Archive for November, 2004
- Do you enjoy a game of no skill? — Flash – via metafilter
- Hotmail Goof Spooks MSN Subscribers — via Ars – apparently this really happened!
- San Francisco bookstore rearranges by color for one week — Beautiful, but not very practical
- Metroblogging Houston: Doggie Days — Maybe I *should* watch the local news
- Some French programmer decided to make a Flash musical out of his resume
- RoboDump 1.0 — "Several people theorized it was the CFO."
Bruce Schneier’s new essay, “The Problem with Electronic Voting Machines,” is an excellent introduction to the problems with Direct Record Electronic voting machines, which include both the famous Diebold touchscreens and Harris County’s eSlate button-based system. I would recommend this essay to anyone who wonders why there is so much concern about these systems (“if there’s no hanging chads, what’s the problem?”).
Schneier begins with the goals of a voting system, accuracy, anonymity, scalability, and speed, and from there covers the connection between simplicity and accuracy, the effect of error distribution on the accuracy of the final tally, anecdotes about the sort of problems that have occurred with DRE machines, and the “it works for ATMs, why not for voting?” argument. Finally, he explains the two things that need to happen to make the systems trustworthy: a paper record verified by the voter at the time the vote is cast and open review of the voting machine source code.
I finished Kiln People last night. I liked it, but then I like pretty much everything David Brin writes, except perhaps when he’s trashing Star Wars. That said, I rate it my least favorite of his books. The problem seems to be the switching among the various incarnations of Morris. Not that it’s confusing, just that it makes the story drag. And the whole “world conciousness” thing at the end was more annoying than it was in Earth. But you do have to give him some credit for building a novel around a premise that’s well off the beaten path of mainstream sci-fi.
- Wow! A computer at home! — "Scientists from the RAND Corporation have created this model to illustrate how a ‘home computer’ could look like in the year 2004."