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Posts Tagged ‘Nixon

The mechanics of minority rule…

In this visualization, we see the tipping point where minority opinion (shown in red) quickly becomes majority opinion. Over time, the minority opinion grows. Once the minority opinion reached 10 percent of the population, the network quickly changes as the minority opinion takes over the original majority opinion (shown in green).

 

 Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society. The scientists, who are members of the Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center (SCNARC) at Rensselaer, used computational and analytical methods to discover the tipping point where a minority belief becomes the majority opinion. The finding has implications for the study and influence of societal interactions ranging from the spread of innovations to the movement of political ideals…

“In general, people do not like to have an unpopular opinion and are always seeking to try locally to come to consensus. We set up this dynamic in each of our models,” said SCNARC Research Associate and corresponding paper author Sameet Sreenivasan. To accomplish this, each of the individuals in the models “talked” to each other about their opinion. If the listener held the same opinions as the speaker, it reinforced the listener’s belief. If the opinion was different, the listener considered it and moved on to talk to another person. If that person also held this new belief, the listener then adopted that belief.

“As agents of change start to convince more and more people, the situation begins to change,” Sreenivasan said. “People begin to question their own views at first and then completely adopt the new view to spread it even further. If the true believers just influenced their neighbors, that wouldn’t change anything within the larger system, as we saw with percentages less than 10.”

Read the full story at Physorg.com.

As we dress for the Tea Party, we might recall that it was on this date in 1974 that President Richard M. Nixon released subpoenaed White House recordings after being ordered to do so by the Supreme Court… well, sort of: six days later, on August 6, the White House released another tape, recorded days after the Watergate Break-in, on which it was clear that the President knew of the burglary and conspired in the cover-up.  Nixon resigned on August 8.

Nixon departing the White House after his resignation (source)

Keep those cards and letters coming…

for larger version, click image above (or here), and then click again

Readers will recall earlier visits to Letters of Note (“correspondence deserving of a wider audience”).  That wonderful site now has company– and official company at that.

The letter-of-request above*, and tens of thousands of other historically- and politically-interesting documents can now be found at the Online Public Access Prototype of the National Archives.

* One notes that, while the Vice President’s response to Disney was “schedule too tight,” later President Nixon used Disney World as the venue for his “I am not a crook” speech…

[TotH to GMSV]

As we sharpen our quills, we might recall that it was on this date in 1972 (months before his Disney World performance) that President Nixon signed the bill authorizing $5.5 million to develop the Space Shuttle program– NASA’s main focus from that point until President Obama’s recent redirection.

Nixon with NASA Administrator James Fletcher and a model of spacecraft-to-come (Source: NASA)

A puppet on a string…

source

The latest performance by Royal de Luxe– the French mechanical marionette street theater company– took place last month in Guadalajara, Mexico as part of the Celebrando el Centenario de la Revolución Mexicana, and featured The Mexican Giant, the dog Xolo and the Little Indian Girl (more photos and video here).  Extraordinaire!

Via the wonderful Laughing Squid.

As look carefully around us for the strings, we might recall that it was on this date in 1962 that Pravda excoriated Western art as degenerate and bourgeois.  Days before, at an exhibiton at the Manege in Moscow, Premier Nikita Khrushchev had attacked the Modernist paintings of Pavel Kuznetsov and Robert Falk, pronouncing them “dog sh*t.” Khrushchev was so revolted by an Ernst Neizvestny sculpture– an Expressionist female nude– that he called the artist a “fag” to his face, then added, “We give ten years for that.”  Undaunted, Neizvetny insisted that the gallery bring him a girl so he could set the dictator straight.

Eliott Erwitt’s famous photo of Nixon “correcting” Khrushchev’s views on Pollack (source)

Democracy in action…

source

Alvin Greene came (literally) out of nowhere to win the Democratic primary race to face Tea Party champion Jim DeMint for the honor of representing your correspondent’s home state in the Senate.  Wonkette reports on the result achieved last Tuesday by the candidate who never really campaigned, raised funds, hired a staff, nor for that matter, explained who in the world he is, and whose most news-worthy achievement during the campaign was to be indicted for showing pornographic pictures to a college student, then asking about going back to her room:

Presented without commentary, here are some of the Senate candidates who received fewer votes than Alvin Greene did yesterday, according to the most current AP numbers:

Senator Harry Reid: 361,655
Senator-elect Mike Lee: 360,050
Alvin Greene: 358,069
Sharron Angle: 320,996
Senator Mike Crapo: 318,468
Senator-elect Joe Manchin: 281,661
Senator Blanche Lincoln: 280,167
Senator John Thune: 227,903
Senator Daniel Inouye: 276,867
Senator-elect Kelly Ayotte: 265,967
Senator-elect John Hoeven: 181,409
Senator-elect Chris Coons: 173,900
Senator Patrick Leahy: 145,486
Senator Lisa Murkowski (Total Write-In): 81,876
Joe Miller: 68,288

Yes, yes– your correspondent appreciates that the states in question are not all the same size… still…

As we wonder when someone will get around to investigating the functioning of the electronic voting machines used in the primary in which Greene emerged, we might recall that it was on this date in 1968 that Richard Nixon’s “Silent Majority” strategy paid off:  after losing to John F. Kennedy in 1960 and then Pat Brown (in a run for Governor of California two years later), he defeated Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace to become the 37th President of the United States.  It was one of the closest elections in history, decided by under 500,000 votes.

source

 

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