Monthly Archives: October 2020

“Preventing a Disrupted Presidential Election and Transition”

Radiolab: What if? (Podcast, 41 minutes)

“There’s plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he’d do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa’s Transition Integrity Project doesn’t give us any predictions, and it isn’t a referendum on Trump. Instead, it’s a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution.
You can read The Transition Integrity Project’s report here.

“Donald Trump may win or lose, but he will never concede.”

The Atlantic: The Election That Could Break America. “If the vote is close, Donald Trump could easily throw the election into chaos and subvert the result. Who will stop him?” By Barton Gellman.

“The worst case, however, is not that Trump rejects the election outcome. The worst case is that he uses his power to prevent a decisive outcome against him. If Trump sheds all restraint, and if his Republican allies play the parts he assigns them, he could obstruct the emergence of a legally unambiguous victory for Biden in the Electoral College and then in Congress. He could prevent the formation of consensus about whether there is any outcome at all. He could seize on that un­certainty to hold on to power.

Trump’s state and national legal teams are already laying the groundwork for postelection maneuvers that would circumvent the results of the vote count in battleground states. Ambiguities in the Constitution and logic bombs in the Electoral Count Act make it possible to extend the dispute all the way to Inauguration Day, which would bring the nation to a precipice. The Twentieth Amendment is crystal clear that the president’s term in office “shall end“ at noon on January 20, but two men could show up to be sworn in. One of them would arrive with all the tools and power of the presidency already in hand.

“We are not prepared for this at all,“ Julian Zelizer, a Prince­ton professor of history and public affairs, told me. “We talk about it, some worry about it, and we imagine what it would be. But few people have actual answers to what happens if the machinery of democracy is used to prevent a legitimate resolution to the election.“ “

Link via MetaFilter.

“Marzine has gone to the Moon, Travel sickness hasn’t”

Pharmama: Pharmazie auf dem Mond. “Gelegentlich findet man in Kundenretouren von Alt-Medikamenten wirkliche Schätze. Dieses hier zum Beispiel: Marzine war ein Mittel gegen Übelkeit, das ich auch noch kannte. Es ging 2008 – damals habe ich angefangen zu bloggen – in der Schweiz ausser Handel. Es enthält Cyclizin, ist ein altes Antihistaminikum (erste Klasse) und wirkt antiallergisch, antiemetisch (gegen Übelkeit) und beruhigend. Cyclicin gehörte zu den ersten Antihistaminika und wurde von der NASA beim Mondflug als Mittel gegen Übelkeit verwendet. Dabei macht es anscheinend weniger müde als andere Antihistaminika, weshalb es von der WHO 2011 auf die Liste der unentbehrlichen Medikamente für Kinder aufgenommen wurde.”

“Wissenschaft kann man trauen, Wissenschaftlern nicht” (immer)

Mailab: Corona hat meine Meinung geändert. (YouTube, 16:35min) “Vor Corona war ich der festen Überzeugung: Wir brauchen mehr Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler in den Medien – für mehr wissenschaftliche Aufklärung!
Doch so wie es momentan läuft, sorgen mehr Wissenschaftler in den Medien nur für mehr Verwirrung. Was wir zuerst brauchen, ist eine Qualitätskontrolle der Wissenschaftskommunikation.”

Music from the other side of the world

This is Tuvan Throat Singing and music at it’s finest:

Alash Ensemble Live in Chicago for 10th Anniversary Concert at Old Town School of Folk Music. (YouTube, 1 hour 20 min) “A live recording of Alash Ensemble’s 10th anniversary, Chicago concert hosted by The Old Town School of Folk Music in The Myron R. Szold Music & Dance Hall on February 20, 2016”

“The members of Alash are Tuvan throat singers, who use a remarkable technique for singing multiple pitches at the same time. Masters of traditional Tuvan instruments as well as the art of throat singing, they are deeply committed to traditional Tuvan music and culture. At the same time, they are fans of western music. Believing that traditional music must constantly evolve, Alash subtly infuse their songs with western elements, creating their own unique style that is fresh and new, yet true to their Tuvan musical heritage.”

Two of their albums are also available on YouTube: Achai and Buura. (Link to the first of 13 songs in each playlist.)

Huun-Huur-Tu at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California November 18, 2008. (YouTube, 1 hour 18 min) Their website doesn’t seem to exist any more, but you can read about them on Wikipedia: Huun-Huur-Tu.