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Submission + - State of California sues e-voting vendor (

Gustoman writes: Does relocating two circuit boards, rerouting several internal cables and changing some mounting bracket supports mean an e-voting device must be recertified to meet state e-voting requirements? California Secretary of State Debra Bowen says yes. E-voting machine vendor Election Systems & Software Inc. (ES&S), which has been sued by Bowen's office over those changes, says no. In an 18-page lawsuit filed Monday by the California secretary of state's office against Omaha-based ES&S, Bowen, who oversees elections for the state, alleges that the company sold 972 noncertified ballot-marking devices to five counties last year after making internal changes that were not recertified by the state. The issue arose last July, when Bowen learned that internal modifications had been made to the original AutoMark A100 devices, which were renamed as AutoMark A200 models and sold to the counties without being recertified. Fourteen counties in the state use ES&S devices. "ES&S ignored the law over and over and over again, and it got caught," Bowen said in a statement (download PDF). "California law is very clear on this issue. I am not going to stand on the sidelines and watch a voting system vendor come into this state, ignore the laws and make millions of dollars from California's taxpayers in the process." The lawsuit seeks US$9.72 million in penalties for selling the 972 machines, and nearly $5 million to reimburse the counties that bought the non-certified hardware. Colusa County bought 20 machines, Marin County bought 130, Merced County bought 104, San Francisco County bought 558, and Solano County bought 160.

Vote To Eliminate Leap Seconds 531

Mortimer.CA writes "As discussed on Slashdot previously, there is a proposal to remove leap seconds from UTC (nee 'Greenwich' time). It will be put to a vote to ITU member states during 2008, and if 70% agree, the leap second will be eliminated by 2013. There is some debate as to whether this change is a good or bad idea. The proposal calls for a 'leap-hour' in about 600 years, which nobody seems to believe is a good idea. One philosophical point opponents make is that the 'official' time on Earth should match the time of the sun and heavens."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - 10 years in prison for overcharging a customer...

DementedChihuahua writes: CNN was running this story. Two inmates escaped from prison in Montana. One of them had been sentenced to 10 years in prison for overcharging David Letterman for a painting job done at Mr. Letterman's ranch. In a CNN staff writer's words: "Frank was sentenced to 10 years in prison for overcharging the talk show host." He had also been implicated in a kidnap plot but still pretty stiff punishment for the crime he was convicted of unless the job cost several million or so! Goes to show you that being rich is the best defense.

Submission + - Conflict Diamond Video Game Educates Consumers

DanRoy writes: "The free video game Conflict Diamond explores the financial pressures on diamond merchants influencing them to sell diamonds that may be financing violence, as in some parts of Africa. It also explores consumer attitudes toward synthetic diamonds. This experimental game for social change was created at MIT for the Boston Game Jam."

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PL/I -- "the fatal disease" -- belongs more to the problem set than to the solution set. -- Edsger W. Dijkstra, SIGPLAN Notices, Volume 17, Number 5