Tangent’s Tangents · The professor goes off on some
The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and
the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.
Let us endeavour to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.
Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.
Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.
Failure is the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.
I’m a great believer in luck. The harder I work the more I have of it.
We don’t know what we don’t know - We can never be certain that we know
enough about anything.
Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
Don’t just listen to what people say, listen to how they say it.
Give people more than they expect.
Speak slowly, but think quickly.
If you leave your mind open too far, others may fill it with trash.
Judge success by what you put into it, as well as what you get out of it.
Don’t laugh at other’s dreams. People without dreams don’t have much.
Take care when giving advice - it might be given back.
Never argue with a fool. After a few minutes, no one can tell who’s the bigger fool.
Think you can or think you can’t - either way, you’re probably right.
When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
Silence is sometimes the best answer.
Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy
it a second time.
Lessons from Noah
Don’t miss the boat.
Remember that we’re all in the same boat.
Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.
Stay fit. When you’re 600 years old, you might need to do something really big.
Don’t listen to critics.
Build your future on high ground.
Two heads are better than one.
Fast isn’t always best. The snails were there with the cheetahs.
When you’re stressed, float awhile.
The woodpeckers inside may be a bigger threat than the storm outside.
Why Ask Why?
Discovery is seeing what everybody else has seen, and thinking what nobody else has
Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked why.
Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for
existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous
structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a
...one of the strongest motives that lead men to art and science is escape from everyday
life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one’s own ever-shifting desires. A finely
tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought.
I keep six honest serving-men,
They taught me all I knew;
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.
Ralph W. Sockman
"Because it’s there" will probably satisfy the naturally curious. Asking
"Why?" can lead to hidden inner beauty, deeper understanding, and enhanced appreciation. One can look at the
night sky and see little twinkly lights, but telescopes reveal beautiful gas clouds, swirling galaxies and other
planetary systems. Each new answer often leads to previously unimagined questions, marvels, and mysteries.
Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; an argument an exchange of ignorance.
If someone refuses to listen to music because they listened once and hated it, you might
encourage them to listen to other types of music, hoping they’ll find something they really enjoy. You might try to
educate them by sharing things you enjoy about your favorite music. You might even tell them they’re missing something
wonderful that will enhance their life. We can’t all discover life-enhancing scientific breakthroughs, but we can share
in the process by learning and understanding. Science isn’t just grammar and spelling, but also poetry and literature.
... fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
Ignorance is a luxury few can afford.
Ignorance isn’t bliss when something goes wrong. You may find yourself in a precarious
situation where nothing you try helps, or at the mercy of someone who merely claims to know, which can get quite
expensive. Without some knowledge, it’s difficult to choose an advisor, or even know which advice to trust. Nobody can
be an expert in everything, but it helps to at least know something about professional certifications and licenses, and
qualified, impartial third parties who can recommend an appropriate expert.
We often speak of random events but what do we really mean? Often we mean that the results
cannot be reliably predicted for if they were truly random, then even perfect knowledge would prevent a perfect
prediction. When we flip a coin or toss dice, we can calculate the probability of particular outcomes, and test those
calculations with thousands of trials, but a truly random outcome would violate the laws of physics. Coins and dice
have a specific shape, mass and center of gravity, and should respond in a consistent way to a force of known
magnitude, direction and duration. The "randomness" comes in because the forces are so subtle and complex
that we can’t know all the details with any certainty. Oil or sweat from fingers changes the center of gravity, a
slight breeze from a fan, air conditioner or open window affects the total force, and the exact force and direction of
the throw depends on variations in muscle contractions. With perfect knowledge of all
we could predict perfectly. In the absence of that perfection, the best we can do is to say that the outcome is random,
and assign a certain probability to each possible result.
None of this eliminates the possibility of truly random occurrences, but there’s always the chance that with just a little more
information, a seemingly random event might become predictable.
Is an Apology Enough?
Let us endeavour to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.
An apology should be as much about future as about the past. Apologies should show remorse
for a past action, but must also offer some assurance that it won’t happen again. Does the apology indicate concern
about some act now recognized to be wrong or inappropriate, or does it merely express sorrow about being caught and a
desire to avoid criticism or punishment in the future?
How did the original action occur?
What knowledge or circumstances might have prevented what happened?
What will happen if the same conditions arise again and nobody is watching?
Was this an isolated incident or part of a larger pattern?
Nobody Knows How I Feel!
Since you’re not me, you can’t possibly know what I’m going through.
Since you’re not me, you can’t possibly know how much I know about you.
This is similar to the old problem of the rose-colored glasses. Suppose you receive a pair
of rose-colored glasses as a gift. You put them on and look around. Everybody in the room looks rosy. The carpet looks
rosy. The refrigerator looks rosy. Even the dog looks rosy. You walk outside. Everything looks rosy. How many things
must you look at before you can be certain that the next thing you see will also look rosy?
If the only way to know was past experience, you might never be absolutely certain. After
all, you don’t know what the next object might be. What if it’s an identical pair of rose-colored glasses?
Carefully studying the glasses themselves is another approach. Learning about light and how
colored filters affect it can tell you what’s likely to happen before actually wearing the glasses. Learning these
things requires certain types of experience and experimental verification, but as your knowledge increases, so does the
certainty about what will happen next.
People aren’t as simple as a pair of glasses, but various types of people tend to have
certain perceptual "filters".
Must a doctor suffer a serious heart attack to be qualified to treat someone else’s heart?
How could you convice someone else that the glasses really make things look rosy if they’ve
never worn those particular glasses?
Intelligent Designer Contest
God does not play dice with the universe.
Stop telling God what to do.
Niels Bohr’s response
Once upon a time, two designers decided to have a competition to see who was the most
intelligent. One designer created a world with beautiful geologic formations and living things that stayed the same eon
after eon. Occasionally something got out of balance and the designer had to intervene to keep the whole creation from
falling apart. It persisted, but was rather boring as nothing ever changed.
The other designer created a dynamic world with constantly changing weather patterns,
continents drifting about, glaciers advancing and retreating, sea levels rising and falling and mountains alternately
rising and crumbling to dust. Through it all, the creatures adapted and developed new capabilities to deal with each
new challenge presented by their ever-changing world. All these things were created so ingeniously that this world
maintained itself with no further intervention from its designer. The sophisticated, surprising changes and infinite
intricacies filled everyone with a sense of awe and wonder while offering endless challenges to anyone willing to watch
Who should win this competition and be declared the most intelligent designer?
When Scientists Disagree
It’s not unusual to hear something like "Most scientists support my position that
...", only to hear someone on the opposite side of the dispute say exactly the same thing. If the dispute is to be
settled by means other than popular vote, we need to look deeper into what scientists are believed to be saying. There
are several possible reasons someone might mistakenly believe that most scientists support their position, including:
Ignoring scientists whose conclusions disagree
The "scientists" (often nameless) are not truly experts in the field and may have
reached an insupportable conclusion.
The scientists were hired to "study" the issue, with the understanding that a
particular conclusion was desired.
The scientific conclusions were misunderstood or misrepresented.
These possibilities suggest several questions to ask:
How were the scientists chosen? Were their conclusions considered?
Are the scientists highly regarded by other scientists in the same field?
What qualifications were required of the selected scientists?
Under what circumstances did the scientists first reach their conclusion?
Who paid for the study?
What percentage of all scientists in that field were considered?
Do scientists in the field generally accept any additional interpretations?
Is the issue likely to be an emotional one for the scientists involved?
It’s possible that even after getting reasonable answers to all the above questions, the
dispute remains. Science thrives on controversy and uncertainty. Sometimes there just isn’t enough information and
additional research may help clarify things. Also, scientists sometimes make mistakes, but the scientific process
itself tends to correct any mistakes and approach the truth as new, reliable information becomes available.
The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
Patriotism is not loyalty to a person, icon or symbol. Even the most eloquent speech can
only make someone a potential patriot. True patriots identify themselves with actions that honor fundamental ideals,
principles, or cultural traditions. Ask "what is really honored by this persons actions?" If the answer is
something vague or abstract such as "a homeland", follow up with "what makes this homeland special and
worthy of honor?" Is this action really the best way to bestow honor? What additional actions would be
appropriate? If you’re not satisfied with the answers, the person in question may be merely a scoundrel.
It’s been said that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
Protests may be a response to violations of a fundamental principle dear to true patriots
, or merely a temperamental outburst from a scoundrel.
This distinction becomes especially important when protests include violence.
Before acting, decision makers should welcome all available resources, and those with
relevant information or opinions should speak up. Once a decision is made, successfully putting it into action may
require the support (or at least acceptance) of everyone involved. Ongoing reevaluation based on new information and
progress reports may lead to changes, or even a reversal of the decision, but mere repetition of old information or
opinions could be more divisive than helpful.
The Shrinking Box of Ignorance
Ignorance is not a point of view.
Mimes sometimes perform a routine where they pretend to be inside a slowly shrinking box.
The top and sides of the box gradually close in, forcing the mime to contort to fit the ever-diminishing space. People
who stubbornly cling to an assertion in spite of mounting contradictory evidence place themselves inside a box of
ignorance. Each new conflicting fact shrinks the box, forcing the occupant to further contort their beliefs to fit the
limits imposed by the box. The mime simply steps out of the box at the end of the routine. Those dwelling in a box of
ignorance often choose to remain inside, becoming ever more confined until the constraints prohibit them from
accomplishing much of anything.
Open-minded or Empty-headed
If you keep your mind wide open, others will fill it with trash.
An open-minded person is receptive to new ideas, but needn’t embrace all ideas equally. It’s
important to consider any evidence supporting the new idea, but equally important to look for contradictions with other
well established concepts. If there’s very little evidence either way, an open-minded person might simply take note of
the new idea, but reserve judgment until more compelling evidence turns up. If the new idea contradicts competing
concepts, the open-minded person might simultaneously reevaluate the old idea and analyze the new before choosing one
over the other. During this comparison, several questions might be asked:
Does one option better solve existing problems?
Is one option more consistent?
Is one option more easily applied to a broad range of similar problems or facts?
Does one option rely more on special cases or have additional limitations?
Does either option lead to other useful conclusions or solutions?
Is either option unnecessarily complex?
Accepting an idea only because it’s new, different, or politically correct
might be just empty-headed.
Things should be made as simple as possible -- but no simpler.
It isn’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble, it’s what we know that ain’t
Do any 2 trees look exactly alike? Could you recognize a tree if you only see a part of it
in a picture? If a tree falls in the forest, would you cover your ears? Most people have a concept of
"treeness", or what all trees ought to be like, which might include a trunk, branches, leaves and bark. Could
we even have a concept of trees without generalizing in some way? If we considered every detail of each tree, without
any generalizations, we might conclude that each tree is a unique object and miss the broader relationships between all
trees. Our language and communication would probably be quite different without such abstract concepts.
What does the above picture resemble? If you can’t think of at least 5 things, ask the
nearest preschooler for help. Such imagination might not be possible without generalizations and abstract concepts of
what something ought to look like.
When young child hears a favorite story read for the twentieth time, and the reader changes
or adds anything, the child might speak up and remind the reader of how the story is "supposed to go".
Parents are usually quite pleased when their children absorb the parent’s method of prayer,
diet, clothing, or anything else that defines the parent’s
culture, religion, or way of life.
A group of young children may pick on, or make fun of, one who is different in some way, or
just new to the group. The children were probably not taught to act this way, and parents often correct such behavior.
Generalizing, filling in details with our imagination, and knowing how something is supposed
to be is part of who we are. Never making any generalizations would make it more difficult to function in a complex
world, but we need to recognize preconceptions for what they are. Continually reexamining our preconceptions can help
avoid unnecessary, irrelevant, or even dangerous prejudgments. An occasional
second opinion might also be helpful.
Look carefully at several trees. Consider how they have much in common, and how each is
unique. Read a story a little differently each time. Use your imagination to fill in, and occasionally change, details.
How tall are the characters? Do they like broccoli? How do these changes affect the story? Explore and have fun.
Celebrate differences and possibilities.
Follow the Leader
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.
Robert G. Ingersoll
Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it.
Follow what the leader stands for, not the person. People may belong to cliques, gangs,
religions, cults, families, societies, companies and fan clubs, each with it’s own purposes and goals. Sometimes
there’s a common goal or a greater purpose. Other times, simply belonging might be enough, in which case there’s little
need for a strong leader. Understand what you want and expect, and ask questions if the leader’s methods or objectives
conflict with your personal beliefs or goals. If the leadership requires you to accept things you don’t like as a condition
of getting what you want, are the leader’s goals truly aligned with the group’s goals? Would a different leader be better?
Perhaps it’s time to reconsider the group goals and choice of leader.
Those who say something can’t be done shouldn’t interfere with those actually doing
Idealistic goals may get dismissed as noble, but not practical. Idealism can be admirable
when striving toward a lofty goal, but an oversimplified agenda may be disruptive if based on a limited understanding
of the problem, or the means of solving the problem. We can accept that some things exist right now, but we don’t have
to accept them as inevitable, necessary, or desirable. Don’t give up on the ideal as an ultimate end. It might not be
instantly available, but think of the "practical limits" as obstacles requiring long-term effort. Before
Do unmet needs require immediate action?
What are the consequences of not acting now?
Can controversial sections be considered separately?
Could there unintended or irreversible consequences?
How easily can changes be made later?
Does a compromise get you closer to your ideal goal?
A Compromising Solution
Should you accept something undesirable as a condition
of getting something else you want? Mutual back-scratching shouldn’t involve anything sharp or pointy. If both sides
are giving up something in exchange for something they don’t want, try to separate the issues. Holding one issue
hostage by linking it to an unrelated issue in the name of compromise
serve everyone’s best interests. Don’t make it about winning, especially if others are affected by the decision.
The Answer Is ...
Finding a reasonable, appropriate solution isn’t always easy (see "The Committee’s Camel
"). If the problem involves people with strong emotional
reactions, it could be better to leave the decision to others who can be more objective, or at least allow a
"cooling off" period before making a substantial commitment. Delegating the problem solely to experts may
also have disadvantages (see "When Scientists Disagree
developing options, some questions to consider are:
What final result do you want?
How will you know when you’ve got the result you want?
Once you’ve got it, what will you do with it?
What intermediate signs will indicate likely success or failure?
How easily can you switch to an alternate plan?
Is your situation typical? If not, what are the distinguishing circumstances?
How have others approached similar problems, and would you be satisfied with their result?
Is the proposed solution appropriate for everyone in your situation?
What differing circumstances would make an alternate solution a better choice?
What could happen if everyone (including those who don’t like you) adopted your solution? Could they use it against you?
What could go wrong along the way?
What will others be doing while you’re implementing your solution?
What are the "unknowns"?
Could a slower, incremental solution reduce unknowns, or allow better control along the
If the final outcome depends on certain assumptions, how certain are you that those
assumptions are correct?
What are the objections to your proposed solution?
Who will cooperate, or help you achieve your desired goal?
Who could work against you?
How dependent are you on help from others?
How vulnerable are you to hindrance from others?
It’s not always easy to know what someone really wants, as people sometimes ask for a
potential means to an end rather than the end itself. When someone says they need more money, they probably want
whatever it is they intend to spend the money on, and even that could be just a means to the real goal. Money could be
a means to buy a car, which would be reliable transportation to a job. A bus pass or car pool might provide adequate
transportation at a much lower cost. It’s important to know what you really want, and how you will measure progress
toward your true goal. Objective measurement along the way could provide new information and might reveal flaws that
Your problem probably isn’t unique. Learn from the experiences and mistakes of others.
Specific circumstances vary, but a careful examination of the differences can be useful in finding a solution that’s
Imagine yourself being the one giving advice, with everyone adopting your solution and
possibly using it against you. Carefully consider the qualifications you might place on your recommended solution, and
specific circumstances that might require an alternate solution.
If the problem is adversarial, you’ll need a way to monitor what others are doing. The
situation is likely to change as your opponents implement their solution, so constant reevaluation becomes extremely
important. As you might need assistance from others, it’s a good idea to evaluate the situation from the position of
your associates and consider the conditions under which they might withhold support, or even change sides.
People love to criticize and find faults. Sometimes it’s just nitpicking for the sake of
argument, but it could also be a source of free research. Don’t be too quick to dismiss opposition, especially from
someone you may need later.
If more than one person is involved, are they all equally responsible? Is it reasonable or
necessary to treat everyone involved the same way?
Focus on the goal, not your proposed solution. People sometimes become attached to a
specific solution and lose sight of the ultimate goal. Whenever something changes, or more information becomes
available, it’s usually worthwhile to reevaluate the solution and the goal. When implementing a specific solution, try
to provide enough flexibility to transition to an alternate solution if necessary. The solution to a problem should be
a process, not an end in itself. People often claim that "right" is on their side, but a more helpful
question may be, "Am I on the side of ’right’?"
It’s Bob - A Modern Fable
Since before anyone could remember, their town had a wonderful machine. For each coin
dropped into the machine, a ripe orange rolled out. This machine had no markings, no other openings, no battery
compartment and made no sound. The people had long discussions about how it might work. They watched for long periods,
but never saw anyone take out the money or fill the machine with oranges. Someone calculated that the total number of
coins dropped in would more than fill the machine. It’s a mystery. The oranges were sweet and juicy all year, yet there
was no way an orange tree could ever grow inside such a box. It’s a mystery. What does the machine do with all the
money? It’s a mystery.
One morning, they were surprised to see a shiny new label on the machine that simply read,
"Hello, my name is Bob". Nobody knew how the label got there, but at last here was an explanation. It’s Bob!
Someone asked how Bob could possibly fit inside the box along with all those oranges? It’s a mystery, but what other
explanation could there be? Where does Bob get all those oranges? It’s a mystery, but what other explanation could
there be? What does Bob do with all the money? It’s a mystery, but what other explanation could there be? Does Bob eat
anything but oranges? It’s a mystery, but what other explanation could there be?
Soon the people were divided into factions. Some believed Bob was inside the machine,
somehow transforming coins into oranges. Others believed Bob wasn’t actually inside, but somehow controlled the machine
from a comfortable vantage point. Another group believed that Bob simply built the machine and was now long gone. They
argued passionately, but at least they all agreed on one thing - It’s Bob!
The End of the Means
The means should be consistent with the ultimate end. Suspending the rules could easily have
the same result as permanently changing the rules, especially for others who may be looking for something to use
against you. Questionable means could even create a different end, ultimately replacing the result you really want. The
decision-making process often relies on the simple assumption that "we" are somehow better than
"they" are. Are the proposed means consistent with whatever makes "us" better than
"them"? People sometimes claim that others who break the "rules" essentially renounce any
protections offered by those "rules". Using such an argument requires carefully considering the specific
actions that constituted "breaking the rules", the degree to which the rules were broken, and whether other
unbroken rules may still apply.
Do All Opinions Deserve Equal Time?
Some opinions have been so thoroughly analyzed and discredited that they’ve lost any claim
to equal time. This isn’t censorship - it’s just good time management. That’s not to say that the holders of those
opinions should suffer any kind of retribution simply because they hold insupportable opinions - they’re just not
entitled to an audience gathered by others for a different purpose and must provide their own forum and recruit
listeners themselves. Stubbornly held, discredited opinions contribute nothing to a serious discussion, and won’t
change the final result - they just get in the way. Granting "equal time" in geography class to the claim
that the earth is flat just takes time from more important topics. A discussion of the science and observations
throughout history that lead up to the final acceptance that the earth is a sphere, and why some people once assumed it
was flat, could be a useful lesson, but spending time refuting fabricated, distorted or misinterpreted
"evidence" of a flat earth isn’t, especially when people cling so stubbornly to their opinions that no amount
of explanation or evidence will change their mind. One must be especially careful with children as they aren’t always
capable of fully grasping the logical thought processes and underlying science that lead to the overwhelming rejection
of certain concepts. "Equal time" could just confuse them and leave them with the idea that all possibilities
are equally likely, and therefore equally valid.
When you suspect that someone is stubbornly clinging to an unsubstantiated opinion, you
might ask, "why do they hold and perpetuate that opinion?" Some possible answers to consider are:
to make money by manipulating others
to teach or influence others
to argue, often just for the sake of argument
to bait, or emotionally inflame others
for emotional security
for comfort or convenience
Does this opinion have any useful consequences? How does believing that the earth is flat
help while traveling around the world? How does such a belief help to understand or accomplish anything?
The Committee’s Camel
A camel is a horse designed by a committee.
Some compromises seem reasonable or innocent, but may produce a bad decision (and a stubborn,
humpbacked, spitting horse).
Going along to get along
Splitting the difference
Voting for one of two choices
Other, less innocent factors may also sneak through.
Self-interest of an individual, or a represented group
Not thinking through potential consequences
Overlooking more fundamental issues
Combining several unrelated issues
After a lengthy discussion about how many eyes and ears a horse needs, some committee
members might say, "We went along with you on 2 eyes and 2 ears, so now you have to go along with us and give the
horse 3 legs". It shouldn’t be a matter of one person "going along" or agreeing with another. Ideally,
everybody should be in agreement with whatever is most beneficial to the horse, or the horse’s owner. There are valid
reasons for giving a horse 2 ears and 2 eyes, but much less compelling arguments for a 3-legged horse.
How much should a horse eat? Some committee members say 5 pounds of oats per day, others say
80. It might seem tempting to split the difference, or vote for one or the other, but how does either choice benefit
the horse or the horse’s owner? Some say a horse that only eats 5 pounds of oats will be cheap to feed. Others say such
a horse won’t be strong enough for many jobs, and still others say a horse that eats lots of oats will boost profits
for their friends and relatives who happen to be farmers. If the committee really wants to stray from their
horse-designing mission and help farmers, there may be better ways that have nothing to do with feeding horses. These
are two separate issues that should be discussed separately. More importantly, why even discuss how much a horse should
eat? Food is basically an energy source. Once the committee determines how much work to expect from one horse,
nutritional requirements should follow easily. Those needing more power can use several horses together, and those only
needing the power of a single horse shouldn’t have to buy excess oats.
Sometimes unavoidable ambiguities make agreement difficult. Carefully considering potential
consequences can become important. Some questions to ask are:
What are the consequences of being wrong?
What early warning signs should we look for?
How easily can we respond to those warning signs?
What sorts of corrections can we make as things develop?
What safety precautions or intermediate steps could be taken?
If it turns out we made the wrong choice, how easily can we change it?
Members objecting to the solution might be assigned as "lookouts" for signs of
Some committee members might represent a larger group and vote according to their group’s
desires. These representatives should present the concerns of their group to the entire committee, and help the
committee understand and consider those concerns, but vote in the best interest of the committee’s objective. If the
final decision conflicts with the group’s interests, the representative can help the group understand why the committee
made that decision and how everyone benefits.
Traditional "yes/no", "one-or-the-other" voting isn’t always best if
there are more than two choices. Some members 2nd choice might be eliminated, forcing them to settle for a 3rd or 4th
choice. Giving everybody multiple votes and allowing them to distribute those votes among all the choices lets voters
choose among several desirable (or at least tolerable) choices, and the number of votes they give to each option
indicates the strength of their preference. If everybody gets 10 votes, 5 votes assigned to each of 2 choices indicates
that both are about equal, while 6 votes given to their top choice, and 2 votes given to their 2nd and 3rd choices
indicates a strong preference.
Another option is simply ranking each option in order of preference. If there are 5
options, each member could give their top choice 5 points, their 2nd choice 4 points, etc. Rather than some getting
everything, and others getting nothing, most might get their 1st or 2nd choice.
Another option is basically an instant runoff. Everybody gets one vote, but rather than
choosing only one candidate, they list all candidates in order of preference. If no candidate gets a majority of the
first choice votes, the candidate with the fewest first choice votes is eliminated. Votes are then recounted using the
second choice selection of everyone who chose the eliminated candidate as their first choice. The process continues
until one candidate gets a majority of the votes.