Minority Opinions

Not everyone can be mainstream, after all.

Archive for May 2011

Voting Method Opinions

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Perhaps the most unfortunate effect of the impossibility of a perfect voting system is the tendency, among those who care at all, to debate about which method is best.  For some crazy reason, I have researched the issue enough to have opinions of my own.  My views have been swayed, however, by having evaluated several of them from the perspective of an unusual type of election: game design competitions.

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Written by eswald

31 May 2011 at 10:06 pm

Posted in Entertainment, Politics

The Good of the Many

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The U.S. Constitution grants its federal government with an odd assortment of powers.  There are many who feel that it should be limited to just the ones specified; however, the focus on which items should be prohibited can vary widely.  Instead, I’m choosing to focus on what the government’s activities have in common.

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Written by eswald

24 May 2011 at 10:40 pm

Posted in Politics

Recent Paintings

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When I was young, my grandmother used to let me use her oil paints.  She was able to produce wonderful paintings, generally based on pictures; I, even at my oldest, wasn’t nearly so great.  Nevertheless, my paintings are scattered around the house.

Now, I’m able to share that gift with the next generation.  However, until they grow up a bit, we’re sticking with watercolors.  That has reminded me of a few scenes stuck in my head, until my artistic skills improve enough to produce them properly.  Meanwhile, I’m finding birds and plants easiest to produce, probably because they tend not to look terribly out of proportion.

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Written by eswald

16 May 2011 at 9:54 pm

Posted in Entertainment

Rank Your Choice

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Having decided that we want to change the voting system, how should we go about it?  First, consider the two main effects that we want to diminish:  First, the choice between vote-splitting or compromising; and second, the mudslinging.  We probably can’t eliminate either one completely, but we can at least make things better.

Fortunately, there are mathematicians who have been working on precisely this problem, and they have come up with a variety of alternative voting systems, along with several ways to determine which ones are, in some sense, better than others.  Unfortunately, they have also proven that there is no such thing as a perfect voting system, so we’re stuck with a bunch of arguments about which one is best.  I have some opinions on some of them, but it turns out that the precise system doesn’t really matter to the voter.  Instead, there are two things that matter:  First, how to mark the ballot; and second, how to get the best result possible, given the likely votes of other voters.

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Written by eswald

10 May 2011 at 8:40 am

Posted in Politics

Party Pairs

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Consider the history of the U.S. political parties.  Except for a short Era of Good Feeling and an even shorter period around the founding of the country, the nation’s short history has been dominated by exactly two major political parties, with a few minor ones here and there.  There have been shake-ups and reorganizations, but they always settle into the same pattern.  Since the Civil War, the dominant pair has even retained the same pair of names.

There’s a good reason for this, of course.  Basically, it boils down to the fact that voters aren’t stupid.

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Written by eswald

2 May 2011 at 9:46 pm

Posted in Politics