December 7th, 2003


[/.] Cringley weighs in on the DIebold electronic voting mess.

Forgetting for a moment Diebold's voting machines, let's look at the other equipment they make. Diebold makes a lot of ATM machines. They make machines that sell tickets for trains and subways. They make store checkout scanners, including self-service scanners. They make machines that allow access to buildings for people with magnetic cards. They make machines that use magnetic cards for payment in closed systems like university dining rooms. All of these are machines that involve data input that results in a transaction, just like a voting machine. But unlike a voting machine, every one of these other kinds of Diebold machines -- EVERY ONE -- creates a paper trail and can be audited. Would Citibank have it any other way? Would Home Depot? Would the CIA? Of course not. These machines affect the livelihood of their owners. If they can't be audited they can't be trusted. If they can't be trusted they won't be used.

Now back to those voting machines. If EVERY OTHER kind of machine you make includes an auditable paper trail, wouldn't it seem logical to include such a capability in the voting machines, too? Given that what you are doing is adapting existing technology to a new purpose, wouldn't it be logical to carry over to voting machines this capability that is so important in every other kind of transaction device?

This confuses me. I'd love to know who said to leave the feature out - and why.

[/.] TEH M1ND-K0NTROL LASARzZzz!!!!!!!1!!!LOL OMG KTHX!!!!!

BOULDER, Colo. -- If you see a piercing green light shooting into the sky Sunday night, it's not aliens, it's the work of scientists at Ball Aerospace. The Star Wars-like light beam is part of a satellite the company is working on that will one day measure the Earth's atmosphere from orbit. It tested a lower power version in Hawaii earlier (pictured).

"The testing will probably start shortly after dark and last several minutes or several hours, depending on how the scientists need to adjust the frequency," said Emilia Reed, a spokeswoman for Ball Aerospace, which is working on the Cloud- Aerosol Lidar and Infared Pathfinder Spaceborne Observations project. "If it's clear skies, with little cloud cover, the beam can be seen from Colorado Springs and Wyoming." Reed said the laser beam, which will originate from Ball Aerospace, would be quite spectacular at times. It was originally scheduled to be tested Saturday evening, but that was postponed until Sunday, she said Friday. Reed said the test won't start until 4 p.m., at the earliest. The test will last between five days and three weeks, depending on weather conditions. "At its greatest frequency, the beam will be about the circumference of a basketball hoop and very visible by human eye," she said. The laser beam is about 40,000 times more powerful than a common laser pointer pen. The company has taken special precautions to protect aircraft and birds that might fly into the beam.

[ISTGINMTSU] [MeFi] Dial-A-Lesbian.

Q: What do your lesbians talk about?

A: That depends... our militant lesbians are a tad brutal and don't put up with shit. The coveted on-the-fence lesbians are a bit wishy- washy and the Catholic lesbian is even more conflicted (we only have one) The transgender lesbians like to talk about football in a husky voice. Stoner lesbians say, "Dude" and "Man" a lot. Whereas our popular good ol' fashioned 'regular' lesbians talk the crooked walk. Guess what the lesbian film critic wants to talk about.