Quote of the day—John R. Lott, Jr.

While the FBI claims that just 4.4% of active shootings were stopped by law-abiding citizens carrying guns, the percentage that I found was 34%. We had more lucky finding recent cases, and the proportion of cases stopped in 2021 was even higher – 49%.

In places where law-abiding citizens are allowed to carry firearms, the percentage of active shootings stopped is above 50% for the entire 2014 to 2021 period. And, again, we are more confident that we have more of the cases from recent years. The figure reaches a lofty 58% in 2021.

In order to follow the FBI’s definition, I also had to exclude 24 cases because a law-abiding person with a gun stopped the attacker before he was able to get off a shot.

But there is a more basic problem in the reliance on news coverage to determine whether an active shooting was stopped by an armed civilian. The news media has a clear bias for covering cases where bad things happen over cases where bad things are prevented.

John R. Lott, Jr.
President, Crime Preven9on Research Center
December 15, 2022
Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security
[Via David Hardy.

I’m not sure where I heard it, but someone else commented on a related matter that they asked a reporter or editor why they didn’t report on successful self-defense use of guns. The answer was, “We don’t want to encourage that.” Yet, they apparently have no problem reporting on, also known as “encouraging”, mass shootings.

That should tell you all you need to know about the character of such people.—Joe]



As a combat veteran, I don’t believe anyone, including the cops, should have an AK-15 or AR-47. They’re not good for defending your overpriced rental property and nothing you own is worth someone else’s life anyway.

Maybe they are just doing a bad job of trolling.

Downtown Seattle

3rd Avenue between Pike and Pine is ground zero of Mugme Street. This happened near 4th and Pike on a Friday afternoon about 2:15 PM:

According to court documents, officers with the SPD were in the area conducting a narcotics surveillance operation when an officer saw Martin near a bus stop with a hammer in his hand. Martin’s actions concerned the officer, so they took a cellphone photo of Martin and sent it to the other officers in the area working the operation.

A plain-clothes officer also saw Martin in the area waving the hammer and having verbal altercations with other people in the area, court documents said.

Before the attack, the plain-clothes officer saw the 53-year-old who was killed “attempting to cut the lock off of a bike using an orbital grinder which was sending sparks into the air,” according to court documents.

Martin approached the man, documents said, and when the 53-year-old walked away, Martin followed.

Witnesses told police they saw Martin hit the 53-year-old in the head with the hammer. Court documents state the 53-year-old took “a hammer strike to the right temple area of the head,” resulting in a skull fracture.

Surveillance cameras in the area captured Martin “raising the hammer above his shoulder, swinging it at the victim’s head, and the victim collapsing to the ground,” according to court documents. The documents said Martin then stood over the 53-year-old, grabbed his backpack and walked away.

There are multiple clues in the quoted material to guide your plans for visiting Seattle.

The entrance to a building I used work in is within a couple hundred feet of the attack location.

See also this article. People are not shocked or even surprised this happened.

Quote of the day—Katie Lange

Dies are also tested on the death gauge — which isn’t nearly as terrifying as the name makes it sound. Also known as a dial indicator, this test measures how deep the image of an insignia is cut into the die down to the hundredths or thousandths of an inch. If various areas of the design aren’t cut to a certain depth, the die goes back to the manufacturer.

Katie Lange
January 11, 2023
How QA Experts Make Sure Military Medals Make the Grade
[Emphasis added.

Perhaps Ms. Lange needs her ears cleaned or should have attend a metal working shop class in high school. It’s call a “Depth Gauge”.

David Roza replicated Ms Lange error with The military uses a ‘death gauge’ to make sure medals don’t look like garbage:

There are two tests for making sure the dies are ready for the manufacturing process. One is the Rockwell hardness tester, which, you guessed it, tests the hardness of the steel alloy to make sure it is the right strength for striking brass medals. Then there is the ‘death gauge,’ also known as a dial indicator, which “measures how deep the image of an insignia is cut into the die down to the hundredths or thousandths of an inch,” the press release said.

It is not clear based on the press release why the ‘death gauge’ has its unique name. But it is definitely the end of the road for the die if it does not pass the gauge test.

Emphasis again added.

Kids these days! As I grew up on a farm, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know the alternate name for a dial indicator. But I’m sure it was before I started the first grade when I was five years old.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Eric King

Before the existence of the state of Israel ever since the diaspora Jews have lived in small areas of other people’s countries. Among American Jews this now typically means great grandparents who lived in shtetls or ghettos, segregated, isolated rural or urban areas in Europe. One of the major hazards of this situation was that occasionally a few Cossacks would get drunk, ride over to the nearest shtetl, rape a few women, maybe murder a man who protested rather than begging for his life and then ride off into the sunset, big fun… for the Cossacks.

It had to be inescapably clear to these Jews that there were dozens if not hundreds of them, able-bodied and sober, surely a match for 8 or 10 drunk Cossacks. It would have been easy, even for people not trained in arms, to kill them and bury them someplace, but it is obvious why they did not. If they had done so, all the Cossacks would have come to the shtetl fully armed for battle. They would have massacred every Jew in this shtetl and every other one within 100 versts. Defense was just not an option, not a survival trait. The women raped and the men murdered had to be seen as the price Jews paid for living, for surviving as a people. Since no Jew ever even remotely considered the possibility that without some major provocation someday the Cossacks would try to kill them all, it seemed like a reasonable if awful compromise.

Such a compromise must have taken a devastating and horrific psychological toll on the people forced to make it. Sooner or later someone among our traumatized ancestors had to make the following rationalization to justify this situation: “We are better than those people because they are violent and we are not. They handle weapons, and we do not.” In order to maintain self-respect people in such a condition had to explain it as the result of something that made them better than their oppressors. This was the notion that they voluntarily (rather than of necessity as was the actual case) eschewed the use of weapons of any sort because they understood that violence was evil while their tormentors did not. It was the key to survival, self-respect and eventually the shtetl mentality which American Jews, far removed from the shtetl, still carry with them despite the fact that it has long since lost its utility.

Eric King
The Shtetl Mentality
[Interesting hypothesis. It is better than any I have been able to come up with.—Joe]

Aunty Dell

Follow up to Names you don’t hear anymore.

Via Brother Doug:

This was Mardelle Patterson on my father’s farm about 1956. She was a double first cousin to my father. Their mothers were sisters and their fathers were brothers so they shared all four grandparents. Mardelle was born just 2.5 miles from where I live today in the house where she would live in her early years. Mardelle and my father largely grew up in the same household during the Great Depression. For the last six years, Mardelle has been the sole survivor of that household. She introduced my parents to each other in July of 1953. My brothers and I all called her “Aunty Dell” even though she wasn’t really my father’s sister. Mardelle and her husband, John contributed several memories to my father’s biography when I was working on it a few years ago.

Mardelle passed away last night at the age of 91. Her passing marks the end of the Huffman family members that once lived together here in Cavendish and struggled through the dark years of the Great Depression. Although the adults remembered the Depression as a difficult time, the children had fond memories of those days. They had never known anything different, so growing up in poverty didn’t cripple them, it only made them stronger.


The depression era mindset of making things last was installed in us when we grew up on the farm. The tractor Aunty Dell is on is one I still use for moving dirt for Boomershoot and other things. Doug uses it, among other things, to clear snow from the driveway and parking areas.

Quote of the day—David Linsky

While the Massachusetts Legislature has been a national leader in passing effective legislation that addresses gun violence prevention, there are more measures that can be taken. I am proud to file bills that would make important and crucial steps in reducing gun violence and preventing further tragedies from occurring.

David Linsky
MA may now ban all semi-auto rifles and shotguns
[He has to know this is unconstitutional. He can’t be that stupid and/or ignorant. He is just evil.

I wonder how proud he will be when he is facing life in prison for his crimes.—Joe]

We live in interesting times

For probably 10 years I’ve been nearly certain my children would have the opportunity to live forever. At first I figured I would just miss out. I’m now becoming more convinced I have a decent chance at having that same opportunity:

Scientists have reversed the aging process in mice: Are humans next?

A recent study published in the journal Cell found that by making DNA repairs on mice, scientists were able to drive age “forward and backward” thus manipulating the aging process.

“There is new research now showing that the aging process may be reversible,” Johns Hopkins health policy expert Dr. Marty Makary said on “Varney & Co.” Tuesday. “That is, that the body may carry a copy of a gene in your body that codes for a younger response to everything physiologically.”

Quote of the day—Microsoft researchers

We introduce a language modeling approach for text to speech synthesis (TTS). Specifically, we train a neural codec language model (called VALL-E) using discrete codes derived from an off-the-shelf neural audio codec model, and regard TTS as a conditional language modeling task rather than continuous signal regression as in previous work. During the pre-training stage, we scale up the TTS training data to 60K hours of English speech which is hundreds of times larger than existing systems. VALL-E emerges in-context learning capabilities and can be used to synthesize high-quality personalized speech with only a 3-second enrolled recording of an unseen speaker as an acoustic prompt. Experiment results show that VALL-E significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art zero-shot TTS system in terms of speech naturalness and speaker similarity. In addition, we find VALL-E could preserve the speaker’s emotion and acoustic environment of the acoustic prompt in synthesis.

Chengyi Wang, Sanyuan Chen, Yu Wu*, Ziqiang Zhang,Long Zhou, Shujie Liu, Zhuo Chen, Yanqing Liu, Huaming Wang, Jinyu Li, Lei He, Sheng Zhao, Furu Wei
January 5, 2023
Neural Codec Language Models are Zero-Shot Text to Speech Synthesizers
[Emphasis added.

They have multiple samples you can listen too.

It does a scary good job. What could possibly go wrong?

Skynet smiles. This will be used in the terminators.—Joe]

Interesting question

Can Your Android Phone Be Tracked When It’s Turned Off?

As technology advances, debates continue to arise over geographical tracking. Today, cell service providers, internet service providers, and other parties can track your location through your devices, including your smartphone.

But if you have an Android phone, what happens when it’s turned off? Can your location still be tracked?

I wrote a significate portion of the code used for “Location Services” on Windows Phone 7. I understand as much as almost anyone on obtaining location information from the phone side of things. Obtaining location from the carrier side is different, but I can make some intelligent speculation about that.

The basics of what I read in the article above is true:

When you turn your phone off, you’re temporarily deactivating all of its functions, including wireless communication. By cutting this off, your phone cannot be tracked via cell tower triangulation or GPS. The only location that can be discerned using these methods is that which was last shown before the device was turned off.

So, the general answer is no, your phone cannot be tracked when switched off.

They go on to say:

But this has been called into question numerous times.

There have been talks of certain authorities still being able to track your phone when turned off. For example, various reports have come out over the years claiming that the NSA (National Security Agency) can track a turned-off device. For example, Slate published a piece in 2013 discussing the NSA’s alleged tracking of phones, as briefly mentioned in a Washington Post story.

In the same piece, Slate mentioned that in 2006, it was reported that the FBI had “deployed spyware to infect suspects’ mobile phones and record data even when they were turned off”. A CNET post was referred to here as the source. It is not known if the NSA is truly capable of tracking phones while turned off, but the reports mentioned seem to indicate that this is the case to some extent.

From the referenced Washington Post article:

By September 2004, a new NSA technique enabled the agency to find cellphones even when they were turned off. JSOC troops called this “The Find,” and it gave them thousands of new targets, including members of a burgeoning al-Qaeda-sponsored insurgency in Iraq, according to members of the unit.

This is a very interesting claim.

It was in about 2010 through 2011 I was writing the location services code for Windows Phone 7. Had I read the Washington Post article from a half dozen years earlier I would have given it something like a 25% chance of being correct. That assessment would have been unchanged today except for another data point.

I recently I talked to someone who told me, “I know for a fact that GCHQ can track phones even if they are turned off.” This was not someone who received their electrical engineering degree out of a tin-foil hat. It was someone who I have a lot of respect for as an electrical engineer.

That conversation and the article above which I stumbled across has caused me to reevaluate my position on this claim. I have given the problem some thought. With the right equipment, I can imagine some plausible ways this might be possible.

Here are some hints:

  • The power button is not a mechanical power switch. It is similar to other mechanical buttons on the phone. There is at least some portion of the electronics “alive” enough to recognize the switch has been pressed.
  • Your credit cards, smart car keys, passport, shoplifted merchandise, automatic road toll cards, and company ID badges can all be identified at varying distances.

Plan appropriately.

Shooting a dead bolt

Via Widener’s:

Mythbusting: Shooting A Deadbolt

We never get tired of watching movies, but we often watch scenes play out that aren’t realistic. Their approach is believable, but the way they go about solving problems defies logic, engineering, and sometimes physics. Take deadbolt locks as an example. When a character shoots a deadbolt lock, it disintegrates and the door busts wide open. It looks good on screen, but what happens when you shoot a deadbolt in real life?

That’s the question we set out to answer with this project: Whether the action we’re presented with on the big screen has any authenticity to it. We wanted to find out what really happens when you shoot a deadbolt with various calibers to see if Hollywood did their homework.

They shot at the lock which never resulted in gaining access through the door and most of the time cause the lock to be inoperable. Basically, shooting a shot or two make it less likely for you to gain access.

I would have thought you could do better by shooting at the doorframe just inside where the bolt engaged the strike plate. They sort of addressed that idea:

Why Not Shoot The Bolt Out Through The Door?

For starters, it’s not that easy to hit it. The bolt itself is only about an inch tall, making it a very small target even from a few feet away. If you do hit it, it’s going to take multiple shots to cause it to fail, and even more shots to cause the door behind it to fail.

In any case, if you are serious about opening a door via a projectile, a few ounces of Tannerite or Boomerite over the strike plate would open the door on the first try.

Barrett Firearms is now Australian owned

NIOA Acquires Barrett Firearm

Australian defense contractor NIOA Group announced today that it had acquired 100 percent of Barrett Firearms, expanding the company’s global reach. In the same announcement, NIOA Group CEO Robert Nioa confirmed that Barrett would continue to operate under its own brand. All management and staff at Barrett’s Murfreesboro, Tenn., manufacturing facility will be retained, and production will continue as normal. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

It sounds as if civilian sales will continue.

I don’t really have the money to buy and feed a Barrett but I want that possibility to exist for other people.

Quote of the day—Larry Correia @monsterhunter45

Talking about the new brace rules I just had some tough guy on FB tell me “who cares what the ATF says?”


Everybody with a flammable house and a non-bulletproof dog should care. This is not an agency known for its calm nuanced approach.

Larry Correia @monsterhunter45
Tweeted on January 13, 2023
[He has a way with words*.

One of the comments included this suggestion:


I can see that having some merit.

But I’m inclined to think you need an underground bunker with neighbors who can support you from the woods a half mile away. You keep the dog inside because the wolves and grizzlies would eat it instead of the unfriendly visitors camping out on your lawn.—Joe]

* I’m currently listening to his book, #1 in Customer Service The Complete Adventures of Tom Stranger. His humor probably isn’t for everyone but I think it is really funny.

Names you don’t hear anymore

On Tuesday night, at age 91, my aunt* Mardell died. I have never met another person with the name of Mardell. I’ve been a bit sad and nostalgic the last few days.

There are a lot of other names from my childhood I which I have never, or extremely rarely, hear anymore. I probably will only rarely again hear them associated with any living person. For some reason they are almost all on my dad’s side of the family.

All children of my great grandfather:

  • Ada
  • Alden
  • Ardis
  • Helena
  • Pet**
  • Sadie***

Others of the same generation:

  • Cecil
  • Claude
  • Charlotte (my maternal grandmother)
  • Elsa
  • Ida
  • Lorne
  • Ollie
  • Orla
  • Oscar
  • Lillian
  • Van (my maternal grandmother’s husband for a while)
  • Verna (my maternal grandmother’s middle name)

My dad, his cousins, friends, and neighbors:

  • Ally
  • Clinton (as a first name)
  • Doyle
  • Donzal
  • Drexel
  • Edna
  • Ernestine
  • Gladys
  • Gwen
  • Harriet
  • Lowell
  • Manual
  • Mardell
  • Ned
  • Skyler

Friends of mine growing up:

  • Lethco (only person on this list who is still alive)
  • Verl

* Technically, she was not my aunt. However, my father’s mother was a sister to aunty Dell’s mother AND my father’s father was a brother to her father. Also, for several years, both families lived in the same household. Dad was an only child but he had three double cousins he grew up with. My brothers and I called these siblings of his uncles and aunt.

** Although this was just nickname for Patricia, I don’t know that I knew her
real name was Patricia until years after she had passed away.

*** I know someone who named their dog Sadie. But I don’t know any living humans with that name.

Quote of the day—Defens

Liberal anti-gunners look at the mass shooter and say “Oh that’s so awful, I don’t want to be like him.”

Pro-rights citizens look at the shooter’s victims and say, “Oh that’s so awful, I don’t want to be like him!”

January 13, 2023
Comment to Quote of the day—Danny Westneat
[This rings true and there is considerable evidence to support this hypothesis.

This is also tends support for my claim that these people are inherently violent. They apparently believe others are similarly afflicted and the primary result of guns in a society is to enable this criminal violence. This is my “generous” view of their psychology.

When I am less generous, I tend to believe they are evil and they make up these excuses to justify making their victims defenseless.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Danny Westneat

This past year, the number of concealed gun licenses awarded in Washington state soared by more than 57,000, to about 700,000, according to data from the state Department of Licensing.

It means that just shy of 12% of all the adults in Washington state are packing (or at least are licensed to do so). This rate is 11th highest in the nation, according to a national roundup of gun data, behind mostly red states.

Around here they appear to be as hot as ever. That’s despite all the gun control laws (or maybe in reaction to them). Despite the bad publicity from mass shootings. Despite years of public-health ad campaigns about the potential dangers of having guns in the home.

Danny Westneat
January 11, 2023
Blue state paradox: WA keeps arming up
[Emphasis added.

12% of the adult in Washington have CPLs. That has to contribute to a culture change about gun ownership. That number is greater than the number of LBGT people in our society. It’s time to come out of the closet.

I found it amusing Westneat thinks that publicity about mass shootings would tend to reduce the carrying of guns.

I want to pat him on the head and tell him, “That’s so cute!”—Joe]