Hungarian elections

by Eszter Hargittai on April 23, 2006

I’m sure lots of CT readers are on the edge of their seat about today’s Hungarian elections so here are the results. The left held on to its position (actually, strengthened it a bit) by winning the majority of seats in parliament after the second round of votes today.

This graph is helpful not only to visualize the distribution of seats resulting from this year’s elections, but also to compare the outcomes of the last five elections. It’s the first time since the political changes of the late 80s that the governing coalition maintained its position. As a bit of explanation, red stands for the socialist part, orange for the conservatives, blue for the liberal party (which refers to left-of-center in Hungary) and green is another party on the right. Interestingly, they were so disgusted by FIDESZ (the orange party) that they were not willing to go into a coalition with them no matter what.

Fun anecdote: Two weeks ago during the first round of voting, my parents ran into Prime Minister Gyurcsány while they were all on their way to the voting booths. They like him lots so this was a pleasant encounter.

Fun video: Here is the Prime Minister replacing Hugh Grant’s dancing moves in a clip from the Love Actually movie.

Gyurcsány maintained a blog throughout the campaign.

As You Know, Darth, the Galaxy …

by Kieran Healy on April 23, 2006

Via “Making Light”: comes the entertaining saga of “Another Hope”:, a Star Wars fan-fiction novel that you can buy on Amazon, though I should imagine not for very much longer. Apparently the author believes that this doesn’t contravene George Lucas’s copyright because “I wrote this book for myself. This is a self-published story and is not a commercial book. Yes, it is for sale on Amazon, but only my family, friends and acquaintances know it’s there” — Amazon being your local, small private website.

Anyway, the “Making Light thread”: has lots more, but I thought a short excerpt from the book was worth reproducing here, because I read it and why should I be the only one with blood leaking out of my eyes?

The galaxy known as Celestine … was a spiraling mass of six concentric rings that encircled a small group of densely packed stars, the Deep Core. The Core Worlds formed the first ring around the Deep Core, and the Core Worlds were the oldest known places of human habitation. A second ring, the Colonies, was quickly established around the Core Worlds. Like the Core Worlds, the colonies became heavily populated. Later, humans again fanned out into a third region called the Inner Rim, a great ring of sparsely populated territory where conditions were harsh and resources extremely scarce. This lawless region formed the largely uncharted frontier between Celestine and wild space.

In between the Deep Core and the Colonies was a region known as the Old Suburban Worlds, where people moved after the Core Worlds filled up with immigrants from a nearby Galaxy. But this happened long ago — shortly after the invention of hyperdrive technology — and so most of those people (or rather, their descendants, for all this happens a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away) now inhabit the New Suburban Ring Worlds, a rapidly developing region located between the Inner Rim and Wild Space, where the Malls are nicer and there are fewer of those awful Gungans.

My Sweet Tunibamba

by Belle Waring on April 23, 2006

This is a very interesting post about sexuality and sex education as it applies to women with disabilities. (Obviously much could be said about men with disabilities as well.)

It raises questions in my mind. What does it mean to “have the mental age” of a 12-year-old? Should you necessarily have the sex life of a 12-year-old, for all your days? I think all of us can imagine both the nightmare of a mentally-disabled woman raped in a poorly-monitored group home and the nightmare of a mentally-disabled woman who is ruled out of bounds wrt any form of sexual experience by well-meaning supervisors.

The painful legacy of mainstream treatment of stipulatively “sub-normal” women and men [i.e., forcible sterilization] might incline us to extend the human rights of sexual autonomy to people who cannot reliably employ them on their own behalf. Or, American preoccupation with child sexual abuse might lead us to rule out-of-bounds an entire realm of human experience when we think about disabled adults.

As a mother, I am interested to hear about what the parents of disabled children think about this. I would be even more interested to hear about what disabled adults have to say, with the hopeful caveat that at least a few disabled adults read our blog.

When I was a kid there was a Latino family living in a house up the street from us. They had a funny hand-lettered sign above their door which said “my sweet Tunibamba.” None of us ever knew what that was supposed to mean. Of the 12 kids living there who were under 15, I would say 10 had Down’s syndrome (this is just a superficial judgement, but possibly somewhat accurate.) The meta-meaning of “Tunibamba” in my family was “don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” Like, “you think you know about this, but maybe ‘tunibamba.'”

Credibility up in smoke

by John Q on April 23, 2006

Among the scientists taking a public position sceptical of global warming, Richard Lindzen has always seemed the most credible. Unlike nearly all “sceptics”, he’s a real climate scientist who has done significant research on climate change, and, also unlike most of them, there’s no* evidence that he has a partisan or financial axe to grind. His view that the evidence on climate change is insufficient to include that the observed increase in temperature is due to human activity therefore seems like one that should be taken seriously.

Or it would do if it were not for a 2001 Newsweek interview (no good link available, but Google a sentence or two and you can find it) What’s interesting here is not the (now somewhat out of date) statement of Lindzen’s views on climate change, but the following paragraph

Lindzen clearly relishes the role of naysayer. He’ll even expound on how weakly lung cancer is linked to cigarette smoking. He speaks in full, impeccably logical paragraphs, and he punctuates his measured cadences with thoughtful drags on a cigarette.

Anyone who could draw this conclusion in the light of the evidence, and act on it as Lindzen has done, is clearly useless as a source of advice on any issue involving the analysis of statistical evidence.

Now with added irony Lindzen argues that we should be equally sceptical about both climate change and the link between smoking and cancer, but his argument can just as easily be turned around. If you accept Lindzen’s ‘impeccably logical’ view that the two arguments are comparable, you reach the conclusion that the link between human activity and climate change is now so well-established that it makes about as much sense to doubt it as to doubt the relationship between smoking and lung cancer, that is, no sense at all.

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