“New Voter Guide Follows the Money”

Cool: very worthwhile effort here:

“Can information about which candidates people give money to produce a better voter guide?

One problem with voter guides, despite their worthy intentions and the seriousness of their approach, is that there is rarely a common baseline from which to evaluate two or more candidates. A 30-year incumbent’s record usually dwarfs that of a first-time challenger who has never held office. But those two candidates do have something in common — fund-raising — and that forms the backbone of Crowdpac, a site that aims to produce a data-driven voter guide to help voters decide which candidates to support.

Led by a Stanford political scientist, a former Google business development executive and a former senior adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, Crowdpac takes federal and state campaign finance data — who donates money to whom — and uses that and other details to calculate a political position along a spectrum for candidates. Not only are donations to candidates included, but contributions between candidates and other organizations are also listed….”

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Here’s why the democratization of big data really, really should excite you. Yes … you.

Good read…

Gigaom

If you aren’t thrilled about the ability to quickly query huge datasets about whatever questions strike your fancy, please listen to this podcast.

This week’s guest, Kalev Leetaru, is the [company]Yahoo[/company] Fellow in Residence of International Values, Communications Technology & the Global Internet at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Phew. More to the point, Leetaru is pushing the Global Database of Events, Languages, and Tones. Also known as GDELT, this project has taken more than 250 million historical data points from the past 35 years to try to determine patterns between, say, the current unrest in Ukraine and historical events.

If the past is prologue, this is a pretty fabulous tool to have at your disposal. Which it now is, since [company]Google[/company] has made the dataset available via its cloud platform. Leetaru is clearly jazzed about the possibilities here — being able to…

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Remember 2013? If Not, Twitter Recaps the Year’s Big Moments for You

Always fun…

Tech

We’re not even halfway through December, but that hasn’t stopped anyone (including/especially the media – sorry!) from looking back at 2013 already.

Twitter recently rolled out its end-of-the-year recap site, highlighting popular hashtags and topics by month along with a stream of popular tweets collected under the news, entertainment, sports and showcase headings.

You can browse the whole kit and caboodle here, but if you’re feeling like you’d like to save that click for sometime later in the day, here’s a brief overview of some of each month’s events (click each month’s name to go directly to Twitter’s encapsulation of it):

  • January: London chopper crash, the Australian Open, the inauguration
  • February: Super Bowl, Academy Awards, Fashion Week
  • March: New pope, March Madness
  • April: Boston Marathon bombings, Margaret Thatcher dies
  • May: Soccer, cricket and more soccer
  • June: NBA Finals, DOMA/Prop 8…

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