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Comment: Re:Can't have it both ways (Score 1) 337

by jjn1056 (#49303739) Attached to: German Vice Chancellor: the US Threatened Us Over Snowden

Its not the thousands of lives that is the underlying reason here, its the billions and billions of dollars those terror attacks would cause to business interests.

If there was a way to prevent that cost to business but that way didn't solve the 'deaths' problem, the gov't would do that. Look at the gun lobby...

Comment: Why would they do anything else? (Score 1) 193

by jjn1056 (#49297563) Attached to: Microsoft Says Free Windows 10 Upgrades For Pirates Will Be Unsupported

And why are we surprised enough somehow this is new. People STEAL the software... They get no love from MS.

If you can't afford windows there's actually useful open source alternatives. Just use that. Why someone would steal software when you can go open source and be legit make snow sense to me....

Comment: A Reminder to grab and enjoy what you can... (Score 2) 299

by jjn1056 (#49242301) Attached to: Sir Terry Pratchett Succumbs To "the Embuggerance," Aged 66

It was only 9 years ago that I rad my first Prachett novel. His books came to me at a good time in my life, when things were tough and I needed a smile and to spent time with characters I loved. I am sorry to hear this, although it was announced a number of years ago so I knew it was coming. I hope he knew how much happiness he brought to the world with his stories.


Comment: Find a related Opensource project and contribute (Score 0) 205

by jjn1056 (#49236075) Attached to: Ask Slashdot - Breaking Into Penetration Testing At 30

As an 'older' programmer I've personally found that doing lots of open source contribution has helped keep my skills fresh. The trouble with a job is that you tend to get pigeon holed a bit and that tends to make you lose track of what is new and happening in the world outside your company. Contributing to open source will help mix that up and expose you to new ideas.

I would imagine that there's a bunch going on that you could get involved in.

best of luck, LLAP

Comment: Re:We've redefined success! (Score 1) 498

by jjn1056 (#49225103) Attached to: Mental Health Experts Seek To Block the Paths To Suicide

"Instead we should be focussing on making the world a better place and their lives happier and worth living. "

We should make the world better, but I think even in a perfect world some young people are going to feel overwhelmed for simple biochemical reasons which make the problems they face seem insurmountable. So we should do the bit that we can do to make it less easy for those people to find a fast way to act on impulse.

Comment: Re:We've redefined success! (Score 1) 498

by jjn1056 (#49225061) Attached to: Mental Health Experts Seek To Block the Paths To Suicide

So it is forbidden to make a decision about your life. WTF?

I am allowed to marry the wrong person and ruin my life at the drop of a hat. I am allowed to have kids where I may not be qualified to provide a decent life. I am allowed to sign a mortgage that I know I can't pay. I am allowed to try to climb the K7 if I am 70 years old, wich is very close to suicide.

But I am not allowed to take my own life.


There is no law (in the USA) that forbids you from making important life choices.

We've chosen as a society to allow people to marry at will and have children without being subject to a means test because we've decided the evil that comes from a state empowered to do that is greater than the evil of people being parents that are not fully ready to do so. Its a rational choice.

We let banks and lenders decide who is capable of paying a mortgage because we've decided again that the free market is a better control for this than what the state may provide. Again, its a choice we've made, and we've tried to balance it out with rules that lenders must follow (and we've recently tweaked those rules when we found them lacking). But ultimately we've chosen to say its less evil to restrict gov't power over this than the evil that comes from people being foreclosed on if they can't pay.

We let people who are rational take risks, like climbing mountains, because we know that there is a part of human existence that needs to test itself, even at the peril of life. This is a strong part of human existence and we don't want to restrict it unduly.

On the other hand we have decided that we want to stop people from killing themselves for reasons that are going to seem silly to them 10 years down the road. Lots of kids or young adults face tremendous stress as they try to fit into the world and shape it to their desire and that stress happens at a time when their hormones are out of control and their brain is expanding in new ways. This is a simple, biochemical fact. And this fact puts some people under a type of stress they can't endure. People who are not rational and who would not be doing this five or ten years later when they've managed to settle into a life with a job and possible a family. We say as a society that its not cool to kill yourself because you are young, your biochemistry is out of whack, your brain is growing it complex ways we don't yet fully understand. We think that is a terrible waste. And there is a difference between that waste, and between choices we've made to restrict the power of gov't, to promote individual choice and to allow humans to test ourselves in sometimes dangerous ways. If you don't see that difference I think you need to get away from the computer more :)

Comment: Re:Maybe in a different country (Score 3, Insightful) 498

by jjn1056 (#49224897) Attached to: Mental Health Experts Seek To Block the Paths To Suicide

Because we know that many people that kill themselves do so because they are in the grips of simple biochemical processes related to a certain age, such as a teenager when their growth hormones are at full speed. This is something people don't have control over and its worse for some people than it is for others. These people have no rational reason to want to be dead other than they can't control their emotions. Typically the problems they have are not anything out of the ordinary, and certainly not a problem that one might rationally choose death to avoid.

For example many young people just kill themselves because they don't feel they fit into the world, or because they fall in love with someone that doesn't reciprocate. These problems are common ones. These a solvable problems that no rational person would think are so terrible that death is truly a more desirable choice. They simple need help and support to get through that difficult time of life after which the vast majority go on to be happy and live meaninful lives and are glad that they didn't die at a younger age.

On the other hand some people when faced with the certainty of a lingering, painful and undignified death (such as when someone is diagnosed with a fatal illness) might choose to rationally seek a death that they have control over, and that meets the criteria of suffering (or lack of it) that they desire. Personally I think that I'd rather die when I still have most of my wits about me and when I still have some type of control over what I am doing than to die strapped to some hospital machine, barely aware of what is going on. I don't think that people should feel forced to make that choice, but I do think I can understand the rationality behind it. On the other hand as someone that was very depressed and unhappy as a young adult, I a glad it was not easy for me to kill myself (my parents did not own a gun and I lived in a location with strict gun control laws, NYC) because now as a middle aged person I am very happy with my life and I feel I am making a contribution to society in the open source work that I do and in other ways.

I don't think life is cheap, and I am sorry you feel that way :( I hope you also find happiness in some point of life

Comment: Re:Maybe in a different country (Score 4, Insightful) 498

by jjn1056 (#49224793) Attached to: Mental Health Experts Seek To Block the Paths To Suicide

Its a lot harder to kill yourself (or another person that is actively resisting) with a knife than with a gun. Having been in barroom brawls where knifes came out I can tell you that with certainty.

People that kill themselves by cutting themselves typically have to do a lot to make it work (for example preparing a hot bath to prevent clotting, etc.). And they need to cut deep, and cut correctly (slashing up and down the wrist, not across for example, as typically shown in movies) to achieve the goal, which is rather painful unless again one takes the time to acquire pain medication and consume it. This increased preparation time increases the mental barrier one needs to overcome to order to actually complete the suicide attempt and the increased time required to perform the act makes it more likely that someone might catch you in the act and save you.

People also tend to kill themselves in private, in their home, where they can't be interrupted and have had a lengthy time of isolation to deepen their depression. A handgun in the bedroom drawer "just in case" is a very easy way to attempt suicide and is in the ideal, private and quiet location that most people seek when trying to kill themselves. Other means that people choose in private, such as hanging themselves, typically have large mental barriers to overcome. Its not easy to correctly form the type of noose one needs, for example and also the death itself (by a possible lengthy suffocation) is a scary barrier to overcome. One must be very depressed to overcome that, and often when someone is that depressed they are not capable of the work involved to make it happen (and also there is a bigger chance for another person to notice how depressed they are, and offer help).

Although it is easy to crash a car as you mention, typically this is not what people want to do to kill themselves (typically, but yes there are always going to be outliers). As pointed out most people seek privacy and a period of isolation. Driving on the highway at speeds enough to cause death is not private nor isolated. And bridges can be better secured such as to make it harder (using fencing for example) and we can place emergency help phones on the bridge as well, which have been known to save people by giving them a person to speak with when they need it most.

The study is suggesting that people when deprived of an easy, private death in the convenience of their own home act on suicide impulses a lot less simple because its harder to do in the conditions one typically seeks.

Comment: Re:Maybe in a different country (Score 3, Informative) 498

by jjn1056 (#49224675) Attached to: Mental Health Experts Seek To Block the Paths To Suicide

" They are a convenient method when available, but if not available those determined to exit this sphere of existence will find a way to do so."

You didn't read the article. What they are saying is that there is clear evidence that a lot of people that presently kill themselves with a readily available means, would not do it if that means required a lot more effort. Lots of people kill themselves on terrible impulse, particularly young people that are having trouble coping with there emotions due to simple biochemical forces. Those types of suicide would be reduced IF it was harder to act on that impulse. That is 100% clear.

For people that are clinically depressed the story is a different matter. For those people simple reducing the means may not help so much (although I doubt it would hurt and might save some percentage).

I don't know enough about all the facts in Australia to understand the stats you mention (you don't give a source so I can't evaluate it). This article does mention studies which indicate the opposite of what you are saying. We'd need to see all the studies together to review them to see which if any are more meaningful. We'd also need to consider any biases those sources may have...

Comment: I'd defer to whatever the man who died wished (Score 5, Interesting) 645

by jjn1056 (#48999401) Attached to: Does Showing a Horrific Video Serve a Legitimate Journalistic Purpose?

I wouldn't watch this video, and I suspect the motives for Fox News here is not pure. But ultimately this is a personal moment for the man who is suddenly faced with a horrific death. These are the last moments of his life, and I believe they should belong to him. Since I didn't watch it, I don't know what it contains, but I would suspect they do not show the man at his best. If we could know his wish in the matter, I'd want to defer to that. But since we can't I'd defer to the less morally ambiguous choice which is to keep the moment as private to him as is possible.

Comment: Don't go overboard... (Score 3, Insightful) 251

by jjn1056 (#48918097) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive?

How much of your information needs to live significantly beyond your personal lifetime? My guess is you need not consider storage that will live beyond your children, who might have some need to review your papers for personal or practical reasons. Your grandchildren might like a handful of pictures, nothing more than than.

If your information is actually valuable (its creative or philosophical or similar) other people will look to its preservation.

I tend to split stuff up. For my profession life as a programmer I use github and one other git based storage. Anything worth keeping I'd migrate to whatever replaces git. For personal life I keep backups of photos and videos on local and networked (cloud based) storage. For tax stuff I just have a fireproof locker.

I imagine in 20 or 30 years the only stuff of value will be my movies and photos and written personal documents. After I'm dead none of that stuff will meant much to anyone, unless my son wants some pics of our dogs when he was young. And he'd be the last one to care about any of that stuff.

Try not to let possessions become too important. You are going to have it all taken away from you eventually.

Comment: Re:And so he validates the violence (Score 1) 894

by jjn1056 (#48820595) Attached to: Pope Francis: There Are Limits To Freedom of Expression

This puts him in the same philosophical camp as the terrorists he denounced. He just argues for a slightly lower degree of violence in response to another's expression.

No, that's a very abstract stretch I think, although in some sort of odd platonic ideal world maybe you are right. Common sense, which is the basis of philosophy (or at least the rational starting point to investigation) tells us that it is not unreasonable for a person to be insulted if you attack something they care deeply about. Civilized society, which is concerned with maintaining order and justice, tries variously to balance how we allow a person to respond to attack against societies need to maintain that order and justice. There is of course a variability here because of cultural difference. Some cultures permit more aggressive responses than others. Most justice systems take both the crime and the context into account ('fighting words', example). And some philosophies promote certain ideals ('turn the other check") although they will all acknowledge this can be very hard (even the Pope here is admitting he'd have a tough time forgiving someone for insulting his mom, which is reasonable and understandable; although a former Pope did forgive a man who shot and tried to kill him, face to face).

Even though cultural difference and philosophy (religious or secular) promote certain ideals and try hard to not be too dogmatic and allow for individual context (at least the ones that actually catch on), there are few cultural contexts that say, "If you hear fighting words its ok to take a machine gun and slaughter a dozen unarmed people". This is likely because a culture that allowed that would be self destructive and tend not to last very long, and such a culture would probably be stressful to live in, and fail to catch on. On the other hand if someone insulted you in the street and you punched him/her we might let you off with community service or similar.

There is a world of difference between a punch in the face and machine gunning a dozen people. Only a mostly meaningless philosophical abstraction would somehow allow that 'these two behaviors are ultimately the same thing'. A society based on a philosophy like that would likely have a hard time enduring. I would also think someone that believed this is living too much in their head and not out in the world experiencing reality. Having been myself in street fights and having had a machine gun pointed at me in aggression I can assure you there is a big difference.

Comment: Re:Obama: please stop helping us! (Score 1) 417

by jjn1056 (#48814283) Attached to: Obama Unveils Plan To Bring About Faster Internet In the US

Your anecdotal evidence is meaningless. I've lived in two rural areas, one upstate NY and another in the center of TX. Upstate NY I could not even get decent dial up service (like we had in 1990...). I can get cellular data with a special antenna rig I made, and pay like $10/per Gb used... Here in TX I have spotty DSL that is never better than 1Mb down/ 256Kb up (and goes offline enough I need to use my cell data plan to make important teleconference meetings.)

AFAIK the idea that rural is getting better choice or speed that the high profit markets seems doubtful. I suppose there are always outliers. The question we have to decide is if this is something we are going to say is driven exclusively by semi free market forces, or if we decide its in our global best interest to set meaningful baselines.

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"