[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Tuesday, 2009-12-29

Guns and crime in 2009

Filed under: Society — bblackmoor @ 12:16

I thought that the contrast here was interesting. According to the FBI, murders in the USA declined by 10 percent overall during the first half of 2009, while the spike in handgun sales was making national news.

The FBI released data Monday that shows murders dropped by 10 percent from the same period in 2008. Meanwhile, according to data released by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) shows that during the first six months of this year, gun sales were up. January 2009 background checks rose 28.8 percent over the same month in 2008, February’s NICS checks were up 23.3 percent and in March they were up 29.9 percent over March 2008. The trend continued in April, with NICS checks up 30.3 percent, while May showed a slowdown, up only 15.5 percent, and in June they were up 18.1 percent.

(from Murder Down, Gun Sales Up)

Meanwhile, in the U.K., where law-abiding citizens are disarmed, crimes involving handguns have increased 89% in the past ten years.

Gun crime has almost doubled since Labour came to power as a culture of extreme gang violence has taken hold.

The latest Government figures show that the total number of firearm offences in England and Wales has increased from 5,209 in 1998/99 to 9,865 last year – a rise of 89 per cent.

In some parts of the country, the number of offences has increased more than five-fold.

(from Culture of violence: Gun crime goes up by 89% in a decade)

I am sure it is not just about guns. Nothing is ever so simple. But it is difficult not to see a connection here.

Sunday, 2009-12-27

The cake is a lie

Filed under: Entertainment,Society — bblackmoor @ 12:18

What they understand

Friday, 2009-12-25

Christmas Eve with Zombie Strippers

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 03:31

Zombie StrippersMy sweetie and I spent our Christmas Eve watching a movie called Zombie Strippers, which is exactly what it sounds like.

I admit I had very low expectations from Zombie Strippers. I have recently seen a lot of bad attempts at horror-comedy, such as the atrocious Splatter Beach, and I expected no better from Zombie Strippers. To my surprise, it was funny, and gory, and had decent acting (far above par for the genre), and good writing, and the special effects were inventive and well done. In fact, the only thing that prevents it from being classified along with such classics like Evil Dead and Re-Animator is that there is no single standout performance (like Bruce Campbell or Jeffrey Combs in the aforementioned classics). But really, that’s a faint criticism. Zombie Strippers is probably the best horror movie I have seen in quite a while, and the best horror comedy I have seen in a very, very long time.

Thursday, 2009-12-10

An it harm none…

Filed under: Books,Privacy — bblackmoor @ 11:17

“Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law,’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.” — Thomas Jefferson to Isaac H. Tiffany, 1819

“Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill, An it harm none do what ye will.” — Doreen Valiente, 1964

“I never hurt nobody but myself and that’s nobody business but by own.” — Billie Holiday

If you have not read it (or not read it lately), I suggest you spend some time with Ain’t Nobody’s Business If You Do, by Peter McWilliams.

Tuesday, 2009-12-08

Found: wedding ring

Filed under: General — bblackmoor @ 23:07

I just found my wedding ring! I lost it at the beginning of October.

It was in a cardboard box, one of a stack of cardboard boxes that I had been meaning to throw away. But I have some stuff to sell on ebay (old hard drives and so on), so I haven’t. And I was peeling the stickers off one, getting ready to pack my calculus books in it (yay, no more calculus!), and there was this sliding and bumping sound, and I was like, “What’s in here?” And I looked under the old packing slip in it, and there was my ring!

Two months. I had given up on finding it.

Presumption of guilt: Your rights when it comes to data encryption

Filed under: Privacy,Security — bblackmoor @ 14:28

Chad Perrin has a short article on TechRepublic giving a back-of-the-napkin overview on encryption as it is viewed by the courts. It is worth checking out and clicking the relevant links.

Monday, 2009-12-07

Free public OpenID server

Filed under: Security — bblackmoor @ 19:17

I have set up a free, public OpenID provider at http://www.blackgate.net/openid/, using software from Community-ID.

Friday, 2009-12-04

Fedora 12 is out

Filed under: Linux — bblackmoor @ 12:15

Fedora 12 has been released into the wild, and the general response is positive.

Every time a new version of Fedora (or any major Linux distribution) is released, there is always a great deal of confusion over the various releases: x86, i386, 686, and so on. Here is a quick guide that covers the vast majority of cases:

i386

  • A generic “lowest common denominator” designation for Intel 80386 compatible CPUs (includes all of the above, but does not take advantage of extended instructions on those later CPUs).

Don’t use this unless you have to.

i686

  • All Intel 32-bit Pentiums (excluding Pentium 1 and Pentium MMX)
  • All AMD 32-bit Athlons

If your computer is several years old, you will probably have nothing to lose by using this version. However…

x86_64

  • AMD’s Athlon 64, Athlon 64-FX, and Opteron
  • Intel EMT64 processors – Pentium 4, Pentium D, Pentium Extreme Edition, Celeron D, Xeon and Pentium Dual-Core processors, the Atom 230 and 330 and in all versions of the Core 2, Intel Core i9, Core i7, Core i5 and Core i3

If your computer is less than a few years old, try this version first. If it won’t work on your machine, you will know almost immediately. If it does work on your machine, you may find that the performance is improved slightly (when compared to a 32 bit kernel), because the compiler was able to take advantage of slight improvements made in the instruction set for your processor.

So, start with x86-64. If that does not work, try i686. If that doesn’t work, try i386.

Good luck!

Monday, 2009-11-30

Passwords need to go away

Filed under: Security — bblackmoor @ 19:54

I was just creating an account on a new web site. It has freaking ridiculous password rules.

Your password must have 2 upper case letters, 2 lower case letters, 2 numbers, 2 special characters, and be a minimum of 9 characters and a maximum of 12 characters in length.

Why don’t they just generate a random string that they’ll accept and save me the bother? It’s not like I will be able to remember this monstrosity.

When I was at… Philip Morris, I think it was… there were two systems that had complex password requirements, and they were mutually exclusive. Like, one required two numbers, and the other forbade more than one number. Something like that. So ridiculous. The whole “password” thing needs to die.

I wish more places would clue into OpenID. After exams, I think I will set up an OpenID server on mortshire.org.

Thursday, 2009-11-26

Happy Thanksgiving!

Filed under: History — bblackmoor @ 12:00

(I heard about this from The Breda Revolution.)

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