dangerousmeta > Archives

:: sun nov 12 00 ::
well, you can always become an ordained minister of the universal life church ...

or, the first international church of the web ...

and, simply 'ordination by mail' ...

footnote in history, 'mail order religion'.

nytimes fashion: the new look is from totalitarian regimes ... ?

nytimes: the guitar, a humble instrument that conquered the world.

nytimes: art of the guitar.

the republicans have filed suit in new mexico, and have state police impounding ballots. albuquerque is strongly republican; santa fe, the capitol, is strongly liberal democratic/green. don't know where they'll finally be tallied, but this is a needlessly strong response to a non-existent threat. this is not going to play well anywhere but in albuquerque ...

newscientist: solving the riemann hypothesis.

the globe and mail: saving winnie.

the observer: devoured by 'the sound of music'.

dallas morning news: previously unknown mary cassatt paintings surface.

baltimore sun: john updike. discussing the state of fiction today.

ibm developerworks tutorial: rebol scripting basics. requires registration.

o'reilly: introduction to webmin, part two.

webreview: installing a linux web server. 'course you could just buy a qube ...

happily engaged in house-planning. we've been raiding the dumpsters over at kinko's for boxes (save that $$), going to paint stores to choose colors, deciding which areas of the house to personalize first, moaning over the thought of having to move our heavier furniture ... you get the idea.

i'm happy to see the media beginning to call some of the political pundits on some of their intentional misdirections. they're still lobbing softballs, but it's a bit better than letting the partisans rant unabated. i love the concept that hand counts = 'mischief'. if you've ever used punch-paper tape or punchcard machines, you *know* the percentage of error. a millimeter off on a single punchhole, and your entire program was rejected, or worse, misfed and bombed. and these were *cut* by machine, as well! you not only had to trace your programming integrity, but the physical integrity of the punchcards. i say again, in a digital age, using punch paper ballots is medieval, totally boggling when it's in an affluent state like florida.

one other comment, while i'm thinking of it, about hand counting and 'mischief'. some will consider this naive, but i believe in the innate integrity of people. if we must be constantly suspicious of our fellow man, then the american experiment is a failure. case in point: the 'behind the curtain' project. it could have been cast as a 'partisan', 'userland vs. blogger vs. pitas' sort of concept. in fact, i feared that at the outset. but in rephrasing the signup page, andrea and i tried to make it clear that the project was for everyone. we had a phenomenal response, across all brands of weblog. ultimately, nobody played the partisan. when you entrust an average individual with an official duty, it is a very, very small percentage of people who will try to abuse that trust. i trust humans more than i trust machines in this particular case. you have humans punching imprecise holes in paper cards, being read by machines that are set to specific tolerances. does noone see the conflict here?

last thing. folks have been poo-pooing individuals' confusion over the ballot layouts. going to vote is a serious thing; as one of our fundamental rights, it is taken with a certain solemnity. in every voting place i've ever been, there is little banter between voters ... the respect for differing opinions in the polling place is sacrosanct. that being said, the pressure is somewhat high. each time i go to vote, there's a moment of panic looking at that broad layout of choices, levers, pushbuttons. this time, in new mexico, with a completely new computerized voting system in front of me, i was totally confused. i stepped out, and asked a clerk to let me know how the blasted thing worked. the only reason i did that was because the place was empty; i tend to be a bit shy in public venues. if it had been crowded, i probably would have stayed silent, pushed the button for al gore and whatever else i could understand, and left. as it turned out, i learned quite a bit and was able to take my time and vote on all issues with confidence. joking about other voters not being able to fill out votes is ignoring basic human nature, imho. there may be many reasons why those ballots were screwed up; user interface is just one. personally, i will not condemn the confusion of others.

[i guess we need ETS in princeton (the folks who administer the SAT) to certify our ballot and counting systems ... they're marginally more successful with paper scoring ... (grin).]