starlady: Three weeks for Dreamwidth (3 weeks)
[personal profile] starlady
Q&A  Days 1-8

9. Tell me about your default icon.
My default icon, showing a crow on a laptop squawking into a microphone.
I have a thing for crows, and since this icon portrays a crow perched on a laptop squawking into a microphone, to me it more or less typifies who I am: opinionated, sometimes loud, and on the internet.

10. Pick 10 random icons from your userpics and tell me about them.
I did this by clicking the 'choose random icon' button on the post page 10 times. More icon blather is here.

Icon showing a winter night, with a streetlamp shining through the snow.
My keywords for this one are "a sad tale's best" because this is an icon about winter, and the full quotation from Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale goes that "a sad tale's best for winter." I tend to use it for sad/grim/depressing/winter posts.

A close-up on the alethiometer from The Golden Compass movie.
Though the keyword for this one is "compass," it's actually the alethiometer from the movie adaptation of The Golden Compass (the compass in the title does not actually refer (solely) to the alethiometer, but to the compasses with which God marked out the universe in Blake's illustrations after Milton).

Sheeta and Pazu look out over Laputa in the movie Castle in the Sky.
Called "think in layers" after Tom Lamarre's descriptions of animetic movement in The Anime Machine; it shows Sheeta and Pazu from Castle in the Sky staring out at Laputa. I love that movie, and it's a beautiful scene.

Princess Tomoyo from Tsubasa prays.
This is a coloring of Princess Tomoyo of Nihon-koku. I used it a lot when I was translating Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, less so now, but it's still one of my most beautiful icons, I think.

Steampunk snow goggles saying "yuletide wrangling (snow goggles required)"
I had [personal profile] outou make this for me two Yuletides ago, when I'd just started tag wrangling and we were frantically doing a lot of behind the scenes work to get the AO3 ready for the Yuletide archive import (which, I'm told, will happen someday). Her comment was, "These goggles wouldn't even work!" but that's what makes them steampunk, as far as I'm concerned. I use this one for all tag wrangling. And you know, it's only today that I realized that there's a typo on the icon. Hah.

A horse, a robot, an alien and a dude under text that says "I'll go to the convenience store and come back" in Japanese.
My "obligatory Japan icon" comes by way of [livejournal.com profile] iconomicon, one of many, and is apparently the cover of a choose your own adventure novel or some such? In any event, it features a horse, a robot, a dude, and some kind of alien/android on an adventure to a convenience store. That seems fitting.

Icon that says Han Shot First in Star Wars-type font.
I grew up watching the original Star Wars movies over and over and over (seriously: my sister and I wore out two separate VHS sets of the trilogy), and as far as I'm concerned, Han shot first. This one is captioned "revisionist historian," because I have a penchant for irony, and so I tend to use it when people are ignoring historical facts a lot too.

Icon of Utena with her sword saying "Justice for all"
Utena doing her signature saber-lunge finishing move under the legend "Justice for all." That was my first anime, and is still one of my absolute favorites.

Icon saying "all I want for Heaven's Day is worlds enough and time"
Made for me. My sister and I really liked the anime The Big O, which despite the title is about giant robots in an amnesiac near-future New York, where instead of Christmas they celebrate Heaven's Day. "Worlds enough and time" is of course from Andrew Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress": "Had we but world enough, and time,/This coyness, Lady, were no crime…"

Holmes, Watson, and Mary from the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie, looking unimpressed at the viewer.
The keywords are "not impressed OT3," which is pretty literal: it's Holmes, Watson, and Mary from the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie, looking unimpressed. I think this is the only shot in the entire movie where all of them are in-frame and facing the same way, i.e. not fighting. I use this when talking about OT3s of all kinds.

11. What features do you think Dreamwidth should have that it doesn't currently?
Um. I'm really looking forward to scheduled posting, since I try not to post more than once a day and to time my posts to hit the sweet spot of people being around, which is more challenging since I've moved out to the west coast and I frequently have other things to be doing during the day. Which is to say: at this point I pre-write a good 85% of my posts in text files.

12. What do you consider the 10 most "telling" interests from the list on your profile? Why?
Hmm. New Jersey, Quakerism, history, copyleft, fair use, fandom, books, manga, anime, languages. I think those 10 are a reasonable triangulation of my core interests/formative influences. Certainly my interests as a whole--which I haven't really updated for years--still are fairly accurate.

13. Do you have any unique interests on your user profile? What are they? How'd they get there?
Apparently yes! 'Abolishing the electoral college' is, I think, pretty self-explanatory; 'post-westphalia' and 'r2p' are not. 'Post-Westphalia' is a recent and much debated idea within political science that basically sees the current international system transitioning to a model in which the sovereignty of recognized nation-states is no longer the constitutive principle. 'R2P' is the 'responsibility to protect,' which the U.N. said it had in Security Council Resolution 1674 in 2006 and which is more or less in action in Libya right now. As for both of these: I find them quite interesting, but I remain highly skeptical (see above re: Libya). 'Hearing chimes at midnight' is also unique, and is a leftover from my days as a pretentious undergraduate (it's from a Shakespeare quotation). I may still be pretentious, but I'm no longer an undergrad.

14. What is your favourite subject to discuss on Dreamwidth?
Hmm. Books, anime, manga, mostly! And large popular fandom things like Doctor Who, etc, etc. I love reading everyone's reactions and speculations.

15. What 5 things are you obsessed with currently?
16. What are you glad you did but haven't really had a chance to post about?
17. How many people on your reading list have you met IRL?
18. What don't you talk about here, either because it's too personal or because you don't have the energy?
19. What are you most interested in reading?
20. Any questions from the audience?
21. What's your favourite thing about Dreamwidth?

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-08 19:41 (UTC)
jesse_the_k: Macro photo of left eye of my mostly black border collie mutt (LUCY old and no longer)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
Wow. You have a shiny brain!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-09 14:46 (UTC)
From: [personal profile] royalarchivist
Abolishing the electoral college

I wish more Americans felt this way, too.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-09 18:25 (UTC)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
What is so bad about the electoral college? I mean, I think most Americans regard it as a mystifying and harmless thing that they don't understand but doesn't seem worth changing, and I think I'm an oddity in actually thinking it's pretty good at what it does, but... what's your problem with the electoral college?

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-09 18:47 (UTC)
From: [personal profile] royalarchivist
I'm sure Starlady can go into much greater detail of what she doesn't like about it if she wants, but my feelings about it can be summed up by the 2000 election. You know, the one where Al Gore won, but didn't. If that had been the only time that had ever happened maybe it could be called a fluke or whatever, but it was not. Anyway, that it is possible that the wishes of the majority of the nation can be ignored and countered by 500ish people in power is not a Good Thing. Unless you're one of those 500ish people, in which case, hey, good for you. According to the Wikipedia article on electoral college (keeping the source of this information in mind) the majority of Americans are actually against the electoral college, or at least were in 2001 and 2004.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-09 21:22 (UTC)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
The unreasonableness in 2000 doesn't come from the Electoral College (In my opinion it came from inadequate election controls. Any time an election needs to go to the courts to decide it, we have a problem. But that's not the EC's fault.). As you note, previously in our history the winner of the popular vote has not won the election. This doesn't mean that the wrong person won the election. It doesn't mean Al Gore won the election in 2000. It means that the Electoral College has worked as it was supposed to, to prevent a tyranny of the majority result from crowding out regional needs. A grand and elegant compromise that was originally designed to keep Virginia's interests from overwhelming Rhode Island's just because Virginia had more people, it's still the glue that holds our federalist nation together.

I'm pretty sure it's a good thing that the majority of a country of 300 million people, a diverse nation with non-equally distributed population and a history of secessionist rhetoric, can't choose the president. You look at that
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<a href"http://www.lesjones.com/www/images/posts/2000-electoral-map.gif">') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

The unreasonableness in 2000 doesn't come from the Electoral College (In my opinion it came from inadequate election controls. Any time an election needs to go to the courts to decide it, we have a problem. But that's not the EC's fault.). As you note, previously in our history the winner of the popular vote has not won the election. This doesn't mean that the wrong person won the election. It doesn't mean Al Gore won the election in 2000. It means that the Electoral College has worked as it was supposed to, to prevent a tyranny of the majority result from crowding out regional needs. A grand and elegant compromise that was originally designed to keep Virginia's interests from overwhelming Rhode Island's just because Virginia had more people, it's still the glue that holds our federalist nation together.

I'm pretty sure it's a good thing that the majority of a country of 300 million people, a diverse nation with non-equally distributed population and a history of secessionist rhetoric, can't choose the president. You look at that <a href"http://www.lesjones.com/www/images/posts/2000-electoral-map.gif">2000 map</a> and think Wow, we really could support a secessionist movement in this country, given the contiguity of voter blocks. There is a significant relationship between geography and party representation. The electoral college reduces that tension. It forces candidates to address the needs of states that would otherwise be ignored by a candidate running a national election. It prevents the country from being run purely in the interests of denser areas. These are all good things.

The tyranny of the majority, on the other hand, has been a serious threat to American democracy since the beginning. Mill warned against it. Washington warned against it. De Tocqueville warned against it. Just because a majority wants to do something doesn't make it just. Majoritarian decision-making is an American standard because it is more effective at protecting more people than any other system we know, but it needs counterbalances.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-09 21:49 (UTC)
From: [personal profile] royalarchivist
Hmm, you do make a valid point about the overwhelming power of the majority and the need to protect the minority from it. I will concede you that point, indeed. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-10 16:18 (UTC)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
I mean, if you're interesting in talking about how we might tweak the electoral college, I'm open to that discussion. I'm sure it isn't perfect. But I definitely think it's preferrable to a national popular vote.

I do believe there's a granularity issue, that perhaps an electoral-collegy system based on congressional district sized regions might be better. But states aren't gerrymanderable and congressional districts are, and I think that's one of their great virtues as electoral regions.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-10 16:30 (UTC)
From: [personal profile] royalarchivist
Haha, I appreciate your desire to listen to my opinions on this matter but I personally really hate talking about politics at all. This thread is the most I've talked about anything remotely political in probably the entirety of the past year. Combined. >_>;;

You, Starlady, and I'm sure many other people, have put a lot more thought into this subject than I have, so I would want to leave it to those of you who actually put in the effort to make the decisions. If said decisions were ever to be made. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-09 21:21 (UTC)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
The electoral college significantly OVERVALUES less populous states. In a direct popular vote, Rhode Island's 1 million people represent ~ 1/300 votes. In our electoral college system Rhode Island has ~ 3/500 votes.

In a direct popular vote, why spend any time on the needs of Rhode Islanders at all?

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-10 16:31 (UTC)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
Well, the candidates always seem to spend some time in my safe blue state, both because we're a strong fundraising state for both parties and because even a safe state can be lost if the electoral conditions are right.

I also don't think, from my experience, that direct popular votes feel more empowering in the sense of your vote counting. I still remember the year I voted as a young Republican in New York City and every single thing I voted for I was on the losing side. Not just mayoral vote and council vote, every single ballot initiative. It felt completely like my vote hadn't counted, though of course it meant as much as my vote in a close election would.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-10 19:11 (UTC)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
I remembered an old conversation I'd had on this topic and looked it up to see what points had been made. Interestingly, I find that I took up a roughly opposite position that time: The tyranny of the majority is good, distortion of the majority is bad, and the goal of elections ought to be to fairly represent the interests of the people as well as possible. But this is because I was arguing against a more direct elector system then, rather than against a direct popular vote. On the whole, I find I don't necessarily disagree with anything I said on either this post or that one.

It was an interesting conversation, either way. It's on the LJ of the friend who went to the Arcade Fire show with me: http://freeradical42.livejournal.com/73077.html

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-10 18:52 (UTC)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
Do Rhode Islanders identify as Rhode Islanders or as centrist/conservative/liberal, for the purposes of voting in the presidential election?

I think this is an interesting question. The 2000 electoral map I tried to link to above suggests that regionalism is still a vital force in national politics, though of course there are fantastic purple nation maps of that election out there which show that with greater granularity it's much less clear cut. Still, I think it's telling as anything that Gore won the West Coast, the upper Northeast, and some Great Lakes states and Bush won the rest of the country. It's not exactly like you can disentangle regional interests from political affiliation.

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