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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Life Goes On

Our department, like most other academic departments, felt a strong sense of depression today. Just remember there are still theorems to prove, papers to write, talks to give, students to advise, meetings to attend and classes to teach. Life goes on and so must we.

Memo to the future 2008 STOC PC Chair: Don't even think of scheduling the STOC deadline immediately following the elections again. There is only so much stress one can take in a week.

15 comments:

  1. I thought you had the option of submitting it, say, last Friday? :-)

    Siva

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  2. A fair number of people at UCSD wore black today. I wish that I had thought of that, as I would have done the same.

    God bless America.

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  3. Looking forward to four more years of faith-based narrowmindedness and deficit-financed tax breaks for the rich.

    -- Ronald de Wolf

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  4. It's amazing to me how so many so-called "open-minded" academics and scientists can be so closed-minded when it comes to Bush and the Republican party.

    Yes I voted for Kerry, and yes I am upset that the Republicans will soon control all branches of the US government (including the Supreme Court, very soon). But no, Bush is not some devil (wearing black? Come on...did people at UCSD wear black on 9/12?). And we have to come to terms with the fact that he *did* win the popular vote. At a minimum, that puts our views out of touch with a majority of Americans. Sure, it is easy to call a majority of Americans "stupid" but this does not get us any closer to the real issue which is to figure out *why* academics seem to be so out of touch with the broader public.

    As an exercise for everyone who claims to be open minded: can you name *any area* in which Bush is better than Kerry? I can...but I won't reveal the answers until the rest give it a shot.

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  5. Bush may have the better policy on free trade...

    He's also more successful in deceiving the "broader public",
    which appears to be as out of touch with reality as they
    are with academics.

    http://www.norvig.com/hiring-president.html
    demonstrates that Bush supporters tend to agree with
    Kerry's viewpoint but falsely believe that Bush agrees with them.

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  6. I'm not sure what UCSD students wore after 9/11, because I'm only a second year PhD student. I'm sure they acted like many Americans did and held vigils.

    But I think if you stop to think about what will happen to the Iraqis now, you might also think it's sad.

    As for an issue where I think Bush is better? Well, I can't think of the candidates in absolute terms, only in what I agree with. So, if you are fishing for proof that I'm "open minded" I'll tell you that I think school vouchers (if implemented correctly) is actually a really good idea. Also, "faith based" funding of religious charities isn't such a bad idea either, provided the money goes to help people (as opposed to toward evangelism). The reason I believe so is because for organizations, there is a certain level of overhead you have to get over before you can do real work; thus, a increase in funding of 50% could actually double the charity's effectiveness.

    But let's get back to reality. Bush moved considerably to the right from where we thought he was in 2000. Kerry is much closer to the center, and much closer to reality. I'd much rather have a moderate president than an extreme one (even if he or she was extreme toward the left).

    As for the amazing 1% mandate, I believe here the Republicans, and idiots like Zell Miller, succesfully Willie Horton'ed the issue of terrorism to make enough people believe the Democrats would be worse against terrorism. Just as in the case of Willie Horton, the Dems had to prove they could be just as tough on crime as the Republicans. It was a shameful strategy that paid off, but even Senator McCain thought it was disgusting (and, were it not for McCain, maybe there would have been that 6% mandate Ray Fair and the future's market predicted).

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  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  8. I was at UCSD on september 12 2001, and everybody was a lot more depressed about that than some election, but nobody wore black because nobody had considered that such a thing would happen and we were too shocked for theatrics


    Nate S

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  9. And we have to come to terms with the fact that he *did* win the popular vote. At a minimum, that puts our views out of touch with a majority of Americans. Sure, it is easy to call a majority of Americans "stupid" but this does not get us any closer to the real issue which is to figure out *why* academics seem to be so out of touch with the broader public. In point of fact, Bush winning the popular vote does
    not prove that a majority of Americans prefer him. The incentives in the game where the candidate wins by popular vote are completely different from the game in which the candidate wins by electoral votes, both from the point of view of the candidates' strategies as well as from from the point of view of the voters' strategies. Since the election is not decided by popular vote, the candidates had no incentive to campaign in non-swing regions, and the (individual) voters in such regions have no incentive to vote. For example, if you were going to vote Democratic in Illinois or California, you may as well have stayed at home. Of course you could argue the same thing about people in Texas, but the important thing is that these errors in counting the number of people who prefer each candidate do not cancel out. So the truth about who the majority of Americans prefer cannot be inferred from who won the popular vote in the scenario where winning the popular vote is not the same as winning the game. (Actually it cannot even be inferred from the scenario in which the popular vote actually decides the election, since it doesn't account for people's inertia; all you can conclude is the preference of the majority of people who cared enough to vote. That however is a different issue).

    -Varsha

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  10. Why does disagreeing with half of America put academia out of touch with that half? That is an utterly silly argument.

    I understand perfectly well that "other 50%", they were my friends and community growing up in a small town. I know their views and understand why they have those views. But I certainly disagree with them. In fact I bet you will find that academia is better informed about that "other 50%" than that "other 50%" is informed about anything to do with academia.

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  11. Apparently, we now have a new defintion of mandate: 1/2 + epsilon ...

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  12. Haven't you heard? Akin to hardness amplification, one can also repeat elections a constant number of times to obtain mandates from 1/2+\epsilon to as big as 1-\delta.

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  13. "As an exercise for everyone who claims to be open minded: can you name *any area* in which Bush is better than Kerry? I can...but I won't reveal the answers until the rest give it a shot."

    Hey, Anonymous, are you going to keep to your word an tell us what these areas (in your opinion) are?

    And how about I turn it around to you: Can you name any area in which Europe is better than the United States? I can, but I won't reveal the "answers" until you give it a shot.

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  14. Bush is the better liar. Bush has better mudslingers. Bush has a better propaganda machine. Bush is more theocratic than Kerry. Bush has the bigger ranch. Bush has more appeal to theocrats. And, Bush's father has more pull with the Saudis and OPEC. Bush empolys more covert operatives for his campagins.

    Bush outted one CIA agent too many.

    And, last but not least, Bush employs Bin Laden.

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  15. Europe adopts communications technology faster than the U.S. Europe settled the theocracy issue long ago.

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