Posted at 12:58:00 PM. |
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I found this article amusing today, given that I use my car horn so infrequently that I went over a year without realizing it doesn't work. That was at my sister's wedding, so I've been without a horn for at least two years (I'll probably get a fix-it ticket for it eventually, but in the meantime I've not missed it, at all). I found the salient points in the article to be the conclusions that most honks are administered as chastisement after the fact and very few actually contribute to avoiding accidents in real time, given that reaction time limits our ability to take evasive action *and* honk at the same time. I think I'm in favor of abolishing horns.
Posted at 11:33:00 PM. |
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Wednesday, November 19
I Don't Think They Were Going for "Oooo, pretty!"
Lisa has been encouraging me to watch "Bones" lately (something to do with the female lead exhibiting the same highly analytical-but-socially dysfunctional personality traits that I do). This clip is from the first minute of the pilot episode. To illustrate my atypical reactions in what is hopefully a humorous fashion, my initial impressions of the shirt-ripping scene were, in order:
1. I hope those were snaps, because otherwise her buttons just ripped off. 2. It's kind of sad that she had to resort to that. 3. Wow, that's a fantastic corset. That would make an awesome photo prop. I wonder how much one of those runs and if I could find one on eBay.
Highly analytical. Check. Poor social skills. Check.
Posted at 10:19:00 PM. |
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For the Dogs, Redux
I Stumbled on a page re-referencing the high-pitched tones used by some teenagers for clandestine cell phone rings. It's been about two-and-a-half years since that post, and I can still hear 17kHz, so at least my hearing isn't declining. In an irrationally masochistic move, despite knowing that it would likely give me a headache, I listened to the tones anyway. And they gave me a headache. Go me.
Points to Cris for pointing me to Kina Grannis. Grannis is a "Web 2.0" musician, someone who has embraced the Internet as a component of her art rather than simply a way to distribute it. While she has released a few CDs to iTunes, her biggest presence is on YouTube, where she releases a new homemade video each week, featuring either an original song or a cover and concluding with several minutes of "video blog," where she updates her fans on what's going on in her life, answers questions and rambles in general. The effect is that her music and personality come packaged together, in addition to spotlighting a path that is open to any aspiring musician.
Posted at 11:09:00 AM. |
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Monday, November 10
Winner Take All
The Daily Nebraskan has an excellent article on what the split of Nebraska's electoral votes signifies, ending with:
A split-vote system in Nebraska guaranteed that the voice of every second district voter was heard. Nebraska made history this election: As a state, we demanded representation for our differing opinions. We hope the rest of the nation follows suit.
As a long-time supporter of going to the popular vote (or at least restructuring the electoral vote to match the popular vote, rather than use the winner-take-all system), I couldn't agree more. My father and I have our differences on this matter, with him (probably correctly) pointing out that such a change would relegate the sparsely populated rural areas of the country to obscurity while candidates focused all of their attention on major metropolitan areas (with their much higher populations, and, to my father's disapproval, less conservative principles). The main difference we have is that I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing, or at least not something worse than a winner-take-all system that essentially "dumps" the votes for the losing party (this was the first election in some years where my vote actually counted).
But the practical side of the discussion is that the winner-take-all system was adopted (by each individual state, since the Constitution allows each state to decide how to apportion its electoral delegates) because in any given state the most powerful party (which controlled the legislature) saw it as an advantage to their party and codified it over the objections of the minority parties (no party names mentioned here, since it happened in 48 different states . . .). And, of course, in response to Obama's small-but-important victory in my district:
Republican leaders have signaled their intention to attempt to repeal the district-vote allocation in the 2009 Legislature, returning to a winner-take-all system of awarding all of Nebraska's electoral votes to the statewide winner.
'Cause, you know, letting the voice of the people actually be heard is a bad thing . . .
Posted at 12:29:00 PM. |
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Tuesday, November 4
Happy Election Day
A few minutes-to-midnight comments before the polls end and the fate of our next four years is announced:
-First off, go vote. Really. Even if you disagree with my politics (actually, from your point of view, *especially* if you disagree with my politics). Voting is the lifeblood of a democracy (or a representative republic such as ours), and I can put ideology aside long enough to look at the bigger picture of an election where the will of the people is honestly represented.
-One of the drawbacks to voting early (I voted 10 days ago) is the conspicuous absence of an "I Voted Today" sticker. :P Maybe I should make my own.
-The World-Herald endorsed *both* John McCain and Lee Terry. I'm pocketing that one for the next time my father insists the World-Herald is an "elitist liberal propaganda newspaper." It's like line of sight in geometry; what you see depends on where you are.
-As two sides to one coin: (a) I read an article about a 95-year-old Alzheimer's patient who apparently registered and then voted during a voting outreach program at her nursing home, despite the fact that she often can't remember her own name (prompting an investigation into coercion of a captive audience by the program); and (b) a local morning radio program dipped well into tastelessness when two of the hosts began ridiculing a judge who ruled that the homeless have a right to vote, suggesting (in colorful language) that the homeless are mentally incapable of thinking of anything beyond what kind of soup is staining their clothing and suggesting they just put "park bench" down as the place their voter registration card should be mailed (only the third host correctly pointed out that the requirements to vote are few and well-protected and they don't include "owning or renting property").
-I'm glad we've had no celebrity "If Candidate X wins I'm moving to Canada" declarations as we've had in previous elections (declarations which by and large revealed themselves as empty threats).
-My mother has been politely but persistently inquiring into potential present ideas. My suggestion that the entire family make one big donation to the Obama campaign in my name was met without laughter.
-Early voting in Douglas County set an all-time record. Part of that is the change in wording from "absentee" to "early voting" during the last cycle, but it's also a bellwether of greater voter interest. I've served in elections with turnout as low as 15% (we had less than a dozen voters before lunch), but I think the Secretary of State is predicting turnout as high as 65-75%, which is just fantastic.