Monthly Archives: October 2016

2016 Ballot Recommendations – Federal Races

People seem to want my recommendations in the judicial elections. I’m working on them, and have already talked myself into one perhaps surprising recommendation. But this year I’m doing the whole ballot because so much is at stake. So today it’s the big stuff – the federal races.

Important note if you’re voting early before I get the next two installments up: as well as voting in the top ticket races, be sure to vote NO on Florida’s deceptively worded Constitutional Amendment 1 – that’s important too.

Federal Office

US President: Hillary Clinton.

I am not a big fan of the neo-conservative and militaristic foreign policy, but on almost any other policy metric, Clinton scores from fairly well to great, depending on the topic. And on the one, most critical, issue she is transcendentally wonderful, that being the issue of Not Being Donald Trump. This may be the most important vote you cast in this lifetime; and we need to not just win but run up the score both to make a point, and to avoid any chance of subsequent civil unrest on claims of a stolen election.

US Senate: Patrick Murphy.

Marco Rubio is an empty suit. So, alas, is his opponent. On policy there is much less difference between them than one has a right to expect, as Murphy is a former Republican. Even after switching parties Murphy continued to vote more like a Republican than most Democrats – at least until he decided to run for Senate, at which point Murphy toed the party line a bit more.

I had planned to vote for neither.  I’ve reconsidered because so many members of the GOP have vowed to obstruct Clinton on judges and everything else.  In normal times we might be able to risk divided government, and in normal times I’d suggest not voting in this one as both candidates are depressing. But we don’t have that luxury: Florida’s Senate seat may be the swing between the parties that determines if we will have a fully functioning Supreme Court, or a gradually shrinking one. Hold your nose and vote Murphy.

House of Representatives (FL-27)

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has earned admiration both for constituent services and for her principled and very early separation from Donald Trump. Her opponent, Scott Fuhrman, has good positions on the issues but also has a checkered past. There are probably few if any Republicans in the House who more clearly have earned re-election in a normal year than Ros-Lehtinen; that result is also pretty much a forgone conclusion unless we have a wave election the size of which remains hard to imagine. The case for Furhman is like the case for Murphy – it’s about who runs the House. That said, in Murphy/Rubio you have two dispiriting candidates so it makes sense to vote the national consequences as a tie-breaker.  In Ros-Lehtinen you have an admirable politician who happens to caucus with the wrong guys, and votes wrong on financial issues of importance to her constituents – but votes her district on gay rights and immigration.

Posted in 2016 Election, Miami | 1 Comment

How to Fix Chrome Suggested Article Annoyance

Techcrunch to the rescue:

Several months ago, Chrome started experimenting with adding suggested articles to your new tab page. That was neat when it was optional. In the new Chrome 54, it’s mandatory. Here’s how to turn it off.

When you open a new tab in Chrome 54, if you scroll down you’ll see recently used bookmarks, followed by a list of suggested articles (the same one Google Now shows you that can be a little bit of an echo chamber). If you’re not a fan, open both of the following settings in Chrome and disable them:



You may have to restart the browser for it to work. Once it’s done, however, those suggested articles should be gone. Enjoy your clean new tab page!

Posted in Internet | 1 Comment

Coup de Khan


The US phrase “tear-jerker” doesn’t do this video justice. I prefer a phrase I heard once in England–this is a “two hankie” production.

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Slashdot has an excited item about a new catalyst that turns CO2 dissolved in water into ethanol. CO2 To Ethanol In One Step With Cheap Catalyst Sounds great, right?

Not so fast: if I understand it (corrections welcomed!) the paper itself warns it still takes too much energy to be worthwhile:

We report an electrocatalyst which operates at room temperature and in water for the electroreduction of dissolved CO2 with high selectivity for ethanol. The overpotential (which might be lowered with the proper electrolyte, and by separating the hydrogen production to another catalyst) probably precludes economic viability for this catalyst, but the high selectivity for a 12-electron reaction suggests that nanostructured surfaces with multiple reactive sites in close proximity can yield novel reaction mechanisms. This suggests that the synergistic effect from interactions between Cu and CNS presents a novel strategy for designing highly selective electrocatalysts.

Guess we haven’t solved global warming yet.

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Surreal Indeed


This is the same guy who said Obama smells of sulfur.

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Bully Pulpit

I don’t much care for the start of this Clinton campaign video, but it ends very strong.

PS. I apologize for the fact that after the video ends, it segues straight into another one about Indiana. I couldn’t find one that didn’t.

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