Thursday, June 12, 2014

reddit, the poorly organized and nearly unsearchable appendix of The Internet...but Yeah me!


Ah, reddit, you allusive self-proclaimed front page of the Internet.  Instead, I would prolly characterize reddit as the Internet's poorly organized and nearly unsearchable appendix.  However, there is something addictive about its format and engagement.  You may have the intent to only check reddit out for 5 minutes, but that 5 minutes can easily turn to 2 hours.  I enjoy redditting from time to time.  Not often enough to really know how to game the system for karma, but often enough.

The other day, I finally was able to do something amazing.  A link that I posted actually made it to the "front page" and even the top spot of a major subreddit called /r/funny.  I also made it all the way up to page two of the reddit home page with default categories.  If you don't know what that means, don't worry about it.  It's just something that is hard to do on reddit.  The Holy Grail is to actually make it to the "front page" of reddit's home page with default categories.  I missed that mark ever so slightly.  Oh well.  What does this matter?  Well, you know, Internet points!  Anyway, I'm just here chronicling this achievement in my journal.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Article 1 section 2 paragraph 3 of the U.S. Constitution and why you aren't being represented!

Constitution of the United States
Here's what a source says about our House of Representatives, "In the original constitutional debates there were pro-federalist delegates proposing that a House member could represent up to 50,000 constituents, while more anti-federalist framers sought one House member up to 20,000 citizens.  The debate, therefore, was over the people wanting smaller Congressional Districts and not larger. In September 1787, they settled on the language, "The number of representatives shall not exceed one for every 30,000," thus limiting a Congressional District minimum size to 30,000 citizens. No Congressional District maximum size was included because the framers believed both the members of Congress and their constituents would inherently want Congressional Districts as small as the constitution would permit."1

Another source states, "The Constitution says that the total number of representatives shall not be greater than one for every 30,000 citizens. During the ratification debates over the Constitution, opponents argued that such a ratio was inadequate to properly represent the country. But even using the original ratio in the Constitution, the House of Representatives would have consisted of about 9,400 members after the 2000 census. Faced with the ever increasing size of the House, Congress voted in 1929 to limit the number of representatives to 435."2

Needless to say, our current Congress has not been keeping the size of Congressional Districts in-line with the intent of our Constitution's framers.  Today, Congressional Districts have 710,767 citizens. This is way over the original expectations of roughly 50,000.

Can you imagine a House of Representatives with 9400 members?  How would business get done?  Well, maybe that's the point.  There would be so many representatives, that votes would have to be made based on what the person feels is right for their 30,000 voters, rather than how much money they can collect from lobbyist for their next campaign. 9400 Representatives would make it a lot harder for lobbyist to sway the will of our elected officials.  It would make pork barrel projects almost nonexistent because districts would be too small to gather enough support for the most silly of funding requests.  It's a lot harder to buy off 9400 people than it is 435.  Particularly if each of those 9400 people have to go back to talk directly to just 30,000 people several times a year.  Representatives' support would really have to come from the local grassroots level.  They might even vote per their constituents desires!  Imagine that!

The one problem with a number of Representatives being so large is that bill introduction may become a bit unmanageable. If we keep to the current system of making huge bills with tons and tons of legal code, things would be unmanageable.  However, that doesn't necessarily need to be a roadblock. Maybe we shouldn't keep the current system of bill introduction!  Maybe our Representatives should really just submit succinct laws that apply to very specific things.  We would still need a huge bill from time to time to address social and other national issues, and the national budget, but we would pretty much end riders that plague the current system.  We can even use 21st Century technology to make such bills easier to process.  (Anyone hear of this Wonder called The Internet?)

More meaningful and useful laws might actually get passed because they wouldn't be tied up so frequently in political maneuverings.  Political Parties couldn't hold our government hostage with standoffs, because their members would be so easily replaced.  We would actually be able to hold our Representatives accountable!

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Kelowna, BC


Due to a quirk in my planning, I found myself in Kelowna, BC for a couple of days.  Kelowna is in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia on the shores of the Okanagan Lake.  When planning my trip, I had no idea that this is the place from where the stories of the Ogopogo lake monster originate.

A great place to watch the lake for signs of the beast is at Summerhill Pyramid Winery, dinning outside on the deck of the Sunset Organic Bistro.  I wasn't able to spot any lake monsters, but my waitress said with a sly grin that she did indeed have some recently recorded video of something in the water.

View from the deck of the restaurant

It's called the Summerhill Pyramid Winery for a reason.  The wine is made is under this pyramid.

I only discovered that wineries are thing in this region after I arrived.  Had I known ahead of time, I might have planned accordingly.  Another winery I briefly visited was Volcanic Hills Estate Winery.  For tasting, they only offered a few whites and unimpressive blended reds this early in the season.  Had I planned on coming to Volcanic Hills ahead of time for the purpose of wine tasting, I would've been disappointed.

Kelowna has a relatively active downtown area with several restaurants and bars for the diners and revelers alike.  It was here that I finally spotted the lake monster.

This guy was posing for photos all day.

 Wandering around downtown, I ran into this Futurama-esque robot looking machine, who appeared to be a silent sentry guarding a bygone time.


"Halt!  You may go here, but no farther!"

There is a rather nice resort here too.


To commemorate the trip, I got this T-shirt that is all kinds of awesome!


Here's the town and lake from the nearby Knox Mountain.