adactio / tags / obama

Tagged with “obama” (8)

  1. Decode DC Episode 90: Narwhal vs. Orca

    Once upon a time in the fairytale land of politics, there was an epic clash of magical beasts.

    On one side, the sea-unicorn called the narwhal. With a wave of his single tusk, he could muster thousands of volunteers, knock on millions of doors and direct a laser-beam of votes on behalf of Barack Obama.

    On the other side, the narwhal’s natural enemy, the orca, tasked with unearthing voters across the realm for challenger Mitt Romney. This may sound too fantastical to believe, but it’s actually closer to reality than you think.

    The presidential race of 2012 did indeed see such a contest, between the President’s Project Narwhal team and Mitt Romney’s Project Orca. But the contest wasn’t waged on Middle Earth, it was waged online, by Silicon Valley hackers wielding the power of…database computing.

    For many, the showdown between the two digital camps came to symbolize the growing and dominant role technology has come to play in today’s politics. But that story is, well, a fairy tale, according to the man behind Project Narwhal.

    “It wasn’t technology. The answer was that we had a great field team and we had good volunteers and our grassroots was on point ,” says Harper Reed, former Chief Technology Officer for President Obama’s 2012 campaign. “We raised all the money and the finance team did this really great work. Technology just helped a little bit to make some of that stuff faster.”

    On this week’s podcast, host Andrea Seabrook sits with Harper Reed to recount a story that ended up being too good to be true, about a Narwhal, an Orca, and the real magic behind campaigns that help a candidate’s dreams come true.

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  2. A Conversation with John Hodgman | StarTalk Radio Show

    “Will you donate your body to be stuffed and put on display (at the American Museum of Natural History)?” This is one of the many questions John Hodgman poses to Neil during their monumental meeting of minds. From the Mac vs. PC debate to ‘geeks versus jocks,’ John and Neil provide more information than you require on the questions and challenges that face our age. Astrophysicist Charles Liu sits in the co-host chair this week, and comments on areas far beyond his usual expertise.

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  3. Gina Trapani crowdsources for the White House

    What if President Obama could talk regularly to ordinary people and scientists to ask them about issues? That’s the vision of ThinkTank, an open source project to use a technique called "crowdsourcing" to get answers to America’s problems.

    ThinkTank’s server software is available to everyone, not just people whose address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It’s designed to let a user put out a question on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, and collect and curate responses. Users can then separate responses by category, note the source of the information, and collate the comments into useful knowledge, said Gina Trapani, project director at Expert Labs’, the not-for-profit developing the project.

    Gina is a blogger, author, developer of productivity tools, and founding editor of Lifehacker. She currently blogs at Smarterware. She hosts the This Week in Google podcast with Leo Laporte and Jeff Jarvis. Her most recent book is The Complete Guide to Google Wave.


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  4. Obama’s new words, Avatar in the Amazon and a Chinese satire

    As Obama enters the second year of his presidency, he’s dropped some expressions — “war on terror”, “Af-Pak”, even “Middle East”. His administration has invented a few too: “remotedly piloted aircraft” (drones) and “overseas contingency operations” (wars). Also, a special screening of Avatar in Ecuador for indigenous groups. What did these Shuar and Achuar speakers think of Avatar’s invented language, Na’vi? Finally, a new online satirical movie is all the rage in China. It features a Chinese double-entendre phrase aimed at avoiding government censorship. The movie also includes a fantastic “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” rant.

    —Huffduffed by adactio