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2015 Federal Election
#1
You can tell the writ is about to drop when Ottawa starts tossing vast amounts of briberymoney around the region. Three cases in point... 

UW to build massive computer server farm 
Quote:The University of Waterloo will use its share of a $30-million federal grant to install 11,000 servers in a former BlackBerry building as part of a huge increase in the computational power of a national computer research network.

Kitchener-Waterloo MP Peter Braid announced Thursday that UW, the University of Toronto, the University of Victoria and Simon Fraser University will share equally in $30 million in funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Federal funds launch new program to help university grads find jobs 
Quote:University graduates unable to find work could benefit from a new program at The Working Centre in Kitchener.

It's designed to match recent arts graduates who haven't been able to find a job in their chosen field of study with work in Waterloo Region's tech sector.

Now, there may not seem to be much common ground between the arts and technology fields at first glance.

But the program intends to support students in finding a six-month paid internship in such occupations as technical writer, marketing analyst and communications in the science, technology, engineering and math sectors.

"No tech industry can survive without appropriate support from non-tech people," Kitchener Centre MP Stephen Woodworth said Wednesday in announcing a $210,675 federal investment in the project.

Ottawa, Queen’s Park to announce Toyota investments 
Quote:The federal government will announce a multimillion dollar investment in Toyota’s Ontario manufacturing plants Friday, an announcement that was moved up ahead of the expected election call this weekend.

Conservative MP Gary Goodyear, the federal minister of state who oversees economic development initiatives in southern Ontario, will make the announcement Friday.
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#2
It certainly feels a rather lot like the "give little bits of money to lots of different things" that the Conservatives were lambasting the Liberals for back in 2006.
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#3
(07-30-2015, 05:19 PM)ookpik Wrote: You can tell the writ is about to drop...

Writs are drawn up, not dropped.

Steve Paikin to the rescue!  I didn't know this until last year's provincial election.
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#4
Dropping the writ 
Quote:The phrase "drop the writ" is a debased form of the phrase "draw up the writ", and is still considered stylistically inappropriate in some contexts. For example, in 2005, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation circulated a memorandum on style, directing its journalists not to use the phrase. However, it is commonly used, and has passed into the vernacular.

And yet several years later even the CBC couldn't follow their own stylistic rules. Writ drop marks campaign's official kickoff 
Quote:For weeks now, the phrase "drop the writ" has been popping up in election stories. But what exactly is the writ and why is it being dropped?...

York University political science professor Bob Drummond said writ-dropping day is something every political junkie looks forward to as the campaigns officially kicks off. "I’m not sure why they use ‘dropping the writ,’ where that came from but it’s a catchall term for the beginning of the election," he said.
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#5
Yeah, it's a pretty simple linguistic corruption:
drawn up
drawnup
draw'up
drawp
drop

And then we all forget that it was ever "drawn", and suddenly we have this cultural momentum that forms around the mental image of something physically dropping.
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#6
(07-31-2015, 01:03 AM)Markster Wrote: Yeah, it's a pretty simple linguistic corruption...

It's one of many. It's a natural evolution of language.

Quote:And then we all forget that it was ever "drawn", and suddenly we have this cultural momentum that forms around the mental image of something physically dropping.

And what's wrong with that? There's a long historical tradition of dropping a flag to start a race so "dropping" a writ to start an election race is actually quite evocative. 

I do appreciate Pakin's point that the original term was to draw up a writ. This bastardization of the term is far better than the grating use of, say, "should of" for the correct "should have."

In any case, let the campaign begin...
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#7
(07-31-2015, 08:51 AM)ookpik Wrote: And what's wrong with that?
Absolutely nothing!
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#8
Until the last three posts, I had never associated "dropping the writ" with physically dropping something. Now I won't be able to get it out of my head!
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#9
(07-31-2015, 10:27 AM)panamaniac Wrote: Until the last three posts, I had never associated "dropping the writ" with physically dropping something.  Now I won't be able to get it out of my head!

I picture the writs being dropped in the same fashion that one does a mic drop.
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#10
(07-31-2015, 10:27 AM)panamaniac Wrote: Until the last three posts, I had never associated "dropping the writ" with physically dropping something.  Now I won't be able to get it out of my head!

So the penny finally dropped -- without anyone having to drop a dime on you Wink
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#11
So advance polling is open this weekend! Get out there and vote.

I did but the polling station I went to must have still been figuring things out, because they were only processing about 60-90 PPH max. I got there 10 minutes before opening and still waited over 20 minutes. This should be a 15-seconds per person tops kinda thing.
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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#12
(10-10-2015, 02:27 PM)Canard Wrote: I did but the polling station I went to must have still been figuring things out, because they were only processing about 60-90 PPH max.  I got there 10 minutes before opening and still waited over 20 minutes.  This should be a 15-seconds per person tops kinda thing.

According to Dr Google advance polls have been moving slowly across the land, e.g. 
Long lines slow Winnipeg voters on 1st day of advance polls
Advance polls: long waits and a protest clown [Montréal]
LETTER: ADVANCE POLLING DELAYS ARE AN AFFRONT TO DEMOCRACY [Ottawa]
Advance polls slow [Owen Sound]
Uxbridge advance polls are slow ahead of election day

The good news is that at least some of this is due to the large number of people who are showing up to vote. That bodes well for those who want to see a change in government. OTOH there are reports that the slowness is in part the result of the "reforms" in Steve's Unfair Elections Act.

Added... Some news reports attribute slowness at the advance polls to the requirement that voters must complete registration forms in writing. Apparently Elections Canada can't use the details they already have in the database that produced the poll notification cards they mailed out a couple of weeks ago to pre-fill the registration forms (or do with the registration forms altogether.) Welcome to the 21st century in voting technology.
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#13
Yeah - I witnessed this today. Part of the 1-1.5 minutes it took per person to vote was that the clerk first had to locate my name on a list, stroke it off, and then had to copy down all the information from the voter card onto some kind of form or log book (which I then signed). This had to be done for every single voter.

Why can't they just buy a couple thousand iPads and use the Touch ID pad, you just touch that, press one button for who you want to vote for and you're done in 3 seconds? Or (gasp!) vote online??? It's frickin' 2015.

I spend a lot of my vacations at theme parks and over the past 20 years have spent hundreds if not thousands of hours in queue lines watching operations and studying inefficiencies in real life, and it drives me absolutely bonkers to see just how bad and embarrassingly ancient this process was/still is.
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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#14
I profess software engineering. I don't trust software with something as important as an election. The problem is that if there is no audit trail, it is really easy to steal an election and no one would know. People have thought about this problem a lot.

The cities do have voting machines which leave an audit trail. They're fine.

It is not the voting itself that takes a lot of time. It is the paperwork leading up to the vote.
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#15
(10-10-2015, 04:28 PM)Canard Wrote: Why can't they just buy a couple thousand iPads and use the Touch ID pad, you just touch that, press one button for who you want to vote for and you're done in 3 seconds?  Or (gasp!) vote online???  It's frickin' 2015.

Because it cannot be done securely with current technology. Period. End of story.

Anybody who argues otherwise either is not a security expert or is trying to sell voting machines.

It may be possible with future technology, but personally I doubt it. The reasons it cannot be done securely now aren’t things like insufficient storage space or processor power that might reasonably be expected to get better with time; instead, there is a fundamental conflict between the requirement for a secret ballot and the requirement for auditability. The usual comparison you may have heard with banking security is completely invalid because in banking transactions are not secret. In case it’s not clear, when I say it’s “completely invalid”, you may take that as an accusation of dishonesty or incompetence against anybody advancing the argument — either the person is lying, or they are falsely presenting themselves as implicitly knowledgeable in computer security.

I myself am not a computer security expert, but I know enough about the subject to know what I know and don’t know.

The real fix to long lines is simply to provide sufficient resources, or to change the way the process is organized. It just now occurred to me that it could work to make an appointment online to vote, then show up at the appointed time. The system could manage the appointments so there is essentially no waiting time at the polling place. I don’t believe there is any serious fundamental security problem with using computers to book a time to vote. This would also provide knowledge ahead of time that certain times were popular, which could allow provisioning additional resources only when needed.
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