Jabrwock writes: "Presidential hopeful and Democrat John Edwards is the first candidate in the '08 race to have a virtual campaign office in the MMO Second Life. Now he is also the first candidate to have an online office vandalised with pictures of him in blackface, a feces-spewing obscenity, and posters of communism. The virtual office was apparently overrun by SL players wearing Bush '08 tags, who harassed visitors with verbal abuse of Edwards in particular, and Democrats in general."
Eelco writes: The monopolist provider of software used during elections in The Netherlands has threatened the Dutch state after the state ordered security enhancements right before the parliamental elections of 2006. This was discovered by the we-don't-trust-voting-computers foundation who received, invoking the Dutch Freedom of Information Act, shocking internal documents from the Dutch Electoral Council. In one of the e-mails, the companies owner Jan Groenendaal threatens(translated) that his company will cease all activity if Rop Gonggrijp of the we-don't-trust-voting-computers foundation becomes a member of the independent commission that is investigating the future of the electoral process. Moreover, he demands the state to buy his company, in exchange for his cooporation during the next national elections. The full story shows a weird an almost not imaginable relationship between the Dutch state and the company that provides all software to tabulate election results, as well as the software used in 90% of the voting machines itself.
Series of Tubes writes: "Apparently Sen. Stevens (R-Alaska) has been trying to get a bit more computer savvy after his infamous "series of tubes" speech, but he's found a really strange way to do it. According to the Washington Post's blog, if you enter the wrong password when trying to visit Stevens' official reelection website, you get told that "Through a series of highly sophisticated and complex algorithms, this system has determined that you are not presently authorized to use this system function. It could be that you simply mistyped a password, or, it could be that you are some sort of interplanetary alien-being that has no hands and, thus, cannot type." And the 401 Unauthorized error message only gets weirder..."
Coryoth writes "The Canadian parliament has voted against renewing anti-terror laws that had been introduced after September 11, 2001. The rejected laws included provisions to hold terror suspects indefinitely, and to compel witnesses to testify, and were in some sense Canada's version fo the Patriot Act. The laws were voted down in the face of claims from the minority Conservative government that the Liberal Party was soft on terror, and despite the fact that Canada has faced active terrorist cells in their own country. The anti-terror laws have never been used, and it was viewed that they are neither relevant, nor needed, in dealing with terrorist plots. Hopefully more countries will come to the same conclusion."
from the i-know-a-few-space-potatos dept.
gasmanpopey writes to tell us that sweet potato seeds sent to space as a part of China's Shenzhou VI mission are hitting the streets as a part of special Valentine's day meals. While supporters are trying to claim better flavor and better nutrition there doesn't seem to be anything beyond a pure novelty angle.