Friday, December 16, 2005

The Perfect Job

I should be studying dental anatomy but instead, I’m sitting at my desk, surfing the web. All my handouts are strewn all over the table. My roommate comes in.

Hey, what you doing?

Not studying dental anatomy?

What's that you're looking at?

D: You heard about the whole voter-fraud/Diebold thing?


D: Well, so Diebold makes ATM machines, and a couple years back, they decide that they're going to make voting machines, the ones that don't leave a paper trail. Now, it just so happens that the CEO is a total Republican, and a couple years back, he made the promise that he'd "deliver Ohio to George Bush." And now Diebold is in lots of financial trouble, the CEO is resigning, their stock price is falling...

Anyway, that was a tangent, a side note. So now Diebold sold a bunch of their voting machines nationwide, and last election, there was something really weird going on in Ohio. And before that election, there was all this weirdness going on in Florida with Broward County, Volusia County, and all that?

A: There were a lot of weird things going on with that election.

D: Yeah. Well, ever since 2000 there's this nonprofit group called BlackBoxVoting that has been investigating it all.

Basically, there have been a lot of complaints that Diebold machines are easily hackable, not secure, no one knows what sort of code is in there blahblahblah. And the Republicans have been saying things like, ‘Oh, this is just a liberal ploy, sour grapes, and all that."

A: Right…

D: Well, they finally demo’ed the biggest security holes to a bunch of election officials in Florida. You can change votes and be totally undetectable. Here, read the article.

<Pulls up the article onscreen>

A: <Reads article.> Wow.

D: The crazy thing is? You can do it with only five lines of code! Or less! B/c whenever you write a program, you first tell the computer what the variable names are, and then you start playing with them. Just say at the very beginning: “AaronVoteTotal = 200, and DaveVoteTotal = -25,000.” Then when you start adding vote totals, everything works perfectly except I’m already 25,000 votes in the hole. Or you just program a simple loop that says, for every 200 votes cast, add one more vote to Aaron’s total. That’s it!

A: Wow. That’s crazy.

D: You know what would be the perfect job for me? I’d love it to have people pay me money so I can spout off all the random bits of information that I know.

A: You mean… dentistry?


Post a Comment

<< Home