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Breaking the cycle: Why I’m voting for a 3rd party candidate.

This is an old problem

Politics in America bend to the will of two parties: Democrats and Republicans. Why?

  1. Money. Big dollars bank roll these two parties. It takes a lot of money to keep your agenda in the news and part of the culture. Brain-washing is expensive. Which brings us to reason number two.
  2. Exposure. They are the loudest parties. They get the most press time and overall attention from major media companies.

Affiliation with, or much less voting for, a party that is neither blue nor red seems foolish. Everybody knows the president is going to come from one of the two big parties. If your values, principles, knowledge of history, or opinions about who would be best for the country bring you to the conclusion that your ideal candidate is not part of the two-party system, you must choose the lesser of two evils, right? It’s the only strategic move, right?

Wrong.

The way out = Principles + Money + Votes

If we continue to vote for the least evil candidate, there will never be other options. Someone must decide to open the door for a more diverse political landscape. The Federal Election Commission allows any party that receives at least 5% of the general election to gain access to federal monies specifically set aside for presidential campaigns. http://www.fec.gov/press/bkgnd/fund.shtml

Since no third-party candidate received 5% of the vote in 2008, only the Republican and Democratic parties are eligible for 2012 convention grants, and only their nominees may receive grants for the general election when they are nominated. Third-party candidates could qualify for retroactive public funds if they receive 5% or more of the vote in the general election.

Some say the electoral college really chooses the presidential election winner so the popular vote doesn’t really matter. But the popular vote does matter. Even if it’s just a bit. Just enough to give a third-party the wedge they need to get into the public’s spotlight a little more.

If your principles line up more with a third-party, then don’t give up hope. Support the candidates you believe in. Vote for what you believe in.

How do you know which candidate lines up with your principles?

I use tools like  VoteSmart.org, ISideWith.comBrigade.com, and OnTheIssues.org to learn who actually makes decisions in favor of things I value. I use FiveThirtyEight.com to keep track of the polls in real time.

Find the candidate that aligns the most with your principles, opinions, morals, economic philosophy, or whatever you really believe would be best for our country. Vote for that person with a clear conscience. You’ve done your part.

The END of the WORRRRLD!

I know, I know, every election is literally the end of all humanity if the other candidate is elected. Remember in 2000 when the Earth exploded upon the election of Bush? Remember in 2008 when the Solar System vaporized when Obama was elected?

Nope.

But maybe this time it really is the end. Maybe if Dollary Clump, or Honald Trinton,  gets elected the galaxy will finally lose hold of itself and collapse deservedly into its own blackhole.

And of course, Aliens

Either way, the newly elected president will obviously walk directly into a meeting with the secret aliens to accept his marching orders. So… why not go down in history as voting for what matters to you!

[Updated for 2016]

Permaculture.

Over the past year I’ve become more consumed with the idea that everyone on Earth can agree on only three basic things: Clean air, clean water, and clean food. Everybody wants them. Everybody needs them. Sadly, the concept of a clean “environment” has become politicized and saturated with unnecessary baggage. This is the beginning of my exploration into Permaculture, a way of thinking about and designing the world in such a way that there is an abundance of those three essential parts of human life. Air. Water. Food.

Explaining Pi

One day my wife and I noticed our boy, 6 at the time, repeating something to himself while holding a dollar bill. Suddenly, he says, “I got it!” He then quoted back to us the serial number from the dollar bill without looking. That’s a random 10 digit number that muh boy decided to memorize without any instruction from us. Parental pride beamed forth.

dollar bill serial number

Since then I’ll occasionally give the boy’s hungry brain something to memorize. What better number to memorize than Pi? Pi is the circumference of a circle divided by its diameter. As far as I know its an infinite number. With the first 39 digits of pi (3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197) you can estimate the circumference of all possible circles within the observable universe within a margin of error about the size of a hydrogen atom. Pretty cool.

I set the boy to the task of memorizing as many digits of Pi as he could. He came to my office one day and got to work. I drew this symbol to explain what he was memorizing and we broke it down into chunks.

kid memorizes 14 digits of pi

By the end of our session he memorized the first 14 digits of Pi!

After a mathematician friend complemented what I’d drawn on the board to explain Pi, I decided to digitize the sketch…

pi = c / d

Now you can buy a shirt, and other products, with this symbol on it here: Click here to buy the shirt and other things I’ve designed

pi-definition-1-tshirts

May your art never die.

The Xbox cable brushes against the guitar strings. They mutter a cautious chirp from behind the TV. Frightened, the guitar blasts me with guilt and musical memories. Dazed I stagger back. Hesitant.
A deep ache rises from a forgotten place. Sorcery! That old stringed box works strong magic against my soul, begging to be heard again. But alas, my will proves stronger. Silence!
I turn my back on the rusty siren to bow before the mighty rectangle.
May your art never die.

Sketch Meditation Day 1 (WIP)

sunday-sketch-meditation-1-25-15

Starting a new sketching habit each day of whatever shapes or imagery feels good to my brain at the moment. This started while drawing with my kids at the kitchen table. I started feeling such a high from drawing simple things with them, that I’ve decided to try and make it a daily habit. Might turn some of these into vectors later and play with some ideas for art prints from them.

Anybody else keep a daily sketch journal or some kind of art meditation?

The easiest way to start buying, selling, and mining Bitcoins

bitcoins-easy-buy-sell-mine

Despite all the negative news around bitcoin, I believe cryptocurrencies are the future. Bitcoin may not be the one to take off, but one of them will eventually.

Here’s how I started earning bitcoins.

  1. Create a Wallet: I setup a digital “wallet” with Coinbase where you can save the bitcoins you’ve mined, or just buy and sell bitcoins directly with Coinbase. You’ll need the wallet “address” to spend your bitcoins elsewhere and receive bitcoins from others. You’ll also need that address to get into mining bitcoins, which is what steps 2 & 3 are about.
  2. Join a Mining Pool and setup a Worker: I joined the BTCGuild to increase my chances of earning bitcoins. Otherwise you’ll mine for months and may not ever receive bitcoins. In a pool you’re joining forces with lots of other miners and are rewarded based on how much processing power your computer contributes to the pool’s efforts. You get smaller increments of coins, but you get compensated more consistently.
  3. Setup a Miner: I installed Asteroid on my Mac Pro to start mining bitcoins. Asteroid will ask you or the name of the Worker you setup in step 2. After following a few more instructions your mining bitcoins. My computer is a beast, but its easily brought to its knees when I have the miner running. Asteroid let’s you throttle the mining intensity so you don’t crash your computer, but be careful. If you choose to allow Asteroid to use your graphics card for mining, it may appear to freeze your computer. There are lots of devices you can buy specifically for mining that are faster than your desktop or laptop.

Each of those 3 steps takes about 5 minutes or so, but may take longer to really understand what each step is about.

*Website Developer Bonus

  • TidBit – Earn bitcoins by letting your visitor’s computer mine bitcoins for you while they visit your site.  This will be the end of website display ads when the finish beta testing. [No longer a thing]

Results

After about a week worth of letting my computer mine for hours everyday if earned about 0.00001497 BTC, which converts to about 0.01293 USD according to this bitcoin to USD converter. So… with my current hardware setup it would take months to earn enough to buy anything. However, if I bought some fancy but inexpensive bitcoin mining hardware I mentioned earlier, I’d be earning at a much faster rate. Either way I’ll probably keep mining. I may even convert a few dollars into BTC. Given the state of the world, a multi-currency strategy couldn’t hurt. Like the saying goes, “Don’t throw all your babies in the egg water.” Or whatever. Let me know if you try it out. Happy mining.

Everyone is Changing Everything

V4 Heart Nebula

“You’re not just anyone. One day, you’re gonna have to make a choice. You have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be. Whoever that man is, good character or bad, is gonna change the world.” – Jonathan Kent to young Clark Kent in Man of Steel

Inspired by this quote from the recent Superman film, I thought about my own internal philosophical and spiritual journey into manhood.

Savior Mode

When I was a boy I thought would change the world with determination and guidance from the omnipotent God. The world would be convinced of God’s love, believe Jesus, and change their lives for the better. We would all levitate into heaven and live happily ever after. Turns out I suck, people are crazy and life kicks you in the face every chance it gets.

The Questioning

After a few extremely disappointing events, I began doubting everything. I lost faith. I lost hope that anyone could change themselves, let alone someone else, a city, or a nation. What once seemed a clear battle between good and evil became random gray chaos. Every good seemed to have evil hidden at the other end. Every cause at the cost of another.

Then I began to think of how this crazy ball of dust and lightening got started. The classic questions made their rounds through my head. Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going?

Evolution? Fine.

But how did it all start? Energy, matter, time and consciousness explode into existence in the form of infinite multi-verses… from nothing… for no reason. My logical brain won’t let me believe that, let alone my emotional/religious beliefs.

Sanity

So either way you slice the mechanics of how the universe works, I’ve got God as the Creator. What is God? At the very least He is a being existing in a meta-layer above our reality/universe(s).  Aside from that He’s… um… large? I’m not really sure. The Original One, maybe? Love itself? I don’t know.

But I do know where I stand. I’m going with the Jesus’ Father/Holy Spirit God. I don’t have some new evidence for the existence of God, or a fuzzy anecdote that paints away the glaring solitude we face floating amid the stars. But I do have hope.

Now I believe more deeply than ever in the power and purpose of one-to-one human interaction, and the God who watches us all.

Time

All we can agree on is now. We’re all here. Right now. We exist. Together. Regardless of the galactic collisions bringing us to this moment, the moment is here. Unless you exist outside of the time/space continuum (i’m looking at you, deities and dead people).

There is no spoon.

Each moment we make decisions that impact everything in and around us. Those choices ripple through our relationships to the edges of the universe. We all have the power to build or destroy. Each look. Each word. Each touch. Each interaction with another human. Each moment we exist in this universe, we change it.

For better or worse, we change the world.