Saturday, January 7, 2017

The whys

Top five reasons Clinton lost:

  1. ~52% of voters too lazy/ignorant/stupid to discern the difference between shit and shinola.
  2. Our failed media experiment.
  3. Comey.
  4. Putin and assorted stooges.
  5. The ongoing atrophy of state and local Democratic parties.  (Obama, Clinton, and a lot of others share this one.)

Probably not in the top 10: Bernie and Berniebots.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Third Constitution of the United States of America

This post provides an updated version of a document I published previously.  It was finalized some time before the election of 2016, which Changed Everything.  Well, hopefully not, but it certainly changed my thinking, given that we now live in post-truth, post-fact, and (most importantly for my efforts at constitutional law) post-norm era.  But until I have another update, here is:


Enjoy!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Five Vital Amendments to the U.S. Constitution

In the previous post, I presented an entirely new constitution for the United States of America.  That document began as an effort to address the most important flaws in the current constitution.  My remedies for the five biggest issues are below.
I think the document is fairly self-explanatory, but there are brief footnotes at the bottom of each amendment that provide a bit of background.

Enjoy!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Third Constitution of the United States of America

I've been working on a project for a while, and I've decided it is time to release it. So here it is.
I won't try to prejudice your opinion of my efforts by giving any background here, but there is a brief essay at the end of the document if you care to know how it came about.  I suggest you not read until you've gone through the text a couple of times.  The same suggestion applies to the endnotes.

Enjoy!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Leaking Apples

I have used Apple's iTunes for years, but I am on the verge of giving up on it due to its memory usage on Windows XP.  While I haven't attached a debugger to the program, the pattern of behavior indicates to me that the program has some kind of memory leak.  (I'm using the phrase memory leak here to indicate that there's some kind of programming error that fails to free-up memory, whether or not it is due to deleted handles.)  In the two latest versions, the program also stutters at the beginning of each song, even when I set the priority to high.  A third annoyance is Bonjour, which is a network discovery service I have no use for, and that I uninstall after each iTunes upgrade.  I've decided to try some old versions to see when the problems started.  Below are the results so far.
  • iTunes 11 - memory leak, stuttering, yet more background programs, includes Bonjour
  • iTunes 10.7 - memory leak, stuttering, includes Bonjour
  • iTunes 10.6.1 - untested (IIRC, had the memory leak problem), includes Bonjour
  • iTunes 10.5.3.3 - memory leak, no stuttering, includes Bonjour
  • iTunes 10.4.1 - next up for testing
Please note: if you are planning to downgrade to an old version: you will have to restore an old version of the iTunes database, which means all information (ratings, play, etc. ) that has been saved since you first upgraded from that version will be lost.  (Old versions can be found in C:\Documents and Settings\your user name here\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\Previous iTunes Libraries.)  Be sure to save the current version of the iTunes data files somewhere so you can restore those if you don't like the downgrade.   Neither downgrading or upgrading should affect any data stored in the tracks themselves (artist, album, etc.).

Monday, December 24, 2012

Not Quite as Controversial as Moving Christmas to July, But Close

Random Christmas Eve idea:  we could really improve the holiday season by moving Thanksgiving back one month, to the last Friday before the last Sunday in October.  The big holiday would be on Friday, then kids could all do the trick-or-treat thing on Saturday night, and adults could have their parties on the actual 31st, whenever that might fall.  Moving the date would make the holiday season less of a slog, would eliminate the whole "Black Friday/Cyber Monday" madness, and would keep more people off the road during the snowy season in the northern half of the country.  It would also be better for any university that uses the semester system by providing a break midway through the term, instead of having one right about when papers are due and exams start.  For primary and secondary schools that use a quarter system, the new date would fall close enough to the current end of the first quarter that the school calendar could be adjusted to match.  I don't see any downsides to the idea except that everyone would hate it, and retailers would scream bloody murder.  But other than that, no downsides at all...

Update 2012-12-28: The timing of Election Day is not dependent on any holiday, but moving Thanksgiving up would mean that moving the election to the end of the month or early December would be a good idea.  A later date would shorten the transition period in presidential years and reduce the amount of time available for Congress to perform unaccountable mischief in a lame duck session.  It would also be nice to have the election a couple of weeks away from either holiday, since politics and family gatherings tend to create tension.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

You Don't Know How Lucky You Are

Random Sunday afternoon thought: on November 6, 2012, America dodged two bullets, and Romney wasn't the biggest of the two.  The other bullet was anti-empiricism in the political arena.  Nate Silver was the nominal target, but if the second bullet had hit, it would have taken out all facts in the public discourse for decades to come.  "Skewed" polls would become the norm, and narrative would have ruled the land.  All of the very considerable amount of data about climate change, growing inequality, the negative effects of lower tax rates on the rich, the exorbitant cost and low performance of our health care system, scientific measurements of the effects of polluting chemicals, and on and on and on, would have become irrelevant.  The explosion of anti-empiricism would have had deeply harmful effects on the overwhelming majority of people in this country, and on the rest of the globe.  But the American people dodged that bigger bullet, mostly without even knowing it was headed our way.