Practical learnings from business and life
Why Polls and Election Results Are Sometimes So, So Wrong
I’m going to explain why pollsters got the result so wrong in the lead-up to the UK parliamentary general election in 2015, and simultaneously the real reason why parties, or candidates, win or lose. And use this as a basis for predicting the 2016 US presidential election.
Yet again, during the post-mortem of an election, politicians explain why they won or lost (primarily those who lost. Those who won are usually pleased to bask in the glory and relief), and pollsters are scratching their heads to explain why their polling turned out to be so incorrect.
The reasons both give for their failure - of either type - are usually blaming various factors supposedly outside their control - usually nefarious behaviour of the other party / candidate, or broader circumstances over which they had no control. But if we take a look at both elections and polling predictions - both pre-voting and exit polls - superficially there doesn’t appear to be a credibly reliable explanation. The strangeness of polling errors is particularly interesting because at times the polls leading up to an election are wrong, and at times it’s the exit polls that are just as wrong. And it doesn’t happen just in the UK as the same kind of issues happen in the US.
Revealed – The dishonest techniques UKBA uses to portray LGBT asylum-seekers as making up their stories
Maxwell O. due to be deported on Wednesday 9th October
The UK Borders Agency has a tough job, homosexuality is difficult to prove exactly, and there are people who will attempt to claim homosexuality as a means of unjustly claiming asylum. But even against such a backdrop, UKBA is resorting to grievously dishonest means to enable them to portray genuinely gay people as if they are making up their stories to fraudulently gain asylum.
Maxwell O. is a gay Nigerian who fled to the UK in 2011 fearing he would be killed if he stayed in Nigeria. He had been blamed for causing the death of his father and brother by 'witchcraft' due to him being gay. He had been warned by an uncle to flee from Nigeria or else face being killed by his community. He is due to be sent back on Wednesday 9th October 2013.
Rupert Murdoch, illegal activity, and responsibility
With the current furore about crimes committed – at the time of writing, phone tapping and paying police for information have come to light – by media in Rupert Murdoch’s ownership (and James’ Murdoch’s management), there appears to be something important missing in people’s consideration. The revelations about phone tapping at the News of the World that are now showing that illegal practices were both widespread and long in duration are raising serious questions about how much the senior management actually knew. Rupert Murdoch has merely apologised for not investigating it in more depth. In essence his defence before the select committee was essentially that he didn’t know what the underlings at the bottom layer of his organisation had been doing and had thought what was initially discovered was an isolated event. Does that claim withstand scrutiny?Note: Article now updated with developments
The Mystery of Flight AF447 - Deliberately avoiding the inconveniently obvious
I'm beginning to suspect that in yet another disaster where the true facts would be 'inconvenient', an effort is being made to find both technical and human scapegoats.
On 1st June 2009 Air France flight AF447 disappeared over the Atlantic on a flight from Brazil to France. There was no mayday call and initially it seemed to have just disappeared without any trace, until it was revealed that an on-board automatic system had been sending computer-generated technical messages describing a sequence of problems occurring on the flight and revealing its last known location. Eventually of course, a considerable amount of debris was recovered indicating the flight had at the very least crashed into the sea. But the flight data and cockpit recorders were still missing, presumed to be at the bottom of the Atlantic, along with most of the wreckage.
Astra G 8-valve Thermostat problem
For those with a Vauxhall Astra G (that's the version that went from late 1990's to mid 2000's - can't be bothered to look up exact year range - if you have an 8-valve version you'll be likely to have experienced engine thermostat failure by now. You'll also have been stunned to have been quoted a couple of hundred quid to have it replaced, because in their infinite wisdom, Vauxhall have built this engine around one of the cheapest and most unreliable components - the thermostat. It's buried so deep that the whole timing belt has to be removed in order to get to it, if you follow the official procedures, although a friend of mine with one did manage to wiggle his out by bending a few things back in order to avoid having to do that.
If your thermostat has failed open, in which case the engine never seems to warm up and will use more fuel, the most common solution is to get a hot thermostat from a Renault 5 - 89 degrees c is the hottest I've seen - like the one in the picture and insert it into the top hose. It is helpful to drill a small hole (1 - 1.5mm diameter) at the point where I'm pointing my knife, in order to allow both air bubbles and a small amount of water through to ensure that the wax bit of the thermostat (the pointy bit) gets up to the temperature reasonably promptly. It should be installed with the small hole at the top (the thermostat goes in the top hose horizontally with the pointy bit closest to the engine. This is almost as good as replacing the original Vauxhall thermostat, and will cost about £6 instead of £200+. For all you could ever possibly want to know about this, go to this thread at the vauxahll Owners Network.