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Math

Statistical Suspicions In Iran's Election 512

hoytak writes "An expert in electoral fraud, professor Walter Melbane, has released a detailed analysis (PDF) of available data in Iran's controversial election (summary here). While he did not find significant indications of fraud, he does note that all the deviations from the predicted model are in Ahmadinejad's favor: 'In general, combining the 2005 and 2009 data conveys the impression that a substantial core of the 2009 results reflected natural political process... [These] stand in contrast to the unusual pattern in which all of the notable discrepancies between the support Ahmadinejad actually received and the support the model predicts are always negative. This pattern needs to be explained before one can have confidence that natural election processes were not supplemented with artificial manipulations.'" In related news, EsonLinji notes reports in the Seattle PI and other sources that the US State Department has asked Twitter to delay system maintenance to prevent cutting off Iranians who have been relying on the service during the post-election crisis. And if you would like to help ease the communication crunch, reader RCulpepper tips a blog post detailing how to set up a proxy server for users with Iranian IP addresses.
The Courts

The Circus Widens In Aftermath of Pirate Bay Verdict 319

MaulerOfEmotards sends along an in-depth followup, from the Swedish press, of our discussion the other day about the biased trial judge in the Pirate Bay case. "The turmoil concerns Tomas Norström, the presiding judge of The Pirate Bay trial, who is suspected of bias after reports surfaced of affiliation with copyright protection organizations. For this he has been reported to the appeals court (in Swedish; translation here). The circus around the judge is currently focused on three points. First, his personal affiliation with at least four copyright protection organizations, a state the potential bias of which he himself fails to see and refuses to admit. Secondly, Swedish trials use a system of several lay assessors to supervise the presiding judge. One of these, a member of an artists' interest organization, was forced by Mr. Norström to resign from the trial for potential bias. The judge's failure to see the obvious contradiction in this (translation) casts doubts on his suitability and competence. Thirdly, according to professor of judicial sociology Håkan Hydén (translation), the judge has inappropriately 'duped and influenced the lay assessors' during the trial: 'a judge that has decided that "this is something we can't allow" has little problem finding legal arguments that are difficult for assisting lay assessors to counter.'" Click the link below to read further on Professor Hydén's enumeration of "at least three strange things in a strange trial." On a related note, reader Siker adds the factoid that membership in the Pirate Party exploded 150% in the week following the verdict. The Pirate Party now surpasses in size four smaller parties in Sweden, and is closing in on a fifth. Political fallout could ensue as soon as June, when an election for EU parliament will be held.

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