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User Journal

Journal: Slimy 1

Journal by stoolpigeon

Having to carefully unselect crap I don't want installed on every Java update? Slimy
Rechecking the "stay logged in" button on facebook for me? Slimy
There's so much slimy stuff. Found a new one today. That Win 7 VM I mentioned, it wanted me to upgrade IE. Which I want to do - no problem. As I'm about to hit the Download button I see a small line further down "Download non-enhanced version." My gut tells me I don't want enhanced - do a quick google and I'm right. Non-enhanced means just the browser. Enhanced means that I'm selecting bing and some MSN junk. It used to be a check box and you had to unclick it. Apparently too many people did.

User Journal

Journal: Storage is Cheap but Come On Windows 1

Journal by stoolpigeon

EDIT: I cleaned up restore points and that got the space used down to 27.4 GB - still crazy.
 
I have a Fedora 20 vm that I run in VirtualBox on my Mac. It gives me access to some tools I like, and it lets me run a web server that's closer to what a production environment would look like.
 
Yesterday I got around to setting up another VM. This one is Windows 7. I started the same as I did the Fedora image, with a 25 GB hard drive. That was fine for the windows install but I thought I'd check out the new community edition of Visual Studio. When I went to install it, it told me I didn't have enough free disk space. So I made the "hard drive" bigger - I bumped it up to 30 GB. The install worked then, but I have under 600 MB of free space on the drive. I have only installed Chrome and VS. That's it. WIndows 7, Chrome and VS are 30 GB. I've installed a bunch of stuff on my Fedora VM - Apache, MySQL, KDevelop, QT and the QT tools and so on. Lots of stuff and it is sitting at 18 GB right now.
 
Fortunately it's easy to give the Windows VM more space - it just surprised me I'd need so much.

User Journal

Journal: Things I Can't Avoid Knowing 5

Journal by stoolpigeon

I spend a decent amount of time at Reddit. The key is finding good subreddits. I usually hop on Facebook a time or two a day as well. As an expat it is a good way to connect back to home.
 
Anyway what's interesting to me is that sometimes things happen and those sites just go kerbonkers. Like, for example, if it rains in Phoenix my facebook feed will be absolutely full of it and I'll see it about a million times.
 
With reddit it is more noticeable because certain events will show up in multiple subreddits multiple times and on other sites like Slashdot and Hacker News. Yesterday I'm pretty sure a probe landed on a comet and MS open sourced .net. I'm not sure, but I think I saw something about it - about a million times.
 
Not totally related - the other site I spend a lot of time on is youtube. I watch a lot of starcraft and some different shows like tabletop and I enjoy music videos too. I should write a post just about youtube now that I think about it. Anyway - yesterday I saw something there for the first time where I recognized another user. I guess the real surprise is that with g+ it didn't happen sooner, but still it was funny.

User Journal

Journal: A World Clock with an Analog Face 2

Journal by stoolpigeon

I'm still learning a lot about my Mac and getting better at using it. Today I was going over trackpad gestures and learned that there is this "Notification Center" that I can pull out by swiping in from the side with 2 fingers. I had no idea it was there. It's mostly useless. I don't care about stock quotes. I don't use any of the Apple calendar, reminder or other stuff. But I did think that the world clock thing was a good idea.
 
On my living room computer that is hooked to my TV I have 3 time widgets I keep up. It's Win 7 and each widget is set to one of the 3 time zones where we have family. I figured I could have something similar in the notification center on my laptop. The thing is, as far as I can tell there is no way to change the way it represents the time. It does it with little analog clock faces. I can't think of a worse way to do that. There is no way to look at it and know if the time displayed is AM or PM. It makes me have to think too much.
 
I read somewhere that third parties can create widgets for this space. I'll have to look into it.

User Journal

Journal: The Sixth Stage of Grief is Retro-Computing 2

Journal by stoolpigeon

The Sixth Stage of Grief is Retro-Computing
 
This is just a beautiful piece of writing. It doesn't match my experience perfectly but so many notes really resonate with me. It's funny, I've been on this Steve Jobs video binge lately and this just fits right in.
 
I had to scroll down to start reading the piece, which threw me for a second, but again - I really recommend reading this. It's so well done. I will be thinking about it and quoting it for a long time to come.

User Journal

Journal: My Spine 4

Journal by stoolpigeon

I have a herniated disc (disk?) (Apparently disk if I follow AMA guidelines. huh.) in my neck. Apparently in a common place. It's protruding pretty far into my spine and pushing on my spinal cord. I think it's also in contact with nerve roots. I don't know all the right terms. I make my wife crazy because medical stuff doesn't interest me. It's like car maintenance. I just want to hand it off to people who know. But since it looks like I need surgery, I have to be more involved in this as it's somewhat serious - people digging around in your neck and spine.
 
The first neurosurgeon I saw took a look at the MRI, did an exam and said I need surgery immediately. Normally that'd be it, but I've had it drilled into me that when it comes to surgery and stuff you always get a second opinion. (As much as I hate to do that.) So Monday I'll see another guy here in Budapest who is apparently one of the better doctors in the world for this kind of stuff.
 
If he agrees that I need surgery (and I think he will) then I have to decide where to do it. Hospitals here in Hungary are a little lighter on the care side than what I'd get in the U.S. There might be an option with a private hospital here, or I may look into having it done in Germany where there is another doctor who is pretty good at this stuff.
 
What's crazy though is if I did have it here, the doctor tells me the cost would be about 1800 euros. As an American, that is an insane number. Yes, during the hospital stay I'd have to provide my own medication and toilet paper - but dang, 1800 euros? I'm guessing the Germany route I'd be looking at a minimum of 20000 euros. My insurance would cover the majority of it. If I went home to the US I'm guessing it would be as expensive or more than the private hospital route in Germany.
 
I only have one spine - so I'm a little torn. Need to do more research, which I hate.
 
Oh - and here's the other thing I've learned. Hungarians aren't fans of pain killers. It took a lot for me to get some rather mild medication. They started me on what was the equivalent of ibuprofen. The doctor was worried about giving me something stronger and I was thinking, "Dude, back in the US I'd be knocking back 325 milligrams of Percocet." That was when it was really bad. I actually feel a lot better now, though I have to be very careful about how I move and I have constant numbness in my left hand.

User Journal

Journal: Mounting My Old System Drive Via USB and a quick note about Synergy 1

Journal by stoolpigeon

2 things. One is longer than the other so I'll start with the shorter.

Synergy has decided that they'll charge for downloads. This is totally fine with me and they are fully within their rights. They have not changed the licensing on the code, it is still FOSS. So I went to their nightly build directory and grabbed the rpm I needed today from there. It's a good project to support I just figure I'll do it on my terms. This was easier than grabbing the source and going that route.

Now to the longer part. A little while back the hard drive in my Fedora box starting getting flaky. I was going to buy a new drive but a friend offered one he wasn't using so I took that instead. Then that one started getting flaky so the other day I went out and bought a new hard drive. Same size, different manufacturer.

Then I tried to clone the old drive to the new drive with Clonezilla. The process completed but the new drive wouldn't boot. It mostly did but got stuck - I think because so much hadn't been able to be copied due to bad sectors on the original disk. So I figured it's not hard to do a fresh install and I went that route.

I put the new disk in, pulled the old disk out and installed Fedora. I have done it enough times that I can step through everything pretty quickly. But that quickness made me forget about a couple items on the old drive that I wanted. So I grabbed our little harness that lets me connect sata drives via usb.

When I install Fedora I let the installer configure my storage and I take the defaults. No problems. But when I plugged in via USB I saw the root partition right away but not the LVM partition. Checking with the lvm tools I see that I have two volumes with the same name and I'm not sure which is which. Fortunately vgdisplay will tell you lots of interesting things about your volume groups including their UUID. So for two items that looked identical to me, I could see the UUID of each. And fortunately vgrename takes a UUID as an argument and that let me rename the old volume and then bring it up. Once I activated it, it was automounted and I could use Dolphin to see and grab the files I wanted.

In the future when installing I should probably choose a non-default volume name to avoid this kind of thing. Or make it a post-install step to change what's on the box.

User Journal

Journal: I did not intend to neglect you 2

Journal by stoolpigeon

I haven't posted in a bit. I was travelling and then busy when I got back.

I spent a week-end in Vajta and then a few days later I was in Athens for a week. Greece is a very pretty place. The weather was fantastic. Vajta was also really nice. Here in Hungary we are getting into fall and that may be my favorite season. Growing up in the Southwest I didn't experience such a high degree of change every year and I'm really loving it now.

I finally figured out something today that was really unexpected. When the 64 bit version of Chrome became available for Linux I installed it. It's nice but I did notice something right away. Mouseover wasn't working. This is a huge pain. Especially as I'm a heavy user of gmail and google drive. But even little things like reading the mouse over joke for xkcd became a pain.

Anyhow I just figured it was a problem with Chrome. Today as it was bugging me again I decided to look and see if anyone was talking about it. I found this synergy bug report. I would never have guessed that synergy was the problem. And I have the server automatically start when I log in - so even when I don't have my laptop at my desk, the server is still running on my desktop. So even when I "wasn't using" synergy I still had the problem.

Now that it is fixed I'm pretty happy.

When I read this report, I immediately shut the server down and instantly Chrome became normal and everything worked. The comments for the bug report said that turning off hardware acceleration in chrome helped. So I did that. And now I can use synergy and Chrome is working normally. Very interesting stuff.

edit - is the free beer at work part of the problem? (In the paragraph under the heading "Life at Synergy Si..." -- and I'm kidding. I want free beer at my work now.)

Crime

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.

The Matrix

Journal: The Matrix is Mimetic 13

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

As Yuval Harari points out, "What is so special about us that allows for such cooperation? Unflatteringly, it is our talent for deluding ourselves. If you examine any large-scale human cooperation (or co-option), you will always find some imaginary story at its base. As long as many people believe in the same stories about gods, nations, money or human rights (memes and antitropes) - they follow the same laws and rules (of conduct)."

https://www.coursera.org/course/humankind

Chemist who falls in acid is absorbed in work.

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