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Comment: What happened exactly? (Score 2) 94

by quantaman (#48471003) Attached to: Voting Machines Malfunction: 5,000 Votes Not Counted In Kansas County

The article is a little vague on exactly what happened.

A malfunction of electronic voting equipment left 5,207 votes out of the original Nov. 4 Saline County vote total, but no election outcomes were affected, according to the Saline County Clerk’s Office.

Then at the end

Outcome wasn’t affected

Merriman said that had the extra votes resulted in a change in the outcome of the election, everyone would have been notified immediately.

The problems occurred in machines at four voting locations in the following precincts: 12-13-14; 17-18-19; 20-22; and 15-16.

Votes for Sen. Pat Roberts, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, Gov. Sam Brownback and Kansas Secretary of State Kobach all slightly increased.

Opposition to the jail/justice complex increased from a 953-vote difference to 1,748 votes, or from 53.95 percent to 55.08 percent.

So they evidently found the missing votes. But I'm not sure how.

Saline County Clerk Don Merriman said after the meeting that four of the 34 PEBs, or Personal Electronic Ballots, were not reading correctly on election night, which left the votes out of the original count. The problem has been fixed, he said.

He said the missing votes weren’t discovered until after votes were canvassed on Nov. 10. Merriman said he learned of the error during a “triple check” with flash cards from the PEBs.


The error was found the afternoon after votes were canvassed when flash card totals were compared to the printed totals.

“We always pull those flash cards and check those final totals to make sure we are OK,” he said. This is the first time we’ve had the PEBs act up like that. I’m pretty sure it is the programing in the PEBs.”

So which was missing votes? The flash cards or the printed totals? What are the printed totals? Just a summary or actual printed ballots?

If the printed totals were actual printed ballots that voters checked then I don't think there's anything to worry about.

But if there's no actual per vote record and people are just relying on the machines to correctly record the votes then I have to wonder how monumentally stupid people are to use or even create a system that insecure.

Comment: Re:He definitely did know and understand the risk. (Score 1) 142

by quantaman (#48462777) Attached to: Kim Dotcom Regrets Not Taking Copyright Law and MPAA "More Seriously"

How, as a society, do we fund the creation of big budget movies that a lot of people really enjoy?

Crowdsourcing, I suppose. You pay for the movie ahead of time, and based on your investment you get to see the film, download it, get a DVD or a Blu-Ray or an M4V, get to be an extra in a crowd scene or whatever they're offering. There's no reason that major studios can't use this model. And then there's merchandising, official conventions, and lots of other opportunities for profit. I don't really think that there will be any problem getting enough people to fund some of these big-budget stinkers.

Then go for it and show that it's a viable model.

The best way to get rid of copyright is to make it unncessary. A major Creative Commons movie would go a very long way to doing that.

Comment: Re:He definitely did know and understand the risk. (Score 1) 142

by quantaman (#48462721) Attached to: Kim Dotcom Regrets Not Taking Copyright Law and MPAA "More Seriously"

DRM is fairly effective, the problem is it's a massive PITA for legitimate users and prevents a lot of legitimate uses.

Actually, a grand majority of DRM is ineffective; it gets cracked almost immediately, and therefore anyone with a slight amount of knowledge can apply the cracks.

Exactly, DRM is fairly effective :P

We've never had a society like ours that did not have copyright, so we don't actually know what it would look like. You can only make baseless guesses based on how our current society operates, not a society where people are used to the idea of there being no copyright and therefore have figured out how to adapt. I don't claim to know what it would be like, either.

Not exactly but copyright hasn't always existed and in some places like China it's generally ignored.

And freedom (freedom of speech, real private property rights) is more important to me than the sort of 'safety' you speak of, anyway.

I don't think freedom of speech is really inhibited by copyright. I also wasn't aware that I spoke about 'safety' at all.

Comment: Re:He definitely did know and understand the risk. (Score 1) 142

by quantaman (#48461919) Attached to: Kim Dotcom Regrets Not Taking Copyright Law and MPAA "More Seriously"

My actual solution is to let people come up with their own solutions. But yes, I'm sure many would choose to try DRM... and many would fail, since DRM is rarely effective in any sense.

DRM is fairly effective, the problem is it's a massive PITA for legitimate users and prevents a lot of legitimate uses. The fact it's a PITA combined with the fact that the warez sites tend to get shut down (and people understand they're illegal) means that people are more willing to pay for official content.

But if you remove copyright entirely then not only are the warez sites legal, but so are companies who make a business off of ripping off creators. And even for the ones who still pay creators the prices will be pushed down by the need to compete with the companies who don't pay creators.

There's still money coming in, but without the law declaring the warez sites illegitimate (even if it isn't enforced) it's only going to be a fraction of what's coming in now. I just don't think you can wave your hands and assume they'll adapt without a massive drop in the number of working artists.

Comment: Re:He definitely did know and understand the risk. (Score 1) 142

by quantaman (#48461095) Attached to: Kim Dotcom Regrets Not Taking Copyright Law and MPAA "More Seriously"

I would suggest that we rely on the actual free market rather than on government-enforced monopolies that infringe upon free speech and real private property rights. It's up to individuals trying to sell something to succeed, and no one else. If they can't figure out how to make money on their product, that is simply too bad.

So your solution is DRM.

Comment: Re:He definitely did know and understand the risk. (Score 1) 142

by quantaman (#48459469) Attached to: Kim Dotcom Regrets Not Taking Copyright Law and MPAA "More Seriously"

This is nothing but yet another one of his charades and PR stunts. He is not fighting for you or your right to keep a "backup copy".

I agree with you, but I also agree with his idea that information should be set free. We The People enable, protect, and to a large part even pay for the production of mass media content due to Hollywood's and Big Music's creative accounting practices which show them losing money or breaking even on clearly profitable media. And the same goes for the telecommunications infrastructure: We The People largely paid for that, not just by paying for services but actually through government grants and the like, and it's used against us to milk us of every possible cent while providing the lowest possible standard of service. The fact that we still pay more to send calls across town than to send them across the country is just ridiculous and it's based on legislation bought by the telecoms industry.

So what do you suggest as an alternative?

How, as a society, do we fund the creation of big budget movies that a lot of people really enjoy?

Comment: Re:Interesting though not to be overinterpreted (Score 1) 249

by quantaman (#48453101) Attached to: Doubling Saturated Fat In Diet Does Not Increase It In Blood

Those are valid questions, but the results seem to fit the generally emerging consensus that fat doesn't make you fat or do you harm. Until someone gets a counter result, that seems to be the reality.

There's also a general consensus that complex carbs and protein don't do you harm either. That would be my biggest hesitation about interpreting this study in light of weight loss advice, food is much more complex than macronutrient breakdown and obesity much more complex than diet.

Comment: Interesting though not to be overinterpreted (Score 3, Insightful) 249

by quantaman (#48441969) Attached to: Doubling Saturated Fat In Diet Does Not Increase It In Blood

Before everyone jumps on the low-carb bandwagon there are a few caveats to note:

1) All the participants had metabolic syndrome so the results might not be generally applicable.

2) The meals were fixed portions, so we don't know how it affected appetite or how it compared to previous eating habits.

3) We don't know what would happen long term. For instance all the participants followed the same pattern of steadily increasing carbs and decreasing fat, so it could be the body reacting to the delta.

I just mention because most people are really interested in the question "if I want to lose weight and/or reduce my risk of heart disease should I eat more/less fat and more/less carbs". But that question is incredibly specific to one person and very poorly defined beyond that. This study says in these very specific circumstances the answer is more fat and less carbs, but that's not necessarily true in general. To think it does give the general answer only sets one up for a future accusation that science is always wrong when a future study with slightly different parameters seems to reach a different conclusion.

Comment: Re:Why... (Score 1) 129

by quantaman (#48424123) Attached to: Court Shuts Down Alleged $120M Tech Support Scam

did this take so long to occur. It amazes me both that people fall for this, and that the credit card companies allow these services to operate under merchant accounts.

More than that. Why isn't this criminal?

I understand why you may not want to criminalize every dubious business practise, but these folks were literally telling straightforward lies to consumers to make the sale. Why isn't that fraud?

Comment: Re:IQ of congress (Score 1) 162

by quantaman (#48421023) Attached to: Number of Coders In Congress To Triple (From One To Three)

My theory is that their mind just can't take a break from analyzing things, and the rabbit hole of the conspiracy universe gives them plenty to occupy their thoughts with, it's too tempting for them to keep out of. The complex world of conspiracies is more fun and interesting than boring ol' real life, right?

I wonder if they'd still be into it if they'd found some other hobby that requires heavy logical thinking skills instead. I notice a big chunk of amateur racers are IT guys, setting up the various systems on cars offers about as much mental challenge as you want to take on.

From what I can tell they get misled by the holes in reality.

For instance with 9/11 there are things that legitimately sound weird like WTC 7 supposedly being the only highrise to collapse from fire. If that is the case I'm guessing it was just a combination of weird coincidence and the fact that massive highrise fires are extremely rare, but that's not really why those conspiracy theories pop up.

I think the root cause of 9/11 style conspiracy theories is that 9/11 was such a big event that it was documented in extreme detail. That creates a very complex story, and like any complex story there's going to be plot holes due to unlikely events or because people screwed up writing it down.

Instead some people see that a few pieces of the puzzle don't make sense and conclude the entire puzzle is a lie exposed by those ill-fitting pieces. The story they write so the puzzle fits seamlessly is a conspiracy theory.

Comment: Re:IQ of congress (Score 2) 162

by quantaman (#48420871) Attached to: Number of Coders In Congress To Triple (From One To Three)

Addendum: Now that I think of it, if I had to choose between a politician who was a coder and one who wasn't a coder with no other information, I'd vote for the non-coder. Too high a percentage of the coders I know (or know of) are conspiracy nuts and/or egomaniac manchildren.

I'm guessing a high percentage of the people you discuss issues with are coders.

A high percentage of people are conspiracy nuts and/or egomaniac (wo?)manchildren.

Comment: Re: So basically (Score 1) 440

by quantaman (#48418339) Attached to: Republicans Block Latest Attempt At Curbing NSA Power

This happened now because the Democrats knew it would fail (if they'd thought it would succeed, they'd have pushed it BEFORE the elections just past), and wanted to get the good publicity for being AGAINST THE NSA!!!

The Republicans voted against it because the Democrats were for it.

Neither Party's position had anything to do with their opinions about the issue (they're both in favour of the status quo) - it was a purely tactical vote.

If they knew it would fail and it was just done for good PR then why wouldn't they do the vote before the election? Seems to me that good PR is kinda wasted at this point.

If I'd read anything into scheduling something as a lame-duck vote it would be that they think it's bad PR.

Comment: Looking at the injunction/article (Score 2) 169

by quantaman (#48418261) Attached to: City of Toronto Files Court Injunction Against Uber

The City is concerned that Uber's operations pose a serious risk to the public, including those who are signing on as drivers, for the following reasons:
  increased risk to passenger safety – no mechanical vehicle inspections, lack of driver training
  inadequate insurance that fails to meet the requirements of the Municipal Code and may not provide essential coverage to drivers, passengers and others in the event of accidents

Seems legit. I could see the rationale for requiring a higher safety standard, and perticularly better insurance. This also seems like something Uber could accomodate.

increased number of vehicles operating as taxicabs resulting in traffic congestion and a possible threat to the taxi industry, including the City's objective of increasing the number of on-demand accessible taxicabs available, mandated by the City of Toronto earlier this year

So they want to stop Uber both because it results in too many new taxis... and because it reduces the number of Taxis? This argument sounds pretty dubious/protectionist.

unregulated fares resulting in price surging/gouging, and

Predatory pricing is a concern but for a big company like Uber it's generally something that consumers figure out.

increased safety risk to the drivers due to lack of training and vehicle security equipment, normally governed by City bylaws.

Again this is defensible and could be fixed by Uber.

It seems like Uber has an ability to seek a regulatory middle ground with some basic driver training, safety inspections, and insurance standards. I'm not sure I understand their strategy of no accomodations.

Comment: Re:Wait, what? (Score 3, Insightful) 114

So, for decades we've had med school people doing dissections, we've had autopsies, we've had people doing MRIs and all sorts of other things ... and we really had a situation where nobody ever put up their hand and said "umm, guys, WTF is this, it's not in the diagram?"

That's just bizarre to me.

However this reaffirms the necessity of good old fashioned paper libraries maintained by librarians.

'Discovering' a piece of anatomy which had been forgotten about for a century isn't something you would do with throwing away your old books and digitizing the new ones.

I'm guessing a couple things happened.

First I don't know how obvious it is when you're doing an investigation, I wonder if a lot of people probably simply thought it was part of something else.

The second problem might be overspecialization, everyone focuses on their little section of the brain, and people aren't really doing the dissections poking at physical structures anymore. If it isn't even labelled no one even knows to look for it.

Still you'd expect people working on surrounding structures to notice something was missing in the neighbourhood. I'm really curious to know what other researchers thought when they looked at the structure.

Comment: Re:I don't know... Maybe... (Score 2) 299

by quantaman (#48410895) Attached to: Uber Threatens To Do 'Opposition Research' On Journalists

I don't use Uber, never have, never will so I have no skin in this game. But... it may not be such a far fetched idea.

Look at what happened recently with Gruber and the Obamacare fiasco. The MIT professor Gruber was being paid (and paid handsomely) by HHS... He wrote Op Eds in newspapers which were then picked up by the Obamacare supporters as independent confirmation that it was a good thing. Here was an independent MIT professor saying this was good. No where did anything cite that he was a major player in forming it nor did they say he was being paid by the administration. It was a full blown circle jerk to fool the people.

No it wasn't. Everybody knew he'd been involved in designing the law, what wasn't sufficiently disclosed is that he was still under contract to do consulting work. And even that lack of disclosure wasn't a "full blown circle jerk to fool the people" because the contract wasn't a secret so such a ploy would obviously backfire.

Most likely it was something stpuid like he got it into his head that the papers had a very different standard for conflict of interest and he didn't think non-PR consulting work qualified. Either way it's pretty offtopic.

Bring it full circle back to this article --> An article comes out against Uber and slamming the company. Well a little money and research into that "independent journalist" might just find that they're getting paid by X lobby, or Y company. Maybe their best friend is in charge of the Cabbie Union (I would imagine there is such a thing).

So go after the journalists family and children? That sounds like F.U.D. to me. But maybe check in to be sure the journalist is legit and not some shill like Gruber? Yeah... Might be time we start doing that before we all get fooled again.

#gamergate anyone?

You might be able to make that case if that's what they were talking about. Instead the quotes were talking about digging up general dirt to discredit or intimidate the reporters. That's far more difficult to defend.

"The hands that help are better far than the lips that pray." -- Robert G. Ingersoll