Astronaut Or Astronot: Nobody Won (This Week)

Another week, another round of Astronaut or Astronot, the little lottery thing where we try to give away some fairly expensive tools to a random person on hackaday.io if they have voted for The Hackaday Prize. You should vote. Go here and do that.

This week, the random hacker selected was [oscar6ojeda], but he did not vote. This means he doesn’t get a huge bench power supply. Oh well. I’ll send him a t-shirt and a few stickers. That’s fair compensation for doing nothing, right?

We’re doing the same thing next week, so go here and vote. Voting in previous rounds doesn’t count, so you’ll only win the supply if you vote for The Hackaday Prize project with the most outrageous component.

Cosmonaut Or Taikonot: Vote For The Most Outrageous Component

We have a new round of Astronaut or Astronot, the little community voting thing we’re doing for The Hackaday Prize. Why should you care? Because tomorrow (Friday, 10:00 AM Eastern) we’re doing a voters lottery. We’re selecting a random person on hackaday.io, and if that person has voted, they win a pretty awesome bench power supply.

Why are we telling you this now? Because voting in previous rounds doesn’t count for this round. If you want to nab a power supply, you need to vote. We previously gave away an awesome scope, and a very cool 3D printer to a random person on hackaday.io. Judging from previous rounds, I’d guess the odds of us giving away the supply this week are pretty good, but I’m not doing those maths right now. I’ll post a video of the drawing tomorrow around 10:30 Eastern.

Community Weigh-In for Sci-Fi Contest

sci-fi-community-weigh-in

The entry period for the Sci-Fi Contest ended at mid-night yesterday morning. Now’s the time to weigh-in as ten prizes will be awarded based on the community outpouring for the project. Go check out all of the projects that were entered and register your opinion through “Follow Project” and/or “Give a Skull” buttons.

We’re hoping to announce judging decisions for the contest on Thursday, May 8th.

Our first election hack that doesn’t involve e-ballots

Because some of Hackaday’s readers aren’t from America, let us fill you in on the US election process from the point of view as a voter. Over the next few weeks, political campaigns will dump millions of dollars into advertising, get-out-the-vote and canvassing efforts across the country. The airwaves will broadcast still more ads and political analyses until November 6th, when voters will go to the polls and pull the lever for whoever earned their vote back in July.

Despite how effectively public opinion can be swayed, there are still a lot of problems with the election process in the United States. A first-past-the-post, winner take all system guarantees there will only ever be two realistic choices for voters, but a group of philosophy students (and teachers) may have a solution to this problem.

The idea is fairly simple, really: take dissatisfied members of one party and match them up with dissatisfied members of another party. Normally, these voters would be inclined to vote the party line and not their conscience, for fear of throwing their vote away. After matching these voters up, they make a gentleman’s agreement with each other (either with a handshake or by mailing in their ballots together) to not vote the party line. The balance of power between (D)s and (R)s remains, but third-party candidates get a much-needed shot in the arm.

It’s an interesting idea with far more potential to effect some change than the numerous e-voting hacks that will pop up after the election. Sure, it may not be as effective as other voting systems such as the Condorcet method, but save for elected officials abdicating powers granted to them, this might be the best shot we’ve got.

Voting insecurities

UCSB researchers demonstrated how disturbingly easy it is to hack into Sequoia’s e-voting systems and delete or add votes with little more than a USB key. Given the fact that recent elections have been very close, and this upcoming national one looks also to be decided by a close margin, it’s absolutely inexcusable that our voting systems could be so easily rigged. Not only that, Sequoia has fought hard against having its equipment tested and verified independently. Can we really afford to be using such insecure machines in democratic elections, when the risk of abuse is so great?

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