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Comments

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Hair-Raising Technique Detects Drugs, Explosives On Human Body

Shakrai Re:Wait a minute... (162 comments)

In terms of stumble/dollar vodka has it beat, hands down.

Stumble/dollar is one of the best descriptions I've ever heard to rate drugs, just FYI. ;)

about two weeks ago
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Hair-Raising Technique Detects Drugs, Explosives On Human Body

Shakrai Re:Wait a minute... (162 comments)

I don't know about Acetaminophen, but I've heard compelling cases made that if Aspirin were discovered today it would be a prescription drug. Think of the side effects, the modern day "think of the children!" attitude, and pathetic need of the body politic to feel "safe" from any and everything.

about two weeks ago
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Comcast Executives Appear To Share Cozy Relationships With Regulators

Shakrai Re:I'm not sure what the uproar is... (63 comments)

I had that same thought. This is SOP for any professional relationship. The language in the e-mail is very informal but polite, also SOP. Where's the smoking gun here?

about three weeks ago
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Use of Encryption Foiled the Cops a Record 9 Times In 2013

Shakrai Re:Correction...That you know of... (115 comments)

"Pretty goddamn certain" != "beyond a reasonable doubt"

Can you tell the difference between 1,024 MB of /dev/random and 1,024 MB of Truecrypt container? I didn't think so....

about three weeks ago
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Use of Encryption Foiled the Cops a Record 9 Times In 2013

Shakrai Re:Correction...That you know of... (115 comments)

The only difference between today and the past is that you can easily see an encrypted file, you can know it's encrypted

Huh? Modern ciphertext is indistinguishable from random noise. Some implementations leave behind clues (i.e., Truecrypt containers are always divisible by 512 bytes), and of course the user can give it away ("KIDDIE PORN COLLECTION.TC" <--- Probably not the best naming scheme) but I'm not aware of any foolproof method to concretely identify an encrypted file as such with modern implementations.

about three weeks ago
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Use of Encryption Foiled the Cops a Record 9 Times In 2013

Shakrai Re:I smell a rat. (115 comments)

There are obviously thousands of people using encryption because they have a legitimate reason to hide something

My hard drives are encrypted simply because my entire life is on them and I'd rather not have everything you need to steal my identity fall into the hands of whomever broke into my house and stole my PC. I take similar precautions with physical documents that could be used to the same end. My SSA card and Passport are kept in the Safe Deposit Box except when needed, other forms of ID are always kept on or near my person, so they're not apt to be stolen in a burglary.

I don't know or care if LUKS and Truecrypt are secure enough to resist access by a well resourced and competent government agency. They provide ample security for the threat vectors that I care about.

Most people under investigation have software planted on computers or hardware keyloggers.

This, along with other side channel attacks (social engineering, or even simply guessing the password, remembering that most people use easily guessable passwords) is the most likely explanation. If the United States Federal Government has ways of breaking modern ciphers they're not going to throw it away to secure mundane criminal convictions.

about three weeks ago
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Judge Frees "Cannibal Cop" Who Shared His Fantasies Online

Shakrai Re:Would be different (185 comments)

Uhh, he was a natural born American citizen, so how exactly do you propose we keep him out of the United States? I was referring to foreign terrorists, in fact I believe I even made a comment about would-be domestic terrorists having an easier go of it.

about three weeks ago
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On 4th of July:

Shakrai Re:Hello Americans (340 comments)

Not only is it too bright to see them well, at least in the Northern states

Generally they wait until it's dark outside to set them off. Unless you're living in Alaska I suspect you've got plenty of nighttime hours anywhere in the United States for fireworks.

about three weeks ago
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Austrian Tor Exit Node Operator Found Guilty As an Accomplice

Shakrai Re:Analogy Sucks... (255 comments)

Comcast is turning users' cable modems into public hotspots. So anyone could connect to a user's modem and use it for any purpose that one might connect to the Internet for. If said use is illegal, would the person who owned (or leased it from Comcast as the case may be) be liable as an accomplice?

My understanding is that it's not a public hotspot, the access is only made available for other Comcast customers, and that in any event the traffic is handled separately from the owner of the connection. It goes out with a different globally valid IP and does not count against the owner's bandwidth cap or otherwise inconvenience him.

about three weeks ago
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Austrian Tor Exit Node Operator Found Guilty As an Accomplice

Shakrai Re:Uh no (255 comments)

Uhh, did you even read the Wikipedia article you linked, never mind actually researching the case in question on your own?

"Ryan Joseph Holle (born November 17, 1982) was convicted in 2004 of first-degree murder under the felony murder rule for lending his car to a friend after the friend and others at the party discussed their plans to steal drugs, money and beat up the 18 year old daughter of a marijuana dealer."
"Holle, who had given the police statements in which he seemed to admit knowing about the burglary, was convicted on August 3, 2004"

I don't see a problem here. "Hey, we're going to go rob this person. Can we borrow your car?" "Sure, here are the keys." What would possibly go wrong?

about three weeks ago
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Judge Frees "Cannibal Cop" Who Shared His Fantasies Online

Shakrai Re:Should probably be locked up (185 comments)

so I would probably set up my hunting blind in a Golden Corral parking lot

Hunting blind? Why would you need one of those? Your prey is too busy looking at its cell phone to notice you sneaking up on it.

about three weeks ago
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Judge Frees "Cannibal Cop" Who Shared His Fantasies Online

Shakrai Re:Would be different (185 comments)

That's FUD. Yes the Southern Border is porous. Find me one example of a terrorist that has entered the country via that route. Just one. I'm not aware of it having happened. The United States shares intelligence with Mexico and Canada, so you're still dealing with the same fundamental problem of getting into the Western Hemisphere without being detected. Effectively you've given the security forces two bites at your apple, because you're going to have to sneak past Canadian/Mexican customs and American customs (legal route) or the Border Patrol (illegal route). If it was as easy as you make it sound it would have happened already. Heck, they've actually tried it from the Northern Border, and been caught while doing so.

The gun stuff is FUD too. It's "very easy" to get your hands on a cache of firearms large enough to conduct a Mumbai style attack? Where exactly is it "easy" to do that? You can't go the legal route as a non-citizen. That leaves you with the choice of obtaining them from private sellers and/or the black market. Option #1 doesn't scale and Option #2 runs the risk of detection by law enforcement. The only way I can see pulling it off would be to have a sleeper agent in the United States months before your planned attack, who slowly assembled the required weapons cache, but the longer you're here the more likely it is that you get caught. Murphy's Law applies even to terrorists.....

about three weeks ago
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Judge Frees "Cannibal Cop" Who Shared His Fantasies Online

Shakrai Re:Would be different (185 comments)

Tom Clancy was actually interviewed by CNN on 9/11. I remember listening to it on the local radio station, which decided to cut their normal feed and broadcast CNN Radio for the duration of the day. We got all of our news from the radio that day, along with the extra edition of the local paper, because we were at work with no television and the internet was too bogged down to be useful. None of us actually saw what had happened until we got home from work, which made it really surreal.

For some reason the Clancy interview is one of the things that sticks out in my mind when I think of that day. Maybe because I had already read Debt of Honor.

about three weeks ago
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Judge Frees "Cannibal Cop" Who Shared His Fantasies Online

Shakrai Re:Would be different (185 comments)

I'm still waiting for the Teeth of the Tiger shopping-mall attacks. We saw what happened in Kenya recently. Just imagine that in several malls across the US.

After 9/11 we actually got pretty good at keeping terrorists from getting to the United States, so I don't think attacks like these are a particularly likely occurrence. First you've got to get enough committed people here to carry out the attacks, which means you have to find people that aren't already on the radar of American intelligence, then get them through the Visa process. Once they're here you've got to obtain all the weaponry you'll need, because you're sure as hell not bringing it here in your checked baggage, so now you've got to deal with the American criminal element (not exactly the most trustworthy lot) to get your hands on a cache of firearms and explosives, all while remaining off the radar of law enforcement. It's really not as easy as it sounds when you open those technothrillers....

Even if you pulled it off, I doubt you could duplicate what we saw in Kenya or Mumbai. American law enforcement isn't likely to shrink from the confrontation like some of the Mumbai police did. They're well armed and well trained for these sorts of things. You've also got a non-zero chance of running into armed civilians and private security, depending on your choice of targets. I doubt the average civilian concealed carrier or rent-a-cop could stop a committed assault, but they've got a decent chance at taking one or more bad guys out with them, so that's yet another thing that could go wrong from the perspective of the would be attackers.

I suppose you could worry about domestic terrorists doing the same, because they're already here and would have an easier time arming themselves. Of course, shooting up a shopping mall doesn't seem like their style, and the Government is fairly adept at infiltrating these types of organizations before they can pull off anything serious.

about three weeks ago
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Judge Frees "Cannibal Cop" Who Shared His Fantasies Online

Shakrai Re:Should probably be locked up (185 comments)

What's wrong with that? Lots of amusing things come up when you Google that. Hell, Google auto completed the search for me, suggesting "recipes" after I had typed in "human meat".

Incidentally, I'm not much of a whiz in the kitchen, but I suspect human flesh would work pretty well in a red sauce or curry. The bigger problem of course would be the cost of obtaining it, followed by the difficulty of obtaining lean cuts, particularly if you reside in the first world....

about three weeks ago
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Judge Frees "Cannibal Cop" Who Shared His Fantasies Online

Shakrai Re:Should probably be locked up (185 comments)

From TFA: "Gilberto Valle was 25 years old and still living with his father in Queens when, in 2009, he met Kathleen Mangan on OKCupid."

OKC strikes again! Someone met a creeper on OKC who still lived with their parents? Imagine that....

about three weeks ago
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Judge Frees "Cannibal Cop" Who Shared His Fantasies Online

Shakrai Re:Would be different (185 comments)

I bet you if he wrote about child pornography or terrorism it would be a different story.

Tom Clancy penned a novel in 1994 that ended with a 767 being flown into the United States Capitol. Seven years before 9/11. Nobody put him in jail, before or after.

about three weeks ago
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Senate Budgetmakers Move To End US Participation In ITER

Shakrai Re:Scientific research never got anyone anything (225 comments)

it was the OPPOSITE of isolationism which brought war to the US.

The United States was already effectively at war with Germany before the oil embargo against Japan. The US Navy had orders to sink German U-Boats on sight, we were giving weapons away to the British and Soviets (itself a violation of the obligations of a neutral country under international law), and were making plans for the manner in which we would wage open war against Germany once it broke out. Fire was traded between the US Navy and Kriegsmarine months before Pearl Harbor, in fact two American destroyers were torpedoed (one sunk) by U-Boats in October 1941.

The policy of the American Government at the time was to focus on Europe. Nobody in Washington wanted war with Japan, but they also weren't willing to accept a Japanese defeat and conquest of China. The oil embargo was a last ditch effort to bring them to the negotiation table. They opted for war, with a country that had seventeen times their GDP and twice the population . Had the United States not followed the Europe First policy it's quite probable that Japan would have been crushed by late 1943/early 1944. Japan going to war with the United States has to rank as one of the most boneheaded military decisions ever made in the history of the human race. Probably only equaled by Hitler's move to follow them into war against the sleeping giant.

about three weeks ago
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Encryption Keys For Kim Dotcom's Data Can't Be Given To FBI, Court Rules

Shakrai Re:What a crazy situation (149 comments)

They should be an impartial enforcer of the governments laws.

They usually are. That's kind of the problem. This was the best moment ever of The Wire.

about three weeks ago
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Encryption Keys For Kim Dotcom's Data Can't Be Given To FBI, Court Rules

Shakrai Re:What a crazy situation (149 comments)

Something seems really, really off kilter if so many of us see the federal government's law enforcement agencies as the enemy.

The War on Drugs made law enforcement into the enemy for a lot more people than the War on Copyright Infringement. That's really where the Government started to overreach, in modern times, and if you think what they're doing with cyber criminals (real and imagined) is horrible you should Google "civil asset forfeiture" and start reading.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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Obamacare Is No Starship Enterprise

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  about 8 months ago

Shakrai (717556) writes "Megan McArdle from Bloomberg has penned this wonderful article, about the development of the technology behind the Affordable Care Act. It is a tale of mission creep, distant supervisors, and otherwise smart people who fail to grasp the limitations of modern technology. The experiences shared herein are all to familiar to those of us who have worked on large IT projects, with Star Trek: The Next Generation analogies as icing on the cake."
Link to Original Source
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STD Test? There's an App for That

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Shakrai (717556) writes "British health officials are hard at work on a new app that will allow users to pee into their cell phones and find out within minutes if they have an STD.

Doctors and technology experts are developing small devices, similar to pregnancy testing kits, that will tell someone quickly and privately if they have caught an infection through sexual contact.

People who suspect they have been infected will be able to put urine or saliva on to a computer chip about the size of a USB chip, plug it into their phone or computer and receive a diagnosis within minutes, telling them which, if any, sexually transmitted infection (STI) they have. Seven funders, including the Medical Research Council, have put £4m into developing the technology via a forum called the UK Clinical Research Collaboration.

Prof Noel Gill, head of HIV and STIs at the Health Protection Agency, the government agency that monitors infections and advises on containment strategies, said: "HPA surveillance has shown that the impact of STIs is greatest among young people and we hope that the application of new technology will help to reduce transmission of infection in this age group."

Link to Original Source
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Cisco's New Router: Trouble for Hollywood

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Shakrai (717556) writes "Time Magazine has published an article about the impact of Cisco's new CRS-3 router on the business practices of the MAFIAA. This new router was previously mentioned here on Slashdot and is expected to alleviate internet bottlenecks that currently impede steaming video on demand services. Some of the highlights from the article:

"The ability to download albums and films in a matter of seconds is a harbinger of deep trouble for the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which would prefer to turn the clock back, way back."

"The hard fact is that the latest developments at Cisco, Google and elsewhere may do more than kill the DVD and CD and further upset entertainment-business models that have changed little since the Mesozoic Era. With superfast streaming and downloading, indie filmmakers will soon be able to effectively distribute feature films online and promote them using social media such as Facebook and Twitter."

"Meanwhile, both the MPAA and the RIAA continue to fight emerging technologies like peer-to-peer file sharing with costly court battles rather than figuring out how to appeal to the next generation of movie enthusiasts and still make a buck.""

Link to Original Source
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Bluetooth & Wi-Fi co-existence

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  about 7 years ago

Shakrai writes "A question for those with more experience with Bluetooth then I have: Has anybody noted/worked-around/been-able to solve co-existence problems with bluetooth and 802.11b/g WLANs? I'm playing around with the T-Mobile T-Mobile HotSpot @ Home service at the office for our directors and while the service works great, the heavy network traffic on the wireless lan renders bluetooth headsets unusable. Short pops of static occur about ten times a second. The WLAN itself doesn't even seem to notice.

Given that Bluetooth's design purposefully uses the entire range of unlicensed channels on 2.4Ghz I'd given up on trying to get it to co-exist with WLANs. But I've noted that Bluetooth 1.2 includes support for "Adaptive frequency-hopping spread spectrum", which theoretically will remove crowded channels from the hopping sequence. Given that a single 802.11b/g access point only uses a portion (roughly 1/3) of the band available to Bluetooth, wouldn't it stand to reason that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi can be made to peacefully co-exist?

Perhaps the problem lies with the cheap headsets that my company is providing us? Does anybody have any experience with particular models of Bluetooth headsets used in a heavy wi-fi environment? Or any experience with the actual HotSpot service and the phones that T-Mobile offers? Does any model of phone or headset stand out as being better at co-existing then the others?"

Journals

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Critics of Tea Party Movement Miss the Big Picture

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Many commentators seem to believe that the Tea Party represents a net minus for the GOP because of the split between them and the existing establishment. This criticism seems oddly familiar to me. Many people predicted that the drawn out fight between Hillary and Obama would be the death of the Democrats in 2008. As it turned out, that extended fight kept them in the news for months and built up the ground networks that helped Obama carry the day in states that normally be out of reach for a Democrat. Take Indiana, where Obama carried the state by ~28k votes. Does that happen without the ground operation built for the primary and the name recognition/publicity gained from it? Impossible to say, but I think it's clear that the intra-party squabbling was a net positive for the Democrats in the end.

It seems likely to me that the Tea Party will have the same impact on the GOP. They may well prove to be a net minus in selected races (Delaware) but the enthusiasm they've generated and the new people they've brought into the political process will more than balance that out come November.

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Here comes the tidal wave.....

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Worked the NYS primary election today. We had higher turnout for this mid-term primary than I've ever seen -- more than we did for the Presidential Primary in 2008. I'm only one poll worker in a single district but I've never seen this kind of enthusiasm for a primary before. We had 44% turnout for our GOP voters and 30% for the Democrats.

Paladino looks to have crushed Rick Lazio. I called this race at 10pm -- Paladino ran up a much higher margin (93% in Erie and Niagara counties, all districts reporting) with his base than Lazio did with his (60-65% in Suffolk and Nassau counties, 60% of districts reporting) . Paladino beat Lazio in some downstate counties (Dutchess and Orange) that should have been more familiar with Lazio. He looks to have edged him out with 50-55% of the vote in most other upstate counties, though we'll have to wait for tomorrow for the final numbers.

With this kind of turn out for a primary I'm betting that November is going to be huge. It wouldn't surprise me if we beat our numbers for 2008 -- we had a 60% turnout that year.

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Motorola Providing free TouchDown Licenses to DROID X Owners

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Well, I got my Droid-X. Imagine my surprise when my $550 phone failed to properly communicate with my employer's Exchange server. Turns out the Droid-X has some software glitches relating to Exchange. Push e-mail will not work at all with Exchange 2003 and only works intermittently with 2007 and 2010. Polling e-mail may work but there are also issues with the notification system. Your phone might download messages off Exchange but fail to notify you about them until some time has passed.

Motorola is providing a free license for a third party app called TouchDown to anyone who writes in and complains about this issue. This app normally goes for $20. It is without a doubt the best mobile Exchange client that I've ever seen. It offers features above and beyond the stock Motorola application. I would encourage anybody who needs to use Exchange to get this application -- even if you aren't dealing with the push e-mail/notification bugs. It would be worth paying for, IMHO. Getting it for free because Motorola couldn't run their Exchange application past QA before launching the Droid-X is an added bonus.

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Inmate Hides Gun In Fat Layers

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 3 years ago

They didn't teach me this in my concealed carry class! Only in America......

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Anyone out there with the Motorola Droid-X?

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 3 years ago

The only reason I haven't yet gotten a smartphone is because of Verizon's nickel and diming. I primarily want one for the usual smartphone functionality but I'd also like the ability to tether for some lightweight usage. Not looking to use tethering as a replacement for my home internet connection or even for web surfing. My desire is to be able to ssh and/or rdp into the office when I'm in the field. It seems kind of absurd that I should have to pay $30/mo extra for the ability to do something I could easily accomplish with a POTS line and modem. It's also absurd that Verizon expects you to pay more for the privilege of talking to an Exchange server. I guess the data packets from Exchange weigh more than the packets from a pop3 server or some such.

I've been told that the Exchange data requirement isn't actually enforced for non-Blackberry devices. Found a few posts on various forums where people claimed to successfully sync with Exchange on the $30 data plan. I've also been told that you can tether Android devices using third party applications such as PDAnet without paying Verizon's additional $30 fee. It's against their TOS but they won't find out about it unless you consume an "excessive" amount of bandwidth. Not real worried about doing that with the occasional ssh/rdp session. Can anyone confirm these two points? If they are indeed true then I'll probably be ordering the Droid-X soon.

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George Will Has Really Soured on Afghanistan

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  about 4 years ago

New op-ed, titled McChrystal had to go. Will makes some pretty compelling arguments against our strategy in Afghanistan. Some highlights:

It may be said that McChrystal's defect is only a deficit of political acumen. Only? Again, the mission in Afghanistan is much more political than military. Counterinsurgency, as defined by McChrystal's successor, Gen. David Petraeus, and tepidly embraced by Barack Obama for a year or so, does not just involve nation-building, it is nation-building.

This does not require just political acumen; it requires the wisdom of Aristotle, the leadership skills of George Washington and the analytic sophistication of de Tocqueville. But, then, the grinding paradox of nation-building is this: No one with the aptitudes necessary for it would be rash or delusional enough to try it.

The McChrystal debacle comes as America's longest war is entering a surreal stage: The military is charged with a staggeringly complex task, the completion of which -- if completion can even be envisioned -- must involve many years. But when given the task, the military was told to begin bringing it to a close in a matter of 18 months.

It's a pity that we weren't smart enough to avoid this whole mess back in 2001. We ought to have used our own troops (along with the aerial mines that Bush and Rumsfeld refused to approve) at Tora Bora, captured or killed OBL, left the keys to the country by the door on our way out along with a note that said "If you host terrorist organizations again we'll come back and mess you up again." It should never have been our mission to try and spread our system of government or moral values to a region of the world that's effectively living in the Middle Ages.

BTW, I believe that the President handled the McChrystal mess effectively. He clearly had to go. I also think that Petraeus is the best man for the job though I'm in agreement with George Will's assessment of it as a fool's errand. Petraeus was successful in Iraq because the Iraqi people decided that bombing their country back into the Middle Ages was not an effective long term strategy. The Taliban leadership seems to desire such an outcome. It remains to be seen if the American people or our President have the stomach to stay there long enough to find out if the foot soldiers of the Taliban desire the same outcome.

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More Guns Means Less Crime

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Op-ed by John Stossl:

You know what the mainstream media think about guns and our freedom to carry them.

Pierre Thomas of ABC: "When someone gets angry or when they snap, they are going to be able to have access to weapons."

Chris Matthews of MSNBC: "I wonder if in a free society violence is always going to be a part of it if guns are available."

Keith Olbermann, who usually can't be topped for absurdity: "Organizations like the NRA ... are trying to increase deaths by gun in this country."

Of course he's right about the mainstream media. It is exceedingly rare to find someone on one of the major networks with a positive view of civilian firearms ownership. The ABC news show 20/20 went so far as to rig a scenario to demonstrate that concealed carry won't save you -- they pitted a trained firearms instructor against untrained individuals whom had never handled a firearm before. They further rigged the test by telling the "attacker" in advance whom had the concealed weapon out of a room of a dozen or more people. In spite of this stacked deck one of the simulated concealed carriers managed to "wound" him before "dying". Naturally ABC dismissed this result by claiming that the wound would not have been sufficient to stop a shooting rampage. I suppose the staff of 20/20 are also experts in terminal ballistics and the psychology of pain.

In Canada and Britain, both with tough gun-control laws, almost half of all burglaries occur when residents are home. But in the United States, where many households contain guns, only 13 percent of burglaries happen when someone's at home.

This is a statistic that's often overlooked but I think it's very relevant. I would regard home invasions as one of the biggest violations of the person, short of rape, kidnapping or murder. Thankfully they are relatively rare in the United States. I suppose the prospect of dying over that big screen TV is an effective deterrent for most criminals. It's my understanding that in the UK the self-defense laws won't permit you to defend your home if it is broken into while you are present. Of course even if the law permitted you to do so it would rather difficult in a society that requires one to jump through bureaucratic hoops before being able to obtain a single shot rifle or shotgun.

I was somewhat surprised to see Canada included in that figure. I always thought they were a little bit more sensible than the Mother Country. I looked into obtaining a Canadian firearms license so I could legally transport my handgun through Canada when taking trips to Detroit (because really, who wants to go to Detroit unarmed?) and the process didn't seem particularly complicated or burdensome. Perhaps one of my Canadian friends could enlighten me as to Canadian laws regarding self-defense in the home? Are you allowed to defend your home against a home invasion?

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I Hate Crackberry

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Trying to set up an employees Blackberry to connect to Outlook Web Access. Can't manage to make it connect. Call up Verizon Tech Support, get bumped from Level 1 to Level 2 and then to Blackberry. Blackberry bumps me up to Level 2 and then Level 3. Still no explanation for why it won't work. Did receive a "helpful" recommendation to purchase Blackberry Enterprise Server. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense for one user....

From research I've done on my own while on hold it appears that Blackberry doesn't want to play nice with reverse proxy servers. We have such a server between our Exchange box and the internet -- a small Linux box running Squid. This configuration works just fine with every other smart phone we have (Droids, Palms and Windows Mobile) and users who log into OWA from normal web browsers but not with the Blackberry for some reason. Go figure. Naturally the employee in question is a member of management and will be most unhappy if I can't get her stupid crackberry working. I wonder if there is a work around for this or if I'm really going to have to change our network configuration to accommodate this one device?

Just concluded my three hour telephone marathon with no resolution on the issue. I asked my rep at "Level 3" whether or not the reverse proxy server might be the cause and his response was "What's a proxy server?" So much for Level 3 support....

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We Ought Not Submit Our Civil Liberties to a Cost Benefit Analysis

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 4 years ago

So, I read this interesting piece on Reason today. It started talking about US v. Stevens and had a frightening quote from Solicitor General Elena Kagan: "Whether a given category of speech enjoys First Amendment protection, depends upon a categorical balancing of the value of the speech against its societal costs." In Ms. Kagan's world it's apparently appropriate for Legislators to determine the "value" of speech. Never mind the plain text of the 1st amendment (Congress shall make no law...) or the obvious dangers in applying such a test to free speech. This is scary stuff indeed. Thankfully SCOTUS shot down this argument in an 8 to 1 vote.

I've heard a similar vein from leftists in discussions regarding the 2nd amendment. They point to the "societal cost" of weapons accessibility and use that as an argument for tightening restrictions on firearms ownership. It seems obvious to me that "societal cost" is a vaguely defined term that could be used to restrict all manner of civil rights but they refuse to accept this and continue to argue in favor of further restrictions on liberty. Why restrict such a standard to the 1st and 2nd amendments? What about the societal cost of criminals getting away with their crimes? Wouldn't it better for society to restrict the right to remain silent and right against unreasonable search and seizure? Maybe we should look at double jeopardy too. Doesn't it impose a cost on society to let someone get away with a crime when new evidence later materializes that could have convicted him? Might want to consider the right to a jury trial too. Juries are too easily fooled by slick lawyers and it would probably be better for society if all civil and criminal cases were decided by Judges.

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Chicago v. Self Defense

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 4 years ago

By Jeremy Lott on RCP:

Talk about your inconvenient truth. Five days after Chicago Mayor Richard Daley had held a press conference touting the benefits of the city's handgun ban by brandishing a rifle with a bayonet and -- I swear I am not making this up -- cracking a joke about shoving it up a reporter's bum, an 80-year-old man on the West Side of Chicago traded gunfire with a burglar, killing the intruder.

For advocates of gun control, the optics on this story are just awful. It's nearly impossible to drum up any sympathy for the deceased, Anthony Nelson, who had a long history of drug and weapons convictions and was on probation. He attempted to break into the house, brought a gun with him, and fired twice at the so-far unnamed homeowner.

Conversely, it is impossible to fault the homeowner. The man who killed Nelson was a veteran of the Korean War. He fired only one shot and got the intruder in the chest. On that morning, the man was protecting not just himself but his wife and a 12-year-old great grandson who was staying over. A son told reporters "My father had no choice. It was him or the other guy."

Rest of the piece can be found here. Let's not forget that our current President hails from the Windy City and doubtless agrees with Mayor Daley on at least some level regarding firearms.

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Gun-maker celebrates governor's crack shot

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Gotta love the United States. Apparently Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) was jogging and had a coyote go after his dog. He shot it dead with his trusty Ruger LCR. Ruger is now releasing a "Coyote Special" edition to celebrate this event. Only in America.

On a related note, I have some money set aside to buy a new firearm. I'm trying to decide if I want to buy a M1 Garand through the CMP or if I want to buy/build an AR of some sort. I've always wanted to own an M1 and the NRA high-power matches look like a lot of fun. On the other hand nothing annoys the anti-RKBA crowd more than an AR-15 with a few 30 round magazines. That's probably the wrong motivation to have when considering a four digit purchase, but there you go :)

I'll probably go with the M1, to the disappointment of all my friends with ARs. Hard to pass up owning a piece of history like that.

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Well, I was wrong -- Andrew Cuomo is running for Governor

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 4 years ago

It's official.

I have to say that I'm surprised by this. I always figured that Cuomo had political aspirations beyond Governor of NYS. Running for this office makes little sense if he does -- the Governors mansion is where political careers go to die. As Attorney General he has the ability to effect change -- whether that change is positive or not depends on your viewpoint but the ability is there. As Governor he will be held hostage by our corrupt Legislature and entrenched special interests. The electorate of course won't understand this -- all they'll remember is that he went to Albany promising to clean up the place and failed to deliver.

I suppose he could win in a landslide and take a mandate for reform to Albany that the Legislature would be unable to ignore but I rather doubt that will happen. Spitzer won 59 of 62 counties with 69% of the popular vote and still proved unable to change anything in Albany. It's hard to see Cuomo doing better at the ballot box or having the courage to take on the special interests, most of whom favor his party. From a political standpoint I think he's making a huge mistake here. Much better to stay where he is or try to knock off Gillibrand in a primary race.

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Congress Accelerates Out of Control

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Snippet from RealClearPolitics, Congress Accelerates Out of Control:

When the news broke about alleged safety defects in Toyota vehicles, official Washington was appalled. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood accused the company of being "safety deaf" and said "they have a very bad business model."

Then there was the reaction from customers, the very people whose lives and safety are at stake every time they get in a car. In the first four months of this year, Toyota's U.S. sales did not fall, as you might expect. They rose by 12 percent.

Sticky gas pedals, sudden acceleration, alleged violations of the law, federal fines, multiple recalls -- none of them sent Americans fleeing in panic.

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/. 2.0 weirdness

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Anybody else have the issue where you only see one icon for a friend/fan? I have people who are both and I only see the green friend icon. Used to see both of them, friend and fan.

I use Firefox, but this is an issue in IE too.

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Has Google Jumped the Shark?

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 4 years ago

My apologies to the people whom posted in my journal about this previously. My journal entry was disrupted by a few individuals whom apparently have nothing better to do than troll my journal in an attempt to restart old arguments not related to the topic at the hand. That problem has now been addressed and will not be happening again.

The original journal entry was about Google's new "everything" sidebar. You can see an example of that sidebar here. I regard this as as a sad attempt to copy Bing at the expense of the minimalist interface that made Google famous. As yet Google is not providing a way to opt-out of this new "feature". Several people have taken matters into their hands. halcyon1234 posted a greasemonkey script in the original journal entry I did about this story.

I hope that Google does eventually provide an opt-out so such measures aren't necessary. The everything sidebar might be useful for some people but it contributes exactly nothing to the search results as far as I'm concerned. If the comments on Google's forums and other sites are any indication I'm not alone in this belief.

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