Friday, October 3, 2008

Static Electricity for McCain '08!

Here's a charming story which should set every voter's mind at ease for this upcoming presidential election. At a recent local election in Washington D.C., conducted using electronic voting machines, 1500 votes appeared from nowhere. This isn't the first time a voting machine has done something screwy with election results. But what is unique is what's being fingered as the cause: static electricity. Yep. That pop you get when you tough a door knob is somehow responsible for creating 1500 new votes. A D.C. council member, Jack Evans, said, "You mean if I'm rubbing my shoes on the way to vote, I'm going to upset the entire voting process in the District of Columbia and then the nation? I hope not so. I hope we can get this thing straightened out." So do we all, Jack. As a computer scientist and obnoxious jerk, I can tell you that static discharge is a pretty unlikely explanation. When was the last time you touched your computer, felt a static electricity pop, and then noticed you had 1500 new Word documents on your hard drive which described recipes for walnut brownies? But just in case it's true, please don't accidentally create a new science blog by discharging static into the screen. We can't take the competition. Read more here.

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