voting fraud

"Inside A U.S. Election Vote Counting Program" dissects the Diebold voting kiosk software (used in 37 states) and presents some evidence that it intentionally keeps two sets of books -- one in which the votes are recorded, and one from which the results are generated -- in order to intentionally facilitate fraud.

You might look at it like this: Suppose you have votes on paper ballots, and you pile all the paper ballots in room one. Then, you make a copy of all the ballots and put the stack of copies in room 2.

You then leave the door open to room 2, so that people can come in and out, replacing some of the votes in the stack with their own.

You could have some sort of security device that would tell you if any of the copies of votes in room 2 have been changed, but you opt not to.

"The Truth About the Rob-Georgia File" (same author) has an interview with one of the folks who was responsible for deploying this system, who tells a story that lacks basic security measures in just about every way you can imagine. This story pretty well undermines the first story, since clearly this company couldn't find its ass with both hands: they don't sound smart enough to rig an election.

It is somewhat suspicious that the author of these two articles is also hyping his own book on the topic. But here's the (less accusatory, but also far more vague) take on it from EFF and NYT.

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interesting article on Mad Scientist Stephen Wolfram

The Man Who Cracked The Code to Everything

He invariably introduces each topic in a similar fashion: Curious to know about _______ [CHOOSE ANY SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINE] and how his new theories might apply, he decides to take a look at the history of the field. Amazingly, he concludes, for hundreds of years so-called experts have failed to answer key questions that should have been easily resolved centuries ago. (Wolfram's disappointment in his predecessors is bottomless.) But when Wolfram applies the ideas from A New Kind of Science, he begins making progress and expresses the hunch that not long after his ideas are understood, the biggest problems will quickly be resolved, transforming the field.

To list only a few examples: Wolfram finds an exception to the second law of thermodynamics; conjectures why extraterrestrials might be communicating with us in messages we can't perceive; explains seeming randomness in financial markets; defines randomness; elaborates on why the "apparent freedom of human will" is so convincing; reconstructs the foundations of mathematics; devises a new way to perform encryption; insists that Darwinian natural selection is an overrated component in evolution; and, oh, theorizes that there's a "definite ultimate model for the universe." What might this be? The mother of all rules; a single, simple "ultimate rule" that computes everything from quantum physics to reality television.

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the legend of "Kuno the Killer" lives on.

Legendary Dog-Eating Catfish Dies

BERLIN (Reuters) - A giant catfish that ate a dog and terrorized a German lake for years has washed up dead, but the legend of "Kuno the Killer" lives on. A gardener discovered the carcass of a five-foot-long catfish weighing 77 pounds this week, a spokesman for the western city of Moenchengladbach said on Friday.

Kuno became a local celebrity in 2001 when he sprang from the waters of the Volksgarten park lake to swallow a Dachshund puppy whole. He evaded repeated attempts to capture him.

"He was our Loch Ness monster," said Uwe Heil, member of "Kuno's Friends," a local rock band named after the fish.

Several fishermen identified the carcass as Kuno, but doubts linger. "That's not the Kuno we know," said Leon Cornelius, another member of "Kuno's Friends." He said he had seen several huge catfish in the lake.

Low water levels and a summer heat wave probably killed the catfish, among the biggest found in Germany. The northern city of Bremen plans to stuff it and put in a museum.

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"Humatrope"

U.S. Clears New Use for Lilly Growth Hormone

Eli Lilly's hormone, Humatrope, has been sold in the United States since 1987 and used for treating children with growth-hormone deficiencies. With the new approval, Indianapolis-based Lilly will be able to market Humatrope for short children with normal levels of the hormone and no evidence of a disease that stunts growth.

The FDA said it approved the treatment for the shortest 1.2 percent of children. For 10-year-old boys and girls, that would correspond to a height of less than 4 feet 1 inch. Their expected adult height without treatment would be less than 5 feet 3 inches for men and 4 feet 11 inches for women. [...]

An advisory committee in June voted 8-2 to recommend approving Humatrope for the new use after debating whether children who are otherwise healthy should be given multiple injections every week for years in order to grow what may amount to a few inches. At that meeting, Lilly argued that short children often face teasing and bullying, as well as social isolation as adults, and therefore needed a treatment option.

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rope 'em, pull 'em, brand 'em

A scene from the recent Village People tryouts:

Rollin', rollin', rollin'
Though the streams are swollen
Keep them dogies rollin'
Rawhide!
Rain and wind and weather
Hellbent for leather
Wishin' my gal was by my side
All the things I'm missin'
Good victuals, love and kissin'
Are waiting at the end of my ride

Move 'em on, head 'em up
Head 'em up, move 'em on
Move 'em on, head 'em up
Rawhide!
Count 'em out, ride 'em in
Ride 'em in, count 'em out
Count 'em out, ride 'em in
Rawhide!

Keep movin', movin', movin'
Though they're disapprovin'
Keep them dogies movin'
Rawhide!
Don't try to understand 'em
Just rope 'em, pull and brand 'em
Soon we'll be living high and wide
My hearts calculatin'
My true love will be waitin'
Be waitin' at the end of my ride

Hyaa!
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Current Music: Garbage -- Push It ♬

I sure do like the glowing critters

"Glowing mice: A fluorescent mouse family, provided by the Level Biotech, a transgenic company, is displayed inside a box during the Bio Taiwan 2003 at the World Trade Center in Taipei. The mice were implanted with the green fluorescent gene into the mice embryo combining genetic engineering and transplantion technology. (AFP/Sam Yeh)"

(However, I remain skeptical as to whether they actually look like this, or there is camera/lighting trickery involved. Have any of you ever see a glow-critter and a human in the same photo?)

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