16th Century Revolver

An eight-shooter from over 400 years ago. But those who wrote the constitution could never have imagined a multi-shot firearm.

Am I seeing a barrel-mounted, spring operated indexing pawl which engages tiny notches in the front of cylinder between the priming pan covers? On the other hand, maybe that lever on the right side behind the cylinder is part of the index locking mechanism.

Now what we need is a gas-operated, automatic firing, flintlock chain gun artillery piece.

Quote of the day—Chris Rock

I don’t want to live in a world where hacking comes in second to ISIS.

Chris Rock
August 6, 2016 at Defcon 24
How to Overthrow a Government
[This is the white Australian Chris Rock, not the black U.S. Chris Rock.

This was his response to someone who said the biggest threats the world currently faces are, in order, ISIS, Hacking, … some other stuff. His point was that he thinks hacking should be number one in the list of threats to the world. Why should hacking come in behind a bunch of incompetent amateurs? So, he showed how hacking was used to create changes in the government of Kuwait a few years ago. At least that was strongly implied. It wasn’t clear to me whether this actually happened or was just a plausible explanation of what might have happened.

Here are some pictures from his presentation:
WP_20160806_10_06_08_ProWP_20160806_10_08_16_ProWP_20160806_10_17_45_ProWP_20160806_10_25_49_Pro

Interesting stuff.—Joe]

Data gets in the way of legislation

Interesting data:

A recent study by Temple University researchers found that wearing body cameras was actually associated with a 3.64% increase in fatal shootings of civilians by police officers.  Perhaps even more surprising is that no increase in fatalities was noticed in police interactions with Whites/Asians but police were found to be 3.68% more likely to kill Blacks/Hispanics while wearing body cameras.  The study suggests that police officers are actually more likely to pull the trigger if they have video evidence to support their use of force.

As Tyler Durden says in his post, “Don’t you just hate it when data gets in the way of legislation?”

Fingerprints should not imply uniqueness

News you can use:

For over 100 years, fingerprint evidence has been used as a valuable tool for the criminal justice system. Relying on the generalized premise of “uniqueness”, the forensic community has regarded fingerprint evidence as nearly infallible having the capacity to “individualize” the source of a fingerprint impression to a single individual. While the uniqueness of a complete record of friction ridge skin detail is generally undisputed, the extension of that premise to partial and degraded impressions has become a central issue of debate. Nevertheless, forensic science laboratories routinely use the terms “individualization” and “identification” in technical reports and expert witness testimony to express an association of a partial impression to a specific known source. Over the last several years, there has been growing criticism among the scientific and legal communities regarding the use of such terms to express source associations which rely on expert interpretation. The crux of the criticism is that these terms imply absolute certainty and infallibility to the fact-finder which has not been demonstrated by available scientific data. As a result, several authoritative scientific organizations have recommended forensic science laboratories not to report or testify, directly or by implication, to a source attribution to the exclusion of all others in the world or to assert 100% infallibility and state conclusions in absolute terms when dealing with population issues. Consequently, the traditional paradigm of reporting latent fingerprint conclusions with an implication of absolute certainty to a single source has been challenged. The underlying basis for the challenge pertains to the logic applied during the interpretation of the evidence and the framework by which that evidence is articulated. By recognizing the subtle, yet non-trivial differences in the logic, the fingerprint community may consider an alternative framework to report fingerprint evidence to ensure the certainties are not over or understated.

Dillon Precision

I’ve had Dillon Precision presses for ~20 years. No idea how many rounds I’ve loaded, but I remember buying primers by the case several times. Not quite this level, but enough to give the anti-gunnies conniptions. The Square Deal B is my go-to press for pistol cartridges. I’ve not used it in a while, though, between work, kids, writing, and everything else.

Anyway, when I went to assemble some 38 Special ammo today it wasn’t feeding primers reliably. Long story short, I call Dillon Precision’s tech support (they have a toll free number), get charged nothing, get my answer, and they are sending some replacement little plastic gizzies (technical term, that) which go on the end of the primer feed tube, mailed out tomorrow at no charge. He also told me how to clean the primer feed tube by pushing an alcohol-dipped Q-tip through it with the primer follower. That got quite a spectacular bit of corrosion / crud out of it, and it definitely feeds better, now. Not quite perfectly, but a great improvement.

Dillon presses are not the cheapest on the market, but I have never been disappointed by the presses or the technical support. As a former tech-support guy myself, I have high standards, and they meet them every time. If you plan on doing reloading, you can do much worse than Dillon.

I want a set of these

Prosounds via Indiegogo is funding the initial manufacturing and marketing of these:

H2P_diagram

This is hearing protection (30 db) and enhancement (they claim “6X” which I suspect means about 8 db) that fits in your ear. The difficulty of getting a good check weld on your rifle will just go away but you can still hear and have good sound protection. You can wear whatever hat you want with them and you can carry them in a small pocket wherever you go.

Their media release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Greg Duncan
Blue Heron Communications
(800) 654-3766
Greg@blueheroncomm.com

ProSounds Launches H2P Hearing Protection and Enhancement Earpieces via Indiegogo
Supporters offered opportunity for steep discounts

DRAPER, Utah (June 22, 2016) – ProSounds® Powered by Axil continues its mission to bring the most advanced hearing protection and enhancement devices to the civilian, industrial, shooting and military/police sectors with the launch of the H2P Earpieces on Indiegogo. Consumers can receive the H2P earpieces at a discounted price.

Supporters who back the ProSounds Indiegogo campaign will enjoy discounted rates that increase along with the amount of product purchased. Consumers and businesses that take advantage of the larger packages will receive the greatest savings. The Indiegogo campaign begins June 22 and will run through July 22.

“The H2P earpieces will change how people protect their hearing,” said ProSounds President and Founder Weston Harris. “They deliver high-quality, high-tech hearing protection and enhancement without the inconvenience of bulky head muffs or uncomfortable behind-the-ear devices. Lightweight and low-profile, the H2P will benefit anyone who experiences loud sounds throughout their everyday life.”

Designed to provide 100 percent digital protection and enhancement in one simple device, the new ProSounds H2P earpieces represent the newest advancement in hearing protection. Engineered with Lynx™ Digital Sound Clarity for optimal performance, the H2P earpieces deliver amplification of up to six times higher than normal hearing while simultaneously blocking any potential damaging noises in excess of 85 decibels.

The H2P earpieces are small and discreet and feature adjustable volume control, which allow users to easily select their preferred hearing level for each ear. Three styles of tips with the universal SecurFit™ design allow for all-day comfort whether at the range, workplace or in the field. Perfect for hunting, shooting range sessions, sporting events, concerts and industrial workplaces, the H2P provides the best digital compression hearing protection technology available.

The H2P earpieces are a great option for anyone who needs quality hearing protection and enhancement. With damage to hearing beginning at 85 decibels, 140 million Americans put their hearing at risk while at work, shooting ranges, hunting trips, sporting events and more. Designed with a comfortable fit and featuring high-quality digital compression, anyone who experiences loud noises can benefit from the H2P earpieces.

Axil, parent company of ProSounds, is the industry leader of hearing enhancement and protection technology, and has been helping people around the world improve and protect their hearing for over 57 years. To learn more about the ProSounds H2P Indiegogo campaign, please visit Indiegogo.

Biometrical identity verification via your brake pedal

Via Bruce Schneier we find there is still another means of biometric identity verification:

“With very limited amounts of driving data we can enable very powerful and accurate inferences about the driver’s identity,” says Miro Enev, a former University of Washington researcher who worked on the study before taking a job as a machine-learning engineer at Belkin. And the researchers argue that ability to pinpoint could have unexpected privacy implications: Everything from letting insurance companies punish drivers who loan their cars to their teenage kids, to confirming the identity of a driver who violated traffic laws or caused a collision.

In the end, the researchers found that they didn’t even need the longest portion of the driving test to reliably identify each of the 15 drivers. Using the full collection of the car’s sensors—including how the driver braked, accelerated and angled the steering wheel—the researchers found that their algorithm could distinguish each of the drivers, with 100 percent accuracy, based on only 15 minutes of the driving data. Even with data from the brake pedal alone, they found that they could guess at the correct driver with 87 percent accuracy.

Keep in mind this is result on identify verification. They are not determining identity with this information. Still, this very interesting. Not all the implications are obvious at first glance. But it might be claimed that regular collection of this data violates my Jews In the Attic Test.

Cell phone signals extends rats lives

When I worked at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory I talked to a researcher who told me he did a study on satellite phones and cancer in rats. They wanted to make sure the specific signals used by these phones were safe because their have been concerns that the relatively high powered transmitters next to a persons head might cause cancer. We didn’t really have a plausible hypothesis for this since it was non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, but doing the tests on rats was due diligence in making sure the concerns were unwarranted.

He told me that the rats exposed to cell phone signals had fewer cancers than the control group! People didn’t really believe the results and even he was skeptical. He redid the study. Same result. I just sort of filed it away in my mind and would occasionally tell the story to people when something related came up in a conversation. I wasn’t really sure I believe the result either. I just know the researcher was convinced he did the testing correctly had much greater than chance data to support the conclusion.

I don’t remember his name and the only thing that might be associated with that study I could find in a quick search on the Internet was this. But today I ran across this:

Another result of the study is even more head-scratching: the groups of rats exposed to cell signals lived longer than those not exposed. That doesn’t mean that cell phone radiation will extend your lifespan. But, Carroll writes, it could mean the exposed group simply developed cancer as an inevitable part of aging, while the non-exposed group died before tumors could develop.

Wow! This is a much more recent and independent study. Yet it hints at the same result as the PNNL researcher found over a decade ago.

If true, what could the mechanism possibly be?

What were they thinking?

The Clinton email scandal continues to deteriorate. Most people following the issue will be aware of the review by the inspector general which was released yesterday. In part it said:

Two staff in S/ES-IRM reported to the OIG that, in late 2010, they each discussed their concerns about Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email account in separate meetings with the then-Director of S/ES-IRM. In one meeting, one staff member raised concerns that information sent and received on Secretary Clinton’s account could contain Federal records that needed to be preserved in order to satisfy Federal recordkeeping requirements. According to the staff member, the Director stated that the Secretary’s personal system had been reviewed and approved by Department legal staff and that the matter was not to be discussed any further. As previously noted, OIG found no evidence that staff in the Office of the Legal Adviser reviewed or approved Secretary Clinton’s personal system. According to the other S/ES-IRM staff member who raised concerns abut the server, the Director stated that the mission of S/ES-IRM is to support the Secretary and instructed the staff never to speak of the Secretary’s personal email system again.

Emphasis added.

Ms.Clinton has also publically stated it was reviewed and approved. There are lots of other damning items in the review. And we haven’t even seen the results of the FBI investigation yet. Interesting time are ahead for “Crooked Clinton”.

But unless you “have your finger on the pulse” of some other sources you wouldn’t know that some really mindboggling stupid computer security practices were in place at the Clinton residence:

According to historic Internet address maps stored by San Mateo, Calif. based Farsight Security, among the handful of Internet addresses historically assigned to the domain “clintonemail.com” was the numeric address 24.187.234.188. The subdomain attached to that Internet address was….wait for it…. “printer.clintonemail.com“.

Ronald Guilmette, a private security researcher in California who prompted me to look up this information, said printing things to an Internet-based printer set up this way might have made the printer data vulnerable to eavesdropping.

“Whoever set up their home network like that was a security idiot, and it’s a dumb thing to do,” Guilmette said. “Not just because any idiot on the Internet can just waste all your toner. Some of these printers have simple vulnerabilities that leave them easy to be hacked into.”

More importantly, any emails or other documents that the Clintons decided to print would be sent out over the Internet — however briefly — before going back to the printer. And that data may have been sniffable by other customers of the same ISP, Guilmette said.

“People are getting all upset saying hackers could have broken into her server, but what I’m saying is that people could have gotten confidential documents easily without breaking into anything,” Guilmette said. “So Mrs. Clinton is sitting there, tap-tap-tapping on her computer and decides to print something out. A clever Chinese hacker could have figured out, ‘Hey, I should get my own Internet address on the same block as the Clinton’s server and just sniff the local network traffic for printer files.’”

I repeat, “Whoever set up their home network like that was a security idiot…”. It’s stupid to route your printer traffic via an outside network unless you are only printing the most vanilla of materials and need for people in the outside world to use your printer. Clinton had material on her email server that was highly classified. If she used the printer in this way it’s difficult to imagine that her printer traffic was not intercepted by unauthorized people. This is, in part, because whoever created the amazingly insecure system, essentially, advertised it to the public with the public subdomain records.

People need to go to jail over this.

Our country is in the best of hands.

Windows phone just got killed

As if there was any doubt this should settle the issue:

Microsoft is bowing out of building its own phones for consumers. After dramatically scaling back its Lumia devices last year, Microsoft hammered the final nail in the coffin today with an additional $950 million write off and 1,850 more job losses. Microsoft’s Lumia devices still account for more than 95 percent of all Windows phones sold, but a lack of new devices means sales and Windows Phone market share have declined sharply over the past year. Windows Phone is dead, and phone makers aren’t interested in reviving it.

I need to start porting my apps (Field Ballistics and As the Crow Flies) to the iPhone or Android so when my current phone dies I’ll still be able to use them with my new phone.

Use the known cure, not security theater

Via Bruce Schneier we have this extremely timely and fascinating article, The Evolving Challenges for Explosive Detection in the Aviation Sector and Beyond:

Another misnomer propagated largely in the press is that these type of explosives threats are not detectable with currently deployed technologies. This is false. The latest generation ETDs, when used in combination with the latest X-ray technologies, are generally excellent at detecting TNT, plasticized explosives such as C-4, PETN (Detasheet), and Semtex. This powerful combination of technologies should catch these explosives threats, even if it were concealed in the electronics of a laptop, because ETD swabs can detect minute amounts of residue.

Even an amateur chemist doesn’t have to think about this topic much to come up with explosives that are undetectable with the latest generation of explosive trace detection (ETD) equipment. As near as I can tell things I pointed out nearly nine years ago are still vulnerabilities.

The OIG also reported last summer that tests of the screening system showed that 95 percent of attempts to smuggle weapons through U.S. checkpoints were successful.

This has actually gotten worse since they started prohibiting weapons on board over 40 years ago. They should just give up on this and let passengers defend the cabin.

The reality of our current war on terrorism is that the costs are inversely correlated. Terrorists can use inexpensive but highly effective means to attack high-value and highly protected targets, forcing governments to take stricter and more costly measures to provide protection. Their model scales while ours becomes more difficult to sustain. Until we are successful in changing the paradigm in which cheap terrorism is effective terrorism, we need to be prepared to continue to invest in technologies and processes that make it more difficult for them to succeed.

Emphasis added. I agree with this. We must change the paradigm. We currently have nothing but security theater.

We are spending trillions of dollars and have nothing of substance to show for it. Those resources could, and should, have been spend in some serious elimination of terrorists rather than attempting to make it incrementally difficult for them at exponential costs to us. We have the resources and technology to make it exponentially expensive for them at incremental cost for us. We have a ruthless enemy who is willing to murder untold numbers of innocent people. We dealt with cultures like this in WWII and fundamentally changed their mindset to make the culture more tolerant to people who were different from them. These intolerant, evil, enemies are now tolerant, functional, members of a world society. It’s time to treat our current enemy with the known cure for evil.

I’m skeptical of computer overlords

This is an interesting idea:

For too long we have watched as automation has cost us blue-collar jobs. Automating government, and getting rid of the politicians and lawyers is something I could really get behind. For a while, there would be an increase in embezzlement, ponzi schemes, cons, thefts, and other non-confrontational crime, as the politicians and lawyers sought out new employment consistent with their psychologies, but once they were all behind bars, the world would be a considerably better place.

But there are a lot of other things to consider as well. Government is power. And people with pay a lot to have access to that power. Detecting the existence of and finding the source of corruption in a computer system may be far more difficult than when you are dealing with people.

Open source and independently operated systems may mitigate the risks. I’ll have to think about this some more… A LOT more.

Quote of the day—Margaret Hamilton

Due to an error in the checklist manual, the rendezvous radar switch was placed in the wrong position. This caused it to send erroneous signals to the computer. The result was that the computer was being asked to perform all of its normal functions for landing while receiving an extra load of spurious data which used up 15% of its time. The computer (or rather the software in it) was smart enough to recognize that it was being asked to perform more tasks than it should be performing. It then sent out an alarm, which meant to the astronaut, “I’m overloaded with more tasks than I should be doing at this time and I’m going to keep only the more important tasks; i.e., the ones needed for landing.” …Actually, the computer was programmed to do more than recognize error conditions. A complete set of recovery programs was incorporated into the software. The software’s action, in this case, was to eliminate lower priority tasks and re-establish the more important ones…If the computer hadn’t recognized this problem and taken recovery action, I doubt if Apollo 11 would have been the successful moon landing it was.

MargaretHamilton1MargaretHamilton2

Margaret Hamilton
December 25, 2014
Margaret Hamilton, the Engineer Who Took the Apollo to the Moon
[H/T to Roberta X.

The quote above is just a small part of a great story about Hamilton. I like software, I like space exploration, I like smart women. I loved the story.

Thanks Roberta.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Rob Perkins

If you don’t have explicit material displayed full-screen on your monitor, that’s how we know you’re not working.

Rob Perkins
May 12, 2016
Psssst: This Website Is Guaranteed to Make You Better at Sex
[Hmmm… Helping more women have more orgasms. And here I thought my current job was just about as good as it gets.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Sebastian

I’m becoming more convinced that free people need a frontier, because without one, eventually, the meddlers, swindlers, and sycophants of the world catch-up to us.

Sebastian
April 25, 2016
Science Nerd Post: Reactionless Drive
[I’m in general agreement but things will have to get a lot worse here before living on a distant rock under a dome with a huge portion of your economic output consumed just to stay alive. And without an industrial base to produce medicine, electronics, vehicles, buildings, I can’t see it being able to be independent and have anything approaching the quality of life we have here.

If there were a terraformed planet with a population of a million or more with incredibly accessible natural resources I could see it being plausible. But it becomes a chicken and egg problem. Terraforming and industry building robots might be the answer. I remain a skeptic for now and believe the better, at least short-term, option is to fix things on our existing rock.—Joe]

ZORE X, a high tech gun lock

I received an email the other day:

Hello Joe.

My name Is Yachdav. I’m part of an Israeli team that developed a unique gun lock called ZORE X.

Our bullet shaped lock prevents the gun from being charged and when unlocked it ejects by just charging the gun. It also notifies the gun owner if someone tampers with their gun. Is this something you’d write / post about?
We believe ZORE X will save many lives by both preventing unauthorized use of guns and at the same time making guns more accessible for their gun owners when they need them.

This is our website: http://zore.life/
This is 1 minute a video showing our lock: http://zore.life/youtube

I’m attaching some material about us. I’d be happy to send you more information about ZORE if you’d like.

Thank you very much,

Yachdav

I watched the video and was bit annoyed with the falling brass without primers from the simulated gunfire but my only real concern was battery life and how they handle the dead battery situation. I read their FAQ and found:

What if my battery runs out, will my gun disable with no way of opening it?

No.

  1. Your battery will last for more than a year.
  2. Three months before your battery drains, ZØRE will send you notifications, reminding you to change your battery.
  3. One month before the battery drains, when unlocking ZØRE, it will not allow you to re-lock without changing the battery.
  4. In addition, you are able to set your ZØRE to open automatically before draining out.
  5. If your battery drains out nonetheless, you are able to connect an external battery to give it power, enabling you to dial your code and open it.

And:

What if someone removes the battery from my ZORE?

That is impossible – as long as your gun is locked, no one can remove the battery from your ZORE. The battery is only accessible when ZORE is open.
The battery is accessible only when ZØRE is open. Therefore, when your gun is locked, no one can take the battery out of your ZØRE.

All my concerns about “smart guns” (this isn’t really a smart gun, but it achieves some of the worthy goals of them) were well addressed except for the potential to have them become government mandated. I liked the phone app that tells you if someone has moved (probably accelerometer based, it doesn’t use GPS) your gun. The app also allows you to unlock the gun remotely and helps you train to get to your gun and unlock it quickly.

It would appear to be a good solution for many situations.

Update: I received another email after they read my blog post above. Here is most of the email:

It is important for me to say that the option of government mandating it is something we gave a lot of thought to.

We wanted to make sure there’s no [way] to force anyone to use it – that’s how we came to the conclusion we must separate the lock from the gun itself (or from the magazine – anything that’s involved in actually using the gun).

We’re a company that strongly believes in freedom – and ZORE X’s market is people who make the choice of locking their gun, enabling them a reliable and fast to remove solution. For those who don’t lock their gun – ZORE X is irrelevant. We are making a notification-only device that might be relevant for some of those people – but we intentionally avoided making a products that could [not] bring with it any type of legislation.

I’m attaching pictures of the ZORE Watchdog.

Thanks again,
Yachdav
clip_image002clip_image004clip_image006

Update the software on your Apple device

Just setting the clock on your Apple device to January 1, 1970 will permanently brick it. And it overheats as it dies…

By setting up your own time server and Wi-Fi hotspot it can be done remotely to most Apple devices that come within range.

Update your Apple device software. Or, considering using it to fry an egg on as it’s last functional activity.

Consolation prize

This is very, very cool:

Russian billionaire Yuri Milner plans to spend $100 million over the next few years to begin developing the technology needed to build a giant laser array to propel swarms of postage stamp-size spacecraft off on 20-year-long interstellar flights to Alpha Centauri, the nearest star to the sun, the internet investor announced Tuesday.

The tiny 1-gram nanocraft, or “StarChips,” would be equipped with small, ultra-thin light sails and accelerated, one at a time, to 20 percent the speed of light by a powerful half-mile-wide array of ground-based lasers, boosting them to a cruise velocity of some 37,200 miles per second in a few minutes.

From that point on, the tiny spacecraft would sail on their own across the immense 4.3-light-year — 25-trillion-mile — gulf, flying through the Alpha Centauri system about 20 years after launch. Each surviving “spacecraft on a chip” would snap pictures and beam the data back to Earth using tiny on-board lasers, the faint signals arriving four years later.

The G-forces are very high and that would make scaling it up to be a manned starship a huge challenge:

The collimated beam hitting the sail of a nanocraft would accelerate it to cruise velocity in about two minutes, he said, briefly subjecting the craft to 60,000 times the force of Earth’s gravity

When Neil Armstrong landed on the moon in 1969 I expected I would be alive to see colonies on the moon and perhaps even visit the moon myself. That seems very unlikely at this point. But it’s plausible that I will be alive to see the pictures taken from within a million miles from Alpha Centauri. That’s something I didn’t imagine and is a certain amount of consolation.

Quote of the day—Jan Koum

I think this is politicians, in some ways, using these terrible acts to advance their agendas. If the White House thinks that Twitter can solve their ISIS problem, they’ve got (a lot of problems).

Jan Koum
April 4, 2016
Forget Apple vs. the FBI: WhatsApp Just Switched on Encryption for a Billion People
[Yes. And the same is true of gun control, a lot of banking laws, tax law, and probably 1000 or more other things. WhatsApp is just exploiting a small chink in the armor.

Government back doors to communications violates The Jews in the Attic Test. WhatsApp intent is to keep communication private. This is no small task. I’m certain it is private from your local police force, snoopy neighbors, and most employers. But if a billion people use it that is a very juicy target for nation states. Such a high value target will justify an enormous expenditure of resources to break it. I expect it is only a matter of time before it is broken. But that doesn’t mean that it will stay broken or that gaining access to each conversation isn’t very expensive and cost prohibitive except in extremely important situations.

That said, I have WhatsApp installed on my phone.—Joe]