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Comment This is daft (Score 4, Insightful) 363

No, you're not going to find evidence of "collusion" between the White House and the FCC, and no, that does not contradict the claim that the Obama administration got the FCC to pass net neutrality. Net neutrality was a huge goal of the Obama administration and a very big political win for them. It IS possible, you know, for like-minded people to work independently towards a common goal. I've heard that happens from time to time.

And, by the way, can we save everyone a huge amount of time and wasted expense and just assume that we won't find any evidence of "collusion" between this White House and the hacking of the DNC email servers or the purchase of Facebook advertisements? And, can we also just admit that like-minded people can be working independently towards a common goal in THIS instance, too?

Comment Re:I've seen a UFO, and it demonstrated science (Score 2) 384

Same experience here. I was camping near Ocean City, MD and had gotten out of my tent around 2AM to go see a man about a horse. I looked up into the night sky and saw a streak of phosphorescent gas that corkscrewed into a spiral perhaps dozens of miles long. I rushed back to my tent, grabbed a pad of paper and sketched it. Wow! A genuine UFO.

Um, no. A genuine high altitude rocket launch from the nearby Wallops Island, VA NASA launch site. D'oh.

Comment Re:Wrong. (Score 2) 349

Try to keep up. The guy didn't say he was redefining net neutrality, he said, and I quote, "They might cloak their advocacy in the public interest, but the real interest of these internet giants is in using the regulatory process to cement their dominance in the internet economy."

So: he has CHANGED the topic on you. He's no longer talking about net neutrality, he's talking about regulatory capture.

Comment The gist of their argument (Score 1) 160

- The Extreme Vetting Initiative seeks to predict whether an individual will become a positively contributing member of society and will contribute to the national interests. As far as we know, no one has ever defined or quantified these characteristics, so machine learning won't help.

- Since this is guaranteed fail, the people running the show will invariably turn to proxies that are better-known, such as Facebook posts criticizing the US. That sucks, because then you'll unintentionally keep some good -- but opinionated -- people out.

Comment Re:NO voting machines are connected to the Interne (Score 1) 431

How can you know software is working?

By black box, double-blind testing, of course.

This isn't that hard. The key to both security and testing is independent, parallel validation. That's why I like the idea of taking paper ballots from one election and running them through an entirely different set of scanners for a recount.

Comment NO voting machines are connected to the Internet (Score 5, Informative) 431

I am a volunteer poll worker in Virginia. NO vote-tallying equipment is connected to the Internet, anywhere in the U.S. We are not idiots. We have about 230+ years' worth of experience with people trying to throw an election, and we understand -- and mitigate -- the risks.

This server in Georgia did NOT hold vote counts. It held voter registration records, instructions, and voting equipment passwords.

Each precinct tallying the votes keeps an independent record of their machines. There are paper backups of voting totals in the form of printed counts and hand-copied summary sheets.

In my state, we have switched over to machine-counted paper ballots in all precincts. Those scanners do not even have wireless hardware in them, they can only be accessed via ethernet cable. Once a machine is tested and certified for voting, a cover is placed over the ethernet socket and it is sealed with a plastic band.

I do advocate the use of paper ballots, but not because then humans could do a hand-count of them. Humans are lousy at repetitive tasks. A hand-count of millions of votes would have a margin of error 10x the size of the margin of error of machine-counted votes. In Virginia, when there is a recount, we bring in a completely different set of scanners than were used to originally count the votes, and run the same paper ballots through them. That is a excellent independent count.

Comment Re: Meh (Score 2) 165

Out of every 10 new ideas I have, at least 1 will be "wha?", 6 will be "meh", 2 will be "well, maybe if you combine it with something else", and 1 will be "ok, that might work." The best thing you can do to improve the quality of your work is to recognize when that work sucks and to speak the truth about it.

Comment Unintentional. This noise is from jury-rigging. (Score 1) 300

See, we all think those commies are soo much smarter than we are, they have devised a sonic "weapon" that even our best experts can't explain.

Here, let me try.

This is the sound of jury-rigging. If you've got not parts, and no money, and no normal source for repairs, you just put stuff together as best you can. This particular noise is the sound of a fan scraping a trash-can lid that washed up on shore 20 years ago. /sarc

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