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Comment Re:you fail at formal logic (Score 1) 284

If this were a serious concern for you, you would realize that election officials must be lying when they talk about your ballot's votes being anonymous. I've never heard anyone suggest such a concern, so I assume those who raise "formal logic" issues, with special coded sequences of votes and such, are being, well, politeness prevents me from finishing the thought yet again.

Would you like a verifiable election that doesn't rely on ballots? Fine, here you go: five contests with five candidates requires five scales, five planks of wood, five curtains, and 25 etched glass jars with lids through which beans can be inserted into temporary holding chambers, falling into the jar only when the jar is tilted. The planks go on the scales, the jars on the planks, the jars' etches indicate which choice each jar represents. The scales are checked after each voter to show that no more than one bean's weight was added to each contest by the voter, at which point the plank is shaken or tilted and the beans drop into their jars. The only part of any jar visible to anyone until the end of the election is the part from the etching to the top. Representatives of each candidate monitor the jar collection until each jar is weighed, at which point the jars are sealed and transported. The winners are those represented by the heaviest jar in each contest. Done. And, miraculously, I have not cursed.

Comment Re:In other words. (Score 4, Insightful) 284

This is not the first time I've heard the argument that access to voting records can reveal supposedly secret votes. Of course, what this argument reveals, if accurate, is that voting officials are routinely able to determine supposedly secret votes, as they have access to the voting records they refuse to reveal to the public.

The long-term solution is to ensure that all voting records are routinely made available to the public, meaning that any systems which acts to violate the secrecy of the vote will do so equally for all, leading to the withdrawal of such systems on the grounds that they do not meet the baseline requirements for a voting system meant to maintain the supposedly sacrosanct secrecy of the vote.

I would have thought this common sense when I was younger.

Comment Stasi = CIA = KGB = Mossad = NSA = MI6 (Score 4, Insightful) 226

There was a time when you could take pride in your country, and think that "your" intelligence agencies were working for freedom.

That time is long past. Long, long past. Intelligence agencies are, simply, the enemies of decent people everywhere. Those who expose them do humanity a service, and those who join them are traitors to any concept of freedom.

Comment Slashdot headline is a disgrace (Score 5, Insightful) 157

Here is the key point Schneier's post makes:

"Do countries like China and Russia have copies of the Snowden documents? I believe the answer is certainly yes, but that it’s almost certainly not Snowden’s fault...I believe that both China and Russia had access to all the files that Snowden took well before Snowden took them because they’ve penetrated the NSA networks where those files reside. After all, the NSA has been a prime target for decades."

To headline this story without including some reference to China and Russia having penetrated NSA networks is to imply Schneier is saying Snowden provided China and Russia with information they did not have already. It is either sloppy or intentionally misleading. The headline could have been "Schneier: Chinese and Russian Spies Probably Had Snowden Docs Before Snowden."

Submission + - Cart Leads Horse for Years, Says Slashdot Reader

mtrachtenberg writes: Seriously, folks. This competition to develop the tiniest compute thing that can be plugged into a power brick and an HDMI port is a little ridiculous.

Can we please have HDMI monitors that include power and HDMI connectors to an internal pocket for compute units that will go inside their shells. Fans, too, that can be set on or off to cool the pocket. The companies can get together with a standard form factor or, if a company was Apple, it could do up proprietary shapes so only their "compute units" will fit in their monitors, and let the best approach win (or lose, as the case may be).

But seriously, if you need a screen that is 12" to 96" diagonal, and you are paying thousands for it, why are you worried about shrinking the thing that costs hundreds and generates images for that screen.

There. I feel better now.

Comment Confidence versus rational confidence (Score 4, Insightful) 103

It is conceivable that the World's Cleverest People (WCP) will devise a system that reliably enables people to vote over the internet. And researchers tell us America is no longer a democracy, so I suppose it doesn't really matter that only the WCP will have rational reason to have confidence in the system.

But for those of us who think people should be able to prove to their own satisfaction that their vote was counted as cast, paper inserted into witnessed boxes and then counted in public seems like a better idea. It will never make Microsoft rich, though, so I doubt Microsoft Research will admit this.

Comment inappropriate technology[ was Re:Gamechanger] (Score 1) 514

Lithium ion batteries are great for mobile. They are far from the best available solution for stationary power. There are a lot of battery companies out there with safer, less-expensive, but less energy-dense battery chemistries.

Elon Musk needs to sell a lot of lithium ion batteries as part of his business model, and he understands how to work the system incredibly well. I just hope that this prettily-packaged bad solution to a real problem doesn't damage the ability of others to build good solutions.

Cogeneration is a great example of a naturally home-based or factory-based solution, because it captures heat that would otherwise be wasted, puts it to work, and eliminates distribution losses. And battery backup is needed to make the grid more flexible, but should be done with appropriate tech. Power shifting from one time slot to another would be much more sensibly done with batteries designed for stationary use. And, except for the advantage in a power failure, there is little reason to locate batteries in people's homes. To the extent anyone wants batteries at home, I hope they'll at least choose more appropriate batteries than lithium ion.

Comment Re:Batteries (Score 1) 514

Lithium ion batteries are great for mobile. They are far from the best available solution for stationary power. Check out Aquion, as one example aimed at stationary storage.

Elon Musk needs to sell a lot of lithium ion batteries as part of his business model, and he understands how to work the system incredibly well. I just hope that this prettily-packaged bad solution to a real problem doesn't damage the ability of others to build good solutions.

Cogeneration is a great example of a naturally home-based or factory-based solution, because it captures heat that would otherwise be wasted, puts it to work, and eliminates distribution losses. And battery backup is needed to make the grid more flexible, but should be done with appropriate tech. Power shifting from one time slot to another would be much more sensibly done with batteries designed for stationary use. And, except for the advantage in a power failure, there is little reason to locate batteries in people's homes. To the extent anyone wants batteries at home, I hope they'll at least choose more appropriate batteries than lithium ion.

"Is it really you, Fuzz, or is it Memorex, or is it radiation sickness?" -- Sonic Disruptors comics

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