Predicting Muellers findings

We’ve all been following the Comey/Mueller investigation. What will come of it? Here are my predictions.

  • Trump did not collude. (I’m using the term collusion loosely, including conspiracy and such.)
  • Some folks within the Trump camp, including family members and higherups aligned themselves with the Russians, knowingly. They are guilty, and are traitors.
  • Other higherups within the Trump camp would have no part of it (Sessions).
  • Trump himself never did an actual quid pro quo. He is a dupe, an idiot, a wannabe authoritarian getting played by Russia, but not an actual traitor.
  • After the fact, Trump obstructed justice multiple times in multiple ways.

The aftermath:

  • The traitors within the Trump will be thrown to the wind, and downplayed as bad actors, Trump will not accept any responsibility for their acts or what his campaign did.
  • He will simultaneously claim that it was no big deal and pardon some of them.
  • Congressional Republicans will say that he may have done some bad things, but the Trump coverup is not high crimes and misdemeanors, and will refuse to let impeachment proceedings proceed.

And then the 2018 midterms. Buckle up, it’s going to be a heck of a ride.

Natural Selection in Toilet Paper

Ever seen this? The toilet paper holder has two rolls. Its easier to keep toilet paper in the stall if one roll is completed all the way, so this sticker is placed on a random roll.

That’s the seemingly logical explanation. But the true explanation is that one roll has mutated, and by chance has generated this sticker. The sticker will extend its life at the expense of its compatriot, giving it more time to reproduce and pass on this beneficial mutation. Natural selection at work.

My Latest Favorite Song #16: Stevie Wonder Does the Beatles

It isn’t easy to improve on The Beatles. It takes some giant grapes to say you can do their song better than they did.

Like many Motown artists, Stevie Wonder was a Beatles fan—of sorts. “Stevie loved the Beatles, mostly Lennon and McCartney for their writing,” Wonder’s childhood best friend John Glover says in Mark Ribowsky’s Stevie biography Signed, Sealed, and Delivered. “That was where he saw their genius, not their performing—in fact, he didn’t think they performed some of their songs as well as he could do it.” That’s a sentiment that requires a lot of chutzpah, but Wonder backed it up on 1970’s “We Can Work It Out,” a track that so thoroughly reimagines the Lennon–McCartney classic that it feels like an entirely new piece of music.

Stevie delivers.


Airplane Wings and Bernoulli’s Theorem

I don’t understand how Bernoulli’s theorem works with airplane wings.

The top of the wing is curved. Therefore, the air going past the top has a longer path to travel. Which means that it is moving faster than the air going past the bottom of the wing. Which, by the theorem, means it is lower pressure. Which means that the pressure differential pushes the wing upwards.

But why does having a longer path imply greater speed? Why does the air that is going over the top of the wing need to end up at the back of the wing in the same time as the air traveling over the bottom of the wing? Why doesn’t it all travel at the same speed with no differential in pressure? This inquiring mind wants to know.

Late update: A knowledgeable friend said that Bernoulli is part of it, but there are other effects in play, particularly at the edge and tips of the wing. If it was just Bernoulli, there would be no need to taper the wings as you move to their tips, or angle them towards the back of the plane.

And hey, XKCD also says it’s more complicated! So maybe this blog post is just knowledge dropping…

Sometimes Telling Jokes to Kids Just Wastes Time

Me, telling a blonde joke: How many blondes does it take to change a lightbulb?
Child 1: Two.
Child 2: No, three.
Me: Um. It takes four. One to hold the lightbulb, three to turn the ladder. Get it?
Child 2: I was closer!
Me: That’s not the point!
Child 1: Why does it take 3 to turn the ladder? It should only take one.

That’s a good excuse to reference my favorite scene from Raising Arizona:

* or Poles, MSU grads, whatever…

Roy Moore Post-Mortem

Most of the obvious points have been covered already. I enjoyed this post from Matt Yglesias, particularly the role of luck and comparing it to Donald Trumps successes. A couple other thoughts:

1) Voter Suppression

Turnout in the black and poor demographic was very high. If it hadn’t been, Moore would have beaten Jones. You can bet we will see renewed efforts by the GOP to put up more barriers to voting. The populace has turned against them years ago, they have retained their majority through (among other things) gerrymandering and making it hard to vote. Look for more bills about voter IDs, less location open for less hours, more stripping felons of rights, difficulty for students to vote, less early voting, less automatic registrations. You will see no efforts to make it harder for retirees or the military to vote.

2) Moderation

One of the unfortunate aspects of our party primary systems is how it discourages centrists. To win a primary it doesn’t help to have the majority of all the voters on your sides, it only matters to have most of the voters from your own party. A candidate with appeal to both parties is at a disadvantage. Futhermore, if there are multiple candidates, the one who is unlike the rest can win (the ‘normal’ vote gets split.
In a Republican primary, the crazies often win. Perhaps less on the Democrat side, but the same logic applies. This is how you get the Tea Party. They haven’t been very successful at general elections, but they’ve managed to win a lot of primaries.
When one of the crazies (Roy Moore) loses, it creates an incentive for more moderate Republicans to run. It creates an incentive for voters to vote for more moderate candidates in the primaries. And the same applies on the Democratic side.
Donald Trump aside, the lesson I hope that is being taught is that getting attention and winning the primary is very different than winning office. More centrist candidates from both parties are good for all of us.