I don't have one big thing to say today, but I thought I'd go back through my archive and write addenda for an assortedry* of posts desirous of followup. There are a few that are especially topical, and will get longer responses, but this will also serve as an opportunity to plug my old posts. Let's do this!
Previously: Pointing Yourself in the Right Direction
This post was describing a point system where I gave myself one point each day, though it can be withheld for various reasons. It's still going strong! I've reset the score for various reasons, though, so my current score is a paltry 144.
This is my all-time favorite blog post. Go read it. Right now. I'll wait. It's about the love of my life. No, no, I'm not married. Aubrey is my deceased pet rock, and it's truly a sad story.
But out of sadness comes joy. I wanted to announce that I now have another pet rock! His name is Repete, officially Repeter. This is because he follows and repeats in the tradition of Harold and my dear Aubrey, but it is spelled differently because he is his own rock. I found Harold while on a field trip for school. He was not the first rock I noticed; I picked up and pet many rocks, each one rejected for a different reason. But when I picked up Repete, I knew he was a perfect match.
Maybe I bonded with Repete because of his intelligence. He is truly wise beyond his years, and I know I can confide my thoughts in him, and he will have a clever solution. He is also kind and genuine. He's never lied to me before, for instance. Repete is truly one of the best pet rocks I could have hoped for. Long live Repete.
If you are interested in a pet rock, you should absolutely find one, though. There are many different pet rocks in the world, and there's almost certainly one that will connect with you. Pet rocks are the best pets because they will always be there for you, yet require basically no food or maintenance. During a vacation, you can just leave them at your house, and they will sit quietly and obediently, awaiting your return. The pet rock is truly the best pet.
Previously: Condorcet Minimax
This post detailed Condorcet Minimax, which at the time I wrote this post I believed was the best voting system, despite its very high complexity. A better voting system is approval voting. It's pretty simple–it's like normal (first-past-the-post) voting, except you can vote for any number of candidates. It seems like there'd be a flaw, but there really isn't one. And it's simple enough that you can get people to understand it, so it might actually happen one day, unlike Condorcet Minimax.
Previously: The Ends Don't Justify The Means
In this post, I argue that the ends don't justify the means, and as an example, I take gerrymandering a district to help your party, and I say, imagine the people of the other party for whom it would be immoral to gerrymander. It's just as immoral for you. Whatever. Read the post.
Anyway, did I really want to say that the ends never justify the means? Was it bad that the United States joined World War II because death is bad, even though that probably saved lives in the long term? I don't know. Maybe it's just that it's difficult to lay down hard-and-fast rules because things are kinda complicated.
Maybe that's a good life lesson in general.
But then...I remembered an obscure subplot of the 2012 presidential election. The day before the election, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan published an editorial predicting Mitt Romney's victory. It began:
"We begin with the three words everyone writing about the eating contest must say: Nobody knows anything. Everyone’s guessing. I spent Sunday morning in Washington with journalists and political hands, one of whom said she feels it’s Obama, the rest of whom said they don’t know. I think it’s Romney. I think he’s stealing in “like a thief with good tools,” in Walker Percy’s old words. While everyone is looking at the psychic readings and the storm, Romney’s slipping into the presidency. He’s quietly rising, and he’s been rising for a while."
So her reasoning for the Republican's predicted victory is that polls are useless, and reading more of the article reveals that she believed "a lot of Republicans have gone from anti-Obama to pro-Romney." She goes on to cite Romney's large crowd sizes and other anecdotal metrics.
All the while, Nate Silver was assigning probabilities based on, largely, polling data. He gave Obama about a 90% chance to win overall, which of course was the outcome. He correctly predicted every state, as well.
Ironically, this whole story was just an anecdote. It wasn't based on any sort of data about how data is better. (I think it is, though.)
What do I think? I have no idea. But somehow this was the impetus for the entire addenda idea.
This past week, Donald Trump has gotten into another feud with Twitter!** Twitter provided fact-checking for some of the president's more outlandish claims. Obviously, Trump lies a lot, so I don't think it's immoral for the company to be fact-checking it. It's not censorship, it's just an additional note to explain what's actually the case, for the benefit of users. Trump issued an executive order against this sort of behavior from Twitter, and it's pretty clearly unconstitutional. Twitter's a private company, so any speech on Twitter is also Twitter speaking. And Twitter doesn't have to say things it doesn't want to say.
A lot of Secret Auction things have happened since the publication of my last game-related post! Game 3 was a blitz, wherein all bets happened at the same time, and it resulted in a cacophony of ties, broken by the Gem Split system. Game 4 was the rollout of a new and improved gem system featuring ten gems! Both of those games ended in ties for the top spot. Game 5 was not run by me, so I ended up playing.***
I'm not sure what's going to happen with Secret Auction in the future, as I've become less interested in it. We will see.
Avocado vs. Cucumber is dead. Just so we're clear about that. (I ran a seventh game a few months ago, but turnout was sad.)
Previously: Joe Biden is Back, Folks
Well, since the publication of this blog post, Former Vice President Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., 78, became the Democratic presidential nominee. So that's nice. If I had to rank all the Democratic candidates, he would be in the bottom half, but still fine.
Also since the publication of this blog post, Tara Reade accused Biden of sexual assaulting her a few decades ago. It's much less cut-and-dried than other allegations, such as the ones against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh or those against President Trump. I won't talk about it too much, but my conclusion is that there's evidence on both sides. The allegiations might be true, and I don't want a president who might have sexually assaulted someone.**** I mean, Trump's is obviously worse, and I would still obviously vote for Joe Biden. And there's a lot that's sketchy. But it should still be treated as a serious possibility even though Biden is a freaking Democrat.
Previously: Happy Minutes
I'm not doing the tho/thru thing anymore, at least not on my blog. True, it's completely understandable, but every time I do it, I have a sudden urge to correct it. It's distracting. And with that, bye! Have a great day.
*Assortedry, by the way, means assorted things, and is often interchangeable with miscellany or cacophony. I initially thought that it was present in the Hamilton song "We Know," but it's actually a sordid fee. Anyway, it's a good word. It should exist.
**I thought about editing out the exclamation point, but I'm leaving it there as a sort of educational Freudian slip about what I find entertaining.
***Spoiler alert: I won. I don't think that was inevitable at all. Sometimes the creators of a game are actually pretty bad at it, or at least not as good as you would think. It's usually because they're optimizing for fun instead of power.
****"I just want to remind everybody that all this yelling and crying happened at this dude's job interview. I mean typically when you're asked about a sexual assault...at a job interview, you don't get the damn job. I don't know if Mr. Kavanaugh has a history of assault...but I do know that he might. And you shouldn't be on the Supreme Court if you might. I mean, you shouldn't be on the People's Court if you might. Sometimes might is enough."
–Michael Che, Weekend Update