Penguicon 6.0 recap: day 3

Finally ready to cap off the weekend, I lounged around in the morning for a bit, then packed up and checked out of my room prior to the start of the day’s panels.

Future of Programming Languages. This panel was audience-driven, and frankly somewhat boring, but it was interesting to see what people thought about various topics of the future of programming. I was really hoping more to see some of our esteemed guests (Vernor Vinge, this means you) put forth their visions of the future, but as far as Q&A sessions go it wasn’t too bad. Except the part where one of the panelists spoke dismissively about Perl ๐Ÿ˜›

10 Easy Steps to Becoming a VIM Expert.
This panel ROCKED! Loved it. I need to revisit my notes and practice the tips learned here. I now have a Windows version of Vim installed on my work laptop.

Math and Elections. A room full of opinionated geeks (Republican, Democrat, and Libertarian) participated in a panel discussion about voting systems and political process, and what’s wrong with them. Naturally, the conversation turned adversarial along party lines a couple times, but on the whole not as bad as you might expect. Very little time was spent discussing voting systems, largely (I think) because the room was aware of them and mostly in agreement that our current system sucks. Randal Munroe predicts the demise of the Electoral College within 10 (or was it 20?) years. I hope he’s right. We also covered the morally indefensible practice of gerrymandering.

Red Wings. I skipped the rest of my con schedule (Cryonics, Closing ceremonies, Bitch session) to go home and watch the Wings shut out the Preds to end round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Also to kick back and relax with my out of town friends before they had to go back out of town. They both enjoy this (their first) con, and are planning on doing it again. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Rick Harding  On April 22, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Make sure you share your vim tricks. I need a few more to add to my todo list.

  • Jay  On April 22, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Who cares about the EC? It affects exactly one office. The purpose of representative democracy is not to give people a voice in their government, but to make them think they have a voice so they will accept its edicts.

    First thing we should do is ban publicly financed primaries. I don’t give a crap how the Democans or Republicrats pick their nominees but I sure as hell shouldn’t be paying for it. Next, ban party affiliation from the ballot. If you’re too stupid to remember who is in a certain party and too lazy to bring a list then tough.

    I’ll befoul your blog with other comments as they come to me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • wolfger  On April 22, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    I could post my notes, but Zonker said his official presentation (complete with correction made by an audience member) would be up soon, so I’ll wait a bit and see if I can just link that instead.

  • wolfger  On April 22, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Jay: Good ideas. Keep ’em coming.
    Biggest issue in my mind is IRV. Instant Runoff Voting would enable people to actually vote *for* a candidate they most like, rather than accepting the political machine’s mandate of who your acceptable choices are, and letting people vote *against* the one they like least, which is really what the vast majority of voters do.
    “I don’t like X, but he’s better than Y.”
    “Why not vote for Z?”
    “Z can’t win.”
    IRV does away with that self-fulfilling prophecy.

    I also favor a simple Y/N ballot, in which everybody votes yes or no for each candidate, and the one with the most yes votes wins. Not as good as IRV, but easier for dummies to understand.

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