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Slashback: Palmistry, Lecture, Quid Quo Pro 122

Apparently, the Panasonic Showstopper is doing a fine job of living up to an unfortunate name, by -- yup -- stopping shows, thanks to the wonders of Macrovision. Ars Digita's long-heralded free online university has released its first lecture, and now you can use double coupons for presidential candidates! Well, you can trade like action figures. No, that's not right ... but is it wrong? Oh, and something else for you to do with your Palm, after work of course. All below.

Small-town boy makes good colnago writes "First discussed many months ago, here's ArsDigita's first streaming lecture on the design of computer languages."

This requires RealPlayer, by the way. Cool to see this effort bearing fruit -- I hope that Philip et al will serve as role models for a whole bunch of online learning centers, and they don't have to be computer-centric. Home schooling, anyone?

What we meant by "stop" was ... Reader Chris Reagan passed on this note regarding what initially sounds like an attractive toy: "There is a huge issue brewing with Panasonic Showstoppers preventing their owners from even watching TV. It appears they were over aggressive with their Macrovision copy protection and are blocking certain channels in certain markets.

Even though ReplayTV allowed Panasonic to modify their boxes they're passing the buck back to Panasonic, who in turn just say 'that's how we designed it.' They refuse to change or recall the defective product."

He also sent links to these AVS Forum on this topic -- it seems people don't like getting blue screens on that box, either:

I'll trade you a handful of boring statists for a Harry Browne. We noted the other day the Nader-centric politics-in-2000-A.D. site nadertrader.org, but now, like all things Internet, the same model gets "borrowed" quickly and rebranded. HP LoveJet writes: "Expanding the concept popularized by NaderTrader, votexchange2000 enables you to swap your presidential vote with an appropriate person in another state, whether your preferred candidate is Nader, Browne, or even one of those Other People. Fascinating. And possibly not illegal. (?)"

Besides administer servers, track inventory, save the world and list groceries, of course. Dum2007 writes: "An open sourced Gameboy emulator for the Palm is available here. It might not be as feature-filled as Liberty, but it's free."

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft Not So Insecure

Comments Filter:
  • It doesn't matter how easy it is to defeat. My laws (the DMCA) will allow me to punish you theives. I paid good money for the DMCA so that way I don't have to spend it developing effective technological protection measures.

  • Damn them for protecting their interlectual property!

    Actually, if that's what it did (protect IP) then there wouldn't be a problem. But anyone who actually wants to copy the movies can trivially get around the Macrovision with a $30 part, so the only thing that Macrovision actually accomplishes is that it inconveniences people who are not interested in copying.

    Macrovision is a fraud and every one of their customers is a victim, since it doesn't deliver what they promise and it decreases the licensee's goodwill in the market. The only way they've stayed in business is to bribe congresscritters in passing laws that make their useless product required. This may have gone beyond Anti-Trust into RICO territory now...

    Maybe Panasonic can save face by bundling a TBC with each unit sold...


    ---
  • Ah, exactly! The polititian can't BUY your vote. If he does *he* has violated the law.

    This is only natural since *you* are under no obligation, under any circumstances, to reveal who you voted for, proof of having voted for a particular candidate is impossible, thus proof of having sold your vote is impossible.

    Hell, you could take the illegal money from one candidate, vote for the another, and then turn in the first.

    Once upon a time it used to be common practice in some areas to turn out the vote by "providing cab fare" to needy voters. The *voters* in question were under no legal risk, only the politicians.
  • I always vote for the one with the best hair.

    Just as healthy crops grow from rich soil, the surest sign of a superior brain is a full, thick head of hair.

    Not the neatest hair, mind you. People with neat, manageable hair have malleable minds. Their opinions can be combed this way and that by anyone with a gob of mental extra-hold gel.

    No, the greatest minds have wild, strong, untameable hair, like Einstein.

    --------
  • we need to kick this two-party duopoly in the butt

    Keep pressing this to individuals you talk to. Suggest they try SelectSmart's Presidential selector [selectsmart.com] to see how their opinions match with the candidates. So far, NONE of the people I've gotten to actually try it got either Gore or Bush in their top choices. If nothing else, it encourages them to click on the name that comes up first.

    Second, stress that this is NOT a ball game. Winning at any cost is too expensive. Doing anything to make the "other guy" lose, makes us the losers. Only by voting our conscience will we get a government with a conscience. Personally, I think Browne [harrybrowne.org] presents the best message a citizen can send to Washington: Do your job and let us live our lives. But I don't want anyone to vote for him because I think he's best. I'd rather see everyone vote for who they believed would be best for the country. Explain that it's kind of like "Poll the audience." Who knows, it just might work...

  • Yes, they would if we stuck with a 2 or 3 party system. But what if there were, say, 6 major parties? You'd probably end up with a favorite, but at least have a couple you'd list if your fav didn't win.

    DranoK



    Shh! Nobody knows I'm gay!
  • Anyway, I've been wondering if there are any ways around it.

    From what I understand a "video stabilizer" from Radio Snack will do the job. Oftentimes anything than processes or otherwise normalizes the video signal will eliminate or at least mitigate Macrovision's effects.
  • option to delegate one's vote to someone else

    What do you think the intended purpose of the electoral college is? The people select an educated group of voters who will then choose the president. Not that it actually works as intended...

  • Where do people get the idea that a vote for Nader isn't in many instances some kind of strategic vote?

    To elaborate:

    I doubt very much that all the voters who support Nader prefer him to every last one of the 100+ million other Americans eligible for the presidency, any of whom they are free in most states to write in. Are they voting for him even though he's not their completely ideal candidate because he's their favorite among those candidates who will make a countable showing? Shock! Horror! Strategic voting! Don't let the children see!

  • ...or something.

    What happens when all the Nader voters sit out, and the pollsters extrapolate that Gore will win, based on average voting activity to during the day? They make that prediction based on expected patterns.

    When thousands of Nader voters show up in the end, met only by Bush voters, and no Gore voters, it's an upset at the end of the day, and Bush wins.

    Assuming that a large amount of people follow the "vote late" plan, that is.

    ---

  • It is interesting that www.thinkgeek.com ... just proudly gave away three of these heavily Macromediaized Panasonic Showstoppers, [ ... ]

    Careful. There's a big difference between Macromedia and Macrovision. Macromedia is the publisher of Flash and the Dreamweaver Web editor; Macrovision makes video copy protection systems.

    Schwab

  • No, you're right, that's not the "traditional" idea of how it works.

    It's the way *I* would like it to work...more statisticly stable IMHO.

    DranoK

    Shh! Nobody knows I'm gay!
  • Thanks, I stand corrected. -Rob
  • It is an odd system -- the primary rationale which functions today is that it forces a candidate to have relatively broad geographic appeal. If the President were elected via a straight popular vote, very large majorities in a few states could win the election, even if a candidate lost (narrowly) over most of the country. The electoral college system forces a candidate to carry several states -- it's still possible to lose in a majority of states and win the election, since the number of electors allotted to each state varies, but the system is not as potentially lopsided as it could be with a straight popular vote.

    Of course, it's debatable whether the fix (EC) is worse than the problem.

    BTW, it's maybe worth mentioning that the question of how a representative democracy ought to work has found different answers in the US, depending on when you asked the question. Once upon a time, for instance, the public voted only for delegates to the House of Representatives; those representatives elected the members of the Senate. (This was changed by amendment to the Constitution.)

  • As it was explained to me in civics class, a popular vote for the President was considered and rejected when the Constitution was framed. The Electoral College was instituted as a bulwark against the people electing a demogogue. (Fat load of good it did when Reagan showed up.) Originally, the President was elected by the State legislatures, not by popular vote; in such a system, an Electoral College makes more sense.

    These days, getting Congress to alter the election mechanism has about as much chance as getting them to stop Gerrymandering their districts.

    Schwab

  • There's a big difference between Macromedia and Macrovision.

    Good golly, your right! Thanks for pointing that out. I hate when a paper bag blunder messes up an otherwise perfectly decent post! ;)

  • You make some good points but...

    Yet the last time the Republicans or Democrats did not control both the Congress and the White House (and indirectly, the judiciary) was in 1854, when the Republicans ousted the Whigs.

    You kind of gloss over this point. You forget that the Republicans were a very young (less than 10 yrs old) party at this point with very radical ideas at the time (abolutionists...). Heck, it would be about the same as the Libertarians or Reform parties doing the same about now.

    You point about people perfering only Republicans and Democrats for the past 150+ years is kind of disingenous as well. Whenever a third party comes along that attracts any kind of attention the two major parties absorb the ideas of these parties. Take a look at the push toward deficit reduction which was a major part of Perot's campaign in '88. No one was talking about it then, now the Republicans bring it up all the time, and Gore runs on it as one of the Clinton administrations major achievements.

    As far as your other ideas go...

    elimination of the electoral college, to be replaced by direct popular election

    Great, if you live in a smaller state, you will never be a part of a federal election.

    institute preferential or Borda voting instead of winner take all
    proportional representation should be instituted for seats in the House and Senate


    The founders of this country were acutely aware of the parlimatarian system, and chose not to implement it. I don't think the majority of Americans would be too hip to voting for parties without knowing who they were voting for.

    ballot access should be open to anyone willing to pay the marginal cost of adding the candidates name to the ballot

    Agreed, however ballot access and voting are right reserved by the states so there isn't much that can be done on a national level about that. Most midwestern and western states have pretty liberal ballot access laws (although I understand they are pretty Byzentine back East.)

    option to delegate one's vote to someone else. Why? Because, on most issues, I have neither the time, interest, or skill to adequately evaluate who or what is most likely to achieve the goals I want. However, I do know individuals who do have the time, interest, and skill whose judgement I trust, and I would like them to decide. As it is now, a man who uses a bookmark to read People magazine has the same influence has as a man who has a PhD. in economics.

    Ah, God forbit we let the plebians vote. If you aren't educated on the issues, do us a favor and don't vote.... or just vote Republican :)

  • Even if the DOJ did say this, they were almost definately commenting on federal, not state law. So far I haven't been able to figure out which statute this supposedly violates.
  • But then, I don't like direct election of the Senate, either... I think it undermines the purpose of the Senate, and makes the Senators accountable to the wrong body. But that's just me.

    Wow, its not often you hear about people complaining about this old chestnut. I agree with you to a certain extent, although the longer Senate terms do tend to give them a certain amount to leeway (I mean, who remembers any votes from 1995, which was when the Senators up for re-election started their terms...)

    Heh, are you still pissed about us getting off the gold standard? :)
  • Macrovision ONLY screws with the automatic gain control in the RECORDING circuity of the VCR! It has NO effect while you're NOT recording... unless of course you've got one wacky VHS VCR. :)

    Maybe there are more wacky VCRs out there than you think. I, and from what I hear many others, have experienced the problem of being unable to play Macrovision-encoded DVDs through our VCRs, even when not recording.

    Which is why they'll have to send men with guns around and drag me away kicking and yelling before I'll agree to go along with the access control circumvention restrictions in the DMCA.

  • or are you honestly endorsing censorship?

    Who gets to be the censor?
  • ...but it's still David Korn =)


    Korn meets KoRN [kornshell.com]


    Too, too weird.

  • You say Arrow's theorem proves you can't trust bureaucracy. But it applies equally to non-centralized means of decision-making such as markets.

    (Actually, it doesn't entirely apply in either situation. Arrow's theorem only proves that no system can be perfect only by using ordinal information. Cardinal systems that take into account the strength of people's preferences can still be optimal.

    This means that you can't run a society only by voting, because once you're inside the ballot booth there is nothing to stop you from tactically exaggerating the strength of your preferences. Systems that allow lobbying allow rich people to make monetary sacrifices to emphasize the strength of their preferences, and thus can be optimal for rich people. Systems that allow activism allow people without overriding commitments to make sacrifices of time and sometimes freedom to emphasize the strength of their preferences, and thus can be optimal for young people, raging grannies, and zealots. In either case, voting systems are a necessary counterbalance.

    No cardinal system has yet been invented that can encompass everyone, but that doesn't mean one is impossible.)
  • ...but it's still David Korn =)


    Korn meets KoRN [kornshell.com]


    Too, too weird.

  • Effects of the electoral college:

    • Distorts the weight of people's votes
      • Extra weight to people in small states
      • This is the deal they made when they signed on to the constitution. Unfair, but not drastically so. Arguably these "minorities" (esp. Alaskans, who really do have a different set of interests than mainlanders) need the protection. IMO not worth fighting over.

    • Extra weight for people who happen to be in the majority in their state.
      • This mostly sucks. The only reasonable argument in favor is that it makes things more unpredictable, makes polling harder, and thus motivates candidates not to rest on a small lead. However, on the whole, the same candidate still wins the popular and electoral races, so IMO this is not the huge deal people make of it.

    • Extra weight for weaker majorities as opposed to strong ones.
      • This is actually a good thing, as it gives broader national candidates an edge over purely regional candidates, as it did for Hayes in 1888.

    Decentralizes control over voting methods

    • It is only because of this state-by-state system that we can realistically talk about moving to a better system (Condorcet or IRV, discussed elsewhere). Statewide initiatives or laws currently have a real chance in Alaska, New Mexico, Washington, and Vermont.


    Yes, the electoral college distorts the popular vote by a few percent every 80 years or so. But it allows the real possibility for change in the plurality voting system (The reason Clinton won with a minority in '92). The chance to change that system (which routinely throws away all 3rd party votes, silencing at least 10% and forcing the majority to choose the $-sanctioned alternative they hate the least) makes the electoral college a good thing in my book.

    ObOnTopic:... and that's why I'm not trading away my Nader vote. A good kick in the pants may convince the Dems to support Condorcet or IRV in my state (WA).
  • Until that msg, I supported IRV over Condorcet. "Sure it's not as good", I rationalized, "But it's easier to explain and easier to recount by hand in case of suspected fraud. Also, it has more momentum." Now I realize it is more subject to fraud, and that they are really about the same difficulty to explain.

    But I still think either one is a lot better than what we have. OK, IRV preserves the 2 major party/many minor parties split, but not as violently. Major parties would have to at least pay real attention to the minors in order to give those voters a reason to vote defensively/strategically. And most importantly, the media couldn't ignore the minors, and they would get their issues before the public (perhaps even in their terms!).

    If you know any IRV supporters, try to explain why Condorcet is better. But please, don't turn off to IRV just because it's imperfect. Either is worlds better than plurality.
  • they can make the website illegal ( or at least try to, there's that nasty first ammendment thingy)

    Hmm...I'm not sure about this. Sure, the textual and artistic content of the webpages are protected under the First, but the service of matching up voters for purposes of trading might not fall under that (not saying it's illegal now, I'm pretty sure it isn't, but that the 1st Amendment might not protect it).

    For example, take pyramid scheme chain letters. Please. No, seriously--while technically their contents falls under the First Amendment (it's a written work), they are considered mail fraud and are illegal. It's the scheme itself, not the text, that is illegal.


    ---
    Zardoz has spoken!
  • I would like to add that the inclusion of Macrovision and other anti-copying measures in any consumer technology is clearly Unconstitutional and, although it has been done since the late eighties, it needs to be stopped.

    Macrovision is the result of an industry consortium, not a law passed by Congress. As such, it can't be unconstitutional because the Constitution only applies to the Federal government. Companies, and private individuals for that matter, aren't bound by the Constitution.

    However, laws that make it illegal to circumvent things like Macrovision (the DMCA), do fall under the Constitution's reach, and probably are unconstitutional (we'll see what the Supreme Court decides when it comes up).


    ---
    Zardoz has spoken!
  • Looks like the above Freak on a leash swallowed a word.
  • the easiest way around macrovision (if you want to copy a video, anyway) is to go to a yard sale or thrift store and pick up one of those old silver top-loading VCRs. use it to record. macrovision requires firmware in the recording machine in order to work, and those old top-loaders don't have it.

  • Of course, I meant "don't want Bush" .. hrm.. preview..
  • Oh absolutely, and I fully expect just such a thing to happen.

    THEN it will be a knock down, drag out fight in the courts to whether such a law stands up.

    I would HOPE that in the end that as long as it is handled by the acts of individuals and not the party or candidate themselves the practice will stand up.

    In the end it was ruled that Forbes could spend his own personal fortune to camgaign as he wished, because his OWN money was protected by first ammendment rights.

    The first ammendment is about the only tool of freedom with a hint of bite left in it that we have, and the secret ballot is the most powerful tool of speach that we have.
  • ...violated the law then. The law in particular is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which is an Act I payed good money for. You just can't pick and choose the laws (unless of course you have the money to do so). You must obey whatever the government tells you to obey.

    It's a free country. You're free to obey the law. I suggest you tell your friend to go to his local police station and turn himself in for this gross violation of the DMCA. After all, I'm sure you have been having problems sleeping at night knowing that your friend is an evil pirate.

  • Bravo.. right down to the 23.

    MPAA=NWO? perhaps.

  • except everyone would vote for
    1) x
    2) x
    3) x
    4) x
    where x is one's favored candidate. Might be better if you have 2 choices that must be different.

  • I think the fact that vote trading would even have any effect is a pretty good indication that the election system in the US is pretty badly screwed up. Every vote should count for something.

    I think the fear that Nader is "stealing" votes from Gore also brings up another problem with the election system in the US (and most other countries). I'm pretty sure game theory says something about the "fairness" of elections involving more than two candidates. Unfortunately, I can't find any references right now. I'm thinking that there's got to be something that's more fair than the current system though. Perhaps a system where each voter ranks the candidates would work.
  • No, you're just beating the electoral system and using it against the political parties that created it. I'm 100% for it.
  • Here in Tasmania (also in Ireland, I'm told) we use the Hare-Clark system, which gives voters a chance to put their prefered candidate first, but if your candidate doesn't have chance, your vote goes to the next preference, etc. There are 5 winners in each electorate here, so minor parties have a chance of winning.

    Election time is genuinely fun, and when the greens had the balance of power, I really looked forward to the News every day. Most people don't seem to understand the system, and it is complicated so you don't get instant results, but it is very well thought out.

    Here's some info [tas.gov.au]

  • The actual quote is from Benjamin Franklin, and is:

    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

    Historical Review of Pennsylvania.
    source:
    John Bartlett, comp.(1820-1905). [bartleby.com]
    Familiar Quotations, 9th ed.1901.
    Benjamin Franklin. --1706-1790.
  • don't boycott DVD! I nkow the DVDCCA is a pain in the rear and all, but, the lower number of sales from our boycott will only feed the MPAA into thinking that the DeCSS code has made us go to piracy to get our DVD's. EIther way you end up fueling the MPAA's grasp for power. Catch 22 I guess...but I think that boycott isn't the answer in this case.

  • by crasch ( 222290 ) on Monday October 30, 2000 @04:35PM (#664093) Homepage
    I think the third parties should band together to launch a class action anti-trust lawsuit against the Democrats and Republicans.

    After all, many people get all in a tizzy over Microsoft's dominance of software operating systems. Yet the last time the Republicans or Democrats did not control both the Congress and the White House (and indirectly, the judiciary) was in 1854, when the Republicans ousted the Whigs.

    Perhaps Americans have truly preferred the Democrats or Republicans for the past 146 years, but I'm inclined to believe the system is rigged.

    Indeed Richard Wringer, editor of Ballot Access News [ballot-access.org] argued that U.S. voting system is so rigged that it violates international law:

    In reality, America's ballot-access laws are so stringent, and third parties are repressed to such a degree, that the U.S. is probably in violation of the Copenhagen Meeting Document, an international agreement the U.S. signed in 1990 that requires nations to:
    "Respect the right of individuals and groups to establish, in full freedom, their own political organizations and provide such political parties and organizations with the necessary legal guarantees to enable them to compete with each other on the basis of equal treatment before the law and the authorities."
    The Libertarian and Constitution party have already banded together to launch a lawsuit seeking to establish the constitutional illegality of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the Commission for Presidential Debates (CPD), and the federal campaign funding system, by overturning the Buckley v. Valeo decision. There's an excellent summary of the unfair barriers the Democrats and Republicans have raised to third parties at http://www.realcampaignreform.org/ [realcampaignreform.org]. See also Richard Winger's article, The Importance of Ballot Access [ballot-access.org]. (Spring 1994 Long Term View, Massachusetts School of Law, Andover, MA.) at http://www.ballot-access.org [ballot-access.org]

    Other reforms I'd like to see:

    • elimination of the electoral college, to be replaced by direct popular election
    • institute preferential or Borda voting instead of winner take all
    • proportional representation should be insituted for seats in the House and Senate
    • ballot access should be open to anyone willing to pay the marginal cost of adding the candidates name to the ballot
    • option to delegate one's vote to someone else. Why? Because, on most issues, I have neither the time, interest, or skill to adequately evaluate who or what is most likely to achieve the goals I want. However, I do know individuals who do have the time, interest, and skill whose judgement I trust, and I would like them to decide. As it is now, a man who uses a bookmark to read People magazine has the same influence has as a man who has a PhD. in economics.
  • I'm fascinated by the concept of an 'electoral college' who don't perform any function in the US Government aside from electing a President. It's almost analagous to the system we have here (in Canada). In Canadian elections, there is no direct vote for our Prime Minister. Instead, we vote for local candidates who represent a particular party. In turn the party that elects a majority of these candidates form a government whose head is that party's chosen leader. It leads to interesting choices (as the situation in my local district -- does one vote for the excellent local candidate with a terrific track record, at the cost of electing a distasteful national government?) It seems to me that the Electoral-College U.S. method is a strange shadow of the parliamentary system. I wonder -- what utility does this system have? Maybe an American can enlighten me. If it's straight rep-by-pop, why not just go with the popular vote? Doesn't this pervert the intent of directly electing a head of state? Despite the complexities, I think I prefer the Canadian-style system. Basically we elect Parliament, analagous to Congress, and they in turn choose a Prime Minister.
  • Originally, the Electoral College was much more independent than it is now. The basic idea was that the members of the College would be selected for their ability to evaluate the candidates strengths and weaknesses, and they would vote on who they best thought fit the bill. It wasn't intended to be popular-vote-by-proxy or party driven, like it is now. It was supposed to be people chosen for their knowledge of the candidates to decide who the best choice for President was.


    If you read the Federalist Papers discussion of the Electoral College, they were quite aware that it was a unique experimental system for choosing a chief executive. They deliberately intended the college to elect people who had made an impact on a national scope, and set impediments to ensure this (federal officials can't be electors, and all the electors from a state must meet and vote in the state's capitol, not Washington, etc).


    What they did not expect was that the individual citizen would have the experience to know what was needed in a good chief executive, nor the knowledge of the candidates to make an informed decision. I think they would be appalled by what the election of the President has become.


    But then, I don't like direct election of the Senate, either... I think it undermines the purpose of the Senate, and makes the Senators accountable to the wrong body. But that's just me.

  • I agree with you - we do need reform, but deeper than what you suggest. It's called "ethics," and it should be enforced legally for people running for office. *ANYTHING* purposefully misleading, or even non-purposefully if it misleads enough people, should automatically disqualify a candidate.

    For instance, let's say that candidate A lauches a campaign against candidate B. Candidate A claims "Candidate B is a very bad person! They plan on raising your taxes! Do you want to live in a communist country?!? NO? Vote for ME, Candidate A!!" Of course, candidate B was going to raise taxes, it had to be done, so candidate A isn't really lying. However, candidate A was *also* going to raise taxes. So, this is misleading on several points:

    1) A claimed B was a very bad person. That is totally subjective, and bordering on slander.
    2) A said that B was going to raise taxes, and that it's a bad thing. A plans on raising taxes too, misleading the People to think that voting for A will keep taxes low, even though they'll be raised.
    3) Higher taxes does not a communist country make. That is completely irrelevant.

    Something like that is very unethical, and should be stopped. I don't think it'll happen anytime soon, though, because most people that are in office today rely on those tactics to get there - they're not going to de-rail their gravy train.

    Dave
    'Round the firewall,
    Out the modem,
    Through the router,
    Down the wire,
  • Speaking as an outsider (I'm Australian)...

    It appears to me that the problem with the US voting system is much deeper seated that just the plurality voting mechanism; the whole electoral college system is a bit of a mess (from a game theory/mathematics point of view).

    Consider a US Federal Election between two candidates X and Y. Consider as a subset of the entire result the electoral results in California (53 college votes up for grabs, or ~10% of the college total).

    In the election, X gets 51% of the vote, and Y gets 49%. This would suggest that the college return 23 votes for X, and 22 for Y. Yet the Californian electoral college returns all 53 college votes for candidate X. A majority of 1 vote in 1 state could return a 5% swing in the final electoral college count.

    As I understand it, there are only a few states that allow their college votes to be split in any way whatsoever, and usually only as a 60/40 split.

    This problem gets worse when you enter a `minor' candidate Z into the picture; the plurality voting mechanism exacerbates the problem with the colleges (If Z polls 5% in California, why shouldn't s/he get 2-3 college votes?), but it is by no means the only problem. Replacing plurality with any other voting system, but maintaining the colleges will leave you with the same old mess, just a slightly different shade of brown.

    As a side note - don't knock a 2 party duopoly. As largely unrepresentative and stoic as it is, it does yield stability. Check out the Italian or Japanese parliament (and to a lesser extent, the Israeli parliament, and even the Australian Senate) if you want to see the effect of a large number of minority parties on the stablity of a democracy. Stability is often worth its weight in representative democracy.

    Just my A$0.02 (approx US$0.01 at the current exchange rate...)

    Russ Magee %-)

  • Another interesting parallel with Canada. We have an appointed Senate. Supposedly the house of "Sober Second Thought", it is a mere rubber-stamp to Parliament and a tool of political patronage (1980s P.M. Brian Mulroney appointed his hairdresser). There are periodic calls for an elected Senate here in Canada, but they have all been beaten back so far, not least because our mechanism for constitutional amendment has conditions that are only slightly less difficult that getting everyone in the country to shout "YEP" at exactly the same moment. From where I'm sitting an elected Senate doesn't sound too bad.
  • ...but it's still David Korn =)


    Korn meets KoRN [kornshell.com]


    Too, too weird.

  • ...thank the fact I'm posting this from Nautilus, I guess. Those nightly builds from Eazel are nice, but still a little unpredictable =) That should have been in response to a comment about David Korn's thingamabob, to do with voting...sorry.
  • That's why you should restict your vote trading, like your love-making, to people you know something about.

    However, that doesn't mean the idea is not appealing and powerful - just don't use an anonymous website, make some calls/send some e-mails to people you know and get Ralph his 5% without fscking the country by giving it Bush.

    paul
  • by gmp ( 155289 ) on Monday October 30, 2000 @03:02PM (#664102) Homepage
    David Korn (of ksh [kornshell.com] fame) came up with the idea of an automated online Nader vote exchanger (check the whois database for voteswap.com and voteswap.org).
  • You should read about approval voting. It's a lot less complicated and achieves the same end (I think) you're trying to achieve. Other posters have covered this in more detail so I won't repeat here. Preference voting has its adherents too, but I don't think it buys you that much more for the added complexity. Specifics aside, our current system is rotten unless you like the major party duopoly.
  • Now.. if we can just figure out how to add a nic card... and give it a ip, run it through a broadcasting server.. Yay free tv for the web!
  • by 348 ( 124012 ) on Monday October 30, 2000 @03:04PM (#664105) Homepage
    He said Palmistry. Uhg Ugh.
  • Ah, youth... the sweet dreams, the pleasant pastimes, as yet unaware that the difference in being Republican or Democrat is maybe one pay raise away. If you think either party cares about the drooling masses, you haven't awoken from your sweet dreams yet.
  • Sounds great, until you get sued for everything you're worth.

    Really- I'd like to see someone set up something like that, but history shows if its made public, there'll likely be some serious legal action.

    --
  • I'm in the same situation you are. Unfortunatly, I've looked around and haven't been able to find a mod for my DVD player that will disable it. However, many players have been hacked to bypass macrovision (as well as making them codefree). Perhaps yours can be modified?

    --
  • "Come to think of it...theoretically, any Bush supporter could go on there and get a bunch of Algore people to vote for Nader."

    Hey, how did you know? I just got 10 new hotmail addresses just for that purpose. Too bad they shut the damn trading site down. I guess I'll just go hang out in some gore or nader friendly chat rooms, and try to find someone to "trade" with...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    the latest idea I've recently heard to potential Nader voters who are worried about a Bush presidency is a very simple voting strategy ... basicly vote late in the day .... if the networks are calling Gore as the winner vote Nader, if they're not AND your state is still in play (ie not already sewn up by either Gore or Bush) then also vote Nader (but remember a different strategy in non winner-take-all states) - otherwise vote Gore. Just make sure you get to the polling station in time.
  • It's just a huge pain in the butt. I have to rewire my home theater system to switch between DVD player (which I bought before learning about the DeCSS fiasco...I'm boycotting, but I still watch the DVDs I already own) and VCR, because I can't route my DVD player through my VCR without the picture quality dropping like a rock on Jupiter.


    ---
    Zardoz has spoken!
  • Not to suggest that there aren't problems which need to be fixed, but might this stability be better than a government built up by Nader, dismantled by Browne, and then build up by Nader again in successive terms?

    As opposed to what we have now - an overgrown, corporate-run government that takes turns removing our freedoms?

    Maybe I missed something during my lifetime, but from here it looks like stability is the one thing we've HAD too much of.

    Heaven forbid anyone might want to affect the outcome of the election.
  • It might make the MPAA happier.

    That way, they're off Panasonic's backs. Macrovision is an old, easily reverse-engineered standard, but it makes the Motion Picture Association of America happy. But then again, Thoman Jefferson said (this is recalled from memory)
    Anyone who would give up a little freedom for a little bit of order, deserves neither and will loose both.
    MPAA, would that apply here?
    Chances are, that if Panasonic says "Hey, MPAA? Is this more reasonable for your facist regime?", they will respond with creating laws to make any PVR like TiVo or ReplayTV have Macromedia or some form of "protection" thereof.
  • Bad logic... You're assuming that there's going to be a bunch of Bush voters showing up at the end of the day too. There's no reason that large numbers of Bush voters will be showing up just before the polls close, however many people that vote at the end of the day for whatever reason will vote at the end of the day, almost all for Bush or Gore, likely in a reasonably close ration to the rest of the day. (there may be a small reduction in Gore votes, but only equal to the overlap of "wants to vote for Nader" voters and "shows up at the end of the day for whatever non-political-strategy reason")
  • Actually, it's quite often misquoted, but usually people get the attribution correct, geez.

    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Ben Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania.
  • The whole point of a democracy is that everyone has a voice. People are free to express their opinions, but with this new "vote-swapping", all you're doing is voicing someone else's opinion. Basically, by participating you are giving up your freedom of speech. When you go to the polls, you must stand up for not only democracy, but for America and vote for whom you feel would be the best candidate to be the leader of the free world.
  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Monday October 30, 2000 @03:14PM (#664117)
    Why, dosn't it happen in Congress all the time?

    Seriously, there is a reason your vote is *secret.*

    You may vote for anyone you want for any reason, even just because they have the best hair, and noone has the right to question it. It is YOUR vote.

    This is nothing more than party politics, and it IS common practice in the legislative bodies.

    Will they try to MAKE it illegal? Seems likely, it could be a powerful tool for third parties, and the ins arn't going to like it one bit, but the fact of the matter is, they can make the website illegal ( or at least try to, there's that nasty first ammendment thingy), they can make soliciting it illegal but they can't make DOING it illegal.
  • by DranoK ( 18790 ) on Monday October 30, 2000 @03:48PM (#664118)
    Ranking systems would work great. Here's the basic idea:

    You'd vote for say 4 presidential candidates, for example. If you want Nader to win, but would rather have Gore over Bush, you would vote the following manner:

    1) Nader
    2) Gore
    3) Gore
    4) Gore


    Now, the state counts a vote of the top choices, and gets say, 45% Bush, 20% Nader, and 35% Gore. Since no candidate has a >50% majority, the second choice votes are added to the total. So let's say that most die-hard Republicans listed Bush as their second choice as well, as did die-hard Democrats, but Nader voters listed Gore for the most part second. So now the vote would switch to something like 45% Bush, 10% Nader, and 45% Gore. Still no majority so take third and fourth into consideration resulting in: 45% Bush, 5% Nader, 50% Gore.

    This of course looks a little contrived for a two-party system with a couple third parties, but imagine if there were say 6 parties. That is when this example would shine.

    DranoK



    Shh! Nobody knows I'm gay!
  • by vergil ( 153818 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <bligrev>> on Monday October 30, 2000 @03:49PM (#664119) Homepage Journal
    The logic of "tactical" or "strategic" voting is an absurdly specious affront to democracy.

    Citizens should feel free to vote for the candidate that most represents their positions. Instead, we're seeing a spate of websites taking advantage of America's flawed and disparate Electoral College system.

    Why should one citizen's vote be more/less valuable than another citizen's residing in a different state?

    Clearly, proportional Electoral College representation (as opposed to the "winner-take-all" representation used by some states) would end any perceived need for vote-swapping.

    I saw a Green Party t-shirt today that summed it succinctly:
    Vote your conscience, not your fear

    Here's [cluebot.com] a cluebot [cluebot.com] article (Will Vote Trading Website Be Shut Down?) that briefly discusses the dubious legality of vote trading.

    Sincerely,
    Vergil

  • I have a friend who had to drive me out from my college (about 20 - 30 minutes away from her house) just so I could fix her DVD player. She thought the blasted thing was broken because all of her DVDs (except for The Wizard of Oz, which I'm guessing wasn't copy protected) kept playing really bright and then really dark.

    As you might have guessed, her TV had only one set of inputs, so she ran the DVD player through the VCR the same way most people do. Macrovision kicked in, and she couldn't watch her DVDs right. I tried looking for firmware hacks, but the only I found was firmware binaries, which didn't do my any could since I didn't have a EEPROM programmer and I really didn't feel like voiding my friend's player warranty, especially since she had to get a firmware upgrade anyway to get The Matrix to play. If not for the warranty voiding and the cost I would have told her to get a mod chip for the blasted thing just to make somebody in the movie industry mad.

    I ended up having to go with her to Radio Shack and get a $30 adapter that would work with the various video connectors she was using and her TV. The guy there told me that last Christmas people kept coming to him and buying the same thing, since they found out that thanks to the movie industry you can't run an unmodded DVD player through a VCR.

    The point I'm making is that if the movie industry doesn't get a little looser on their restrictions, then they're going to cut off their own growth. Sure, it all worked out for my friend since she knew someone who would dealt with this kind of thing all of the time, but what are the odds that most people have a techie friend to fix their DVD players for them? Even once I got it fixed, she was completely confused when I tried to explain exactly what Macrovision was to her, and I don't blame her.

    People just want to put in a DVD and play it like a VCR tape, not buy adapters and cables so the movie industry can be sure that she can't copy the movies she has with a VCR. The irony here is that the very thing that the movie industry has created to preserve its DVD sales may kill it prematurely if people can't figure out how to hook up their own DVD players. I trust my parents to hook up a VCR, but not a DVD player (which fortunately hasn't become an issue yet), and that's not the right way to have to handle thing is DVDs are supposed to supplant VCRs.

  • by Some guy named Chris ( 9720 ) on Monday October 30, 2000 @03:52PM (#664121) Journal

    It is interesting that www.thinkgeek.com (another andover.net [andover.net] property) just proudly gave away [thinkgeek.com] three of these heavily Macromediaized Panasonic Showstoppers, as well as featuring it proudly on the front of their most recent mailing.

    You would think they would be promoting and selling Tivo's [tivo.com] since they run Linux, and are much more hacker friendly [slashdot.org]. Eh, a foolish consistancy is the hobgoblin of little minds... or so says Ralph Waldo Emerson.

  • by werdna ( 39029 ) on Monday October 30, 2000 @03:52PM (#664122) Journal
    Theory here is to permit a means for candidate G, with a "safe" marjority in a secure state, say NY, who needs votes in an insecure state, say M, to bleed votes from a candidate N, who has no interest in the electoral college result, but merely wants to obtain a reasonable total popular vote. A web-site is used to permit voters in NY and M to swap promises to vote differently.

    In theory this cannot hurt G in NY, because no more than the percentage of N supporters will swap, and the margin in NY is not sufficient to give pause.

    So, candidate B simply spoofs a whole bunch of registered M state voters, promising to vote for G in M in exchange for a vote for N in NY. If he does this well enough, he can actually unseat G in NY by fooling enough NY voters to think they are doing the cause to win in M. (The B voter in M, of course, simply votes his conviction, and not his --probably unenforceable-- promise, when he goes to the ballot box.)

    Since there are so many B voters in any state, there is no problem here for B -- perhaps B can get all of NY to vote for N in lieu of G.
  • by fhwang ( 90412 ) on Monday October 30, 2000 @03:52PM (#664123) Homepage
    My favorite alternate system is Instant Runoff Voting [apc.org]. How it works is simple: Everybody votes for the candidates they like, in order. They tally up everybody's first choice, but if no candidate has a majority, they knock off the candidate with the smallest vote (those people's votes go to their second choice), and count again. Repeat until somebody has a majority.

    For example: I'm a serious lefty, so the idea of voting for Gore kind of makes me wretch. Let's say I arrange my votes like:

    1. Ralph Nader
    2. Al Gore
    3. George Dubya Bush
    4. Satan
    5. Pat Buchanan
    Ralph won't get a majority, so my vote will probably end up going to Al Gore, who might be able to win. But I still can vote my conscience, and make a statement nonetheless.
  • You don't even need all that theory. It's obvious that you have to trust the person you're trading with, because no agreement to vote any one way is enforcible (modulo absentee ballots). So, can you trust a stranger? Doubtful. Game over.
    -russ
  • I think the vote swapping idea is great, but I think that it is a political kludge. One option to achieve real reform might be for third parties to band together to launch a class action anti-trust lawsuit against the Democrats and Republicans.

    After all, many people get all in a tizzy over Microsoft's dominance of software operating systems. Yet the last time the Republicans or Democrats did not control both the Congress and the White House (and indirectly, the judiciary) was in 1854, when the Republicans ousted the Whigs.

    Perhaps Americans have truly preferred the Democrats or Republicans for the past 146 years, but I'm inclined to believe the system is rigged.

    Indeed Richard Wringer, editor of Ballot Access News [ballot-access.org] argued that U.S. voting system is so rigged that it violates international law:

    In reality, America's ballot-access laws are so stringent, and third parties are repressed to such a degree, that the U.S. is probably in violation of the Copenhagen Meeting Document, an international agreement the U.S. signed in 1990 that requires nations to:
    "Respect the right of individuals and groups to establish, in full freedom, their own political organizations and provide such political parties and organizations with the necessary legal guarantees to enable them to compete with each other on the basis of equal treatment before the law and the authorities."
    The Libertarian and Constitution party have already banded together to launch a lawsuit seeking to establish the constitutional illegality of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the Commission for Presidential Debates (CPD), and the federal campaign funding system, by overturning the Buckley v. Valeo decision. There's an excellent summary of the unfair barriers the Democrats and Republicans have raised to third parties at http://www.realcampaignreform.org/ [realcampaignreform.org]. See also Richard Winger's article, The Importance of Ballot Access [ballot-access.org]. (Spring 1994 Long Term View, Massachusetts School of Law, Andover, MA.) available at http://www.ballot-access.org [ballot-access.org]

    Other reforms I'd like to see:

    • elimination of the electoral college, to be replaced by direct popular election
    • institute preferential or Borda voting instead of winner take all
    • proportional representation should be instituted for seats in the House and Senate
    • ballot access should be open to anyone willing to pay the marginal cost of adding the candidates name to the ballot
    • option to delegate one's vote to someone else. Why? Because, on most issues, I have neither the time, interest, or skill to adequately evaluate who or what is most likely to achieve the goals I want. However, I do know individuals who do have the time, interest, and skill whose judgement I trust, and I would like them to decide. As it is now, a man who uses a bookmark to read People magazine has the same influence has as a man who has a PhD. in economics.
  • Interesting ideas. Proportional representation is an attractive idea but I think that it has turned out to have problems in practice. European countries have experimented with it - I am specifically thinking about Italy - have had trouble forming stable governments. Maybe too much choice is a bad thing?? I'd hate to believe it.
  • by m.o ( 121338 ) on Monday October 30, 2000 @04:53PM (#664127) Homepage
    One of the most beautiful facts in economics is Arrow's Impossibility Theorem (Ken Arrow got his Nobel prize for it), which states that there is no voting system that would satisfy a set of simple and seemingly reasonable assumptions (see below).

    Before you start proposing various systems, please, read this; e-mail me if you are interested. Please, mod this up - I am not karma whoring (couldn't care less); i'd just like people to actually know about this beautiful (and - surprise! - relevant) fact. Maybe some of you, like myself, will even switch to economics from coding :)

    /* the text below is copied from some webpage, but the theorem and its proof can be found in pretty much any graduate microeconomics book, e.g. Mas-Colell-Whinston-Green */

    Arrow's Impossibility Theorem was published in an essay called A Difficulty in The Concept of Social Welfare. It demonstrates a profound and a priori lack of reliability of joint decision systems and a lack of coherence of any notion such as the will of the people.

    Let Prefersi(a,b) mean that person i prefers a to b. Let Prefers be some joint decision procedure that, thus, generates either Prefers(a,b) or Prefers(b,a) for any a, b in some decision set, Set.

    Then Arrow's impossibility Theorem says that the following 5 reasonable conditions on the joint preference relation Prefers cannot all be met by any single decision process:

    1. Prefers is independent of irrelevant alternatives
      that is to say, the ordering of any 2 items in Prefers is a function only of their ordering with respect to each other within each of the Prefersi.
    2. Prefers is non-dictatorial
      that is to say, Prefers is not necessarily identical to Prefersi for some i.
    3. Prefers is pareto-inclusive
      that is to say, Prefers will rank 2 elements of Set in a particular order if all Prefersi do.
    4. Prefers is transitive.
    5. Prefers is a complete ordering on Set.
    A Brief Note on Consequences

    Note that the first 3 conditions are different from the last 2. The first 3 are what might be called the morality conditions. They say that a joint decision system should respect the individual wills of those elements of which it is composed. The last 2 conditions are what might be called rationality conditions. They say that a joint decision process should display consistent behaviour (which is really what rational means.).

    So what Arrow's Impossibility Theorem says is that any joint decision process which is in a reasonable sense democratic and respecting of individuality is also irrational or if you prefer a less loaded term, unreliable. It is likely to display behaviour where its decisions can be controlled by control of its order of making of parts of decisions; or where its behaviour does not respect the independence (in ethics and metaphysics, it's called the freedom) of its elements; or where it is capable of ignoring the unanimous will of its elements.

    In other words, you can't trust bureaucracy. This, I think, if there is one, is the reason why traditional state-run-enterprise socialism fails. There are also a great many other interesting consequences of Arrow's Impossibility Theorem, many of them obtained when we abandon our instinctive prejudices regarding what a decision system is, and consequently what Arrow's Impossibility Theorem is about.

  • Nah, boycott away. It won't impact sales that much, and you'll have a clear conscience to boot.
    :-)
  • by Daffy Duck ( 17350 ) on Monday October 30, 2000 @04:54PM (#664129) Homepage
    See here [russp.org] for a detailed opinion of why Instant Runoff Voting is non-optimal, bordering on outright irrational. My favorite non-ideological objection to IRV is that it can be a bookkeeping nightware [russp.org].

    A less emotional comparison of alternate election methods can be found here [fortunecity.com].

  • by Booker ( 6173 ) on Monday October 30, 2000 @04:55PM (#664130) Homepage
    You know, if you don't include all of the information about your hobbies, annual household income, & buying habits, your warranty will be null and void...

    You seem happy to do as you're told, so just wanted to give you another tip there. :)

    Seriously, though -
    but with this new "vote-swapping", all you're doing is voicing someone else's opinion.

    You didn't read the article, did you? Your opinion is still there (if everyone is honest), and it counts more - it beats the rigged electoral college system.

    ---

  • Under -very- rare curcumstances it is possible to be forced to reveal ones vote. It happened in a local race in this area: One voter came forward after the election, and informed the board of elections that he had inadvertently voted in the wrong district, and therefore his votes were invalid. One of the races came out -exactly- tied, even after absentee ballots and recounts. The voter with the invalid vote was forced to reveal who he had voted for, so his vote would be invalidated and the tie broken.

    Myself, I'd be highly tempted to lie, so my candidate would win.
  • Why do we need some kind of reform?

    Why is the "two-party duopoly" necessarily a bad thing? It might actually be a strength of the system.

    Does anyone actually want to see a third party candidate in the White House? Let's see: we could elect Ralph Nader and listen to him whine about corporate crime and poverty; we could elect Browne and reduce the federal government to a shack in a Washington ghetto. There's McReynolds, who will proudly tell us how little he knows. And there's Buchanan, who will have all except white Protestants deported.

    There is a reason that hard line idealists are only nominated by third parties: they are hard line idealists. Having two dominant, centrist parties keeps those idealists away from places where they could do some serious damage.

    Example: between the world wars, Germany had a proportional representation scheme. Seats would be granted to a party in proportion to the fraction of the popular vote the party received. In 1930, the small National Socialist third party, which, according to this [wnec.edu] article, polled in no district more than 40%, earned 18.3% of the seats in parliament.

    The principle behind American government seems to be to minimize the sort of drastic change typical of parliamentary systems. Checks and balances, the division between federal and state government, the "bloated bureaucracy", and the electoral college all have this effect. Of course, the pace of change can be too slow -- the US took an awfully long time to do something about slavery, for instance -- but it also offers stability. As someone once said in a Saturday Night Live skit, "Is there anything you can't do because your guy didn't win?" Not to suggest that there aren't problems which need to be fixed, but might this stability be better than a government built up by Nader, dismantled by Browne, and then build up by Nader again in successive terms?

    The electoral college also allows people to cast "protest votes". If we used a national popular vote instead of the electoral college, a vote for Nader really would be a vote for Bush. As it is, most people can safely "vote their consciences" without affecting the outcome of the election.
  • Alos, our government is a coaliation between two of the parties, the jurry is still out as to weather this is a good thing or not.

    Coalition governments can be a problem under some circumstances, particularly when the electoral system allows small special interest parties to get representatives, as in a classic pure proportional representation system. This is because the minority partners can threaten to overthrow the coalition unless they get their special interest legislation passed. This is effectively the opposite of the problem of the first-past-the-post system. The 5% requirement (which I think was first tried in the German Federal Republic) is supposed to keep out single-interest parties and minimize that kind of vote selling.

    The general problem of giving excessive power to minority parties is in some ways similar to the obnoxious requirement here in California that the budget be passed by a 2/3 vote. The original goal was to prevent wasteful spending by requiring the vast majority of representatives to support something to get it passed. Instead, though, it encourages a minority of representatives to be obstructionist and demand to be bought off with spending of dubious value that must be spent in their districts.

  • But I sure wouldn't want anyone to Digita my Ars.
  • This is precisely the system that's in use in Australia and we still only have two parties with any chance of forming government. Sigh. Perhaps the voting system isn't what's causing the two party duopolies. Perhaps it's the fact that noone can consistently come up with a third view - they just alternate who they agree with.

    Just a thought.

    Adrian Sutton

    This space intentionally left blank.
  • Electoral college members are elected by the party members in their respective states. According to the electoral college FAQ at http://www.nara.gov/fedreg/elctcoll /fa q.html [nara.gov]:
    The process for selecting electors varies throughout the United States. Generally, the political parties nominate electors at their State party conventions or by a vote of the party's central committee in each State. Electors are often selected to recognize their service and dedication to their political party. They may be State elected officials, party leaders, or persons who have a personal or political affiliation with the Presidential candidate. Then the voters in each State choose the electors on the day of the generalelection. The electors' names may or may not appear on the ballot below the name of the candidates running for President, depending on the procedure in each State.
    What I'm proposing is that instead of having a bunch of party hacks elect the president, the president be elected by a majority of the popular vote with an instant runoff. I also want to be able to delegate my vote so that instead of me going into the election booth, and pulling the lever to express my preference for candidates whose positions I might only have a vague grasp, I could give my vote to the Libertarian party. The LP delegate could then vote twice--once for himself, once for me, and once for anyone else who decided to delegate their vote for him. It's still a popular vote (every individual has the same voting power), but hopefully one informed by more intelligent and educated voters.
  • The websites at voteexchange2000 [votexchange2000.com] and voteswap2000 [voteswap2000.com] have ceased on-line operations. We need an update on this story!
  • option to delegate one's vote to someone else.

    Good idea, and for good reasons, but I think it'd be WAY too easy to abuse it. The obvious problem is that there'd be a LOT of people wanting to defer, and a lot fewer people being deferred TO. Which means you get, let's say, every one "official voter" is pulling five other people's levers.

    Something better, which could be done NOW, is to have "vote consultants" - instead of giving your vote to them, you ask their advice instead. Sorta like taking your taxes to an accountant, you take your list of political wants/needs to them, and they produce a list of candidates which you can do whatever you want with. Such "consultants" might be in the form of paid professionals we might call a "vote firm", or it might be volunteer-run Web sites.

    This is partly what political parties are supposed to do. The party selects candidates, and you vote for the party. But in this case, the vote firm is under no obligation to return a list of candidates that support a particular agenda - and it'd be pretty easy to spot if you ask for candidates who support marijuana legalization or gay marriages and they come back with Pat Buchanan. Instead you'd be getting a political party tailored to YOU, and your unique mix of beliefs.

    The problem, though, is that as now, people won't be taking an active part in the election process. Parties exist to relieve people of the burden of having to think about how they're gonna vote. While this idea allows a greater diversity of candidates and more "veto control" for you the voter, it also stands to replace the voting process, people will just take their candidate lists and blindly enter them into the machine. Which in turn gives the "vote firms" and Web sites an unusual amount of sway over American politics. (But then, that's what the corporations have now anyway.)

    Agree mostly on the rest. The electoral college for one thing NEEDS TO GO AWAY. As it stands, a candidate could get a majority of the popular vote against two other candidates, but say the bulk of those votes are in smaller states with fewer electoral votes - the big states went another way (but only by a narrow margin!) and have more electoral votes, another candidate ends up with a slight majority of ELECTORAL votes and so THEY win instead!
  • How can people effectively vote their hearts if they are too distracted by the FUD in the media about how Gore might lose if Nader gets too many votes?

    The real problem is that Nader might win if Nader gets too many votes. The system is set up to ensure that he (or anyone else) doesn't.

    So, go out and vote your conscience, and fuck Gush and Bore.
    ---

  • I've seen this problem with some of the local cable channels. The macrovision detector is falsely triggered by a noisy signal. It can also be triggered when the cable system inserts their own commercials. The problem is that the cable system (ComCast) doesn't meet even minimal standards for video distribution. Many of the channels have gross and obvious quality defects. They don't care, they don't have to, they're the cable company.
  • No player may be modified due to our purchase of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which forbids this type of very harmful behavior. It is only for your own good, and the Copyright Office agrees.

    Just obey the DMCA and live with the inconveniences associated with it. Remember, it's not your hardware or motion pictures to fiddle with. It is simply under license from us and we may revoke your license at any time. So do the right thing and obey the DMCA.

  • This is a variation on conditional voting where you push and pull fractional votes around based on the conditional outcome of other related events. So for example you would vote yes on prop 'A' if candidate 'X' wins by > z% in district 'q' else no on prop one. And so on. This way you could split pieces of a unit vote cast say .7 for nader, .1 for gore, .2 for whomever is the leader or 2nd place finisher, etc.

    The logical extension of this is to create dynamic models that compete with one another so that one could subscribe to large pool of dynamic votes that constantly optimize against other gaming strategies. Basically a "my guy model" vs. a "your guy model" where apsects of the model are designed to optimize your own desired outcome and more importantly degrade and disoptimize your opponent models, forcing them to vote contrary to their own optimization.

    Consequently you could put all or part of your sum total vote unit up for bid, purchase or lend based on some payback promised you.

    This is nothing more than externalizing what people do when they hear phrases like 'prescription drug subsidies, umm... reform' and 'public subsidies for religious, unm...character education'.

    I for one want my vote for sale. I think it would do more good that way with a contract between the voter and the candidate instead of empty blather which neither party is capable of fullfilling nor believes. Why not - you promise me something like tax reform - and when it suddenly occurs to me that - - -- - oh yeah I forgot, presidents can't set tax policy, that's congress's job !!! I can withdraw my vote. A kind of parlimentary no confidence system but with a more immediate feedback loop.
  • by mattorb ( 109142 ) on Monday October 30, 2000 @04:06PM (#664155)
    This is a topic which has been hashed out again and again on these threads, but my tolerance has mysteriously vanished, leaving in its place a sudden, urgent desire to stand on a soapbox.

    IMHO, there is only one reason to cast a vote for anyone, ever : you believe that vote will have some net positive effect. Furthermore, a reasonable addendum might be that you should probably cast the vote which you think will have the greatest positive effect. That is, cast the vote which will make the world "best" according to whatever metric you like. This is assuming that you don't find the very act of voting for a particular candidate inherently immoral. So the question for prospective Nader (or Browne, Hagelin -- I'm mangling the spelling here, sorry) voters is just this: do you believe that the greatest good is accomplished by voting for Nader, possibly winning the Green Party more than 5 percent of the popular vote, hence guaranteeing that they will receive money in the 2004 elections, and hence maybe, eventually contributing to having more than a two-party system in this country? Do you think that the simple message sent by a vote for Nader -- loosely translated, perhaps, as "the major parties are completely ignoring issues of very real importance to me" -- in conjunction with the above possibilities for funding in later elections, are more important than the possible consequences of a Bush victory?

    This is something about which reasonable people may differ. I happen to think that the best outcome can be accomplished by voting for Gore -- that is, I think I like the results of voting for him more than the likely results of voting for any other candidate. Your results may vary.

    What complicates the decision is that estimate of the likely effect of casting a particular vote -- and that's where this "wait until the last minute" idea comes in. If you live in a state which is absolutely certain to go to one or the other of the major candidates, what is the net effect of casting a vote for one of those candidates? The way I see it, very little -- it sends no strong message, has no effect on who governs or what their policies are, etc. A vote for a 3rd-party candidate, however, might still have a net positive effect -- particularly with respect to the funding in 2004 issue. Waiting until you have the best sense of the effect your vote will have -- if such an estimate is ever possible -- can only make the decision easier.

  • According to this article [salon.com] on Salon, the U.S. Department of Justice has declared the organized vote swapping scheme legal. Relevant details are in the last paragraph, under the heading "Phone a friend".
  • It may be only borderline legal, but it will never really amount to anything. Why? The trust factor. You have no guarantee the other person will actually vote the way he says he will.

    I bet that when participants of this (ahem) risky scheme actually get to the polls, they will end up voting for the same person they originally would have; they cannot be sure the other person will keep his end of the bargain, and don't want to risk wasting their vote.

    Come to think of it...theoretically, any Bush supporter could go on there and get a bunch of Algore people to vote for Nader. I'd like to think they wouldn't do that of course :-)

    -JD
  • Who on the web will publish early exit polls so we can carry out this strategy effectively?

    (Of course, if Alaska or New Mexico (or Washington or Vermont) starts a state-by-state stampede to instant-runoff voting [fairvote.org] or other non-plurality system, we won't have to rely on such contorted tactics.)
  • I had to do this too. Our old stereo VCR got fried when I was hooking it back up after moving it. It was only 2-3 years old and I was able to run the DVD output into the VCR inputs. This worked great because the VCR output then went to a home theater system. With the new VCR, the DVD video would just fade between the correct video brightness and blank out the TV. I initially thought I had a bad VCR (cheap BestBuy symphonic), but then I remembered Macrovision. The documentation said that this would happen if I tried to record Macrovision protected video, but nothing about just passing it through the player. So in order to get the DVD player to work, I have to pass it's output into the home theater system's camcorder inputs, from the HT into the radio shack box that switches between it and the VCR coax output. A royal pain and yet another device that needs a 120V connection. All so the MPAA can make sure that I don't copy a DVD to VHS. I wish they'd get a clue and realize that the real pirates already have the means to flawlessly copy their products and all these 'protection' methods just piss off the average consumer.

    Are there any current DVD/VCR players that can be set to ignore Macrovision? If there are any, I'd like to buy one just to reduce the rat's nest of cables in my entertainment center.

  • Macrovision ONLY screws with the automatic gain control in the RECORDING circuity of the VCR! It has NO effect while you're NOT recording... unless of course you've got one wacky VHS VCR. :)

    Then a lot of the available VCRs are screwed up. I bought a few from BestBuy and promptly returned them because they all had this feature when just used in a passthru mode. Some were worse than others, but the video always faded in and out. No tapes were even in the VCRs! Betamax may be immune to macrovision, but I haven't seen betamax tapes in the stores for years and haven't even seen one in the local pawn shops either. Besides, who wants to try to find space for yet another big box in the entertainment center just so they can watch a freaking DVD? I don't

  • by blackwizard ( 62282 ) on Monday October 30, 2000 @03:24PM (#664169)
    This point comes up every time the discussion comes up where people are only voting for the "better of two evils" -- but, c'mon people, shouldn't we change the system? How can people effectively vote their hearts if they are too distracted by the FUD in the media about how Gore might lose if Nader gets too many votes?

    What we need is some kind of reform -- either I should be able to cast an approve/disapprove vote for any of the candidates, or I should rank them in the order that I would like to see them as president. (or senator, or representative, or whatever.) I think it would be easier to implement the approve/disapprove model, but I think the ranking system would give more more accurate results.

    Any thoughts? All I know is that we need to kick this two-party duopoly in the butt.
  • Under the Electoral college regime, all votes are not equal, (else why would Bush and Gore be spending more on Ad buys here in wisconsin than any other State?)

    Pair a dope-smoking Republicans whose heart is with Browne, with a Green leaning Dem afraid of Bush. Net effect on Electoral vote = 0.

  • You're probably conflating the socialists and greens based on the Green Party USA platform, which is different from Nader's much saner [greenparty.org]Association of State Green Parties platform [pair.com]. You can compare the two on the GPUSA website [slashdot.org]

    btw I know the subject line has messed up precedence.

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