Category Archives: Media commentary

Framing The Issue: Facebook and Terrorism


Daily Telegraph 4/11/2014

Three World Cup Predictions

Just five more days before the first world cup games and predictions abound as to who will win the title.

Yet, if you want to stand out from the crowd and have your prediction noticed, you need big names.

First let’s look at Goldman Sachs. In a paper by Jan Hatzius and Jari Stehn which generates more than 340,000 on google (“goldman sachs world cup predictions”) the prediction is that Brazil is going to win against Argentina in the final by 3-1.

Next is Stephen Hawking whose “formula” generates 140.000 results on google (search “stephen hawking world cup prediction”).

Professor Hawking, who admits being “slightly more qualified than Paul the Octopus” and sponsored by the bookmaker PaddyPower, recommends England play a 4-3-3 formation, with a European referee and a 3:00pm kick-off.

Finally, we have Jose Mourinho, who, in a video for Yahoo, forecasts an England – Portugal final with England taking the cup. His judgement is motivated by personal interest (“I want to be able to have a holiday in Portugal”) rather than his deep insight of the game and the form of the players going into the tournament.

The first two models rely on statistical analysis going back decades to amass enough data points (who plays whom and the final result). The problem with this approach is that most of the games taken into account in the statistical analysis are irrelevant. The 23 players of each world cup delegation have nothing to do with the players who played in the games in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. For instance, all the games between Germany and England taking place more than 4 years ago have no impact on a possible England vs Germany next month. Neither Gary Lineker nor Franz Beckenbauer will be playing. It wouldn’t occur to you to take your amateur league in Uzbekistan as data to predict Colombia’s world cup performance but that is precisely what is going on. Colombia 1994 or 1998 is alien team to today’s Colombia.

So, forget the predictions, but do remember the brands: Goldman Sachs, PaddyPower and Yahoo.

Media Watch – Ukraine, Crimea Old News Already?

Is it because the issue is too complex?

Is it because this is just grand posturing?

Is it because we are approaching a solid week-end of sports?

Whatever the case may be, the focus on the situation in Ukraine seems to have faded from social media and, at least in the UK, newspaper front pages.

Last week-end 1/2 – March – 2014

Click here for more front pages from today.

This Saturday 8 – March – 2014

Click here for last Saturday’s front pages.

Twitter Chatter from 6 – February to 8 – March

Crisis? What crisis?

Crisis? What crisis?

But let’s leave the last word to Private Eye. (Putin says: “I think Russia are going to win the shooting”)

PrivateEye Putin

Daily Mail on Sherlock: information or advertisement?


Jimmy Kimmel, China Affair

TF1 Aurait Manipulé le Reportage Sur Hollande

“Le petit journal” révèle, images a’ l’appuis, comment TF1 aurait sciemment décalé de quelques secondes la bande son, pour donner l’impression que le président fut hué lors de son déplacement a’ Oyonnax.

Cliquez sur l'image pour lancer la vidéo.

Cliquez sur l’image pour lancer la vidéo.


Pop Culture: Where is “Harvard Style”?

As of this writing, “Gangnam Style” video is approaching 500 million views on youtube, and this is only counting the views on Psy’s official channel.

With such popularity, spin-offs soon followed:

Deadpool Style (9.6 million views)

Flashmob Style in Jakarta (3.4 million views)

Gandalf Style (4.7 million views)

India Style (only a puny 941 000 views)

Even Eton succumbed. Though a few parents might have sighed “sic transit gloria mundi”, here is to you Eton Style.

The lyrics make reference to different aspects of life at Eton. For instance,

“They will close the doors right in your face /

Then you’re in Tardy, chin up buddy”

According to a post in The Guardian, this refers to the fact that being late for a lesson results in the student having to wake-up early three days in a row and sign the “tardy” book.

In fact, the Eton video is doing so well, that google’s algorithm is placing “Eton Style” as the second suggestion ahead of Eton College itself which is only fourth. Eton Dorney, the top suggested result, is the lake where Eton rowers train. (See slideshow below for screenshots).

By comparison, a similar search for “Harvard” and a more specific one for “Harvard + Style” suggests that for now, Harvard is still Harvard.

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