The resident faculty sent a canvasser to the mail room with a personalized message encouraging us to ponder their topic for the week. Well duh…. (More)

First our thanks to last week’s writers:

On Monday, you shared your stories of offline political activism in Things We Did This Week, addisnana shared the story of One Undecided Voter in Midday Matinee, Dr. F offered The “But for the Grace of God” Principle in Evening Focus, and winterbanyan spotted a New Research Vessel to Probe Arctic in Our Earth.

On Tuesday, we saw The Finish Line in Sight in Morning Feature, readers helped tell Tuesday’s Tale: The Genius House in Midday Matinee, we offered a 2012 Election Results Live-Blog in Evening Focus, and winterbanyan reported on the Pine Beetle Epidemic Fueled by Climate Change in Our Earth.

On Wednesday, we were Celebrating Victory in Morning Feature, the Squirrel delighted that Data Defeats Anecdotes, Gut Feelings in Furthermore!, addisnana offered Thanks to Every Volunteer in Midday Matinee, and Dr. F pondered A Muted Discussion … A Wasted Campaign? in Evening Focus.

On Thursday, we offered An Open Letter to Angry White Men in Morning Feature, triciawyse brought us Fursdai Furries in Midday Matinee, and winterbanyan saw Climate Change Causing Penguin Decline in Our Earth.

On Friday, we asked Will Republicans Unskew Themselves? in Morning Feature, triciawyse shared Frieday Critters in Midday Matinee, and winterbanyan saw Coral Reefs Summon “Bodyguard” Fish in Our Earth.

On the weekend, we doubted the wisdom of “Throw ‘Em an Anvil?” in Saturday’s Morning Feature, Ms. Crissie was asked if we Want Stuff? in Sunday’s Morning Feature, Winning Progressive shared Weekend Reading in Furthermore!, we chuckled at Silly Sunday: Dis Array, Dat Array in Evening Focus, and winterbanyan brought our weekly Eco News Roundup in Our Earth.

Note: Please share your stories of offline political activism in Things We Did This Week.

That leaves only the canvasser sent to the mail room by the resident faculty, as they made their way from the wine cellar library where they spent the weekend drinking thinking on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”) to the hot tub faculty lounge for their weekly game where the underwear goes flying planning conference. The canvasser said this:

I know you care about the resident faculty here at BPI, and you try to predict their discussion topics each week. Can we count on you to help try to predict this week’s topic too?

Obviously we said yes, and obviously the canvasser’s presence and message were the clue. Pootie the Precious wondered how the canvasser knew so much about us, until we reminded her that Ms. Scarlet probably reads the Meta Monday Morning Feature each week. It’s public information, after all.

Indeed the clue was so transparent that Ms. Scarlet could have simply told us that this week the resident faculty will look at The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns. From the overview:

Renegade thinkers are crashing the gates of a venerable American institution, shoving aside its so-called wise men and replacing them with a radical new data-driven order. We’ve seen it in sports, and now in The Victory Lab, journalist Sasha Issenberg tells the hidden story of the analytical revolution upending the way political campaigns are run in the 21st century.

The Victory Lab follows the academics and maverick operatives rocking the war room and re-engineering a high-stakes industry previously run on little more than gut instinct and outdated assumptions. Armed with research from behavioural psychology and randomized experiments that treat voters as unwitting guinea pigs, the smartest campaigns now believe they know who you will vote for even before you do. Issenberg tracks these fascinating techniques—which include cutting edge persuasion experiments, innovative ways to mobilize voters, heavily researched electioneering methods—and shows how our most important figures, such as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, are putting them to use with surprising skill and alacrity.

Provocative, clear-eyed and energetically reported, The Victory Lab offers iconoclastic insights into political marketing, human decision-making, and the increasing power of analytics.

The staff agreed this is the resident faculty’s most likely topic, with a probability of 98.6%. Unless Ms. Scarlet loses another button on her blouse. Then our response may rise above 98.6….


Happy Monday!