Why America Does Not Have a Popular Vote.

What is a “Union”

The United States of America. That is what we call ourselves. We often abbreviate this to USA, US. or America, for the sake of brevity in conversation. It is important to remember, however that we are the United States. America is a union of autonomous “States” (often referred to as nation-states, in other countries).

Each State has been granted authority under the constitution to make it’s own laws, which are not subject to the authority of the federal government. This affords us a really unique ability to have completely different life experiences simply by moving to different states.

A Popular Vote would disenfranchise 47 states.

According to election results from 2016, California had about 9 million participating voters. New York State had approximately 7 million. Texas had 9 million. Wyoming had 250,000.

Approximately 120 million people voted in the 2016 election. If America used the popular vote to determine it’s president, California and New York State and Texas would dominate every election. Between them they have 25 million votes, which is more than 1/6th of the entire nation’s votes.

That means if we were to use a popular vote, California, New York, and Texas would dominate every election and 95 million votes would be practically unheard.

But the Electoral College reduces the ‘value’ of certain votes

Yes, this is true. And before you think you’ve figured it all out, everyone over the age of 30 has figured it out before you. The thing is the electoral college does less harm than the popular vote. Yes, some votes mean less than others. Specifically, California’s votes. California is the only state really adversely effected by the Electoral College, and that is because California has too many people living there. California has the largest number of EC votes (55) of any state, but there is a ceiling because if the EC votes were directly proportionate to the population, then California would again be dominating the election.

Do you see a pattern yet? The point of the Electoral College is to prevent a single state from dominating every election. If you’re a selfish democrat living in California or New York you might think “So what?” Well we aren’t “The United States of California, Texas, and New York”, we’re the United States of America, and everyone deserves a voice at the table as much as you.

Why does this issue get raised every election

Because a lot of people are sore losers, they don’t care about being a United States, all they care about is getting their way, all the time.

One of the things that makes this country so great is the political balance. No single party dominates all the time, which prevents the most heinous of ideas from becoming laws. There is a filter known as “gridlock”, ideas go in, and most of the time what emerges are bills which everyone can agree on. This system has worked for almost 300 years.

Some are thinking “but sometimes one party controls the white-house and both houses of congress”. That is true, however that usually does not last more than 2 or 4 years, and typically the opposition party puts up a fierce battle during those times. Balance is found.

Isn’t there something better?

YES! We just haven’t discovered it yet. Seriously, if you are interested in this you should work on it. We are never, ever, ever going to have a popular vote. For our particular political system a popular vote is out of the question, it is off the table because it would be unfair and broken. If you want to see our elections improve, you have to be forward-thinking. The system to replace the Electoral College will be something new, that nobody has ever tried before.


This next part is dedicated to those poor souls who are either incapable of understanding, or unwilling to understand, the above text. Be warned, if you already “get it”, you might find the next part tiresome.

But but but… the popular vote!

People who, in spite of everything I have explained above, continue to insist that the popular vote is the only real vote, those people are idiots. They aren’t worth your time and there is not a fully developed adult in this country who will ever take their opinions seriously. If you’re one of those people, I urge you to let it go. Re-read what I’ve explained above. Read other people’s explanation. For your own good and understanding, you should.

So and so won the election, but lost the popular vote

Remember, there is no popular vote, so it is impossible for someone to win or lose it. In the same way that we do not have a monarchy, or a parliament, we do not have a popular vote. Yes, you can count numbers in a certain way, but that does not mean the way you counted has any relevance or bearing on the conversation ever. There is no such thing as a popular vote in America, and there never will be.

The only people who ever bring up the popular vote are the losers

We don’t have a popular vote in America. I know I keep repeating this, because certain individuals continue to use the phrase “Popular Vote” as if it were a thing which exists. It does not exist. There is no such thing as a “Popular Vote” in America. It does not exist. The thing you keep talking about does not exist. The numbers you quote are completely meaningless. And if you look back, the ONLY people who ever start this are the losers.

If you are tired of losing our elections, then maybe the problem is you’re trying to win the popular vote, which does not exist, instead of trying to win the Electoral College, which is how our elections actually work. You’re not appealing to the individuals of every state, you’re appealing to the states themselves. It is a pyramidal system and for now it is the best that we have. You either work within that system or you continue to lose and act like crybabies, wishing that the sky were some shade other than blue.

In conclusion

There is no popular vote. There is no popular vote. There is no popular vote. Say it in your head like a mantra every day. There is no popular vote. There is no popular vote. When you’ve matured enough to really understand that there is no such thing as a popular vote, then you will be better able to understand the rest of our political culture, and you will make more informed choices.

Comments?

I invite your comments. Comments which appear to be in support of “A popular vote” will be deleted, as I do not tolerate efforts to dumb down the population, especially not on my blog. Forward thinking is encouraged.

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Here are all of my various online gaming identities so you can add me to your friends list and play with me.

  • Valve’s Steam: SimbaLion
  • EA’s Origin: smblion
  • Ubisoft’s
  • Blizzard’s Battle.net: SimbaLion#1219
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Tips for new gun owners

Preface

Back in 2012 I bought my first firearm. I spent a lot of time researching to find the right gun for me, and I discovered there is an overwhelming amount of information and if you ask people for help you will find varied and contradictory opinions about every detail. It is for that reason that I decided I’d write this post to help new gun owners with some of the questions they will face.

Safety

I think this is the most important issue. Guns by themselves are not dangerous but they can become dangerous in the grasp of an inexperienced handler. Statistically, a person is more likely to hurt themself with their own firearm than to ever face a situation where they’ll need a firearm, but this should not dissuade you from owning one. Being prepared is A Good Idea(tm).

An example of poor trigger disciplineWhen you are just starting out, you will discover that “Trigger Discipline”, which refers to keeping your finger off of the trigger and out of the trigger guard until you are ready to fire, is a lot more difficult than you might imagine. Most people do not spend all day paying close attention to the location of their fingers, because they aren’t handling firearms. The best solution for poor trigger discipline is a manual safety switch, often called a thumb-safety, because it is activated by your thumb.

MYTH: Thumb Safeties impair your ability to fire

With proper training, operating the manual safety on your firearm will become second-nature. People who tell you that it’s “too much to think about” are wrong. You won’t be thinking about it, because you are going to practice a lot with your firearm unloaded. In short time you will find it is no longer an issue.

I want to emphasize that this recommendation is mostly for new gun owners. Once you have a few years of experience handling your firearms every day, you may decide you are ready to move on to firearms that do not have manual safeties. That is up to you, nobody can tell you if you’re ready for that except you.

TRUTH: Magazine Safeties are BAD

A magazine safety is a device which prevents a firearm from firing if a magazine is not loaded. That’s fine for a range-only weapon, but for a self-defense weapon that is a life-threatening feature. It is possible that you might accidentally eject your magazine in the stress of an actual self-defense situation, and you want your firearm to still fire, there will still be a round in the chamber and that round might save your life. Make sure your carry weapon does not have a magazine safety.

Capacity

If you’re buying an automatic, and I recommend you buy an automatic, I think Capacity is of the utmost importance. If you’re getting a gun for self defense you can expect you will need to fire 3 to 5 shots per assailant, and you should not assume that you’ll be assaulted by a single person. If you find yourself forced to defend against a group of 3 people, that means your magazine needs to carry 15 rounds. You do not want to be faced with reloading your gun during a firefight.

Decockers

This is similar to my recommendation about safeties. A decocker is a nifty feature which makes a hot gun cold. A decocked double-action gun can still fire if you pull the trigger, but requires a stronger pull usually. Glocks do not have decockers, and as a direct result are the most common gun in negligent discharge situations. Whether you need one of these is debate-able but I suggest that it doesn’t hurt to have it.

Price

You don’t need to buy a $1000 HK or 1911 to have a good self-defense sidearm. I recommend shopping in the $400-$550 range as a lot of very capable sidearms are in that price range. Smith & Wessons, Berettas, and so on. You can find good guns for less than $400 but your chances of getting junk increase as the price decreases, and when you’re talking about defending your life, reliability is critical.

Comfort

This is important, maybe most important, but I’m listing this last because you should first narrow your possible choices using the above criteria before moving on to comfort. Once you have a short-list of firearms to buy, go to a range that rents those specific models and try them out. See how they feel in your hand. If the rental model has a lot of mechanical problems don’t assume it’s the gun’s fault, it may be a very used gun and perhaps isn’t as well maintained as it should be, so try it again at a different range with a different gun.

Recommendation

My first gun was a Beretta PX4 Storm, I actually do recommend this sidearm to people as a first gun, it’s got all the features you could want, including an adjustable ‘backstrap’ to fit various hand sizes. It comes in compact and full size versions and they all use the same magazines, it’s lightweight due to a polymer frame, it’s affordable and it’s very safe.

Conclusion

You’ll hear a lot of different opinions about what to buy. I’ve heard them all myself. So while these are my opinions, I am also considering all the various things you are going to hear from people who disagree with me. A lot of people disagree with me about Glocks for example, but those same people will not tell you that Berettas or Smith & Wessons are not also good. So you’ll have to decide for yourself, I hope that this article has been helpful. Feel free to send me an email if you have any questions I haven’t covered here.

youtube link for "feel good inc" by gorillaz

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Election Chill Pill.

The Sky is Falling

The sky is not falling. The media has been telling you 1000 times per week that this election is “historic” and will have dramatic consequences. They say these things at every election. The result is that you have all lost your minds, and no matter who won the election, your reactions would be the same.

Each election presents it’s own blend of historic elements. After each election the country continues mostly as it had been doing before the election. New presidents almost never introduce radical changes. And even when they do, the citizens of our nation manage to survive “somehow”.

The Electoral College

The Electoral College was not invented to “screw” people. The United States is a large union of smaller states, each state is meant to be autonomous and ruled by the people who live in that state. Our national constitution protects the rights of states to govern themselves, as a result of that structure.

The social effect of this is that people who are unhappy in one state can move to a different state where the lifestyle better suits their particular tastes. This is one of the greatest features of living in the United States.

Because the population numbers of each state vary significantly, it’s impossible to hold a fair election based on the popular vote alone. If we were to only use the popular vote, California and New York would dominate every single election. The effect of this is that millions of citizens living in the 48 other states would feel disenfranchised.

The electoral college is not perfect, but unless someone can present a constructive alternative which is at least as fair as the electoral college, then there is no reason to suggest changing it. We will never have an election based on the popular vote alone.

Conclusion

In summary, you all need to take a chill pill. Seriously. Smoke some pot or drink some tea or do whatever you do to relax, because freaking out all day long is not healthy. America is young, but it is much older than you, and it has weathered these kinds of issues every 4 years for almost 300 years. Everything is going to be alright.

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The “Internet of Things” must be stopped.

Preface

The Internet of Things is an idiotic idea dreamed up in a marketing lab at Apple and other corporations. Wide-eyed executives with no real grasp of technology saw an emerging market where they could capitalize and make billions of dollars, and they rushed to dive in without thought toward the consequences.

What is the Internet of Things?

The IoT or Internet of Things is the name given to a world filled with devices that have embedded operating systems which are internet-capable. On paper, in a fictional utopian paradise, it presents some pretty cool ideas. Sharing of data between apps, remote control, etc.

Where did the Internet of Things go wrong?

The IoT has been a complete fucking disaster. Because the devices are being rushed to market and made by the lowest bidders in chinese code-factories, the software is easily exploitable. The IoT has regressed internet security by 30 years in a handful of months.

What is the evidence for this disaster?

A recent DDoS attack, that is a “Distributed Denial of Service”, was launched using a botnet which is comprised at least in part by millions of “Internet of Things” devices. This was the largest recorded DDoS attack in the history of the internet and it won’t be the last. Think of this like a country testing a nuclear bomb. A black-hat hacker-for-hire group is displaying it’s capability. Next they will sell their service to anyone willing to pay.

What is the solution?

The Internet of Things needs to die, right now. Boycott all embedded devices which do not have robust security controls. Device owners need the ability to upgrade the software and install their own security controls which could be superior to the factory settings. This is absolutely required to bring embedded devices up to speed with the rest of the computerized world.

What if we do nothing?

Selling unstoppable DDoS attacks will become a common practice. With the IoT growing at a ridiculous rate, it will become trivial for anyone with some technical know-how to own networks of millions of bots. A huge black-market industry will emerge. There will be attacks on corporations, on non-profits, on news organizations, on government systems. Giant CDNs like Cloudflare will be destroyed by botnets. The internet will become a wasteland. The benefits we’ve seen in recent decades, improvements to human rights for example, will be lost.

Summary

This is a pivotal moment in human development. We have a choice to nudge our own technological evolution forward in a responsible manner, or push everyone off a cliff in a fool’s gold-rush lead by absolute idiots who are drunk on greed and have no idea how the technology works.

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Why is Star Trek Online still garbage?

When people think of Massive Multiplayer Online games, they think of World of Warcraft. They also think of billions of dollars in profits that World of Warcraft has raked in.

What they don’t realize is that World of Warcraft was a freak sensation. Not because an MMO can’t be good, or because an MMO can’t be profitable, but because most MMOs are not either of those things.

A perfect example of this is Star Trek Online, which has been a persistent failure since it’s debut in 2010. The company that operates the game has changed owners at least 2 times in the past 6 years. They give the game away for free and they still can’t get a decent number of players.

Is that because nobody is interested in Star Trek? Hardly. The latest Star Trek film grossed $60m on it’s opening weekend alone. The reason Star Trek Online is failing is because it is garbage.

There is a lot of content in the game, a _lot_ of content. There is so much content you will never see it all because you will be sick of playing after a couple of days. Rather than spend any decent effort on creating a very solid game, they have focused on constant content updates. Content updates are great, but you need a solid core first.

I’m going to point out one specific area, Inventory Management. Your inventory space is very limited, and you collect a lot of gear by completing quests and PvE “Dungeons”. There’s no means to recycle gear into crafting materials, but you can sell it. However, the marketplace interface is almost non-existent. When you go to sell an item there is no indication of the going rate for that item. If you want to sell intelligently you have to search for each item by hand. And because the market is flooded with duplicates because there are no players, this means you need to make extensive use of the filters. There is a filter for rank, which does not match the rank on the items so you have to guess which item ranks go with which player ranks, then there’s a filter for rarity, and filters for item types. All of these have to be set individually, to sell one item. And then for the next item you will probably have to change all of them again.

It is literally a grind, it’s not fun, and it is enough to make me, a die-hard gamer and star trek fan, quit playing a game that is completely free. That is a recipe for a failure and in any normal business environment people would be fired extremely fast. But in this environment the people making the decisions do not know anything about the game industry or playing games. The developers who actually play the game don’t have any say in development priorities. The entire system is broken.

Massive Multiplayer Online games are great, and the free to play model can succeed, if done right. Let’s get rid of everyone destroying the scene presently, and replace them with real gamers who have a clue how things should work.

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Let’s Encrypt IS the panacea to all our HTTPS woes.

This is a response to a blogger’s post located here: “Here’s how broken today’s web will feel in Chrome’s ‘secure by default’ future” discussing the future of encryption on the World Wide Web.

I was banned from commenting on Mr. Hunt’s page because I made one critical comment about one of his articles. So much for free expression and the exchange of ideas. I don’t feel like re-writing my opinions so when you read it, bear in mind it was originally intended as a comment.

My Comment:

I can’t entirely tell what your intention with this article is, perhaps just to discuss the subject, which is great cause it needs discussing.

There’s no debate to have, encryption is the future, it should have been the standard by now. A discussion needs to happen to wake the average user up. Encryption isn’t only about protecting privacy, it’s about security, as well as simple standards of living.

SSL is trivially easy today. You said that Let’s Encrypt is not the cure, but you are wrong. Let’s Encrypt _solves_ the problem completely. Any remaining difficulty in adapting 100% SSL is the fault of lazy engineers and developers, and nothing else.

SSL is not a luxury product. SSL _was_ a luxury product. And just like Operating Systems, Digital Audio Workstations, Anti-Virus, E-Mail, and so many other applications, the generosity and effort of computer purists have given us free tools capable of replacing proprietary models. SSL as a Luxury product is going away.

The internet is changing the world, just as people predicted it would. Corporations find a niche where they can profit and they refuse to innovate, preferring to maximize their profits by taking advantage of peoples’ ignorance for as long as possible. What has happened with Let’s Encrypt, and other technologies, is that information-freedom-fighters have liberated the masses from the control of those corporations.

The future of the internet is bright, probably more so than 100% of ‘meat-space’.


FIN.

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