John J Kelly

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Sultan Erdogan sets new (low) standards of Authoritarianism

January 21, 2016

Turkey’s military has been escalating vicious attacks against the Kurdish population under the pretext of fighting ISIS. Last week, a petition of condemnation was circulated by 1,200 Turkish academics calling themselves “Academicians for Peace.” President Erdoğan then issued a tirade against intellectuals, adopting what Noam Chomsky referred to in an email to the undersigned as “the George W. Bush line: you’re with me or you’re with the terrorists."

Afghan elections audit nearly over, Abdullah grandstanding

September 10, 2014

Though neither candidate will ostensibly tolerate serving 'under' the other, perhaps it is time for Abdullah to accept that he has been offered high office in a Ghani administration and his supporters and the Tajik and other minorities will find their interests better served by a government of unity than by a return to mayhem, which favours the Taliban.

Afghan elections look like going to a second round

April 11, 2014

As forecast (thus passim) Ashraf Ghani Amadzai and Abdulllah Abdullah appear to have polled around 44 and 42 per cent of the votes cast, with Rassoul trailing at under 10 per cent. The polls are somewhat elastic, however. Newsweek, for example, for some reason reported Rassoul as a front runner, despite evidence that he is at best running a distant third. It is also interesting to note that authoritative sources such as The Economist reported Abdullah as leading and remain keen to point out Ghani's links to strongman General Dostum,... More

Why the 2014 Afghan elections matter and why Ghani should win

March 31, 2014

Events in the Ukraine and elsewhere have contributed to a relative lack of western media coverage of the 2014 Afghan elections, due to start on April 5. There are several reasons. New Cold War notwithstanding, America ‘and its allies’ would prefer to draw a line under Operation ‘Enduring Freedom,’ now seen as more about enduring and less about freedom. After an estimated trillion dollars, hundreds of ISAF troop deaths and hundreds of thousands of Afghan lives lost, the country is in no better shape than before the US-led occupation. The situation... More

More women need mobile phones in emerging economies

March 5, 2014

Julia Hobsbawm, a Professor of Networking no less, invited me to the Connected Women Summit, where I expected to find a bunch of high powered women discussing how to become even more so. There were plenty of those, but the conference had absolutely nothing to do with Londonistas and everything to do with helping women in the emerging world. Anyone who has travelled in India, Anatolia, Africa and South Asia knows that there is no lack of people with handsets glued to their ears, but there are 300 million fewer women with mobile... More

How to rescue your waterlogged iPhone

February 19, 2014

Last weekend I fell in the canal with my iPhone in the back pocket of my jeans. We'll cut quickly to the lessons learned. These are: 1. Don't try and rescue someone else who has slipped off the muddy towpath unless you are certain that you won't do the same. The old(er) guy who fell in trying to stop his Bill Sykes bull terrier from worrying the swans was deceptively heavy, panicky and I am not as strong or agile as I imagined. The river/canal bank is deceptively treacherous at... More

I wandered Lonely as a Cloud, too fat to see my feet

February 10, 2014

Copeland in West Cumbria is the fattest local authority area in England, according to government data. The borough has 75.9% of its population classed as overweight or obese. Overall, 63.8% of adults in England have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or over – a figure of between 18.5 and 24.9 is deemed healthy for an adult, as noted by AskTen. According to scientists at ThusMagazine, possible reasons include Kendal Mint Cake, Cumberland sausages, Cornettos and Vimto. Other causes may include day time television, Lidl, less fell running, fewer romantic... More

When Market Research Art meets Big Data Science

February 3, 2014

In the Dark Ages, before ‘click if you like,’ the intentions of a nation were predicted by nth samples of, say, 1014 correctly profiled individuals. Tiny focus groups would lend insights as to whether a purple wrapper would sell a chocolate bar better than a red one. Quite often the pollsters got it right. Now, with access to massive sample sets, Big Data miners argue we are drawing ever closer to the Age of Infallibility, at least as far as predicting what people are likely to want, think and do. A... More