People who cast “protest votes” in elections either don’t know or don’t care about the consequences. Plus, Ms. Crissie shares her modeling success. (More)

“It is about coordinating with your fellow voters”

Bernie-or-Bust supporters insist they won’t vote for Hillary Clinton if she’s the Democratic nominee. Instead, they’ll write in Sanders or vote for Jill Stein, to protest what they call “the political duopoly.”

But here’s the thing. An election is not a protest forum. It’s the mechanism by which we choose our leaders, and it means we get the government we deserve … for good or for ill. The Guardian’s Michael Arceneaux explains it well:

But like the people who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 in protest at Al Gore, Bernie-or-nobody voters are making a decision with implications that go far beyond their narrow frame of reference. To use [Huffington Post columnist Russ] Belville as sacrificial lamb, again:

We survived eight years of George W Bush, and though it did us a lot of harm and killed thousands of us, he didn’t appoint himself dictator and abolish the supreme court or anything crazy. Democracy continued.

Actually, had George W Bush never been elected, thousands of Americans would have never died in the Iraq war, not to mention many thousands more Iraqis. Then there is the matter of Hurricane Katrina, in which a natural disaster turned into a man-made catastrophe due to the incompetence of the Bush administration and their total lack of regard for the lives of poor black people in New Orleans.

Yes, affluent, mostly white progressives survived the last Republican regime, but those who literally cannot afford to act as piously as y’all suffered.

Bernie-or-Bust-ers say choosing “the lesser of two evils” is “an Establishment con.” They insist Sanders backers should stand firm on their principles and make sure “the system hears us” in November. But that mirrors the conceptual flaw underlying this tweet from the otherwise-estimable Neil deGrasse Tyson:

I’ll let political scientist Hans Noel explain:

Tyson knows science but apparently not social science. Why do endorsements matter? Maybe because people don’t have time to think for themselves about everything, so they take cues. I’d dismiss most celebrities, but if you find out that the organization dedicated to your favorite cause is for a candidate, that’s incredibly helpful.

But it’s not just that Tyson appears to be unaware of the usefulness of cues and heuristics. He’s working from a fundamentally flawed model of democracy. Voting is not about “thinking for yourself” at all. It is about coordinating with your fellow voters. So especially in a primary, you need to know which candidate the people like you are backing, so you can join them. Endorsements help.

Tyson’s inaccurate model of democracy is unfortunately pretty common. He wants to believe that voting is simply a matter of about expressing your opinion, and then that opinion will be magically aggregated into results. That’s not what happens. The electoral rules aggregate the votes, and those rules matter.

In a plurality-rule system like ours, you need to have the most votes. So you coordinate. Politicians and organizations who have devoted their lives to politics might be particularly influential in that coordination. As they should be.

Noel’s line about “that opinion will be magically aggregated into results” is especially apt in light of this mishmash from a self-styled ‘metamodern journalist’:

The reason we think of Bernie Sanders as impractical or even naïve is that he is; what most fail to see, however, is that his is the “informed naiveté” of metamodernism. He sees that our economic and cultural markets are in a terminal state of deconstruction, and yes, this makes him angry and “negative” in a certain respect, but he sees too that the opportunity this deconstruction affords us all is a moment in which we can reconstruct everything we’ve known in a way that better reflects our values.

Draw up blueprints for the impossible and you find, in time, that individual pieces of an impossible plan become first improbable and then merely unlikely and then even odds and finally, at long last, possible. Repeat that procedure enough times and universal wavelength function tells us that the very fabric of reality can be altered. In simpler terms, when Bernie Sanders tells Hillary Clinton that universal healthcare, universal higher education, and a living minimum wage are human rights, she may not realize it but that’s the end of the consequential part of the conversation. The long-term details of how these things are achieved pale in significance to the far grander and more audacious act of naming the impossible as possible in the first instance.

That is, quite literally, magical thinking. His claim that a “universal wavelength function tells us the very fabric of reality can be altered” is pseudoscience. Yes, physicist Hugh Everett proposed a universal wave function underlying his many-worlds interpretation of quantum theory. But he did not offer a testable hypothesis, and most physicists dismissed his interpretation as speculation. Even those who have followed him concede that the many-worlds interpretation cannot, by definition, be tested within ‘our’ universe.

Still, Everett said his universal wave form was deterministic, precisely matching the probabilities predicted by quantum equations. The reality expressed in his universal wave form was governed by the laws of physics … not by the mere act of collectively and repeatedly “naming the impossible as possible.”

Voting isn’t merely a matter of expressing one’s opinion, and neither Bernie Sanders nor his supporters have reality-bending magic. But our mail room clerk may….


“The reason I bought and learned Hexagon”

Here’s her latest digital creation:

I asked her about it, and here’s what she said:

The overhead light fixture in this scene is the reason I bought and learned Hexagon. I began designing a Basement in DAZ Studio, but DAZ Studio’s 3D modeling options are very limited and I couldn’t make the shapes I needed for this fixture from DAZ Studio primitives. I’m now modeling the Basement set in Hexagon, and I plan to offer it for sale as a DAZ Environment.

I like scene lighting that you can see, and all of the light in this scene comes from that fixture.

She went on with a lot of 3D geek mumbo-jumbo, but basically she used a lot of tricks to fool your eyes. For example, it looks like that fixture has lots of fluorescent or LED tubes inside a shell with lots of segments. That’s what you would expect if it were a real light fixture.

But there’s only one lighted tube all the way around the inside of that shell, and the shell is one piece that runs all the way around the frame. The brackets – you can see their detail in the bottom-left inset – create the illusion of separate pieces.

That’s not the only illusion. It looks as if all the light is coming from the fixture you see, but most of it is coming from an invisible shell, just outside the frosted glass shell.

She did that because movie cameras – and that’s what DAZ Studio cameras mimic – require very bright lights. That’s because the rods and cones in your eyes continue to ‘see’ light for a few seconds after it goes away, but movie and DAZ Studio cameras have a shutter speed of about 1/30th of a second. For room lighting to look ‘normal,’ movie studio lights – and lights in DAZ Studio – need to be up to 500 times brighter than ordinary room lights.

But that would cast horrible glare off of any glossy or semi-glossy surface. To get rid of the glare, she made the bright movie-light shell invisible. It’s the same shape as the glass shell of the fixture (just a bit bigger) and it has the same light profile as the tube … and that’s why it looks like the light comes from what you see.

So you can bend reality, if you use movie magic. But government isn’t a movie … so I’ll go with the candidate whose pragmatic plans are at least possible.


Photo Credit: Crissie Brown


Good day and good nuts