I will be away for a while. Find me at http://soylentnews.org
I will be away for a while. Find me at http://soylentnews.org
The continuation of this discussion: https://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=9707139&cid=53004045
I think that any winner-take-all system (including instant run-off) is going to destroy a party's ideology, because for every "normal" issue the voters are going to be distributed on a bell curve. Actually, it is possible to imagine 3D or higher issues, but that's not how it works in practice as the elements and dimensions are reduced to the minimum in search of clarity (or suitability for public debate?). Black-and-white binary issues are quite rare in the real world.
Assume that you start with two politicians discussing an issue. Then each of them is motivated to change his position towards the middle to capture the largest number of voters. If he crosses the middle, then he may start losing the small tail of voters "far behind" his new position, and that's where you seem to be. However, because you are in the small tail, it's still a winning election strategy, and you're more likely to be "neutralized" by some extremist on the other end who is equally offended by the politician who started on his side before moving to the center.
Today's so-called Republicans tried to "fix" the problem by moving the goalposts. That's more like rigging the game. They quit worrying about their actual beliefs that could be rationally justified and just started each discussion from the most extreme position on each issue. Essentially they were trying to redefine the bell curves more in their favor, but they have completely fallen off the cliff at this point. In other words, they started each discussion by lying about what they really believed, but instead just said whatever was most distant from their political opponents. The party of Honest Abe has been taken over by right wing extremists, anti-government fanatics, and various strains of haters. Not all of their voters, but definitely the entire leadership. GOP party-line discipline has become more extreme than within Lenin's Bolshevik Party.
At this point, the internal strain has become so severe that the so-called Republicans are alienating a key constituency, the people who always vote the same way. The evidence indicates that most people prefer to repeat their last vote rather than admit they were wrong. (That's the key to gerrymandering, by the way.) About 60% of the voters have been regarded as predetermined voters. Trump is actually flipping many of them because he focused so strongly on the extremists. Inertia notwithstanding, I am increasingly unable to see how any moderate person is still willing to call himself a Republican.
I think that coalitions help, though some of that is by venting off the extremists into their own parties. They still feel like they are represented even though the votes of their representatives are almost never decisive. However, perhaps the larger problem is with direct democracy itself. It doesn't scale, and I'm increasingly in favor of scalable hierarchical systems where your votes are actually more meaningful.
You may be familiar with the economists' analysis? It is so unlikely that your vote will matter that any other use of your time is better than voting. Economists are supposedly good at figuring out prices, but not so good at real values. I'd prefer a mathematical approach... How many times would you have to vote before one of your votes would turn out to be decisive? It's kind of like the birthday paradox. With two people, the chance that the 2nd person has a different birthday is 364/365, which is quite small, but as you add more people, you multiply 364/365 by 363/365 by 362/365 by... Around 30 people, you're almost sure to have a match, and you can use the same approach (but with more complicated math for multiple races in each election) to figure out when you would actually get to pick a winner.
Thank you for the provocation of my thoughts. Seems heavy enough to be worth porting to my journal...
That may not be a good way to describe it but... I have a C64 I never use and I think I shall desolder its SID before consigning it to recycling since they are now officially hard to come by. What can I put it on that will let me use it efficiently?
Just joking. This is only a thought experiment. Had this been an actual emergency, you would have seen it on Twitter already. Notwithstanding...
What if WikiLeaks released the plausible, highly embarrassing, but possibly fake tax returns of Donald J Trump?
(1) Trump would still refuse to release his tax returns?
(2) Trump would release his tax returns and he would be helped by the resulting cloud of confusion.
(3) Trump would be hurt by the spotlight.
(4) Cowboy Neal already has the results of the audit!
Just a thought experiment, but remembering how they handled Dan Rather and how WikiLeaks works, I suspect Assange is already sitting on the Donald's tax returns...
What does the new MS Services Agreement and Privacy Statement REALLY mean?
Feels like ancient history, but do you remember "Where do you want to go today?" According to Wikipedia that was their second global campaign, so on the one hand, the beast knows we want freedom, but on the other hand is the EULA and "Services Agreement and Privacy Statement" and fiendish friends.
I am not a lawyer, so I have no idea what it means. I'm sure the old one wasn't perfect, but nothing is. I'm strongly suspicious the new one is more strongly in Microsoft's favor, but that's just speculation.
Googling for analysis comes up dry, but this is an obvious case of professional courtesy. There probably are some insightful websites out there, but if the google helps us find the Microsoft ones, then Microsoft will put more effort into making sure Bing returns the corresponding results about the google, eh?
Insights? Suggestions? Where are the (significant) changes and what do they really mean? How doth Microsoft profit? And of course...
Where do I want to get screwed today?
Your comments "spectacularly brain-damaged suggestion" and "drug-fueled" are why I consider your post troll like.
The above quote rendered one of my comments unpostable...
In reply to https://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=9654353&cid=52889219 the following comment took enough compositional effort that I want to keep a copy in so-called my journal.
Your comment has a false subject. ["Powell can't bring himself to vote for Hillary"] Powell has said he will not yet say who he is voting for.
Your body is also highly questionable. I remember watching at least one speech in which Powell endorsed then-Senator Obama, but I don't remember anything that approximated "enthusiastic supporter". Nor do I recall any of the marks of enthusiasm such as actively campaigning for Obama or speaking at the Democratic convention. According to my research just now, Powell only made his endorsement two weeks before the election in 2008.
One obvious lie and a highly questionable comment in such a short comment? Let me predict you are a Trump supporter, and in that case the only relevant question is "Who do you hate most?" Every Trump supporter I've met so far has been a deplorable hater, and I can only pity them. Maybe some of them can grow into less hate-filled people?
Powell is a realist. His assessment of Hillary was not particularly favorable, though I'm not sure how they compare with his personal assessment of Obama. However, it is clear that his personal assessment of Trump is extremely negative. He personally might well prefer the positions of Johnson on many issues, but he knows America has a winner-take-all system, so I predict that he will ultimately endorse Hillary or say nothing.
False equivalencies: Hillary Clinton is NOT Mitt Romney
There are certainly some things to dislike about Hillary, but I actually think she was being refreshingly honest with the "basket of deplorables" comment. You sure can't tell from the worthless commentary of the worthless media, but it is important to understand the REAL differences.
Hillary was clear in stating that "deplorable" referred to racists and various other categories of bigots. That is, she was referring to people who hate other people, either for accidents of birth or for various acquired characteristics such as religious preference. She regarded it as deplorable that such people are eagerly supporting Trump, though I regard it as MORE deplorable that Trump welcomes their support. At this point, I am convinced the Donald is NOT faking it, and he really will do ANYTHING to become president, which includes accepting and even soliciting support from people who are deplorable or worse.
In contrast, Mitt's infamous 47% comment was really about HIS personal hatred towards roughly half of the entire population. He regarded those people as lazy bums who were never going to vote for a hard-working vulture capitalist. He was deploring their lack of HIS brand of greed, which is completely different from deploring their hatreds of other people.
I'm not sure where Romney got the exact value of 47%, but I can guess where Hillary got the "half", and even why she had to be fuzzy about it. The value depends on the exact question you ask. The question determines what kind of hatred you are measuring, and when such questions are put to Trump supporters the results range up to 70% picking the hate-filled response. Other questions elicit smaller percentages of "deplorable" responses, but "half" seems downright generous.
The latest poll shows about 40% of the voters supporting Trump, so the estimate of 20% of the voters as "deplorable" haters certainly is a lot of people. However, I think the standard of comparison here should be the percentages of voters who supported bad leaders in the past. Your political views probably don't matter as much as you think. If you deplore President Obama, then you think more than 50% of the voters made a terrible choice TWICE. If you adore Dubya, then you have to admit that more than 50% of the voters preferred Al Gore. (I'd even be curious if you have any rational and nonpartisan basis for attacking Obama, but I think I've seen all the criticisms and attacks by now, and many, perhaps most, of them qualify as deplorable.)
The original Republican Party led by Honest Abe was about constructive change (even though that led to an incredibly destructive war), and the GOP of Teddy and Ike was a party of gentlemen and their ladies. None of this applies to today's so-called Republicans led by Con Man Donald, the man of 3,500 suits, at least four major bankruptcies, and uncountable political bribes (but his tax returns would help count some of them).
In response to https://yro.slashdot.org/story/16/09/04/0455250/richard-stallman-online-publishers-should-let-readers-pay-anonymously
I actually admire rms and regard him as a great man, but probably for smaller values of "great". In particular, he has little conception of money and his financial models have never demonstrated anything approaching viability or critical mass.
In years past I actually ran a few alternative financial models past him. He did ask an extremely perceptive question in one exchange. The question led me to a significant improvement in a financial model, but mostly he convinced me that he never has understood money, and probably never will. He wouldn't even be interested in whether or not he helped out, but he lives in a kind of money-free fantasy land, and I think his latest suggestion is just more evidence. Yes, he sees part of the problem, but his idea of anonymity as the solution is completely half-baked. If someone is motivated to donate, why would that motivation be affected by anonymity?
What the online media needs is a focus on SOLUTIONS. How many of us are sick and tired of reading about problems without solutions, and the media should earn a kind of tithe for helping to SOLVE the problems. The articles should be followed by links to some solution projects, and if enough readers (or viewers of a video) agree to support a project, then it would get funded, and the website would get a percentage for (1) publicizing the problem, (2) bringing donors to the solution project, and (3) evaluating the results and reporting them.
The details don't really matter to me, so in that sense I might be as bad as rms. You can call it an agent's fee if you prefer, though before that discussion with rms I mostly called it RACS (for Reverse Auction Charity Shares) and at some point afterwards I favored the idea of a charity share brokerage. DAUPR.
My response to https://apache.slashdot.org/story/16/09/02/183249/is-apache-openoffice-finally-on-the-way-out (from the comments) follows:
Oh, wait. Oracle apparently and unfortunately seems to have a highly viable financial model. The current problem is merely that OpenOffice was NOT a part of those profits and Apache also lacks a good financial model.
So how about considering SOLUTIONS. At least LibreOffice got mentioned in a couple of posts, but the underlying problem remains unaddressed: Is the financial model viable? I don't know enough about LibreOffice to say, but if the economic model is as fundamentally broken, then it doesn't really matter, does it? Just a question of when.
What about a BETTER financial model? Beating the same dead horse, but how about creating a simple mechanism for the lusers... Er, I mean the honorable users, to fund OpenOffice (or LibreOffice) with special focus on the features they actually WANT?
I just love flogging that dead horse, don't I? Even worse that the same dead horse could be used to make slashdot viable (pending its next change of ownership and debt assumption).
Yeah, of course I'm talking about the idea of the charity share brokerage where the users would buy shares in ongoing-cost projects for features they want to keep using and feature development projects for new features. At this point I can only believe that it's the breakeven idea that is anathema. Unless there are profits, no one is interested, eh?
I'd start another poll on the topic, but it seems pointless. If anyone is interested (and I'm not holding my breath), feel free to make the polite request for additional details. Meanwhile, I'll continue switching over to LibreOffice pending its demise. OpenOffice, it was nice knowing ya, and I'll try to attend the funeral if it's sufficiently convenient.
Oh yeah. One more thing. I have to express the usual disappointment with the state of today's slashdot and the lack of high-quality comments. If the charity share brokerage system were in effect, features that would improve the quality of the discussions would be my favored donations. Not sure if that means addressing the trollage or fixing the moderation, but right now there is no decision to be made because there is no such system.
In reaction to this article
https://news.slashdot.org/story/16/08/22/2034212/fbi-finds-14900-more-documents-from-hillary-clintons-email-server I added this comment:
There were only two comments moderated as "insightful", and neither of them deserved to be. Accepting the brokenness of the slashdot moderation system, I did some textual searches of the comments and also came up dry.
There are some deep issues here, and I think that there was a time when slashdot (in a collective sense) would have been capable of addressing some of them. "Trump is a con man" and "Hillary is a witch" are NOT deep issues.
I think there are two most important issues here. One is the partisan abuse of power. Using the FBI for partisan witch hunts is bad enough, but I think the focus of Congress on partisan scheming and advertising is much more serious. There are actual national problems that the Congress could be working on.
However, for now I'm primarily going to focus on the second issue, which I can summarize as "Nobody's perfect." If you (or I) were subjected to the kind of intense scrutiny that Hillary Clinton has received, that scrutiny would turn up plenty of "evidence" of all sorts of crimes. Especially when there is no real interest in truth or justice, but only a focus on partisan advantage. I think that Hillary has a lot of enemies, and some of them are vicious to the point of insanity. Now imagine that you had an insanely vicious enemy and that enemy had complete access to all of your email. "Guilty, guilty, guilty! Off with her head!"
However, in bowing to the tone of today's slashdot, let me close on the lightheaded level. It might become a national problem if a con man occupies the oval office and there's no such thing as witches.
In response to https://verdict.justia.com/2016/08/19/outrageously-false-charges-perjury-hillary-clinton
It's a deep analysis, but from a lawyer's legalistic perspective, and it misses the point. It is not insightful. However, the data point that should be the key to the analysis is the approval rating of Congress. As of this writing, it's around 13%. http://www.gallup.com/poll/1600/congress-public.aspx
Not that I'm sure where the true insight lies, but there are several possibilities. None of them are legal. Some of them are political, but the more interesting are psychological, so that's where I'm going to start. (Though I'm going to write "firmly", that doesn't mean I have any proof that would stand up in court, or even that I am as convinced as my words might sound.)
This so-called lawsuit is a desperate maneuver by terrified men. They are perpetual cowards who right now are most terrified that they will lose their death grip on the House of so-called Representatives.
They have good reason to anticipate that outcome because they are clinging to power by tiny legalistic threads. They also know that they are violating their own oaths to "support and defend" the Constitution. The Founders' clear intention, clearly expressed in the Constitution, was for the House of Representatives to be the MOST representative and responsive and directly responsible part of the federal government, but today's so-called Republicans are merely using it as a kangaroo court for partisan politics.
If the House actually represented the voters, a 13% approval rating should mean that almost all of them would be thrown out at the next election--which is precisely why the entire House faces election every two years. They are terrified that the contagion of Trump's disastrous campaign could have that disastrous outcome this November, even though the so-called Republicans have become experts at winning while losing.
With approval ratings around 20% in the last few elections, how have the incumbents survived? By rigging the voting process so that the House of so-called Representatives is dominated by an actual minority of the actual voters.
That minority-wins effect is mostly the effect of gerrymandering. They concentrate and effectively waste many of the Democratic Party votes, while distributing their own votes in safe majorities with little waste. In other words, by partisan redistricting, they select their own voters before the voters have a chance to select them. Though the GOP gets fewer votes, they still wind up controlling much more than 50% of the resulting anti-representative House.
On top of that, insofar as their selective disenfranchisement is accurately targeted at "hostile" wannabe voters, the reality is even worse. The GOP is now dangling over the abyss. If they lose their grip on the reins of political power for a moment, they would be totally crushed. They are terrified of a flood of new and hostile voters, they are more terrified of honest redistricting, but they are MOST terrified that the Democratic Party will abuse political power in exactly the ways that they have.
From watching the Democrats in action (and mostly in inaction), I think the GOP's ultimate fears are projections and even delusional. Even when they have power, the Democrats can't figure out what to do with it and they've never sustained any focus. The Democrats just squabble among themselves (which is the main weakness of Hillary's campaign, by the way). The so-called Republicans can't afford to squabble. Like Lenin's Bolsheviks, strong party discipline is crucial when you actually represent a minor lunatic fringe.
Which brings us back to the Donald of Trump and the real terror underlying this feeble lawsuit. If Trump loses and drags many of the down-ballot Republicans down with him, it would be a total disaster for them. Think of the children and the Republican Congressman dragged away from the government teat and forced to actually work for their daily bread.
Oh wait. For a moment I forgot that they are just a bunch of rich lawyers. No real danger of actual work.
Moot to me. My own vote was neutered and negated four times over. Congratulations to the dictators of Texas. Though I was born there, I now regard myself as a stateless American of the "No Vote for You" Party.
I think this was a relevant comment for a discussion of censorship on Twitter, but slashdot's so-called lameness filter disagreed, so I'm putting it here. I think increasingly lame slashdot doth projectith too much.
If there were a "polite" dimension of moderation, then I think one of the most prominent features of trolls would be negative politeness. Large amounts of rudeness. Not the only defining characteristic of trolls, but I think it's an important one, and one of the MANY problems with trolls is how the use of a label as a dimension makes it hard to understand the problem. "Thought-provoking" is NOT the same as troll, though it may be accidentally true from time to time. "Disagrees with me" is also different from troll.
Having said that, I still think trolls should be free to speak, notwithstanding the different form of confusion mentioned in my sig. That right should NOT include the right to waste my time, however, and I should be free to ignore trolls, preferably before I have to read any of their tripe.
As noted before, I'd favor a three-part strategy to ignore them: (1) A kill filter for long-lived trolls, perhaps as an option on the Foe status of slashdot. (2) A maturity filter for fresh sock puppets. (3) A self-deterrence for insincerity. Negative sincerity is another characteristic of trolls, and it would be simple to implement by inverting (1) and (2). If a reply would be ignored, then the author of that reply should be encouraged to post elsewhere (perhaps at the top), but if the troll insists, then the reply should be given an insincerity warning: "Not a sincere dialog, and ostensible recipient will never see this reply."
How do you get locked out of Microsoft "support"? Is there any way to get back in?
My little meta-problem of the day is being locked out of Microsoft's so-called support. The email part (on outlook.live.com) works as usual, but every attempt to access the support part returns "Something went wrong and we can't sign you in right now. Please try again later." It's a black hole page with no links or options or suggestions. Once you get there, you are dead to Microsoft. Whenever I try to go to Microsoft support, that's all I've seen for several weeks now. (It may have begun months before that, but I'm glad when I forget ugly details. Dealing with Microsoft support has always been ugly.)
Returning to the original problem (of the month), the Start button is broken on one of my Windows 10 machines. Left click is dead. Fairly well known problem, but none of the solutions from non-Microsoft webpages has fixed it. If I ever had mod points, I'd mod you up for the solution, but all I can do is ask nicely.
In general, Windows 10 seems to be a good thing--but I don't really know how much it is abusing my personal information and privacy. The abusive relationship with Microsoft support is clearly the same, bad as it ever was. I really wish we actually had some good choices rather than having to search for the least bad or least evil options. There is a slightly adversarial relationship between buyers and sellers, but these years it is downright hostile. (Adversarial negotiations can still be win-win, but hostile negotiations are always lose-lose.)
"Respect for the individual." First heard about this one about 40 years ago. One of the three guiding principles of a great company. Still around, but they dumped that idea a while back, though I'm still working on it.
Back when the company had that principle, there was a strong consensus that it was the best company in the world, at least some of the time. By the time I started working there, they were already on the down side, and one of the biggest problems was that they had forgotten what the principles were about. The other two principles were easier to understand and follow but "respect for the individual" was already on the ropes, though it somehow became something of a fetish object for me.
Seems like a simple idea, but it isn't. To really understand the meaning, you have to apply it to everyone. It's really easy to respect some folks. Many of my coworkers and customers were elite engineers and programmers with PhDs from hoity toity universities. One of them even rose above normal rankings and did me the peculiar honor of asking for a bit of minor help on a TED talk. Went well, too. Easy to respect such individuals, but you can't draw the line there, or you're disrespecting other folks and it has to be universal.
I've often suspected that my difficulty with the concept was related to my time in the service, where the rules of respect were completely codified and ritualized. Up? Respect. Down? Phuck 'em. Convenient, but mindless, and ultimately fake. Real respect for the individual has to go every which way.
Maybe my problem with the concept had more to do with self-respect? It has to go inwards, too, or maybe it's better to say that respect for other individuals has to be based on a foundation of self-respect, too. If you have perfectionist or idealistic tendencies, then it's kind of hard to practice that respect in reverse for exactly the same reason that the high-level respect doesn't easily go to lower levels.
For a while I tried specialization. I thought the trick of "respect for the individual" might involve finding the unique strength, even if it was a negative one, and then you can respect that. Can you respect someone for being the biggest liar in the room? How about respecting the greatest rudeness or stupidity, even if you have to limit the scope of the "greatness" to a slashdot journal? Actually takes me back to the military days again... Perverted version of the 23rd psalm "because I'm the baddest motherphucker in the valley [of the shadow of death]."
So how can you respect a subhuman and mindless troll? I failed again.
Oh well. Guess I need to keep studying it.
By the way I'm leaving this one open for comments just in case some trolls are stupid enough to want to prove my point. Unlikely that any of them will say anything interesting enough to merit a reply, but it might be amusing to watch them try. Of course the sad part is that they really don't have any better use of their precious time on earth.