The Phantom City

Notes from our travels across a mysterious world.

NPVIC and the popular vote

We’ve had two recent presidential elections — as far as current vote counts — where the winner won the Electoral College but lost the popular vote due to most states awarding all their electoral votes to the majority candidate, no matter what the margin. (Certain states use district-level results and other means to split votes.)

As a result, since certain states are “bound” to vote for a certain party each year, and margin of victory doesn’t matter, presidential races come down to a few swing states where each campaign expends the most effort.

There’s something wrong with a system that simultaneously invalidates the national vote while also ensuring certain large states hardly see a presidential candidate during the campaign. It should matter on a national level when people vote Republican in California or Democratic in Texas.

Getting rid of the Electoral College would require a Constitutional amendment, and I’m too inherently conservative to want to get rid of our last firewall between us and complete democracy. However, states are allowed to apportion their electors how they wish, so we had an interesting discussion tonight about what a truly proportional split would look like and some of the problems with that solution.

However, later I ran across the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which is an interesting idea. It’s a compact of states (10 so far, plus DC) to award their electors to whichever candidate received the greater popular vote, if that award would change the winner of the election. If you look at the map at the link, this election is not affected. However, note the states where NPVIC is currently proposed in the legislature. If those states — Pennsylvania, Missouri, Arizona, and Michigan — had signed and honored the compact, 2016 would look a lot different.

Personally, I would prefer something more proportional, but the notion of needing to win the popular vote nationwide would likely cause candidates to have to pay more attention to their “safe” states. It’d be better than what we have now, at least. (Speaking as a person in a swing state, it’s fine if we don’t get a visit every week.)

Vote

Please.

Spam’s taste in women

Got this today:

Wow.

College women and strippers are among the most beautiful women in the world.

Wow!

Seriously. They are gorgeous.

We know some college women and strippers that want a boyfriend.

You should get a college women or a stripper for a girlfriend.

Press here if you want a hot college or stripper girlfriend

You will never be more happy in your life.

I got “a hot college or stripper girlfriend” back when I was in college, so I’m good.

Where’s Miranda?

On Hulu, and it’s a truly excellent show. ­čÖé

Greet a blade of grass

Okay, I’ll freely admit when I first saw this video, my immediate reaction was that I was going to put it on my blog and snark on it. Let’s face it, it sounds like a Unitarian Universalist hymn, and they put the lyrics in the video so there’s no mistaking that you just heard “Mother Eve and Father Pine.”

That being said, here are a few reasons I present this video without snark for your actual enjoyment:

  • I’m a sucker for symphonic metal, and Nightwish is really good at it. There are some great songs on this album.
  • They’re fully committed, and there’s something charming about that. Seriously, this is from a concept album themed around science and reason. They might be marketing geniuses who know exactly what they’re doing after 20 years, but they’re willing to put it all out there.
  • This song has the word “eukaryote” in it.
  • I’m pretty sure their latest lead singer is a Valkyrie…and you can’t teach that.

Oh, I’ll be free

Rest in peace, David Bowie.

Research covers a lot of ground

I’ve seen a tweet going┬áaround that says people under the age of 44 are almost as likely to use Youtube for research purposes as they are Wikipedia.

Given that the tweet is being passed around in academic circles, I suspect the meaning of “research” is meant to be understood as scholarly research, which would be kind of appalling.

However, if you look at the actual question, it asks what sources people have used for “information.” I guess I’m just as guilty as anyone else, then, because Wikipedia has some great stuff about the Battle of Lepanto and Steven Universe, but it’s not great for figuring out how to replace a door handle in a 1998 Toyota Corolla.

Rest in Peace, Christopher Lee and Dusty Rhodes

These two men had more of an effect on my life than you’d think.

My mind is made of clockwork

…tick, tick, tick…

For various reasons, this is a bad time to be starting a new project, but I had been planning to do this for quite a while. I’ve written a little about work and software development here, but The Phantom City┬ánever seemed to be the most appropriate place. So, for those ideas, I present The Clockwork Mind!

I really need to get back into writing more, and hopefully one blog will inspire the other. On most subjects, I’ll be here. On programming, software development, and management, I’ll be over there.

Like The Abominable Dr. Phibes…

…It rises from the crypt, seeking to take vengeance upon┬áthose who left it for dead!

Okay, really, I just restored The Phantom City from the most recent personal backups I could find to bring it out of its 2.5-year slumber. My previous “lifetime” hosting was for the lifetime of the company, not my own, and even though another company valiantly jumped in at the last minute to honour those plans, my server was one of the few that couldn’t be successfully transferred before the shutdown.

I decided to take a break from blogging, and I didn’t see a new host I was particularly enthusiastic about until someone recently mentioned WebFaction. Shared managed hosting for developers with one-click installers that work? Sign me up! I’ve been using cloud servers to play with various things, but I like to tear them down and build them back up, so it’s not really ideal for blog hosting. Plus, after a long hard day of securing other people’s servers, I kind of like being able to depend on someone else to take care of one of my own. (The link above is an affiliate link. I don’t know what I get if you sign up using it, but why not?)

Anyway, I think I’m up to date through the shutdown as far as content, but I still need to fix a bunch of links and images. Plus, I just jumped a whole bunch of versions of WordPress, so I’m still figuring out how to replicate some of my old blog functionality. Much better themes available, though. We’ll probably never get back the classic theme, unless I can find where the backup with those source image files went in the last ten years, but we’ll always have the favicon to remember it by. Besides, I’m getting older, and the large text is comforting to me.

Well, let’s see how this goes. My Facebook statuses have been trending longer and longer, so it’s about time I moved them to their natural home, where they can embiggen the spirits of us all. ­čÖé

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