01001000 01100001 01101110 01110011 01100101 01101100 + 01000111 01110010 01100101 01110100 01100101 01101100

According to my sources, the above spells “Hansel + Gretel” in binary (base-2) code. This article is going to take a more technological slant and show how local political climates have welcomed easy-to-hack voting machines that may loose Texas’ democracy in the same way Hansel and Gretel lost their bread-crumb path.

In the wake of Florida’s recount mess, there has been a great deal of push to move the ballot from paper to electronics so that votes can be counted with ease and speed. The problem with the electronic solution is that it simply leaves a trail of 1s (ons) and 0s (offs) that can be picked up by a malicious hacker and be more readily lost than any paper trail, just as Hansel and Gretel’s bread-crumb scheme got them miserably lost. I am not against technology; in fact, I intend to pursue a career in electrical engineering. However, when technology has its limits, we must recognize them and not jeopardize the political future of this great state.

Multiple studies from Princeton University, the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), and independent reports commissioned by states such as Maryland, Ohio, and California have concluded that electronic voting machine, particularly the popular Diebold machines, can be hacked by a determined team. These are high-quality studies that have been performed by experts and, to varying degrees, they show the risk in entrusting any vote solely to a pattern of 1s and 0s.

The Princeton study, probably the most independent yet fairly recent study, specifically focused on one of Diebold’s voting machines. It found multiple ways in which determined hackers could install malicious software on the machine that could completely alter the outcome of the election.

The very ironic thing about Diebold’s response to this study is that they nowhere claim that their new systems remove the problems these researchers found with the old ones, only that the machines are new, have the most advanced data encryption techniques, and that the old ones will not be used in another election. As explained by Professor Edward W. Felten, who lead Princeton’s research team: “Diebold made the same kinds of claims about this [older] version — claims that turned out to be wrong — that they are now making about their more recent versions.”

More than just three crazy computer scientists from Princeton are complaining. I found at least five other quality studies [*] which came to very similar conclusions; an electronic voting machine could be hacked by determined political activists. One such study from an independent corporation commissioned by the State of Maryland stated:

“This Risk Assessment has identified several high-risk vulnerabilities… If these vulnerabilities are exploited, significant impact could occur on the accuracy, integrity, and availability of election results.”


Because of the inherent hack-ability of a trail of 1s and 0s, it is important that Texas elections leave a paper trail; a trail that can be verified. A study from RABA, who was also commissioned by Maryland, concludes:

“Ultimately we feel there will be a need for paper receipts…” (p 3)

This is the solution I propose. Allow votes to be cast electronically, but make sure that the people can verify those votes with some kind of paper receipt that voters get to look at and personally verify.

Technology is a good thing in Texas politics, but we must not get so caught up in it that we loose our trail, just as Hansel and Gretel supposedly did.

*Quotes from, citations of, and bios for these studies will be posted later for those who are interested. [edit: see my comment on this post]

Global Warming: at Best a Hypothesis

ABC’s 20/20 has an excellent article on global warming that I found a while ago and was astounded by its depth.

John Stossel was told by Mr. Al Gore that “debate is over” when it comes to Global Warming. The former vice president wouldn’t even give the him an interview to explain why. Is Gore scared that his “science” might become unraveled if he was interviewed by a conservative commentator? Well, the debate most certainly is not over. Michael Savage has whole page on his website devoted to debunking the global warming myth.

Consensus is one thing that is not present in the Global Warming debate. Paul Reiter of the Pasteur Institute and John Christy who won NASA’s Medal for Exceptional Achievement were part of drafting a report from the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change. They quit after their objections were not respected. Stossel sums it up nicely:

In all the confusion surrounding the global warming debate, one thing is clear: Global warming activists don’t welcome the skepticism.

Here’s some skepticism for you. John Coleman, the original founder of the Weather Channel, calls global warming “the greatest scam in history.” as reported by ICECAP.

quote:

I have read dozens of scientific papers. I have talked with numerous scientists. I have studied. I have thought about it. I know I am correct. There is no run away climate change. The impact of humans on climate is not catastrophic. Our planet is not in peril. I am incensed by the incredible media glamour, the politically correct silliness and rude dismissal of counter arguments by the high priest of Global Warming.
In time, a decade or two, the outrageous scam will be obvious.

Not good enough? You don’t think a weatherman compares to a noble peace prize winner? Well, do you believe NASA? Al Gore’s moans that the melting of polar icecaps may raise sea levels are not all unique to global warming. According to Professor James Morison of the University of Washington’s Polar Science Center Applied Physics Laboratory:

“Our study confirms many changes seen in upper Arctic Ocean circulation in the 1990s were mostly decadal in nature, rather than trends caused by global warming,”

Global Warming might be a serious problem, it might not. However, government action should not be dictated by unconfirmed hypothesis. As long as the evidence for the urgency of the warming citation remains shrouded in uncertainty by findings such as those above, (and many more) the government should leave the free market… free!

Canyon making in the blink of an eye!

Evidence pointing toward the “young earth” theory grows every day. I find this fascinating, and a recent article brought it to my attention.

According to evolutionary scientists who are dependent upon the “old earth” theory, geological formations such as the Grand Canyon could never have happened over less than thousands, or millions of years. However, the fact is: that they could.

What was perhaps one of the first major pieces of evidence for this possibility was at the Mount St. Hellens’ eruption, where geological formations thought to have taken thousands of years to form-such as many “varves,” or layers of sediments-were formed right before the eyes of awestruck geologists. [1] In recent times, there is even more geological proof-positive that the earth could be just as old, or rather young, as the Bible says it is.

I am writing this article because of an exiguous event that happened right here in the state of Texas. Beginning yesterday, the public will be able to see it for themselves. As recorded by the Associated Press and published by my local newspaper, a 2002 flood caused a canyon to literally be “formed overnight by flooding” in Canyon Lake, here in the great state of Texas. It formed this beautiful, massive structure of nature:
And its happened before:

“The sudden exposure of such canyons is rare but not unprecedented. Flooding in Iowa in 1993 similarly opened a limestone gorge behind a spillway at Corvalville Lake north of Iowa City, but Devonian Fossil Gorge is narrower and shallower than Canyon Lake Gorge.”[2]

With geological evidence continually pointing out that we might want to rethink the age of various significant geological formations, and even of the earth, experts still don’t want to admit they might be wrong. A smaller version of the article from my local TV news service, KXAN says this:

“The formation of canyons usually takes thousands or even millions of years.”[3]

I really think its nonsense to continue to governmentally endorse the old-earth theory in public schools, even if the experts insist on making absolute statements like:

“It took water around 5 million to 6 million years to carve the crevasse [of the Grand Canyon] that plunges 6,000 feet at its deepest point and stretches 15 miles at its widest.”[2]

But, then again, I’m not an expert. But Dr. Tas Walker is. Check out what he has to say.[1]

Resources

[1] Tas Walker. “Geology and the young earth” Creation (September 1999): 21(4). p 16–20. http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v21/i4/geology.asp

[2] Michelle Roberts, AP. “Canyon formed overnight by flooding opens to public” Austin American Statesman (October 5 2007). http://www.statesman.com/search/content/gen/ap/TX_New_Canyon.html

[3] Associated Press. “Canyon formed overnight by flooding opens to public” KXAN.com (October 5, 2007). http://www.kxan.com/Global/story.asp?S=7175389

Gorge Preservation Society. “Canyon Lake Gorge” (2007) http://www.canyongorge.org/