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Old 2010-05-05, 11:07   Link #7061
TinyRedLeaf
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Singapore
Age: 39
Goodbye petabytes, hello zettabytes
Quote:
New York (May 3): The explosion of social networking, online-video services and digital photography, plus the continued popularity of mobile phones, e-mail and web browsing, coupled with the growing desire of corporations and governments to know and store ever more data about everyone has created an unprecedented amount of digital information and introduced a new word to the nerd lexicon: a zettabyte.

Research published today estimates that the so-called digital universe grew by 62 per cent last year to 800,000 petabytes, or 0.8 zettabytes. That is the equivalent of all the information that could be stored on 75 billion Apple iPads, which would equal the digital output from a century's worth of constant tweeting by all of Earth's inhabitants.

A petabyte is a million gigabytes.

By way of stark contrast between the output of present-day humanity and its pre-digital predecessor, experts estimate that all human language used since the dawn of time would take up about only 5,000 petabytes if stored in digital form.

That is less than 1 per cent of the digital content created since someone first switched on a computer.

This year, the planet's digital content will blast through the zettabyte barrier to reach 1.2 ZB, according to the fourth annual survey of the world's bits and bytes conducted by technology consultancy IDC and sponsored by IT firm EMC.

A zettabyte, incidentally, is roughly half a million times the entire collections of all the academic libraries in the United States.

- GUARDIAN.CO.UK
And I was just starting to get used to having more than a tetrabyte of hard-disk storage...
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Old 2010-05-05, 11:09   Link #7062
killer3000ad
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Things are 'heating' up in Greece as protests get violent.

Athens bank firebombed, three die

Quote:
Athens, Greece (CNN) -- Police sirens and the smell of tear gas filled the streets around Greece's parliament building Wednesday after protests against government spending cuts turned violent, then deadly.

Three people died and at least four others were missing after a fire bomb hit a bank in central Athens, the Greek fire brigade told CNN. The victims, two women and a man, were bank employees, they said.

Another 20 people were trapped on the floor above the MARFIN bank and were being rescued by firefighters, the fire brigade said.

The three dead were removed from the premises along with five survivors, the fire brigade said. They would not say whether the five survivors included any of those missing inside the bank.

Protesters were throwing bottles at police guarding the burned-out bank, shouting "torturers" and "liars" because they don't believe people were killed inside. Riot police were moving in to push the crowd away, CNN's Diana Magnay reported from the scene.

Bins and cars were set on fire around the city. Two public buildings were on fire and a fire truck was ablaze near the Temple of Zeus, the fire brigade said.

Riot police in helmets and shields ket back protesters who threw bottles, sticks, and rocks. Booms pierced the air every time the police fired canisters of tear gas at the crowds.

A mass of protesters made it onto the steps in front of the Greek parliament building early in the afternoon before riot police pushed them back.

Members of the parliamentary economic committee are inside the building reviewing a package of austerity measures to contain Greece's spiraling debt. The measures are highly unpopular in Greece and the protesters on the steps demanded that the lawmakers come outside and face them.

The protests happened amid a general strike by thousands of public sector workers unhappy with the austerity measures, which largely target them. Private sector workers joined them on the picket lines Wednesday, along with thousands of transport workers -- which brought transportation services to a halt.

Police estimated there were 15,000 workers were on the streets of Athens, but unions said there were many more. Among them were teachers, bank employees and doctors.

Throughout the capital, about 1,700 officers stood guard to maintain order.

The workers are protesting cuts in spending that the government says are needed to pull the country out of debt.

The Greek Parliament is expected to vote on the austerity measures -- which include wage freezes and higher taxes -- by the end of Thursday.

The Finance Ministry said the austerity bill goes before a parliamentary committee Wednesday and will be up for debate by the whole body the following day.

Tuesday, about 2,000 protesters representing teachers from the public sector marched past the Finance Ministry and Parliament.

In central Athens, protesters threw plastic bottles and sticks at riot police. At another demonstration, members of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) erected large banners near the Parthenon. "People of Europe Rise Up," said one.

The European Union announced a 110 billion ($145 billion) aid package for Greece on Sunday. Soon after, Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou announced the tough cost-cutting measures to meet European Union and International Monetary Fund conditions for the deal.

The package includes a promise by Greece to cut its budget deficit to 3 percent of the country's gross domestic product, as required by European Union rules, by 2014, according to Papaconstantinou.

The measures, he said, were needed for Greece to secure its financial lifeline.

Greece has a choice between "destruction" and survival, and "we have chosen, of course, to save the country," Papaconstantinou said.
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Old 2010-05-05, 11:17   Link #7063
ChainLegacy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn Demon View Post
Just despicable. The drug war has begun to run completely out of control. The DEA has become a rogue agency keeping itself alive through lobbying and the American public continues to be fed misinformation about the issue. Couple that with the fact that America is becoming more and more of a police state every day, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
Eh...actually it counts as neutralising potential threats, since dogs can be trained to attack intruders with their natural aggressiveness. I am inviting negreps, but I am just pointing that out.

If they are shooting any other kind, it would be ridiculous. But I understand their reason for shooting dogs, although it may seem out of place to the general uninformed public.
I'm actually someone who loves dogs and owns three myself but I understand your point. That's not really the issue at hand, though. They shouldn't have been there in the first place. A full out raid for a small amount of drugs, and of course it was only marijuana which is far less a threat than alcohol. Why don't these SWAT teams raid every other house in the neighborhood, confiscate the Bud Light, and arrest those parents for child endangerment? Oh yeah, because these laws aren't actually protecting anyone.
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Old 2010-05-05, 12:43   Link #7064
Vexx
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Just another example on why the whole "War on Drugs" in the US is an utter fiasco that ruins lives, but those that gain power from the status quo on either side do almost anything to keep the situation the way it is.
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Old 2010-05-05, 12:52   Link #7065
Xellos-_^
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killer3000ad View Post
Things are 'heating' up in Greece as protests get violent.

Athens bank firebombed, three die
so what exactly do these people want? the country has no money and unless they cut the budget no one is willing to lend them any either.

Do they really think there is someone willing to bankroll them to retire at 53 with 14months of salary and a inheritable pension by un-marry daughters?
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Old 2010-05-05, 12:59   Link #7066
Vexx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xellos-_^ View Post
so what exactly do these people want? the country has no money and unless they cut the budget no one is willing to lending any either.

Do they really think there is someone willing to bankroll them to retire at 53 with 14months of salary and a inheritable pension by un-marry daughters?
I'd be more sympathetic to them if they communicated a proper message. If they were upset because, say, the ultra-wealthy in Greece were getting a pass on the cuts I'd say go get 'em (because they're often the ones that influenced the financial decisions anyway). But it appears the protesters don't understand basic math and that their own elected officials got them into this mess by not being pragmatic in creating benefits. So they come off as a bunch of whining brats who want someone else to pay the piper.

My wife was watching the euro-news channels and after hearing the absurd level of benefits Greeks got and the rather light cuts that were involved .... was much less sympathetic with each new bit of information.
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Old 2010-05-05, 13:48   Link #7067
Autumn Demon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xellos-_^ View Post
so what exactly do these people want?
Probably for their government to reject the bailout, leave the euro and default on their debt. The EU and IMF are already being portrayed as evil villains sucking money out of ordinary Greeks' pockets. I wonder how well the Communists will do in the next elections as the Socialists lose popularity for the necessary massive cuts, when it was the previous New Democracy government that caused most of the problems.
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Old 2010-05-05, 14:20   Link #7068
Anh_Minh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
I'd be more sympathetic to them if they communicated a proper message. If they were upset because, say, the ultra-wealthy in Greece were getting a pass on the cuts I'd say go get 'em (because they're often the ones that influenced the financial decisions anyway).
That's what I heard from some quarters. That's they're willing to sacrifice, but that the wealthy should go first. How many there are, though? The media only report that they don't want to lose their advantages.
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Old 2010-05-05, 14:36   Link #7069
SaintessHeart
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Just another example on why the whole "War on Drugs" in the US is an utter fiasco that ruins lives, but those that gain power from the status quo on either side do almost anything to keep the situation the way it is.
Given the exaggeration of how drug users and dealers are related to gun crimes, I am not surprised that Police Command decide to deploy a SWAT team instead of regular police officers.

Now we need to find out who the Commissioner is who authorised this op.
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When three puppygirls named after pastries are on top of each other, it is called Eclair a'la menthe et Biscotti aux fraises avec beaucoup de Ricotta sur le dessus.
Most of all, you have to be disciplined and you have to save, even if you hate our current financial system. Because if you don't save, then you're guaranteed to end up with nothing.
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Old 2010-05-05, 14:43   Link #7070
aohige
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn Demon View Post
[URL="http://www.theagitator.com/2010/05/05/video-of-swat-raid-on-missouri-family/"]http://www.theagitator.com/2010/05/05/video-of-swat-raid-on-missouri-family/
The sound of the dog whimpering as the SWAT team shoots it not 8 seconds into the house,
and then more shots following and you stop hearing the dog's desperate whimpers as it was finished off, is extremely disheartening and enraging.
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Old 2010-05-05, 14:57   Link #7071
SaintessHeart
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aohige View Post
The sound of the dog whimpering as the SWAT team shoots it not 8 seconds into the house,
and then more shots following and you stop hearing the dog's desperate whimpers as it was finished off, is extremely disheartening and enraging.
I am not sure what guns are they carrying, but if they are standard FIBUA weapons like the MP5 or M4, I doubt the dog can survive the muzzle velocities of the weapon. If it is the M4, the 5.56 round's hydrostatic shock causing effect will put the poor animal in agony. Even if it is the ballistics of the 9mm from the MP5, I doubt the dog can live much longer.

It is sad, but I would consider it mercy-killing on the side of the SWAT. They made a paradoxical mistake in firing the first round, so it would be better if they put an extra round into the poor animal to kill it rather than let it bleed to death.

Come to think of it, I find it rather absurd that they don't throw a stun grenade in first.
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When three puppygirls named after pastries are on top of each other, it is called Eclair a'la menthe et Biscotti aux fraises avec beaucoup de Ricotta sur le dessus.
Most of all, you have to be disciplined and you have to save, even if you hate our current financial system. Because if you don't save, then you're guaranteed to end up with nothing.
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Old 2010-05-05, 15:08   Link #7072
Xellos-_^
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn Demon View Post
Probably for their government to reject the bailout, leave the euro and default on their debt.
if put to a vote i am willing to bet majority of EU voter would kick Greece out of the EU and just use the Greek bailout money to directly bailout their own banks.

And how exactly is defaulting on their debt good for the country in the long run?

Quote:
The EU and IMF are already being portrayed as evil villains sucking money out of ordinary Greeks' pockets.
Retirement at 53
14mo of salary in 12mo.
Unmarry daughters inheriting the pension

I am guessing math is not big in Greece because i would have one of the protesters explain to how their economy could support such massive benefits.

Quote:
I wonder how well the Communists will do in the next elections as the Socialists lose popularity for the necessary massive cuts, when it was the previous New Democracy government that caused most of the problems.
that is something i been wondering,

if something like this happen in the US we would be hearing about indictment and lawsuits and prison sentences. But i haven't heard anything about what is done about the previous Greek government which has been essentially lying about the state of the country's finance.
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Old 2010-05-05, 15:53   Link #7073
Anh_Minh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChainLegacy View Post
Just despicable. The drug war has begun to run completely out of control. The DEA has become a rogue agency keeping itself alive through lobbying and the American public continues to be fed misinformation about the issue. Couple that with the fact that America is becoming more and more of a police state every day, and you have a recipe for disaster.



I'm actually someone who loves dogs and owns three myself but I understand your point. That's not really the issue at hand, though. They shouldn't have been there in the first place. A full out raid for a small amount of drugs, and of course it was only marijuana which is far less a threat than alcohol.
Yeah. It sounds like a bad tip to me. They probably expected to get a lot more. But since the damage was done, they tried to justify it after the fact with the stash of pot - to say "See? We didn't do it for nothing".


Quote:
Originally Posted by Xellos-_^ View Post
if put to a vote i am willing to bet majority of EU voter would kick Greece out of the EU and just use the Greek bailout money to directly bailout their own banks.
Eh. Depends. It's not like we're giving the money away. Though I, too, have my doubts over whether it'll really be paid back.

Quote:
And how exactly is defaulting on their debt good for the country in the long run?

Retirement at 53
14mo of salary in 12mo.
Unmarry daughters inheriting the pension

I am guessing math is not big in Greece because i would have one of the protesters explain to how their economy could support such massive benefits.
They'll probably answer with something along the lines of "with very low salaries and pensions". As for the accuracy of the statement... I don't know.
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Old 2010-05-05, 19:35   Link #7074
SeijiSensei
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Join Date: Nov 2006
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British General Election has begun

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/elect...rgets/p_ld.stm

Back in February of 1974 (yes, I am that old), I spent two weeks in Britain observing the General Election as I was completing my graduate work on the role of the Liberals in modern British elections. I was there on a small grant and considered putting 50 down on the "no parliamentary majority" bet at Ladbrokes. (In Britain, you can bet on essentially anything.) The odds were 8-3 against; I would have walked away with about 80 profit. I "knew" there wouldn't be a majority in my gut, but I didn't want to have to come back and report a gambling loss of 50 to my granting agency.

Skip ahead nearly thirty years and we're once again faced with the prospect of a British election that produces no majority in the House of Commons. One important step along the road is how the Liberal Democrats do in these constituencies where the previous result was close to one of the major parties.

Unlike 1974, any outcome that favors the LibDems will give them a substantial block of votes in Parliament, enough conceivably to force either Labour or the Tories to grant the LibDem's demand for proportional representation as the price of support. In 1974, Labour won a small plurality and formed a minority government that last less than a year. I don't know if the Conservatives can govern as a minority this time around. Proportional representation (probably the "single transferable vote") would pretty much bring the reign of majority governments to an end at Westminster.
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Old 2010-05-05, 19:46   Link #7075
Xellos-_^
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/elect...rgets/p_ld.stm

Back in February of 1974 (yes, I am that old), I spent two weeks in Britain observing the General Election as I was completing my graduate work on the role of the Liberals in modern British elections. I was there on a small grant and considered putting 50 down on the "no parliamentary majority" bet at Ladbrokes. (In Britain, you can bet on essentially anything.) The odds were 8-3 against; I would have walked away with about 80 profit. I "knew" there wouldn't be a majority in my gut, but I didn't want to have to come back and report a gambling loss of 50 to my granting agency.

Skip ahead nearly thirty years and we're once again faced with the prospect of a British election that produces no majority in the House of Commons. One important step along the road is how the Liberal Democrats do in these constituencies where the previous result was close to one of the major parties.

Unlike 1974, any outcome that favors the LibDems will give them a substantial block of votes in Parliament, enough conceivably to force either Labour or the Tories to grant the LibDem's demand for proportional representation as the price of support. In 1974, Labour won a small plurality and formed a minority government that last less than a year. I don't know if the Conservatives can govern as a minority this time around. Proportional representation (probably the "single transferable vote") would pretty much bring the reign of majority governments to an end at Westminster.
Ji-san,

I always wonder about this but i have read reports that the Labour can come in 3rd on pop vote but still get more members of commons then the party with the 2nd most pop vote?

How does that actually work?
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Old 2010-05-05, 20:45   Link #7076
Autumn Demon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xellos-_^ View Post
I always wonder about this but i have read reports that the Labour can come in 3rd on pop vote but still get more members of commons then the party with the 2nd most pop vote?

How does that actually work?
That's single member districts for you. Conservative constituencies tend to vote overwhelmingly Conservative and have a high turnout, so every vote over the party in second place is essentially wasted. Labour very easily could place third in the popular vote and end up with the most seats in the House of Commons because constituencies Labour wins have a lower turnout of voters. Also, constituencies in England haven't been redrawn in 10 years so many Conservative constituencies have a larger population than the average constituency. (Conservatives can't really win many seats in parts of the UK outside of England.) The Liberal Democrats have it the worst because their vote is most evenly spread out across all of Britain, so they could get 33% of the popular vote and end up with around 80 seats out of 650.

Spoiler for graphical representation of the unfairness of single member districts; check the bottom right:
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Old 2010-05-05, 20:55   Link #7077
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So Gerrymander wasn't invented in the US then.
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Old 2010-05-05, 21:09   Link #7078
Autumn Demon
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Now for my views on the election. Despite never really having been in the UK, I follow British politics closely because the news weekly I read, The Economist, is British.

I've been a Liberal Democrat supporter since the Iraq war when they were the only party of the three main ones to oppose it. I watched all three of the election debates but I don't agree with the popular opinion that the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg performed well in them: all he did was talk about how awful the two party system is and gave little detail on policy. But the Lib Dems were detailed in their election manifesto and I'm glad their support rose (in many opinion polls after the first debate they were first but now they've gone down back to third). Because of strategic voting the Lib Dem vote will be considerably lower in the real thing tomorrow and they'll probably finish with around 25% of the popular vote, only up three points from the last election, but gain 20 more seats.

Conservatives will be first no doubt in the popular vote, and most likely first in seats just shy of a majority. I really doubt the Conservatives will enter into a coalition government but instead will govern as a minority.

The only thing certain about tomorrow's election is that Gordon Brown won't be prime minister anymore. There is no way the Lib Dems would support a Labour government under Brown when nobody likes him, and they can't be the party of change by propping up a 13 year old government. I hope Labour will be able to reinvent itself for the better in opposition because they have really failed on delivering much of the promise of New Labour, especially on education. Although Labour and Brown did handle the recession well.

And Britain won't be seeing proportional representation after this election despite the demands of the Lib Dems. Both the Conservatives and Labour know that if Britain adopts PR then they'll never be able to govern alone again, and the racist British National Party could get seats in Parliament.
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Old 2010-05-05, 21:43   Link #7079
Azuma Denton
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
You should have started short selling! You can make a fortune within 2-3 days you know!

Since Indonesia is considered a very patriarchal state due to Islam as its main religion being heavily practiced, I wasn't surprised that chauvinism, combined with relative incompetency of the government, forced her out.

I know I am inviting negreps for lambasting the Indonesian government, and that's due to stating facts being more important than being politically correct.



Chill man. If you think like that, you will be no different from the JI guy which burned off precious weekends of 18 year old males serving their national service.
Yeah, i'm chill enough right now after reading good comment from all people that still support her...


Me, short selling?? Nay, i'm busy to pay all my pre-order stuff before the currency plunged...
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Old 2010-05-06, 00:03   Link #7080
TinyRedLeaf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xellos-_^ View Post
I always wonder about this but i have read reports that the Labour can come in 3rd on pop vote but still get more members of commons then the party with the 2nd most pop vote?

How does that actually work?
It's not gerrymandering per se, in that electoral boundaries are not being redrawn willy-nilly here. It's merely a curious feature of the first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system.

So, like Autumn Demon described, even if Labour seems to be third nationally in opinion polls, the party could still emerge with the second-most number of seats in Parliament if its MPs so happen to be representing constituencies with higher concentrations of Labour supporters.

It's merely a statistical quirk. By and large, election results in such a system do usually correlate closely with opinion polls but, occasionally, such as what is possibly happening in Britain right now, minor differences in the national distribution of supporters could have a disproportionate effect. It usually happens when elections are extremely closely fought, again such as what is happening in Britain right now.

Of course, such a voting system can also be manipulated, like any other, to a party's favour. Take the situation in Singapore for example, where the ruling party had decided, around 20 years ago, to form multi-seat "group representation constituencies" (GRC). Each GRC is represented by three to six MPs.

The ostensible reason, so the ruling party claims, is to ensure minority representation in Parliament — each MP has to be of a different race. With a FPTP voting system where all only single-member constituencies exist, a situation can arise where Parliament is made up entirely of Chinese MPs, even though Singapore is roughly 70% Chinese, 22% Malay, 7% Indians and 1% "Others".

How could that happen? Simple, because every single-member constituency in Singapore is around 70% Chinese. Public-housing policies since independence have ensured an even spread of races throughout the island-nation, ensuring that ethnic enclaves do not arise (we strive very hard to prevent this because of national security and nation-building considerations). So, if each constituency votes stricly along racial lines, then a national election can easily return a Parliament with only Chinese MPs.

Hence the "solution", the GRCs. But Singaporeans, by and large, don't buy the ruling party's explanation. It seems very coincidental that GRCs were introduced only after the People's Action Party suffered a shock loss of four parliamentary seats back in the late 1980s (prior to that, the PAP had full control of Parliament, very much like how it was for the LDP in Japan). Opposition parties in Singapore struggle to field candidates for every single-member constituency, let alone find enough people to challenge for votes in GRCs.

Therefore, GRCs have effectively become tools for the PAP to block the opposition from getting seats in Parliament. Results in the past few elections here have consistently shown the PAP garnering around 60% to 65% of all votes. And yet, there are currently only two opposition MPs out of a total of 80+ MPs.

That's wildly disproportionate. If Singapore were to use a proportional representation voting system, such as that used in Israel, the results would be very different, with roughly 20 to 30 opposition MPs in Government.

But of course, the PAP strenuously denies gerrymandering, and it could very well sue you for defamation if you were even to suggest it had ulterior motives you can't prove. The point is, it does have a valid official reason for keeping the GRCs around, that is, the need to ensure sufficient minority representation. No one here can argue against that. And so, the GRC system stays.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/elect...rgets/p_ld.stm

Back in February of 1974 (yes, I am that old), I spent two weeks in Britain observing the General Election as I was completing my graduate work on the role of the Liberals in modern British elections. I was there on a small grant and considered putting 50 down on the "no parliamentary majority" bet at Ladbrokes. (In Britain, you can bet on essentially anything.) The odds were 8-3 against; I would have walked away with about 80 profit. I "knew" there wouldn't be a majority in my gut, but I didn't want to have to come back and report a gambling loss of 50 to my granting agency.
Back on topic. The present Labour government came to power in my first year of university in Britain. Whatever anyone else may think of Tony Blair today, in my opinion, he seemed very much to be the leader Britain needed at the time. Some call it public-relations skill but, to me, Blair seemed sincere and, more importantly, he reflected what seemed to be a genuine concern for social justice. I wholeheartedly supported the rise of New Labour at the time.

It's therefore somewhat ironic that I would be visiting to Britain this month, quite likely after the fall of said New Labour.
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