January Pieces Of My Mind #3

International household: Han Chinese princess masters and internalizes Germanic bread culture.
  • So 45 might start a party of his own and become kind of a fascist Ralph Nader now? That would be GREAT for the Democrats!
  • What will my space detectives discover, what will they deduce about the small ship they found docked in a supposedly disused hangar on the Anaitis-17 space station, at the end of the previous episode? Stay tuned for tomorrow night’s Ashen Stars session!
  • First starry night in weeks and weeks ❤
  • I find myself using the local office software on my computer less and less because Google Docs has a better user interface. The one thing it can’t do is hyphenation.
  • When the first gravitational wave detector came online we immediately saw previously unseen things. Maybe one day another exotic instrument is invented and immediately picks up non-stop alien broadcasts, just like that.
  • The repeated interbreeding between Neanderthals, Denisovans and modern humans in the Late Palaeolithic kind of obviates any discussion of later “racial purity”. (-;
  • Half past four. Blue twilight in Fisksätra, gibbous moon rising.
  • First snowdrops.
  • It’s fascinating to think that since a) humans will not be around for ever, b) humans will never be able to sterilise Earth, there will definitely be a post-human species radiation on Earth, like after all the previous mass extinctions.
  • One of the sillier ways you can get hurt is when you slip on ice, make a huge reflexive flail to keep your balance, and stretch a pectoral muscle.
  • 143 small satellites from several companies launched on one rocket. Miniaturisation!
  • Animal testing for cosmetics and pharmaceuticals can be nasty. But if we abolished it, testing would probably switch to poor people somewhere around the world.
  • One good thing about being a secular modern Swede is that you never need to have fights with your teenage kids over their sexual activity. You just check that they understand about consent, their own and others’, and off they go to do their thing. ❤
  • I hardly ever cry except for when I listen to Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights”. ❤
  • Check out Jr’s invention: replacing the battery-powered storage on a Game Boy cartridge with static storage!

Author: Martin R

Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, skeptic, atheist, lefty liberal, bookworm, boardgamer, geocacher and father of two.

7 thoughts on “January Pieces Of My Mind #3”

  1. So 45 might start a party of his own and become kind of a fascist Ralph Nader now? That would be GREAT for the Democrats!

    Yes, but a bit strange rooting for something intrinsically bad just because it helps you get what you want. Had Nader not run, the Democrats would have run by a huge margin.

    A two-party system is a bad system. It needs to be changed. But third-party candidates will not help.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A two-party system is inevitable when you use the first-past-the-post method to determine who is in the legislature, as most English-speaking countries do. Third parties almost invariably become spoilers when they are relevant at all. Nader isn’t the only instance in a US Presidential race: Theodore Roosevelt ran in the Progressive Party in 1912 and actually came in second, but the resulting split in the Republican Party allowed Woodrow Wilson to be elected. In 1860 the Democrats were split into Northern and Southern factions, allowing the candidate of a party formed only six years earlier, Abraham Lincoln, to win with only 40% of the popular vote.

      When you use a proportional representation system (as many European countries do) or a ranked choice system, then third parties make significantly more sense, because you are not effectively throwing away your vote if you vote for a third party. With proportional representation your party need only reach a certain minimum percentage of the vote to win seats in the legislature. Ranked choice means that you can pick which of the other candidates you would prefer to win the election if your candidate does not.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. And yet Canada has about as many parties in the federal parliament as Germany (and each province and territory has its own wild and crazy legislative assembly, including one territory where the assembly is explicitly non-partisan). Often new federal parties begin as regional parties in Quebec, BC, or Alberta then spread across the country. First past the Post may reward a two-party system, but humans are far too whimsical and irrational to line up behind the beautiful mathematical argument 🙂

        The US system deadlocked between same two parties for 150 years is very unusual globally. Even the UK had the power shuffle between the Liberals and Labour in the early 20th century.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Also, until the election of 1860 the United States was usually dominated by two-party systems, but which two parties varied from election to election. There were times around 1900 where it seemed like that might happen again and one of the two big US parties would be replaced by a new movement. These kinds of upheaval can be useful if the leaders of your least unfavourite of the two largest parties in your country are bad at achieving your policy goals, but good at cutting off any tall grains of wheat in the rest of the party. Sometimes its easier to build a new party than reform an old one, but the people trying that in the United States do seem to be swimming against the current!


  2. It has become fashionable to specify the size of your small satellite in units, where one unit is a cube 10 cm on a side (whence the term “cubesat”). The biggest advantage of being small when it comes to launching a payload into space is that smaller payloads tend to have less mass and are therefore much cheaper to launch. So if you can make your sensor small enough and capable enough, it is that much easier to get that sensor into space (I know people who do exactly this for a living).

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “The biggest advantage of being small when it comes to launching a payload into space is that smaller payloads tend to have less mass and are therefore much cheaper to launch.”

    Not wishing to be disrespectful, but you have a talent for stating the blindingly obvious.

    I have been off baiting right wingers on another blog this week – I seem to be in the mood for baiting, left and right. I baited the Viscount, which I felt quite proud of, and came pretty close to making him lose his temper.

    Liked by 1 person

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