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Will Ransomware Threaten Municipal Election Security?

Lucas Ropek put up a moderately long piece on Governing last week on the threat of ransomware attacks on state and local government websites, and the specific threat such attacks may pose for elections. Ransomware comes from the world of cryptovirology, the use of cryptography to design troublesome and powerful software that can create “trapdoor” […]

The Indelible Influence of Asimov: Apple’s Streaming Service Debuts Foundation

It has inspired innovations in sociology and psychology. It has sparked the imagination of liberals like Paul Krugman and conservatives like Newt Gingrich. It even shares credit (or blame) for some of Elon Musk’s innovations. Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series is, arguably, one of the most influential literary creations in history. And now, it’s finally going […]

The Impact of Ancient Encryption

Communication is an essential part of humanity, and, presumably, we need to be honest in most of our communicative acts in order for society to function. Yet, dishonest communication has often been a driver of history, and systemic communicative dishonesty — like encryption and cryptography — has been around for millennia. In fact, the development […]

Sci-Fi Pets Roundup

In Poor Richard’s Almanack, Benjamin Franklin includes dogs in his list of essentials for a good life. “There are,” he writes, “three faithful friends: an old wife, an old dog, and ready money.” In many science fiction scenarios, spouses and money are in short supply, but pets — either of a traditional earthling or exotic […]

Furry, Feathered or Otherwise Non-Human Electoral Candidates in Fact and Fiction

Humans have been imagining non-human animals as human for at least 40,000 years and probably longer. The “Lion-Human” of Hohlenstein-Stadel cave in Germany is 32,000 years old. We have invented non-human beings who stand for human traits, and anthropomorphized imaginary animals. We have even integrated non-human animals into human activities (think of all the driving […]

Robots May Gain The Right to Vote, But Can They Electioneer?

This is not about the potential of Android phones to facilitate voting. It’s about whether the other kind of android⁠—the artificially intelligent robot type⁠—would not only have the abstract right to vote, but would have the potential to be a full participant in the electoral process. To “electioneer” means to actively participate in campaigning (or […]