Monthly Archives: February 2004


Just a few links and excerpts I’ve come across lately.

Use absentee voting ballots so there will be a paper trail:

Michaan said, “I consider this to be the greatest threat to our democracy of anything we have ever faced in this country. There is so much possibility of fraud that there has to be a voting system that is verifiable with paper trails. Absent that we’re totally at the mercy of whoever controls this equipment.”

I have always thought it interesting that Diebold, known mostly for ATMs, has said that it would be too much trouble to have voting machines give voting receipts or some physical record of the vote when ATMs have no problem giving you a paper record of every transaction.

Quarantining dissent: How the Secret Service protects Bush from free speech:

When Bush went to the Pittsburgh area on Labor Day 2002, 65-year-old retired steel worker Bill Neel was there to greet him with a sign proclaiming, “The Bush family must surely love the poor, they made so many of us.” The local police, at the Secret Service’s behest, set up a “designated free-speech zone” on a baseball field surrounded by a chain-link fence a third of a mile from the location of Bush’s speech.

Similar suppressions have occurred during Bush visits to Florida. A recent St. Petersburg Times editorial noted, “At a Bush rally at Legends Field in 2001, three demonstrators — two of whom were grandmothers — were arrested for holding up small handwritten protest signs outside the designated zone. And last year, seven protesters were arrested when Bush came to a rally at the USF Sun Dome. They had refused to be cordoned off into a protest zone hundreds of yards from the entrance to the Dome.”

When the police attack sparked a geyser of media criticism, Mike van Winkle, the spokesman for the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center told the Oakland Tribune, “You can make an easy kind of a link that, if you have a protest group protesting a war where the cause that’s being fought against is international terrorism, you might have terrorism at that protest. You can almost argue that a protest against that is a terrorist act.”

Why does this secure CIA form for reporting terriosts use a Netscape favicon? I suppose I would be more scared if it was a Microsoft favicon. Maybe they should read my favicon tutorial.

The Myth of SUV Safety:

In a thirty-five-m.p.h. crash test, for instance, the driver of a Cadillac Escalade–the G.M. counterpart to the Lincoln Navigator–has a sixteen-per-cent chance of a life-threatening head injury, a twenty-per-cent chance of a life-threatening chest injury, and a thirty-five-per-cent chance of a leg injury. The same numbers in a Ford Windstar minivan–a vehicle engineered from the ground up, as opposed to simply being bolted onto a pickup-truck frame–are, respectively, two per cent, four per cent, and one per cent.

Matthew Thomas: Why I use WordPress:

WordPress is licensed under the GNU General Public License. I generally prefer GPLed software, because over a period of decades, it maximizes the rights of those who use it. (In the short run things may be different, but I’m a long-run sort of person.)

Right on. Plus all the cool Matts are doing it.

Grants for captioning? How quaint:

The U.S. Department of Education has apparently decided that certain programming will receive sponsorship for captioning and certain other programming will not.

Joe is also running WordPress. He uses more lists than anyone I know. I wasn’t sure if Joe, a militant hand-coder, would appreciate a fully dynamic content management system, but he has taken to it swimmingly.

Curious QRIO

QRIO, our new robot overlords friends. Hat tip: Robert. Some videos in Windows Media format:

I’m really at a loss for words.

QRIO knows your face. It’s equipped with a camera and the ability to analyze the images it sees. It detects faces and identifies who they are. It can even learn the faces of people it just met. And it responds to specific people individually, adding to the fun.

QRIO is equipped with wireless networking equipment, and can connect to your home wireless network out of the box. There might even come a day when it serves as a guide between people and information technology.

We made QRIO as quiet as possible when it moves to help it fit in pleasantly in a home. Its motors and gears turn when it walks or moves, but the vibration-resistant frame dampens the noise. You’ll be amazed to see it move so silently.