Blog round-up for 2012

Jan 06, 2013

Bit late to get around to this, but here's a quick round-up of everything I wrote on the blog last year (in vague theme groupings):

There have been posts about the history of chicken suits in politics and how Facebook is trying to make us more legible. I went to a talk on the boundary reviews, and in a piece of high-nerdery worked out the exact problem in the electoral system for the Oscars. There's also some number-crunching on political voting in Eurovision,  a weird and revealing complaint about a political ad in New Zealand and an attempt to make sense of the weird world of political mandates.

I ended up writing a fair amount on the Scottish Independence referendum - I summarised arguments made to the Scottish Affairs Committee, explored the history and problems of the 'seats for powers' argument, looked at thepractical implications of votes at 16 in Scotland and thought that early Westminster arguments about electoral register seemed spurious. On the release of section 30 order I noticed it seemed to be giving  powers to the Scottish Parliament it said it wasn't, something that seemed to be confirmed a few months later.  Still not sure where that one's going. (and from 2011 - a post on multiple questions and ballot design.)

Looking at democratic stuff, I wrote there's a good case to be made for allowing fractional voting below 18 and that if it caused problems that's not terrible because democracy should be disruptive, put down some thoughts on exactly what we mean when we talk about authorisation in elections and pointed out that Gilad Sharon seemed to be making a very similar argument about democratic accountability to that made by the 7/7 bombers.

In the misc section, I looked at` 'slut dropping' in the context of wider writing on urban legends <http://alexparsons.co.uk/blog/2012/10/slut-dropping-how-disgust-spreads-urban-legends/>`__, the limits of law to make people do things, barbers and debt moralism, and examined the Church of England's generous view of its history on gay rights as it argued that allowing same-sex marriage would be sexist. When in a #slatepitches mood, I argued we shouldn't limit ourselves to selling off workplace rights and asked what the problem really is with cash for honours?

With my pop-culture hat on, I looked at how sci-fi is working over the imagery of 9/11, theaesthetics of the future in the Prometheus promo videos and how the Walking Dead video game used the pointlessness of choice to create an ethical environment. I saw The Dark Knight Rises and read The Long Earth.

In total that's 25,000 words on this blog last year, only 2000 less than what I wrote doing my Masters course at the same time. I think I've gotten better at this whole blogging thing over all those words, but mileage may vary. As ever, apologies for people looking for the train forum that used to be on the smokefilledroom domain who the stats say make up a chunk of my visitors - I'll try and cater to you more this year.

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