|Introduction and Hypothesis
Standard Chisquare Calculation
3. Prediction Procedures
The primary vehicle for scientific methodology is prediction: we must define clear and robust methods to register predictions or hypotheses of correlation linking particular events with measures that will confirm or deny the hypotheses. Since we often cannot identify relevant future events before their occurrence, this implies the development of categorical specifications to identify periods of time when special events can be expected; we need general methods to specify the beginning and end of each event that can satisfy our established criteria for Global Events. On the basis of prior experiments, it appears that broadly engaging, emotionally salient events and situations are among the conditions that tend to be correlated with anomalous interactions and significant deviations in the REG datastreams. Similarly, prior experiments indicate that mundane situations have little effect, or may actually be correlated with suppressed deviation. Although these are subjective prescriptions, we can create operational definitions that render them reasonably well. It will be necessary to set criteria for Global Events restrictively, to identify very few occasions with broad scope and personal impact for a large proportion of people around the world.
3.1. Prediction Sources
A major source of predictive indicators will inevitably be the international news reporting services such as CNN and BBC. For the first phase of this research project, Global Events will be defined by personal predictions, largely based on news items from television programs that have worldwide simultaneous distribution. At present, our team is mostly English-speaking, northern-hemisphere westerners, so we are limited in our ability to access news on a truly global basis. We invite help in broadening our perspectives.
The first report of a major story with global scope will be identified, with the specific timing information taken either from the reported story or obtained by followup calls to the news service. The criteria for Global Events will be set to select few stories, perhaps averaging one per week, depending on the density of global news.
Relatively local, but clearly important and engaging situations may also be considered for predictions, as well as non-reported but deeply engaging events that involve large numbers of people in some part of the world. In the local cases, measurements and computations should compare local and global scales. Organized efforts to engage people in large-scale, coordinated meditations and prayers may be appropriate candidates for Global Events.
We are interested in attempts to define an index of the "temperature" of the news, measures of the "engagement level". Such an index or measure, if well-defined, could be used as a correlate or predictor in various analyses.
All predictions and Global Event definitions will be documented in a time-stamped Prediction Registry.
3.2. Segment definition
There are two overlapping modes or types of segment definition, one refering to the actual event in the world, another refering to world consciousness of the event. Sometimes a "point event" will engage our attention. For each of these cases there are certain obvious procedures leading to the required data-segment specification:
1. The beginning and end of a time period may be established by the events as reported in the world news, or by a public definition of the event. For example, the beginning and end times for a sporting event that is broadcast live can be recorded from the broadcast (using either special indexing software or by entering times into the database); for a unique event such as the Diana funeral, news sources may publish a schedule. The duration of an event when its end is not specified in the news source will have to be arbitrarily defined prior to examination of the data.
2. The entry of an event into world consciousness may be defined by the first broadcasts of news describing the event. There is typically some delay, depending on the nature of the event, between its occurrence and its penetration into a widespread global consciousness. For example, the news of the crash that killed Diana first appeared on public media about seven minutes after the crash, but, since the time was very early morning at the scene, the spread of the news in Europe was delayed by several hours despite the intensity of developing interest. Duration of the presence in consciousness will be defined as above.
3. In some cases, there is only a point in time, not a duration, for the actual event (e.g., the time of the murder of Rabin). This may yield a longer or shorter period of time in the news and in the public consciousness. Again either the actual event or the consciousness of it may be the focus of analytic interest. For the former case, we can predefine a length of time preceding and following the point event which we will assess. This can only be done arbitrarily and must be done before examination of data.
3.3. Analysis Recipes
The exact algorithmic procedures for the analysis must be specifed as part of the prediction, before the data are examined. This is done most often by indicating that the "standard analysis" will be used. This and other defined analyses that we have used over the course of the experiment are detailed in recipes that, if followed, will duplicate the original GCP analysis. (In some cases, extra data will have been accumulated from dial and drop eggs.)
3.4. Web input predictions
A form on the website may be developed to process public predictions for significant Global Events. Filters and voting procedures would be used to select a small number of promising predictions, according to previously defined criteria.
Introduction and Hypothesis
Standard Chisquare Calculation