Interesting Statistics

I pulled these from Harper’s Magazine:

Minimum number of Americans who registered to vote at strip clubs since May : 4,000

Percentage of college students majoring in the humanities who say politics are relevant to their lives : 72

Percentage of students majoring in computer science who say this : 36

Estimated total number of protesters at the June G-8 conference in Georgia : 310

Estimated number of police per protester : 10

Percentage of New York City residents it would take to fill every inch of pavement in midtown Manhattan : 6

Funds allocated for Iraq’s water programs to be spent on U.S. embassy operating costs : $85,500,000

Number of the 50 airstrikes targeting Iraq’s leadership during the invasion last year that hit their target : 0

Amount NBC’s parent company, General Electric, stands to earn from Iraq’s reconstruction : $600,000,000

Number of Congress members present at the June transfer of power from Coalition military forces to the Iraqi government : 0

Ratio of the typical salary of a paid gladiator in ancient Rome to the salary of a doctor or lawyer : 10:1

Percentage of non-jury trials in Russia that end in conviction : 99

Number of words in the first sentence of Bill Clinton’s memoir and in that of George W. Bush’s, respectively : 49, 5

Percentage of Jordanian women who are literate : 85

Minimum number of Jordanian women murdered by their families in “honor killings” last year : 15

Number of deaths due to international terrorism last year according to an April State Department report : 307

Number of such deaths cited in a “revised” report the Department released in June : 625

Secret access code to the computer controls of the U.S. nuclear-tipped missile arsenal between 1968 and 1976 : 00000000

Minimum U.S. spending on missile defense each year since President Reagan’s 1983 “Star Wars” speech : $2,700,000,000

Number of the ten missile-defense components to be deployed this fall that have been field-tested as a system : 0

Number of years that such research was illegal before Congress repealed the ban last November : 10

Chance that a Western European has a positive opinion of George W. Bush : 1 in 10

Amount by which total Social Security contributions since 1983 exceed total benefit payments since then : $999,059,000,000

Year in which the Medicare hospital trust fund will be “completely exhausted,” according to the trustees : 2019

Minimum number of U.S. surgical patients sewn up each year with sponges, clamps, or other tools left inside them : 1,500

Number of Americans who died in 2002 from infections they contracted while hospitalized for other ailments : 90,000

Ratio of the average number of vehicles to the number of children per U.S. household : 5:2

Estimated percentage of women in Pakistani prisons whose crime was fornication : 80

Chances that God exists, according to a British physicist working as a risk analyst in Ohio : 2 in 3

Seconds it took a Maryland consultant last winter to pick a Diebold voting machine’s lock and remove its memory card : 10

Percentage of his salary Minnesota senator Mark Dayton spends on bus trips for seniors buying drugs in Canada : 100

Amount the United States allocated this year for Iraq’s reconstruction, per Iraqi : $727.27

Number of times after prison-abuse photos aired in April that the President boasted of freeing Iraq of torture chambers : 13

Number of World Trade Centers under development worldwide since September 2001 : 26

Number of them that are in Saudi Arabia : 3

Estimated year in which Baghdadis first harnessed electricity, using clay pots lined with copper : 230 b.c.

Average megawattage of electricity generated in Iraq each day last year before the invasion : 4,500

Average megawattage generated there each day in June : 4,300

Maximum voltage New York City’s main post office will deliver to pigeons during the Republican convention : 8,000

Percentage change since 1992 in the annual number of people murdered in the United States, per 100,000 : < 40 Percentage change since then in the number of people serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison : +83 Chance that an African national leader who left office between 1960 and 2003 did so because he lost an election : 1 in 10 Average number of inches by which Chicago sinks each year as the land it stands on adjusts from the last ice age : 0.04 Average number of inches by which Churchill, Canada, rises each year for the same reason : 0.4

Voter Rights Help

I just heard that many voters are having their votes nullified in this upcoming election. I still haven’t received my absentee ballot, either, though it was supposed to have arrived some time ago. I guess I will phone them again, and make sure I’m at least registered.

In Nevada, there is controversy over a Republican private contractor throwing away the voter registration forms of Democratic voters, as reported by KLAS TV in Las Vegas.

Perhaps more problems in Florida, too. Although I haven’t heard of anything like last election’s invalidation of tens of thousands of voters, mostly black and Democrat, it seems that a BBC report uncovered a brand new tactic, which may force thousands of people, in the same demographic, to only be able to vote “provisionally”. There are also reports of larger voter invalidations occuring.

It seems that Ohio may be facing similar tactics to Florida’s as well…. is a very interesting political organization. I’ll include a message from them below. They have created a wallet-sized card for voters designed to help them if they are intimidated by anyone, obstructed or denied their voting rights, or just need some help.

Here is the message from

They’re doing it again. In Nevada, a Republican contractor has allegedly ripped up thousands of Democratic registration forms.(1) In Florida, Jeb Bush has purged tens of thousands of legitimate voters — mostly black, mostly Democratic — from the rolls because their names are similar to a felon’s.(2) In Ohio, the Republican Secretary of State has been so uncooperative that a federal judge said that he “apparently seeks to accomplish the same result in Ohio in 2004 that occurred in Florida in 2000.”(3)

But there’s one big difference between the election of 2000 and the election of 2004: this time, a number of powerful, well-staffed groups will be aggressively responding to each and every instance of voter intimidation, suppression, and fraud. Messing with our right to vote is a felony, and with your help we’ll make sure that anyone who does is prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

We’ve put together a wallet-sized card that has all the numbers and information you need if someone tries to stop you from exercising your right to vote. You can download it now at:

Click to access ep_card.pdf

In a great majority of polling places, of course, voting will be very efficient — even fun. Poll workers will guide you through the process. They’re non-partisan, and they are there to help.

But it’s likely that some precincts will be targeted for vote suppression, and that’s what we have to be on the look-out for. Since one key suppression tactic is slowing down the voting process, we have to be careful not to fall into that trap. Don’t obstruct: just demand that whoever is giving you trouble step aside with you and let the voting continue.

But before we get into what you should do if things go wrong, here are a few pointers to help make sure your voting experience is a good one:

* Find your polling place ahead of time. Having this information ahead of time will help make sure that you can zip to the polls and back during that half-hour lunch break. You can locate your local polling place using your zip code at In most cases, the site will tell you what kind of voting machines to expect and how they work. (By the way, if conflicts with information you’ve received from your county or state election officials, use the official information.)

* When in doubt, ASK. Poll workers are there to help you. They’ll show you how to work the machines, and if you’re at the wrong polling place, they should tell you how to get to the right one. Every polling place should also have a posted list of your voting rights, and instructions for filing a complaint if your rights have been violated.

* Know your rights. If you’re an eligible voter, you have the following rights:
o If your name is not on the official voter list but you believe you are eligible to vote in that precinct, even if an election official challenges your vote, you have the right to cast a “provisional ballot.”
o If you’re in line when the polls close, you should stay in line because you’re entitled to vote.
o In many states, your employer must allow you time to vote at some point during the day. You can’t be fired for being late due to long polling lines.
o You have the right to vote without being intimidated by anyone.
o For your rights in your own state, check out this website:

* Bring photo ID, preferably government-issued ID or a utility bill, phone bill, or paycheck with your name and current street address. If you’re a new registrant, it may be required.

* Vote in the morning. In a great majority of polling places, everything will go smoothly, but by going early you can help prevent lines later in the day.

* A regular ballot is better than a provisional ballot. If your eligibility to vote is questioned, ask if you can cast a regular ballot by providing additional ID or by going to another polling place. Only cast a provisional ballot if there’s no alternative available.

So, what if something does go wrong?

First, document it. If there are specific individuals involved who are challenging your right to vote, intimidating voters, or interfering with the process, try to get their names. Write down exactly what happened, including the time of day, descriptions of the people involved, and any other details you can remember.

Then, report it. There are lots of organizations that will be working to respond quickly to complaints of voter intimidation, suppression, and fraud. Here’s who to call:

* MoveOn PAC: Go to On election day, our website will host a form where you can post your problem and get help.

* Common Cause: Call 1-866-MYVOTE1. Common Cause has set up a hotline that you can call to report any problems you have voting. They’ll document where problems are occuring, watch for wide-spread voter suppression, and provide real-time legal help to the hot spots.

* 1-866-OUR-VOTE. This hotline has been set up by a coalition of nonpartisan groups to deal with the most serious problems on election day. They have hundreds of lawyers standing by to immediately respond to the most egregious problems. 1-866-OUR-VOTE is the “911” of voter suppression hotlines. Please don’t call unless your problem is serious enough that you have to talk to a lawyer immediately.

Again, to download a wallet-sized card with all of this information that you can bring with you to the polls, go to:

Click to access ep_card.pdf

As Bill Clinton said at a rally with John Kerry on Monday, “They’re trying to scare the voters away from the polls. It worked so well in Florida, they seem to be trying it elsewhere.” We’re not going to let them get away with it. And with your help, we’ll make sure that anyone who tries to stop people from exercising their right to vote ends up behind bars.

Thanks for everything,
–Adam, Eli, Hannah, James, Laura, and the whole MoveOn PAC Team
October 27th, 2004

P.S.: If you have any questions, you can find your Secretary of State’s office online at:

Or try reaching their office by phone, at:

2. Greg Palast, Harper’s Magazine, October 2004.

Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Civil Liberties Watchdog

As part of restructuring American Intelligence the 9/11 commission recommended creating an independent oversight board to help protect our Civil Liberties. We’ve already seen how they can be so easily eroded.

The Bush Administration thinks that this oversight board should not be created. The House version has agreed. However, the bipartisan Senate seems to want the oversight board.

I think it is very important we have an oversight board to help monitor and protect our freedoms. Otherwise, why fight to keep them?

If you like, the ACLU has a site where you can send your representatives a message saying you support the creation of this oversight board. I just thought I’d pass it along:

American Civil Liberties Union : Act Now to Ensure Creation of a Critical Government Civil Liberties Watchdog

NASA Supercomputer Columbia

NASA Supercomputer ColumbiaNASA just announced their newest supercomputer built in collaboration with SGI and Intel – a Linux cluster.

It’s fast. 42.7 teraflops on 16 nodes. If you want to know that that means, “flops” means “floating point operations per second” – it’s a way of encoding numbers with precision. If you can perform 42.7 teraflops, it means this little baby can do

42,700,000,000,000 floating point operations in just 1 second. (over 42 trillion)

And to think, I’m thinking about getting a faster computer so I can play Doom 3…

The system is a combination of 20 systems, each with 512 processors. To make it truly beautiful – this monstrosity of interconnections manifests itself as one single Linux image.

It outperforms Japan’s Earth Simulator which held the record at 37 teraflops.

IBM is currently working on a system called Blue Gene that should be installing a system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory sometime in 2005 – it is supposed to achieve 360 teraflops.

You can check out what it looks like at the NASA site – there are some very nice photos.

Also, read their press release if you like.

SGI also has some images available.

Military Guys Make Other Guys Masturbate For Them

Well, I’ve often heard it used to be common in “gay bashing” for the attackers to rape the guy – I’ve always found that somewhat ironic – but understandable, in that the attackers probably face some gay issues within themselves that run pretty deep or else it wouldn’t be such a big deal to them.

But this is odd – military personnel in the Abu Ghraib jail apparently forced prisoners to masturbate while the soldiers watched and took pictures.

Read the BBC News Article

Maybe they just thought they could sell it for big money or something… ??

Now, if the soldiers would have just joined in with them, I might have bought that one.