Tuesday, August 03, 2004


Voting for President

Is it really possible that 70% of computer infections worldwide in 2004 were due to one 18 year old? Thanks to geekpress for the link.

I am reminded of an article by Landsburg in slate about why we should consider executing people like this. I think this would be the case to start with.

Courtesy of Prof Whitman, this article on the Holmes-Moriarty Problem is very interesting for game theory fiends. The I know that you know that I know scenario leads to migraines, but it is one of the more common problems in determining behavior.

Here is an commentary piece from ABC news on some mathematical aspects of affirmative action.

Also, an academic article on Eugenics in the "Progressive Era."

On another note...I have been debating for some time whether to vote for the libertarian candidate for president or to vote for Kerry. Now, to begin with, the Libertarian party has a history of getting candidates who are just plain nuts and I'm not entirely sure why. This years candidate is no exception. An excerpt from the article:

"He proposed that convicted felons serve the first month of their sentence in bed so that their muscles would atrophy and they'd be less trouble for prison guards and to blow up the U.N. building on the eighth day of his administration, after giving the building's occupants a chance to evacuate. In one especially picturesque proposal, he wrote:

I would announce a special one-week session of Congress where all 535 members would be required to sit through a special version of my Constitution class. Once I was convinced that every member of Congress understood my interpretation of their very limited powers, I would insist that they restate their oath of office while being videotaped.

One assumes, although one cannot prove, that none of this is an exercise in irony. At any rate, these opinions were removed from the website shortly after he won the nomination, and they didn't come up when he visited state party conventions. Nor did his refusal to file tax returns, thereby risking federal indictment and felony arrest. While many of his closest supporters were aware of these issues, they were unknown to most LP members."

Here is my point, the Libertarian candidate has no chance of winning (even if he wasn't off kilter) so I'm not terribly concerned about how some of his more extreme positions might affect us. What I am concerned with is signaling my intentions for future elections in the hopes that someday a Libertarian candidate might be viable (and hopefully sane). That being said, I am not happy with the current President on many matters, but I do not believe that Kerry would be substantively better. Voting for the LP candidate takes a vote away from Bush, and helps Kerry without saying that I agree with Kerry's policies and opinions. Voting for Kerry might send the wrong idea that his ideas are being supported and voted for. (This is the exact reason that I am not fond, though not dismissive of the argument that I often hear that people will vote for anyone but Bush. If enough people vote for the same "anyone" then it will appear that his ideas are supported by the people which could lead to big problems in the political sphere if they are not truly supported.) That being said, if you dislike the guy in office so much that you want to tip the scales toward anyone else by a wider margin than voting for a third party, then you may be left with no choice but to vote for Kerry. (Essentially giving a 2 point preference by voting for a viable candidate instead of a 1 point preference by voting for the third party.)

The counter to my argument came a few weeks ago and I have been mulling it over for some time. The strongest reason to vote for Kerry is to vote for gridlock. Even though I don't like Kerry's views on alot of issues, as long as the Congress goes for the Republicans we might be able to hope for absolutely nothing to happen over the next 4 years, which would be fine by me. At this point rolling back bad policies seems so far out of sight that I would settle for not making any more bad ones.

So who am I voting for? Still don't know. Sadly, I'm one of the undecided voters that is driving those pollsters nuts.

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