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Comment Re: Obama knows how many states there are (Score 1) 846

In May 2008 the Obama campaign made a stop in Oregon late in the day. The campaign had, at that point, visited 46 states. Of the 48 contiguous states, they had visited all but two. Oregon brought that up to all but one. He made an off-the-cuff remark, in which he delivered the above quote. But the pause indicated by that ellipsis was quite long. He says "fifty" (clearly, thinking that there are fifty states), then subtracts three for Alaska, Hawaii, and whichever other of the lower 48 the campaign hadn't made any stops in yet, and then says the "... seven states, I think, one left to go," part.

Now, it is funny, because on the face of it it looks like a Harvard-educated guy, runnning for President ferchrissakes, doesn't even know how many states there are. If George Bush flubbed something that badly (as he often did), I would certainly make fun of him. And you're free to make fun of Obama for the flub.

But I wouldn't pretend it meant he really didn't know how many states there are.


Submission + - F-22 Radar Used as High-Capacity Data Link? (

Lord of Hyphens writes: "According to The Register, The USAF is looking at a new use for the F-22 Raptor's sophisticated electronics systems: control of grounded robotics.

[A]n alliance of Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and L-3 Communications has duplicated the AESA ground tests in the air, using a Raptor radar mounted in a BAC 1-11 test plane to exchange data with a ground station at 274 Mbit/sec, "fully duplex". AESA radars are well able to handle two simultaneous information streams, apparently. All you need is an "off-the-shelf, L-3 programmable modem".


Submission + - Guido van Rossum: Python 3.0 alpha in August (

grammar fascist writes: Guido van Rossum, BDFL (Benevolent Dictator for Life) of the Python programming language, has posted a comprehensive status report on the progress of Python's next incarnation, including a tentative release schedule. Python 3.0 alpha could be available as early as August this year, with the final release a year from then. This is probably the last chance Python has of any significant language overhaul — meaning a significant break in compatibility with earlier versions. (A fairly thorough conversion tool will be supplied.) Lists of regrets and wishes have been made into language enhancements, including Unicode strings (bytes objects will be used for binary data), class decorators, function argument annotations (no implicit type enforcement), dynamic specification of base classes, Abstract Base Classes (not strict and bondage-y as in Java), true multiple dispatch (called "generic functions"), exception reform, int/long unification, and much more. Whom to thank? Besides Guido and the core Python developers and designers, Google. They hired him to spend half his time on Python.
United States

Submission + - Voting method visualizations (

Snarfangel writes: Voting method debates are generally considered snooze-producers for all but a small group of aficionados, partly because they involve large, non-intuitive spreadsheets and tables. For something so important to democratically-elected governments, that is a shame. Fortunately, it is possible to create visual representations of voting methods, revealing where methods agree, and where they fall into voting paradoxes. Ka-Ping Yee has created multicolored graphs covering Plurality, Approval, Borda, Condorcet, and IRV. While the flaws in Plurality are readily apparent, what is even more fascinating is the failure of IRV in certain elections.

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