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Submission + - "The Politics of Star Trek" Is Unlikely Trigger Much Discussion On Slashdot

smitty_one_each writes: Timothy Sandefur, a lawyer at the Pacific Legal Foundation has written a breezy overview of the politics of the little-known show Star Trek. His thesis:

the key to Star Trek’s longevity and cultural penetration was its seriousness of purpose, originally inspired by creator Gene Roddenberry’s science fiction vision. Modeled on Gulliver’s Travels, the series was meant as an opportunity for social commentary, and it succeeded ingeniously, with episodes scripted by some of the era’s finest science fiction writers. Yet the development of Star Trek’s moral and political tone over 50 years also traces the strange decline of American liberalism since the Kennedy era.

The article traces through episodes at each phase of the franchise, exploring literary allusions and lamenting that

"Star Trek's latest iterations--the 'reboot' films directed by J.J. Abrams--shrug at the franchise's former philosophical depth"

I mean, if we're going to call it a franchise, why should it not be to thought what fast food is to nutrition?

Submission + - The Ottawa Linux Symposium Needs You! (

smitty_one_each writes: I haven't actually attended since 2008, but OLS is something worth supporting, whether you're a "newbie" like me, an über hacker like Linus, or just want to check out a wonderful Canadian city in the summer. I chipped in a nominal amount.

Check out this Indegogo project, which lays out a sad tale, but with some hope of redemption, and contribute whatever you can to keep a great event alive.

Submission + - Pssst: You Want A Secret Ballot

smitty_one_each writes: Per the Daily Caller

A Clemson University professor is developing a new electronic voting system that will allow voters to cast their ballots from home computers, tablets and smartphones.
As Clemson’s chair of human-centered computing, Juan Gilbert has lead teams of students over the last 10 years to create an online voting system accessible at home or on the go that will be more accurate, have increased verification and make voting more accessible to people with disabilities by offering mobile and voice-command options.

It is laudable to improve accessibility for all voters. If you're getting mugged for taxes, you really should be casting a ballot.
At the same time, retaining anonymity is key. That's why, in the polling location where I've served in the last couple of elections, verifying voter eligibility is separate from the part where the ballot is cast. Information Technology professionals would tend to want to engineer all of the ambiguity out of the system. However, the easier it is to correlate a specific person to an election outcome, the more likely abuses become.
You really don't want Checkov's Gun showing up at election time.

User Journal

Submission + - How about an intelligibile interface (

smitty_one_each writes: Trying to figure out the /. interface.
I know that they are smart, and I am not, but their brains have reached a stage where making a new journal entry seems impossible.
It's clearly my fault for being so stupid, but it seems trying a new submission with a 'journal' tag might work.

Stellar rays prove fibbing never pays. Embezzlement is another matter.