- The study I’m presenting at MAPOR next month does a bit of work examining the differences and overlaps between partisanship and ideology, so I was quite interested to read Peter Frase’s essay on how the 1% and the 99% orient toward these concepts. My only quibble with his take is that he suggests that young adults will have an experience with politics “in which ‘left versus right’ is used interchangeably with ‘Democrats versus Republicans.'” It’s not just the young people — ideology, for all that it might be in play among political and financial elites, is not something that most people have beyond the group-affiliation marker of “liberal,” “moderate” or “conservative.” If we consider ideology to be a set of organizing principles from which we derive our decisions and opinions about political issues, research suggests only about 5% of Americans have one, if that.
- Paul Waldman’s got a really incisive post on the way the culture wars have silently expanded to consume the entire range of political issues. It’s an extension of that ideological group membership phenomenon, and it’s why one of the results I’ll present from that paper is a relationship between Christian media use and disbelief in anthropomorphic climate change. Ideological and partisan groups don’t have perfect overlap, but they each have sets of beliefs that are required of members and occasionally contested, requiring members to shift when called upon.
- Matthew Yglesias makes note of the structural changes in the blogosphere — that it’s really not about outsiders anymore, as most of the outsiders have been brought mostly into the mainstream media-political tent — and his place in it.
- How many photos have ever been taken? An analysis by 1000memories suggests the answer is about 3.5 trillion; 140 billion are hosted by Facebook.
Filed: Open Tabs || 22:54, October 21 || No Comments »
I don’t really have anything of value to add to all the commentary on the death of Steve Jobs, other than to note that I don’t think its volume can be attributed solely to the fact that everyone knew it was coming. Though his revolutionary work lasted three and a half decades, he really became a titanic figure in the last 15 or so years. Calling him the 21st century’s Edison is probably not overselling his impact and stature.
What struck me reading the MetaFilter obituary thread was how many people’s experience mirrored mine — starting with a classroom Apple ][ Plus running BASIC, secretly coveting your friend’s IIgs, eventually moving into the more open design and development world of the early Macs — and how many didn’t. There was something really communal in reading people describe the same path, but starting with an iMac G3 and ending with a MacBook Pro and an iPad. As tough as it is to measure the impact of Apple (and Pixar, let’s not forget) on society in general, it may be even tougher to figure at the individual level. There are whole industries full of people whose lives have been altered by Jobs and his determination to pursue the path as he saw it.
And it probably won’t get much press this week, but Jobs credits that vision to his 70s-era use of LSD and other psychedelics, which he called “one of the two or three most important things” he had done. In a very real way, the revolutionary promise of the counterculture was finally brought to bear by Jobs and his unusual and uncanny ability to understand how people relate through information. It’s no accident that Jobs referred to the original Mac as “insanely great” or that the first ad campaign after his return to Apple was the “Think Different” series, featuring a monologue beginning, “Here’s to the crazy ones.” His legacy is one of having the foresight to understand what most of us could only grasp looking back, and of having his contemporaries perched on his rear-view mirror, desperate to figure it out for themselves.
Filed: aka Syscrusher || 16:03, October 6 || 3 Comments »
I fielded a survey recently, and this out of context result really intrigues me. For the non-quantitative people, these are regression results that show how each variable predicts the outcome variable with all the others controlled. The outcome here is agreement with the statement, “When most Americans debate issues facing the country, they are more civil today compared to ten years ago.” I’m looking at blog use, ideology and partisanship in this study, and here are the predictive results (the ones with the footnote symbols are statistically significant):
|Conservative Blog Use||.23**|
|Liberal Blog Use||.03|
|*** p < .001, ** p < .01, * p < .05, † p < .1|
I’m pretty sure that the partisanship and conservative blog use results are manifestations of those individuals remembering 2001 as a time when everybody was being so mean to George W. Bush all the time. It’s likely also the reverse — Democrats seeing the current environment as severely uncivil — but the distribution of the blog use data suggests to me it’s more the former than the latter. More on this at MAPOR next month.