My votes and my voting philosophy

Since today is Election Day, I thought I’d revealing my votes and the reasons for them. Here goes:

  1. For U.S. senator, I voted for the Democrat. I think his name was Melancon. Why? Two reasons: (1) he’s not a Republican; and more important, (2) he’s not David Vitter.
  2. For U.S. representative, 1st Congressional District, I voted for the Democrat. I think his name was Katz. Why? Although the incumbent, Republican Steve Scalise, is not David Vitter, he’s still a Republican.
  3. For lieutenant governor, I voted for the Democrat. I think her name was Fayard. Why? Because when (not if) our Republican governor, Bobby Jindal, abandons the governorship to pursue his national ambitions, he’ll have to do so knowing that a Democrat will succeed him.
  4. For the dozen or so state constitutional amendments, I had a simple system:
    1. Read the misleading 1-paragraph blurb on the ballot.
    2. Vote against the amendment if any of the following is true:
      1. I disagreed with the amendment, or
      2. After reading the blurb, I had no earthly idea what the writer was talking about.
    3. In the rare event that I understood and agreed with the amendment, I voted for it.
  5. Special millage for a “security district” in my neighborhood: Against. If I’m going to pay higher property taxes for safety, it will be to make the whole city safe, not to create the illusion of safety by creating a little enclave in my neighborhood. So yes to beefing up the NOPD, but a big no to private security patrols paid for by property taxes.

I realize that some of my reasons may be a bit partisan. So I offer this non-partisan approach to voting: When in doubt, vote for the probable loser. Whatever happens after, your conscience will be clear, because when you vote for the loser, your vote does no harm.

Science marches on: The 2010 Ig Nobel Prize winners

Morgus The good folks at Improbable Research have announced this year’s Ig Nobel prize winners. The honorees include:

ENGINEERING: Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse and Agnes Rocha-Gosselin of the Zoological Society of London, UK, and Diane Gendron of Instituto Politecnico Nacional, Baja California Sur, Mexico, for perfecting a method to collect whale snot, using a remote-control helicopter.

MEDICINE: Simon Rietveld of the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Ilja van Beest of Tilburg University, The Netherlands, for discovering that symptoms of asthma can be treated with a roller-coaster ride.

TRANSPORTATION PLANNING: Toshiyuki Nakagaki, Atsushi Tero, Seiji Takagi, Tetsu Saigusa, Kentaro Ito, Kenji Yumiki, Ryo Kobayashi of Japan, and Dan Bebber, Mark Fricker of the UK, for using slime mold to determine the optimal routes for railroad tracks.

PHYSICS: Lianne Parkin, Sheila Williams, and Patricia Priest of the University of Otago, New Zealand, for demonstrating that, on icy footpaths in wintertime, people slip and fall less often if they wear socks on the outside of their shoes.

PEACE: Richard Stephens, John Atkins, and Andrew Kingston of Keele University, UK, for confirming the widely held belief that swearing relieves pain.

PUBLIC HEALTH: Manuel Barbeito, Charles Mathews, and Larry Taylor of the Industrial Health and Safety Office, Fort Detrick, Maryland, USA, for determining by experiment that microbes cling to bearded scientists.

BIOLOGY: Libiao Zhang, Min Tan, Guangjian Zhu, Jianping Ye, Tiyu Hong, Shanyi Zhou, and Shuyi Zhang of China, and Gareth Jones of the University of Bristol, UK, for scientifically documenting fellatio in fruit bats.

You—I’m talking to you—be the one.

P.S. (29 July 2010): After reading this item on the Huffington Post, I’m not so sure about this video. I tend to trust many of the celebrities in the video because they showed their care for and commitment to New Orleans before the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The same goes for Women of the Storm. I still say watch the video. But read the Huffington Post piece too—and the comments challenging it.

Original post:
Watch this video. Then click here and sign the petition.

In memory of Manute Bol

I knew that Manute Bol, who died recently, was the tallest player in the NBA at 7' 7". I knew that during his playing career, he was an extraordinary shot-blocker. I knew that, after his playing career ended, he was an extraordinary humanitarian. But I didn’t know, until a minute ago, that he invented the phrase “my bad” to describe one’s own mistake. (Hat tip to Johnson.)

p.s. Then again, according to the Language Log, Bol may have just been an early user of the phrase. Still, I’d like to think that he invented it.