Archives for posts with tag: news

It has to be strange being Australian and having an intense fascination in the US election of 2012. But when I look at the reasons why, it isn’t that strange. The USA is the most powerful country in the world, economically, militarily, in innovation, and its culture pervades every corner of the globe. A news site described election watching as the ultimate reality TV show. Though it would have been more fun watching the Republican primaries hosted on the set of Survivor Vanuatu! I have found myself consuming an inordinate amount of election updates. For anyone with an analytical mind – it is like candy. There are statistics, probabilities, scenarios, segmentation analysis, and with it all overlaid on a timeline counting down to today.

I won’t espouse my opinion on who I think should win, because I believe that this is the domain of the American people. It is their election, even though it has an impact on the world. After all the great majority of the outcomes will directly affect the day to day lives of Americans and not myself. Us foreigners are indirectly affected by the outcomes, and our own governments have huge impact as to how greatly we are indirectly impacted (when was the last time the US sent a drone strike into New Zealand?). But the election has driven me to digitally subscribe to the New York Times.

In the past 6 months I have become addicted to reading Nate Silver’s blog on the NYTimes – The FiveThirtyEight Blog. I am now super curious as to whether he has got it right. I’ve been intensely reading the detailed analysis and the cold math that he applies in his blog. And it is strangely non-partisan (Fox News, MSNBC anyone?). It still incites partisan feedback, but he keeps on bringing it back to “look at the math”. But the coolest thing about the blog, and some of the other pages on NYTimes are the graphics. Check out this eye candy from a few weeks ago – FiveThirtyEight Blog – Over the Decades, How States have Shifted. It is a beautifully complex picture that conveys a lot into a simple diagram. The NYTimes on another part of the site laid out the scenarios as they present themselves – have a look at 512 Paths to the White House.

There is other eye candy on other sites too, which are also interactive. CNN allowed me to pick the election via my tips for how the states would fall in the electoral college – CNN 2012 Electoral Map (which is similar to the “Paths” link on the NYTimes). Looking purely at the math, it does not stack up well for the red side.

I like this eye candy, and have often had to employ similar techniques in the presentation of information or concepts at work. A fantastic site that I have referenced many times in the past for inspiration is Visual Complexity – http://www.visualcomplexity.com/vc/. I first stumbled across this site back in 2005. It is pure eye candy, with a real purpose and I could get lost for hours there. And when shooting photos and capturing the world around you, sometimes you get a hint as to where their inspiration has come from.

I just hope for two outcomes from the election – foreign policy remains pragmatic and progressive by bringing countries together, and the American people can bridge the deep partisan divisions that have engulfed the country for over the last decade. After all, without combined ambitions of the USA the human race would still not have landed on the moon – or invented velcro.

Dawn photo shoot photos to come (with a bit of assistance from Photoshop), and a little video surprise from my photo partner in crime Grumpy.

UPDATE

I guess Nate Silver pretty much picked it, though there have been a couple of surprises in the swing states. What did surprise me a little bit was CNN saying how unexpected it was to get such a quick result. The math should have told them that if Ohio and a couple of the other Eastern swing states went blue, red had buckley’s chance of winning. It remains to be seen whether Florida in the final mix stays blue or goes red, but at the moment it has a very azure haze to the count.

I suppose one last note – I couldn’t let this post rest without picking my photo of the election campaign. For me this one captured by Forbes spoke volumes to what is involved in running for re-election.

President Barack Obama alighting from Air Force One on a campaign stop

Well it has only taken me since I first jumped on the WWW at uni (back in 1995) to finally get my own slice of the internet. I supposed I have been kinda inspired by my younger cousin Patrice who is over in Montreal on student exchange. He is a guy who loves getting out of his comfort zone, and enjoys the risk of the unknown. His blog is http://pantsopti0nal.tumblr.com/ and the name stems from the last road trip that he did where him and his mates dropped their pants and posed in their boxers in various locations on their travels. Anyways, St. Christopher is watching over my little cuz and keeping him safe.

As for my blog… Something for Pok… well that last name is one of the (many) nicknames that I have for my only child and son Isaac. He used to make a funny noise when he was first born with his mouth that sounded something like pok, pok, pok, pok… you get the drift. He is my (and my wife’s) bundle of joy, energy, and sleep deprivation, and he gives me a funny moment every day.

It is a strange night tonight writing this post. There is a huge storm that has hit much of the Eastern coast of North America. I am finding myself addicted to getting the updates on the TV news and on the net. CNN is on in the background, and while I am concerned about the people there – and a former teammate who now lives in mid-town NYC – it is a strangely voyeuristic indulgence. I am located on the other side of the world in Australia, so while the Northern Hemisphere is being treated to a nasty Autumn I am looking forward to Summer around the corner.

Probably the other bizarre thing I am thinking about is how this storm will affect the outcome of the US Presidential Election. I have my preferred outcome. While I will not tell you directly, let’s just say my views are aligned to the NY Times Editorial team. That has probably been the other voyeuristic indulgence of mine over the last couple of months and it is all coming rapidly to a close.

What is this blog about – a lot of things that reflect my MANY interests. But I will leave that for another post. But for this opening salvo I say – giddy up!

Hello World!

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