Programmer, college student, android enthusiast.
105 stories
·
2 followers

Voting Software

16 Comments and 48 Shares
There are lots of very smart people doing fascinating work on cryptographic voting protocols. We should be funding and encouraging them, and doing all our elections with paper ballots until everyone currently working in that field has retired.
Read the whole story
popular
43 days ago
reply
infogulch
45 days ago
reply
Missouri
Share this story
Delete
14 public comments
siskamartin
25 days ago
reply
uff
caffeinatedhominid
39 days ago
reply
Yep.
tante
43 days ago
reply
xkcd on voting software is spot-on
Oldenburg/Germany
wmorrell
43 days ago
reply
Hazmat suit, too. Just to be safe.
rjstegbauer
44 days ago
reply
Amen!! Paper... paper... paper. It's simple. It's trivial to recount. Everyone already knows how to use it. It's cheap. It's verifiable. Just... use... paper.
ianso
44 days ago
reply
Yes!
Brussels
ChrisDL
44 days ago
reply
accurate.
New York
reconbot
45 days ago
reply
Legitimately share this comic with anyone who represents you in government.
New York City
cheerfulscreech
45 days ago
reply
Truth.
jth
45 days ago
reply
XKCD Nails Secure Electronic Voting.
Saint Paul, MN, USA
skorgu
45 days ago
reply
100% accurate.
jsled
45 days ago
reply
endorsed; co-signed; it. me. &c.

(alt text: «There are lots of very smart people doing fascinating work on cryptographic voting protocols. We should be funding and encouraging them, and doing all our elections with paper ballots until everyone currently working in that field has retired.»)
South Burlington, Vermont
alt_text_bot
45 days ago
reply
There are lots of very smart people doing fascinating work on cryptographic voting protocols. We should be funding and encouraging them, and doing all our elections with paper ballots until everyone currently working in that field has retired.
alt_text_at_your_service
45 days ago
reply
There are lots of very smart people doing fascinating work on cryptographic voting protocols. We should be funding and encouraging them, and doing all our elections with paper ballots until everyone currently working in that field has retired.
srsly
45 days ago
Seconding this policy ^^

Peer Review

4 Comments and 21 Shares
Your manuscript "Don't Pay $25 to Access Any of the Articles in this Journal: A Review of Preprint Repositories and Author Willingness to Email PDF Copies for Free" has also been rejected, but nice try.
Read the whole story
infogulch
57 days ago
reply
Missouri
popular
57 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete
4 public comments
kellyu
53 days ago
reply
I need to find the black power salute emoji.
Zaphod717
53 days ago
reply
Relevant to my interests...
The Belly of the Beast
alt_text_bot
57 days ago
reply
Your manuscript "Don't Pay $25 to Access Any of the Articles in this Journal: A Review of Preprint Repositories and Author Willingness to Email PDF Copies for Free" has also been rejected, but nice try.
alt_text_at_your_service
57 days ago
reply
Your manuscript "Don't Pay $25 to Access Any of the Articles in this Journal: A Review of Preprint Repositories and Author Willingness to Email PDF Copies for Free" has also been rejected, but nice try.

Morning News

4 Comments and 12 Shares
Support your local paper, unless it's just been bought by some sinister hedge fund or something, which it probably has.
Read the whole story
infogulch
124 days ago
reply
Independent news agencies are a rare gem these days.
Missouri
popular
122 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete
3 public comments
Covarr
124 days ago
reply
I work for a small town newspaper. I never cease to be amazed at how interested the locals here are in utility district meetings and groundwater rights.
Moses Lake, WA
alt_text_bot
124 days ago
reply
Support your local paper, unless it's just been bought by some sinister hedge fund or something, which it probably has.
jepler
124 days ago
ouch
alt_text_at_your_service
124 days ago
reply
Support your local paper, unless it's just been bought by some sinister hedge fund or something, which it probably has.

Nightmare Email Feature

6 Comments and 20 Shares
"...just got back and didn't see your message until just now. Sorry! -- TIME THIS MESSAGE SAT HALF-FINISHED IN DRAFTS FOLDER: 3 days, 2 hours, 45 minutes."
Read the whole story
popular
311 days ago
reply
infogulch
313 days ago
reply
Missouri
Share this story
Delete
5 public comments
emdeesee
310 days ago
reply
Also here's a typo you didn't notice before you pressed "Send".
📌 Lincoln, NE ❤️️ Sherman, TX
MaryEllenCG
310 days ago
reply
NOOOO
Greater Bostonia
Technicalleigh
311 days ago
reply
Oh hey. 47 minutes is FAST.
SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
Covarr
313 days ago
reply
A full edit history would show all sixteen ways I rewrote each individual sentence because I was trying to figure out the best way to word it, what details to include or omit, etc. And a couple of structural rewrites.
Moses Lake, WA
alt_text_bot
313 days ago
reply
"...just got back and didn't see your message until just now. Sorry! -- TIME THIS MESSAGE SAT HALF-FINISHED IN DRAFTS FOLDER: 3 days, 2 hours, 45 minutes."

Ringer Volume/Media Volume

9 Comments and 17 Shares
Our new video ad campaign has our product's name shouted in the first 500 milliseconds, so we can reach the people in adjacent rooms while the viewer is still turning down the volume.
Read the whole story
infogulch
386 days ago
reply
Missouri
Share this story
Delete
8 public comments
CaffieneKitty
385 days ago
reply
I have the opposite. I turn my ringer to max and all my morning alarms get turned down to whisper. :-P
rtreborb
385 days ago
reply
The frustration is real
llucax
386 days ago
reply
For UX people out there...
Berlin
ChrisDL
386 days ago
reply
this is me starting twitch while a human being sleeps next to me, trying not to wake her.
New York
mooglemoogle
386 days ago
reply
...Moviefone! If you know the name of the movie you'd like to see....
Virginia
francisga
386 days ago
reply
Yes, happens to me all the time.
Lafayette, LA, USA
alt_text_bot
386 days ago
reply
Our new video ad campaign has our product's name shouted in the first 500 milliseconds, so we can reach the people in adjacent rooms while the viewer is still turning down the volume.
darastar
386 days ago
reply
IT ME!

The Social Justice Warriors are right

1 Comment and 16 Shares

As you might know, I haven’t been exactly the world’s most consistent fan of the Social Justice movement, nor has it been the most consistent fan of me.

I cringe when I read about yet another conservative college lecture shut down by mob violence; or student protesters demanding the firing of a professor for trying gently to argue and reason with them; or an editor forced from his position for writing a (progressive) defense of “cultural appropriation”—a practice that I take to have been ubiquitous for all of recorded history, and without which there wouldn’t be any culture at all.  I cringe not only because I know that I was in the crosshairs once before and could easily be again, but also because, it seems to me, the Social Justice scalp-hunters are so astoundingly oblivious to the misdirection of their energies, to the power of their message for losing elections and neutering the progressive cause, to the massive gift their every absurdity provides to the world’s Fox Newses and Breitbarts and Trumps.

Yet there’s at least one issue where it seems to me that the Social Justice Warriors are 100% right, and their opponents 100% wrong. This is the moral imperative to take down every monument to Confederate “war heroes,” and to rename every street and school and college named after individuals whose primary contribution to the world was to defend chattel slavery.  As a now-Southerner, I have a greater personal stake here than I did before: UT Austin just recently removed its statue of Jefferson Davis, while keeping up its statue of Robert E. Lee.  My kids will likely attend what until very recently was called Robert E. Lee Elementary—this summer renamed Russell Lee Elementary.  (My suggestion, that the school be called T. D. Lee Parity Violation Elementary, was sadly never considered.)

So I was gratified that last week, New Orleans finally took down its monuments to slavers.  Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s speech, setting out the reasons for the removal, is worth reading.

I used to have little patience for “merely symbolic” issues: would that offensive statues and flags were the worst problems!  But it now seems to me that the fight over Confederate symbols is just a thinly-veiled proxy for the biggest moral question that’s faced the United States through its history, and also the most urgent question facing it in 2017.  Namely: Did the Union actually win the Civil War? Were the anti-Enlightenment forces—the slavers, the worshippers of blood and land and race and hierarchy—truly defeated? Do those forces acknowledge the finality and the rightness of their defeat?

For those who say that, sure, slavery was bad and all, but we need to keep statues to slavers up so as not to “erase history,” we need only change the example. Would we similarly defend statues of Hitler, Himmler, and Goebbels, looming over Berlin in heroic poses?  Yes, let Germans reflect somberly and often on this aspect of their heritage—but not by hoisting a swastika over City Hall.

For those who say the Civil War wasn’t “really” about slavery, I reply: this is the canonical example of a “Mount Stupid” belief, the sort of thing you can say only if you’ve learned enough to be wrong but not enough to be unwrong.  In 1861, the Confederate ringleaders themselves loudly proclaimed to future generations that, indeed, their desire to preserve slavery was their overriding reason to secede. Here’s CSA Vice-President Alexander Stephens, in his famous Cornerstone Speech:

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.

Here’s Texas’ Declaration of Secession:

We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable. That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states.

It was only when defeat looked inevitable that the slavers started changing their story, claiming that their real grievance was never about slavery per se, but only “states’ rights” (states’ right to do what, exactly?). So again, why should take the slavers’ rationalizations any more seriously than we take the postwar epiphanies of jailed Nazis that actually, they’d never felt any personal animus toward Jews, that the Final Solution was just the world’s biggest bureaucratic mishap?  Of course there’s a difference: when the Allies occupied Germany, they insisted on thorough de-Nazification.  They didn’t suffer streets to be named after Hitler. And today, incredibly, fascism and white nationalism are greater threats here in the US than they are in Germany.  One reads about the historic irony of some American Jews, who are eligible for German citizenship because of grandparents expelled from there, now seeking to move there because they’re terrified about Trump.

By contrast, after a brief Reconstruction, the United States lost its will to continue de-Confederatizing the South.  The leaders were left free to write book after book whitewashing their cause, even to hold political office again.  And probably not by coincidence, we then got nearly a hundred years of Jim Crow—and still today, a half-century after the civil rights movement, southern governors and legislatures that do everything in their power to disenfranchise black voters.

For those who ask: but wasn’t Robert E. Lee a great general who was admired by millions? Didn’t he fight bravely for a cause he believed in?  Maybe it’s just me, but I’m allergic to granting undue respect to history’s villains just because they managed to amass power and get others to go along with them.  I remember reading once in some magazine that, yes, Genghis Khan might have raped thousands and murdered millions, but since DNA tests suggest that ~1% of humanity is now descended from him, we should also celebrate Khan’s positive contribution to “peopling the world.” Likewise, Hegel and Marx and Freud and Heidegger might have been wrong in nearly everything they said, sometimes with horrific consequences, but their ideas still need to be studied reverently, because of the number of other intellectuals who took them seriously.  As I reject those special pleas, so I reject the analogous ones for Jefferson Davis, Alexander Stephens, and Robert E. Lee, who as far as I can tell, should all (along with the rest of the Confederate leadership) have been sentenced for treason.

This has nothing to do with judging the past by standards of the present. By all means, build statues to Washington and Jefferson even though they held slaves, to Lincoln even though he called blacks inferior even while he freed them, to Churchill even though he fought the independence of India.  But don’t look for moral complexity where there isn’t any.  Don’t celebrate people who were terrible even for their own time, whose public life was devoted entirely to what we now know to be evil.

And if, after the last Confederate general comes down, the public spaces are too empty, fill them with monuments to Alan Turing, Marian Rejewski, Bertrand Russell, Hypatia of Alexandria, Emmy Noether, Lise Meitner, Mark Twain, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Frederick Douglass, Vasili Arkhipov, Stanislav Petrov, Raoul Wallenberg, even the inventors of saltwater taffy or Gatorade or the intermittent windshield wiper.  There are, I think, enough people who added value to the world to fill every city square and street sign.

Read the whole story
infogulch
479 days ago
reply
Missouri
popular
480 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
skorgu
480 days ago
reply
GOP Delenda Est.
Next Page of Stories