November 2008

Every time I see a geographical map showing polling results, I’m annoyed, because it makes the US look so much redder than it is.  Cartograms, which scale state sizes by population, are much better for grasping the political situation.  I created one for the 2006 election here, and highlighted one from the 2004 election here

Here, courtesy of Krugman, is a map showing likely electoral votes this year.  It’s quite a contrast to a geographical map

Cartogram of likely electoral votes

Cartogram of likely electoral votes

Don’t forget to vote.  Not only can you help restore the rule of law, restore hope, and reprimand fear, hate, and irresponsibility, but (at least around here) you can get a free coffee at Starbucks.  Mmm, coffee.

There is such a thing as an intelligent conservative; Andrew Sullivan is one.  And like many intelligent conservatives, he’s voting for Obama.  His bottom-line reasons are to restore the rule of law after what he calls Bush & Cheney’s “de facto coup against the constitution”.  But he also finds Obama something we haven’t seen for a long time: someone who can inspire.

Obama, moreover, seems to bring out the best in people, and the calmest, and the sanest. He seems to me to have a blend of Midwestern good sense, an intuitive understanding of the developing world that is as much our future now as theirs’, an analyst’s mind and a poet’s tongue. He is human. He is flawed. He will make mistakes. His passivity and ambiguity are sometimes weaknesses as well as strengths.

But there is something about his rise that is also supremely American, a reminder of why so many of us love this country so passionately and are filled with such grief at what has been done to it and in its name. I endorse Barack Obama because I will not give up on America, because I believe in America, and in her constitution and decency and character and strength.

 Go and vote, and don’t watch the news until the evening.

Most annoying thing: I finally have the time to travel, but– no income to do it with.  Oh well.  I think I’ll write a book instead.

Best thing: my bug list, that stack of notes on things to do, my MBOs, all the support stuff from the last few years of coding– all gone, somebody else’s problem now.

I picked up Fallout 3, and so far it’s a winner.  Companies seem to have a house style, and this is recognizably a kin– a dirtier cousin– of Oblivion.  The general mechanics and the wide-openness are similar.  But it’s also way better in graphics, voice acting, character appearance, and quest quality.

Here’s my character, in a relatively safe spot in the post-nuclear wasteland:

Fallout 3 screenshot

Just look at that gorgeous rendering

It’s good enough that I’m willing to put up with the game freezing up at unpredictable intervals.  (Sometimes it’s a few minutes, sometimes a few hours.)

So far it also feels harder than Oblivion.  It’s a constant struggle to keep up your health and find ammo.  I was proud of myself for clearing out a nest of giant fire ants, using virtually every weapon I had except for the BB gun and the police baton.

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