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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 6 declined, 6 accepted (12 total, 50.00% accepted)

United States

+ - Politics a (mathematical) chaotic system?

Submitted by ThosLives
ThosLives (686517) writes "Considering the recent elections, and quite a few other elections over the past several years, it may be possible to make the following observation: Given that certain major elections are won by a very small percentage majority (take the 2000 and 2004 US presidential elections as examples) but drastically change the political landscape, is it conceivable that there could be a system where political system could change to be proportional to votes rather than nominally bi-polar as it is today?

I know there are those who would argue that the balance of house and senate seats is to provide this, but usually the way the system works here is that whichever party(ies) control Congress and the Presidency have sway (of course, we now have the Executive and Legislative branches under opposite parties, which generally makes for a moderate period), swinging things either conservative or liberal, where it appears from the popular vote that a much more moderate approach is desired — that is, it is in only a very few cases where "major" elections are lopsided (I personally don't consider even 60%-40% lopsided — 40% is a significant amount of people), but that small push in either direction is more like a knife-blade than a scale.

If this is the case, are there any chaos-theory works to describe politics. After all, a very small changes in input — the popular vote — seems to cause large swings in the social environment? What about when the inputs fluctuate back and forth across party lines? And, since I've not been able to find any, are there any systems which can more adequately implement a more broad continuum of political interests than the present system?"
Power

+ - Ultracapacitor for Vehicle Use Coming Soon?

Submitted by ThosLives
ThosLives (686517) writes "An interesting article from CNN on a stealth company (if it's being reported, is it stealth any more?) called EEStor sounds like it is working on an ultracapacitor for vehicle use. The interesting technical bit is "500 miles for $9 of electricity" which I work out to 100 kW-hr ($.09/kW-hr); that seems a bit too good to be true even though electrics have higher point-of-use efficiency. (For comparison, my vehicle goes 400 miles on 12 gallons of gasoline — about 380 kW-hr; to go 500 miles on 100 kW-hr starts to touch the edge of "too good to be true" although still within the realm of reality).

However, this seems to have potential with backing from VCs and a potential OEM (although it seems a small niche company rather than a major manufacturer) as well. Hopefully we'll be able to have long-range, fast-charging, affordable electrics (the article says $5200 for the entire powertrain — not too large a premium over current engines) soon."

I tell them to turn to the study of mathematics, for it is only there that they might escape the lusts of the flesh. -- Thomas Mann, "The Magic Mountain"

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