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David Jao
Works at University of Waterloo
Attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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David Jao

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The Democratic presidential primary contest has reached the stage that we in sports would call garbage time. There is no question as to whether or not Clinton has secured the Democratic Party nomination. She has.

And yet Tom LoBianco of CNN writes "The fight comes as Clinton has struggled to secure the Democratic Party nomination." Incompetent reporting at its finest.

Repeat after me: Sanders' intransigent refusal to drop out does not alter the fact that Clinton has secured the nomination.
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Tuesday that Bernie Sanders' response to the chaos his supporters caused in Nevada was "anything but acceptable," likening it to the violence occasionally seen at Donald Trump events.
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Here we go again. Sanders is going back to his old lies.

"If I win a state with 70 percent of the votes you know what, I think I'm entitled to those super delegates. I think that the super delegates should reflect what the people in the state want," he said.

Left unsaid is that this will not be enough to nominate Sanders. The only way Sanders can contest the convention, much less win, is if he convinces delegates from states that Clinton won to support him. That's simply because Clinton has won more states, by more delegates.

In other words, he wants delegates from states that he won to vote for him, and ... he wants delegates from states that he lost to vote for him. He pretends like there is an important principle at stake, but really the only guiding principle is self-interest.

Sanders will not come out and say the truth, which is that he wants party insiders to overthrow the results of the voting public. Because, really, how bad does it look for him to beg for favor from party insiders while basing his entire campaign around opposing the establishment? Very very bad indeed. Instead he implies, completely falsely, that the "fair" outcome would be for him to win. His supporters, who either don't know math or willfully ignore the math, buy into his lies. People like me, who know math, are revolted.

This kind of deceptive, nonsensical rhetoric frustrates me to no end. It lowers the bar of discourse in our already severely degraded public sphere. It de-legitimizes Clinton's victory based on no evidence other than the ignorance of the accuser. No previous losing presidential candidates in my lifetime have ever exhibited such lack of grace in accepting the elected outcome, not even Clinton in 2008, which was a much closer primary than this one (never even mind Bush vs. Gore in 2000). If you are Bernie-or-bust, tell me: how would you like it if Clinton lost the primary vote and got the nomination anyway thanks to superdelegates? Because that's exactly what Sanders is trying to do, with the names reversed.

If Sanders would come out and tell the truth, I would respect him. He would lose, but he would deserve respect. Right now, he's still going to lose, and he's going to lose without respect.
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Laura Cerritelli (Lokie)'s profile photoDavid Jao's profile photo
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"In the realm of illogical, self-serving, hypocritical, intellectually dishonest political arguments, this is practically the gold standard. But with six weeks to go until the last primary, I have great confidence that the Sanders campaign will find some way to top it."

https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/05/02/bernie-sanders-declares-war-reality/68txAVboFpkpbLXarTH33O/story.html
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Sane people know this stuff already, but it's still helpful to see it written out so clearly:

"Most fertilized eggs [naturally] never make it to birth.... Yet there has been no concerted anti-abortion effort to demand research funding into why all of these fertilized eggs die, or to find a cure.... Perhaps that’s because even the most active anti-abortion advocates know the truth is that a fertilized egg is not the same as a 3-year-old, and they do not genuinely believe that it has the same right to life.

The outrageous thing isn’t Donald Trump’s original comment. It’s that so few in the mainstream political establishment have bothered to interrogate the reality of the anti-abortion position and its stranglehold on Republican Party policies. When you do, you see that punishing women for making their own reproductive choices isn’t a defective, offensive answer. It’s the entire plan."
If abortion is murder, then women who have them are criminals—right?
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Robert Talbert's profile photoDavid Jao's profile photoAnne Alvarado's profile photo
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The TIME writer calls out "pro-life people" and more importantly Anti-Abortion Organizations for a hell of a lot more than the abysmally low gestation rate for fertilized eggs. 

-- The argument that women would not or should not go to jail for abortion is absurd when one notes that there are women in the United States who have, in fact, gone to jail for abortion. ... When you make something illegal, it comes with penalties—this is how criminal law works.

-- American anti-abortion advocates say they would target abortion providers instead of women. because it’s apparently more acceptable to throw doctors in prison for providing care that saves women’s lives every single day.

-- Today, in places where abortion is outlawed, there are still some illicit providers who offer surgical abortions. But more often there’s no trained doctor at all ... In other words, it’s often the woman herself who is the abortion provider.

-- Anti-abortion activists are also not satisfied to simply outlaw abortion; they want to enshrine into law that personhood exists at the moment of fertilization.

AAAAND, Going backwards in time:

-- It’s also worth noting that when you make abortion illegal, any death of a fetus or embryo becomes suspect.

The rest of the article links control of fertility to women's rights and economic freedom. And while I believe that anti-abortion groups pay a great deal of lip-service to both of these concepts, we have to look at the actions of these groups and the supposedly pro-life  politicians they support ... and those policies? Hurt women. As the article says, there's no anti-abortion organization supporting comprehensive sex ed. 

I'd bet that most of these organization's and legislators don't support contraception either.  

What you personally believe doesn't matter. (Similarly - What I believe also doesn't matter) ... at the end of the day the law matters ... and that's going to be determined by legislators and the organizations that provide the legal support/draft laws to them.  
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2016 Taipei Lantern Festival
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That looks really fun!
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Money quote: "[Regulations] infringing on future profits is presented as a theft deserving of compensation." The appalling scope of this latest corporate rights grab is simply breathtaking. Oil companies will have the right to receive compensation for carbon emissions regulations. Wall Street companies will have the right to receive compensation for consumer finance regulations. Who other than corporate lobbyists thinks this is a good idea?

By the way, here's the text of the intellectual property chapter of the agreement: https://wikileaks.org/tpp-ip3/ (leaked text, as always, because the parties to the agreement have not yet deigned to publish any sanctioned versions).

Here's an analysis of the IP chapter (all negative, of course) from the point of view of civil liberties: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/10/final-leaked-tpp-text-all-we-feared

I can't overemphasize just how much of an anti-consumer, anti-free-trade sellout this agreement represents. Obama has gone all full-corporate with the TPP and he must be stopped.
A provision in the massive trade pact makes it easier for multinationals to take nations to court
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At least give her credit when credit is due. She was correct to change her mind. Will she change again? Maybe. But it's our best shot compared to the (long) shot of a Sanders presidency. 
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Emotionally, nuclear power is a radioactive topic, but scientifically, nuclear power is our safest energy source and one of the greenest. I wish more people, and especially more environmentalists (who supposedly care about the environment) and scientists (who supposedly are rational thinkers) would take up the cause of advocating for nuclear power.

Let me give you some stats:

Safety: Nuclear power has historically been responsible for a long-term average of 90 deaths per trillion kWh globally, compared to 150 for wind, 440 for solar, and 1400 for hydro. These numbers include estimates of long-term mortality from Chernobyl and Fukushima. In the ~30 years since Chernobyl, a grand total of two people worldwide have died from acute radiation poisoning from a nuclear plant. (Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2012/06/10/energys-deathprint-a-price-always-paid/)

It turns out that maintenance workers falling off of wind turbines kills more people than nuclear accidents. The big number for hydro comes from catastrophic dam failures such as Banqiao in 1975.

Carbon footprint: The lifecycle carbon footprint of nuclear power is 12 gCO2eq/kWh, second only to onshore wind (11 gCO2eq/kWh), and far better than hydro (24 gCO2eq/kWh) and solar (41 gCO2eq/kWh). (Source: 2014 IPCC report, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life-cycle_greenhouse-gas_emissions_of_energy_sources)

Of course, fossil fuels are far worse (e.g. coal kills170000 people per trillion kWh and has a lifecycle carbon footprint of 820 gCO2eq/kWh). I certainly support any strategy that gets us off fossil fuels, even if the end result is slightly suboptimal. But I do not believe that our current strategy of ignoring nuclear power will help us get off fossil fuels. We have several decades of experience with large-scale nuclear power. It would be foolish not to use it.

Aside from the major concerns of safety and carbon footprint, there are a whole host of relatively minor concerns, easily addressed. What should we do with nuclear waste? (Recycle it into nuclear fuel.) How much nuclear fuel do we have? (Billions of years worth: http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/cohen.html) And so on.

I believe most environmentalists respect scientific facts, and most scientists understand the need for environmental action. The science is really clear: nuclear power provides the best balance of safety and carbon footprint (e.g. it beats solar on both counts). I wish that environmentalists and scientists would begin the daunting task of educating the public about nuclear power, rather than themselves needing to be educated.
Nothing but fear and capital stand in the way of a nuclear-powered ;future
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Frank Nestel's profile photoDavid Jao's profile photoAndrew G's profile photo
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Also, +Frank Nestel​, the point is that statistics are very good at detecting things that don't happen much. Fatalities and illness from nuclear power are completely overshadowed by those caused by petroleum products.

Besides, the safety issue is connected to the economic issue. The productive hit to the Japanese economy is small for Fukushima. Can you imagine how many otherwise healthy workers in China and India die from bad air? 
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David Jao

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The Sanders camp, unable to win by way of either voting or political campaigning, has resorted to outright lying about who the winner is.

From the linked article: "He [Sanders] still trails Hillary Clinton 1,719 to 1,425 in bound delegates, by CNN’s count, but he’s won a majority of the delegates since March 1." Presumably they are trying to build up a case that Sanders has more support among voters right now.

The only problem? This numerical claim is outright false. Since March 1, Clinton has won 1111 pledged delegates to Sanders' 1022.

I don't understand how this nonsense gets past even the most incompetent fact-checkers. I don't understand how the Wall Street Journal can fail to have anyone on their staff capable of counting. I don't understand how people blindly accept these ridiculously false claims.

Lying about published vote counts has got to be the lowest of the low. Give it up. Clinton is winning.
Sanders keeps beating Clinton, who looks weaker against Trump. tje Wall Street Journal writes in an editorial.
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+David Jao Well, you've convinced this misguided Sanders supporter. Count me in!
I'd even like to suggest a slogan for our girl: "I am not a crook."
See you in Philly.
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After months if not years of insisting that superdelegates are obliged to respect the will of the people, the Sanders campaign is ... explicitly lobbying for superdelegates to overturn the inevitable impeding victory that Clinton is about to earn at the ballot box. This is disgustingly, horrifyingly, hypocritical nakedly self-serving dishonest political gamesmanship from a man whose entire campaign is supposedly based on opposing such nonsense.

Of course it's pure fantasy and will never actually happen, since the Democratic superdelegates are sane. But it's still abhorrent, pathological behavior all the same.
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He's really starting to disappoint me. It looks like he's showing true colors now.
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Yes, the Flint water crisis could cost $300 billion to fix ... but lead abatement returns $10 in public health benefits per dollar invested [1]. Any journalist who fails to mention the benefits is not doing their job.

[1] http://ns.umich.edu/new/releases/22224-lead-abatement-a-wise-economic-public-health-investment (this is for lead paint removal, which although not the same thing as pipe replacement is the closest thing I could find)
The ripple effects of the city of Flint's tainted drinking water crisis could eventually prompt water suppliers to spend more than a quarter-trillion dollars on infrastructure upgrades faster than anticipated, a leading rating agency said Friday.
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Meanwhile back in India people are taking shits in the middle of the street due to a lack of toilets.
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Not feelin' the Bern lately ... would hate to have to explain to my kids how President Trump happened. 
Primaries don’t elect presidents; they elect candidates who have to beat the other guys. A socialist who wants to raise taxes on everyone cannot beat any Republican, period.
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+Elliot Schwartz There wasn't an equivalent opponent ... McCain, for all his faults, would have been at least a plausible president.
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TPP is about imposing restrictive, anti-competitive US IP policy on the rest of the world. It is written by big business, for big business, to protect big business interests. Obama's support of TPP places him solidly in the conservative right wing and represents one of the biggest disappointments of his presidency alongside his expansion of NSA wiretapping. Let's do everything we can to prevent TPP from becoming a reality.
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At least give her credit when credit is due. She was correct to change her mind. Will she change again? Maybe. But it's our best shot compared to the (long) shot of a Sanders presidency. 
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David Jao

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Burj Khalifa in Dubai through the car window on my way to Abu Dhabi.
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    Associate Professor, 2006 - present
    Faculty of Mathematics.
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