Archive for October 6th, 2002

Latin America: Lula ahead but may not have enough…..yet. Diebold/Procomp machines used by all voters

October 6, 2002

Lula Da Silva appears to have garnered 49% of the vote, a resounding victory for the presidency of Brazil even if it is not enough for him to win it in the first round. A runoff election against Jose Serra will be necessary. Seems like he will surely win that second round as Mr. Serra has receieved only 20% of the vote, followed closely by the other two candidates.As usual people in Rio de Janeiro used this as an excuse to party.

Speaking of which, while both the US and Venezuela have problems counting votes, Brazil uses 406,000 voting machines made by Procomp, a Diebold subsidiary. Diebold bought Brazilian Procomp in 1999 and this is not the first time that the machines are succesfully used. The exact results will be known tonight due to the automation process

(Disclosure: The company I work for has a joint venture with Diebold but not on election machines)

Garbage Science or is the sun going to explode

October 6, 2002

Was a little concerned when I read this article on Yahoo about the fact that the sun’s temperature is going up significantly and some scientist from Holland named Piers Van der Meer saying the sun may go supernova in six years. From my perspective this would be, to say the least, undesirable. However, Google solves the probelm quickly when I found this more reliable source, from Cornell saying that Dr. Van der Meer is not an author of any papers on astromony and better yet, our sun does not ahve the mass required for a supernova. There is also no mention of the good Dr. on the European Space Agency website and no news on the SOHO website. You would think the sun exploding in six years would rate at least a press release, no? It would make important science even if it reveals no new novel physics.

Latin America: Lula Da Silva and Hugo Chavez: Left-wing but very different

October 6, 2002

Today elections will take place in Brazil and one of the specters being raised by the possibility of a victory by left-wing candidate Lula Da Silva is that somehow there will be a new alliance between Hugo Chavez and Lula which will destabilize the region. I do not belive in this. Lula Da Silva and Hugo Chavez are very different. Chavez is a self-centered, egotitistic and militaristic  incompetent who does not believe in democracy and thinks that he is the only one that has the truth. Lula, on the other hand, is not a newcomer to politics and knows that you have to negotiate in a democracy. In fact perhaps the differences between the two are best described by Lula himself in an interview:

“Chavez has a little more than 40 years. His background is military. He is not a politician in the essence of the word. Venezuela does not have progressive parties, nor unions nor a progressice church like the Brazilian one. It is a state with fragile institutions, where the oil company can overthrow the President. When I was with Chavez I had the opportunity of giving him advice: You have to talk to everyone….You need a channel of communication with society and reestablish calm to be able to execute the policies that you want. You have no alternative, you have to negotiate with society, with the private sector and even with those that are the harshest with you, with the owners of TV stations, with the owners of newspappers, in order to govern the country. Nobody can live with everyday tension…That is not my style, I am a negotiator. I have done that all my life : reaching agreements, negotaiting. The same will not happen here because even when someone does not want to talk with me , I will do the utmost to talk.”