8. November, 2003 - lunar eclipse tonight
- The fun this evening lies in the stars. There’s a total lunar eclipse visible tonight about 5:30pm. [press-patch]
- 26 Years After Launching, Voyager Is at Crucial Border of the solar system, having reached (or nearly reached, depending on who’s analyzing the data) the termination shock in the solar wind.
- U.S. baseball team fails to qualify for Athens Olympics. Harsh. [scottk]
- Here’s a Cheap Night Vision system if you’re interested in seeing things in the dark. Note that I haven’t actually bought one yet. I’m still trying to convince myself I really need a night-vision scope.
- I’ve been thinking about Democracy and Majority Rule since the headaches with the Neighborhood Association a couple months ago. Aside from the usual criticisms about representatives elected by less than a majority, there’s a bigger problem that people miss. In our system, majorities rule only when they care to. What the majority wants really isn’t important. What matters is what the majority of people who show up want. Local elections here in Minneapolis are often decided by a few percent of the population (especially in years like this one when there wasn’t anything on the Minneapolis ballot earlier this week).
Or take our neighborhood association. We have roughly five-hundred members, but the typical meeting has thirty people at the meeting. And that’s from a neighborhood where we have roughly nine-thousand residents. On a month with huge turnout, we get one percent of the population at a meeting.
When turnout is so small, decisions are made by the people who show up. A special-interest group swings the decision, even if that group is just “the politically active group” who show up to meetings. Is this good? I don’t know. I’d like to see more people involved, but I also want the people who are involved to have spent enough time learning about the issues to make an informed decision, and few people have the time (or inclination) to do that.
Copyright 2009, Dave Polaschek.
Last updated on Mon, 15 Feb 2010 13:55:16.