**Bad cases make bad laws**

With the recent assertion by SCO's chief counsel that `The GPL is invalid' based on an clearly absurd interpretation of copyright law, their case has completely severed what few strands of credibility it once possessed. Some people still argue that this is an important lawsuit, because of the possibility of related actions. This is to neglect the useful lawyer's maxim that bad cases make bad law. I don't think that significant precedents on IP will come from this farce, and the only non-prurient interest I see left is to understand why a well-regarded law firm like Boies, Schiller and Flexner has let its reputation be abused in this way.

**Voting machines**

Bram argued in his
13th August diary entry against the accuracy of electronic
voting machines: in my last post, I tacitly made the assumption that if
electronic voting systems are ever deployed, they will perform
better than mechanical systems under normal circumstances. I
realise that there are grounds to believe this an optimistic
assumption; still it is important to bear in mind how bad mechanical
systems are: apparently almost 1 in 30 votes is miscast or ignored.
Also, there is no reason why electronic voting should not
create a paper trail, although, I agree, most current proposals
do not.

**Bram's minefield**

In Bram's
6th August entry Bram introduces a `game' played over ZFC:
even in the simplified case of large cardinal axioms (LCAs),
there may be no fact of the matter of which is stronger: if you look
at the diagram of important LCAs in Kanamori's "The Higher Infinite", they
form a partial order, not a linear order (I don't know whether this reflects
known independence results or just ignorance). I do think as a kind
of thought experiment, your exercise is illuminating; I like
to think about how different mathematical pholosophy might be
if results came to known in different order, might we regard
a much weaker or stronger set theory as the default?

**The Knight's Tour I**

First in a series of posts on a combinatoric problem. A knights
tour of an *MxN* chessboard is a sequence of squares of the
board, where there is a valid knight's
moves between each square and its successor, and where each square
of the chessboard occurs exactly once. The
tour is closed if its first square can be reached from its last.
Can you prove that there are no solutions for *2x2*,
*3x3*, and *4x4* boards, or closed solutions for the *5x5* board?

**Erratum**: The original version of this entry asked to prove there are no solutions to 5x5 boards, which is false: there are solutions, only no closed solutions.