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About Altherion

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  1. Altherion

    US Politics: Show Trials & Tribulations

    Has there ever been a nationwide US election that was cancelled? There were elections during both World Wars and even during the Civil War. Also, there is nothing in the Constitution that says any branch of government can cancel elections. I'd be extremely surprised if anyone tried to make such an argument; they'd almost certainly be laughed out of court.
  2. Altherion

    US Politics: Show Trials & Tribulations

    Really? He won 43% of the vote and 46% of the pledged delegates despite the facts that the party overwhelmingly supported his opponent, set up the schedule to benefit her and some of its operatives even outright cheated to help her win. Sanders did much better than most people expected given what he was up against.
  3. Altherion

    US Politics: Show Trials & Tribulations

    You are overthinking it. Who is there in this thread who would be thus influenced? I merely started reading DMC's post about bureaucracy influencing policymaking and thought that this thread needs something lighthearted. Incidentally, I don't think of it as a witch hunt, I think of it as a spectacle.
  4. Altherion

    US Politics: Show Trials & Tribulations

    It appears that Senators from both parties are finding the proceedings less than riveting: It's pretty amusing to see what people will do if you take away their electronic devices and force them to sit through something lengthy, boring and pointless. The paper airplane is rather impressive though; one would not expect that from a Senator.
  5. Altherion

    US Politics: Show Trials & Tribulations

    I very much doubt his motivation here is to help Sanders. It's far more likely that he is laying the grounds for delegitimizing the primary as a whole and using this in the general election similarly to what he did in 2016. Of course, if Sanders somehow wins, he'll need a different strategy.
  6. Altherion

    US Politics: Mail and Managers for Mitch

    I did not say it was a redistribution of wealth to those who have degrees -- this is obviously wrong for two reasons and I was deliberately being precise to avoid both of them. Here's my original statement: "this would amount to a massive transfer of wealth from those who never went to college and those who paid off their loans in full to those who currently have student loan debt."
  7. Altherion

    International Thread 4

    Different cultures place different degrees of emphasis on nationality and ethnicity. The US is actually fairly uncommon in how little is placed on the latter. On the other side of the spectrum is, for example, Japan, which is famous for treating any non-Japanese as foreigners even if they were born in Japan and are Japanese citizens. I'm not familiar with Korea's attitude towards this, but it's probably closer to that of Japan than to that of the US. On a different note, the World Economic Forum (aka Davos) 2020 annual meeting is taking place in Switzerland from Tuesday to Friday this week. It's probably the only event in the world where one can find both Donald Trump and Greta Thunberg:
  8. Altherion

    US Politics: Mail and Managers for Mitch

    The companies servicing the debt are private, but the debt itself is to the federal government. These companies will undoubtedly try to stop any such action for their own narrow interest, but nobody likes them. Also, they're not to be confused with private companies that originate loans -- the government cannot "forgive" loans that do not belong to it; the only way to do it would be to pay these originating private companies off (or outright confiscation, but I doubt even Warren would go that far).
  9. Yes. I have no idea which team will win -- neither of them was seriously tested in the playoffs and both were very good in the regular season. However, I hope the Chiefs win, not just for Reid, but for Kansas City (which hasn't won a championship in half a century).
  10. Altherion

    US Politics: Mail and Managers for Mitch

    No, nobody likes the student loan companies. However, the debt in question belongs to the government so this would amount to a massive transfer of wealth from those who never went to college and those who paid off their loans in full to those who currently have student loan debt. The people who paid off their loans in full might be annoyed, but these tend to be wealthier and thus not likely to rock the boat. On the other hand, the people who never went to college include the poorest as well as those with the worst prospects. It's hard to predict how they would react.
  11. Altherion

    US Politics: Mail and Managers for Mitch

    He's mostly correct about the problems, but this solution: is a complete non-starter. If the neighborhood in question is close enough to postgraduate jobs for somebody who shares his view to live there, then it's only a matter of time before other postgraduates buy out what remains of the working class in that area. The problem can be solved, but only by those at the very top and they have no intention of solving it (they like the concentration of postgraduate jobs because it concentrates the talent in places that they themselves like to be). Incidentally, this part: makes me think that the author is either behind the times or not fully aware of Warren's platform. She has gone quite a bit further than most of her fellow candidates and has promised to erase all federally-held student loans without congressional approval. I can't think of anything like this in American history and I suspect that if she somehow accomplished this (i.e. succeeded in her campaign and got this past the courts), there would be violence.
  12. On January 24th, the entire Chiefs team comes down with a rare, highly contagious disease that is guaranteed to make any patient (no matter how fit) completely bedridden for at least two weeks. Desperate to have somebody play the Owl (it's by far their biggest media event of the year), the NFL scours the various rules and guidelines for something to do in this situation and discovers an obscure, never invoked provision from the late 1960s with hierarchy of alternatives depending on various conditions. The alternative at the top of that hierarchy is last year's champion (the only condition on it is that it wasn't already one of the two teams in the Owl). Despite relaxing for most of the past month and some players already undergoing off-season medical treatment, the Patriots are able to get back together in time and play well enough to only be down by 4 points when they get the ball back with just under two minutes to play. Brady leads what appears to be a successful comeback drive down the field until he is strip sacked... but the play is nullified because Dee Ford has (once again) lined up half a yard offside and the Patriots score a touchdown to win their seventh Owl just as time expires.
  13. Altherion

    US Politics: Mail and Managers for Mitch

    Sanders recently tweeted something along the lines of him wanting to be at campaign events, but needing to be at the Senate for the trial and hoping that the American people will understand. There's obviously no way to prove this, but I've seen a really neat idea mentioned at a few sites: what if this was the true goal of Pelosi's delay of impeachment maneuver? That is, trying to force the Senate to conduct a trial with rules imposed on them by the House with the alternative being that the articles of impeachment would not be sent always seemed silly -- McConnell doesn't care if the trial is delayed so holding the articles does not amount to leverage. However, Pelosi is one of the most canny politicians in Washington. What if she knew that she has no chance of making the Senate dance to her tune and never cared about influencing the rules of the trial in the first place? What if the the real purpose of this novel maneuver is the delay itself? Sanders and Warren are sitting Senators and must be present for the trial whereas Biden is no longer a Senator and gets to campaign just before the early primaries and caucuses unopposed by his two closest competitors? Again, there's no way to prove this, but it would be pretty clever of Pelosi if this was her real goal all along.
  14. Altherion

    US Politics: Mail and Managers for Mitch

    I wonder whether Sanders or Warren comes out of this with better poll numbers or they both lose standing. Sanders might actually gain a bit here simply because CNN's "moderator" was a bit too obvious about being biased against Sanders.
  15. She has videos about both topics and quite a few other things besides (including, for example, string theory and why building larger colliders is not the way to go). I've watched a bunch of them and her complaints about gravity waves boil down to two categories. The first is essentially about experimental sloppiness: the LIGO people won't say how they fitted the points on one of their most important plots to a curve and the way they're filtering out noise is questionable. This is a legitimate complaint and LIGO should eventually address it. The second is that we haven't yet seen an event where the gravitational signature was detected first and the electromagnetic signature later confirmed it. This is harder to address simply because we're much better at observing electromagnetic phenomena than we are with gravitational ones -- it might happen eventually, but unless somebody deliberately refrains from looking at neutron star collision data, one is dependent on things like order of publication so it probably won't be soon. All of that said, as she mentions near the end of the longer gravitational waves video, this doesn't mean the gravitational waves aren't real and she personally does not doubt the measurements -- she just wants the LIGO people to clean up their act. The dark energy complaints are of a different order (see below). Not necessarily. The paper that first cast doubt on dark energy does not rely on anything being wrong with our understanding of individual supernovas. It merely says that if one looks at the whole sky, the cosmic acceleration is not isotropic. Think about it this way: suppose there is a camera on an accelerating car that is going through a field of stationary floating balloons containing light bulbs of identical brightness. The camera is pointed opposite the direction of the car and upwards at the balloons and the video is transmitted to you, but you don't know that the camera is on a car -- all you can see are the balloons accelerating away from you. You then conclude that all of the balloons of the field are accelerating away from you and this is wrong, but it's not because something is wrong with the images of the balloons -- it's because your point of view is accelerating, but you have no way to know this. This is more or less what happened here. As you can read in this summary of the paper, the original study only used about 60 supernovae whereas the new one uses 740 that are more evenly distributed. Now, this is far from the final word on the matter because there is other evidence for dark energy (e.g. baryon acoustic oscillations), but it does mean that the people who evaluate all of these measurements and fit them together have work to do. All of that said, there is another paper which does question the use of supernovae as standard candles and this one is relatively new. This sounds much less plausible, but if it turns out to be true, then yes, all bets are off on a wide variety of measurements...