Friday, September 30, 2016

Solving Cop Problems with Video Cameras

The problem of abuses of power by police have been widespread and deadly and they have enraged more than one of die Kaninchen in terms of why isn't anything done about it.

We have seen how Roman Catholic priests and teachers are hounded without mercy for abuses of power and authority in terms of sexual relationships with children.  When cops do it to the general citizenry with guns, more often than not it doesn't even get any attention and it's only the rare cases, typically involving citizen-recorded video, that we even hear about them.

Researchers in UK did a large-scale study of the use of body cameras by police in England and the effect on relations with the public.  The research revealed complaints against police for abuses dropped to near zero when the police were wearing body cameras (as opposed to cars equipped with cameras since those are easy to defeat by raising the hood of the car).  (Science Daily:  Use of body-worn cameras sees complaints against police 'virtually vanish,' study finds)

Note:  we have seen photographs of cops involved in a traffic stop who have raised the hoods on their cars and this likely surprises in no way at all it was in a Southern state.  Whether the hoods were raised for the specific purpose of thwarting the car cameras is yet to be confirmed.

Don't be jumping me too quickly on getting unrealistically academic about the problem since we're clear at the Rockhouse England is like kindergarten relative to America when it comes to the number of guns in circulation.  However, the principle should be constant.  American cops don't usually wear body cameras so it seems an inexpensive change which should be made soon to provide at least that base level of protection against inappropriate violence from cops.

As to the actual level of violence, I see the body count going up because The Guardian keeps a running annual total.  They have chalked up seven or eight more kills since the ones which got so much attention a few days ago.  The latest kills, like most of them, got no attention at all and what do you bet there was no video of what happened.  There's not much academic in speculation but we see radically different behaviors so we need to ask why.

As an American cop, I need protection too because some of the people in those cars are deep-fried crazy so I believe any time I'm to approach a vehicle I would need my Taser drawn and ready to use.  I do not believe it's appropriate to approach with a drawn pistol because we have seen too many 'mistakes' from that thinking already.

It seemed there's general agreement with die Kaninchen that cop training is poor insofar as it has become a reflex with them to unload the whole clip if they will fire a single shot.  There's an overt policy of intimidation to try to break you down to discover whether you 'crack' for any reason since they've destroyed the Fourth Amendment and almost nothing but an armed squad of Marines will stop them from searching you with or without cause.  Cameras can't fix a problem when cops think what they do is legal and justified.

Cadillac Man mentioned how he was recently pulled over and he 'put his hands on the steering wheel as you should' but why the hell should you.  CM looks like a retired traveling salesman who worked his gig on the road and I don't want to demean his job since it was much more than that but what I want is to give an idea how much of a threat he presents anyone (i.e. zero).  If you threaten his grandkid then he's still going to charge but that won't be what it was in earlier days.

We have been conditioned to 'assume the position' and it's fair to a point since deliberately toying with a cop's valid fear of whatever crazy shit you may do is a stupid and unnecessary thing.  However, it's also a wild extreme that we should be in fear that even the slightest wrong move means the cop is going to open fire.  There are multiple examples of that happening and the body count keeps going up.

Body cameras on cops are a good prophylactic measure but they won't alone solve the problem.  There's no easy salve which will remedy a problem which has been building for decades.  It was under Reagan that Miranda protection was gutted and that was over thirty years ago.

What's Hot on the Blog 9/30

Sep 30, 2016

How Does - researchers study the actual mechanism used in the brain for storing individual memories

IBM z/OS - it was the biggest of the mainframe operating systems and it still lives

Unknown - I'm still not sure and it sucks to blow a call

Some - some surprisingly good environmental news and all the more surprising is the scale of it

When - regarding the number of golden eagles killed by wind turbines and why

The Lord - surprising to learn what does all the pollination of flowers in frozen North

It's Bad - if Ann Coulter gets angry then so what as she will just stamp her little foot and go back the haven for white girls (i.e. the sorority house) but if you get Chelsea Handler angry then you're going to have a problem.  This was much better than the roast of Coulter since it felt more improvised.

Requiem - that title is too stuffy as there's some cool stuff in the article, particularly regarding Elon Musk and Mars with video

So You Want - making the big bucks with encryption ... or not

What's Hot

It's Bad When Ann Coulter Stands Up Chelsea Handler (video)

It's an exceptionally bad idea when Ann Coulter stands up Chelsea Handler while trying to shill her latest book in the new Nancy Drew series:  "Burning Down an Orphanage Filled with Mexican Babies."

Since Ann Coulter was such a weak no-show, Chelsea Handler invited Coulter's body double to represent for Coulter instead.  Ridicule and comedy ensue.

Tip:  don't piss her off.

When One Baby Panda is Cute, How About ...

Twenty-three baby pandas for all the cuteness you will need all day.

These may help you get through the Time of the Black Moon tonight which will be really cool for jazz but white people can expect a plague of demons.

(Ed:  white people don't do jazz?)

Dunno.  Let's do "Bad Moon Rising" in 9/8 and find out.

If you worry about where they found twenty-three baby pandas, you may be turning into an accountant.  Turn yourself in for reprogramming or that may become permanent.

(Ed:  they're Communist pandas and were required by law to surrender to the state.)

Of course.  They think differently from us, don't they.

It looks like some crazy panda puzzle.  Find the panda which isn't like the others.

Disaster is the Best Entertainment of All - George Carlin (video)

Let me see people dodging falling concrete in a disaster for the real entertainment on television.

It's the same thinking we have in the Rockhouse about a nuke war since we want to go ahead and do it so we get to see it.  We paid for those nukes so let's fuckin' use them, right?

He's right about the crashes in auto races since you know there's always the weepy outcry of 'what a terrible thing' but then they replay the crash in slow-motion twelve times.

When An Environmental Solution Causes Another Problem

According to the higher estimate, wind turbines killed over three hundred thousand birds globally and possibly as many as one and a half million bats.  (Science Daily:  Wind turbines killing more than just local birds)

All together with the Mark Twain mantra:  there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.  Repeat as necessary.

We can't vouch for the numbers but we can go with the estimates, which vary widely, as a general point of discussion since likely there's no disagreement wind turbines kill birds, the question is how many of them.  The article goes into more depth on the matter since it's asking where do the birds originate.  There's the general thinking the wind turbines only kill creatures which live in that area but that's not true.  They studied golden eagles and the ones killed may have come from hundreds of miles away.

The article also resolved the question of how can these large and beautiful raptors, apparently intelligent aviators, can be so damn dumb as to fly into the relatively slow-moving blade of a wind turbine.  Cripes, Big Bird, didn't you fookin' see it??

The researchers theorize the favorite food for golden eagles is a California ground squirrel of which there are plenty around the turbines.  The golden eagle is a soaring bird which is scanning the ground directly below as it searches for prey and it has no awareness of the potential threat from the wind turbine because trees don't have multi-ton rotating branches.  Whack and another deceased eagle.

"Eagles tend to use that habitat around the turbines.  It's windy there, so they can save energy and soar, and their preferred prey, California ground squirrels, is abundant there," said J. Andrew DeWoody, a Purdue professor of genetics in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources. "As they soar, these eagles are often looking straight down, and they fail to see the rapidly moving turbine blades.  They get hit by the blades and carcasses are found on the ground under the turbines."

- Science Daily

That explains how it happens but it doesn't explain what anyone will do about it.  Right now it seems what people will do is install more of them because we need electric cars or iPhone 7s or something.  Regardless of the actual number, the wind turbines kill birds and bats so there needs to be some responsibility for that but there doesn't seem much of it floating about.

How's your sci-fi playing for this one as will you make a GMO golden eagle?  All you need is these cool behavioral characteristics from Vaux's Swift, a highly-skilled pilot with no interest in soaring, so take a few of those genes and drop them down into the golden eagle's genome.  In a few generations, you have smarter eagles, yes?

(Ed:  or FrankenEagle!)

Yah, we do see how that could be a problem.  These avian terrors will make "The Birds" look like a comedy show.

So You Want to Make a Million

Cook up an encryption scheme and hang it in the wind.  Wait for money to start flying about.  (Science Daily:  Encryption method takes authentication to a new level, improves privacy protection)

There are two things which happen when you come up with a new encryption protocol.  The first is it may make you famous and the second is the CIA will probably make it illegal.  If they can't crack it, you can't use it and maybe you remember PGP (Pretty Good Protection) as that was one private protocol the government ran into the ground.

The researchers behind the latest scheme are 'looking for commercial partnership' and there's no predicting how deep into hell they want to go with it but encryption is one of the ugliest games on the planet just now.  No matter how benign your purpose, anti-freedom creeps from the NSA and CIA can claim you're in collusion with terrorists and, presto, you're the Anti-Christ.  They have been trying to play that angle against Apple for some time now.

It often gets ugly when science meets business and encryption most of all.  While the efficacy of their scheme may be outstanding, we don't really know that since the article is more a sales pitch than hard science.  Make of it what you will.  It's almost certain the government will check it out.

Unknown If I've Blown the Call

There's been no sound here and I haven't heard the phone.  Sometimes it sneaks past me but I don't think it did.  There's another possibility in twenty minutes so maybe that's when it happens.  Sorry if I did miss it already but there weren't any headphones in use so it would surprise me if I did.

At one time it was an easy thing to get the Telco out to add another jack for an additional land line but they don't even want to hear about land lines anymore.  A land line may work when others do not so it has value for emergencies if nothing else but that's philosophy and getting a Telco out here to add a line back where I can hear it easily is now a Big Deal.

Ah well, so I drop the use of headphones and listen carefully.

Headphones usually come into play for movies and I have one pending called "Blackhat" which is relatively-recent hacker movie.  After "Swordfish" there was no need to ever make another hacker movie but they did it anyway and I hear it's tight so I'm curious.

"Unstoppable" was the last surprise movie and I blabbed about it yesterday to not much interest but it was still an impressive thing to make a train movie exciting without getting high-tech crazy as in a train movie with Steven Seagal.  I do recommend this one as it may surprise you how much it draws you into it even when you have no interest in trains.  (Ithaka:  "Unstoppable" Is Most Incredible Train Movie)

Yes, this is about pushing the clock until we get to the top of the hour which, cleverly enough, now comes in just a couple of minutes.

Edward Snowden said regarding Oliver Stone's movie of his breakout that it was 'preposterous' so interest in that one dropped quite a bit whereas I would have been interested in seeing it for possible cinéma vérité but apparently it went Hollywood instead.  It's a shame as that one could have been the all-time hacker movie from de-pantsing the NSA but preposterous doesn't quite go the distance.

I'm listening one ringy dingy, two ringy dingy and that dates me because Lily Tomin is the only one who does one ringy dingy.  That's fine as it pushes me back to a cool date but it's ten after the hour so it looks like I busted out.

ML, I'm not sure what happened but I apologize if it was my mistake which blew it.

How Does the Brain Store a Memory

The psychology of memory and how it exists is one aspect but there is also research to discover where the brain puts the memory.  This goes beyond one location in the brain or the other specializing in vision, etc since the research aims to discover how individual memories are physically stored.  (Science Daily:  Scientists track unexpected mechanisms of memory)

They don't know the content of the memory but they know some kind of memory was stored in that location.  Take that as out as far as your demonic sci-fi heart cares to go since knowing where something is stored means you can screw with it, right?

Here we have some other research in which scientists are developing artificial synapses.  The researchers in the first article are researching synapses to discover where and how memories are stored on them and these ones are researching how to make alternative synapses so right away you sci-fi demons see how much fun they can be.  (Science Daily:  New devices emulate human biological synapses)

It doesn't take Paul Bunyan to leap up to figuring out how to store memories and then using that knowledge to 'program' artificial memory.  This goes back to the way Old School of burning EPROMs except now it's for an android's brain.  Whee, doggie, this is going to get strange.

When they're doing that sort of thing right now, how long can it be before Data from Star Trek is coming up to you and saying, "Trust me."

DARPA is so small change.  Instead of focusing on a volunteer army, fuckin' make one.  With our EPROM androids, we can make a clone army with no trouble.  We can train the whole battalion for peanuts, General.  Yes, sirree.

To really get to the demonic sci-fi, we need the Nefarious Actor back at the Clone Plant and he's the one who has figured out the structure of the physical memories which allowed him to devise an analog to a software worm which he can insert into the android's programming.

(Ed:  is that the one which lets him ruthlessly take over the world?)

The very same, Cap'n.

Some Actual Good Environmental News

Lead is one of the earliest reasons Republicans hated the Environmental Protection Association because implementing systems for processing unleaded automotive fuel cost them money and they will hate you until you die when you cost Big Oil money.  It's now decades later and this research validates the effect switching to unleaded fuel has had.  (Science Daily:  Study of North Atlantic Ocean reveals decline of leaded petrol emissions)

It's enormous the scope they have in the project:

The ocean samples in the new study were collected over a radius spanning thousands of kilometres in an area between the continents of Africa and the Americas. They were collected in 2010 and 2011 as part of the GEOTRACES programs -- an ongoing international effort to study the cycling of various trace metals in the ocean.

- Science Daily

Read the article for the details of major science they pursue in their research as our interest is the fact, despite opposition like we wanted to sell the families of Republicans to slave traders, the implementation of the switch over to unleaded fuel has been successful in mitigating a major contaminant.

It's a cool thing to see since usually any environmental laws are for something which will take place fifty years from now but, what do you know, it's been about forty since unleaded fuel came into it and here we are.  The scope of the change is the dazzling part since it's the ocean, all the giant of that.  Making the Cuyahuga River in Cleveland healthy again is one thing but this is the Atlantic Ocean.  Wow.

The Lord of the Flies in the Arctic

Varying populations of honeybees on America are hugely concerning to people for their importance in pollination of flowers but what about in the Arctic where there are no bees.  Suddenly flies become your friends because they're the creatures which pollinate the flowers.  (Science Daily: One fly to rule them all: Flies are the key pollinators of the High Arctic)

He seems to be just about everything we loathe in flies and yet his role in life changes altogether from the way we see him down here.  Get this, his scientific name is Spilogona sanctipauli so does that translate to Saint Paul?  The name is authentic and here's the report:  ITIS Report.

We're really admiring the cynicism of someone who names a fly after a saint.  Dude, that takes nonbeliever out to a new entomological dimension.

He looks just about the same as the fly we love to hate down here but up there the flowers can't seed without him.

Maybe it's a time of existential reverence as we admire the future time when people are dancing about under the Sun and singing, "Save the Flies, Save the Flies.  The crops need them!"

(Ed:  take it easy as the honeybees will migrate North as climate change pushes up the temperature)

They won't migrate anywhere if we don't stop killing them!

Save the Flies, Save the Flies!

(Ed:  your fly is your much more dependable creature since it lives just about anywhere, eats just about anything, and is almost impossible to kill.  That one is one sure evolutionary survivor!)

Yah, honeybees make the situation like a buzzing sorority house and if everything isn't exactly right for the Tri Delts then (stamps their little feet) we're not coming out and we'll just die.  And they do.

(Ed:  they ain't goin' make it, Charles Darwin.)

The bears aren't going to want to hear that.

(Ed:  bears figured it out way back that vulnerability to humans is a bad idea so they got big enough to eat them.  Honeybees never figured out vulnerability to humans is a seriously bad idea.)

There has to be some way to save them.  Think of Greek Honey.

(Ed:  well, while you're saving things, I'll be off to go fishing to see if I can help some bass population evolve a little bit.)

IBM z/OS, the King of Mainframe Operating Systems

Whether IBM z/OS remains the King is unknown after some years distant from the field but it was the only primary OS choice for large systems for decades.  There were various alternatives but IBM was always the Big Dawg and one of their favorite unofficial lines was 'big ain't necessarily bad.'

After a brief review of z/OS just now, it doesn't appear to have undergone any radical change although increases in scale have been substantial.  For example, it will support enormous increases in memory plus huge increases in performance in I/O subsystems.  That it isn't radical only means code I wrote ten years ago may still run since the fundamental remains z/OS and that's the level my code ran.

Note:  it's not necessary for any personal satisfaction that the code still runs or it doesn't as the interest is the evolution of z/OS.

So long as they don't change the operating system in dramatic ways the code will probably survive.  Typically IBM adds new things to the superstructure but preserves old things within it for a very, very long time.  There's some principle of O.S. evolution in that since eventually old kibble will strangle the beast but assume they are good at managing that since z/OS has been running since around 2000 (approx).

In fact, that was my first lead install of an O.S. and I was new at the Bank so the Tech King didn't know I had not installed an operating system before.  I had assisted as in 'riding shotgun' at the University but I had not done it.  He asked me if I wanted to do it and I thought to myself, hmmm, does he really need to know.  I decided he did not and the history turned out fairly well ... except for the wildly foolhardy mistake of working for a bank in the first place.

Installing z/OS 'made my bones' and it was the last productive work I did since I was doing project planning mostly after that.  The manager aspect wasn't really work so much as Applied Anthropology in a live environment.  All of that removes you from the tech and you get lonely for it because you want to go back to take stuff apart to see what's in it but no more of that for you, Mister Wizard.  Now you need to make stuff instead of breaking it.  Boohoo.

The coolest thing about z/OS is Virtual Unreality and people think they're clever today with Virtual Reality but the difference is the latter is expected to make some kind of sense even if it's in some surreal way.  The unreality inside z/OS is for the serious cave explorer because it makes no sense whatsoever without a Birdwatcher's Field Guide, a Guide to the Stars, and the five-volume Encyclopedia of Astrology (i.e. it's perfect for stoners).

It's amazing how many high-end IT hotshots were blowing reefer in their side game.  These were people running systems across the entire country and long before you could do that by plugging into the Internet with an easy modem.

In another fact, a friend held the entire network for the University in his head as he knew all the devices, where they were, how they connected, and all of the twisted things which make network people insane and unable to communicate with other people.  He could carry all that in his head but it wasn't uncommon to see him wandering around the parking lot after work because he couldn't remember where he had parked his car.  He was a really good guy but nutty as they get.  Such is systems programming.

One of them had a gun at one point in my adventurous career ... but I digress (larfs).  The short answer on systems programmers is they're all crazy as loons.

Perhaps you're familiar with "ADVENTUR" from Willie Crowther which was the first text-based exploration game with a computer and it attracted systems programmers because of the map necessary to understand the structure and magic of Colossal Cave.  That gave us one aspect of virtual since we were walking around in an imaginary cave.  When IBM comes into it, they make multiple caves in multiple mountains and all of them fill the same 'space' so enjoy finding your way around in Virtual Unreality, World Explorer.  You will come to know and love the Gospel of Control Blocks.  Have a ball.

For quite some time I kept a tape with all the code I ever wrote for IBM systems and there was even a listing for the core segment of my biggest program ... but that stuff is long since chucked.  There's no particular nostalgia for doing it again as it was like watching something really strange but there's not much more to glean beyond that ... wow, that was really strange.

There are some nice metaphors insofar as the complexity of IBM z/OS took thousands of high brain-weight people to create.  It's similar to building a Boeing 747 or NASA building a Shuttle and one blows once in a while but you learn to become very damn good at ensuring they don't.  It really is true humans can build exceptional things if we're given a clear shot to do it and I did have the privilege of seeing that.

- Insert political message about priorities being all skew whiff and back to front preventing much of the exceptionalism we know we can achieve -

Requiem for Rosetta

By the time you read this, Rosetta will probably be miscellaneous broken parts on the surface of Comet 67P where she will join Philae after a mission which has continued for more than ten years.  Likely there are people with the European Space Agency who have been supporting Rosetta for the entire period so this is likely to be a highly-emotional time for them.  Maybe engineers were with them for another ten years before that as they designed and built her.  It's conceivable some have spent much of their working lives with Rosetta.

Practically everyone watched and endured the suspense when Philae was lost and the ESA worked so hard to find her again with Philae trying all the while as she could to help.  Philae would send status messages which were instantly humanized and we felt like one of us was up there and in trouble.  She was the first one to land on a comet so that made her the 'bravest' little robot ever.  This was such a grand tale of interplanetary anthropomorphization only Walt Disney could have done it better.  It would have been cool if Thumper the Bunny turned up on the comet.  Figure that out, Spaceman.

The Rosetta mission turned out to be one of the great successes in the long course of space flight and likely the biggest success for the ESA yet.  The ESA scientists say they have captured enough data to keep them busy with analysis for years.

Maybe you're thinking, well, the engineers for Rosetta completed the build ten years or so ago ... so ... what are they building now.  Maybe we should ask James Comey since he's good at predicting the future, isn't he.

There are some who probably say the research is worthless because they're only looking at rocks.  The problem isn't so much that they say it but that you hang around with such unimaginative gollums long enough to hear them say it.  Improve your collection of talking heads (i.e. abandon social networks) and fix that situation quickly.

Improving the collection of talking heads worked splendidly for Ithaka since I find the content more interesting now and I'm the only one I really have to amuse but readers respond well to it so I see the interest is more general than just my own.

China may be somewhat miffed at the attention Rosetta and Philae receive since China has accomplished exceptional things in its space program and in many ways they're the Number 2 Space Player since they have launched at least one space station and maybe have another one in orbit by now.  For all that coolness, they only get grudging respect maybe because they're the 'dirty Commies' or some such but there's probably more Communism in Jill Stein's campaign headquarters than all of Asia.

Note:  there's no negativity toward Jill Stein as the only point is I don't see a whole lot of repressive Communism in a nation obsessed with getting the latest iPhone 7.

Space is becoming exciting again because of the diversity of the research and exploration but tremendously more from the number of independent players.

SpaceX for 80% delivery vs 20% whackjobs
USA for 80% delivery vs 20% whackjobs
Bezos for 30% delivery vs 70% whackjobs

Note:  USA is United Space Alliance which is owned by Lockheed Martin and Boeing and they get 80% because they gave us a splendid explosion in a launch from Virginia not so long ago.  Elon Musk has no monopoly on expensive fireworks shows.

Bezos gets 70% for whackjobs since he's planned a monster of a rocket booster but there doesn't seem to be a strong plan for what to do with it.  Launching something to Mars seems the obvious but there's relative quiet next to Musk who even gives us videos with his plans.

Gorgeous animation:

Lovely passion for the project from a variety of people:

She does a great job since it doesn't seem at all like she's just reading a script and she assumes you know the material.  She also has some reasonable caution about a huge project.  Most interesting and relatively short.

The full seminar:

Here at the Rockhouse, we're seeing a dream of Mars as the best Requiem Rosetta could ask.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

What's Hot on the Blog 9/29

Sep 28, 2016, 4 comments
Sep 29, 2016, 5 comments

Crazy Heads - it's about dinosaur heads and it seems you like those

Everyone - about the movie and surveillance in general

For His Next - James Comey for the pastiest excuse for a weasel worm the FBI ever created in their labs

Surprised - I was surprised to the hostility regarding police abuse of power since I thought myself in a hard minority on that

If - what the stage looks like for Segovia

Awareness - grim environmental awareness regarding Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion

What's Hot

Explaining - psychologists analyze how the brain makes decisions on effort vs reward to decide how much we're willing to do to get any particular thing

For Today's - researchers found a way to transmit a password through your body without using wires so there's a festive addition to the Internet of Things, huh?

Mediterranean - Great White Sharks.  Breeding populations.  Believe it.