Thursday, July 20, 2017

Catching Up

I can hardly believe my last blog entry was in January; guess i was in too much of a Trump-rant coma to have much to post (except on FaceBook).

Happy Summer! to all of you out there; i hope you're storing up the memories of the heat wave to comfort you this winter.

Found a good Indonesian source (so you might want to enable translation) for some free ebooks (in English):  http://www.dahlan.web.id/
First hover your cursor over Download on the menu bar near the top and choose Ebooks 1 for a nice selection:
I found when looking for a PDF of LOGIC IN COMPUTER SCIENCE Modelling and Reasoning about Systems (2004) by Michael Huth & Mark Ryan.
(Or here's a link directly to the Ebooks 1 list:  http://www.dahlan.web.id/pages-ebooks-1.html )

Have been working on my usual AI and C++ projects; acquired some great Scottish voices for use on UNIX — Heather and Stuart — from a (logically) Scottish company called CereProc.

Plus i've been working with a large data set (~30 Gb) of Douglas Adams reading nearly all of his books out loud (since he has a great reading voice, and it's great to hear Hitchhiker's & Dirk Gently & the rest in his own voice), and i'm working up versions of his books "corrected" to the way he read them — sort of his final edit, imho.

Enjoy whatever it is that you do!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

How Trump Won 2016 Presidential Election

[ here is the video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/P_PpL9FJ7h0 ]

[ and here is the full text for the video (that i was unable to embed in said video) plus the links: ]

Hello, and welcome.

There are many people in the United States of America [as well as other countries] who do not understand the 2016 presidential election and how Donald Trump won.  This video will cover the basics, complete with numbers and pictures, to make it a little easier to understand.  

There were basically four candidates in the election, meaning names on the ballot to select.  There is the option to write in a name that is not on the ballot, but that will not be covered here.  There is more information at this link if you want to read more.

Some people were surprised to see more than two names on the ballot.  The four most popular candidates in the election and on the ballot were:

Jill Stein, Green Party
Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party
Hillary Clinton, Democratic Party
and Donald Trump, Republican Party.

Also appearing on ballots:
Evan McMullin, Better For America Group
Darrell Castle, Constitution Party
and many others.

This is how many ballot votes the top four got, from least to most:
Jill Stein got a total of 1,457,044 votes.
Gary Johnson got a total of 4,488,919 votes.
Donald Trump got a total of 62,979,879 votes.
And Hillary Clinton got a total of 65,844,954 votes.

Since Hillary Clinton got the most ballot votes, many people would therefore think that she would be the next U.S. president.  She won what is called the popular vote, meaning the most ballots.  But the voting citizens of America do not elect the president, at least not directly.  Rather the states elect the president, with a vote by designated people called electors.  This is called the electoral system.  And Donald Trump won the electoral vote.


A ballot vote is the piece of paper or electronic document where a registered voter checks a box stating who they want as president and vice president.  An electoral vote is something that people called electors from the fifty states plus the District of Colombia cast, more than a month after the election, and it is these electoral votes that decide who becomes president, not the ballots.  Whichever candidate receives the most electoral votes becomes president.    

The way the electoral system works is the government of each state plus the District of Colombia, acting like a state, has a certain number of electoral votes, based on a number of rules, the most important being population.  Here is a graphic of how the electoral votes are divided.  When the ballots are counted, they are counted based on where a person is registered to vote, meaning what state, or the District of Colombia.  If an American lives in a part of the USA that is not a state, like Puerto Rico or Guam, they are not able to vote, even though they are American.  This also can cause trouble for other people, such as Americans who live in another country.  The result is about four million Americans are not able to vote for president, and others might have trouble voting, even though they are eligible.  


In most states the ballot vote is counted, and whoever gets the most ballot votes wins all of the electoral votes.  This is called ‘winner take all’.  There are two exceptions, Maine and Nebraska, who can split their electoral votes, rather than give them all to one candidate.  This happened in the 2016 election, with Maine splitting their 4 electoral votes, 3 for Clinton and 1 for Trump.  It does not matter how many people actually cast a ballot within a state, whether it was only one person or millions of registered voters, the result is the same.  There are a total of 538 electoral votes split among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.




Here is a graphic with all of the states’ votes counted for the four parties.  The way to read it is pick a state like Rhode Island:  they counted 14,746 ballot votes for Johnson, 6,220 ballot votes for Stein, 252,525 ballot votes for Clinton, and 180,543 ballot votes for Trump, and then gave all 4 of their electoral votes to Clinton (instead of 1 to Trump and 3 for Clinton if the electoral votes had been cast proportionately).  It would take too much time to read all of the states’ numbers out loud here, so if you do want to read them, just pause the video at this point.

If all of the states cast their electoral votes proportionately instead of ‘winner take all,’ third party candidates would have received 5 electoral votes (3 in California, 1 in Utah, and 1 in Texas), Trump would have received 265 electoral votes,  and Clinton would have received 268 electoral votes and she would have won the election.  But 48 states have followed the ‘winner take all’ rule for electoral votes since the 1880s, and so Trump won the 2016 election because of it.

The United States of America is the only country with this particular system to elect the president, and the only country where a candidate can lose the popular vote but become president anyway.  Donald Trump is the fifth person to lose the popular vote and become president.  There is a long list of controversies that result from this which will not be covered in this video.  If you want to research these topics on your own, here are some subjects to search for:  swing states versus non-swing states, voter turnout, voter suppression, disenfranchising, electoral votes per capita, exclusion from debates, and marginalizing third parties.

Thank you and good-bye.

[text by Joshua Pierce, editing by Derek McCarthy]

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Remember the bombing of Pearl Harbor -- Denounce the "alt-right" and Richard Spencer

on this 75th anniversary of a sad day -- the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese military on Thursday, December 7th, 1941 (which drew the United States into World War Two after two years of non-intervention) -- let us take the opportunity to denounce the neo-nazi, white-supremecist, & white-nationalist "alt-right" movement, and more specifically Richard Spenser (who stands for many of the things we were supposedly fighting against).


i'm frightened by people who *aren't* repulsed by the "alt-right" -- aren't you?

i'd bet that people in Germany are freaked out.  here's an article in The Times of Israel:
"Government spokesman says DC gathering in celebration of Trump victory revolting, but Berlin has ‘great faith in American civil society’ to address such issues"

please stand with me in opposing hate and intolerance; let us remain on the side of freedom and mutual-acceptance.

(and may we join the protesters at Texas A&M in denouncing Richard Spenser:

Thursday, November 17, 2016

How Current Elector Rules Handed Donald Trump The U.S. 2016 Election

Article Two of the U.S. Constitution sets up the rules for "electors" (as part of a system that has come to be known as the "Electoral College" -- a term which does *not* appear in the Constitution).

Instead of the presidency being determined by a mere popular vote, the slate of electors (currently 538 of them) are supposed to vote for the candidate(s) which best represent(s) the votes of their state or district, and the candidate with the most votes wins.

Except that "All states except Maine and Nebraska have chosen electors on a "winner-take-all" basis since the 1880s." [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_College_(United_States)]

Why winner-take-all ? ? ?
Good question.  Personally, i think the answer to it is something akin to gerrymandering.  [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerrymandering]

Basically, it's a rip-off.

If the votes of electors were assigned proportional to how their states's voters voted (instead of being assigned winner-take-all), Hillary Clinton would have won the 2016 election against Donald Trump -- she would have received 268 electoral votes to Donald Trump's 265 (with 5 electoral votes having been cast for 3rd party candidates).

Here's my calculations of a state-by-state breakdown:


S T A T E   % Trump to %Clinton — # votes — Trump & Clinton votes
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
Alabama 62.9 to 34.6 — 9 votes — 5.661 & 3.114 — 6 & 3
Alaska 52.9 to 37.7 — 3 votes — 1.587 & 1.131 — 2 & 1
Arizona 49.5 to 45.4 — 11 votes — 5.445 & 4.994 — 6 & 5
Arkansas 60.4 to 33.8 — 6 votes — 3.624 & 2.028 — 4 & 2
California 33.0 to 61.5 — 55 votes — 18.15 & 33.825 — 18 & 34 (3 short)
Colorado 44.4 to 47.3 — 9 votes — 3.996 & 4.257 — 4 & 5
Connecticut 41.2 to 54.5 — 7 votes — 2.884 & 3.815 — 3 & 4
Delaware 41.9 to 53.4 — 3 votes — 1.257 & 1.602 — 1 & 2
District of Columbia 4.1 to 92.8 — 3 votes — 0.123 & 2.784 — 0 & 3
Florida 49.1 to 47.8 — 29 votes — 14.239 & 13.862 — 15 & 14
Georgia 51.3 to 45.6 — 16 votes — 8.208 & 7.296 — 9 & 7
Hawaii 30.0 to 62.2 — 4 votes — 1.2 & 2.488 — 1 & 3
Idaho 59.2 to 27.6 — 4 votes — 2.368 & 1.104 — 3 & 1
Illinois 39.4 to 55.4 — 20 votes — 7.88 & 11.08 — 8 & 12
Indiana 57.2 to 37.9 — 11 votes — 6.292 & 4.169 — 7 & 4
Iowa 51.8 to 42.2 — 6 votes — 3.108 & 2.532 — 4 & 2
Kansas 57.2 to 36.2 — 6 votes — 3.432 & 2.172 — 4 & 2
Kentucky 62.5 to 32.7 — 8 votes — 5.000 & 2.616 — 5 & 3
Louisiana 58.1 to 38.4 — 8 votes — 4.648 & 3.072 — 5 & 3
Maine 45.2 to 47.9 — 4 votes — 1.808 & 1.916 — 2 & 2 ( 1 & 3)
Maryland 35.3 to 60.5 — 10 votes — 3.53 & 6.05 — 3 & 7
Massachusetts 33.5 to 60.8% — 11 votes — 3.685 & 6.688 — 4 & 7
Michigan 47.6 to 47.3 — 16 votes — 7.616 & 7.568 — 8 & 8
Minnesota 45.4 to 46.9 — 10 votes — 4.54 & 4.69 — 5 & 5
Mississippi 58.3 to 39.7 — 6 votes — 3.498 & 2.382 — 4 & 2
Missouri 57.1 to 38.0 — 10 votes — 5.71 & 3.8 — 6 & 4
Montana 56.5 to 36.0 — 3 votes — 1.695 & 1.08 — 2 & 1
Nebraska 60.3 to 34.0 — 5 votes — 3.015 & 1.7 — 3 & 2
Nevada 45.5 to 47.9 — 6 votes — 2.73 & 2.874 — 3 & 3
New Hampshire 47.2 to 47.6 — 4 votes — 1.888 & 1.904 — 2 & 2
New Jersey 41.8 to 55.0 — 14 votes — 5.852 & 7.7 — 6 & 8
New Mexico 40.0 to 48.3 — 5 votes — 2.00 & 2.415 — 2 & 3
New York 37.5 to 58.8 — 29 votes — 10.875 & 17.052 — 11 & 18
North Carolina 50.5 to 46.7 — 15 votes — 7.575 & 7.005 — 8 & 7
North Dakota 64.1 to 27.8 — 3 votes — 1.923 & .834 — 2 & 1
Ohio 52.1 to 43.5 — 18 votes — 9.378 & 7.83 — 10 & 8
Oklahoma 65.3 to 28.9 — 7 votes — 4.5 & 2.023 — 5 & 2
Oregon 41.1 to 51.7 — 7 votes — 2.877 & 3.619 — 3 & 4
Pennsylvania 48.8 to 47.6 — 20 votes — 9.76 & 9.52 — 10 & 10
Rhode Island 39.8 to 55.4 — 4 votes — 1.592 & 2.216 — 1 & 3
South Carolina 54.9 to 40.8 — 9 votes — 4.941 & 3.672 — 5 & 4
South Dakota 61.5 to 31.7 — 3 votes — 1.845 & 0.951 — 2 & 1
Tennessee 61.1 to 34.9 — 11 votes — 6.721 & 3.839 — 7 & 4
Texas 52.6 to 43.4 — 38 votes — 19.988 & 16.492 — 20 & 17 (1 short)
Utah 45.9 to 27.8 — 6 votes — 2.754 & 1.668 — 3 & 2 (1 short)
Vermont 32.6 to 61.1 — 3 votes — 0.978 & 1.833 — 1 & 2
Virginia 45.0 to 49.9 — 13 votes — 5.85 & 6.487 — 6 & 7
Washington 38.2 to 54.4 — 12 votes — 4.584 & 6.528 — 5 & 7
West Virginia 68.7 to 26.5 — 5 votes — 3.435 & 1.325 — 4 & 1
Wisconsin 47.9 to 46.9 — 10 votes — 4.79 & 4.69 — 5 & 5
Wyoming 70.1 to 22.5 — 3 votes — 2.103 & 0.675 — 2 & 1


Trump electors:  265
Clinton electors:  268
   plus 5 electors for 3rd party candidates  (265 + 268 + 5 = 538)

Hillary Clinton WINS ! ! !

- - -

But the official results (supposedly):
   Trump electors:  290
   Clinton electors:  232
      (And *no* electors for 3rd party candidates.)
      (290 + 232 = 522 with not all states done counting votes, hence the missing 16)

Like i said, what a rip-off!

Monday, November 14, 2016

President-Elect Trump's 60 Minutes Interview, Friday 11 November 2016

in the 60 Minutes interview from Friday 11 November 2016:

Trump claimed to have won the election easily -- "won it easily, easily" -- even though he lost the popular vote.  how is that winning it easily -- with not even the majority of the popular vote ? ? ?

'Build The Wall' becomes 'Build A Fence' -- Trump said he would accept a fence for certain areas.

'Deport All 12 Million Illegal Immigrants' becomes 'Deport A Small Fraction Of Illegal Immigrants' -- no surprise there.

'Repeal Obamare' becomes 'Keep A Lot Of Obamacare' -- also no surprise.

Trump admits his transition team is made up of lobbyists (whom he decried in election speeches); he's already sold out, and he's not even president yet.

'Overturn Roe v. Wade' and 'Criminalize Getting An Abortion' become 'I'm Pro-Life; Let The States Decide' -- another promise down the drain.

Trump things protestors against his election are paid professionals, not regular people.  sure, Donald; where's *my* paycheck?

Trump admits to not following current news.  what a shock.

'Prosecute Hillary Clinton Over Emails' becomes 'I'll think about it' -- whoosh, another promise down the drain.

Trump...
   still won't release tax returns.  what a wussy coward.

   still thinks he knows more about ISIS than the generals.

and my final question:  will 'Support The Working Class' become 'The Working Class Doesn't Deserve $15/hour Wage' ? ? ?  we'll see if Trump will stand behind raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

We Can Survive Trump

now we have a firsthand experience of how someone like Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany in the 1920s & '30s.  hate still wins elections.

but we survived Hitler.

so we can survive Trump.

maybe next time we can elect someone based on love -- love of our immigrant neighbors and of people of different religions.  remember, we are all immigrants to this land -- even Native Americans have only been here for ten or twelve thousand years.

and we are all of different religions -- religious tolerance and religious freedom were what the United States was supposedly founded upon.  remember that the next time some huckster tries to feed you hate-based rhetoric.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Time To Move On

ok, so now it's time for Plan B -- if we can survive eight years of George W. Bush, we can survive a Trump presidency.  maybe he'll surprise us and go back to some of his former values; at least we can hope.

and it will be a lesson about the results of people casting protest votes [i.e., voting for a 3rd party candidate, even though you know they can never win] instead of simply abstaining from the vote because you couldn't choose between the two people who could possibly win.  (or they could do some more research and make a meaningful choice.)  i understand protest votes; i voted for Ross Perot back in '92.  oh well.

next time people will simply choose the lesser of two evils.

once upon a time, Trump was for a single-payer healthcare system -- probably the most effective method of containing rising healthcare costs -- but it would mean taking massive profits away from fat insurance companies (who sell both health insurance to individuals and malpractice insurance to doctors).  single-payer would be nice (and malpractice reform, while we're at it), but i'm not holding my breath.