Anna Haynes: “I searched your site for ‘divest’ ‘fossil’ and nothing came up.   What advice do you have for doing low-effort management of an IRA, to still have mostly index funds but not fossil fuels?   How to (easily) find reputable well-chosen index funds that are at least low in fossil-fuel-related stocks?

☞ You are wonderful to ask and to care.  My view is that your owning fossil fuel stocks will not help the fossil fuel industry in any way, nor impede the transition to renewables.  So I’d suggest redirecting this effort to:

. . . finding yet more ways to conserve energy

. . . inspiring friends to install solar or to eat less meat

. . . organizing to elect Senators and Presidents who “believe in” climate change — all that.

To the tiny extent your index fund may enrich you through its ownership of Exxon, I recommend psychological judo:

. . . enjoy knowing that you’ll use those Exxon profits to work toward a fossil-free world.

Tony Kenck: “I appreciate the sentiment that our current voting systems are flawed and lead to poor results sometimes. I need to disagree with your position from last week that ranked choice voting is the solution.

“Ranked Choice (RC) and Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) are technically different things. RC is a way of expressing preference, IRV is a method of tabulating votes from RC ballots.

“This is an important distinction. IRV, which seems pretty good, can solve one problem (e.g. Gore Bush) but introduce others. Technically speaking, IRV is nonmonotonic. That is, a shift of public opinion toward a candidate can cause the candidate to lose, and a shift of public opinion away from a candidate can cause the candidate to win. IRV also has significant issues with tabulation.  Late votes require the entire set of votes to be retabulated because it could change the last-place vote. Technically, you can not know the results until every single vote is in and calculated. . . . A different and probably superior method is one called Condorcet. It eliminates most of the IRV issues, but introduces a few other, but less likely, issues. The tabulation is more straightforward than with IRV.  IRV is to Condorcet as single elimination is to round robin.  . . . Superior to both of them is Approval voting, in which you simply select all candidates that would be acceptable to you. It’s simple to tabulate and does not have the issues of either IRV or Condorcet. IT’s not perfect, but is an improvement over the current systems, IRC and Condorcet. And it is very simple. It is not technically a ranked choice input though. . . . This website has wonderful graphics of how these different systems can work or not depending on the positions of the candidates.  The author of the site is Ka-Ping Yee. . . . I have no problem stirring the pot to improve our election systems, but we need to be careful not to settle too quickly on a solution that will prove flawed. . . . I’m not a lone voice in the universe on this either — e.g, this editorial by Ari Armstrong in the Colorado Sun.”

Bonus round:  Did you see Nick Kristof’s wonderful column on immigration?



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