Monday was the saddest day in Twitter history, and that’s part of a trend…. (More)

“This is the lowest measurement we’ve ever had”

Mathematicians Chris Danforth and Peter Dodds have been tracking us. By “us” I mean mostly you humans, although there are several squirrels and cats and even a llama on Twitter.

But mostly they’re tracking humans, and specifically humans’ emotions, with a word-counting number-cruncher they call the Hedonometer:

Our hedonometer is based on people’s online expressions, capitalizing on data-rich social media, and we’re measuring how people present themselves to the outside world. For our first version of hedonometer.org, we’re using Twitter as a source but in principle we can expand to any data source in any language (more below).

They explain their research in quite a bit of detail. The gist: Each day they gather a random sample of about 50 million tweets, about 10% of Twitter traffic, and average the happiness values of the words people used. Yes, they know Twitters users are not a representative sample of all humans. But their results correlate well with other emotional measurement tools. You can see a full historical timeline of their findings here.

And this past Monday was the saddest day in Twitter history:

On Monday, the scale dropped down to 5.7. As you can see in the chart above, Twitter users were using very somber words like tragedy, victims, gun, dead, evil, and killed on Monday — language the algorithm tagged as negative.

“It’s common for terrorist attacks or natural disasters to move the needle of this instrument, but this is the lowest measurement we’ve ever had,” said Chris Danforth, the University of Vermont mathematician who co-founded the tracking tool with his colleague Peter Dodds.

Their data show a weekly cycle that should surprise no one: happiness tends to dip on Mondays and peak on Saturdays. There also seems to be a long-term wave. Happiness was higher from 2009 through late-2010, slid through late-2012, then rose again until late-2015. It’s been sliding ever since. November 9th, 2016 – the day after the U.S. presidential elections – was the fourth saddest day they measured, exceeded only by the Orlando nightclub massacre (June 12, 2016), the Dallas police shootings (July 8, 2016), and the Las Vegas massacre this week.

“[Our happiness cycles have] been incredibly regular for eight years until the last year,” said Danforth. “Now the signal is jumping down a lot more, and the regular weekly cycle has fallen apart. It’s more of a roller coaster now than it used to be.”

So it’s not just you. The past several months have been rough, if Twitter sentiment is to be believed. “We have a lot to think about these days,” Danforth said. “The news feels progressively worse and more stochastic than it used to be.”

Yeah, it’s not just you. Today’s news is the usual tsunami of trash, all-but hiding some very real problems.

“How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?”

I’m not saying that Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment scandal is trivial. It’s huge for the women involved and it matters to anyone who cares about how women are treated by men who have power:

Two decades ago, the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein invited Ashley Judd to the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for what the young actress expected to be a business breakfast meeting. Instead, he had her sent up to his room, where he appeared in a bathrobe and asked if he could give her a massage or she could watch him shower, she recalled in an interview.

“How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?” Ms. Judd said she remembers thinking.
In 2014, Mr. Weinstein invited Emily Nestor, who had worked just one day as a temporary employee, to the same hotel and made another offer: If she accepted his sexual advances, he would boost her career, according to accounts she provided to colleagues who sent them to Weinstein Company executives. The following year, once again at the Peninsula, a female assistant said Mr. Weinstein badgered her into giving him a massage while he was naked, leaving her “crying and very distraught,” wrote a colleague, Lauren O’Connor, in a searing memo asserting sexual harassment and other misconduct by their boss.

Predictably, Weinstein said he’ll sue the New York Times for publishing their blockbuster story:

On the heels of the New York Times’ bombshell exposé published Thursday about “decades of harassment” on the part of Harvey Weinstein, the mogul’s attorney Charles Harder says he’s preparing a lawsuit against the paper.
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Harder is perhaps most famous as the lawyer who represented Hulk Hogan in the litigation that brought down Gawker. He also represented Melania Trump in a defamation action against the parent company of The Daily Mail.

But let’s all have kittens because some campus protesters interrupted a speech. That from the same Washington Post sub-blog that dismissed concerns about the lawsuit to shut down Gawker. I guess it’s only okay to shut down speech if you have billionaire backers.

And then there’s this guilt-by-association tripe:

Harvey Weinstein, over the last few decades, has exerted his significant influence over the world of Hollywood filmmaking and entertainment. But, as a reliable and consistent donor for Democratic politicians, his largesse and deep connections have also translated to the world of electoral politics.

Those sleaze-mongers make a special point of noting that Weinstein hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton. As if she knew or should have known what he was doing to actresses and other women who worked for him.

“Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out?”

Meanwhile, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) is spewing conspiracy hogwash:

VICE News: In fairness, antifa is in the news because of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

GOSAR: Well, isn’t that interesting. Maybe that was created by the Left.

VICE News: Why do you say that?

GOSAR: Because let’s look at the person that actually started the rally. It’s come to our attention that this is a person from Occupy Wall Street that was an Obama sympathizer. So, wait a minute, be careful where you start taking these people to.
And look at the background. You know, you know George Soros is one of those people that actually helps back these individuals. Who is he? I think he’s from Hungary. I think he was Jewish. And I think he turned in his own people to the Nazis. Better be careful where we go with those.

VICE News: Do you think George Soros funded the neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville?

GOSAR: Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out?

Of course this congressional pond scum isn’t actually saying that right-wing bogeyman George Soros funded the neo-Nazis. He’s Just Asking Questions. Like this congressional pond scum wannabe from Idaho:

The public is not being told the truth about what really went down in Las Vegas.  As you will see below, the evidence is mounting that there were multiple shooters and that this was an operation that was planned well in advance.  But according to the mainstream media, a 64-year-old retired accountant with a flabby physique that had no military training whatsoever and that wasn’t very experienced with guns was able to pull the whole thing off all by himself.  We are being told that Paddock was a “lone wolf” that didn’t have any ties to terror groups, and since he is now dead nobody is ever going to be able to interrogate him.  But the American people definitely deserve some answers about what took place, and that means that all of us should keep digging.

The following are 16 unanswered questions about the Las Vegas shooting that the mainstream media does not want to talk about…

His “16 unanswered questions” include myths and rumors that have already been disproved, but evidence doesn’t matter to him. He wonders if this was an Antifa attack:

Why was a country music festival chosen as the target?  Was the goal to kill as many Trump supporters and other conservatives as possible?  And is there evidence that Stephen Paddock was connected to Antifa in any way?

And yeah, this JAQ-off is running for Congress.

“If he is only interested in sabotaging the market…”

You have to dig through the day’s news to find the stuff that may hurt you directly … like the God-King systematically sabotaging the health insurance market:

For months, officials in Republican-controlled Iowa had sought federal permission to revitalize their ailing health-insurance marketplace. Then President Trump read about the request in a newspaper story and called the federal director weighing the application.

Trump’s message in late August was clear, according to individuals who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations: Tell Iowa no.

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act see the president’s opposition even to changes sought by conservative states as part of a broader campaign by his administration to undermine the 2010 health-care law. In addition to trying to cut funding for the ACA, the Trump administration also is hampering state efforts to control premiums. In the case of Iowa, that involved a highly unusual intervention by the president himself.

It’s not just Iowa. As that Post story reports, God-King also blocked efforts by lawmakers in Oklahoma and Minnesota to stabilize their health insurance markets.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said Trump should devote time to forging a bipartisan agreement to stabilize the ACA marketplaces.

“If he is only interested in sabotaging the market, that is a dangerous road for him to ride, because he will own it,” she said.

Not to mention his better-known plans to sabotage enrollment at the federal exchange. And he wants to let more bosses decide whether women can use birth control:

The Trump administration is poised to roll back the federal requirement for employers to include birth control coverage in their health insurance plans, vastly expanding exemptions for those that cite moral or religious objections.

The new rules, which could be issued as soon as Friday, fulfill a campaign promise by President Trump and are sure to touch off a round of lawsuits on the issue.

More than 55 million women have access to birth control without co-payments because of the contraceptive coverage mandate, according to a study commissioned by the Obama administration. Under the new regulations, hundreds of thousands of women could lose birth control benefits they now receive at no cost under the Affordable Care Act.

One new rule offers an exemption to any employer or insurer that objects to covering contraceptive services “based on its sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Another regulation offers a new exemption to employers that have “moral convictions” against covering contraceptives.

He also wants to ditch the international agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear development

President Trump is expected to announce next week that he will “decertify” the international nuclear deal with Iran, saying it is not in the national interest of the United States and kicking the issue to a reluctant Congress, people briefed on the White House strategy said Thursday.

The move would mark the first step in a process that could eventually result in the resumption of U.S. sanctions against Iran, potentially derailing a deal limiting Iran’s nuclear activities reached in 2015 with the United States and five other nations.

… and this week he said our nation’s chief diplomat is “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with China to control North Korea:

More and more, Danforth’s and Dodd’s data show, we look like the mail room clerk in today’s pic. I wonder why….

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Image Credit: Crissie Brown (BPICampus.com)

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Good day and good nuts