Will the Republican Party Survive the 2016 Election?

[Great article, see my commentary at the end of this post]

Will the Republican Party Survive the 2016 Election:

The GOP planned a dynastic restoration in 2016. Instead, it triggered an internal class war. Can the party reconcile the demands of its donors with the interests of its rank and file?

Commentary (Dak):

The Republican ‘elite’ seems to be completely out of touch with their base these days.  If it was a conversation, I’d say both parts of the party are ‘talking past each other.’  But the ‘elite’ isn’t listening, so the base is getting more and more extreme just to feel that someone (anyone) is listening.

The Democrats, on the other hand, have abandoned and written off their former base in the ‘red’ states, and mock them.  A populist Democrat, who actually listened to ‘rural’ concerns, could win them back.  I’m not at all sure that the Republican party will survive in its current form.



Analysis of the Macbook charger

Ken Shirrif did an excellent tear-down on the Mac laptop chargers.  Impressive.

The chargers are generally speaking, terrific.  In particular, it has a small microcontroller that serves as a watchdog, and turns the rest of the charger on and off when connected (or not).  This is laudable from an energy conservation perspective!

I have one pet peeve that has two root causes:

1) The outer coaxial conductor is aluminum, which work hardens and gets brittle over time, especially when the outer insulation layer gets stiffer. I think this is why the newer cables are even more problematic than the older ones.  Coaxial conductors are terrific for reducing radio noise, especially with a switching power supply, but don’t go well around tight radius curves.

2) People aren’t very good about not pulling on their cables and wrapping them tightly around corners. This is a particular problem right at the connection points on both ends. It’s fundamental to human behavior: people do what the object ‘affords,’ and cables look like they are meant to be wrapped up and pulled on. (Read Donald Normal’s “The Design of Everyday Things” for a good explanation of James J. Gibson’s “Theory of Affordances.”)

Bottom line: Apple would be well served to move away from the ‘pretty’ round coax able design and move to a flat design with more and thinner conductors, so that the strain between the outer side and inner side was reduced when going around sharper corners. Adding cable connectors so that the cable is replaceable, not just the whole charger, would also help.

(I posted a shorter version of this in a comment on Ken Shirrif’s blog.)


Things that make you go ‘hmm’

It’s just an off-the-cuff observation, but: although global warming is accurate, it’s a completely unhelpful observation. The real ‘hits you where you notice it’ change is ‘climate change.’

This week’s climate change notice: Major snowstorms on the east coast of the US (‘Snomageddon’), and not enough snow for the winter olympics in British Columbia, Canada.  While the real Great White North is somewhere between Ontario and Quebec, it’s still waaay up north.

It’s climate change; yes, it’s real, and no, there’s not enough data to accelerate bizarro multi-billiion-dollar government driven economic compulsion that North Americans should just stop driving cars.

Let’s keep our eyes on what the real issue is folks: we want to have better lives. Fossil fuels are just another kind of leverage, specifically potential energy leverage. Leverage for human effort is what makes us rich.