Lazy Sunday News

Here's a few cool things I've come across in the last few days.

The California Costal Records Project is a super cool site in in the spirit of Scorecard. A husband and wife team are flying in a helicopter along the California coastline from Oregon to Mexico and photographing the whole coast with a digital camera and GPS. They'll use the records as historical data for what the coastline looked like and enforcement of environmental laws. If you visit the site you can look up any location along the California coast. And if you know California law, you can help spot abusers and turn them in! Decentralized policing -- I love it.

The author Secrets of the Tomb (and, apparently, total hottie), Alexandra Robbins posted to the Democratic Underground forums (DU is sort of like Free Republic for liberals. I recently discovered it.). Secrets of the Tomb is one of the books on my "too read" list. It's about the Skull and Bones secret society which three generations of the Bush family have belonged to. Robbins was able to get unprecidented access to the Skull and Bones.

I mentioned instant runoff voting a few days ago. This week's Science News has a good article on the different kinds of voting systems. It's a good introduction. It points out that no system can be perfect (it's been proven mathematically) but all experts agree that any system is better than the plurality system the US has now. I think it's crucial for third parties (Libertarians and Greens) to support ballot initiatives in the states which allow them to switch to IRV or "fusion voting" (where a canidate can be on the ballot multiple times for more than one party) if they want to stay relevant. With the plurality voting we have now is just too hard to get elected.

I tought this Pioneer Press story was amusing: Tough to fight a legend: "Whoever wins the election Tuesday, Mondale's place in the pantheon is secure. The next U.S. senator from Minnesota will go to work each day at the U.S. Capitol, passing by a marble bust of Walter F. Mondale." Hah!

I got into a discussion about wind turbines with my friend Ry4an so I thought I'd post an article I read about the subject recently: Fossil Fools. "America is the Persian Gulf of wind. The Energy Department estimates that wind in the Dakotas alone could meet two-thirds of America's electricity needs..." In the name of fairness, here is a position paper against alternative power sources: Electicity from Coal is Essential.