Science and politics

To followup on climate politics, this piece reminds us that

The fundamental problem is that science can only ever be a point of departure for normative decision-making and political action. The language of the students’ activism […] treats science as the clear arbiter of effective policy. Placing science on such a pedestal […] misunderstands the role of objective knowledge in ethical political action, and is uncomfortably reminiscent of the unquestioned scientific progressivism of the modern era. Today’s students’ argument […] still incorrectly assumes that science itself can tell us what action humans should take.

Which is why we have democracy. Science tells us of facts and trends, politics is deciding what to do about it.

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Why do passionate employees suffer burnout?

My impression is that passionate employees end up suffering from burnout more often than others. I thought that this had a lot to do with the long term quality and efficiency decline that follows from working long hours, but this paper (referenced here) may suggest another explanation:

[…] that people see it as more acceptable to make passionate employees do extra, unpaid, and more demeaning work than they did for employees without the same passion.

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Ticket to Mars

Or, at least my boarding pass:

A fun offer from NASA for their upcoming, unmanned, Mars mission next year.

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Sorting of Korean words

As an aside to my “Sorting of Danish words“, I just found Mark Jason Dominus’ “Alphabetical order in Korean” where I learned how individual letters are written in Korean and that alphabetization is also done on the syllable level.

Man, internationalisation is hard.

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Digital elections

I know that many people are surprised by this, but there is no currently existing way to securely hold an election digitally.

It’s not that we lack the technology to do so, we lack a valid theory of how it could work.

We know what needs to work: Each vote must be counted correctly, no more or less than one vote per voter and it must not be possible to connect one vote to a specific voter. This means all votes must be protected from change or destruction and this must be verifiable.

No-one knows how to do this in a secure manner, nor how it should be possible.

There are plenty of companies that claim to have solved this problem but they haven’t published the theoretical work to support it and every time someone has had a chance to check, serious flaws have been found in both the implementation and the implied underlying theory.

Meanwhile, the paper votes as used by for example Denmark work brilliantly. If you doubt, show up when votes are counted and see for yourself.

Do not push for digital elections until someone publishes a valid theory of how to do it. There’s a chance that will never happen.

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Climate politics

With an increased pressure to make upcoming elections be on climate politics I found this thread instructive, after the failure of making the elections in Australia about climate (links added by me):

The strategy of sowing fear, speaking of disaster and in particular recruiting children is risky. IMO it does not work. It’s not a controlled sense of urgency, it’s a panic. As father and uncle, I resent my children and nieces/nephews saying ‘It’s up to us’.

That’s cruel.

So to win an election on climate change try this:

1/ Make it about climate change. Not about your political party. Focus, make it apolitical. Move it to the centre. Make the opponents look like extremists if they will not join you there.

2/ Include nuclear technologies, treated as solutions not political weapons. Show everyone you are serious. Prove that it’s about climate change, not political identity.

3/ Reach out to the communities who stand to lose. Don’t pretend they don’t exist. Listen to them. Make them a priority. They are the votes you need. Who knows, nuclear technologies might help there?

4/ Don’t pretend VRE [like wind and solar power] is going to do it all. This is a jetpack promise and no one believes it anymore

5/ Don’t frighten children. Inspire them. Remember that idea? Making children believe in a brighter future?

6/ Set ambitious, aspirational long-term goals with tough, detailed, costed policies for your term of government – policies about transitioning an entire fossil fuel based economy. That’s going to take time – treat it with the respect it deserves.

I especially detest taking children hostage for political gain, and climate panic will bring nothing but misery and suffering.

These issues are solvable. Wind and solar (VRE) will not be sufficient.

By the way, do you know the best way to stop politicians lying to you? It is to stop rewarding them when they do.

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More good advice for privacy and security

From NordVPN, “20 bad Internet behaviors – and how to fix them” is worth a read. I like how NordVPN continues to communicate.

And I also like this meme:

(from this picture)

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An update on Boeing 737 MAX

It appears that my hopes will come true: EASA is independently reviewing the revised designs for Boeing 737 MAX before allowing it to fly again in Europe.

Obviously, as previously told, having EASA base their certification on FAA having allowed Boeing to basically self-certify their upgrade to the 737 was a bad idea. I just wonder if EASA need to review other certifications that may have suffered from the same.

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I am not surprised that it looks like low fertility follows after low child mortality. In this animation, most countries move left (low risk of child dying) before moving down (fewer children per woman):

This has let to this change in demographics:

Or, in other words, we don’t get more children, they stop dying. Almost all children will grow up to be productive adults. Nearing 2100 the number of children is expected to fall and previous estimates that the global population will max out at 11 billion people are now considered too high. We might end up with a global population of 9 billion people, even though it tripled in the 70 years since 1950 from 2.5 billion to 7.5 billion.

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Getting 1600% of the votes

TIL about the most fraudulent election in history, the 1927 Liberian general election. The winning party got 243,000 votes, out of 15,000 registered voters.

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