Micro-news for CT 4601, Altadena, CA

Proctor Coming Back

posted by Jeremiah 7/24/2007 10:36:00 PM

My favorite politician, Aaron Proctor, has announced his return to Pasadena after two months in exile in St. Louis. Yeah!


See you in August!

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At 7/25/2007 7:46 AM, Anonymous AP said...

Thanks for your kind words!

At 7/25/2007 1:56 PM, Anonymous AP said...

So when I get back, we're hanging out?

At 7/25/2007 2:14 PM, Blogger Jeremiah said...

Love to :) We can swap notes on growing up in the Philly suburbs. Am I invited to the gala reception upon your return?

At 7/25/2007 2:49 PM, Anonymous AP said...

There's no gala planned yet. :-) But if there is, of course you're invited.

And yeah, swapping Philly stories would be fun.

Honestly - I want to check out your house..all the way up there..must be awesome.


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Summer Rain

posted by Jeremiah 7/23/2007 10:20:00 AM

What month is this again?!

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At 7/23/2007 11:57 AM, Anonymous Aaron Proctor said...

Damn, I'm missing that unusual summer rain in Pasadena/Altadena. We get plenty of summer rain here in St. Louis but it's disgusting.

I wish I could come back like...tomorrow. I hate this place and everything about it.


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Altadena Crest Trail Google Map

posted by Jeremiah 7/10/2007 09:44:00 AM

I have started a Google Maps version of the Altadena Crest Trail. I am transcribing it from the map published in a flier that was snail-mailed out by LA County several months ago (map is dated 2-1-05). So far my Google version only has the trail heads and the proposed Rubio Canyon Gap segments.

I'll work on the proposed Skylane Gap and LaVina sections next (the proposed sections are more time consuming because there is no existing trail to trace). After I get my best shot at those in, I'll trace the exiting trails and access paths as well.

This is really fun, because with the Google satellite and hybrid views, you can inspect the route in tons more detail than you can with the printed maps that I have seen.

On a related note (in case you hadn't noticed), the satellite images of our area have been recently updated (looks like maybe this past winter). While we already had hi-res imagery of the populated areas, it was a bit long in the tooth (recent construction changes were not reflected). More to the point, the new images include the mountains as well. Perfect for mapping the hiking trails!

Enjoy =)

posted by Jeremiah 7/11/2007 11:44:00 PM

I updated the map with the two of the three Skylane Gap options that were
published. I'll be adding the third as well as the La Vina ones over the
next few days, as I have some time on my hands (had hernia surgery this
morning, so on bed rest...thank god for laptops and wireless internet).

FYI I have marked the ones "proposed" based on the documents I could access.
By whom they are "proposed" is not indicated. I guess it implies that the
people who did the surveys are proposing them as their favorite ones?

I am copying off a glossy pamphlet I was mailed several months ago (also posted as a pdf), and pdfs I found here:


(the defualt apache index can be viewed too)

These two are my main references:
ACT Trail Pamphlet.pdf

ACT Initial Study - Part 2.pdf

Note the pdf maps above were posted almost a year ago, but that's
all I have to go on, as I haven't attended any of the meetings. Any updates

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At 7/16/2007 11:15 AM, Anonymous AP said...

Thanks for your purchase, btw. Please encourage others to purchase stuff to help "the cause" :-)


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Will Instant Runoffs Trickle Down to PUSD?

posted by Jeremiah 7/09/2007 09:22:00 PM

This article caught my eye today:

Senate committee considers bill allowing instant-runoff voting

By STEVE LAWRENCE - Associated Press Writer

Published 12:10 pm PDT Sunday, July 8, 2007

Voters could express their first, second, third, fourth and maybe even more choices in local government elections under legislation scheduled to be considered this week by a state Senate committee.

Read the full story here:

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At 7/10/2007 4:12 AM, Blogger BROKEN LADDER said...

IRV survives on common myths that are perpetuated by IRV propaganda groups, like FairVote.org. The truth is that better and simpler methods than IRV exist - and IRV is lethal to third parties, because voting for a non-major-party candidate is statistically more likely to hurt you than help you. The world needs Range Voting or its simplified form of Approval Voting. Here's why.

Consider this hypothetical election using IRV.

% of voters - their vote
28% "Green" > Edwards > McCain
20% Edwards > "Green" > McCain
6% Edwards > McCain > "Green"
46% McCain > Edwards > "Green"

In this IRV election, Edwards is eliminated in the first round, and then McCain wins against "Green". But wait! 54% of voters prefer Edwards to McCain - and 72% prefer Edwards to "Green"! Yet Edwards loses? The Greens now slap themselves on the forehead for not strategically top-ranking Edwards, the most similar major party candidate to their true favorite.

IRV sounds initially appealing, because people picture a weak third party candidate who loses in the first round. The myth is that this takes away the fear of voting for your sincere favorite candidate, and gives third parties a fair chance to grow; but if that candidate or his party ever grows to be a contender, he is statistically more likely to hurt the party closest to his own than to win. It doesn't matter how unlikely you imagine the above scenario to be - it's still _more_ likely than the odds "Green" will win. And so third party voters will learn to strategically vote for their favorite major-party candidate. You don't have to buy my math; you can look at decades of IRV usage in Australia's house, and Ireland's presidency. Both use IRV, and have been two-party dominated. So much for the myths that IRV allows you to "vote your hopes, not your fears", and eliminates spoilers. Now we know why the Libertarian Reform Caucus calls IRV a "bullet in the foot" for third parties.

Electoral reform advocates (especially third parties!) should be demanding Range Voting - score all the candidates and elect the one with the highest average. Its simplified form, Approval Voting, is probably the most feasible to implement. It simply uses ordinary ballots, but allows us to vote for as many candidates as we like. Consider the benefits:

* Spoiler free: Whereas IRV merely _reduces_ spoilers
* Simpler to use and implement: A simple one-round summation tells us the results, whereas IRV's potential for multiple rounds can cause long delays before the final results are determined. A side-effect of Range Voting's simplicity is that it makes the necessary transition away from voting machines more feasible. IRV's complexity leads most communities implementing it to purchase expensive and fraud-conducive (electronic!) voting machines, the fraudster's best friend.
* More resistant to strategy: As we see above, IRV often strategically "forces" voters not to top-rank their sincere favorite. But with Range Voting and Approval Voting, this _never_ happens. A vote for your favorite candidate can never hurt you, or the candidate. With IRV it can hurt both.
* Decreases spoiled ballots: Since voting for more than one candidate is permissible, the number of invalid ballots experimentally goes down with Range and Approval Voting. But here in San Francisco, we saw a seven fold increase in spoiled ballots when we started using IRV.
* Greater voter satisfaction: Using extensive computer modeling of elections, a Princeton math Ph.D. named Warren D. Smith has shown that these methods lead to better average satisfaction with election results, surpassing the alternatives by a good margin. But IRV turns out to be the second _worst_ of the commonly proposed alternatives. This mean that all voters will benefit from the adoption of either of these superior voting methods, regardless of political stripe.
* Reduces the probability of ties: While they are not extremely common, they do happen. IRV statistically increases them, but Range Voting decreases them.

Get the facts at RangeVoting.org and ApprovalVoting.org

And if you're in the market for a better system of proportional representation than the antiquated STV system, check out Reweighted Range Voting and Asset Voting.


At 7/10/2007 10:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

IRV in fact survives on a track record of success, popularity with voters and support from groups like the League of Women Voters. It's endorsed by Robert's Rules of Order, used by more than half of the nation's top-rated 30 universities and used to elect the president of India, American Political Science Association and India. Voters in exit polls in the three most recent cities to implement it expressed overwhelming support averaging more than 4 to one backing of IRV over their old system.

"Broken Ladder" is a broken record, advocating reforms that aren't used in any public election and probably won't be any time soon -- one reason being they run counter against common sense definitions of majority rule Check out www.instantrunoff.com for more


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posted by Jeremiah 7/08/2007 02:55:00 PM

The graphs and data on this page are updated every five minutes.
The raw data is also submitted to Weather Underground every five minutes.

Running 5-day Temperature:

Running 5-day Pressure:

Running 5-day Rain:

Running 1-day Wind Speed and Gusts:

Running 5-day Wind Direction, Speed and Gusts:

See photos of the weather station components.
Weather Station

The hardware is the discontinued WM918 kit from Oregon Scientific. These are the Tech Specs.

The software is Virtual Weather Station from Ambient Weather

Anyone may link to our weather images. A fresh version of each one is automatically uploaded every 5 minutes (assuming everything is working right, which is most of the time). If you use an image on a public site, I'd be grateful for a link-back.

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Rain wrap-up 2007

posted by Jeremiah 7/07/2007 06:34:00 PM

The rain season of July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007 ended with 6.15 inches recorded on the Stonehill News weather station. This is the third complete year that I have been accurately logging precipitation, but my neighbor at the top of Stonehill has been keeping records since 1999. Here are the available seasonal totals from both stations:

Season PacRad SHN
1999-2000 19.76" --
2000-2001 21.22" --
2001-2002 8.27" --
2002-2003 24.47" --
2003-2004 15.47" --
2004-2005 62.56" 61.61"
2005-2006 24.06" 23.35"
2006-2007 6.81" 6.15"

I find it interesting that he consistently logs a small percentage higher rainfall. The PacRad rain guage is 750 feet due North and 100 feet greater elevation. (see map)

Here is last year's wrap-up post:
Rain wrap-up 2006

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