Weekend Ramblings

Warning – RANDOM.

Went to a pool party for a few friends that were hitting 40 this weekend.  I think it’s the 6th such party I’ve had this year, each one with a completely different vibe.  Mine was axe throwing & a pub.  This particular group’s history with pool parties dealt a lot with actually being in the pool.  That was not the case here, and it was extremely mellow.  There were tacos from a local truck.  Mellow people tend to have odd conversations.  Refreshing since it’s not at all small talk, but still out of left field.  The really neat bit was that there were people taking differing views on all the topics – far from an echo chamber.

Weather

I live in the national capital (Ottawa) and we get some wild weather swings in a year.  We’ve had:

  • Coldest = -33C (including wind) (-27F)
  • Warmest = 43C (including humidity) (109F)
  • Most snow = 25cm (101.8cm in Jan)
  • Most rain = 35mm (300mm over Apr/May/June)

It was a 76C swing between hot and cold, and there are few places on the planet that have those swings.  It was also the year with some recordbreaking snowfall, and a repeat 50-year flood from 2 years ago.  Oh, and a couple tornadoes to boot.  We shouldn’t be breaking records every other week.  This isn’t the Olympics.

US Electoral System

What pool party doesn’t talk about this???  I’ll withhold comment on the current administration, there’s more than enough people to pipe in on that.  What I will talk about is the insane electoral system.  No rational person can think that this is a reasonable system, right?

  • 1980 election – Reagan wins with 50.7% of the vote but 91% of the colleges.
  • 1984 – Mondale wins 40% of the popular vote and gets 2.4% of the colleges.
  • 1992 – Perrot wins 20% of the popular vote, 0% of the colleges
  • 1996 – This was a really close race, and the person with more votes lost. 537 votes in Florida (0.009%)
  • 2012 – This was also a close race, though not as close as ’96.  Nearly 3m total votes more (2%), yet lost the colleges by 77 (14%).

It’s utterly fascinating to see that machine at work, and the absolute insane amount of gerrymandering at play.  This was a problem in Canada a long time ago, but there’s an independent group that draws elections lines based on population totals – politicians have no say in it, except at municipal levels.

It’s one of those odd things were there’s a special list of countries that endorse gerrymandering.  I wouldn’t think any of those countries are on a top 10 destination list, if you catch.

Elon Musk is Lex Luthor

So deep thoughts on this one.  Elon is clearly at the genius level intellect.  You don’t manage to do what he’s done if that’s not the case.  Plus, you don’t build a working flamethrower and sell it.

He really does have all the comic book signs of a super villain.  Rough upbringing.  Makes wave as a teenager.  Successfully builds and runs multiple multi-million/billion dollar industries, in different genres (IT, auto, power, engineering, heavy machine, rocket propulsion, AI).  And it’s not like he’s Warren Buffet-owns-tons-of-stock leadership here.  He’s the face of all those companies.

His stated goals match the Foundation series, where all his actions are meant to improve/prolong humanity’s chance at survival, and reduce the change/duration of a dark age.  That he has the actual power to accomplish these goals…

So if you look at the current Lex Luthor, there’s a lot of maniacal drive move forward.  A lot of ends justify the means, where only he can do it and no one else.  There is an ultra fine line, and the absolute best comic book villains thread it (Victor Von Doom).

And More!

There were plenty more conversations that had nothing to do with each other, but none were really debated/discussed as much as the above.  There’s a part of me that’s both confused and impressed at the types of conversations that exist when you’re not throwing an axe at a piece of wood.  I really should go to more pool parties.

6 thoughts on “Weekend Ramblings

  1. Without trying to slip into US political discussion, the electoral college situation is immensely frustrating as a citizen, too. It leads to a tyranny of the minority situation that the people who benefit from it (or believe they do) don’t want to relinquish. I’m on team “abolish the electoral college” and that is where I should leave off on that one.

    The Lex Luthor comparison for Elon Musk is pretty apt, I think! I think he gets an outsize amount of credit for the work the teams he hires does, precisely because he makes himself of the face of the whole project. I think he has an interesting cult of personality around him, certainly – although the last two years it has a tumbled a lot as Tesla has failed to make much of a dent in the market, the SolarCity project was a dud, and the best thing I think he’s done is open-source the Tesla charger connection. It’s hard to remain enamored with him when he is such a dunce on Twitter and behaves publicly like he does.

    Also, how is it that most pool parties seldom involve swimming? I always find that bizarre – not bad, just weird!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The UK has a similar problem with its First Past The Post system. (In fact, this may be where the US got it from.) One can’t help but wonder if we would be in the current political mess if politics here actually involved proportional representation.

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  3. I think you are conflating 2 issues. Gerrymandering and the electoral college actually have nothing to do with one another. Gerrymandering is essentially all about the house of representatives, and state legislatures. While the electoral college is only about the presidential election. Since the first past the post for the electoral college is drawn only along state lines, it is essentially immune to the issue of gerrymandering. Now, it isn’t anything close to proportional even on a per-college member, so that might be something adding to the weirdness you see.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are certainly distinct systems, and both do an amazing job of not coming close to representing the actual population.

      Proportional representation is a complex (and costly) process. Of the countries that have it, and fair elections…seems they are mostly nordic.

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