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Comment: Re:Paper Vote Count on Site... (Score 1) 123

Back when I worked the polls in the '80s and '90s, California was using the punched cards. Not only did we have to keep and return all of the stubs, we had to destroy or deface all unused ballots as part of closing down the station. If there was a low turnout, this could be the longest part of the job as we used pencils or pens to write a big X across the face of each ballot to render it unusable.

Comment: Re:Paper Vote Count on Site... (Score 1) 123

by techno-vampire (#48471189) Attached to: Voting Machines Malfunction: 5,000 Votes Not Counted In Kansas County
I think you replied to the wrong post, but thank you anyway. FWIW, I too have worked the polls, back when we still used the punched cards. I won't say that it would have been impossible to stuff the ballot box back then, but I will say that the procedures required to run the precinct and close it up properly would have made it very hard, especially as members of the public were always allowed to watch it being done. My feeling is that as long as there's a verifiable paper trail that can be re-checked, the exact method isn't that important. I'd only be worried if voting were by touch-screen or something similar, with no other record kept.

Comment: Re:Federal Sentencing Guidelines (Score 1) 211

by techno-vampire (#48470219) Attached to: Hacker Threatened With 44 Felony Charges Escapes With Misdemeanor
Federal sentencing guidelines almost never ask for "fully stacked" sentences.

The term you're looking for is "consecutively." Most of the time, all sentences are served "concurrently," or at the same time. On rare occasions, as you write, a judge will specify that the sentences be served consecutively, to keep an exceptionally bad felon behind bars for as long as possible. Of course, the prosecutor can always threaten to ask for consecutive sentences to bulldoze the defendant into accepting a plea.

Comment: Re:He still plead guilty to something ... (Score 1) 211

by techno-vampire (#48470121) Attached to: Hacker Threatened With 44 Felony Charges Escapes With Misdemeanor
...pleading innocence also doesn't prove said innocence...

No defendant ever pleads innocence, and I don't think that such a plea is even allowed. The plea is "not guilty," and for good reason: in order to avoid conviction with a plea of innocent, you'd have to prove that you didn't commit the crime, and it's exceptionally hard in most cases to prove a negative. "Not guilty" is used instead because you only have to persuade the jury that there's a reasonable chance that you are not, in fact, guilty. And, as far as the value of a confession, IANAL, but my understanding is that once you confess under oath, the law presumes that you did, in fact, commit the crime and that fact can be used against you in any later civil case. That's why some plea bargain agreements allow the defendant to plead "no contest:" they accept the punishment but don't officially confess to the crime, giving them a better chance in later court actions because they haven't either been proven guilty nor confessed to having done the crime.

Comment: Re:Shyeah, right. (Score 1) 275

by techno-vampire (#48464233) Attached to: Is LTO Tape On Its Way Out?
The idea is that your backups should be far enough apart that they won't be caught in the same natural disaster. As an example, I live in Southern California, just north of Los Angeles. If I had data that I really needed to protect, I'd have two off-site backups. One would be far enough away from home that a flood, tsunami (My home is about 170 feet above sea level and within a few miles of the coast.) or wildfire wouldn't get both of them. The other one would be far enough away that I'd not have to worry about it after the next big quake, possibly in the mid-west. Simple common prudence, no need for paranoia.

Comment: Re:Rotated (Score 1) 329

by techno-vampire (#48442219) Attached to: Eizo Debuts Monitor With 1:1 Aspect Ratio
You're probably not old enough, but there used to be something called the 80 column mind. This was something that affected programmers who had learned how to use computers back in the days when the punched card was king, and were still writing programs that expected all input and output to fit into that medium's 80 character restrictions. I worked for JPL for a few years in the mid-80's, and even then many of their newer programs used what were called "cardimages:" computer records that were designed to mimic a punched card either because they received input from a program that was a legacy from the old punched card days or who's output would be fed to one. And, of course, sometimes both were that way. I'm sure that they've moved past that by now, for the most part, but I know that their main space probe navigation system was written with cardimages in mind and I doubt that they've ever gone to the expense of having something that works so well re-written.

Comment: Re:Global warming is bunk anyway. (Score 1) 367

Yes, there has been rapid heating over the last 150 years, as the Earth recovered from the effects of The Little Ice Age. Nothing particularly unusual or exiting about it, because the one thing that's known for sure about the Earth's climate is that it's always changing.

Comment: Re:Sounds like bullshit to me (Score 1) 323

by techno-vampire (#48398207) Attached to: MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate
My understanding is that what's stockpiled is raw cocoa beans, still in the shell. As long as you keep it dry and away from insects, it's about as perishable as wheat, which is to say, not very. You can keep it for several years before you have to worry about it deteriorating, so that when there's a good year, you can stock up the excess to sell later. Now, the demand is up and production is down, so we're using it up faster than we're replacing it.

Comment: Re:Mechanical computers are awesome (Score 3, Interesting) 81

by techno-vampire (#48394577) Attached to: Real Steampunk Computer Brought Back To Life
Back when I was in the Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club in '72, our ship carried a 5"/54 gun, which was aimed using a mechanical analog computer. I know that the Iowa Class Battleships all used mechanical fire control both because it was more than accurate enough for the job and because it was specifically designed to ignore the shocks caused by firing the main battery, as well as the bigger shocks caused by incoming shells, bombs and torpedoes.

Optimization hinders evolution.