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Author: Matt Diamond Matt Diamond homepage
Location: Holland PA, USA

Matt Diamond's blog

Math-challenged TV network


After the Vice-Presidential debate tonight, Peter Jennings of ABC proudly unveiled the results of their "scientific" poll showing that 43% thought Cheney had won, 35% Edwards. They put up this graphic several times over the next few minutes, while Jennings crowed about it. "Not all networks do _scientific_ polls," he reminded us pointedly.

Once though he did mention that they had polled a group of 500 people that was 38% Republican, 31% Democrat, 27% Independent. (This was verbal and never was displayed on the screen.) If Jennings had done the math he might have noticed that the difference in crowd makeup is almost exactly the difference in interpretation of the outcome.

Now perhaps ABC's pollsters had broken it down and the Republican bias wasn't correlated with the result. That would have been an interesting result. But since the totals Jennings mentioned totalled only 96%, rather than the customary 100%, I think perhaps the supposed result should be discounted.

Add on to this the poll's +/- 4.5% uncertainty, and clearly the poll doesn't represent much of a result. But Jennings repeatedly declared Cheney the apparent winner.

Forget liberal or conservative bias; the tv networks seemed to be biased towards "stupid".


Posted on October 5, 2004 at 8:42 pm
Why Johnny's blog hasn't been updated

People all over the world have been asking, "Why hasn't your blog been updated recently?"

Unfortunately they've only been asking other people this question. Noone has asked me about my own blog. Nonetheless, I will explain that I've been hard at work on a game entry for uDevGames 2004 which is something I feel compelled to do each year. One day hopefully scientists will discover a cure. Until then, you can look forward to a free Mac game from me and whichever of the other 67 entrants manage to finish their project before the deadline.

My entries from 2002 and 2003 can be found on my webpage HERE and you can find preliminary info about my new game HERE.


Posted on October 5, 2004 at 12:40 pm
iTMS Find O' The Unspecified Time Period

Fingertips, live!

It's kind of hard to explain.

Posted on September 30, 2004 at 6:21 pm
They killed C3PO!

A friend and I were talking about the various Star Wars films, and we decided that C3PO should have been named "Kenny".


Posted on September 10, 2004 at 5:44 pm
Bucks Fizz

I'm very fond of the iTunes Music Store but a week ago I made a very bad mistake while browsing around in it, and I'm still paying the price.

I went to high school in London in the early 1980's, right when New Wave was hitting. Musically it was a great time to be in England, but unfortunately 1981 was also one of times that England won the Eurovision song contest.
For those who aren't familiar with it, it is in a way an ancestor of shows like American Idol. Audiences voting on songs, mostly banal but occasionally interesting, from many different countires. It's where ABBA got their start, and for many years afterwards many of the entries sounded like ABBA. (For all I know that's still the case.)
http://www.eurovision.tv/

Some of the acts were assembled just for the contest, groups who knew just one song and had lame choreography to go along with it. Such was the case with the group Bucks Fizz, Great Britain's 1981 entry.
http://www.bucksfizz.org.uk/stills/still2.html

To kick things off GB had a local contest to pick their entry. which meant that I was forced to listen to the winner, "Making Your Mind Up", a zillion times before the actual Eurovision contest even happened. Then Bucks Fizz won that and as an encore sang the same song once or twice more. My fate was sealed- the bouncy, infectious and utterly annoying tune got massive airplay and ran through my head for years afterwards.

Fast forward to 2004. The intervening years have been kind to me, eventually erasing my memory of the song in question. But when I saw in iTMS a brand new Bucks Fizz album I clicked on it out of curiousity, and from there it was a short jump to "Bucks Fizz's Greatest Hits."

I believe I actually hesitated for a moment before clicking on the 30-second sample of "Making Your Mind Up", some inner voice warning me of past horrors long forgotten. Sadly the voice went unheeded, and now I've got the blasted thing running through my head again.

It so happens that a few years ago I discovered a sure-fire cure that would get any song out of my head. It's rather an extreme measure but I'm just desperate enough to try it. If it works then I'll share the secret knowledge with the rest of you, but I think this time it may have met its match.

Posted on August 26, 2004 at 7:49 pm
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