Praesidium

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Votes for Immigrants

A nice blog here, arguing that the right to vote should not be restricted to citizens, but rather should extend to resident foreigners.

Some would go even further, questioning why even residency should be required, if people can be affected by decisions. It's been suggested, for example, that everyone in Latin America should get to vote on the US president. This would probably have made quite a difference to the 2016 election, where the Mexican border wall was one of Trump's main campaign promises.

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Monday, January 22, 2018

Taxes for Children

The BBC just led me to this HMRC video explaining taxes for children (roughly 8-11). From around 3:30, it highlights that the target audience pay tax (VAT). This could be interesting in a discussion of voting rights.

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Iterated Games

An important part of game theory is that the payoffs of a one-off game may differ if it were repeated (especially if infinitely or indefinitely). A nice illustration of that can be found here.

In a one-off game, getting $1 beats getting 50c. But taking $1 ends the game, whereas if the boys keeps taking 50c then he gets another chance to play (indefinitely), allowing him to win much more over time.

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Saturday, December 23, 2017

Unusual Marriages 3: Yourself

It's often said that a marriage is between a man and a woman. This excludes not only homosexual (same-sex) marriage, but also polygamous marriage. And it also excludes sologamy, yet it seems that some people are marrying themselves. This BBC story partially repeats an earlier feature on Laura Mesi.

It takes two to tango, but not necessarily to marry...

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Saturday, December 09, 2017

Unusual Marriages 2: A Chandelier

When I posted this piece, about a woman who married a bridge, a while ago, I think I had a couple of other examples that I meant to post in a little series. Unfortunately, it looks like I never did. I just saw this piece, about a woman who proposed to a chandelier.

The piece clarifies that this marriage won't be recognised by Church or law, though as far as I can tell no marriage has actually taken place yet anyway. The woman in question apparently wants a commitment ceremony, although it seems she's in an open/polyamorous relationship that involves sleeping with other light fittings too.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2017

SCDTP funding

The ESRC's South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership (Southampton, Brighton, and Portsmouth) will fund at least 38 PhD students this year, on either a +3 (PhD) or 1+3 (MSc and PhD) basis. Some of these studentships will be for particular projects, advertised separately, but there's also an open call for student proposals here. Deadline end of January 2018.

I'm not directly involved in the ESRC funding decisions, but I am Doctoral Programmes Director for Politics And International Relations.

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Monday, September 25, 2017

What is a political symbol?

In 2016, FIFA fined the home nations for displaying poppies at international football matches. Players cannot wear political or religious images, either on their shirts or on armbands. More recently, they have suggested that poppies may be allowed. They've now tightened up their definition of a 'political symbol' - though it is still broad enough to include any national government and also any specific political act or event (which seems circular).

What seems strange, then, is that they never seem to have had a problem with national flags or emblems such as the 'three lions' on England shirts (which are the royal arms of the Plantagenet kings). Several other nations, such as Italy and Norway, wear shirts featuring their national flag. Indeed, in some cases even the colour of the shirt can signify political and/or religious allegiances, hence the strong feelings over green and blue around certain parts of Glasgow. Surely, if all political and religious symbols are forbidden, these are also problematic...

I can sympathise with those who wish to keep politics out of sport, but apparently it's impossible to keep sport out of politics, as shown by President Trump's recent comments over NFL players and the national anthem. Plenty of people seem to be boycotting the NFL because they don't want politics in their sport, but in that case why is there a national anthem in the first place? And is anyone boycotting Trump for putting sport in politics?

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