Friday, January 18, 2013 - Volume 4, Number 1

© Copyright 2013, The Ultrapolis Project.  All Rights Reserved.

Top Forecasts Fulfilled in 2012 on Facebook, Perry, Obama

Plus, What You Might Not Know About Ultrapolis, and Some Things You Couldn’t Know


New Jersey Governor Christopher J. Christie President in 2016?

Top ‘Tweet’s ‘ on Twitter in 2012

Cartoon “Unleashing Wind Power ” by Nate Beeler



The Top Three

Forecasts of 2012

Plus What You Don’t Know About the Ultrapolis Project and UWFR


The Top Forecast: Obama


If you are an avid reader of our irregularly issued briefs and newsletters, then you know our forecasting record, and our success in this perilous occupation.  Our top forecast fulfilled this year was our calling of the election two years in advance.  Now, it’s true that – as with every president election – everyone in the post-election days makes clear they “knew” that the winner would be re-elected.  If before the question we heard everywhere before the election was “who do you think will win?” often followed by an “are you serious?” (granted, the latter question usually - but not always - coming from a pro-Romney voter); now, almost to a person, all we hear is “Oh, I knew Obama would win.”  Even Sean Hannity has publicly begun to speak as if he knew all along Mr. Obama would win, when he clearly said otherwise for weeks before Election Day (and admitted shock for days after).  As we have long said, we loathe predicting presidential elections: little credit if you get it right, but plentiful bad credit if you get it wrong.


20/20 Hindsight Tautology


Folks often move on to explain that they knew that Mr. Obama would win because Governor Mitt Romney could not win certain states required to win the electoral college majority, or that certain demographic groups favored Obama.  This is nonsense not far removed from someone saying, “I knew Obama would win because I knew he could get more votes.”  Yes, a majority of Ohio voters didn’t favor Romney, but with Obama’s final winning margin so narrow in Ohio (51%) and elsewhere, the question there and elsewhere is why.  If you think that it is all about skin color and gender, you are focusing on only one factor, which in our view is actually secondary to more important ones.  For us, a conversation on why elections are won and lost should focus on the most important factors. 


A person whose main argument for the reason the president was re-elected was because of blacks or women is making clear they are unaware, or think less,  of other factors.  Republicans who focus on race and gender the next time around will be disappointed.  Democrats who do so now give little credit to their voters.


Victory Seen In Wake of Defeat


Sometime in 2009 we were asked by a good friend and UWFR reader, with a hint of dismissive incredulity we might add, if we could predict if Obama would be re-elected.  Our response was, and some of you may have seen us say this in some of our comments in later UWFRs in 2010, that we would be able to once we saw what happened in the aftermath of the 2010 elections.   That October, in the looming shadow of a crushing defeat for Obama, and then again in its devastating wake, we made our prediction:  Barack Obama would be re-elected in two years.


The Next Top Two Forecasts:

Perry, Facebook


There are other, more interesting and highly accurate predictions that you may not have known about because they were made via other media (Facebook - which we will not do again, and Twitter).  Almost a year in advance, before he even entered the presidential race, we forecast Texas Governor Rick Perry’s candidacy would self-implode once the Governor was subjected to the scrutiny of the national spotlight.  That certainly turned out in spades.  By January 2012, Big Tex was run outta’ town.


Another forecast you may have missed, this one via the Twitter system, was the most expeditious and financially helpful forecast we made in 2012:  Prior to the initial public offering (IPO) of Facebook stock, UWFR forecast on its rarely used Twitter feed that Facebook’s $100 billion stock valuation would not be fulfilled anytime soon, and we advised investors to stay away from it.  The stock collapsed shortly after the IPO, shocking the stock market, provoking news headlines around the world (clearly, somebody was surprised).  The stock remains over 20% down from its IPO price.


The Twitter You Don’t Hear


Unfortunately, our Twitter feed is read by almost no one (most of our readers are apparently in a mature demographic that sees no value in a Twitter account), and millions of people lost billions of dollars. Well, we tried.  By the way, did you know Ultrapolis has a Twitter account?  That’s another thing you might have not known.  Not to worry, you are not missing all that much.  We only post forecasts there for which a deadline is approaching, and we will not be able to issue a UWFR brief in time.  You can check past messages posted there, or sign up to get our messages at https://twitter.com/ultrapolis.


 As for 2012 ‘tweets’ made by other Twitter users that are not Ultrapolis, we direct you to the top three Twitter ‘tweets’ of 2012 in a nearby column on this page (we do not link to pages that contain profanity, so we are not linking to Twitter’s page showcasing its top blurts).  You can see for yourself the kind of informative messages you may have missed on Twitter, billions and billions from all sorts of entities who may or may not be who they say they are.  (The Wall Street Journal recently had an excellent column titled “News Flash: Twitter Rants Aren't Newson the absurd coverage of Twitter posts - more on that in our own next issue.)


Another thing you may not know:  Ultrapolis does not “tweet.”  We post messages on the contemptibly, yet aptly named, Twitter system.  We also do not “friend” anyone in a way that corrupts the word ‘friend’ to the point of meaninglessness.  We make connections with people, and in some cases after some acquaintance-building, we make friends.  And we most certainly do not ask people to please “like us.”  Has there ever, in the history of humankind, a more pitiable plea become so widely employed by so many institutions, even among our most respected ones? (No doubt the result of a social order that places marketability and popularity – even for non-profits and other public institutions – above every other institutional value.)


Continued column 2 >



< From column 1


The Visitors We Do See


Though our Twitter feed is almost lifeless, it is a different story for our formal website (presumably what you are reading right now).  In our chart nearby on this page, we publish for the first time the visitor traffic statistic for UltrapolisProject.com, which includes UWFR.  While nowhere near the scale of a major publication or even a national blog, UltrapolisProject.com, with UWFR, sports a healthy steady stream of visitors that rises in tandem with the increase of releases of UWFR briefs and newsletters as well as the release of our annual Ultrapolis Tallest Cities Report.   On average, about 30% of our UWFR email recipients access the UWFR brief or newsletter the same day it is released, another 15% the next day, with 10% more throughout the next week or so.   We have a small email distribution list, but an extremely high readership rate per email (55% is very good).  Thank YOU.


Our highest first day readership rate of the year was for our UWFR issued November 6, Titled “Final Forecast for 2012 Presidential Election.” That was true even though it was issued late in the day.  The most read UWFR of the year by far (and so far), was on the coverage of the Democratic Convention in the UWFR of September 5-8.  However, most of the visits to this page came not when it was first published, but after a plug from Slate.com to a different page on our website.  We can only guess as to why this particular posting may have generated so much interest in these new visitors, or if the visitors came from another link forwarded that we could not trace back.


Of our total visitor traffic, roughly 50% comes from links from other websites, 40% from our UWFR briefs and newsletters issued, and the rest from search engine queries.  A passing reference and link to our website in a Slate.com story in November generated a burst of increased traffic for several days. Our statistic counter broke down on the 4th day of this period, but we estimate the links from Slate.com’s French and English language sites generated an additional 300-plus visitors over the days of late November and early December.  This is not the first publication to link to us, but the largest and most well-known yet – aside from the numerous Wikipedia links made by others (not by us) editing entries on cities and their urbanscapes.  Our pages on the World’s Tallest Cities remain our most visited, though UWFR pages are gaining on them. On average, between 700 and 800 different visitors take the time to read our pages each month (see chart above).


Our Daily Operating Ethic


The current media spectacle of Lance Armstrong’s efforts at public redemption makes an interesting backdrop to our view on how to conduct the Ultrapolis Project enterprise.  Mr. Armstrong, a man who admits to answering to no particular defined moral philosophy other than the one that sprouts from his own head, had a choice to make at a critical point in his career.  It is a choice people with options make every day.  The choice was to lie, cheat and threaten his entire way to fame, fortune, and public adulation, or to remain honest and decent to other human beings, and risk probably never having those things in any great measure.  We know what choice he made.  Many people die fat and rich while leaving their families a fortune after a lifetime of concealed wrongdoing and even ruination and destruction other people’s lives.  Some get caught, but still get to keep most of their loot.  Then again, some do pay in this life.


Some Armstrong fans will point to his philanthropic work.  But they forget that even murderous drug lords fund charities and good causes with their ill-gotten gains, and even the most vile butchers and tyrants have devoted friends and lovers.  Even profit-driven corporate machines that destroy landmarks, confiscate working people’s homes through eminent domain law, or knowingly risk consumers’ lives with dangerous products; these find room in their marketing hearts for public charity causes.  Of course, we don’t compare Mr. Armstrong to drug lords or tyrants in the gravity of his sins (maybe to corporate machines).  We merely note that it is easy to be generous and giving when you are flooded with money and praise, and to have many vocal defenders when you can use that money to be generous to them.


They say also that honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty; and they are quite ready to call wicked men happy, and to honor them both in public and private when they are rich or in any other way influential…


The Republic


 Continued column 3 >


< From column 2


To conduct yourself in this life with insistent respect for your own personal dignity and integrity as well as that of others requires risking never attaining the wealth and celebrity status others parade every day –more and more of them proudly with their pants down.  It requires valuing the respect, trust, and good conscience of those who know you over popularity among those who do not.  And, it requires a high regard for the fair and civilized treatment of everyone.   As imperfectly practiced as it might be, that is the daily operating ethic of the Ultrapolis Project.


Governor Chris Christie

President in 2016?

The Dangerous Lure of Praises


The New Maverick


The popular, populist, somewhat swaggering and physically robust Governor of New Jersey, with a reputation of a being a no-nonsense, non-politically correct, down-to-earth straight-shooter, has seen his popularity ratings soar in the wake of two incidents where he went against his own (Republican) party.  The first incident was the effusive, public embrace of President Obama in the midst of Hurricane Sandy relief efforts just days before Election Day.  The second was the chastising (in demagoguery in our view) of the Speaker of the House and the other Republicans in the lower house of Congress regarding a spending authorization related to long-term Sandy relief and reconstruction efforts.  The media, particularly of the mainstream left, have delighted in reporting on the rise of this erstwhile conservative Republican bugaboo.  Will he be the next heavy-hitter of the Republican Party?  Will he make the Tea Party heel?  Will he become president, with his no-nonsense, putting-fellow-Republicans-in-their-place rectitude?

We think not. 


The Governor will remain popular and widely seen as a powerful contender for the Republican nomination for president of the United States – until he steps into the arena.  Much like the less-informed but much clumsier Texas Governor Rick Perry, many of the same characteristics that make him popular today in New Jersey will not hold up well in the intense fire and brimstone of a presidential campaign.  This is not to say he would not make a competent president.  Only that he would not make a competent candidate.


Dulling Adulation


There is also a, perhaps small, character flaw in Gov. Christie.  He is more of a demagogic grandstander than the valiant defender of the people against “the system” many seem to think he is – though we think there is a mix of both in him.  It is easy to be popular when you say popular things, and this is not necessarily bad.  But when you say popular things that you know unfairly tarnish the reputation of others and possibly promote bad government – that is either a sign of a willingness to make things worse for others in the long run for personal gain today, or a sign of an impulsive personality that can’t tell the difference between his honest desires and his pandering for popular approval.  The first is a callous trait of self-awareness that will still allow you to get elected.  The latter is a trait that will accept cascading streamers of praise that will end up coiled around your ankles as you make your way through the stage.  We think the good governor has the latter.



Top Three 2012‘Tweets’

Billions All Atwitter


Four More Years[sic]

From @Barack Obama



RIP Avalann.  i[sic]love you[sic]

From @justinbieber


F*** it NFL.. Fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs.

From @TJLang70



Our forecast record cannot be beat.  One can follow the herd chasing the latest hyperbolic, melodramatic, and soon-forgotten micro-trend on Facebook and Twitter, or one can be wisely and judiciously in front of it with UWFR. 


Comments may be directed to contactproject@ultrapolisproject.com, or if you receive the newsletter email, also via a reply to the email address from which you receive it.


  Unleashing Wind Power…


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© Copyright 2013, The Ultrapolis Project – All Rights Reserved.