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Member since: Sun Sep 6, 2009, 11:57 PM
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Well, waddya know?

Intelligence Commotion
A chart purportedly showing that Donald Trump has an IQ of 156 is based on incomplete and outright inaccurate information.

Origin: A chart purportedly ranking the intelligence quotients of former presidents of the United States made the rounds on social media in December 2016, along with the claim that the President-elect would rank among the smartest, boasting an IQ of 156:


This chart is based on a real study; however, the claim that Donald Trump has an IQ of 156 is not.


This article is chock-full of logical missteps and factual inaccuracies. Trump's official school transcripts are not available, so it is impossible to know his actual scholastic aptitude scores. While the article's author used Wharton's general admission requirements to estimate Trump's IQ, the math still doesn't quite add up.

According to PrepScholar.com, Wharton's SAT requirements are currently set at 1500. This roughly translates to an IQ score between A145 and 149, not 156. Regardless, Wharton's admission requirements are irrelevant, since Trump did not enter Wharton as a freshman. He transferred there his junior year, and Wharton does not list SAT scores among its requirements for transfer students.

Gwenda Blair claimed in her 2001 biography about Donald Trump and his family that the President-elect was admitted to Wharton thanks to a friendly admissions officer ...


Oh, Donnie. Punked by the Intertubes again.

I think we should demand the release of those transcripts, don't you?

Why Trump can't stop counterpunching

In between interviews with potential nominees and calls with foreign leaders, Donald Trump has found the time to attack a Manhattan magazine publisher, an Indiana union leader, the casts of "Saturday Night Live" and "Hamilton," multinationals, China, flag-burners and others who have challenged or annoyed him.

Even though he's now the president-elect and even though the stakes are so much higher, Trump has shown repeatedly that he won’t change his ways.

"In his mind, he's an outsider, he's an outer-borough brawler,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has been friendly with him for decades, in an interview. "He always felt like people were looking down on him and attacking him. People don't understand that and don’t see him that way anymore, but he still sees himself like an outsider.”

After a recent TV appearance in which Sharpton described him as a Queens boy who made it on the big stage by clawing his way to the top and fighting those who took him on, the civil-rights pastor and TV star was surprised to get a call from Trump.


Graham: Russians hacked my campaign email account

Source: CNN

Washington (CNN) Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday his campaign email account was hacked by Russians -- adding that the US needs to work together to stop this from happening.

"I do believe the Russians hacked into the (Democratic National Committee). I do believe they hacked into (John) Podesta's email account. They hacked into my campaign account," he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room." "I do believe that all the information released publicly hurt Clinton and didn't hurt Trump. I don't think the outcome of the election is in doubt. What we should do is not turn on each other but work as one people to push back on Russia."

He added he doesn't believe that the hacking affected the elections.


"They're trying to destabilize democracy all over the world. Not just here," he said about the Russians. "Here's what we should do. We should tell the Russians that on no uncertain terms, you interfere in our elections, we don't care why, we're going to hit you and hit you hard, we're going to introduce sanctions, it'll to be bipartisan."

Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/14/politics/lindsey-graham-hacking-russia-donald-trump/index.html?sr=twpol121516lindsey-graham-hacking-russia-donald-trump

Warning: Autoplay video at link.

Well, the UK's ridiculous stalled nuke programme isn't doing so well either.

Just to put this Ofgem individual's personal words in some context.


Flamanville: France's beleaguered forerunner to Hinkley Point C
(The French are having enormous problems because of their reliance on nuclear power.)

How much does the Hinkley Point nuclear power station cost compared to wind and solar?
(Solar actually ranks lowest in terms of strike price. It also doesn't rely on direct sunlight.)

Hinkley Point: Overwhelming majority of British public oppose Theresa May's decision to approve nuclear plant

The Telegraph article also ignores the international interconnectors used to trade electricity to balance supply and demand.

Here's a real-time readout showing the UK grid's status and the contribution of different forms of energy: http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/

BBC Question Time Audience Producer is apparently Vote Leave, Britain First supporter

If this story doesn't get picked up by the MSM, it'll be the result of a cover-up.

The makeup of studio audiences (let alone the panels) in the BBC's long-running Question Time has long raised eyebrows among those who live in the towns and cities it visits. "I never knew we had so many right-wing people living here" is a common reaction.

It turns out there may be a good reason for that.

Let me introduce you to Alison Fuller, a.k.a. Alison Fuller Pedley, whose Twitter profile says she runs "Full House Audience Management which researches and coordinates TV audiences for programmes where the people take part in the debate".

Her Facebook account (presumably more up to date) reads:

She's done this for years. This is from a profile written in 2010:

"At the heart of the programme is the audience," states the Question Time website page; a rather bold statement that one could easily perceive as advertising. But Alison Fuller, the Audience Producer for the programme, will prove you wrong. Every week she has to select the audience, and depending on the city they are in, this might mean she has to consider over 4,000 applications a week.

This process involves checking the background of everyone against their political affiliations, campaign involvements, advertising intentions and many other factors. As the 150 people she singles out are to embody the image of a city in the eyes of the rest of the programme's audience, one could easily argue her job is probabl{y} the most important one.



Rob Schofield at Medium.com reported in September:

Providing yet another chapter in the book I’m currently writing about our public service broadcaster titled 'Banging My Face Against A Table Until My Brains Leak Out', a pretty outrageous post has surfaced showing a Question Time Audience Producer seeking audience members from an EDL-supporting Facebook event page.

{Pic (copy and paste URL into browser to view): https://d262ilb51hltx0.cloudfront.net/max/800/1*xGYz2CtPAX1ZPs8c5bu69Q.png}

The event page publicises an anti-immigration march taking place on Saturday through Boston — the same town Thursday night’s Question Time broadcast from — and is organised by EDL members.


Some of the contributors to the page include one user who warns, “Dont let lincolnshire turn into a third world hell hole from invading middle eastern and north african migrants”, while another refers to those planning to attend a counter-march as “subhuman scum”.


The Telegraph also covered the fuss at the time:

BBC accused of encouraging racial tension by trying to get English Defence League to appear in the audience on Question Time

Maybe Schofield and the BBC-bashing Telegraph are reading too much into a lapse in judgement from a producer seeking balance and a little heated controversy to liven up what's become a weekly predictable travesty of debate? Well ...

Not-too-deep digging by a number of people on social media has revealed some of Fuller's personal interests. Her Twitter feed's not very active, but here's a post from 16 May this year:


And here are a few more from Facebook:

Now, maybe there's a reasonable explanation for all this. Maybe BBC Question Time's Audience Producer is naive on social media, and just likes and faves striking pics and posts at random and wants to engage as broad a spread of opinion as she can get and sometimes accidentally oversteps the mark. Maybe. But she's reportedly a member of the following Facebook group:

Which in a sane country with a sane media would mean that, at the very least, the BBC and Fuller have some questions to answer here. So far, they've ignored all approaches for comment. We'll see if that continues.

Zac Goldsmith loses Richmond Park byelection to Lib Dem

Sarah Olney 20,510

Zac Goldsmith 18,638

This overturns Goldsmith's 23,000 majority when he stood as a Tory.

The byelection has been widely seen as a straw in the wind about Brexit. Goldsmith thought his opposition to Heathrow's third runway would be enough to win it for him. Apparently not.

Lib Dems win Richmond Park byelection, overturning Zac Goldsmith's 23,000 majority - live

Last I heard, expectations were that Labour's share of the vote would be down - likely a lot of tactical voting.

ETA: Yes, Labour's Christian Wolmar got only 1,515 votes.

In the 2015 general Election, Goldsmith got 34,404 votes, the Lib Dems 11,389 and Labour 7,296.

Trump and Brexit: why it's again NOT the economy, stupid

For months, commentators have flocked to diagnose the ills that have supposedly propelled Trump’s support, from the Republican primaries until now. As in Britain, many have settled on a ‘left behind’ narrative – that it is the poor white working-class losers from globalization that have put Trump over the top. Only a few clairvoyants – Michael Lind, Jonathan Haidt – have seen through the stereotypes.

But, as in Britain, there’s precious little evidence this vote had much to do with personal economic circumstances. Let’s look at Trump voting among white Americans from a Birkbeck College/Policy Exchange/YouGov survey I commissioned in late August. Look at the horizontal axis running along the bottom of figure 1. In the graph I have controlled for age, education and gender, with errors clustered on states. The average white American support for Trump on a 0-10 scale in the survey is 4.29.

You can see the two Trump support lines are higher among those at the highest end of the income scale (4) than the lowest (1). This is not, however, statistically significant. What is significant is the gap between the red and blue lines. A full two points in Trump support around a mean of 4.29. This huge spread reflects the difference between two groups of people giving different answers to a highly innocuous question: ‘Is it more important for a child to be considerate or well-mannered?’ The answers sound almost identical, but social psychologists know that ‘considerate’ taps other-directed emotions while ‘well-mannered’ is about respect for authority.

People’s answer to this question matters for Trump support because it taps into a cultural worldview sometimes known as Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA). Rather than RWA, which is a loaded term, I would prefer to characterise this as the difference between those who prefer order and those who seek novelty. Social psychologist Karen Stenner presciently wrote that diversity and difference tends to alarm right-wing authoritarians, who seek order and stability. This, and not class, is what cuts the electoral pie in many western countries these days. Income and material circumstances, as a recent review of research on immigration attitudes suggests, is not especially important for understanding right-wing populism.


Russian propaganda effort helped spread 'fake news' during election, experts say

Source: Washington Post

The flood of “fake news” this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.

Russia’s increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery — including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human “trolls,” and networks of Web sites and social-media accounts — echoed and amplified right-wing sites across the Internet as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers. The effort also sought to heighten the appearance of international tensions and promote fear of looming hostilities with nuclear-armed Russia.

Two teams of independent researchers found that the Russians exploited American-made technology platforms to attack U.S. democracy at a particularly vulnerable moment, as an insurgent candidate harnessed a wide range of grievances to claim the White House. The sophistication of the Russian tactics may complicate efforts by Facebook and Google to crack down on “fake news,” as they have vowed to do after widespread complaints about the problem.

There is no way to know whether the Russian campaign proved decisive in electing Trump, but researchers portray it as part of a broadly effective strategy of sowing distrust in U.S. democracy and its leaders. The tactics included penetrating the computers of election officials in several states and releasing troves of hacked emails that embarrassed Clinton in the final months of her campaign.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/russian-propaganda-effort-helped-spread-fake-news-during-election-experts-say/2016/11/24/793903b6-8a40-4ca9-b712-716af66098fe_story.html

With a Meeting, Trump Renewed a British Wind Farm Fight

Source: New York Times

LONDON When President-elect Donald J. Trump met with the British politician Nigel Farage in recent days, he encouraged Mr. Farage and his entourage to oppose the kind of offshore wind farms that Mr. Trump believes will mar the pristine view from one of his two Scottish golf courses, according to one person present.

The meeting, held shortly after the presidential election, raises new questions about Mr. Trump's willingness to use the power of the presidency to advance his business interests. Mr. Trump has long opposed a wind farm planned near his course in Aberdeenshire, and he previously fought unsuccessfully all the way to Britains highest court to block it.


Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for Mr. Trumps transition office, at first disputed that Mr. Trump had raised the subject of wind farms with Mr. Farage, suggesting that participants in the conversation denied this took place. However, when pressed with the fact that one of the meeting's attendees, Mr. Wigmore, had described the conversation in detail, she declined repeated requests to comment.

Amanda Miller, vice president for marketing at the Trump Organization, also declined through a spokeswoman to comment.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/21/business/with-a-meeting-trump-renewed-a-british-wind-farm-fight.html

Not just another emerging Trump conflict-of-interest story, but also another example of Trump's spindoctors swearing blind something didn't happen when it provably did.

I hesitate to give the Express clicks, but it is UKIP's house newspaper, so here's its version of the story:

Donald Trump's opening shot: The wind farm at his golf course

The US President-elect used his first meeting with a British politician since his shock White House victory to criticise the Scottish government for allowing the country to become over-run with wind farms.

In a meeting with the interim Ukip leader Nigel Farage and his team at Trump Tower in New York last weekend, the business tycoon launched into a tirade against the eyesores, which he has previously branded unattractive, ugly, noisy and dangerous.


"... one thing Mr Trump kept returning to was the issue of wind farms. He is a complete Anglophile and also absolutely adores Scotland which he thinks is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. But he is dismayed that his beloved Scotland has become over-run with ugly wind farms which he believes are a blight on the stunning landscape.

Mr Trump has fought a long-running battle against a wind farm off the coast from his Aberdeenshire course, Trump International Golf Links, which he has previously called an act of public vandalism.


Trump has tried in the past to use the experimental Vattenfall wind farm development, sited a couple of miles off the coast of his golf course at Menie in Aberdeenshire, as an excuse for not fulfilling his original promises of massive investment and job creation in the area. In reality, he didn't have enough money to complete the development, as he announced before the wind farm even became an issue: https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/jun/20/donald-trump-golf-resort-scotland .

Trump's also yet again displaying his ignorance of British politics and the fact that his beloved Scotland is a politically distinct country within the UK - the day after the Brexit referendum, he landed at his other Scottish golf course at Turnberry to crow and congratulate the Scottish people for voting Leave; in reality, Scotland voted overwhelmingly for Remain.

UKIP's support in Scotland is extremely thin on the ground, and Nigel Farage can barely set foot in Edinburgh without being cornered in a pub by an excited mob, so his chances of campaigning successfully against offshore investment in wind farms - even if he could be bothered, which I doubt as he prefers his targets human and vulnerable - are, well, slim.

Trump got drubbed in the UK Supreme Court in his last battle on this issue, and it obviously still rankles. Trying to throw his weight around in Scotland again - even as POTUS - is highly likely to backfire. He's not popular here, other than with paid-off lackeys and the usual idiots and arselickers, who mercifully aren't all that numerous, and we desperately need investment in harnessing the vast renewable energy resources that surround us. Much more than we need yet another golf course run by a buffoonish megalomaniac, for sure.

Zuckerberg's Plan To Battle Fake News Sets Off "Widespread Panic" Among Big Conservative Pages

Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to help reduce the spread of misinformation on Facebook has set of a “widespread panic” among some owners of the biggest hyperpartisan conservative pages.

Cyrus Massoumi, the owner of Mr. Conservative, which has 2.2 million fans, told BuzzFeed News he and his fellow publishers find Zuckerberg’s guidelines “terrifying” and “extremely wide open to interpretation.”

“To someone who was reading between the lines to understand what he meant, it didn’t really make any sense to a publisher,” Massoumi said. “It was terrifying to read.”

Massoumi spoke exclusively with BuzzFeed News with the blessing of a group of other major conservative page owners so he could raise their concerns with Zuckerberg’s post, explain why some hyperpartisan pages on the right published false and misleading content, and to share their proposal for solving the problem. Their goal is to land an audience with senior executives at Facebook to talk more.



How The 2016 Election Blew Up In Facebook’s Face

As midnight approached on November 6, 2012, a newly re-elected Barack Obama tweeted a photo of himself embracing the first lady, with the message “four more years.” The president’s election night tweet went unprecedentedly viral, racking up more than 500,000 retweets within a few hours and capping the most active day in Twitter history. Meanwhile, on Facebook, a network four times Twitter’s size, the same photo had fewer than 100,000 shares — evidence the energy around current events was elsewhere. It was a triumph for Twitter, a rare occasion when the little bird out-sang its big blue brother. At Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, it was an alarm bell ringing loudly in the middle of the night, a call to action.

Four years later, Facebook couldn’t be more relevant. The platform played a defining role in the 2016 election — but perhaps not for the reason it hoped. In the days after the vote, it’s come under fire for creating an infrastructure that played to confirmation bias and allowed political-meme-makers, sensationalists, and fake news purveyors to thrive — and perhaps even alter the election’s outcome. The company’s influence was so apparent that when CEO Mark Zuckerberg denied that the fake news coursing through its system influenced the election his own employees disputed him.

And while it was likely never the company’s intent to create a system that encouraged people to hear only what they wanted — whether or not it was true — Facebook didn’t get here by accident. It made a huge push over the last four years to be a destination for news, indeed, to be your “perfect personalized newspaper.” Since that Obama tweet, the company retooled its platform, creating a system designed to make it easier to share and promote timely and trending stories and to help them spread rapidly across its network. In the process, Facebook, with its 1.79 billion monthly active users, grew to more than five times the size of Twitter.

The promise of tapping into this lightning enticed massive news organizations to go all in on Facebook. But those enhanced sharing and interaction mechanisms, coupled with changing platform dynamics, created a system that catered to reinforcing existing world views. Facebook’s News Feed algorithm prioritizes sharing and time spent reading articles, but in a scroll-through world these measurements are prone to reward material that doesn’t challenge you. This in turn enabled a host of loose-with-the-truth upstarts to use it, at times, even more successfully than mainstream news organizations to go mega-viral.

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