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Comment Re:Survey brought to you by (Score 3, Interesting) 118

Even space travel they have focused on trying to do it cleanly. A big part of why their next generation of engines, the Raptor, uses methane as a fuel is that in the long-run one can synthesize methane directly and a straightforward way https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabatier_reaction. This has both an advantage in terms of Mars (can make more fuel on Mars) and also in terms of eventually making clean fuel on Earth.

Comment Re:Yes, but it doesn't matter (Score 2) 1425

This isn't really how the history went The Democratic-Republican party wasn't really connected to the Republican party at all. The Constitution was written before any political parties existed at all, and they didn't originally intend for their to be political parties. And in the pre Civil-War era, the Republicans were primarily in the North, which was the area which had less proportional strength from the electoral college.

Comment Re:Electoral college does reflect the popular vote (Score 5, Insightful) 1425

There are two historical elements for why the electoral college was invented. One, discussed by Hamilton in Federalist 68 was to provide a final stopgap against demagogues like Trump http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed68.asp. The second was to give the slave states more power http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/11/12/13598316/donald-trump-electoral-college-slavery-akhil-reed-amar and it should be clear why that shouldn't be ok. As for the argument involving counties: that's just silly. There's no reason that amount of total area won should mean anything at all. Moreover, there's no reason you can reasonably object to cities dominating simply because they happen to be dense areas. Disagreeing with a group doesn't mean you get to use essentially arbitrary criteria to decide you'd like to ignore their wishes.

There are good arguments against having the electoral college change in this case (especially given that we don't know if Hillary would have won the popular vote if both her campaign and Trump campaign had optimized voter turnout rather than focused on swing states) but trying to make an argument that relies on county number is just awful.

Comment Yes, but it doesn't matter (Score 4, Insightful) 1425

There are a lot of good arguments for the electoral college voting for Hillary. Lessig lays most of them out. There are also good arguments against (among other issues we don't know if Hillary would have won the popular vote if both she and Trump had been competing to optimize turnout). It is also utterly irrelevant: the electoral college members are primarily bog-standard Republicans, and we've seen in the last few months that most establishment Republicans hate Hillary more than they love their basic ideology and beliefs (whatever Trump stands for, it damn well isn't conservativism by any standard definition of the term). So pushing for this at this juncture is a waste of resources.

Comment Re:Two possible motivations (Score 5, Interesting) 734

Actually, having thought about this slightly more, another possible motivation occurred to me: there is a fair bit of evidence of Russian meddling in this election and that some of the anti-Hillary propaganda came from Russian sources to try to push the election to the candidate they favored. By the same token, Musk is potentially a real danger to Russian interests, since Russia is heavily oil dependent and also has an advantage when the US is dependent on Russia for manned space launches. If they have the now existing resources and hooks into the US public, then using it to harm Musk is a natural thing.

Comment Two possible motivations (Score 5, Insightful) 734

I'm not sure what the motivation is for these attacks. Musk hasn't been particularly political and mainly stayed out of this election. As far as I can tell, the primary motivations are one of two things. Either one, the people behind this are simply hateful and without a major target like Hillary must choose another, or two, they hate Musk because much of his work (electric cars, solar cells, even wanting to use methane for rockets because methane is a potentially renewable resource) has been to deal with issues related to global warming. If the second is the motivator, then it says something really fascinating: that there are elements of the right which not only are convinced that global warming is some sort of evil hoax, but that they actively hate people who disagree with them and are trying to take steps to destroy someone who is trying to help. If that's the case, it is truly a frightening example of the depth that people can sink to, and the levels they'll go to not just ignore facts they don't like but to actively try to harm people who try to deal with those factual issues.

Comment Re:fascinatingly crafted reply... (Score 1) 302

85% is still not at all a low chance. I agree that there were media sources which assigned him a low probability in general, but that's a distinct claim than anything about the polling numbers or the claim that the "who had Hillary winning by a land-slide up until the day of the election" since the NYT model predicted a 4-5% popular win for Hillary which is not generally considered at all a land-slide by most notions of the term.

Comment Re:fascinatingly crafted reply... (Score 1) 302

That's not at all accurate. The polls going into the election had Hillary up 2-5% points, and she did ultimately win the popular vote by about 1-2% points, well within reasonable error given the noisiness of polls and the last minute issues with Comey's letter which may have depressed Hillary turnout or increased Trump turnout slightly. Fivethirtyeight for example kept saying that this was a close election.

Comment Re:fascinatingly crafted reply... (Score 5, Informative) 302

Thank you for completely missing the point. At no point in my comment did I make any argument about whether the popular vote winner should win. The point is that the claim that Trump got a majority of the votes is *false*. Heck, what you are talking about is the even weaker issue of a plurality of the votes. Discussion of the electoral college is a complete sideshow.

But, if you want to discuss the electoral college and the popular vote we can. There's nothing wrong with people in cities having a lot of votes if there are people there. It is in only because those people don't vote the way you like that you have the opinion you do. Moreover, the actual cause for an electoral college was primarily two things: First, to prevent populist demagogues by having another layer between the population and the electorate. Hamilton discussed this in Federalist 68 http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed68.asp. In that context, having an electoral college that just votes the way the state popular vote directs it to is exactly counter to that goal. Second, the electoral college preserved the power of the slave states http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/11/12/13598316/donald-trump-electoral-college-slavery-akhil-reed-amar. It should be clear why the second reason is not acceptable.

And if you really want to look at the "popular vote" numbers, you have to take into account the number of votes the Dems should not have gotten due to fraud such as illegal immigrants voting. The D's cheated and STILL lost. Their policies are obviously so popular that they're now trying to implement them by force.

Thank you for giving an excellent further example of the complete disregard for facts that some on the right are demonstrating. There is essentially zero evidence of any substantial immigration voting. See for example here http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-noncitizen-voters-20161025-snap-story.html. Facts matter. And if you want to play that game then it is worth noting that massive numbers of legitimate votes in swing states were disenfranchised due to voter ID restrictions, and even federal judges agree that many of those restrictions were designed to deliberately target minorities. Look for example at North Carolina http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/07/north-carolina-voting-rights-law/493649/. Again, facts matter. There's a good argument for not using the popular vote in this *specific election* because we have a system right now, and we don't know if it would have ended up this way if Hillary and Trump had focused on turning out the maximum number of voters rather than voters in swing states, but that's a distinct issue that's completely removed from the basic facts.

Comment Re:fascinatingly crafted reply... (Score 4, Interesting) 302

Unfortunately, Trump has shown a complete unwillingness to care about facts when they don't fit his narrative. Many on the right have taken this as a cue to do the same. I've now had two separate arguments with Trump supporters who have claimed that a majority of voters voted for Trump in the election. One of them kept repeating the claim in other locations even after I had explained to him the myriad things incorrect about the claim. Most likely the same is happening here. At one point I had a very negative view of the whole "reality has a left-wing bias" meme, but it seems like we're moving closer and closer to that.

Comment Re:The Harvard article doesn't mention the strike (Score 2) 171

So? This is recentism in a nutshell. It is a mistake to think just because an event is happening now that it is therefore more important. Harvard has a 300 year history; an event in one specific year needs to be a really big deal to make it into the primary article on its history.

Comment Re:I hear Hillary participated in this study (Score 1) 187

Regarding your comparison, Oskar Schindler and Karl Plagge both come to mind. More substantially, politicians aren't in general lying that much more than other people, but rather one has more opportunity to notice it when they do. And given the earlier comment specifically referring to Hillary, the level of difference is precisely what matters here anyways.

Comment Re:I hear Hillary participated in this study (Score 4, Informative) 187

These sort of comments might be funny but they aren't at all accurate. If one looks for example at Hillary's Politifact rating she has a larger fraction of true or mostly true statements than most major politicians (and way, way more than Donald Trump who has many more totally false or Pants on Fire statements than most politicians). See http://www.politifact.com/personalities/hillary-clinton/. Politifact does have some issues; they decide what statements to rate, and there's some amount of subjectivity in the ratings, such as the difference between true and mostly true, or between false and mostly false, and some of their rulings are definitely arguable (such as their tendency to rate rumors as false simply if they are very unlikely and have zero evidence) but even if you move half of her statements from each category one category down, she still well within the normal range for politicians.

Comment Re:I don't agree that these are "conservative" vie (Score 1) 235

First of all, no one is in either of those articles arguing that concern over events with refugees of that sort isn't xenophobic. So your basic premise fails. Second it isn't at all relevant: even if people were terribly misusing the term, it wouldn't make Trump's policies and many of his followers less xenophobic. That someone is overusing or badly using a term doesn't make the essential issue go away.

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