Sasquan post, obligatory

It’s been an interesting week and a half. School starts this Tuesday, but I didn’t have a job lined up yet as of ten days ago (and the spousal unit was getting worried about that fact). The septic system had a pump die, needing replacement. And Sasquan, the World Science Fiction Convention that was being held in Spokane this year was fast approaching. The latter normally wouldn’t mean much, except that this year I had been nominated for the John W. Campbell award for best new SF writer, and my publisher had encouraged me to go. Continue reading

Interesting data

Ashley Madison was a bunch of dudes talking to each other, data analysis suggests:

Gizmodo editor-in-chief Annalee Newitz analyzed the data from the site’s user database and found a lot of suspicious stuff suggesting that nearly all the female accounts were fake, maintained by the company’s employees.

she found three really damning pieces of data:

  • Only 1,492 of the women in the database had ever checked their messages on the site. That’s compared with more than 20 million men.
  • Only 2,409 of the women had ever used the site’s chat function, versus more than 11 million men.
  • Only 9,700 of the women had ever responded to a message from another person on the site, versus almost 6 million men. (This number was greater than the number of women who checked messages because it’s possible to answer messages in bulk when you first visit the site, without ever opening your inbox.)

It’s possible that most of the women signed up but never did anything.

Either way, Newitz writes, Ashley Madison is a site where tens of millions of men write mail, chat, and spend money for women who aren’t there.”

So, basically, the business model was fraud.

Ry and I have frequently suggested to each other we could be wealthy if only we weren’t constrained by our morals. This is another data point suggesting this hypothesis may be true.

Quote of the day—Hillary Rodham Clinton

We have got to do something about gun violence in America — and I will take it on.

Hillary Rodham Clinton
August 26, 2015
Hillary Clinton vows to be gun-control president
[It’s good that she is making this very clear. Maybe this will make it a campaign issue as well. With support for gun rights the highest it has been since 1993 there is a good chance this will make it a loosing issue.—Joe]

Mugme Street news

Via email from Ry we have this story:

Police have increased patrols around 3rd Avenue and Pine Street this week after three tourists from Rhode Island were attacked and robbed outside the downtown bus tunnel.

Jonah Spangenthal-Lee of the Seattle police said the incident unfolded Sunday at around 11 p.m. as the tourists were walking to the tunnel’s entrance and passed by a group of men and women on the street.

One of the women in the group confronted the tourists and accused them of bumping into her. When one of the tourists apologized, a woman in the group responded by burning one of the tourists, a 29-year-old man, with a lit cigarette.

The group of suspects then stole a cellphone from the victims and struck the 29-year-old man in the head with a broken bottle when he began shouting for help, Spangenthal-Lee said.

The suspects also attacked the two female tourists – who are 23 and 24 years old – punching them both in the face.

When police arrived at the scene, the group of suspects had fled. However, officers did arrest one man at the scene after he interfered with medics’ efforts to treat the victims and told the victims they “deserved” to be beaten and robbed.

There is a reason Barb calls this street “Mugme Street”. I wish the tourists had guns with them and had encouraged these thugs to reconsider their life choices.

Another form of shooting brace

For handguns. Apparently it’s “not an NFA item” because it doesn’t actually attach to the handgun. SO if you duct tape it…

It seems like an OK idea on the surface. Some will of course say that if you “learn to shoot” you won’t need it, that you should be able to get the gun’s inherent accuracy, or near to it, in practice without that kind of support. That’s a nice theory I suppose.

My problem with it would be that the sights are now that much closer and I already have a hard time focusing on the front one as it is unless I’m wearing special corrective lenses or looking through a small aperture. So now I’d need a Glock with a peep sight, which would suck when used at arms length. That or a reflex sight. Or one of those pasty apertures you can stick on your glasses.

OK, THAT’S an “arsenal”

Frequently the media throws around words in a hushed tone about the things they are reporting as thought they were impressive. “Arsenal” is one of those words that normally draws an eye-roll from any sort of serious gunny, along with a derisive comment about it being less than they took to the range last week.

In LA police are reporting that a home they investigated after they found the owners decomposing body had 1200 guns and a couple of tons of ammo.

OK, I’ll allow that that’s a modestly impressive collection that could reasonably be called an arsenal.

Good news, bad news

Remember the big Ebola concerns about a year ago? We just had to be careful to avoid direct contact with body fluids and we wouldn’t get infected, right? Everyone knew that even though some people were saying there was evidence it could be airborne. But the airborne hypothesis was mostly dismissed.

Good news and bad news just came out. There is a vaccine which is working in the first primate trials. Inhalable Ebola vaccine effective in primates:

One dose of an inhalable Ebola vaccine was enough to protect monkeys exposed to 1,000 times the fatal Ebola dose from being infected by the disease, according to a new study.

An inhalable version of the vaccine means that highly trained medical personnel would not be necessary to distribute it, however researchers remain cautious because one vaccine this year already was shown to have no effect on humans despite working well in primates.

Researchers compared the effects of the aerosol and liquid forms as well, finding that the aerosol appeared to induce a stronger immune response in the respiratory tract than the liquid form. Because Ebola, which can be spread through the air, often enters the body through the lungs and respiratory system, the extra protection from the virus there is seen as important to its efficacy.

Emphasis added.

Quote of the day—Jerry Larson/The Associated Press

Six witnesses interviewed by the AP describe a melee that began with a few pistol shots but was dominated by semiautomatic gunfire.

some officers carry semiautomatic weapons, which fire a single shot with every pull of the trigger and automatically reload between shots.

Jennifer Cicolani, of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, noted that a semiautomatic gun can shoot more bullets in less time than a small-caliber weapon.

Jerry Larson/The Associated Press
June 6, 2015
Semiautomatic gunfire dominated Waco biker shootout, several witnesses say
[There is so much crap for brains demonstrated here that I don’t even want to think about it.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Windy Wilson

So, now with words having no meaning until the court interprets them for the masses, we do not know what any law means until it comes back from the high priests holy of holies. The Senate and Congress no longer need the high salaries they get, nor do they need to be in session more than a week or so out of the year. They no longer need staffs of statute writers, since all they need to do is give the high priests of law a general request. Perhaps the title, and some language analogous to asking a tailor for a fully custom suit. It took over 100 years for the Administrative State to swallow Congress through the actions of this administration, I don’t think the next step, eliminating Congress as legislature will take as long.

Windy Wilson
June 25, 2015
Comment to Quote of the day—Robert W. Tyson
[This was in reference to the SCOTUS decision in regards to subsides for Obamacare.

Everything I have to say about this ruling Ry and I have said before in regards to a previous Obamacare SCOTUS decision. It’s good to have clarity.—Joe]

Good to know

Via Bruce Schneier.

The terrorist risk is low in the U.S. compared to the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and even Europe:

According to the index, which ranks world cities by the likelihood of a terror attack based on historic trends, 64 cities around the world are at “extreme risk” of a terror attack.

Of these, the majority are in the Middle East (27) or Asia (19).

Some 14 are in Africa, where the rise of Boko Haram and al-Shabaab as well as political instability have increased risk.

Three are in Europe – Luhansk (46) and Donetsk (56) in Ukraine, and Grozy (54) in Russia – while Colombia’s Cali (59) is the only South American city on the list.

The British city most at risk of terror attacks in Belfast (91), followed by Bristol (178), Cardiff (313), Manchester (398) and London (400).

And:

According to Verisk Maplecroft, Paris (97th and ‘high risk’) has experienced one of the steepest rises in the ranking, reflecting the severity of the terrorist attack in January 2015 that left 17 people dead. The risk level in Paris is representative of a wider trend for Western countries, including Belgium, Canada and Australia, where the level of risk in key urban centres is substantially higher than elsewhere in the country, in part due to the significant PR value attached to such high profile targets by militant Islamist groups.

I know someone leaving for South America soon and it’s good to know they probably won’t have terrorist issues on top of the high crime rate risks.

Mugme street news

This came out just before Boomershoot and I set it aside for when I had more time. That time has come.

I have frequently posted about what Barb named “Mugme street” in downtown Seattle. In case you ever had any doubt as to the validity of claims of this being a “bad part of town” we now have this news:

SPD, FBI Target 3rd and Pine Drug Market In Operation Crosstown Traffic

A four-month operation by the Seattle Police Department’s Major Crimes Taskforce (MCTF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has led authorities to 186 suspected drug dealers and thieves, who turned Seattle’s downtown core into an open-air drug market and street corner swap meet. As of Thursday morning, police have arrested 95 suspects, and local officials are now working to get some of those dealers off the streets by connecting them with a pioneering and promising diversion program, instead of sending them to prison.

Since January, MCTF detectives and West Precinct officers have been working undercover as part of Operation Crosstown Traffic, a partnership with the FBI, US Attorney’s Office, King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and City Attorney’s Office, aimed at identifying criminals involved in a thriving underground economy around 3rd Avenue and Pine Street. Over the last year, police have received 10,000 calls of service in the area surrounding the 1500 block of Pine Street, including frequent reports of drug dealing and property crimes, as well as violent brawls, shootings, and stabbings.

Detectives also got a good look at the area’s underground economy in action, as shoplifters sold armloads of stolen goods—like Seahawks jerseys, sunglasses and even bottles of shampoo—to crowds at bus stops and on street corners. Shoplifters took the cash from those sales, detectives say, and went straight to area drugs dealers, before heading to nearby alleyways to shoot up or smoke narcotics.

Ry and I used to work in the Century Square building. It was a very nice building on the inside and on 4th street, but one side of that building was on 3rd street from Pike to Pine. We are both glad to have escaped from there.

Seattle is extremely hostile to gun ownership and even though you can legally carry a gun on the bus and on the streets company (California based) rules didn’t allow us to carry into the office.

Some writers can write

Well no duh! I can hear you say. Every different community has its issues, events, and disputes. Being somewhat more than a mere spectator but less than a main combatant is an odd and interesting place to be.

The recent and ongoing kerfuffle in the sci-fi community between the SJW’s and and the Ilk of the Evil Legion of Evil has been educational, and many fascinating words are being spilled. Take, for example, Brad Torgerson, one of the principals in the whole Sad Puppies affair. His recent post titled Flaming rage nozzles of tolerance is great. Kind of long, but he does a good job of breaking down the current “we must blame ourselves for everything” SJW narrative-driven mindset as a modern secular take on Original Sin, and the competing with the free minds of people responsible for their own actions and nothing more. Well worth the read.

Huh…

It looks like I made the final ballot for the Campbell Award for best new sci-fi writer. With only one published book (and one short story, also in the same universe) I figure I’m a long shot, even if I have a re-write, a sequel, a prequel, and a children’s historical book scheduled for this year. In any case, even getting to the final ballot short-list is an honor… Well, interesting, anyway. No clue what the competition is like, but it should be fun to watch unfold. I can almost hear some brains exploding from here.

Also on the list: Wesley Chu*, Jason Cordova, Kary English*, Eric S. Raymond (*Finalists in their 2nd year of eligibility.)

Mixed words on making the short list for the Prometheus. But as I hear the competition is strong this year, so I’m a long-shot there, too. But how many people manage to make both a “best new X” list at the same time they make the list for some other category in the field competing against long-time pros?

Just getting nominated for either award is proof the universe has a twisted sense of humor. If I happen to win, I know that my little corner of the cosmos is a very strange one. Not a bad one, mind you, just more than a little bit odd.

And then there were…five?

Kansas Gubnuh signs “constitutional” carry bill.

There’s also talk about lowering the legal age for open carry to eighteen, some citing the fact that eighteen year-olds can fight for their country. Well, yeah. I havent seen any age restrictions in the second amendment, but maybe I didn’t look close enough. That sort of thing (for those under 18) should be up to the parents, and Uncle Sam is not my daddy or my kids’ daddy.

ETA: If we didn’t think she’d be arrested for it, my daughter would be packing right now. Instead we’re forced to decide whether we’re more concerned about her being judged by twelve (actually since she’s under age it would be judged by one) or carried by six.

“I believe we can lower the age to 18 at some point in the future. I think after everybody sees that there are not going to be any of the dire predictions coming true, and they relax a little bit, then we can talk about that.”

OK; why do some people need to be “relaxed” before others can exercise their natural human rights? Where in the constitution does it say that? There must be one hell of a long list of qualifiers that I haven’t seen yet.

I’ve mentioned “control by freakout” before, and this is an excellent example – media get people all hyped up and “un-relaxed” and our rights are violated as a result. I must say it is a brilliant tactic.

Ted declares his candidacy

The Democrats are totally ill-equipped to defeat him. He simply doesn’t fall for their game, and so it will require the combined efforts of Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, the American Communist Party, et al, plus Jihadists and other foreign interests, to defeat him. This will be interesting.

The predictable, or rather a common, outcome would be that someone would get to him and convince him (threaten, bribe, cajole, lie, intimidate, mesmerize, etc.) that “For the Greater Good of the Party” he should quit before he does too much damage to the 2016 prospects. That or they primary him right out.