Monthly Archives: December 2016

Popular + Electoral = Fair

Here’s a way to reconcile the voting in the U.S., combine the popular and electoral votes into a single number.

If for every 250,000 popular votes we award one electoral vote:
Drumpf: 251(pop)
Clinton: 263(pop)

Then we divide up the 538 electoral votes as they fall:
Drumpf: 306(ele)
Clinton: 232(ele)

What we get as a composite are:
Drumpf: 251(pop) + 306(ele) = 557
Clinton: 263(pop) + 232(ele) = 495

In this scenario Drumpf still wins. Which still sucks, yes.

But if Clinton had just won Florida and Montana, using this Popular + Electoral votes system:
Clinton: 527 WINNER!
Drumpf: 525

This is what would have happened in Gore vs Bush:
Bush: 201(pop) + 271 (ele) = 472
Gore: 204(pop) + 266 (ele) = 470

If Gore had one 1/2 million more votes, he would have won the 2000 election in this scenario.

This blending of popular and electoral votes doesn’t change any recent historic elections, but, it certainly provides for a better feeling towards losing. In this case your vote really DOES count — if only a little.



Gun problem cure

Three types of gun ownership:
• hunting / recreation
• self-defense
• [other]
I would posit that the [other] type of gun ownership is economically driven. Such a gun can get you prestige or rank but more importantly, enhanced economic possibility.
So, why not address this last point in true economic fashion — buy [other] type guns at economically enabling prices.
For a one week period, in high gun-crime areas, offer to purchase (through philanthropic or government largess) guns at unprecedented prices. $10k for a handgun. $12k for a shotgun, $15k for an automatic rifle. During this time, all gun stores in a wide area will be closed.
The fallout for this program will be considerable. Those who want to keep their guns for hunting or self defense, will do so. But a gun is now worth nearly as much as silver or gold — so it would be prudent to keep them in concealed locations — or better yet — locked up in a safe.
Those would would benefit from $10 or 20k influx of cash — this amount of money will change peoples’ lives.
Guns are removed from those areas where they most likely will do the most harm.
This program should be repeated, around the country, randomly, to extract the most dangerous guns from circulation.
2nd Amendment? Leave it intact. But make gun ownership an expensive proposition. Those who are economically challenged will know what to do with their firearms.

One potato two potato

What is money?

It’s a proxy, a stand-in for exchanging value for value.

Does money have value? Should it? I think not.The entities being exchanged have value but money should never have intrinsic value. Money should be a temporary representation of value that is used in transactions between entities exchanging real things of value for other real things of value.

Something like the gold standard therefore is the wrong approach as this gives intrinsic value to a rare resource. Gold, silver, platinum are useful for various industrial and decorative purposes and their relative value might be representative of some worth. But because they are rare and permanent they can be hoarded and controlled. Money (value for value exchange) should never be allowed to be “cornered” or overtly controlled; rarity is not a system of value.

Say I grow corn. And you raise chickens. I’d like some of your chickens and you would like some of my corn. We could establish a system of value for value exchange, e.g. money or currency, by creating a temporary contract, 5 chickens = 1 bushel of corn. Currency is always a ratio: x of these equals y of those. If I plant corn in the spring but would like to acquire some of your chickens before the corn can be harvested, I could create a little promissory note, “NOTE WORTH ONE BUSHEL of CORN”. If you *trusted me* I could give you one of these and depending on how valuable you considered my corn, you would give me five of your chickens.

Now, here’s the part that fails with our current monetary system. Harvest comes and I have corn to spare. You come to me with that NOTE I gave you and exchange it for a bushel of corn. But what should happen to that NOTE now? Our contract is complete. I got chickens and you got corn. That NOTE I created as a promise should be destroyed. I no longer own you a bushel of corn. I have possession of this NOTE and it *should* no longer possess representational value.

Our current monetary system uses dollars. These dollars, these NOTES, have no intrinsic value. Nor have they been created as promises, as proxies or stand-ins for real value. That’s the rub. That’s the problem. Today’s money exists not as true proxies for value for value exchange, but as some fabricated, faked up promise created out of thin air. Money, the dollar, is magically created from nothing and somehow we accept it as representing value. And it gets worse. That dollar is not just magically created from thin air — a promise is made to banks to pay them a dollar — for nothing! We, government, society, goes into debt to create dollars owed to banks with which we then trade among ourselves, value for value.

We need a new monetary system.

ALANN – Auto Lit Analysis Neural Net

ALANN – the automated literary analysis neural network idea posed here some months ago (  “might” be realizable to some degree without the need for a DeepMind neural network.

There are no doubt certain aspects of writing (that this author is being slowly made aware of) that can be extracted as metrics from any writing.

Here are a few.

  • Word counts and the ratio of those counts
    • Verb count
    • Adverb count
    • Adjective count
    • Proper name counts
    • Single word counts
  • Comma count
  • Character length of words
  • Sentence length and sentence complexity
  • Quote counts and their dispersion throughout the text
  • Certain word usages, active vs passive voice
  • Jaggedness, how choppy is the the dialog vs narrative

Regarding word counts, what are the ratio’s of some word counts to others? What about common literary words vs the total count? Filter words, decorative, embellishment words vs the total?

Here’s some data (the means to acquire this data is below).

Let’s consider comma count to sentence count (Comma/Sent) as a measurement of “literary” intent. The higher the number the more lofty the writing (or the more Victorian…)

Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations had a Comma/Sent ratio of 200%. There were twice as many commas as periods.

Jack London’s White Fang, on the other hand, had a ratio of only 101%, there were about as many commas as periods.

If we examine the other writers and their works, this simple metrics *seems* to correlate with our expectations. HG Wells, Burroughs have lower “literary” quotients than Jane Austen or Herman Melville.

So, are there other factors that we can use to investigate the literary vs genre vs popular vs what-have-you aspects of novels? And, primarily, can we build a system that can judge them?

Title Author Comma/Sent Excl/Sent Semi/Sent Dial/Sent Sing/Word
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain 164.99% 10.41% 31.99% 32.51% 2.50%
Great Expectations Charles Dickens 200.07% 11.56% 14.75% 46.07% 2.02%
Blue Across the Sea Dave Cline 93.06% 2.44% 0.76% 32.48% 4.02%
Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen 147.77% 8.07% 24.89% 28.58% 2.05%
Moby Dick Herman Melville 256.49% 23.57% 56.09% 19.49% na
Tarzan of the apes Edgar R Burroughs 129.84% 3.99% 6.82% 22.90% 3.86%
Sense and Sensibilities Jane Austen 200.85% 11.32% 32.03% 31.40% 2.07%
Island of Dr. Moreau HG Wells 115.16% 6.78% 12.83% 24.77% 6.15%
White Fang Jack London 101.10% 1.98% 4.81% 10.27% 4.15%


Here’s a site I found to help kickstart this concept:

If we go to the Gutenberg Project and pick some books, let’s start with Adventure of Huckleberry Finn:

What is the comparison of the word “was” to the total word count?

Order Unfiltered word count Occurrences Percentage
1. and 6350 5.6714
2. the 4779 4.2683
3. i 3270 2.9206
4. a 3150 2.8134
5. to 2934 2.6205
6. it 2326 2.0774
7. was 2069 1.8479
8. he 1676 1.4969
9. of 1633 1.4585
10. in 1433 1.2799
11. you 1360 1.2147
12. that 1083 0.9673
13. but 1035 0.9244
14. so 961 0.8583
15. on 880 0.7860
16. up 861 0.7690
17. all 852 0.7610
18. we 848 0.7574
19. for 843 0.7529
20. me 823 0.7351

Now, what of the total single use words?

There were 2752 words used exactly once of a total of 110016 words which gives us a percentage of 2.5014%

Using this tool:

110016 words
554985 characters (with space)
450511 characters (without space)
104474 spaces
421151 letters
14 numbers
29346 others
2509 blank lines
11430 line breaks

Punctuation marks:
4870 times . (dot)
8035 times , (comma) commas to periods ratio percentage: 164.98%
729 times ? (question mark)
507 times ! (exclamation mark) written energy bangs per period: 10.41%
426 times : (colon)
1558 times ; (semicolon) semicolons as a sign of sentence count: 31.99%
2973 times – (hyphen)
0 times / (slash)
3166 times ” (quote) dialog statements as a % of sentence count: 32.50%
5004 times ‘ (single quote)

Now, let’s test another literary work… Great Expectations

Order Unfiltered word count Occurrences Percentage
1. the 8145 4.3638
2. and 7092 3.7996
3. i 6475 3.4690
4. to 5152 2.7602
5. of 4437 2.3772
6. a 4047 2.1682
7. in 3026 1.6212
8. that 2986 1.5998
9. was 2836 1.5194
10. it 2670 1.4305
11. he 2206 1.1819
12. you 2186 1.1712
13. had 2093 1.1213
14. my 2069 1.1085
15. me 1998 1.0704
16. his 1860 0.9965
17. as 1774 0.9504
18. with 1760 0.9429
19. at 1637 0.8770
20. on 1420 0.7608

Unique word use count 3723 of 184378 words = 2.0192

184378 words
973823 characters (with space)
805308 characters (without space)
168515 spaces
761634 letters
5 numbers
43669 others
4125 blank lines
20011 line breaks

Punctuation marks:
8522 times . (dot)
17050 times , (comma) commas to periods ratio percentage:  200.07%
1216 times ? (question mark)
985 times ! (exclamation mark) written energy bangs per period: 11.55%
105 times : (colon)
1257 times ; (semicolon) semicolons as a % of sentence count: 14.75%
3483 times – (hyphen)
0 times / (slash)
7852 times ” (quote)  dialog statements as a % of sentence count: 46.06%
2512 times ‘ (single quote)

And here’s the novel I wrote Blue Across the Sea

Order Unfiltered word count Occurrences Percentage
1. the 6772 7.8213
2. and 2641 3.0502
3. to 2353 2.7176
4. a 1808 2.0881
5. of 1807 2.0870
6. he 1028 1.1873
7. you 1001 1.1561
8. tillion 974 1.1249
9. in 962 1.1111
10. i 839 0.9690
11. it 839 0.9690
12. his 796 0.9193
13. that 695 0.8027
14. with 650 0.7507
15. they 632 0.7299
16. as 623 0.7195
17. from 613 0.7080
18. her 588 0.6791
19. we 534 0.6167
20. up 514 0.5936

(“was” came in down around 280 instances…)

Unique word count 3469 out of 86219 = 4.0234

86219 words
475623 characters (with space)
391243 characters (without space)
84380 spaces
370677 letters
4 numbers
20562 others
156 blank lines
2460 line breaks

Punctuation marks:
6595 times . (dot)
6137 times , (comma) commas to periods ratio percentage:  93.05%
644 times ? (question mark)
161 times ! (exclamation mark) written energy bangs per period: 2.44%
11 times : (colon)
50 times ; (semicolon) semicolons as a % of sentence count: 0.7581%
348 times – (hyphen)
1 times / (slash)
4284 times ” (quote) dialog statements as a % of sentence count: 32.47%
1912 times ‘ (single quote)

Here we will be adding additional literary works:

The Problem with Star Wars

The problem with Star Wars and Star Trek and many other “Star blah blah blah” type story lines is this: where are the robots?

No, I’m not talking about the cute comic-relief characters, nor am I talking about the droid-wars robots.

Here’s the thing, Space Is Hard. Even Elon admits this. Biologically based creatures die — really easily — in space. They die if they don’t eat, don’t get liquids, don’t get enough to breathe, get squeezed or stretched or ripped. Biological creatures are fragile. A biological military force, or agents, or workers or what-have-you would be a society’s LAST resort. The first thing a sentient species would do when they start exploring space is to build up the biggest, baddest, smartest, most versatile space-force using ROBOTS they could.

People? We’re not gonna use PEOPLE — hell no!

Look, Humans suck at space. Right now about 1 out of 20 rockets we launch BLOW UP! And that’s good. That’s the best we’ve gotten so far. Imagine if 1 out of every 20 commercial flights that took off from airports just today BLEW UP!  About 100k flights occur everyday. Imagine if 5000 of them exploded in the last 24 hour. Hell No!

So, between our really really bad track record for sending rockets into space and our super-duper track record for flying airplanes, we have a long way to go.

Now, let’s examine our robotic and computer track record. We’ve got some amazing technology there. Robots are going to be replacing humans for most manual labor, and most complex logistics and management in the next 20 years.

Let’s think about this. Humanity will have an amazing robotic work force and superior artificial intelligences in just another generation.

But we won’t have a reliable means of space travel for at least two or three generations.

By the time we can blast around the solar system (or galaxy) in a Millennium Falcon humans will have constructed an incredible robotic space-force. And with that space-force we would be sending ROBOTS out with vast AIs in our space craft to do our exploring, and our patrolling and our space war fighting. We wouldn’t send frail, easy to puncture organic HUMANS! Hell No!

Extraterrestrial Sentient Species in our galaxy would be even smarter than us. They would have even better robots and artilects. They would never use their biological selves to do the work robots would do so much more effectively.

That’s the problem with Star Wars and Star Trek. Their story lines rely on bags of animated organic chemicals and not robots; which is just — implausible.