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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.)


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)."

User Journal

Journal: MSS Code Factory 1.11 Service Pack 1 released

Journal by msobkow

MSS Code Factory is a model-to-code development tool that provides Java 7 using JDBC and stored procedures for DB/2 LUW, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, and Sybase ASE.

Service Pack 1 corrects defects in the manufactured database schema installation scripts, the core Java ORM objects, the stored procedures, and the JDBC layer. It also adds in the production of an XML messaging based communications framework for doing client-server or web development (you have to code the transport layer, but the message parsers and processing are provided.)

Service Pack 1 also provides a prototype Swing GUI that can be used as-is for performing demos and walkthroughs of a business application model for users, rather than counting on users to understand ERD or UML diagrams. The prototype is entirely factory and interface based, so it can form the basis of a custom user interface by either subclassing the manufactured GUI components produced, or by replacing them wholesale with JInternalFrame and JPanel instances as appropriate (the only requirement is that they implement the interfaces specified by the manufactured objects.)

The source code for the project is hosted at github, but the main project is on SourceForge at

The project has been under research and development since Java 1.1 was released in 1997, with the past two years focusing on the 1.11 release.

United States

Journal: FDL Nails It: Superpower Performance Art

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

'The Cause Of Empire Leads To The Graveyard'

"This is a vision of the world in which might makes right - a world in which one nation's borders can be redrawn by another, and civilized people are not allowed to recover the remains of their loved ones because of the truth that might be revealed. America stands for something different. We believe that right makes might - that bigger nations should not be able to bully smaller ones; that people should be able to choose their own future...

America is and will continue to be a Pacific power, promoting peace, stability, and the free flow of commerce among nations. But we will insist that all nations abide by the rules of the road, and resolve their territorial disputes peacefully, consistent with international law. That's how the Asia-Pacific has grown. And that's the only way to protect this progress going forward."

User Journal

Journal: Undercover police cars 5

Journal by Timex
I was on my way to work today and saw a State Trooper's car on the side of the road. I knew it was a State Trooper not because of the distinctive two-tone blue that cruisers have (this one was black), but because it had several antennas and a radar gun on the driver's side.

It reminded me of the graphic that has gone around on Facebook with a picture of a police car in Europe (bright colors designed to attract attention) compared with an American undercover police car (designed to look like any other car and not stick out in traffic). It occurs to me that there are a few different reasons why American police departments (on the state and local levels) might employ cars with stealth-ish designs, one or more of which may apply:
  • The police department may not be able to afford the number of officers required to patrol all parts of their jurisdiction. Having undercover cruisers means the people are going to be more careful about their habits in an attempt to not get ticketed.
  • The police department is attempting to generate revenue for their {State|Community} by catching people off-guard.

In the first case, it would make sense, and it kinda works after a fashion. That isn't what bothers me.

In the second case, it's sneaky and underhanded. My train of thought (such as it is) went on to consider the fact that when people hunt, they have legal restrictions on what they are allowed to do to bag their prey. They cannot set certain traps or route their prey into certain areas for the purpose of killing them. If a hunter is found to have employed entrapment techniques, the Games Warden will likely take the kill and the hunter could lose his hunting license.

Why are police allowed to get away with the same sort of thing?

The Military

Journal: James Foley Is Not a War Ad 11

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

by David Swanson / September 13th, 2014


To the extent that the U.S. public is newly, and probably momentarily, accepting of war -- an extent that is wildly exaggerated, but still real -- it is because of videos of beheadings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

When 9-11 victims were used as a justification to kill hundreds of times the number of people killed on 9-11, some of the victims' relatives pushed back.

Now James Foley is pushing back from the grave.

Here is video of Foley talking about the lies that are needed to launch wars, including the manipulation of people into thinking of foreigners as less than human. Foley's killers may have thought of him as less than human. He may not have viewed them the same way.

The video shows Foley in Chicago helping Haskell Wexler with his film Four Days in Chicago -- a film about the last NATO protest before the recent one in Wales. I was there in Chicago for the march and rally against NATO and war. And I've met Wexler who has tried unsuccessfully to find funding for a film version of my book War Is A Lie .

Watch Foley in the video discussing the limitations of embedded reporting, the power of veteran resistance, veterans he met at Occupy, the absence of a good justification for the wars, the dehumanization needed before people can be killed, the shallowness of media coverage -- watch all of that and then try to imagine James Foley cheering like a weapons-maker or a Congress member for President Obama's announcement of more war. Try to imagine Foley accepting the use of his killing as propaganda for more fighting.

You can't do it. He's not an ad for war any more than the WMDs were a justification for war. His absence as a war justification has been exposed even faster than the absence of the WMDs was.

While ISIS may have purchased Sotloff, if not Foley, from another group, when Foley's mother sought to ransom him, the U.S. government repeatedly threatened her with prosecution. So, instead of Foley's mother paying a relatively small amount and possibly saving her son, ISIS goes on getting its funding from oil sales and supporters in the Gulf and free weapons from, among elsewhere, the United States and its allies. And we're going to collectively spend millions, probably billions, and likely trillions of dollars furthering the cycle of violence that Foley risked his life to expose.

The Coalition of the Willing is already crumbling. What if people in the United States were to watch the video of Foley when he was alive and speaking and laughing, not the one when he was a prop in a piece of propaganda almost certainly aimed at provoking the violence that Obama has just obligingly announced?

Foley said he believed his responsibility was to the truth. It didn't set him free. Is it perhaps not too late for the rest of us?

User Journal

Journal: Android International 5

Journal by stoolpigeon

Google struggles dealing with people who are in one place but want to use a language from another place.

It's gotten better in chrome on a computer. I can pretty much search in chrome and get my results in English. But on android it's a mess.

When I search in Android Chrome - I get and I haven't found a way to get it to use

Today I decided to start using 2 factor authentication with gmail. Seems like a good idea and it's free so why not? Once I turned it on and set it up on my computer then I went to my phone. On my Android phone it said, "Now you need to go to the web." and took me to a form in Hungarian. There was no option to switch it to English.

Everything in my phone is set to use English but this is all completely ignored in favor of where the browser has decided that I am physically located. Does that make sense to you? It does not make sense to me. I want it in US English - no matter where I am in the world.

It's a weird thing. On the one hand I love that they are willing to sms the codes to any number world wide (though I switched to the app). So in some ways they are way ahead of others. But then you run into something that is just so backwards. And finding a way to send feedback to Google? Not so easy.

User Journal

Journal: Subscriptions Are Over ~ Busy Penguin 2

Journal by stoolpigeon

I enquired about when subscription renewal would be available again and the reply I got was that the subscription process will not be coming back. Must not make enough income to make it worthwhile. I liked seeing stories a little early and would try to quickly email and warn of dupes when I could. But it is a business. So it goes.

A long, long time ago I registered a domain that I thought would be awesome to use for a number of purposes. Actually I thought the best use of this would be as a name for a craft beer. But I thought it would be good for almost anything but I never actually did anything with it. I just had a static html page with a photo of a 'sleeping' armadillo taken on a road near my home when I was living in Florida.

I ended up selling it to a band. The page they have now has a cool little cover image - I like it. I didn't make any profit on the deal but I enjoyed doing it.

It made me want to register something else that may be useful someday. It's not easy to do. I ended up with I have no idea what I'll do with it. Right now I think it could be a clever Linux site but I don't have the time or desire to do it. I don't think it would be a good beer name. Sleeping Armadillo was genius. Busy Penguin was just the best I could get that day. I like it, don't get me wrong, just not sure at all what I'll do with it.

User Journal

Journal: Give me Catholic Heaven, Islamic Paradise is too hard 10

Journal by Marxist Hacker 42

this guy is clearly NOT a mathematician, but if he was:
You have 4 wives on earth. Each one of those wives has 70 black eyed virgins for you in paradise. Each one of those black eyed virgins has 70 servant girls. That is 19,884 women for you to have sex with in paradise.
But it gets worse. Each one of those women has been given YOU by Allah for a term of 70 years. That means you will be having sex, nonstop, from the time you die for the first 1,391,880 years you are in paradise. You're going to need eternity from then on just to rest up from that.

Scientists will study your brain to learn more about your distant cousin, Man.