosts people’s positive feelings about themselves.  That increase in self-esteem then increases feelings of optimism.

This set of studies suggests that nostalgia can play a beneficial role in people’s lives.  When times are tough, it may seem as though things may never get better.  By focusing on positive times from the past, though, people may help themselves to be more connected to others, which can give them the resources to be more optimistic about the future.

Later on we go on to find the numbers not so great and context had a lot to play in this all.

But back to the question, is nostalgia getting in the way of progress? It seems maybe depending on too many factors.

My father likes watching old rerun shows. If it wasn’t for flicking between the news at 6pm and my mother’s enjoyment of soap operas, the TV might stay on ITV3 all the time (for those outside the UK, wikipedia describes ITV3 as a channel mainly aimed at the over-35 audience, and much of its output consists of reruns of older ITV drama series and sitcoms). It does wind and worry me a little. But I understand the nostalgia factor.

However I catch myself doing the same too. How many times have I watched Inception, Trance, Interstellar, etc? It’s not much different really, is it? or is it?

For all the films I do re watch, there’s a ton of films/tv I try to watch. Heck I have given some dog horrible films a try including sextape, tapped outthe do over, pressed, taking stock (although I did find it slightly funny and the stunning Kelly Brook stars in it)… I’ll have to check trakt.tv but the percentage of new to re-watches is quite high, from some rough and bad spreadsheet messing for 30mins on a train…

Out of a pool of 1540 films (going back to 2011!) I watched 1749 films. The average seems to be 0.6666666667? I very much realise my maths skills are pretty rubbish for this stuff, but if I was watching the same thing over and over again, it would be a much higher number. I was actually surprised at the high numbers of new vs re-watched.

Yes this is just media and I guess you could run the same thing with places I go to drink, work in the northern quarter, have brunch, etc, etc… Although most of us think of this as familiarity rather than nostalgia?

Nostalgia creeps in with culture of course. I already wrote about my feelings spending time in Japanese society and many thoughts Sherry Turkle has about the influence of technology in our lives. Its far too easy to say…

Well we use to easier… to get a job for life in the past”

You use to be able to… leave your front door open”

I prefered it when… you could smoke while you worked”

Is this toxic? Its hard to say. But I certainly try to stop myself or caveat what I’m about to say, when I feel it coming up.

But I’m drawn because I’m also very aware we should also look to history to stop making the same mistakes again and again. Remember what a divided europe use to look like?