Europeans Are Mixed

Or in more informal terms, honkies are mutts.

The three migrations that populated Europe were:

  • Paleolithic: likely from the Middle East.
  • Neolithic: from Anatolia (Turkey) in the Middle East, by farmers.
  • Steppe: from the South European Russian part of the steppe (grassland) zone, by users of domestic horses and wheeled vehicles. These migrants took the Indo-European languages with them, spreading them over Europe and southern Asia.
Continue reading
Advertisements

The US Electoral College: Part 2, Alex OC

In my first part, I discussed the US Electoral College (United States Electoral College – Wikipedia) and how it originated, and in this part, I will discuss problems with it and efforts to abolish it or work around it.

Despite being advertised as a search committee, the Electoral College soon became a rubber-stamp body, and the electoral vote has long been interpreted as an approximate proxy for the popular vote. The electoral vote usually amplifies popular-vote margins, but out of the 58 Presidential elections, the two votes have gone in opposite directions 5 times, in 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016. The 1824 election was the first of the 49 elections where at least some of the electors were chosen by popular vote.

In recent decades, the EC has caused a distortion in campaigning priorities, with much effort devoted to states that are nearly evenly divided: “swing states” or “battleground states”. States that are reliably Democratic or reliably Republican tend to get ignored.

There have been numerous attempts to abolish it or work around it.

Continue reading

The US Electoral College: Part 1, Alex H

The United States elects its Presidents in a very odd indirect way. Each state chooses some electors, and those electors then vote for the President and Vice President. Those electors were originally chosen by state legislatures, but with the rise of political parties, they soon became chosen by whichever party wins each state’s popular vote, the vote of ordinary voters. Electors normally vote for whichever candidates that their party has nominated, with exceptions being “faithless electors”.

Each state gets a number of electors equal to the sizes of its House and Senate delegations. Most states use “winner take all”, but Maine and Nebraska use one elector per House district and two electors for the whole state.

The name “Electoral College” seems odd by present-day standards, but that is because “college” is used in an earlier meaning of “assembly” as opposed to the present meaning of “institution of higher education”. So for present-day people, it ought to be renamed “Electoral Assembly”.

How did it come into existence?

Continue reading

Creative Writing Update

Three years ago, I wrote Some Creative Writing | NexusZine and I must update that. I’ve published my stories on:

Three of these stories are inspired by UFO contactee George Adamski’s alleged close encounters of the friendly kind. I ask “What if they are partially real?” and work out the consequences as science-fiction stories.

  • Tunguska and the Titanic – what might GA and his ET friends have in common?
  • The Great Bomb – a nuclear bomb, of course.
  • Contact across the Solar System – starting with GA’s contacts and continuing across the decades to contact for real in the near future.

The other ones are

  • Watching a Supernova Up Close – my first storytelling effort
  • Lincoln and Darwin Raglanized – if someone tried to kill them in their infancy, as had allegedly happened to many legendary heroes.
  • Alexander the Great and the Four Noble Truths – if AtG was like King Ashoka of India
Continue reading

Theories of Time

Past, present, and future. Which is real and which is not? Philosophers have had various theories, and a century ago, philosopher JME McTaggart classified two common theories as the A series and the B series. He hoped to prove that time is unreal by arguing that time satisfies both the A series and the B series, and that those two theories contradict each other. Thus, time has no reality.

Here are all the possible theories. I have added the growing block universe, a halfway theory between presentism and eternalism, and also four other theories which I have named, and which seem to have no advocates.

TheoryPast?Present? Future?
Unreality
X
A series, presentismX
Growing block universeXX
X
XX
XX
B series, eternalism, block universeXXX
Continue reading

Genesis 1 Structure

With the new editor’s support for tables, I decided to take on the structure of the first creation story in the Bible. Each number is for the day when something is created.

EnvironmentsInhabitants
Celestial1. Day, night4. Sun, Moon, stars
Far Terrestrial2. Sea, sky5. Flying animals, aquatic animals
Near Terrestrial3. Land, (plants)6. Land animals, humanity

On the day after these labors, God rested, taking the first day off in the history of the Universe. This is rather obviously a charter myth for the seventh-day Sabbath.

Back to the previous six days, God creates each of these three kinds of environments, and then returns to create their inhabitants. It is very orderly and systematic, and very unlike the second creation story, with its very improvised look. It even fits the factorization of 6 into a product of 2 and 3 — environments vs. inhabitants and three kinds of environments.

This structure explains the oddity of flying animals before land animals, and the story also has the oddity of placing plants in environments rather than in inhabitants.

The Fermi Paradox: Are We The First?

This is a possible consequence of the “too rare” solution, that we may be the first ones to emerge in our galaxy, or even all of the Universe that we can observe. However, this solution only requires rarity before our emergence, and not after.

But considering when we emerged, it is hard to point to what might make our emergence rare before when we emerged and common afterward. An obvious possible limiting factor is metallicity, the abundance of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium, what astrophysicists call metals. Old and exploding stars have gradually been enriching the interstellar medium with metals, giving later-forming stars more and more of metals. However, Earth-sized exoplanets have been detected orbiting stars with a wide range of metallicities, sometimes much less than the Sun’s (An abundance of small exoplanets around stars with a wide range of metallicities | Nature). This makes it unlikely that the Solar System was the first planetary system with habitable planets.

Continue reading