John McCain devoted much of his career in the Senate to controlling the influence of money in public life — in part to try to recover from his own role in a big congressional influence scandal. McCain, who died Saturday of brain cancer, made money and influence big themes of his first presidential race. “Y’know, there’s a little game they got in Washington,” he told a crowd in New Hampshire in 1999. “And that is: Look at the tax bill when it comes out, to figure out who’s getting the benefit — because of the very complex and convoluted way that they write the tax laws. And it’s a disgrace.” Although McCain, an Arizona Republican, lost the Republican nomination to George W. Bush, his warnings that money was corrupting politics reverberated in many state primaries, amplifying his message and propelling him toward an unexpected legislative triumph in the Senate that helped define his career. … McCain, who served more than 30 years in the Senate, began as an unlikely crusader.
A citizens jury has decided it will recommend the city adopt internet voting as an option for the next municipal election. The jury- who voted 17-1 in favour- says internet voting will make the process easy, simple and fast. The idea behind a citizens jury is that given enough time and information, ordinary people can make decisions about complex policy issues. While internet voting is already offered in over 60 municipalities in Ontario and Nova Scotia, there are some concerns over security, fraud, privacy, accuracy and accessibility- to name a few.
Every now and then, a really interesting piece rolls through my Twitter feed; earlier this week, it was a Wired piece about the growing use of “A/B testing” on the web:
Welcome, guinea pigs. Because if you’ve spent any time using the web today — and if you’re reading this, that’s a safe bet — you’ve most likely already been an unwitting subject in what’s called an A/B test. It’s the practice of performing real-time experiments on a site’s live traffic, showing different content and formatting to different users and observing which performs better.
The article notes that A/B testing (explained in further detail here) has been around for a little more than a decade, most notably by giants like Google and Amazon, who use the procedure to test and tweak virtually every aspect of their online experience.