Monday, November 29, 2004

Sectionalism revisited

Another region is considering autonomy: Donetsk. Suggested new names for the regions: Eukranian Union in yellow, Putinland in grey.

Good job, North America!

Congratulations to North America for outcurling Europe in the Continental Cup! North America looked shaky at times in the skins but managed to make key shots when lots of points were on the line.

TSN (Canada's ESPN) profiled the ice maker. It's tricky to make even, durable pebble that won't frost over too much in a building with a huge crowd, but this guy (sorry, can't remember his name) was up to the task. In addition to the water canister, he built his own pressure canister to keep constant pressure in the line. And instead of using pure water, he adds something to it to partially deoxygenate the water. Unfortunately, TSN didn't really give details as to what's added or why this is desirable, but it sounded really interesting.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Undecided = uninform(-ed/-able)

There's a lot of post-election analysis in the liberal blogosphere, but this one amazed me. Apparently there is a large class of undecided voters who seem to be unaware not just of issues but of the existence thereof. Why the hell do these people bother to vote at all? And by the way, I do have a favourite prime number.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Reporter convicted of contempt

Interesting that there are several cases like this in the news recenty. On one hand, you want the information they could give you. But on the other, you know that people will be less likely to leak similar things if they fear being identified. Some leaks expose wrong doing and seem "good". Others don't seem to have any benefit and seem "bad". Does it matter if the leak was good or bad? Who decides? CNN.com - Reporter convicted of contempt - Nov 18, 2004

Friday, November 12, 2004

The Supremes punt

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of the US declined to hear a case regarding whether the disenfranchisement of felons runs afoul of the Voting Rights Act due to de facto minority discrimination. It's a touchy issue but one that needs to be addressed now that two US Courts of Appeals have come down on opposite sides of the matter.

States have traditionally been given broad authority to conduct elections as they choose, including determining voter eligibility, subject to minimum standards as spelled out in the Voting Rights Act and the Fifteenth and Twenty-Fourth Amendments; thus I can understand that the Supreme Court might want to defer on this issue. Furthermore, if the Supreme Court ruled with the Ninth US Circuit Court, the door would be wide open for lawsuits claiming discrimination based on the prevalence of higher spoiled ballot rates due to voting machinery employed disproportionately in minority precincts.

Despite the difficulties that could arise, the high court failed American voters in their decision not to hear this case. The fact is that your right to vote in a federal election depends on what part of the country you live in. If that doesn't trouble you, then consider instead that currently not all states are equal in their ability to determine voter eligibility. But more seriously, the outcome of the last two presidential elections might have been different if a uniform standard had been applied across the country. After the Bush v. Gore fiasco, I'm incredulous that the Supremes have passed on the opportunity to simultaneously atone for its past sins, greatly reduce the possibility that a similar case will come its way again, and restore a higher appearance of legitimacy to election results.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Sectionalism on the internet(s)

There's a lot of invective and humour regarding red state/blue state differences out there in the blogosphere, from the Declaration of Expulsion to the eloquent Fuck the South to the questionable statistics showing election results correlated with IQ. Actual insight is hard to find, but one blogger shows that the free state/slave state cultural difference is A Very Old Story indeed. The bad news is that there really may be nothing the Democratic party can do to crack the South. The good news is that....wait, there's no good news, unless it's that a fundamentalist Christian group may be working toward the resecession of South Carolina.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Drop in foreign grad students raises alarm

Interesting that the physical sciences rose against the overall trend. I wonder why.

CNN.com - Drop in´┐Żforeign grad students raises alarm - Nov 5, 2004

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Should All Of Indiana Observe Daylight Savings Time?

Friday, November 05, 2004

Why We Lost

Among the myriad of Op-Ed handwringing about Kerry's loss on Tuesday, the best I've seen is Andrei Cherny's NY Times editorial "Why We Lost". His argument, which I think is a compelling one, is that the democratic party has lacked a real vision and an overarching strategic vision of the world that they can sell to America. Instead, they have positions on a few issues, and strong stands against anything Bush has done, but there is no coherent thread that ties it all together.

So, I ask you, what does (or should) the democratic party stand for?

Refugees of love

Liberal Americans need an escape hatch from their increasingly hostile nation. Canadians are a helpful people. Knowledgeable Americans know that Canadian women are among the most desirable in the world. What do all these things have in common? Check out MarryAnAmerican.ca.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Separation of powers?

There are a number of bills before Congress that have attempted to limit the Supreme Court's jurisdiction, such as the Constitution Restoration Act of 2004 and the Pledge Protection Act of 2004 (think "Allegiance"). The Congressional Accountability for Judicial Activism Act of 2004 goes a step further in allowing Congress to overturn a decision by the Supremes. What I don't understand is how Congress has the authority to limit the powers of the Supreme Court, short an explicit Constitutional amendment. Would anyone with some SCOTUS knowledge (Justin?) like to comment?

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Props to my polling place

The presidential election looks like it'll actually be pretty close. I got a nice sticker in return for voting. It depicts an eagle with the creatively-declined motto "e plurebus unum". I decided to be nice and not point this out to the poll workers. :-)