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Journal: The Kevlar Kandidate Gets Some Help 21

Journal by damn_registrars
Scott Walker has been trying to get reelected, in spite of driving his state's economy straight into the shitter. If you are undecided as to whether or not his policies work, just compare his state to Minnesota. One state has seen meaningful economic recovery under a liberal governor, another state has been watching everything crumble under the leadership of a conservative governor. Walker is in need of some help, so the GOP sent some top brass to one of his rallies :

"It's not going to be an easy election, it's a close election. Like I said, much closer than I can even understand why. I don't want to say anything about your Wisconsin voters but, some of them might not be as sharp as a knife."

... certainly, calling voters stupid will give Walker the help he needs.

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Journal: found the breach in my network... 1

Journal by kesuki

So i don't control everything that happens on my network and i had people besides me able to install programs. well i found the culprit and my network was compromised 2 months ago. i have since closed the hole (allowing other people to install software) at least on my network. checking logs to see if the scan caught the files already and quarantined the file or if i have to reinstall windows.

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Journal: On posting anonymously 14

Journal by squiggleslash opposed to pseudonymously.

I'm finding it easier to post 100% honestly when I post AC on at least one subject at the moment. Why? Well, because if I post pseudonymously then I risk inflaming the wrath of an extremely nutty group, and I really don't have the time or patience or stomach for the kind of harassment I'd expect if I piss that group off.

I say this because it's a counterpoint to some of the stuff that's been said recently, especially in response to, for example, GamerGate and related Tech Sexism controversies, where many are of the opinion that anonymity has little value, encouraging the lowest forms of life to crawl out and make terrible attacks (such as death threats) without fearing the repercussions.

I have some sympathy with the position, but I also think linking identities to comments can severely limit people's ability to comment on things that genuinely bother them when there's a degree of mob like behavior by some on the opposing side of the issue in question.

Accountability is a force of moderation, but accountability cannot be the only means by which commentary is moderated, merely a significant but not insurmountable factor.

Update: This seems relevant ;-)

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Journal: Random Scribblings 1

Journal by mcgrew

While I'm waiting for the corrected copy of Mars, Ho! to show up I've been working on another, Random Scribblings. It's a compilation of garbage I've littered the internet with for almost twenty years.

I'm having problems, though. There is a lot of stuff I've written that just doesn't exist any more, like my "Weak End Hell Hole" column I wrote for Arcadia. I can't find Arcadia at at all and saved none of the columns. There's stuff I could have sworn I'd saved but can't find on my hard drives.

But there's stuff I don't even remember. I do remember that I wrote 17 front page stories at K5 a decade ago, but I don't remember what they all were.

If you've been reading my stuff for years and have a favorite article, let me know and I'll put it in the book. That is, if I can find it.

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Journal: Number Two 5

Journal by mcgrew

The first printed copy of Mars, Ho! came a couple of weeks ago, and I've gone through it marking it up five times. This morning I made the changes in the version on my computer and ordered a corrected copy. I'll have it in about ten days.

I'm hopeful I'll be satisfied with it. There were actually few changes and most were minor, like a missing opening quote and end smart single quotes where apostrophes should have been.

The cover was hosed. Damned Microsoft. I'd exported a high resolution cover from GIMP to JPG, and loaded it into Windows Paint since GIMP's handling of text is primitive and frustrating.

What came out of Paint looked fine on the screen, but printed it was a pixellated mess. So I used Lulu's also frustrating cover generator to add the title and author. This one should be okay.

I'm trying hard to get it done in time for Christmas, but I want it to be right. I'm still hopeful.

I had planned on only fans being able to get printed copies, but as Benjie said, "the best laid plans of mice..."

I tried to go to the "private" URL on my phone and got a 404. All the ways I can think of to alleviate this involve too much work and hassle and possible cash outlays. So I guess anybody will be able to get it from my site or at Lulu, but only the eBook will be on Amazon.

Site stats have been fascinating and puzzling me. I'm getting more visitors from Russia than anywhere, and they're coming from Russian language sites. Strange. Quite a few from the Ukraine, as well, they're #3 in the list of countries right behind the US. A few are coming from game sites, and some from porn sites. Weird.

In any case, I guess I'm on vacation for a week or two until the next copy shows up on my porch.


Journal: Credit where credit is due 7

Journal by damn_registrars
I must admit, Smitty, when you give up on an argument you really give up on an argument. You don't just walk away, you turn up a distraction to 11 and rock out with it until the rest of the band has all gone home. Then after the band has left and someone comes in to tune the piano for a completely different genre of music you are still thrashing on your distraction as if the party was still at its peak. I guess this might explain your hearing loss... and come to think of it it might explain some other things, too.
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Journal: I'm sure this makes sense to someone 6

Journal by damn_registrars
I'm getting the "excessive bad posting from this subnet" message when I attempt to post from work (but not from home). My karma is still excellent (indeed I even get the "karma bonus" checkbox choice when writing from work). This disables me "temporarily" from posting from work.

Oh well I should probably post less from work anyways. Being as I don't click on the conservative advertising on slashdot they aren't making any money from me reading their site right now either.
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Journal: Scientist says white is black 18

Journal by mcgrew

The British rag The Daily Mail has been coming up in Google News with the above linked story.

It is incredibly faulty; it's propaganda. The headline screams "The terrible truth about cannabis: Expert's devastating 20-year study finally demolishes claims that smoking pot is harmless".

In the first place, no drug is harmless. Few things in existence are completely harmless, in fact. Even something necessary for life, like water, can be dangerous. Unlike marijuana, you can actually overdose on water. People have died from drinking too much water, nobody has died from smoking too much pot.

"Is pot harmless?" is not only the wrong question, it's a stupid question. So lets look at this fellow's "20 year study" and at the fellow's credentials.

Is he a neuroscientist? Biochemist? Physician?

No. Wikipedia says that Wayne Denis Hall a psychologist. As such, he's no more qualified to study the dangers of drugs than I am. Lets look at the claims, with the most stupid first, that the Mail repeats..

"If cannabis is not addictive then neither is heroin or alcohol."

This is just not incorrect, it's WRONG and irresponsible. Apparently Professor Hall has never seen an alcoholic going through withdrawal, but I have. It's horrible; the addict goes through not just psychological terror, seeing snakes and spiders on them, it is physically painful and can cause seizures. Withdrawal from heroin or alcohol can be fatal.

Marijuana's "addiction" is psychological only; unlike heroin, alcohol, or coffee, there are no physical withdrawal effects. Marijuana is more like orange juice than alcohol. Get drunk every day for a year and quit and you could die.

Get stoned while drinking orange juice every night, and when it's gone quitting both will be similar, although you'll miss pot more.

If pot is as addictive as heroin, why don't potheads steal to support their habits, like almost all heroin addicts do?

The world has too many drug addicts as it is, and statements like these from a scientist will lead people to believe that heroin and cocaine are as harmless as marijuana.

One in six teenagers who regularly smoke the drug become dependent on it

That's likely true. Marijuana is, in fact, dangerous to teens. It has been shown to interrupt the development of the adolescent brain. Kids shouldn't smoke pot, but unfortunately it's easier for a teenager to get pot than it is for an adult. And every pot smoker I know who started as a kid is in poverty. Kids, stay away from it until you're 19 or preferably older.

We can dismiss adolescent pot use, it is obviously harmful.

Cannabis doubles the risk of developing psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia

Yes, there is a correlation between mental illness and all psychoactive drugs, but the causation goes the other way. There were schizophrenic kids in my neighborhood when I grew up, all were obviously batshit insane, and all wound up on drugs later.

One in ten adults who regularly smoke the drug become dependent on it and those who use it are more likely to go on to use harder drugs

Again, the "dependance" is little worse than orange juice and nowhere near as bad as coffee. As to leading to harder drugs, this is the fault of prohibition. "Got any weed, man?"

"No, I'm out. Want some coke?"

This problem goes away with legalization, as Colorado has shown.

Driving after smoking cannabis doubles the risk of a car crash, a risk which increases substantially if the driver has also had a drink

Well, duh. I grin at the "increases substantially if the driver has also had a drink".

I'll also note that unlike drinking, when you're high you don't WANT to drive a car. You're far less likely to get behind the wheel after a couple of joints than after a couple of shots of whiskey.

He also states that taking the drug while pregnant can reduce the weight of a baby, and long-term use raises the risk of cancer, bronchitis and heart attack.

Smoking anything does increase the danger of various lung diseases, but a study a few years ago baffled the researchers who did the study; the results were the opposite of what they expected. They studied four groups of geezers -- long term pot smokers, cigarette smokers, people who smoked both and nonsmokers.

They expected twice the cancers in pot smokers than nonsmokers and twice the cancers in smokers of both than cigarettes alone. However, the data showed that pot smokers actually had fewer cancers than nonsmokers (although statistically insignificant) and smokers of both had half the cancers than those who only smoked cigarettes.

Rather than causing cancer, pot may actually prevent it.

This sort of sensationalist bullshit is why so many people distrust science. This fellow is a psychologist who mostly studies adolescents. Yes, kids and pregnant women shouldn't smoke pot, or anything else. But we should legalize it for adults, partly to keep it out of kids' hands.

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Journal: post compromize help please 2

Journal by kesuki

so since all my machines were compromised, i need to know what is the best solution for this problem. our wifi has a good router with firewall, but was unable to stop the infection of my systems.

the router is i believe linux based. is smoothwall still the best firewall? or should i roll my own using a BSD? which hardware makes the best firewall, should i install freebsd or linux to it.

which anti virus/anti malware/anti root kit is most reccomended. i am making it so no one but me can install software to the windows machines but even my home dir on linux was hacked. is there a good tut for rolling linux on my own and use clamtk and firefox as a secondary scan for usb sticks etc.

norton was useless at stopping the infection. only one windows machine had it's files overwritten and thus that was the only one to be factory reset. how about intrusion detection with the add on firewall? i use bittorrent for linux i am not real big on jigdo and debian because it is not 'easy' to do yet. i can follow step by stem guides but that is painful so please only give me better links than simple googling...

It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal: Well played (again), friend

Journal by damn_registrars
My dear friend decided to keep the verbiage to a minimum today with this short joke. Some of his jokes are subtle, but this one is a cream pie right in the face. Thank you, friend, my week was getting a bit long and needed something to break up the monotony.
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Journal: Jason Bourne fantasies of the far-right 1

Journal by damn_registrars
Google news suggested this news story to me this morning: George Zimmerman thinks he's Jason Bourne . I can say it is as well sourced as most of the conspiracy theories that are posted as political news here on slashdot so it should fit right in.

Actually, it cites an article from talking points memo , which itself cites an interview from GQ , so this is actually (at least) several orders of magnitude better rooted in reality than most of the conspiracies we see here.
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Journal: Watch your language, young man!

Journal by mcgrew

Please excuse me, but I'm inebriated. Blame typos on beer and reefer, without which this story probably wouldn't have been written.

Sober edit: this journal is also here where the unicode works properly. Who would have thought a one year old could kick a teenager's ass?
        âoeWild Bill! Damn, what a surprise! Why didn't you call?â
        âoeBecause then it wouldn't have been a surprise! Give me a Newcastle, I haven't had a beer in nine months! How've you been, you old pirate killer?â
        âoeI'm doing great, just graduated business school two months ago. The bar is doing real good, and Destiny and her team have almost finished building that new kind of telescope. You sure you want Newcastle?â
        âoeHuh? Your Newcastle went bad?â
        âoeHere, you old asshole, have one of mine on the house,â John said, pouring from a tapper to a beer mug. âoeTell me what you think. There's nothing wrong with my Newcastle stock but I'll bet you won't want Newcastle after you try this.â
        Bill eyed the mug warily. âoeImport?â He took a sip. âoePretty good!â He took another sip. âoeYou were right! This is some damned good beer. What country was it imported from?â
        âoeMars, you asshole. I built a microbrewery here. At least, it started as a microbrewery, it's a lot bigger now. Hell, I'm exporting it to Earth.â
        âoeWhat? Bullshit, you're full of shit, you old bulshitter. Come on, you can't bullshit a bullshitter. After shipping it would cost ten times what Newcastle cost!â
        âoeYep, just like Newcastle is ten times what Captain Hooker's cost here.â
        âoeYoung man!â an old woman at the other end of the bar admonished, âoeWatch your fucking language, asshole!â
        Bill turned red as a beet. âoeOh shit, I'm sorry, Ma'am, I didn't see you down there, I thought just John and me was here.â
        âoeWell, just watch it, dickhead.â
        âoeYes ma'am.â He turned back to John.
        âoeBut who in the hell is buying it?â
        âoeWho do you think? People who eat pork.â
        âoeDamn, you must be doing good. What's with that giant framed picture of a guy in an eigtheenth century pirate costume with a parrot on his shoulder and playing a guitar?â
        âoeIt's a photo of an old blues guy centuries ago, John Lee Hooker, with the pirate stuff added in a computer.â
        âoeYour last run. The one with all them damned pirates. Now I get it. Damn, that was pretty scary. I didn't think I'd make it back to Mars. At least, until the fleet reached me. You were pretty far ahead...â
        âoeWell, DUH, you were on batteries.â
        âoeYeah, the pirates showed up right when the fleet did. I thought I'd get boarded. Scared the fognart out of me!â
        âoeYOUNG MAN!!!â
        âoeOops, shit, I forgot. I'm sorry, maam.â
        âoeSpew shit out of your mouth again, young man, and I'm kicking your God damned ass.â
        âoeSorry, ma'am.â
        âoeFuck you.â
        He turned back to John, his red face a little less red. âoeHey, sell me a half dozen kegs. I have to go back to Saturn and that's a long damned way.â
        âoeSorry, Bill, I ain't gonna do it.â
        âoeWhat?? What the fuck, John?â
        âoeSorry, Bill, but I lost too many friends already, damn them fucking pirates. I almost lost Gus thanks to my stupidity and I'll be damned if I'm going to be responsible for your dying. I ain't got enough friends to lose any more, especially you.â
        âoeJohn, what in the blagsphorth are...â
        âoeYOUNG MAN!!!â
        âoeOops, fuck, I'm sorry, maam. I keep forgetting.â
        âoeJust watch your fucking mouth, boy.â
        âoeYes, maam. John, what the FUCK are you talking about?â
        âoeI'm talking about Gus. I almost killed him!â
        âoeGus? Blagforth...â
        âoeYOUNG MAN! I'm not listening to this garbage!â The old woman stomped out.
        âoeBlagforth forgnart, Bill, that's one of my best patrons, spends a fortune getting blagforthfaced in here.â
        âoeGee, John, I don't want to cause you any lost business...â
        âoeGarp that old crant,â John said. âoeIt's a fognarth fucking bar. If she don't want to hear vulgar language she can drink somewhere else.â
        âoeWhy won't you sell me that beer?â
        âoeI told you, because of Gus. I almost killed him.â
        âoeWhat the fognarth are you talking about?â
        âoeGus came through about six months ago or so. I hadn't seen him in a long damned time, he hadn't had any Martian runs. Anyway, he wanted beer, Loved my Captain Hooker's Pale Ale...â
        âoeWhat am I drinking?â
        âoeLager. Anyway, he wanted fifteen barrels. I didn't think nothing of it, but he was drunk on his approach to Mars and the God damned pirates, as few as there are left, almost got him. I almost killed Gus and I'll be damned if I'm going to kill you!â
        âoeFognarth blagsphorth, John, you fucking asshole. Yeah, you shouldn't have sold beer to Gus. Shit, that asshole is an alcoholic. What the fucking blagsphorth is wrong with you, asshole? Jesus, John. You're a fucking moron.â
        âoeWell, garp, I guess you're not Gus. Okay, I'll sell you the garping beer, motherfucker. But God damned fognarth, you better not garping die!â


Journal: How Dangerous is Being a Cop in the US? 15

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius
How Dangerous is Being a Cop in the US?

I saw a posting on Facebook (which I can no longer find, because Facebook posts are ephemeral and the algorithm used to put things on your timeline is apparently unstable) talking about the cost/person of police departments in major cities throughout the US. In the comments was the question "how much do you pay someone to risk getting shot every day?" with the implication that your average police officer in the US faces a substantial risk of death by gunfire daily, and therefore whatever the costs were, they were a good value.

And that got me thinking. Always a dangerous place for me to go.

How dangerous is it to be a police officer in the US? Is there significant risk of dying by gunfire? How does it compare with other occupations?

So let's go.

How many police officers are there in the US? How is that number changing annually?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 780,000 "Police and Detectives" in the US in 2012. That's our baseline. That number, BTW, is expected to grow by 5% by 2022, totaling about 821,000 by then. I'd love more data about this, but it's all I could find in a quick search, so we'll consider 780K as our baseline number of police in the US.

How many police officers died in the line of duty in 2012? Was that number "typical" for the years around it?
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 122 officers died in the line of duty in 2012. That number is low compared to 2010 (161) and 2011 (171), but high compared to 2013 (100), so let's dig a little deeper with a graph:

Police Deaths by Year 1990-2013

Graph by Evan Robinson

Frankly, I think I see a slight downward trend in the data, but the math says otherwise. There's virtually no correlation between passage of time and number of police deaths. I note that 2001 (241) is quite an outlier. You have to go back to 1981 to get another year where more than 200 police died, but in the 70s, only 1977 (192) had fewer than 200 police deaths. The 70s were far worse than the 60s, which were worse than the 50s.

What's the chance of death in the line of duty for a police officer in the US? What's the chance of death by gunfire?
If there are 780,000 police officers in the US and 159.4 die annually (the mean from 1990 and 2013 inclusive), the chance of dying is 159.4 in 780,000 or 1 in 4892.8 or .0002. That's about 2 hundredths of a percent. Specifically taking 2012 numbers, it's 122 in 780,000 or 1 in 6393 or .00016, or about 16 thousandths of a percent. But let's take the higher number of 1 in about 4890, again .0002. Expressed as a death rate per 100,000, that is 20.4 -- that is, 20.4 of every 100,000 police officers in the US die annually from line-of-duty causes.

The overall annual death rate in the US for 2010 (the most recent final value I can find according to the Department of Health and Human Services, at the CDC website) was 747.0, with a preliminary value of 740.6 for 2011. So police line-of-duty death rates are about 3% of total mean death rates.

Police line-of-duty deaths, while tragic, are not a significant risk compared to mean death rates in the US.

But wait, we want to talk about gun-related police deaths, right? Again according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, in 2012 50/122 officers killed died from gunfire. Over the past decade, the mean percentage of officer deaths from gunfire was 36%. So the gun-related death rate is 20.4*.36 = 7.4 per 100,000.

How do these death rates compare with other ages, causes, and professions?
In 2008 (the most recent year for which data in a complete Statistical Abstract of the United States is available), the only age range to have a death rate anywhere near that low is 5-14, where the male death rate was 24 and the female death rate was 12. Police officer line-of-duty deaths are therefore less common (statistically) than any death of 5-14 year old boys, although more common than 5-14 year old girls. Line-of-duty gun deaths are about one-third as common as all deaths of 5-14 year old boys and about half as common as all deaths of 5-14 year old girls. In 2008, the mean death rate for males 25-35 (in which age range I imagine many police officers fall) was 225. For males 35-44 it was 348. So depending upon their age range, police officers are between 10x and 17x more likely to die from non-work-related causes than line-of-duty causes. And 30x to 47x more likely to die from non-work-related causes than line-of-duty gunfire.

In 2006, comparable causes of death to all line-of-duty deaths include: Heart Failure (excluding ischemic heart disease aka "a heart attack") at 20.2; NonTransport Accidents (including falls, drowning, smoke inhalation, fire/flames, and poisoning) at 24.4; Diabetes at 24.2; Alzheimer's disease at 24.2; Drug and Alcohol induced deaths (combined) at 20.2.

Also in 2006, comparable causes of death to gun-related line-of-duty deaths include: prostate cancer at 9.5; Leukemia at 7.3; Falls at 7.0; Alcohol induced deaths at 7.4.

According to preliminary data for 2013 (see page 14), the rate of "fatal occupational injuries" in Construction is 9.4 per 100,000; Transportation and Warehousing is 13.1; Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting is 22.2; Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction is 12.3.

In other words, it's as dangerous to be a police officer as it is to be a farmer (3 million people), forester or logger (1.7 million people), commercial fisherman (1 million people) or hunter (about 14,000 people). So there are over 5.7 million jobs in the US more dangerous than being a police officer. And another 6 million in construction, which has a higher death rate than police gun-related deaths.

What's it all mean?
So yeah, being a police officer is a dangerous job, but the job-related danger is much less than your basic life-related danger (health problems, general accidents, etc.). And there are about 7 times more people doing Ag-related jobs which are more dangerous than being a police officer.

So what do we have to pay these people to risk being shot every day? I'd say a mean of about $57K per year, which is what they get. Maybe we need to raise the pay of the people in Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting, who get mean annual wages in the $18K - $41K range for more dangerous jobs.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
I realize that putting the TL;DR way down here kind of defeats the purpose, but it allows me to put the conclusion after the work, which I like.

Being a police officer is a dangerous occupation. But there are plenty of people in the US who do more dangerous jobs for far less pay. Police line of duty death rates are comparable to death rates from Diabetes and Alzheimer's disease or the combination of drug and alcohol induced deaths. Police line of duty shooting death rates are comparable to alcohol induced deaths, Leukemia, or death by falling. A male police officer between 25 and 44 is many times (10x - 17x) more likely to die from a non-work-related cause than to die in the line of duty. And only about one-third of those line-of-duty deaths are gun-related.

And here's something else to think about
On average a police officer dies in the line of duty in the US about every 55 hours (everything you need for this calculation is above so I'm not going to insult your intelligence by including it). On average a police officer kills a civilian (about 400 annually) about every 22 hours. So I think we have more to worry about from them than they do from us.

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky