bookmark_borderShould Azerbaijan have won the Eurovision Song Contest?



Azerbaidzhan for Ever
Originally uploaded by monojussi

For years, the Eurovision Song Contest has been decided through a popular vote.

However, this year they decided to give half of the voting power to professional juries in each country.

But what was the consequence of this?

They have now revealed what the result would have been if all power had been with the juries, but for some reason they haven’t done the same for the popular vote.

Could this be because the winner of the popular vote was Azerbaijan?

I’ve put the popular and jury votes into a table and subtracted one from the other:

Azerbaijan 112 207 95
Norway 312 387 75
Turkey 114 177 63
Greece 93 120 27
Russia 67 91 24
Albania 26 48 22
Armenia 71 92 21
B&H 90 106 16
Spain 9 23 14
Finland 12 22 10
Romania 31 40 9
Ukraine 68 76 8
Sweden 27 33 6
Estonia 124 129 5
Portugal 64 57 -7
Lithuania 31 23 -8
Croatia 58 45 -13
Moldova 93 69 -24
Germany 73 35 -38
Iceland 260 218 -42
Denmark 120 74 -46
UK 223 173 -50
Israel 107 53 -54
Malta 87 31 -56
France 164 107 -57

Of course, the right-hand column does not show exactly what people voted, only how much they diverged from the juries, so perhaps Norway would still have won.

But I think it’s beyond doubt that Azerbaijan would have been very close to winning, and that the UK and especially France would have been huge disasters had they not introduced juries.

bookmark_borderBlack turkey



Black turkey under white geese
Originally uploaded by crosslens

Ever since reading The Time Traveler’s Wife, I’ve been intrigued by the blackened turkey they were eating for Christmas in it.

Having bought a big turkey recently, I decided to find the recipe.

I’m pretty sure it must be this one.

Sadly, however, it looks like a lot of work for an ordinary Sunday roast, so I don’t think I’ll be making it this time round.

But it’s definitely on my to-do list for whenever there’s a suitable occasion.

Preferably one without my mum, because she sounded absolutely horrified when I told her the recipe: “Can’t you eat the skin? But that’s the best bit of the bird!” she cried.

bookmark_borderElectronic cheques



Cheque Google
Originally uploaded by José Manuel_

Sometimes there are technologies that you know have been invented but that for some reason never make it although you think they would be very popular.

One such example is electronic cheques.

Using standard cryptographic software, it should be easy enough to create a system that would allow Alice to create an electronic cheque and email it to Bob, who would then forward it to his bank which would use the information contained in it to initiate an electronic money transfer from Alice’s bank account to Bob’s account.

I even believe a Danish company wrote some software that did exactly this ten years ago, but I’ve never seen it used in real life.

Perhaps the reader would argue that electronic bank transfers are easy, so there is no need, but it means that Alice needs to request Bob’s account details, which is a hassle and a potential security hazard.

With electronic cheques, Alice wouldn’t need to know this. She might need Bob’s public key, but that could be in a public location without any risk to Bob, and Bob could choose himself which of his bank accounts the money should be paid to.

It looks like a no-brainer to me. Am I missing something?