April 2002 Archives

Predicting civil war

Two things: First, an article about a piece of software that analyses Reuters news feeds and uses the data to create "conflict carrying capacity" (CCC) scores for every country, ranging from 100 (peace) to 0 (chaos). I'm a sucker for reducing complex issues to single numbers, so it sounds fun. Virtual Research Associates is the company now selling the system, although the site's pretty unclear about exactly what it can offer. Just think how much attention they'd get if they simply had a page of CCC scores over time for different countries. The second thing is that I noticed this in the current edition of The Futurist, and given the New Scientist article appeared five months ago, it shows that the former journal is pretty useless for keeping up with topical stuff.