Truth about the Electoral College

Friends, I only share this because discovering the truth is so often difficult. Here are two pretty good articles that explain why both CO Senator Michael Bennet and “FairVote” are factually wrong about the Electoral College.
What they say is nothing less than propaganda: promoting a “drastic, fallacious conclusion… based on faulty premises and selective reasoning. This has been a common tactic…to link any aspect … they don’t like to deplorable causes.”
(I will eventually create a post with research links that dig in much further. I have studied many aspects of the Constitution over a number of years.)

Cellphone radiation linked to tumors in male rats? Or maybe not.

[Preliminary; I may post more data after gaining access to more than the study’s detailed data.]

There is a big scare growing about a new study of “cellphone radiation.” It warns that the radiation caused tumors in male rats. Let’s take a look!

Links to the actual study results are at the bottom of this page.

Here’s the actual study results, showing survival data over a two year period for male rats. Note that the black squares are the “control” rats, not exposed to the radiation:

Notice anything interesting? In general, the “exposed” rats lived LONGER.

Look at the fine print, which explains the exposure rates:

  • 1.5 to 6.0 watts per kg of body mass
  • Let’s take a worst-case human example…. a 14 year old girl. Average body weight about 60 kg.
  • The exposure rate corresponds to a 75 to 300 watt light bulb being held close to your daughter’s body.

Here’s how different that is. Don’t worry if you don’t know milliwatt or “dBm” units. The “one in” table shows you how tiny a fraction of this is actually emitted by a cell phone:

In other words, they attempted to kill rats using huge amounts of radio frequency radiation — thousands to billions of times more than any human would encounter with a cell phone.

Most of the rats actually survived better with the radiation! But statistical shenanigans are used so reporting can say humans may be at risk.



Here’s the report:

Here’s the data for rats (TR-595):

Here’s the statistical survival curve for male rats:

Here’s data on body weight of teenage girls:

3GPP cellphone power level regulations and data:

2016 Election: What changed from 2012?

There’s been quite a bit of media spin on “how Trump won.” Here are the simple facts based on the exit survey data used by almost every major network.

Something to consider: how do the facts square with the reporting you hear from your sources? Are you getting the truth or an echo chamber?

Here are a few tidbits from the table below that so far I have not seen emphasized in the media (“R” and “D” are Republican / Democrat):

  • Race: R had less support from Whites (by 1%) but D lost even more; R had much more support from Blacks and Hispanics
  • Religion: the biggest R gains were among Hispanic Catholics and people of non-Christian faiths
  • Overall: from 2012 to 2016, D lost support in every group (Race, Gender, Religion) other than Jews and Mormons.

A comparison of US Presidential Election Demographics, 2012 vs 2016

D chg
White59/39 +2058/37 +21+1-2
Black6/93 -878/88 -80+7-5
Hispanic27/71 -4429/65 -36+8-6
Women44/55 -1142/54 -12-1-1
Men*+753/41 +12+5
Protestant57/42 +1558/39 +18+3-3
Catholic48/50 -252/45 +7+9-5
(White Catholic)59/40 +1960/37 +23+4-3
(Hispanic Catholic)21/75 -5426/67 -41+13-8
Jewish30/69 -3924/71 -47-8+2
Other Faith23/74 -5129/62 -33+18-12
No Affiliation26/70 -4426/68 -42+2-2
White Evangelical78/21 +5781/16 +65+8-5
Mormon78/21 +5761/25 +36-21+4
All numbers in the first two columns are: R%/D% +/- % difference
*2012 details not provided for men

How the faithful voted (Pew Research)
Behind Trump’s victory (Pew Research, Edison Exit Poll for National Election Pool: ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox, AP)

Some Facts on Classified Information and Email

As usual, this post is intended to provide background facts, not opinion. At the end I do supply a few summary observations. I do NOT have classified info access myself, although I have friends who do. (I would appreciate feedback from my expert friends on the accuracy of what I have written, good bad etc.)


This Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement signed 11/2009 by HRC specifies her understanding that she understands that “classified information” is “marked or unmarked classified information, including oral communications” and that all such information must be protected. (Note that many forms of information, such as foreign gov’t info, info from classified sources such as drones, etc, are “born” classified.)

This SCI (Sensitive Compartmented Information) Nondisclosure Agreement signed 1/2009 by HRC specifies further that she understands the procedures for SCI, knows what is SCI, will protect SCI either marked or known SCI, can cause irreparable harm by disclosing to unauthorized parties, and will never divulge such information.

This Classification Guide (itself a “declassified” document — take note that it is clearly marked as such), explains about “High Level Correspondence. This includes letters, diplomatic notes or memoranda or other reports of telephone or face-to-face conversations involving foreign chiefs of state or government, cabinet-level officials or comparable level figures, e.g., leaders of opposition parties. It should be presumed that this type of information should be classified at least CONFIDENTIAL…” — in other words much if not most high level information dealt with by her office is automatically classified (yes “CONFIDENTIAL” is classified and should never exist outside of official secure systems.)

Finally, the regulations under CFR 2005 Title 22 Vol 1 explain about Classification Authorities, about classification, declassification, and that for all such (classified OR declassified information) even in the case of email… “markings shall also be affixed to material other than paper documents, or the originator shall provide holders or recipients of the information with written instructions for protecting the information.”

Simple Summary

In the middle of this sea of paperwork, a few simple realities should stand out:

* Classified information is carefully separated. It is always marked, even when declassified.
* It is never allowed to come into contact with an unsecured channel, system or person.
* It SHALL always be marked. Anyone with Classification Authority shall do so… or go ask if they don’t know.
* Everyone involved is seriously trained in all of this with regular renewed education.

Simple Conclusions

And thus, to claim emails were never marked classified when sent is not an excuse, it is (at least) two breaches: failure to protect the information, and failure to ensure the info is marked.

I can tell you my friends with clearance have been sick to their stomachs about all of this.

USA Immigration Policy and Practice – What Needs Reform?

1608 ImmigrationAs usual, this post is focused entirely on lesser-known facts. Because of the complexity of the subject, I’ve provided a small amount of interpretation at the end. You’re welcome to your own interpretations of course!

This post contains:

  • Facts about current US Immigration Policy: both a summary and a next-level detail look. (There are plenty of further details)
  • A simple pair of case studies
  • Ombudsman Report explanations of the problem, 2006 and 2016
  • Brief examination of why the problem exists

Current Policy, Oversimplified but Accurate

Here’s a summary of the current US policy. Some good questions to ask as you read: what needs comprehensive reform?  What about the current policy is not compassionate?

Sources: Overall policy and Employment-based immigration policy

Policy Highlights

  • Unified Families are top priority
  • Most categories have no limits on legal immigration, including bringing in immediate family members, agricultural workers, etc.
  • Most (all?) categories allow unlimited number of immediate family members to accompany
  • Those who come for economic reasons need economic sponsorship and demonstration that their presence will not replace a qualified US citizen’s job
  • No limit on Asylum admissions; the Refugee limit is completely flexible, determined annually

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Data – Campus Violence Against Women

Following up on the recent campus rape case at Stanford that drew national attention due to the terribly small legal penalty against the perpetrator, I searched for summary data at the national level, and found nothing helpful other than a lot of details with a lot of uncertainties.

Please read the following note before examining the data. And] (more than usual) please remember that these caveats are incredibly important. It would be very sad if the data were misused by those who ignore these cautions:

It would be an injustice to compare these data. Why?

  • Most places (representing 1/5 of all students) don’t report at all.
  • There are no reporting standards
  • Numbers can easily be under-reported for many reasons including fear, complacency, etc.
  • Numbers can be enhanced due to extra scrutiny, strong encouragement to report, etc.
  • Thus, a higher value can literally be “good” if it represents those who feel they can report safely

Thus, my encouragement is to look at the big picture, and/or places with which you’re familiar, and ask yourself: why do I see what I see? Is there a problem? Can it be better? How?

Below, you will find two tables, and information on the data source at the end. The data shown is:

  • Name of Institution
  • Size, ie. student population
  • Number of reported events of various kinds, normalized to number per 1,000 (“1k”)
    • Rapes
    • Total Criminal, VAWA, and All (see end for definitions of these)

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A few facts on gun violence in various nations

The following was inspired by recent passionate discussions by many friends around the world. In particular, some friends “Down Under” (in Australia) have been perplexed by recent events in the US, and also question (slightly 🙂 ) my sanity in suggesting that there may still be gun violence in Australia following the famous gun “buyback” programs.

Let me say up front: Australia and other nations are to be highly commended as models of peaceful coexistence! They have far less violence than many other nations. I’m not going to attempt to discuss the details of why this may be — personally, I believe this is an ethical and spiritual issue far more than a legal or political one.

In any case, as is usual for the MrPete.Info web site, my goal here is to present a few solid, well-sourced facts. The implications of those facts are for the reader to decipher.

Comparing Australia and New Zealand (and Canada)

First: here are the key results of an Australian study in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence that compared a few nations (Australia, New Zealand and Canada) with similar social contexts but quite different political/legal scenarios.

The data: “Publicly available firearm homicide data and population estimates were obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), New Zealand Police, Statistics New Zealand, and Statistics Canada.” The period of data was 1979-2007 for AU and CA, and 1986-2007 for NZ. Just for reference, the raw data ranged from 1 to 0.1 per 100k population… all MUCH lower than the USA. All three nations saw long-term significant declines in firearm homicide rates (as have other nations as well.)

Results: New Zealand had a statistically significant lower rate of gun homicides, and more rapid decrease, than either Australia or Canada. (About 4% lower than AU, 7% lower than CA, both +/- 2%, with p value .001 which is very good.)

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Net Neutrality – Reality vs Imagination

[Updated Nov 2017 now that this topic is again in the news.]

Many are again upset about Net Neutrality. And, again many don’t know or have forgotten what the biggest public issues have been in this arena. In this update, I’m going to provide a few links and reminders of the history of this topic.

First, a clear definition of a good Net Neutrality (NN) goal: to ensure that Internet Providers do not bias services based on the specific content or source of information. In other words, every virtual “speaker” should have the same ability to “speak.”

There have been a few historical examples of ISP’s introducing such a bias. But in reality, those examples have been few and far between. The cases that have affected most people, and have been labeled as Net Neutrality… really are not. But since most people believe any slowdown is an NN issue, everybody gets confused on the issue.

So this post is an attempt to clear up the confusion, and provide facts that are not often seen by the public.

The most public issue that led many to support Net Neutrality was a huge dispute between Netflix and a variety of ISP’s (Internet Service Providers.) Netflix claimed that slow video was the fault of the ISP’s, and labeled it as a Net Neutrality issue, going so far as to put up warning signs to that effect. The ISP’s fought back, even with cease and desist orders, saying it was a business issue easily solved through standard services already offered. Who was right? You can decide for yourself:

  • Here’s where the Netflix CEO claimed the slow speeds were a Net Neutrality issue:
  • Here’s a non-technical explanation of why the slowness was NOT a Net Neutrality issue:
  • My original post on the topic (see below) provides more detail and several links to the facts of the matter.

In theory, true Net Neutrality rules shouldn’t be a problem. After all, who could complain about fairness? In the real world, treating everything exactly the same often is a problem. In fact, the NN rules that were put in place tended to stifle innovation, forcing everyone to live with a “least common denominator” poor level of service in some ways. How is that? Consider:

  • NN rules state that no data should be treated any differently than any other data. One explicitly stated element that many have heard about: no “fast lanes.”
  • Yet… some Internet services need a “fast lane” to work well. Specifically, any kind of fast interactive service, like online gaming, or two-way voice/video. Such services work much better with low delays (low latency.)
  • It is not cost effective (ie you would pay WAY too much for your Internet service) to ensure that all packets move at the same speed. It simply is not as important to move the result of a database query (that took several seconds anyway) as quickly as a packet that contains a single mouse click or the blink of an eye on Skype.

Have there been real NN issues? Yes. However, many claimed-NN issues are not really about NN, as I’ve just described. Here’s one of the best lists of real NN issues I’ve found… yet it too is full of examples of things that are NOT net neutrality problems. They’re just limitations that some people don’t like. The link: … and some facts about the examples they give:

  • Several examples are about hijacking search queries. These have nothing to do with Net Neutrality (treating all packets the same) but rather involve data hijacking, a far more serious charge.
  • Some examples are about blocking of “tethering” apps — that allow a phone user to provide internet service to nearby laptop/desktop users over their phone connection. These too are not NN examples. Nothing in a phone contract allows you to use the phone to provide services to other devices. Some phone companies offer that as a separate feature, but it’s not an assumed capability.
  • Some examples are about early blocking of certain new (high performance, interactive) services. There is plenty of room for confusion and disputes here. If a particular category of service is allowed at all, then yes it should be allowed without bias toward one provider. Yet early on, certain services may not be well supported, so a provider may elect to block the service rather than suffer from complaints that the service doesn’t work, or lawsuits if the service is missing important features. (For example: VOIP services often don’t support 911 emergency calling, which can result in serious even fatal problems. A number of legal remedies had to be put in place before this new capability could move forward.)

What’s left after all that? Some very real examples of corporate bias toward certain service providers. Do those examples comprise a big enough problem to warrant a huge government regulatory scheme? I won’t express an opinion on that here. I’m simply trying to clear up confusion about a number of issues that many assume are “net neutrality”… yet in reality are not.

Now… back to the original post from 2015:

What is the issue with Net Neutrality?

Here’s an analogy:

Internet backbone contracts between the big players that move the bulk of data between cities and nations, all assume something called “Balanced Peering” or “Symmetric Data.” Think of it like a two-way street between towns. Both sides cover their own costs for a two way street, and don’t charge each other a dime based on the assumption that both will benefit equally.

Now, what happens when a little village “Small” starts mining tons of rocks and sending them out all over the nation, but nobody’s sending traffic their direction? Yes, they need one road that can handle the traffic, but their big neighbor “Big” ends up carrying huge volumes of truck traffic on many long roads, passing the traffic on to others, causing wear and tear, etc. Costs skyrocket for their neighbor “Big”, which suddenly is pushing unbalanced traffic to its other neighbors as well. Yet, by contract, “Big” can’t charge “Small” a dime… except for the fact that the terms of the contract have been broken.

So, “Big” offers to set up extra lanes that can handle the traffic, and asks “Small” to cover the cost.

Hopefully you can see where this is going. What I described above is what the “Fast Lane” internet issue is really all about. It has nothing to do with politics. Nothing to do with good/bad content. It’s a simple business contract issue.

Unfortunately, activists and politicians have turned it into a political issue.

So, down to real vocabulary, real facts, real references.

The key issue: Unbalanced Peering. Sounds pretty technical but not actually hard to understand. This is basically all about Netflix (and the partners they use to push data onto the Internet.)

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