Snippets #51, Tuesday, 04.Nov.2003 (ISSN 1530-9622)
_______________S N I P P e T S
_________________________from James S. Huggins' Refrigerator Door
___________________________________#51, Tuesday, 04.Nov.2003
_____1. The Disease of Sleep
_____2. Diebold, Copyright and Virtual Chads
_____3. Under God
__________1. THE DISEASe OF SLEEP
Those who know me know that I think of sleep as an insidious disease that robs us of time and productivity.
However, since no one is working on a cure, I suppose that we'll all just suffer with the malady.
In the meantime, I find most articles on sleep to be very interesting. This one appeared today, 04.Nov in the New York Times.
Alertness Solutions, sponsored by Hilton Hotels, studied business travelers to see how sleep affects performance (and used a kind of "Dick Tracy" wristwatch to do the study).
Of course, the news article is never enough for me. I had to hunt down the company doing the research and check out their website also.
Some interesting observations and findings reported in the NY Times article:
--- Food affects fatigue. And "you can't order chicken breast with steamed vegetables [for room service] anywhere."
--- Crossing two time zones has a major impact on fatigue (which is why they chose people crossing two time zones for the test).
--- Measured performance dropped by 20 percent during the travel tests
--- People think they are getting one hour more sleep than they actually are
--- The night BEFORe the trip had the least sleep: 5 hours average
--- exercise is the most effective way of increasing performance, increasing performance 61 percent on reaction and alertness tests
--- Lots of light in meeting rooms helps alertness
--- People performed better in the afternoon, NOT in the morning as we frequently think
Over at the research company website, I found lots of other links to articles, a "sleep diary", "sleep debt calculator", "jet lag calculator" and some other useful sleep information.
NY Times Article on Alertness Solutions Sleep Study
Alertness Solutions Home Page
Alertness Solutions Info Page
Alertness Solutions News on Sleep
__________2. DIEBOLD, COPYRIGHT and VIRTUAL CHADS
I've been following a story for several months that has finally percolated to the front page of major media.
It relates to Diebold election Systems, a company that makes voting machines.
There are a number of people who are very suspicious of electronic voting machines. I mean, you think hanging chads are a problem, how do you truly "audit" the results of electronic voting.
This suspicion is amplified by the fact that the companies that make the machines like secrets. Everything is secret. That makes it difficult for people to truly know whether there are "bugs", or worse, the opportunity to manipulate the numbers.
The manufacturers do have their machines looked at by some outside sources to verify them. But, then, enron had it's books audited by one of the largest and most prestigious accounting firms and look what happened there.
The argument is that there should be more "openness". Some even support the idea that such machines should be developed along the "open source" model so that everyone can look inside and nothing is secret.
Now, you take that little bit of healthy suspicion and mix it with:
1) Diebold gave at least $195,000 to the Republican Party during a two-year period starting in 2000,
2) Walden W. O'Dell, CeO of Diebold, once pledged to deliver Ohio's electoral votes for President George W. Bush.
3) A huge (11 MB compressed) amount of email has been "discovered" in which Diebold employees allege all sorts of "bad things" about the security and reliability of the system
4) These emails are being posted on the net to publicize the problem
5) Diebold is using copyright law to try to stop the publication
The result is one more example of using copyright law to try to stop publication of information that is embarrassing.
Diebold is threatening lawsuits to stop it.
Now it seems that the electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society (CIS) are planning to beat Diebold to the punch by filing a suit alleging misuse of copyright and seeking an injunction to stop Diebold.
Add to that, some embarrassing disclosures in California. Wired News reports that California has stopped the certification process for Diebold after it was revealed "that Diebold may have installed uncertified software on its touch-screen machines used in one county".
Stay tuned. This story will keep on going.
New York Times Article, 03.Nov.2003 File Sharing Pits Copyright Against Free Speech
CNet Article, 04.Nov.2003 Students buck DMCA threat
electronic Frontier Foundation News Release
Stanford Law School CIS Diebold Page
__________3. UNDeR GOD
A recent issue of Holt Uncensored reports that the Margaret Strang Middle School in Yorktown Heights, NY, has finally been solved a question American courts and legislatures have puzzled over for years.
Asked to defend or reject the term "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, the 8th-grade Social Studies class decided to reject it, and suggested the following substitution:
One nation . . . under Canada