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> trail is also out of the question.  It has oft been publicly 
> argued that "we trust computers to fly airplanes, so why 
> can't we trust them to count votes?", 

Every airplane I've ever (trusted and) flown on, has a human pilot in the
loop; in fact two usually.  I don't think commercial aircraft ever take off
or land "no hands".  We only trust computers to fly our airplanes with miles
of open space on all six sides, in cruise-control mode, and even then, a
human pilot is always less than seconds away from regaining full control;
the cockpit is never empty.  So that analogy just "doesn't fly".

> -----------------    Commence Original Message    -----------------
> Whole article at
> http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1107_2-5148988.html?tag=zdfd.newsfeed
> "... the technology on Mars looks awfully like that on your 
> desk--a general
> purpose, standards-based platform like many others running a 
> commercial
> operating system doing custom tasks."
> Relating the problem to previous problems years before with 
> Pathfinder, a
> spokesperson said, "the bug wasn't in their code, but was dependent on
> abstruse aspects of the way the operating system worked. 
> Linked to that, the
> mission engineers had to have an extraordinary knowledge of 
> the guts of the
> operating system. As a report after the event said: 'A good 
> lesson when you
> fly COTS [commercial off-the-shelf] stuff--make sure you know how it
> works.'" 
> [Also other instructive one focuses on FLASH memory at
> http://spaceflightnow.com/mars/mera/040126spirit.html.]
> --
> Pete Klammer / ACM(1970), IEEE, ICCP(CCP), NSPE(PE), NACSE(NSNE)
>     3200 Routt Street / Wheat Ridge, Colorado 80033-5452
>   (303)233-9485 / Fax:(303)274-6182 / Mailto:PKlammer@ACM.org
>  Idealism may not win every contest, but that's not what I 
> choose it for!