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Submission + - Would Preferential Voting Fix the US Electoral System? 1

kale77in writes: For someone watching the US election from Australia, the absence of preferential voting stands out as an enormous, systematic problem. In your system, there's no viable way for someone to start a party to directly represent a group who feel unrepresented. Not with any chance of it mattering within the present duopoly: third party votes are wasted, or worse, they split a larger party's vote and help elect their own opponents. This means small parties cannot gain momentum from one election to the next. You might want to vote for, say, the Flyover State Party, started by people in those middle states who felt unrepresented; but it's a tight race, and you know the Glorious Ancient Party needs your vote too. In Preferential Voting, you can vote for them both, in decreasing order of preference. Your vote goes to your first preference, unless she is eliminated from the race by having the least votes. Then it flows to the second, then the third, and so on, until one candidate has more than exactly 50%. We've been doing this nationally since 1918, and it's not an unduly complicated process. Or, if you don't supply preferences, the preferences used are those of the candidate you voted for, if they are eliminated. The elected candidates make up the house of representatives. Then, the total votes for each party, before preferences were distributed, determine their number of seats in the Senate, which gives them direct power to vote and make deals with other parties. This means a vote for a third party candidate is never a wasted vote and never splits a major party's vote. And since you have a hundred senators, your main party preference will get a senate seat for every 1% of you who vote for them. You would have to change the 2-senators-per-state arrangement, but in the preferential system, regional representation happens in the House of Representatives. It's not a perfect system and can give small parties disproportionate power in some cases by controlling the balance of power, but this has to be better than having masses of people who feel unrepresented, which has been the story of the year. So, to me as an outsider, it seems the discussion of reforming the Electoral College should really be about using preferential voting instead. Does this make sense from a US perspective, or is there something obvious that I'm missing?

Comment Preferential voting would help the US system more. (Score 1) 1081

Introducing preferential voting would help more than tweaking the electoral college. Ignore the title of this link, but consider the basic idea. If you could vote for Stein or Johnson or whomever, and then have your vote flow on to another larger party if they were eliminated, it solves your duopoly problem; the smaller parties aren't wasted votes, and the larger parties have to make deals with them based on their levels of support. Start a Flyover Party for the flyover states if they feel unrepresented. Why not, once the duopoly is broken? Start whatever parties the people actually want.

At least, that looks to be your main problem from my other-side-of-the-world perspective. Fixing the state-based gerrymandering of either side would help also. The parties use that to tilt the electoral college balance.

Comment I don't mind it. (Score 1) 132

I don't mind it.

  • Less fiddly on for small devices.
  • It's continuous with the old design.
  • It fits their material design ethic and general look, which the old logo didn't.
  • Its a bland, but so was the old one. People were just familiar with that kind of bland.
  • The new "G" favicon solves the problem that they haven't had a well branded favicon.

All changes look bad initially.

Prediction: After a week non-one will notice. We will have always been at war with EastAsia.

Comment Story Telling, Just do it -- PLUS, what are games? (Score 1) 121

This and "Just do it" (esp. by sharing the results with school-friends doing the same thing) are the best answers thus far. I'll add a third idea:

No-one has yet mentioned the importance of thinking about the nature of challenges, and so, what games fundamentally are, why they're enjoyable, why there are fundamental limits to that enjoyment in any one game, and how to push them. This book, A Theory of Fun, was extraordinary on those subjects. Might be worth leaving it lying around:

Comment Re:So Proud of Gun Ownership (Score 1) 1232

The real loaded weapons are these people waiting to go off. And without guns, they won't be stopped. They will resort to other things. Poisonings? Gassings? Bombings? Stabbings and slashings? What will we hope to take away from EVERYONE then? Gasoline? Propane?

This argument fails. Unstable people become dangerous when they have an especially depressing week, or they go off the meds. Suicides and homicides happen in this window. If assault weapons aren't at hand then assault weapons won't be used. These are different to bombs, poison or even handguns and rifles. Bombs and mass poisonings take time to plan, by which time a person will usually stabilize again. Stabbings are less likely to be fatal, or numerous, or even successful, and they require more courage. Even handguns or non-automatic rifles take time to load or are harder to aim. But access to an assault rifle with a high-capacity magazine mean that almost anyone can reliably put on a massacre. It's much easier to prevent access to such weapons than to make mental illness disappear. When the US Constitution was written, muskets could be loaded and fired three times per minute, if you had practiced well. That was plenty for the purpose of self-defense, or for the people to hold the government to account. There's no constitutional argument for assault weapons, and the "people will just use bombs" argument fails when the dynamics of mental illness are considered.

Comment Re:Creepy... (Score 2) 119

Mimic was my all-time #1 bad-science movie, for one single, monumental plot hole. In order to develop, the mega-roaches needed selection pressures to favour those that resembled humans, but no humans or other predators were even aware of them, let alone selectively killing off the non-humanoid ones.

Comment Re:modding video games (Score 1) 246

We have a winner. There has to be something they themselves want to accomplish by programming. Get that sorted and get out of the way.

I used to have books of (printed!) computer game programs that I would type into my Atari 800XL, which of course led to writing my own once I knew how they worked, and friends with the same interests playing my games and me playing theirs. There was a 1986 edition of Scientific American which had a Mandelbrot set on the cover, and the algorithm inside, and I remember when the first six-hour run successfully produced a 40x40 image of the whole set.

The right tech now depends on what they want to accomplish. But get them to imagine themselves showing their friends their OWN phone app, or web app (whether a game or something else), and you won;t have to worry about their motivation from then on. You just need to be there for questions when they hit a roadblock.

And if they don't like programming, help them be good at what they do like.

Comment Re:I think you just need two things (Score 4, Insightful) 276

I would say mod parent up... But remembered that *I* have mod points. MAHAHAHAHHHH!!!!

Seriously, you just say: "You know that ANYONE can do that, yeah?" when they like something a computer does.

Myself, I took the 1986 Scientific American article with the fractals on the cover and coded up the algorithm on little PC with 64K or RAM, and never looked back. I've used to assume that the question for a ten year old would be "Would you like to write your own game?" ... But actually, it's "What do computers do that is cool?" and the realization that literally _anyone_ can do that. It's a level playing field. Anything you can see on a computer, you can take apart or rebuild, and then change to make it do what you want.

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