Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be, but first I need more coffee.

Month: October 2008 (Page 1 of 5)

In Tucson

Melissa and I are in Tucson. I’m job hunting and she’s preparing for her new job starting in January. Yesterday we went by the house we will be renting when we move here. This will give us ample opportunity to do a thorough house search after we get settled in.

I took some pictures of the house and here’s the front and the kitchen. I’ll post more later. Also there were lots o’ critter’s running about and I managed to get a few snaps of them.

front
front of house

kitchen
Mel is inspecting the kitchen.


quail

Gambel quail fleeing the photographer (me). Click on for larger version.

HR Giger Bar (Summer 2004)

Across the street from the HR Giger Museum in Gruyères, Switzerland is the HR Giger Bar. In the summer of 2004 I had the good fortune to travel there. I’d scanned these pictures in once before and probably posted them somewhere on the Intertubes, but I don’t remember where.

Why Giger’s museum is in this village I have know idea. There’s a neat castle and a cheese factory as well. The castle tour at the time wasn’t one of the better castle tours I’d been on. The Castle of Chillon near Montreaux was much cooler. The cheese factory tour was amusing to say the least. Our English language narrator was Cherry the Cow.

Mel & I enjoying a beverage in the bar.

The museum itself was interesting. There was a room that had a warning sign and a curtain for a door. The warning sign said that this room had some of HR’s more ‘adult’ pieces of artwork. After Mel & I saw it and went on to the next room I remarked, “How is this different than the rest of the museum?” She agreed.


A funky Giger table in the bar.

Note— They had no Alien specialty drinks like say a Ripley, Chestburster or a Facehugger.

Vote for Python

In February of 2007 I attended my second Pycon, a conference devoted to the open source programming language Python. One of the coolest system of presentations I saw were the lightning talks. Each presenter gets only 5 minutes to give his spiel. The one that made the biggest impression on me was by Ka-Ping Yee. He demonstrated how using less than 300 lines of code could make electronic voting much more secure. Consider this. A voting machine made by Diebold (now Premier Election Solutions) has over 31,000 lines of code. Some machines have over 100,000 lines of code. Which do you think would be easier to audit and certify?

As we get closer to the election, voting security becomes more important. Ka-Ping Yee is getting some news coverage. Since that talk his pvote code has ballooned to just under 500 lines of python code, still somewhat under that 100K mark.

No matter what system is used, transparency and the ability to audit the system and the votes is of paramount importance. No one should trust any system to work. Proper checks and balances need to be in place, so that should questions arise, people can see what happened.

Yee was interviewed during Pycon 2008 in Chicago: In Voting Software We Trust? (video) http://www.sciencefriday.com/videos/watch/10157/

Ira Flatow also interviews Ka-Ping Yee in this recent segment of Science Friday. Comes in at 13:30.
E-Voting Update (broadcast Friday, October 24th, 2008) http://www.sciencefriday.com/program/archives/200810241

One thing to note about the electronic voting systems mentioned in the podcast was calibration. They use touch screens. If they are not calibrated properly, voters thinking they selected their candidate of choice may show they’ve selected a different candidate. The co-ordinates of the selections you see on the screen should be synced up with the co-ordinates of the touch display. This is a separate issue that needs to be addressed, but as long as it can be calibrated visually and on the spot this should not be a serious technical issue. The only downside is that voters may not be paying attention to their choices or summary.

Yee didn’t mention anything about a paper audit, but it would be trivial to add a few lines of code to print out the cast ballot. Not only does this make it possible to vote more securely—by an order of magnitude—his system makes it easier for the voter to cast a vote, including those requiring accessibility.

You can also view his Pycon slide show. It will walk you through the steps, and you’ll see how it is possible to make electronic voting far more secure than it is now. With the proper checks and balances people can be sure their vote is counted. These checks are sadly lacking in Diebold’s and others voting machine technology.

Vote for Python

In February of 2007 I attended my second Pycon, a conference devoted to the open source programming language Python. One of the coolest system of presentations I saw were the lightning talks. Each presenter gets only 5 minutes to give his spiel. The one that made the biggest impression on me was by Ka-Ping Yee. He demonstrated how using less than 300 lines of code could make electronic voting much more secure. Consider this. A voting machine made by Diebold (now Premier Election Solutions) has over 31,000 lines of code. Some machines have over 100,000 lines of code. Which do you think would be easier to audit and certify?

As we get closer to the election, voting security becomes more important. Ka-Ping Yee is getting some news coverage. Since that talk his pvote code has ballooned to just under 500 lines of code, still somewhat under that 100K mark.

No matter what system is used, transparency and the ability to audit the system and the votes is of paramount importance. No one should trust any system to work. Proper checks and balances need to be in place, so that should questions arise, people can see what happened.

Yee was interviewed during Pycon 2008 in Chicago: In Voting Software We Trust?



Ira Flatow also interviews Ka-Ping Yee in this recent segment of Science Friday. Comes in at 13:30.
E-Voting Update (broadcast Friday, October 24th, 2008)
[audio:http://podcastdownload.npr.org/anon.npr-podcasts/podcast/510221/96167029/npr_96167029.mp3]

One thing to note about the electronic voting systems mentioned in the podcast was calibration. They use touch screens. If they are not calibrated properly, voters thinking they selected their candidate of choice may show they’ve selected a different candidate. The co-ordinates of the selections you see on the screen should be synced up with the co-ordinates of the touch display. This is a separate issue that needs to be addressed, but as long as it can be calibrated visually and on the spot this should not be a serious technical issue. The only downside is that voters may not be paying attention to their choices or summary.

Yee didn’t mention anything about a paper audit, but it would be trivial to add a few lines of code to print out the cast ballot. Not only does this make it possible to vote more securely—by an order of magnitude—his system makes it easier for the voter to cast a vote, including those requiring accessibility.

You can also view his Pycon slide show. It will walk you through the steps, and you’ll see how it is possible to make electronic voting far more secure than it is now. With the proper checks and balances people can be sure their vote is counted. These checks are sadly lacking in Diebold’s and others voting machine technology.

Ugly Days Ahead [Updated]

November 5th will be a day to remember. It’ll be the day after the election and if we are very lucky we’ll know who won the presidential election. I knew that the campaign would get uglier the closer it gets to the election. And it has. An actress who played Ann Coulter in a bit part in the movie W died after after a severe beating. Was the attack politically motivated? I don’t know. It could have been a random coincidence. A woman faked an attack by an Obama supporter. She has confessed.

If Obama wins, Republicans will be crying voter fraud. If McCain wins, Democrats will be crying voter suppression. The difference is that voter fraud is done by individuals and voter suppression is an organized effort to prevent large numbers of voters from casting ballots, usually minorities. The voter fraud that the Republicans are crying about now is actually registration fraud, but they are being disingenuous about it. ACORN hires people to register voters. They are required to turn in all registration forms even if they are considered suspect.

Remember the attorney firing scandal? Well the Republicans made the same charges of “voter fraud” and when those attorneys appointed by George W. Bush couldn’t or wouldn’t find this alleged voter fraud, they were fired.

I will not be surprised to hear more reports of racially motivated attacks over the next nine days. I will not be surprised at conservative and “independent” pundits making claims that the Democrats have become unhinged.

There is nothing I can say to my friends and family who plan to vote for McCain, that will convince them Obama will be better for America. Some of them think he will be a disaster. They don’t believe the last eight years have been disastrous with Bush & Cheney. There have been willing Democrats who have enabled them. Rightly or wrongly the only the only thing that can prove the Republicans in charge aren’t totally evil is if Obama wins, is inaugurated and serves most of his first term as president.

Update
Well, that didn’t take long. AP is reporting that the: ATF disrupts skinhead plot to assassinate Obama (and 102 other people who just happened to be black). This is not the first foiled plot.

« Older posts

© 2022 Christopher Merle

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑