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Statistical Tools For Detecting Electoral Fraud 215

RockDoctor writes "A recent paper published in PNAS describes statistical techniques for clearly displaying the presence of two types of electoral fraud (PDF) — 'incremental fraud' (stuffing of ballot boxes containing genuine votes with ballots for the winning party) and 'extreme fraud' (reporting completely contrived numbers, typically 100% turnout for a vote-counting region, with 100% voting for the winning party). While the techniques would require skill with statistical software to apply in real time, the graphs produced in the paper provide tools for the interested non-statistician to monitor an election 'live.' Examples are discussed with both 'normal' elections, fraud by the techniques mentioned, and cases of genuine voter inhomogeneity. Other types of fraud, such as gerrymandering and inhibiting the registration of minority voters, are not considered."
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Iran's News Agency Picks Up Onion Story 118

J053 writes "FARS, the Iranian news agency, ran a story about a Gallup poll which showed that 'the overwhelming majority of rural white Americans said they would rather vote for Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than U.S. president Barack Obama.' '"I like him better," said West Virginia resident Dale Swiderski, who, along with 77 percent of rural Caucasian voters, confirmed he would much rather go to a baseball game or have a beer with Ahmadinejad.' Only problem was, it was a story from The Onion. Not only that, they took credit for it! The Onion responded by stating that 'Fars is a subsidiary and has been our Middle Eastern bureau since the mid 1980s.'"

Google Gets Into Politics With Civic Info API 58

mikejuk writes "The new Google Civic Information API can be used to look up comprehensive voting information for particular addresses in the U.S. such as the polling place, early vote sites, contests, and local election official contact information. At the moment the API is limited to voting information for elections in the U.S., but Google plans to expand the support to cover other countries and include other types of civic information. Google plans to use the API to power their own election tools, including an embeddable app anyone can use on their site."

Torvalds Uses Profanity To Lambaste Romney Remarks 1223

netbuzz writes "Last night Linux creator Linus Torvalds took to his Google+ page and called Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney 'a f***ing moron.' Torvalds' stated reason? Romney's much-ridiculed suggestion that air passengers would be safer in emergencies if aircraft windows could be opened (a suggestion which some, including, have taken as a joke). Torvalds also recently called Mormonism, Romney's religion, 'bats**t crazy.' Is this just Linus being Linus? Or does such outspokenness on non-technical matters reflect poorly on the Linux community that Torvalds leads?"

DNC Salute to Vets Featured Backdrop Of Russian Warships 218

An anonymous reader writes "Our politicians, and their henchmen, at their finest! In an apparent error, the Democratic National Convention's primary backdrop for its salute to veterans, by a 4-star admiral, featured a composite warship backdrop, in parade review, as a sign of U.S. strength and force projection; unfortunately, all of the naval ships in the image were Russian warships."

Google Brazil Exec "Detained" For Refusing YouTube Takedown Order 131

h00manist writes that, as promised, "The police executed an order to detain Google's top executive in Brazil (Original in Portuguese), Fábio José Silva Coelho. Google refused an order to remove a YouTube video which accused a mayoral candidate of several crimes. Police say he will be released today; Brazilian law for the case allows for a one-year max sentence. Streisand Effect, anyone?"
The Military

Stanford-NYU Report: Drone Attacks Illegal, Counterproductive 362

trbdavies writes "In 'Living Under Drones,' investigators from Stanford and NYU Law Schools report on interviews with 130 people in Pakistan about U.S.-led drone attacks there, including 69 survivors and family members of victims. The report affirms Bureau of Investigative Journalism numbers that count '474 to 884 civilian deaths since 2004, including 176 children' while 'only about 2% of drone casualties are top militant leaders.' It also argues that the attacks violate international law and are counterproductive, stating: 'Evidence suggests that US strikes have facilitated recruitment to violent non-state armed groups, and motivated further violent attacks One major study shows that 74% of Pakistanis now consider the U.S. an enemy.'"

Light Bulb Ban Produces Hoarding In EU, FUD In U.S. 1080

Lucas123 writes "The very thought of losing that pear-shaped giver of warm, yellow light drove Europeans to hoard Edison's invention [Note: Or possibly Joseph Swan's invention; HT to eldavojohn.] as the EU's Sept. 1 ban on incandescent light bulbs approached. China's ban on incandescent lamps starts Oct. 1. And, in the U.S., the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 effectively began banning the 100W bulb this year and will ban the most popular bulbs — the 75W, 60W and 40W screw-in incandescent bulbs --over the next two years. The end standard requires bulbs to use 65% less energy by 2020. But Republicans in Congress continue to fight the ban by hamstringing the energy efficiency standards through appropriations legislation, cutting off funds for the enforcement of the light bulb ban."

Canadian Minister Mined Data To Target Email To Gay Voters 145

An anonymous reader writes "Has Immigration Minister Jason Kenney been emailing you? Maybe it's because you're gay. The minister sent out an email on Sept 24 lauding the government's efforts to protect and promote queer rights abroad. It highlights the 'emphasis . . . on gay and lesbian refugee protection, which is without precedent in Canada's immigration history.' The Ottawa Citizen's Glen McGregor broke the story, complete with reaction over the 'creepy' letter. For many who received an email from Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney about gay refugees on Friday, the message raised one important question: How did he know I'm gay? The Conservatives have targeted written messages at minority communities in the past, most notably using direct mail lists to send out greetings to Jewish voters on religious holidays. Some recipients were alarmed by the prospect of the government assembling lists based on ethnicity or religious beliefs. Surely creating such a list will become easier when you are forced to use your real identities on social sites."

Woz Applying For Australian Citizenship Because of the NBN 385

An anonymous reader writes "It's a well known fact that Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is a fan of Australia and now we know why. He supports a national broadband network — a scheme being rolled out by the Australian government to provide fibre 'for everyone' — so much he's applying for citizenship, the Australian Financial Review reports. You can be assured that he's not giving up his American citizenship though, he told Brisbane radio." And for U.S. citizens: "Despite his status as a technology icon, Mr Wozniak said he was not connected to a broadband service in his home in California, classing the options available to him as a 'monopoly.' 'There’s only one set of wires to be on and I’m not going to pull strings to get them to do something special for me,' he said .... 'I've sat with our FCC commissioner and told him that story in his office, but it’s not going to happen. We just don’t have the political idea to bring broadband to all the people who are 1 kilometer too far away.'"

Russian Opposition Figure Thinks Anti-Putin Movement Has Faltered 144

New submitter FilatovEV writes "Interview with Russian liberal opposition politician Vladimir Milov taken by Los Angeles Times reveals a different side of the Western narrative about Russia." From the article: "All they have for a plan is a very simple formula: Let's lead a million people out into the streets, and that will scare the hell out of Putin. He will run away, and we will grab power. But even if they get a sufficient number of people out in the street, they don't know what to do next. All they can do is chant their old anti-Putin incantations instead of offering a program of action. "

Romney-Ryan Release Space Policy Paper 378

RocketAcademy writes "The Romney-Ryan campaign has released a white paper on space policy, which observers find to be long on criticisms of the Obama Administration but short on specific recommendations. The policy promises 'a robust role for commercial space,' but it's clearly a supporting role: 'NASA will set the goals and lead the way in human space exploration.' When it comes to space, both parties put government ahead of private enterprise. Some see a parallel with the policies which are driving space companies out of California. Newt Gingrich, one of the few politicians who thinks seriously about space, says the policy is a step in the right direction but not enough."

Pakistan's PM Demands International Blasphemy Laws From UN 957

eldavojohn writes "An article published in Pakistan's Daily Times contains several quotes from Pakistan's Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf indicating his intent to push for international blasphemy laws in both the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Co-operation (57 countries). These comments came shortly after Pakistan's 'Day of Love for the Prophet' turned into riots that left 19 people dead and, of course, this all follows the extended trailers of 'Innocence of Muslims' being translated. Questionable circumstances surround who is prosecuted under these 'blasphemy laws' and what kind of fear they instill in Pakistan's minorities. The UN's Human Rights Charter mentions protection from 'religious intolerance' but also in the same sentence 'freedom of opinion and expression.'"

The Swiss Pirate Party Has Its First Mayor 110

bs0d3 writes "Alex Arnold from the Pirate Party Switzerland has been elected mayor of Eichberg. This is the first mayoral win for the pirates in Switzerland, and hopefully just the begining of things to come. Thomas Bruderer, president of the Pirate Party Switzerland, is delighted: 'This result is for our young party is an important milestone. To win a majority vote shows that our members are not just a marginal phenomenon; but are in the midst of society.'"

US House STEM Visa Bill Fails 133

dcblogs writes "A Republican-led effort to issue up to 55,000 STEM visas a year to students who earn advanced degrees at U.S. universities was defeated in a House vote. It needed a two-thirds vote, or about 290 ayes, for approval. Its supporters came up short, 257 to 158. Both parties support green cards for science, technology, engineering and math advanced degree grads, but can't agree on legislation. U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who has introduced his own STEM bill, urged House leaders to seek new negotiations: 'A bipartisan compromise can easily be ready for the lame duck session. There is too broad a consensus in favor of this policy to settle for gridlock.'"