Friday, April 01, 2016

Friday Water Cooler

Cat Forms Emotional Bond with Human (thedailymash.co.uk).

Female Computer Programmers Make $0.72 For Every Dollar Made By Males: Glassdoor (glassdoor.com). I don't know how helpful this study is, since it only confirms what's already been confirmed many, many times by many other studies. Is the gender pay gap real? Yes, of course. Don't be an idiot. Can much of it be mansplained away? Yes, of course. Can some of it not be so easily explained? Yup. (Duh.) Yup-duh. Kudos, in any case, to Glassdoor for using an adequate sample size (N=505,000) across five countries.
Click to enrage.
Windows patch KB 3139929: When a security update is not a security update (infoworld.com) So Microsoft has now blended adware with "security updates," rendering entirely notional whatever boundaries might have remained between malware and protectionware, thereby ushering in a new, nightmarish nether-reality in which users can no longer trust "trustworthy sources" of system software. Alas, this is precisely why I disabled Windows Updates three years ago (along with Norton and McAfee "updates") and refuse to check for new versions of Adobe-ware, Firefox, Windows, etc. I disabled all updates years ago and have been just fine ever since, thank you. The one time I accidentally infected my machine with something nefarious from the Web, I did a system checkpoint rollback and everything turned out fine. (If that technique ever fails to work, I am prepared to junk the machine and move on.) Bottom line? You're on your own now. Don't imagine for a second that Microsoft or Norton (etc.) actually have your best interests at heart. They don't. Trust no one.

New Details Reveal Possible Voter Suppression in Illinois Primary (usuncut.com). Thousands of voters disenfranchised by someone's decision to print too few ballots. Deeply disturbing. Read the story, it takes only two minutes.

Hillary’s Rigged Primary Victories are Showing the World Presidents are Selected — Not Elected (thefreethoughtproject.com).
Think back to 2008, Clinton was facing upstart candidate Barack Obama, who had just won Iowa and had a commanding lead going into New Hampshire in both pre-election polls, as well as exit polling on election night.
But the final results were dramatically different from the polls, in which every one had Obama winning with an average lead of 8.3 percent, yet Clinton ended up winning by 2.6 percent, somehow unaccountably gaining 10 percentage points over night.
Interestingly, the hand-counted paper ballot results favored Obama, while Clinton won in the districts where electronic voting machines secretly counted ballots.
Clinton: statewide optical scan tally: 52.73 percent
Obama: statewide optical scan tally: 47.27 percent
Clinton: statewide hand-count tally: 46.75 percent
Obama: statewide hand-count tally: 53.25 percent
But wait, it gets darker.
Hillary Clinton’s upset win was imagined by some as a fix perpetrated by rogue elements among her more conservative New Hampshire Democratic backers. Others pointed the finger at Republican operatives who they believe may have orchestrated her victory, judging Obama the stronger horse against Romney (or any other GOP candidate).
As it happens, the Premier Voting Machine company, which controlled over three-quarters of the New Hampshire primary, was actually the same Republican-friendly Diebold Voting Machine Company involved in the controversial upset victory by President George W. Bush over John Kerry in Ohio in 2004. (The company had just switched names.)
Diebold CEO Walden O’Dell, who had publicly pledged to deliver Ohio to Bush in 2004, was later mired in widespread accusations of a conspiracy to rig out Kerry late on election night in Ohio. Top cyber-security experts charged that Karl Rove’s online vote-gathering apparatus used a “man in the middle” hack to alter the results, in collusion with the ultra partisan Ohio secretary of state, Kenneth Blackwell, the co-chair of the Committee to Re-Elect George W. Bush.
The man who built the vote-tabulating system, GOP tech guru Michael Connell, died in a suspicious private plane crash after being subpoenaed and then compelled to testify against Rove. Two election officials were eventually convicted of rigging the Ohio recount.
Ever read Machiavelli? 

As someone once said, if voting were really that important, they wouldn't let you do it.

Trump Is Well Positioned to Win the White House (counterpunch.org). Not sure I buy the premise; after all, far more women hate Trump than there are men who hate Hillary, so the balance of hate arguably favors a Clinton win; but if dejected Sanders fans sit this one out en masse, and if lines at polls are long enough (discouraging all but the most fanatical zealots from voting), maybe, just maybe, the golden boy who got $2 billion worth of free air time wins after all. And then The Wall goes up—to keep us in.

Disclaimer: I don't seriously believe Trump can win. He has the support of 40% of one half the voters. That's not enough. But also, I don't believe he'll be nominated. The only way he can be the nominee is if he arrives in Cleveland with 1237 first-round delegate votes. That's unlikely if he does poorly in Wisconsin (which he will), flubs New York (likely), and fails to impress Californians.

I say he never gets to 1200. The only question is what kind of consolation prize RNC can give him, at the convention, to make sure he doesn't run on a third party (which would mean automatic victory for the Democratic nominee). Ambassador to Mars?

How Well Do Polls Predict Elections? (vox.com). Actually, the name of this story is "Donald Trump has collapsed in general election polls." But here's an interesting graph, from that story, of how valid polls tend to be over time:

Correlation between polls' correctness and days before election.
They Made Him a Moron: The Strange Career of Alec Ross (thebaffler.com). A searing, superbly written takedown.

Oil Mystery Solved? Interest-Rate Effect Upends Usual Growth Benefit (blogs.wsj.com). Many interesting tidbits here. Takes about 60 seconds to read.

Video Shows NYPD Zipping Live Man in Body Bag, Which Is a Normal Thing They Do All the Time (gawker.com).

Thanks for visiting. Be sure to check out prior weeks' Water Coolers (see links at right).


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