Friday, April 30, 2004

Statement by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Martin Cullen TD - 30 April 2004: "The Government decided two months ago to establish an independent Electronic Voting Commission to examine the secrecy and accuracy of the chosen electronic voting system. The formal role of the Commission is an advisory one. The Government has nonetheless made it clear that it will respect the recommendations of the Commission which, under its terms of reference, was required to address the application or non-application of electronic voting to the June polls.

"The Government notes that the independent Commission is unable to provide sufficient positive assurance, in the time available, in relation to using the chosen system of electronic voting at the June elections. The Government has decided that the electronic voting system will not be used at the June polls. These will be conducted in all constituencies on the basis of the traditional paper ballot. Arrangements will be in place to ensure the smooth and efficient running of the polls on June 11th."

Look, if the IRISH don't trust it, maybe it's not as broke as I thought. Naaahhhh...
Seven arrested in YMCA sex ring: "Authorities arrested seven men Wednesday night after accusing them of performing sex acts on one another inside the men's locker room at the YMCA on North Coalter Street, the Staunton Police Department said."

Odd. When I was in the Navy, it was commonly understood that this was what the YMCA was for. Certainly, the Village People understood...

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Hatchery salmon to count as wildlife: "Six of the world's leading experts on salmon ecology complained last month in the journal Science that fish produced in hatcheries cannot be counted on to save wild salmon. The scientists had been asked by the federal government to comment on its salmon-recovery program but said they were later told that some of their conclusions about hatchery fish were inappropriate for official government reports.

'The current political and legal wrangling is a sideshow to the real issues. We know biologically that hatchery supplements are no substitute for wild fish,' Robert Paine, one of the scientists and an ecologist at the University of Washington, said when the Science article was published in late March."

On one hand, if you are protecting a species, the hatcheries can produce enough to offset the losses from a degraded habitat. On the other hand, if we have degraded the habitat to the point that it can no longer maintain itself, have we not lost something even if the species is artifically preserved? It seems unclear whether the goal is protecting the species or the ecosystem.
Robotic bollards to take control: "It is envisaged the road markers would be delivered to a location by a specially equipped truck.

"A camera on the vehicle would image the road and send a picture to a worker's laptop. The worker would then indicate on the screen where they wanted the bollards to be deployed.

"Software developed by the Nebraska team would then obtain the precise coordinates and feed these to the 'shepherd' unit so it could lead its herd of red robots into position. "

In a story that screams for a video, there are only still pictures. If this had a dateline of 4/1 instead of 4/28, I'd think the Beeb was making Dalek jokes.
Marillion: appetite for resurrection: "'Instead of gigging round toilets for ten years trying to get a record deal, gig around toilets for ten years and ask people for their email addresses. If what you're doing strikes a chord, you'll be financially better off while remaining pure and free to do what you want.'"

Here's what some are beginning to recognize: Technology has shattered the music industry's biggest monopoly -- distribution. A number of bands are now setting their sights on another of the industry's strengths -- promotion. Unless your primary goal is to get your CDs in the bins at the chain stores in the mall, or Wal-Mart, you don't need the major record labels any longer if you can effectively communicate with your fans and handle your own promotion.

As the article mentions, it's this kind of realization and a few spiffy tricks that are letting dinosaur acts like The Alarm or Marillion break back into the charts 20 years after the music industry wrote them off. I hope this continues -- we'll all be much better off. Not to mention the bands who get a much larger slice of the pie, even if it's a smaller pie, and appear to be gettting a much better return than they did with the majors.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Killer cyberloo kidnaps kiddie: "Details are sketchy, but it appears that the door 'failed to operate', as JC DeCaux nicely put it. The firm warned: 'Children aged 10 or under should not use the kiosks unaccompanied as they are weight sensitive.'

"Exactly. As soon as the devilish digidunny detects a body under 50kg, it knows it has attracted easy prey. Readers are invited to immediately run into the streets with flaming torches and pitchforks and storm the nearest shifty-looking public convenience with cries of 'Kill the monster!'"

There's a Microsoft joke in there somewhere, but I'll leave it to the reader as an exercise.
Diebold apologizes for device flaws: "It is an uncommon day when the nation's second-largest provider of voting systems concedes that its flagship products in California have significant security flaws and that it supplied hundreds of poorly designed electronic-voting devices that disenfranchised voters in the March presidential primary."

The first step is admitting you have a problem. I'm guessing it will be the ONLY step, but that's me.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

April 16: Poop For Peace Day: "On April 16, take some time to think when you take your time to stink. Think of yourself on your toilet, and George W. Bush on his, and Saddam and Osama on theirs. Think about the children of Iraq and the children of America, and realize that while their skins are different colors and their gods have different names, their daily ritual is exactly the same. We all poop, which means we're all human, which means we're all brothers and sisters. Any other differences are arbitrary -- we are all united in the daily struggle against the tyranny of the bowel. "
Cheney gets iPod, but what should he listen to?: "A recent profile of Vice President Dick Cheney revealed that his daughters had given him an iPod, the ultrahip digital music player, for Christmas. Mr. Cheney, known for his serious demeanor, hasn't let on publicly what songs he's jamming to. And the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign declined to talk about it. So we asked some local music types what Mr. Cheney should listen to -- and what he shouldn't."

"Deep in the Heart of Texas" -- Constitutionally speaking, it would have been illegal to have two Texas residents on the 2000 GOP ticket, But, according to the VP, although he lived and voted in Texas for the five years immediately proceeding, he was really a "Wyoming resident." Uh-huh.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Paper trail sought for electronic voting: "'People are just realizing exactly what we've bought into in some states,' said Maryland state Sen. Andrew Harris, a Republican. 'The stakes are so high. I don't put it above someone trying to manipulate elections on a grand scale.'"

After an otherwise pedestrian beginning, the article gets interesting. Nice to see the occasional Republican on the side of verification and paper trails.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

MSNBC - Media use of gruesome Iraq photos varies: "'On the one hand, you can't shy away from the news, and the news in this case is the indignities visited upon the victims and the jubilation of the crowd,' said Bill Keller, the Times' executive editor. 'At the same time you have to be mindful of the pain these pictures would cause to families and the potential revulsion of readers, and children, who are exposed to this over their breakfast table.'"

Let's stick to accurate, detailed, and specific reporting. If there are horrors of war, the American people should be informed. I see no reason to shield the public from the price of US foreign policy. Maybe more people would take action if they knew what was really going on, and why.