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Comment Popular vote -- but with modifications (Score 1) 550

I'm not American. However, I find the results of this year's election very difficult to reconcile with the concept of democracy.

It occurs to me that as long as there are indirect elections as you have in the US, even considering an ideal case where there is one elector per congressional district and each district has exactly the same number of voters, it is mathematically possible to win a simple 2-party election with just over 25% of the popular vote: you win if you get just over 50% of the vote in just over 50% of the congressional districts. There are 435 congressional districts -- so 25.06% of the popular vote distributed just right wins it.

If there are more than 2 candidates (and I think that must always be allowed), even a direct election can result in someone getting elected with ridiculously small fraction of people voting for him: in theory, just over 33% can do it if there are 3 candidates, and 25% if there are 4 -- even if everyone who didn't vote for the guy hates his guts.

The 'fairest' system seems to be Instant Runoff, which should be quite feasible in a technologically advanced nation -- just think 'drag-and-drop' on touchscreen voting machines, with a voter-verified paper audit trail, maybe just a printout of his vote visible the voter behind a transparent cover, to keep things honest.

Honestly, I do not quite understand why in the United States of today there has to be so much variation in the electoral process from state to state. I understand the concerns about 'state's rights' in the age of your founding fathers, but surely these two-and-a-half centuries have churned the population into reasonable uniformity? I understand how the federal nature of the government works when it comes to local issues, but for something like elections?

Submission + - Microsoft Buys Nokia's Phone Business (cnet.com) 1

Frosty Piss writes: Microsoft is buying practically all of Nokia’s handset business as part of a $7.2 billion deal, the two companies announced today. Microsoft is paying for Nokia’s Devices and Services Business. In addition, it is paying to license Nokia’s patents and to license and use Nokia’s mapping services. Microsoft using its overseas cash reserves to fund the transaction, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014, subject to approval by Nokia’s shareholders and regulatory approval, according to a news release.
Patents

Submission + - Linked List Patented in 2006

An anonymous reader writes: Congratulations are in order to Ming-Jen Wang of LSI Logic Corporation who, in patent #10260471 managed to invent the linked list. From the abstract, "A computerized list is provided with auxiliary pointers for traversing the list in different sequences. One or more auxiliary pointers enable a fast, sequential traversal of the list with a minimum of computational time. Such lists may be used in any application where lists may be reordered for various purposes." Good-bye doubly linked list. We should also give praise to the extensive patent review performed by Cochran Freund & Young LLP.

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