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Comment: Re:"Name" all you want. (Score 2) 44 44

Thanks for saving me the typing.

She won't give a shit. Most people voting for her don't understand what crime she committed and even think it's something great because ... terrorists, child molesters, whatever, I don't keep track of the boogeyman du jour.

Name her what you want. She'll laugh it off 'til someone misses the brakes accidentally next time she crosses the street.

Comment: Re:The inherent problem with electronic voting (Score 1) 96 96

Again. The problem is not whether or not manipulation takes place. The problem is that someone can cry foul and there is no way to convince the computer unsavvy that he's full of shit.

You can verify your vote with some device not under your control. That alone gives room for doubt.

Political processes are complicated and intricate. That's already plenty of room for people wanting to claim that politics is all shenanigans and foul play because it's so complicated that most people don't understand it and rather follow someone claiming to understand it.

Voting, at least so far, is something rather simple. Take a sheet of paper, make a mark, toss it in a big box, then count the slips with the same marks when everyone tossed his paper into the box. That's simple enough that people understand it and that they trust such a system. Anything making the process more complex makes it easier for people wanting to create doubt in the process.

Comment: Re:The inherent problem with electronic voting (Score 2) 96 96

I didn't say that paper elections cannot be rigged. They can, and have been more often actually than there have been fair elections.

I did not even say that it's easier to rig electronic elections than paper elections. Personally, I'd expect it to be as long as you're the one calling the shots.

What is harder is simply to debunk cries of foul play. People can easily imagine what a paper election is like and how counting them (with representatives of all parties involved present) can be somewhat trusted. It is easy, on the other hand, to convince people that this is not the case with voting machines.

People don't trust what they don't understand. And trust is something a democracy needs urgently. People need to have faith in their system of government. Whether they like their current government or not, but they need to know that it was elected fairly and that it is what "the people" wanted. That's the whole problem here. Because without ... well, you see how Mexico is doing...

Comment: Re:The inherent problem with electronic voting (Score 1) 96 96

It is?

Explain this to Joe Random who just heard some populist cry foul play, claiming that they can't be audited and that the auditors are all in league with the party that won the election. Yes, it's bull. But the problem is that you CANNOT debunk it. Joe Random can't imagine how such an audit takes place. He can imagine counting paper slips, and he can see through the ruse when someone cries foul in such an environment. Any party crying foul in a paper election will be told that they should've put some monitors down if they didn't trust the ones running the show and counting the paper slips. That's (at least in my country) their right to do.

You can't do that with computer voting. Yes, someone can make an audit. But it isn't something you can easily explain to someone who has no idea of computers. He will readily believe someone who claims that it's bogus. Simply because he doesn't understand what "audit" means. He understands counting paper slips, though.

The danger is even less in the actual possibility of manipulation as it is in the possible loss of faith in the election. People are already weary of politicians and even politics to some degree (personally, I can only hope that the general apathy is more due to useless politicians rather than people genuinely not caring about democracy anymore). The very last thing we need now is that something gives them the impression that it doesn't matter jack anymore whether or not they vote because it's rigged anyway. Whether real or imagined, if someone starts beating that drum, people will follow easily.

Simply because you can't easily debunk it.

Comment: Re:The inherent problem with electronic voting (Score 3, Interesting) 96 96

But any party involved can (at least in my country, and pretty much all civilized countries I know of) nominate election observers that can easily identify whether everything's running correctly without any kind of special knowledge. They can easily tell whether the ballot is properly sealed, they can easily tell whether people step into the voting booth alone. They can easily find out whether the choice is free of influence. They can be present when the ballot seal is broken (actually, over here people are essentially locked in 'til the paper slips are counted, collected and sealed again, nothing going in or out in between) and when the paper slips are counted.

It's pretty hard to manipulate anything in such an environment. It's easy to see whether someone tries to manipulate results since it takes little more than eyes to detect foul play.

Comment: Re:The inherent problem with electronic voting (Score 1) 96 96

You act as if that wasn't even easier with voting machines. "Whoopsie, computer crash!"

And unlike in this case, you can't even claim that they're criminally incompetent. Because, hey, computers crash, that's what they do, right? Happens to you at home, too, and you can't be blamed for that, can you?

In other words, them running out of ballots and being unable/unwilling to allow voters to vote is something people can easily identify as something not being as it should be. Manipulation gets heaps easier with voting machines.

Comment: The inherent problem with electronic voting (Score 4, Insightful) 96 96

There is one single very dangerous problem with electronic voting: Trust. People have to trust it, because they are unable to test it.

With paper and pen, it's easy. You can nominate anyone to work as an election monitor. The necessary qualification is "being able to find out where the X marks the spot" and "count". That's a skill set available to nearly everyone.

Working as an election monitor to rule out foul play with election machines requires someone to know quite a bit about computers. It's anything BUT simple to rule out foul play.

The danger here isn't even so much that manipulation can take place. And I don't even want to engage in the discussion whether or not these machines can easily be manipulated. The danger is that some populist aiming for the uneducated masses goes and cries foul play when he loses the election. And that's a danger not to some party but to the faith of the population in the whole democratic process. And that inherently is dangerous to democracy altogether.

It's not easy to debunk such claims. With paper, it's easy to go "oh please, count them yourself if you don't believe us. Here's the paper slips, and you can count, can't you?". Now try the same with election machines. Saying "you can do an audit yourself" isn't going to cut it. Why should we trust the computer experts? It's not something just anyone can do.

These machines are a danger to democracy. Nothing less.

Comment: Umm, yeah? (Score 1) 132 132

Surely there would already be a long list of people who have died while watching TV, playing videogames, or putzing around on the phone while sitting on the couch; at least if such incidents weren't(while individually tragic), so boring that nobody has bothered to compile a list?

This is not to say that highly immersive simulations are riskless; I'd personally want to be either sitting down, or in a decent sized room with no sharp-edge furniture and ideally a cushy carpet if I were going to play some VR horror sim that is likely to cause me to jump wildly and potentially fall over; but that's basically the same precaution I would apply to playing some Wii kiddie game that involves flailing around wildly so the accelerometers pick up my input.

Given that you are, effectively, blindfolded; and being fed spurious(relative to the room you are actually in) visual stimuli; VR gaming is going to require more caution than flat screen gaming, especially if standing up and moving around are involved; but "VR: It's So Scary You'll Die in Real Life!!!" doesn't seem like a major issue.

Comment: Re:I'm all for recreational drone use but... (Score 1) 69 69

I can't comment on operator demographics; but it's worth noting that even the fairly small drones(if the propellors are unshrouded or improperly shrouded) can fuck you up surprisingly well.

I imagine that one or two of us here may have had the misfortune of accidentally sticking a finger into an active case/CPU fan at some point. The zestier 80mm, and most of the 120s, will draw blood and possibly take a nail off without much trouble(though they might throw a blade doing so, and then tear their bearings apart, which can be fun to watch). Observe that those sorts of fans are too feeble to lift off. The same is not true of drone propellors. They can, and will, give you a pretty decent slashing.

Barring substantial bad luck, it'll mostly be surface soft tissue damage, lots of blood and maybe a little scarring but no serious long-term effects; but still not what you want to have happen.

Comment: Re:Classification an Interesting Issue (Score 1) 132 132

Yeah, the world would be a so much better place if they instead grabbed guns and went on wild killing sprees.

Sadly, people don't do what you want them to do if you take away what they want to do. If you need any proof thereof, take away your child's toy in hopes that he'll instead start learning for school. He won't. If for no other reason, then out of spite.

Comment: Re:Umm, who are these guys? (Score 1) 85 85

I don't know if there are other sources or not. The concept of non-crystalline metal alloys is not itself patented; but the problem with them has historically been that they can only be fabricated by cooling the metal at truly heroic rates(achievable with hair-thin samples that are just large enough to poke at in the lab; but anything of actually useful size would partially or wholly crystalize during cooling). The 'Liquid Metal' guys originate from some Caltech research that identified alloys that remain amorphous during processing that is actually practical for parts of moderate size.

They certainly hold all the patents that they can surrounding that; but if somebody else has a sufficiently distinct alloy that also doesn't crystalize during cooling, they just need to avoid stepping on any trademarks.

Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. - Isaac Asimov