28 July 2004

Dude, where's my vote?

Here's a surprise. The Associated press reports that Some Fla. voting records lost in computer crash. Wow! Who would have thunk?!

As a software engineer, I especially like the following snippet:

State election officers say manual recounts are not needed since the machines tell each voter if they are skipping a race, known as an undervote, and will not let them vote twice for the same race, known as an overvote. The officials also maintain that the computer systems running the machines can be trusted to count the votes accurately as they're cast, and give the final numbers when needed.
I don't know where to start with a quote like this.

ATMs record each transaction on a paper tape inside the system. You can hear it printing if you listen. ATM manufactuers (e.g Diebold) are the ones building the voting machines. Clearly they believe a paper trail important when handling all that money.

Yet when you start handling votes, suddenly we don't need all that pesky paper? Please. The system is perfect? Fool-proof? Nothing can go wrong? Are you nuts?!

22 July 2004

Orders of magnitude

Yesterday's news reported the number of U.S. fatalities reached 900. We've since passed that.
Combined military losses have passed 1000.
Iraqi civilian casualties number somewhere between 11,252 and 13,213 (as of today).

21 July 2004

Pants on fire

Yay Ben Cohen! I hope this comes to my town.

19 July 2004

Okay, let me get this straight...

Today Bush answered questions about 9-11 commission reports that Iran provided safe passage for 9-11 terrorists on their way out of Afganastan. He mentions his concerns about their "nuculer" weapons program, totalitarian government, and harboring of high-level al-Qaida operatives. But he wants to get all the facts straight, first.

How can he claim that Iraq was a more significant threat?

Mind you, I don't think we should be attacking Iran or anything like that. I just find it ridiculous that Bush can talk about the changes Iran's government needs to make, the need to get all the facts straight before commenting, etc. These all suggest a slow and careful approach to Iran, there's no sense of urgency.

Yet he can still defend the Iraq war and justify its timing?!

16 July 2004

TMBG in Newsweek

Glad to see TMBG get some press. If you haven't been to their site, you should. Also check out the video the new single “Experimental Film,” c/o of the folks at Homestar Runner.

15 July 2004

I can see you....

You might have already heard of this. I seem to remember an NPR piece that included the reporter speaking from inside. Don't you just want to stand outside mouthing, "I can see you!"

14 July 2004

Pete Conrad and Surveyor 3

I just thought this was cool. I've seen the picture before in the NASA archive, but it still intrigues me. It's something about being in such a remote, forbidding place, yet there are relics of your own civilization there....

13 July 2004

Drinking and shotguns in your pants don't mix (in case you weren't aware)

I'm not sure if this is funny or just sad.

Tests were continuing to learn if Walker would be left infertile
Let's hope so.

12 July 2004

Election day worries? I'll say...

Last week I got a little nervous when the Bush administration began talking up the possibility of terrorists disruption the election. Now I read this.

Here's a quote:

DeForest B. Soaries Jr., chairman of the newly created U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Soaries noted that, while a primary election in New York on September 11, 2001, was quickly suspended by that state's Board of Elections after the attacks that morning, "the federal government has no agency that has the statutory authority to cancel and reschedule a federal election." Soaries, a Bush appointee who two years ago was an unsuccessful GOP candidate for Congress, wants Ridge to seek emergency legislation from Congress empowering his agency to make such a call.

Should any arm of government be given the power to postpone an election that could unseat it?!

Note that want to "determine what steps need to be taken to secure the election." Consider the following from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

secure \Se*cure"\, v. t.
1. To make safe; to relieve from apprehensions of, or exposure to, danger; to guard; to protect.
2. To put beyond hazard of losing or of not receiving; to make certain; to assure; to insure;

Which definition do you think they mean?

11 July 2004

Iridium flare!

The name may sound like something bad that's about to happen to the Enterprise, but it's actually a really cool phenomenom (do-dooo do do-do). The highly polished antenna on the Iridium sattelite reflects the sun and you see a really bright flash in the sky. Here's the gory details.
So thanks to the totally cool Heavens Above, you can now find out exactly when one will occur in your neck of the woods. The brightest flares are ~25 times brighter than Venus at it's brightest. If you saw one unexpectedly, you might think the invasion was beginning....

As if the flare was't enough, we also caught the ISS passing overhead about 15 minutes later. It passed almost directly overhead and was very bright. Sharon thought it was a plane at first....

Even if you're not a geek, it's these are worth checking out, because they look COOL!

09 July 2004

Timing is everything

Read the morning news today and found this. Granted it's a partisan source.
But take yesterday's terror alert. I couldn't see any startling new details in the announcement. I wonder what important event precipitated that announcement?
Is anyone else a little chilled when the White House starts hyping possible al-Qaida disruptions of the November elections? Contingency planning in case W continues to slide in the polls?

08 July 2004

This too shall pass...

It's 11:20 and my plan was to respond to Rob's post about Cheney and fuck. (Yes, I said it, and I'm proud. After all, Dick is)

But I've been sucked in and for reasons unknown feel compelled to type here. No, the reason is I'm hiding from really horrid code. It's what I called "Heart of Darkness" code. You come out of it with sunken eyes muttering "The horror, the horror...." I guess that's apropos right now.

Anyway, I must return to the stone around my neck that is this deadline. Or maybe it's better described as the stone lodged in my urinary tract that slowly working it's way out.

This too shall pass....