Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The election summarized

MR points to this very nice summary, complete with graphs.

I liked the technique of treating individual states as having two dimensions (Democrat share of vote 2004 vs. Democrat share of vote 2008, or polled vs. actual). It made it clear there wasn't much in the way of surprises, but that things shifted on a fairly wholesale level towards the Democrats.

Return to me......

Of the few readers I have, I estimate that approximately zero are going to understand this post - it's mostly for my own reference, about computer programming style.

At work, our coding standards encourage "at most one return statement from a function", and code review showed my code often has more than one. Finding those places in thousands of lines of code so I can "fix" them might be non-trivial, so I was googling to see if I could find an automatic tool (a good thing to do before deciding to write your own).

Unfortunately, this is a particularly controversial "rule", where probably as many people (including me) think of it as unwise as there are that want to enforce it, so pretty much all I found was just philosophical discussion about one or many exits (same as returns).

One comment I found especially apt (at least in part because he agreed with me that it is better to know when to use a tool then to resolve not to use it:
Your argument that sticking with single exits forces you to factor
your code sounds a little like: "I never use my windshield wipers.
That forces me to stop and clean my car more often, and that is a
good thing." ;)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Definition of the week

Borda count - a voting system that allows voters to indicate their preferences among multiple candidates. This system is actually used in a few obscure places (click on the link for the full Wikipedia article).

Of course, it is only useful when more than 2 candidates are viable.

Election - live update

Courtesy of Google

Sunday, November 02, 2008

My Endorsement

Well, I suppose since everybody else has taken a stand, I suppose I should take mine, such as it is.

I'm a registered Republican, although that is mostly to give me a chance to vote in some primary or other. I do believe in capitalism, but since that has already been abandoned by most major parties (Democrats kowtow mostly to the unions, Republicans mostly to entrenched big business interests, neither is willing to just leave people alone). My actual philosophy is libertarian, although I'm not exactly enamored of the party of that name. While I do believe "that government is best which governs least", I disagree with the voices on the anarchist fringe who believe we can do without it altogether. I'd like to abolish the income tax, but not because I don't understand the need for taxes - only because I find it too intrusive.

Painting Obama as a socialist is kind of amusing, because it is so obviously true - but then, it is true of McCain, also. The only question is just how much socialism you want.

I was talking to a friend with similar politics last week, and we were discussing whether it would be better to vote for Bob Barr (who seems to have made a genuine conversion, but has a rather obvious right-wing record behind him) or just write in somebody that really represents our point of view (Penn Jillette is pretty much our dream candidate). I'll hold my nose and vote for Barr.

Minimizing the risks

Would you want the pilot of that 747 take your family to Europe without first having flown a simulator and a smaller plane?

Would you want your surgeon to have your heart surgery be his first time cutting?

Then how can you feel comfortable electing a governor for New York State who hasn't been at least the governor of Mississippi?

(Yes, follow the link, it is cute - unless you are from Mississippi or Alabama!)

Quote of the Week

McCain promises all kinds of crazy stuff too, its just less compelling stuff to voters. He is not losing because he is promising less -- I think he is losing because Obama has a better grasp of what expensive shit people want to be promised than does McCain.
- Coyote