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ffr's Journal
ffr's Journal
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September 10, 2015

NATGEO: This Face Changes the Human Story. But How?

Scientists have discovered a new species of human ancestor deep in a South African cave, adding a baffling new branch to the family tree.

While primitive in some respects, the face, skull, and teeth show enough modern features to justify H. naledi's placement in the genus Homo. Artist Gurche spent some 700 hours reconstructing the head from bone scans, using bear fur for hair.


“It was day three or four, and we still hadn’t found any fauna,” Elliott said. On the first day a few little bird bones had been found on the surface, but otherwise there was nothing but hominin bones.

That made for a mystery as perplexing as that of H. naledi’s identity: How did the remains get into such an absurdly remote chamber? Clearly the individuals weren’t living in the cave; there were no stone tools or remains of meals to suggest such occupation. Conceivably a group of H. naledi could have wandered into the cave one time and somehow got trapped—but the distribution of the bones seemed to indicate that they had been deposited over a long time, perhaps centuries... - National Geographic October 2015 issue

The hypothesis of this discovery is not just the discovery itself, but the way the fossil remains were presented; they were deliberately put there.

More by Zebonaut <here>
November 8, 2014

Poll tax: Incentivizing civic participation in elections

Thomas Jefferson, as smart as he was, left out one important item

* A constitutional amendment requiring this one specific type of poll tax *

I support a $10,000 poll tax on every eligible voter. Here’s how it would/could work.

If an eligible voter votes, the automatic 1040 line item that makes your “Taxable Income for eligible voter” higher by $10,000, would have a next line item for “Voted Deduction = $10,100.”* Or some amount that would be greater than the poll tax penalty; subsidized by the government (of the people and by the people). This poll tax would be included in every other tax return, reflecting presidential and mid-term election years. It makes available a deduction and incentive for those who carry through with voting and could be tied digitally to each states’ registrar’s office for verification upon tax return submission.

Thus, any eligible voter who did not exercise their civic duty to either early vote/vote absentee or vote on election day would have a tax liability $10,000 greater than it would otherwise be, and in so doing, offset the suffering to their fellow eligible voter who did...

More on that: The hidden consequences of such additional pain to those affected would be that more people would probably be better informed of the political candidates and their policies in every major election, that they’d probably vote for their self-interests instead of against them, there would be higher turnout in every election, and would probably result in greater satisfaction overall in our democracy. Any corrupt party who paid voters under the table to sit out voting in lieu of payment, would probably get caught and flogged through public humiliation.

Each eligible voter could still choose not to participate and it would only penalize them for the amount of required taxable income at their effective tax rate, higher burden the higher the tax rate, not by the full amount itself. But for those in the ‘now majority’ that did exercise their civic duty, they would be rewarded with a mostly symbolic deduction and a real sense of participating in who governs the country they love.

Who knows, it might catch on with democracies across the globe and have many more positive hidden consequences.

Meh, who am I kidding. The current SCOTUS would probably overturn such an amendment in order to protect our democracy, as they see it.

*'Ineligible Voter deduction' would be $10,000 to nullify the poll tax.

October 24, 2014

GOTV 2014 in Nevada (NV) Day 6 EV. Two-county totals 10/23/14 Reps lead 2,851 votes

Unofficial NV SoS Results - Day 6 (SoS has not posted cumulative PDF for today) Link is their exe2zip executable.

The Clark numbers cumulative (early/mail):
Democrats -- 30,655, or 39.7 percent (down 471% or 124,789 votes from 2012**) In other words, every DEM who votes has the weight of ~5, for every other DEM who hasn't voted yet. ***
Republicans -- 33,506, or 43.4 percent (down 353% or 97,878 votes from 2012)
Others -- 12,964, or 16.7 percent
- Jon Ralston Reports

Republis lead - 2,851
Clark County (Las Vegas) - REPS +736
Washoe County (Reno) - REPS +2,115

Avg: REPS +476/day

If democrats had as many votes in 2014 as they had by the 5th EV day in 2012, the election would be over and every democrat on the ballot would be headed for a win, in a landslide. We're not there yet, but we're working on it!

Who & what to vote for in Washoe County, easy as 1-2-3 - My recommendation for an easy 5 minute EV
Kristen Spees - DEM
Robert "Bob" Goodman - DEM
Lucy Flores - DEM
Kate, Marshall -DEM
Kim Wallin - DEM
Andrew Martin - DEM
Ross Miller - DEM
Niklas Putnam - IND
County Assessor - NONE*
Bobee Clark - DEM
District Attorney - NONE*
Chase D McKenna - DEM
Robert Twonsent - DEM
County Treasurer - NONE*
NONE OF THESE CANDIDATES ==> Supreme Court Justice Seat B
NONE OF THESE CANDIDATES ==> Supreme Court Justice Seat D

Cliff J Young or Cynthia LU - Both are (NP) DEMS
Doug Rands - (NP) DEM
Keith J. Tierney - (NP) DEM
Caren Cafferata-Jenkins - (NP) DEM
John P Springgate - (NP) DEM
Tim Kuzanek - (NP) lesser of two evils.
Hillary Schieve - (NP) Endorsed by another DEM
Naomi Duerr - (NP) DEM
Bonnie Weber - (NP) DEM
Brett Kandt - (NP) DEM
Gene Drakulich - (NP) only candidate, seems okay
Question 1: NO
Question 2: YES
Question 3: NO [optional]

* Partisan offices left blank due to Republis as the only partisan candidates.
** According to the numbers I posted last election on DU. I didn't produce numbers for 2010.
*** As I explain to voters on the phone bank (PB), your mid-term election vote has 5x the weight as it did in the 2012 election and going up.

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