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The Votemaster Is...Andrew Tanenbaum

Hemos posted more than 9 years ago | from the revealed dept.

The Internet 978

A reader writes: " www.electoral-vote.com, a site of daily updated maps of the US electoral college based on a number of polls is probably a site that the policially inclined check daily. Well, it has been revealed that the person behind the site, AKA the votemaster, is none other than Andrew Tanenbaum, noted author of numerous CS books." He's also known for a little discussion with someone named Linus Torvalds.

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978 comments

Worldwide results (5, Interesting)

ControlFreal (661231) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685716)

From the other side of the ponds, the story is quite different. About 113,000 people cast their vote here [globalvote2004.org]. In this worldwide shadow election: Kerry wins (77.1%), and Bush comes second at 9.1%. Surprisingly, support for Bush is largest in the Middle East (many votes from Israel?). Some hilarious (frightening...) responses by US citizens to this shadow-election can be found here [benrik.co.uk].

Another initiative (about 20,000 people) is here [theworldvotes.org]. Results will be published later today.

It's logical that the results are different than those in the US. However, one wonders how much of a hint some (some) US citizens (especially those posting very harsh comments in response to these shadow-elections) need to realize that it's not just the US that matters in this world.

Mod me flamebait, if you wish. But before you do, consider: it's not me delivering the criticism, it's 113,000 people (on behalf of a much larger group). I'm just the messenger boy here...

Re:Worldwide results (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685757)

Mod me flamebait, if you wish

Looks like the mods couldn't resist ;-) I thought it was an interesting comment, personally.

If anything, that crap is counterproductive (4, Insightful)

HBI (604924) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685777)

Most of the electoral votes are in the heartland of the US. If you told an average person on the streets that Europeans want to see Kerry elected, the instinctive response is to vote for Bush. If you don't think Karl Rove is using this to the Republicans' advantage, you're on crack.

We'll see the result tomorrow. I expect something decisive. No two elections are the same.

Re:If anything, that crap is counterproductive (4, Informative)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685933)

Heartland? Like California, Texas, Florida and New York???

Quibble aside, the gist of your comment is correct. Americans have an instinctive tendency to go our own way, right or wrong. And most of the "up-for-grabs" electoral votes are in the midwest, like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio.

Between 80 and 125 degrees W longitude (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685966)

More or less :b

Because of the 'great compromise', this area has far more electoral power than the aforementioned big states, even though they probably encompass more population than the area I am mentioning.

Re:If anything, that crap is counterproductive (3, Informative)

wizbit (122290) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685988)

I think he meant the majority of Bush's support comes from the Midwest, where states like Arkansas and Missouri and Iowa, while contested heavily, will need to be carried by either candidate if they hope to win decisively. Bush's support in the deep south and western US (save the west coast) is not usually contested as these represent the Republican base.

Re:Worldwide results (2, Interesting)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685789)

One thing I don't think many Europeans realize is that the first reaction many Americans will have in response to exposure to a European (or any foreign country's) opinion on something they view as an American choice will be to do the opposite.

Re:Worldwide results (2, Insightful)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685975)

Thats the saddest thing about it. You have a president who is one of the most powerful of the free world, and the free world hates him. You can either examine the reasons why or say "Screw the rest of the world".

A good example why.. The US$ is in the toilet at the moment. I have invested in US companies, but because of the US$ it is no longer profitable to do so. I am in two minds of removing my investments to another market or not. Really depends on this election.

Re:Worldwide results (3, Insightful)

Glamdrlng (654792) | more than 9 years ago | (#10686006)

One thing I don't think many Europeans realize is that the first reaction many Americans will have in response to exposure to a European (or any foreign country's) opinion on something they view as an American choice will be to do the opposite.
What I love about people who react like this is that they're still sheep. They're still basing their opinions on the thoughts and words of others, rather than thinking critically and coming up with their own decision.

Re:Worldwide results (1, Flamebait)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685802)

Based on those results, I think Americans should vote for Bush. Obviously the world believes that Kerry will result in a weaker America and will benefit them.

We should vote for our best interests, therefore Americans should vote Bush.

Re:Worldwide results (1, Flamebait)

ControlFreal (661231) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685938)

Obviously the world believes that Kerry will result in a weaker America and will benefit them.

The world votes Kerry to ensure that mr. Bush doesn't do more irrepairable damage to the world than he has already done. What do you think will happen to the respect that other nations have for the US, when Bush is re-elected.

How do you think groups like Al Qaeda will react when Bush is re-elected. Do you realize what happened on 9/11, and why it happened?

Re:Worldwide results (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685822)

Fortunately, it's US citizens and not Europeans that get to pick the next US president.

Re:Worldwide results (1, Insightful)

ControlFreal (661231) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685889)

Fortunately, it's US citizens and not Europeans that get to pick the next US president.

Don't rest assured: It's not the American people either... Remember that Gore had about 500000 more votes than Bush in 2000.

Re:Worldwide results (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685948)

No he didn't, Bush had 5 more votes than Gore.

2000 EV Results:
Bush 271
Gore 266

Re:Worldwide results (2, Insightful)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685968)

And the votemaster is showing that Bush will win the popular vote in five polls, while Kerry wins in only three polls, yet Kerry is expected to win the electorate by 67 votes, or over 10%. The popular vote is NOT the electoral vote, and counts for sh*t.
Change the laws if you don't agree, but getting OK, KS, and MO to move all the campaigning to NY and CA might be a little difficult...

Turnabout is hardly fair play. (5, Insightful)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685848)

If you were to set up the same vote for say England you would be luckly to find many people in the US to know who is actually running against Mr Blair.

Re:Turnabout is hardly fair play. (5, Funny)

SiliconJesus (1407) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685905)

If you were to set up the same vote for say England you would be luckly to find many people in the US to know who is actually running against Mr Blair.

If you had the same question in the United States, you'd be shocked to find that most Americans think he's the King.

Re:Worldwide results (2, Insightful)

strictfoo (805322) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685920)

Wow, yes, those ever reliable Internet polls! We all know how accurate those are.

Re:Worldwide results (1, Insightful)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685931)

As an American, I can see being against the Iraq war. It was a waste of blood and money for no real strategic gain.

But why is the rest of the world against it? Saddam really wasn't that nice of a guy. Deposing him is just the sort of thing that human rights monkeys (which includes a substantial bit of Europe based on their usual press) normally salivate over.

Other reasons that the world hates Bush are Kyoto and the ICC. Kyoto was an exercise in lunacy, of course. And the ICC's only point is to go after the law-abiding nations. Specifically the ones who do the inevitably dirty work of wars, exporting security to the rest of the world. (Hint: The US) It will be impossible to invoke ICC provisions against Gap nations (Google Thomas Barnett) until their rulers have already been deposed in a war (Hint: By the US).

So while I don't like Bush all that much, I think that the rest of the world's hatred for him only proves their loopiness. You can't believe everything you see in a Michael Moore movie, after all. And unfortunately, the rest of the world doesn't know how to take the American press with a grain of salt like Americans do. The gullible Europeans simply swallow it hook line and sinker everytime the BBC or its equivalent repeats something from CNN or another American news outlet. I hope that the Europeans discover independent thought one of these days and stop letting themselves be culturally dominated by American media and American corporations.

Re:Worldwide results (4, Insightful)

wizbit (122290) | more than 9 years ago | (#10686022)

I think that the rest of the world's hatred for him only proves their loopiness.


I disagree. If you'd read Tanenbaum's assessment of European attitudes of Bush (and his remarkably refreshing attitude towards American leadership in the world) you'd find that, while people may loathe Bush, they are not "loopy," they simply see American power as resting in the hands of an international bully.

I for one will be voting for Kerry not because we are unpopular, but because I desire to see America lead the world again, which we cannot do under the current administration.

Re:Worldwide results (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 9 years ago | (#10686028)

Other reasons that the world hates Bush are Kyoto and the ICC.

You forgot to mention the ABM treaty, the refusal to accept NATO help after 9/11 (even if it would only have been symbolic), plus the "Old Europe" and "Freedom Fries" remarks. I'd also toss out the fact that we spit on the UN until we realized we were in over our heads in Iraq as well as the prison at Gitmo and the abuse scandals in Iraq.

I traveled to Florence this summer. 10% of the population of that city is Americans -- the economy is heavily dependent on tourism (largely American) -- and many of the people on the street actively hate our guts right now. And that's a country with large numbers of Americans that is dependent on American tourism and committed troops into Iraq. Did you ever stop to wonder why and if they just-might-maybe have a valid point or two about our current Government?

How did we go from "I am a Berliner" to Europe actively hating our guts and wishing for our downfall?

Amazing... (0)

johndeeregator (549310) | more than 9 years ago | (#10686025)

Amazing how in the battleground states where he has Kerry leading, he almost always uses the Zogby poll to validate his predictions.

This site is worthless and obviously partisan. If he really wanted to offer a realistic picture, then he would offer some sort of poll average rather than focusing on one pollster per state. Zogby has publicly said that he expects Kerry to win, and if you examine his and his family's activities, it is pretty clear that he is partisan. Not only that, you can see that in 2000, he was one of only two dissenting pollster opinions in the state of the race.

For a real poll wrap, check: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/polls.html [realclearpolitics.com]

Nothing for you to see here (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685717)

Please move along. BTW, Frist Prost!

TANENBAUM (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685726)

O TANENBAUM... Isn't he an unwashed microkernel hippie?

And unfortunately, a site that won't load today (3, Informative)

jlrowe (69115) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685727)

Even before the 'slashdot effect', the site has been unavaiable. All morning.

Re:And unfortunately, a site that won't load today (5, Informative)

j0shwalk3r (782780) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685798)

I have been a longtime reader of his site. He has mirrors up on electoral-vote2.com on up. I think 5 was the highest I last heard, but I'm sure he'll be putting up more after gettting a good slashdotting. And he thought the people trying to DoS him was bad...

Re:And unfortunately, a site that won't load today (1)

Chatmag (646500) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685891)

According to the Electoral College web site:

"On the Monday following the second Wednesday of December (as established in federal law) each State's Electors meet in their respective State capitals and cast their electoral votes-one for president and one for vice president."

Which is also the same time that the /. effect ceases :)

Re:And unfortunately, a site that won't load today (1)

spartan (30665) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685983)

Thats due to all the bastages that 'subscribe' to early publication of slashdot, er, I mean due to all those who 'support the site'.

Re:And unfortunately, a site that won't load today (2, Funny)

rrhal (88665) | more than 9 years ago | (#10686011)

Ha! Mr Tanebaum - Your micro kernals will not save you now! We have unleashed the slashdot effect.

Mwa Haa Haa Ha Ha Ha .....

Serious questions (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685728)

As I imagine the replies to this post will mostly be drooling fawning over Andrew Tanenbaum, much like the Jon Stewart/Crossfire article, I'd like to actually ask some meaningful questions. (And please note that I have great respect for Tanenbaum, but don't understand a couple of his central points, described below.)

Why does running a statistical analysis website that gathers information on polls and aggregates them into something quasi-meaningful "support" the Democratic candidate?

Yes, yes, I'm well aware that while incognito he had said on numerous occasions that he was a Kerry supporter, and a Democrat. But he himself says:

Why Did You Do This?

In a nutshell, because I want to be proud of America again.


Meaning that Kerry can somehow make him proud again. Ok, fine, but what does running electoral-vote.com have to do with that? The question "Why Did You Do This?" implies that he is "do"ing something to influence people to vote in a particular way, which I simply don't see that website doing. In fact, other than the admittedly editorial sections of the site, I have found the site to be remarkedly unbiased.

He then goes on, at length, describing/proving that the world "hates" Bush/the administration/etc. This comes as absolutely no surprise to me. However - and FORGET about "Bush" for a second - how does "hating" someone have any logical correlation with whether their positions or courses of action are appropriate or inappropriate? That would seem antithetical to the viewpoints of most progressive persons. That's a serious question, but I doubt I'll get any serious answers. And this is an important question, because the fact that so many abroad "hate" Bush, and somehow getting more Americans to understand that, is central to Tanenbaum's multitude of statements on the topic. Why does "hating" someone mean what they're doing is wrong? (I will concede that a leader of a nation being hated probably makes it vastly more difficult to do diplomatic work, but that is somewhat tangential to my core question.)

The rest of this post amounts to what are essentially footnotes on this topic, but I believe are critical to the discussion of the belief that Kerry can somehow to a better job.

So let's address these things. The world "hates" Bush, and Kerry can somehow not only fight terrorism more effectively, but will also bring respect back to the US.

Sen McCain said it best [cbsnews.com] yesterday on Face the Nation:

"I also believe that President Bush has a vision and a view that the war on terror is not going to be over until we have some democracy in the Middle East, and I don't think he means by imposing that at the point of a bayonet. But I do believe that he's correct that the issue of radical Islamic extremism is not going away until those countries have some kind of freedom and democracy, and I think that's his long-term goal."

Now, before you start spitting and sputtering about why the US is in "Iraq", then, well, reread that last statement. I'm not going to beat around the bush, as it were, any more: the US is in "Iraq" because it was an easy target in the region, period. Not because Saddam tried to kill Bush's "daddy", not because Bush is an angry dry drunk, and not because Cheney has a secret plan to line his pockets and that of Halliburton. This isn't a black-and-white zero-sum game where there is only one reason the US is in Iraq. There are myriad reasons. But the prime one is that it is part of a comprehensive, omnibus strategy to bring free or quasi-free governments to the region, in the hopes that more of the same will be encouraged, even as organizations like al-Qaeda redouble their recruiting efforts. This strategy will make things worse in the meantime. Possibly a lot worse. People will hate us. Including some people who will ultimately be protected by our actions (i.e., Europe).

Panislamic radicalism will not go away on its own. And before anyone says "so the answer, of course, is more bombs and killing?" Unbelievably and utterly not the point. But, to answer that, yes: sometimes the only course of action is force. We are trying to kill off a movement to construct a radical theocratic Islamic empire in the whole of the mideast, which desires to be the seat of government for the world, and anyone who does not subscribe to their twisted beliefs will be brutally slaughtered or subjugated. This is a real threat, and denying its existence only proves ignorance. Instead of Panislamic radicalism becoming the equivalent of the Crusades of the 21st century, we aim to kill it off in a generation. (Anyone who thinks the US is on a religious crusade now, by the way, notwithstanding Bush's correct but poor use of the term 'crusade' to refer to a 'mission of great import', not a 'Christian religious conquest of the Muslim holy lands', is deluded.)

Even John Kerry gets it [johnkerry.com]:

We have to understand that we are facing a radical fundamentalist movement with global reach and a very specific plan. They are not just out to kill us for the sake of killing us. They want to provoke a conflict that will radicalize the people of the Muslim world, turning them against the United States and the West. And they hope to transform that anger into a force that will topple the region's governments and pave the way for a new empire, an oppressive, fundamentalist superstate stretching across a vast area from Europe to Africa, from the Middle East to Central Asia.

Do you realize what he's saying? That represents a fundamental understanding of what's at stake.

But then he goes on to say:

"The jihadist movement that hates us is gaining adherents around the world. An estimated 18,000 al Qaeda trained militants are operating in 60 countries around the world in a dangerous and more elusive network of extremist groups. Al Qaeda shouldn't be hitting us anywhere. They should be losing, everywhere. We should be winning, everywhere. That will take time. It will not be easy. But it can be done."

[...]

I will build a stronger, smarter military and intelligence capability to capture or kill our enemies.

As president, I will expand our Army by 40,000 troops so that we have more soldiers to find and fight the enemy. I will double our Army Special Forces capacity. And we will accelerate the development and deployment of new technologies to track down and bring down terrorists."


I hope you realize that what Kerry is proposing - namely, expanding the military, and fighting and winning against al-Qaeda in all 60 nations in which they are operating, would require a military escalation unseen under Bush and unheard of since probably World War II. IF the rhetoric is true, that is. If it is NOT true, then these statements are nothing more than lies.

"As president, I will do what President Bush has not: I will hold the Saudis accountable. Since 9/11, there have been no public prosecutions in Saudi Arabia, and few elsewhere, of terrorist financers. I will work with our allies, with the World Bank and international financial institutions to shut down the financial pipeline that keeps terrorism alive. And I will pursue a plan to make this nation energy independent of Mid East oil. I want an America that relies on our own innovation and ingenuity, not the Saudi Royal Family."

Fantastic. Agree 100%. 1000%, even. However, it's not quite that simple. The US economy - and by extension the Europoean economy - needs Saudi Arabia's critical oil pricing controls, even as OPEC claims it's losing the ability to control pricing. Regardless of whether we're approaching peak oil production, or already have passed it, we - Europe included - needs Saudi Arabia exactly as it is. The happiness and prosperity of hundreds of millions of people depends on the economies that fossil fuels sustains. And NOT for transportation, but for medicine, food processing, plastics, water purification, fertilizers, and just about everything else that makes moder civilization tick. Sad, but true. Not to mention that Saudi Arabia is an official ally.

(Even if we went full force on ALL alternative energy technologies, we still NEED stable oil pricing for a long time to come. If we really care about our future, what we should be doing is replacing every energy source that can possibly be replaced with something other than fossil fuels, saving oil for things for which it is NEEDED, while simultaneously doing things that we could do NOW, TODAY to conserve energy. There are so many places energy can be saved, but the idea of conservation (and conservation doesn't even have to mean sacrifice) or alternative fuels is almost nowhere on the current administration's radar. Unfortunately, it's not much better under Kerry: any possible shift from fossil fuels to other sources of energy where possible has to include nuclear, period. But Kerry's stance on nuclear nonproliferation all but essentially kills off any possibility of further meaningful investments into nuclear power.)

Saudi Arabia's time will come. We fully realize the import of the situation, but our hope is that reformers within Saudi Arabia will demand change, and even take up arms against the royal family when the time is right - and when other democracies that we support (e.g. Iraq) in the region take hold. It's a bold and risky strategy, but it can work. Unlike Kerry's unabashed rhetoric about fighting and winning everywhere simultaneously, but apparently only against "al-Qaeda". Until there's some freedom in this region, the radicalism will still flourish. And it's a nice copout to blame it all on the US, or say that it's a monster of our own creation. Believe it or not, evil, violent people have risen in this world throughout the centuries without the help of the United States.

So hate Bush, hate America. Ignore Islamic radicalism; pretend it doesn't exist. Believe that Bush's goal is to shred the Constitution, stifle all dissent, and turn the US into a police state. Talk about things in dramatic terms, making everything that Bush or any of his staff does is motivated by pure evil and/or greed. Pretend that the only reason anyone could support Bush (other than greed) is out of ignorance, or not having all the "facts". By all means, view everything as only black and white.

And here's a shocker for you: I don't even like Bush. It's shockingly pathetic and embarrassing that this is the best that the conservatives in America can come up with for presidential office. But at least his staff - yeah, all those nasty "neocons" that you love to hate - have a strategy for winning in the mideast. No, a "noun" can't be defeated. But you can make the region a fuck of a lot more unfriendly to terrorism. And no, Osama bin Laden and Bush aren't two sides of the same coin: that's the height of the ignorance of moral relativism. Intentionally killing as many innocent civilians as possible with the intent to install fear is not the equivalent of civilians unintentionally killed during a military operation.

Additionally, to stave off the tired "tell that to the Iraqis who have died" comments, consider this: over 600,000 Iraqis died under the UN-supported sanctions, according to Amnesty International and Human Rights Campaign, as a direct result of those sanctions. Just from the infrastructure improvements the US forces have made in electricity, water, sanitation, medicine, food distribution, etc., in rural areas that represent HALF of Iraq's population, a net preservation of Iraqi life has occurred since March 2003 - INCLUDING all of the people who were killed during the invasion and since. So, if preservation of life is the goal, you'd better think about which side you're on. The side of continued sanctions and half a million Iraqis dead, or freeing a country - the first of many, hopefully.

The other tired comment I can expect now: "Freeing a country? LOL! Then why don't you let them elect their own governments? What would you do if they elected a Muslim theocracy, HMMMM?" Sorry to disappoint you again, but the Iraqis don't want a Muslim theocracy [slashdot.org].

Keep 'em coming. You know what? The US never went to Iraq for WMD (though we were justified in doing so for that reason alone, and probably expected to find quite a bit). Yes, in a way, it went for "oil". But to view it in those terms is ridiculously stupid. What does that "oil" do? Hint: the answer is not powering American suburban moms' Suburbans.

I literally cannot believe how black-and-white supposedly "open-minded" "progressive" people view this. They point fingers at others' ignorance, while being simultaneously the smartest, most well-read, "informed" ignorant people around.

Re:Serious questions (1, Insightful)

strictfoo (805322) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685804)

This post makes excellent points. Therefore it will be modded down into oblivion within the next hour.

Re:Serious questions (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685851)

Actually it's meandering rant will only serve to turn this story into a giant 9-way flamewar. Sadly it won't be modded into oblivion, although it should be. Keep it in your blog, pal!

Because the polls generally favor Democrats (3, Informative)

HBI (604924) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685817)

The effect is real. It varies by election and by area. In some places (the Northeast) the effect can be as large as 6% of people who will apparently lie to you on the phone and say they are undecided or voting for the Democrat. In the Midwest it's less pronounced and the effect barely exists in the South, though i've never been very close to a poll done there.

It has something to do with either the Republicans not wanting to answer the phone or alternatively not wanting to be judged by the pollster, i'm sure.

Zogby talks a little about this in one of the FAQs on his website.

Thank you (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685882)

...for actually providing a reasoned answer.

That's a very interesting phenomenon; I'd heard of it before, but still hadn't realized how pronounced it was.

Still, Tanenbaum doesn't really make reference to that on his site; he acts as if the mere act of running electoral-vote.com somehow helps the Democratic candidate. That's the part I don't understand.

Re:Thank you (2, Interesting)

SiliconJesus (1407) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685985)

Still, Tanenbaum doesn't really make reference to that on his site; he acts as if the mere act of running electoral-vote.com somehow helps the Democratic candidate. That's the part I don't understand.

FUD does not have to come from the hollowed halls of Microsoft in order to be FUD. Liberals do it as well as Conservatives, both of which leave a sour taste on the palettes of the American people. People are getting disenchanted with the whole system. Everyone feels cheated and feels that they cannot trust the other side.

I reperesent a third alternative, one who is disenchanted with both parties enough, that I'm actually doing something about it (in my own ways). Refuting the logic of polls like this and questioning the spreaders of disinformation is the start. Voting your conscience tomorrow is the answer.

Re:Thank you (1)

_Sharp'r_ (649297) | more than 9 years ago | (#10686013)

Well, if you compare his site to RealClearPolitics [www.realcl...litics.com], you'll notice the wide divergence between them, his site showing a much larger bias towards Kerry.

I'd guess that he thinks that showing Kerry with an imaginary big lead in the electoral college will make him more likely to win.

IMHO, that's mostly wishful thinking, but a lot of newspaper polls do essentially the same thing. The main paper in Minnesota hasn't been within 10 points of predicting the vote there in probably 30 years, but they keep publishing polls election cycle after election cycle that show the Democrats unrealisticaly way ahead every time. They must have some reason for it.

Re:Serious questions (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685825)

One of the most insightful posts I've read here in the 6 years I've been reading /., thanks.

Re:Serious questions (4, Insightful)

Minwee (522556) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685910)

It was also posted two minutes after the story was released and contained over 2000 words.

The author not only read the headline but then proceded to type at 80 words per minute about topics which bear at best tangental relation to the topic at hand, which is that Andrew Tannenbaum has chosen to become involved in the electoral process by creating a site which monitors poll results.

I'm sure we'll be just as impressed when the same post shows up in response to the articles about Jon Stewart getting a manicure and the X-Box case mod that looks like a pumpkin.

Actually, it's my post (2, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685957)

...and is all original. The only reason I was so quick is because as soon as I found out that Tanenbaum was the votemaster, I started preparing this post. It took about a half hour to compile.

And yes, I did the same thing for Jon Stewart [slashdot.org]. It too went to +5, but then was modded down to -1 in about a half hour.

Re:Serious questions (5, Informative)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685909)

Nice long post. I can sum it up easy. While he is clearly a Kerry supporter, the polls are non-biased and based on existing polls.

If you followed the site for some time you would see that. There is even a movie on the site to show you how much the polls have been swinging back and forwards.

If anything his site shows how pointless polls are, or that the undeceided voter is completly clueless and changes their mind every 5 minutes.

The only poll that really matters is tomorrows.

On another note "600,000 Iraqis". Can you quote a source for that? The only figure I can find is for displaced and not killed under sanctions. Also you should note that Saddam was grossly inflating the deaths (especially children deaths) in order to try and stop sanctions.

Re:Serious questions (4, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685928)

On the whole, I think Tanenbaum's piece was extremely well written and captures half of what I think is the best pro-Kerry case (or anti-Bush case, anyway) that can be made. (The other half being the deficit.) One thing struck me, though, and reminds me why I'm still leery of Kerry.

With a President Kerry, there is hope that other countries might contribute serious numbers of troops to help stabilize Iraq. With a second Bush administration they will just say: "You broke it, you fix it."

Hope? If Kerry wins it tomorrow, he'd better have those unnamed countries who supposedly have divisions of combat-ready troops they're eager to throw into the Iraq meat grinder. In two days, he's going to be on the hook to actually do all the stuff he's been promising.

Re:Serious questions (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685959)

I simply don't have time to respond to all of this...but a couple thoughts:

However - and FORGET about "Bush" for a second - how does "hating" someone have any logical correlation with whether their positions or courses of action are appropriate or inappropriate? That would seem antithetical to the viewpoints of most progressive persons.

Perhaps people hate what Bush (or anyone) has done...with the situation in Iraq, with civil liberties at home, etc. When he says people "hate" Bush, I don't know that he's saying that they hate him personally, just, they hate what he has done. I would say that that directly follows whether his positions are appropriate.

the US is in "Iraq" because it was an easy target in the region, period. Not because Saddam tried to kill Bush's "daddy", not because Bush is an angry dry drunk, and not because Cheney has a secret plan to line his pockets and that of Halliburton. This isn't a black-and-white zero-sum game where there is only one reason the US is in Iraq. There are myriad reasons.

If this is true (and I'm doubtful), then he should have said that -- to Congress, to the American people, to the world. But no, we were there for WMDs which didn't exist. That was the "reason". If history had nothing to do with it, wouldn't Iran have been a better (more threatening) target?

Re:Serious questions (5, Interesting)

benhocking (724439) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685987)

how does "hating" someone have any logical correlation with whether their positions or courses of action are appropriate or inappropriate

I would guess that for many people the causal connection is backwards from what it appears you are suggesting. I.e., people "hate" Bush because they think that he his positions or courses of action are inappropriate. I personally don't hate him, but his positions and courses of action are why I'm voting against him. (Yes, I'm one of those many people who are voting against Bush more so than voting for Kerry. I've never been particularly partisan, but have always thought that respect for the environment was very important.)

the US is in "Iraq" because it was an easy target in the region, period [and to bring freedom, democracy] ... This isn't a black-and-white zero-sum game where there is only one reason the US is in Iraq.

I do believe that the reasons you've listed are primary reasons we attacked Iraq. I'm still undecided as to whether the reasons were sufficient. Saddam was an evil person, and only time will tell whether we've helped to secure freedom and democracy for Iraq or whether we've prepared the way for a worse dictator. (The US has a bad track record with this - think Khomeni, etc.) Nevertheless, I do think that there has been significant profiteering going on, (e.g., Haliburton), and that is very disturbing.

An interesting thought experiment is to imagine what would have happened had we invaded Germany and removed Hitler instead of ceding the Sudetenland to him. People probably would have said we were overstating the threat, etc. Was Saddam as big a threat as Hitler? (Remember, Hitler had no WMD's either,) Maybe not. But if we had removed Hitler when he invaded the Sudetenland, Hitler wouldn't have been as big a threat.

However, even if you believe we should have attacked Iraq, it is hard to believe that Bush followed a well thought out plan. I think a good diplomat could have bargained with France, Germany, and Russia and gotten them on board. I know that seems impossible now, but that's only because Bush has so alienated them that it's difficult for even them to imagine ever helping us.

Of course, my number one reason for voting against Bush is because of the number of policies he has enacted that have rolled back the environmental policies enacted under Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr., and Clinton.

Re:Serious questions (1)

bint (125997) | more than 9 years ago | (#10686023)

Interesting post, and you do raise many good points. Just some things:

* 'how does "hating" someone have any logical correlation with whether their positions or courses of action are appropriate or inappropriate?' - well, isn't just the actions of someone the reason you'd "hate" them?

* You ignore the position that radical islamism is a problem but going in with bombs is *not* the way to fight it.

* Regarding Bush's actions it is interesting to see the lack of any criticism from that he changed the reasons for the invasion a number of times. Eventhough you acknowledge that nothing of what he said is true.

Had to be non-US (-1, Flamebait)

isn't my name (514234) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685734)

This is hardly surprising that it is not a US Citizen responsible for the site. It was well-informed on the issues of polling, completely non-commercial, and mostly non-partisan.

Very un-American.

(That's sarcasm folks.)

Re:Had to be non-US (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685827)

RTFA, genius. He is a US citizen.

Re:Had to be non-US (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685842)

He's a US citizen living abroad:

"My name is Andrew Tanenbaum. I am one of the 7 million U.S. citizens living abroad. I am a professor of computer science at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Most of you have never heard of me but in an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny corner of the universe I have done enough stuff that Google has somehow managed to dig up 10,000 pages referring to me."

He is still a US citizen (5, Informative)

bitingduck (810730) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685954)

Except he's a US citizen living abroad, which is not the same as not a US citizen.

A friend of mine recently moved to Canada for work and told me that lots of US expats she knows there are voting for the first time in years (often for the first time since they left). If you're living abroad you vote in the last state where you were a resident and you only get to vote for president (maybe senate, too, but I think just prez). Many of those people last lived, and are very likely to vote for Kerry (in Canada, the far right is mostly to the left of the US Dems).

It's going to be an interesting election night...

(sarcasm appreciated except for the nit)

Minix (2, Interesting)

Draoi (99421) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685736)

I wrote MINIX, the precursor to Linux, for example ...

Interesting that Andy now refers to MINIX in terms of Linux, no? Considering that Linux is obsolete [educ.umu.se] and all that ... ;-)

Re:Minix (3, Insightful)

bcs_metacon.ca (656767) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685929)

Give the man a break. From a purely academic design standpoint, Linux *is* obsolete... and hey, AST is definitely an academic. But that doesn't mean he has to be ignorant to its commercial success. Proving once again that just 'cos something isn't beautiful, if it gets the job done, people will use it. :-)

Re:Minix (1)

Loco3KGT (141999) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685955)

Apprently I'm not smart because I don't understand how Minix is the precursor to Linux. Could someone elaborate?

Re:Minix (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685984)

Minix is the model that Linus studied when he started the Linux kernel. He couldn't afford an AT&T source license.

-jcr

Re:Minix (1)

Captain Rotundo (165816) | more than 9 years ago | (#10686010)

I believe the3 legend goes that Linus was inspired by Minix (or some limitations of it) to write Linux. I am not sure on all the facts but he wanted Minix to do somethings that it didn't and Andrew didn't want so he went and wrote his own UNIX-like OS.

why (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685740)

It's easy to tell his sites apart from others. They're hosted on dial up.

frist pr0sto!!!!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685746)

0wn4d

1st post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685747)

WOOT !

The Votemaster is... Nerds! (0, Offtopic)

MooKore 2004 (737557) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685751)

Disclaimer: By reading, viewing, downloading, moderating, replying or ignoring this post, you agree that YOU ARE A FUCKING NERD! THIS GOES DOUBLE IF MODERATED -1! YOU ARE FUCKING NERDS! Admit it use FreeBSD using GNU/Hippies who like doing penguins up the ass [blue-networks.net]. You all have no life and thatis why you have a one metre beard and you have a BMI of 60! That is why Bill Gates is a billionare while Lunix nerds are unemployed reading slashdot all day! Slashdot sucks, and that's a encylopedic FACT! [wikipedia.org]

First post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685752)

I didnt RTFA.

But i got the first post!!!!!

LALALAALLALALALA

Im such a llama :)

Re:First post (1)

tokenhillbilly (311564) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685888)

So. Like... If you're going to try to be a first poster, shouldn't you at least try to respond within 5 minutes after the thread is started?

Sigh, how about a less biased site? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685762)

The guy has admitted time and time again that he is biased, and will pick only the polls that shows a Kerry win. Why is this on /.?

Proud AC since Oct '98

Considering he's the only person I've seen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685809)

picking Kerry to get over 300 electoral votes, it does make you wonder.

Re:Considering he's the only person I've seen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685918)

http://www.electoral-vote4.com/pred/
The methodology is right there. Looks reasonable to me.

Recent changes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685982)

He has Kerry down to 298, so he's not as biased as he was earlier this morning. ;)

I'm still wondering why /. linked to someone that has an admitted bias? What's the point of that?

Re:Sigh, how about a less biased site? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685890)

Actually, he includes a few GOP tracking polls. Because the site only show the most recent polls, the homepage map is frequently all red.

Fact that both Dems and Repbs say he's biased probably says something.

(It's on slashdot because the guy claimed Linux is obsolete by design a long time ago.)

Re:Sigh, how about a less biased site? (4, Interesting)

Dasein (6110) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685912)

Total Crap. Polls are conducted over a period of time. The votemast firgure out the middle date and picks the poll that has the latest middle data. In the case of a tie, he chooses the poll with the shortest duration.

It doesn't matter if the latest poll is a Strategic Vision poll (thought to be republican-leaning) or a Zogby (who some think is democrat-leaning)

If you've been really watching the site, you'd notice that there have been wild swings from Kerry to Bush in the past.

Now, I think that this is just a crackpot attempt to discredit what has been a really good site (even if I did wish that he'd throw out Strategic Vission).

Re:Sigh, how about a less biased site? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10686009)

He was a lobbyist for the Sierra Club, and said he left the US because he hated it so much. No, he's not biased. (insert sarcasm warning for the hordes of /.'ers with broken sarcasm detectors)

Based on Zogby... Nothing to see here, move along (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685772)

Zogby has lost all credibility. He's out there predicting a democratic victory when all the other pollsters aren't (even the biased ones like CBS).

Amazing (5, Interesting)

fname (199759) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685773)

I just read the votemaster description, and came over to Slashdot to submit the story. Funny. Despite being a small, self-run website, this is one I don't think Slashdot can even begin to take down (650,000 hits/day), although it's been the subject of DDoS attacks in the past. Being the computer wizard & all-around smart guy that Mr. Minix is, he's prepared for this by setting up backup site [electoral-vote3.com] (just increment the number if it's down).

Mostly, I can wait to see how Linus is inspired by this project, writes his own version and then invites the global electoral community to help him make it even better. Take that! (j/k)

Re:Amazing (1, Funny)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685820)

That's funny because, as I write this, I'm waiting and waiting and waiting.... the page is NOT coming up.

Thank you Anerew. (2, Interesting)

macrealist (673411) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685783)

If you haven't visited the Current Electoral Vote Predictor site, give it a try. The site is very interesting and his daily updates of the polls in each state is very interesting. The comments in his "News from the Votemaster" might infuriate the conservative third, but are usually insightful, and not pretended to be balanced.

I posted this (-1, Offtopic)

waffffffle (740489) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685803)

My first slashdot news contribution, but I missed out. Someone else got to it first. Oh well.

Dammit!! (2, Funny)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685807)

I was about to check the site when it died and I thought to myself "I bet someone has gone and posted this on /."... sure enough -_-

Other servers (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685810)

Try
http://www.electoral-vote2.com/ ...
http://www.electoral-vote6.com/

Result:
Kerry 298
Bush 231

Mirrors! (1)

Chetchez (313249) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685814)

He also had has:
www.electoral-vote3.com, www.electoral-vote4.com, www.electoral-vote5.com, and www.electoral-vote6.com

Looks like he's ready for 500-1000 hits/sec - Bring it!

DR. INSULTS A VOL. (1)

phil42 (24711) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685821)

also see:

http://www.eff.org/Net_culture/Folklore/Humor/an ag rams_for_iway.topten

A fantiastic site but its usefulness is ending (3, Insightful)

KE1LR (206175) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685829)

This site has been a fascinating read all summer long and Andrew has done an amazing job. As he predicted, I was surprised that such a highly respected and well-known CS person was behind it, I was expecting a team of grad students and/or an egghead professor of statistics or political science from the Midwest. :-)

It was very enlightening to follow along as things went back and forth (with a sprinkling of DoS attacks on the site) and the Votemaster's analysis was always a good read. Kudos to him for a job well done.

Now, for all of the US citizens out there, go vote.

High turnout (4, Interesting)

suso (153703) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685853)

I just voted this morning and there has apperently been high early voter turnout for the past few weeks. I'm almost more curious to see how high of a voter turnout there will be. If it hits 81.8% or higher, it will be the highest since 1860. [suso.org]

Re:High turnout (1)

tokenhillbilly (311564) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685944)

Does that mean if it hits 81.8%, the 49.99% who voted for the loser will seceed from the union and start a civil war? Now that option on the /. poll makes sense.

Re:High turnout (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685956)

You're talking about an increase of over sixty million voters over last year. To say the least, that's unlikely. A 60% turnout is probably a slightly more attainable goal.

/. it and all its children (1)

narsiman (67024) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685876)

The site and all its hyperlinks have been /.ted. Thats a new beginning I guess.

Thanks.

Similar project (3, Informative)

wytcld (179112) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685883)

There are several similar sites using slightly different formulas. Another good one is here [umn.edu].

Yawn... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685914)

Another 'privileged minority' (AKA Jew) publicly strokes his own ego.

andy is a commie (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685925)

He mentions 52% tax rate as it is a good thing and that is why schooling is cheap. It's funny how "smart" people like andy lack the knowledge that a not so smart average person can gain by reading the right stuff. andy has no clue about economics and capitalism. Where would europe be if it werent for the capitalist engine in the USA that drove all the technology and progress during the 20th century. He is right about america getting worse all the time. But there is a direct relationship between things getting bad and taxes and the redistribution of wealth going up... want to make things better? let the productive human beings keep their money and reduce taxation, or better yet get rid of all of it.

Hey Linus - you won! (5, Funny)

rfinnvik (16122) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685939)

http://www.electoral-vote.com was running Apache on Linux when last queried at 1-Nov-2004 15:33:26 GMT :)

Intellectually honest? (5, Insightful)

slykens (85844) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685961)

I've followed this guy's site for the last few months and I think he has recently developed a problem with his intellectual honesty.

He is an unabashed Kerry supporter, not in and of itself a bad thing, but he is discarding poll results favorable to the President in order to show a Kerry victory. For example he claims to have averaged recent polls in Florida but a Quinnipiac poll from 10/27 thru 10/31 shows an EIGHT point Bush lead. How he ends up with a 2 point Kerry advantage with that in the average I don't know.

Today is his worst showing yet, in my opinion, and he may be indirectly helping the President. If Kerry supporters believe their man is going to win and win big then voters who are not as committed may not show up to vote.

Remember Karl Rove asking where the FOUR MILLION evangelicals were in 2000? If people think their man will win regardless of their vote then fewer people will make the effort to vote and strange things can happen.

It's been a long time coming (-1, Flamebait)

Wind_Walker (83965) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685964)

I've been waiting a long time for this... it was done a few days ago with minor alterations, but here we go...

FOURTY MORE HOURS!
FOURTY MORE HOURS!
FOURTY MORE HOURS!
FOURTY MORE HOURS!
FOURTY MORE HOURS!

oh ho ho ho... (0, Offtopic)

Valar (167606) | more than 9 years ago | (#10685969)

Bet you're wishing you went with that macrokernel now, eh?

Ok, so actually the site is running Linux/Apache/mod_php.

If Tanenbaum is the Votemaster... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685972)

If Tanenbaum is the Votemaster, who is the Ballotkeeper?

okay, everybody back to the other one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685991)

i find this hilarious... since everyone's been heading to the backups, the load on the main site has decreased a whole lot. it's loading pretty quickly. thanks guys! =P

Andy I know of, who's the other guy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10685998)

the votemaster, is none other than Andrew Tanenbaum, noted author of numerous CS books." He's also known for a little discussion with someone named Linus Torvalds.

Who the hell is this Linus, and why would you need to explain to computer people Andrew Tanenbaum?

Signed Charlie Daemon

Electoral College is Obsolete (5, Funny)

jaylee7877 (665673) | more than 9 years ago | (#10686001)

I was in the U.S. for a couple of weeks, so I haven't commented much on ELECTORAL COLLEGE (not that I would have said much had I been around), but for what it is worth, I have a couple of comments now.

As a result of my occupation, I think I know a bit about where politics are going in the next decade or so. Two aspects stand out:

1. MICROPOLITICS VS MONOLITHIC ELECTORAL SYSTEM

Most states are Monolithic Electoral Systems. Votes are tallied in each state and the winner of each state recieves all of the electoral votes for that state. Even if 49.9% of voters are for candidate #2, the 50.1% for candidate #1 means he gets all of the state's electoral votes.

While I could go into a long story here about the relative merits of the two designs, suffice it to say that among the people who actually are in politics, the debate is essentially over. Micropolitics have won.

The only real argument for monolithic electoral systems was performance, and there is now enough evidence showing that micropolitics systems can be just as fast as monolithic electoral systems systems (e.g., Florida 2000 never would have happened if we would have just counted up every American's vote and the candidate with the greatest percent over 40% would win) that it is now all over but the shoutin'.

2. Portability

The Micropolitical Voting system was made to be portable to other future democracies such as Iraq, Afghanistan and has proven that it is scalable to nation states as large as China and India, the Monolithic electoral system would involve much more work in creating districts, states, commonwealths, etc. to the point that it is really not worth porting and would need to be started from scratch.

Don't get me wrong, I am not unhappy with the Electoral System. It will get all the people who want to turn Micropolitics into a true democracy off my back. But in all honesty, I would suggest that people who want a **MODERN** "free" nation look around for a micropolitical-based, portable political system.
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