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Today is the midterm elections in the United States, and I am not voting.
For the vast majority of elections, voting is irrational, because the individual's vote is proportionately very small. This means it cannot have an effect on the outcome.
There are, however, conditions which can lead to voting becoming rational, and these are:
- The number of voters approaches zero.
- The ratio of votes for candidates (in a majority wins, 2 person race) approaches .5
- The difficulty of voting becomes vanishingly small.
- Incentives are created to make the costs of not voting greater than the cost of voting (for instance, not voting is illegal in Australia, and incurs a fine.)
So, in the past I have "donated" boobie pictures to boobiethon, a online fundraising event for breast cancer research. This year I entered into a drawing for a free custom WordPress theme. And I won it!
You might think that I'm lucky, but actually when I enter lotteries I'm very calculating. Once when I was 10, there was a Beanie Baby lottery at the local library. You could see the jars with the tickets in them for each Beanie Baby. There was one Beanie Baby that had very few tickets in the jar, so I bought exactly one ticket for it. And I won the Beanie Baby.
I saw that for this contest, there were 5 WordPress prizes to be awarded total. For other contests there were only one. And I correctly surmised that others would try to win the more desirable prizes. I also submitted 5 pictures of my boobies, and you got one ticket per boobie picture with a maximum of 5 pictures. That's 5 entries. Donating $10 only got you one ticket. And it cost me nothing :).
It's human nature to go for the lottery item of the thing you actually want. I don't do that. I enter the lotteries for things I think no one else wants and that have multiple awards and that have a low-to-no cost. You're never going to win the monetary prize, because the odds are against you. You CAN win things if the odds are in your favor.
In Which I Present The Opposing Side's Hypothesis and Falsify It
This post is in part in response to a New Scientist article/book review "Fighting back against neurosexism." And the tagline is "Are differences between men and women hard-wired in the brain? Two new books argue that there's no solid scientific evidence for this popular notion."
Full disclosure here: I haven't read the books, although I do have a B.S. in neurobiology. But you don't even need to understand anything about neurobiology to falslify their most basic hypothesis: that male and female brains have no hardwired behavioral differences.
And it's easy to falsify: if male and female brains were the same, all humans would be completely bisexual. If it's true that female brains, on average, prefer to fuck, date, and marry men, and male brains, on average, prefer to fuck, date, and marry women, then male and female brains are in fact different.