A Geek With Guns

Discount security adviser to the proles.

Archive for the ‘You Can’t Cure Stupid’ tag

The American Education System Summed Up In One Tweet

without comments

Apparently Gary Johnson isn’t the only person who is geographically challenged.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 10th, 2016 at 10:30 am

How Low Things Have Sunk

without comments

This election should have been a slam dunk for both parties. The Republican Party nominated its worst candidate and the Democratic Party nominated its worst candidate. The only reason this election hasn’t been a slam dunk for one side is because of how terrible both of the candidates are.

What makes this amusing though is the mental gymnastics each party’s supporters are performing in order to justify supporting their party’s nominee. Republicans are trying to claim that Trump has had a change of heart and is now pro gun and democrats are trying to sweep Hillary’s impressive criminal record under the rug. Although the former were more interesting to me earlier in the election the latter are becoming more interesting to me now. Take the e-mail scandal that Hillary is involved in. She managed to disappear an extensive list of e-mails from her personal server, which she wasn’t supposed to be using. How are her supporters justifying this? By pointing out that none other than George W. Bush did it:

Clinton’s email habits look positively transparent when compared with the subpoena-dodging, email-hiding, private-server-using George W. Bush administration. Between 2003 and 2009, the Bush White House “lost” 22 million emails. This correspondence included millions of emails written during the darkest period in America’s recent history, when the Bush administration was ginning up support for what turned out to be a disastrous war in Iraq with false claims that the country possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and, later, when it was firing U.S. attorneys for political reasons.

It has come to this. Hillary’s supporters have to compare their candidate to the presidential candidate that has, for 16 years now, been labeled the single most evil individual in history. The only defense Hillary’s supporters have left is pointing out that the Great Satan did it too (but worse because he’s more evil).

I compared this election to a dumpster fire on many occasions but I think that’s an inaccurate analogy. At least a dumpster fire destroys trash. Everybody involved in this election will be free to inflict themselves on us again in another four years. If historical trends continue, the candidates next election will be so deplorable that the only defense their supporters will have is that their candidate hasn’t eaten a baby on live television during prime time.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 30th, 2016 at 10:30 am

If He Didn’t Want to Get Shot He Shouldn’t Have Gone for a Gun

with one comment

Every time an officer shoots somebody we’re bombarded with people saying we need to trust the judgement of the officer. In this case, I agree. An officer recently shot somebody who was armed. After reading the details about the case I find myself having to side with the cop apologists. If the man didn’t want to get shot he shouldn’t have gone for his gun:

A $75,000 personal injury case against Glock filed by an Arkansas policeman has been scheduled for trial in a federal court, according to the final scheduling order issued last week.

The jury trial will start Aug. 21, 2017, in a federal court in Helena, Arkansas, the order says. Final arguments and discovery exhibits are due in the beginning months of the year.

The plaintiff in the case, Larry Jones, of Cherry Valley, Arkansas, was injured when his Glock 19C pistol discharged unexpectedly at the shooting range in June 2013, the lawsuit says. At the time he was trying to attach a tactical light.

An officer managed to shoot himself in the foot because he pulled the trigger of his gun when he was trying to attach a light. Why was he trying to attach a light to a loaded gun? Why was his finger on the trigger? Why was the gun pointed at his foot? These are all very good questions but it turns out that the officer investigated himself and found that he did nothing wrong so he’s suing Glock.

I hope this case is dismissed and the officer in question is forced to pay Glock’s legal expenses.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 30th, 2016 at 10:00 am

A Growing Idea

without comments

More and more people are jumping onboard the idea that Trump is part of Clinton’s campaign:

How would Donald Trump assess Donald Trump’s candidacy? As he might put it: A lot of people are saying his campaign is an operation on behalf of the Democratic Party to destroy the Republicans.

“A lot of people are saying”? That’s not a very high evidentiary standard. What else?

Well, to start there is the photo. You know the one, where Trump and his new bride Melania are rubbing elbows with the Clintons. Bill Clinton spoke with Trump right before Trump announced his candidacy. Trump has of course contributed to Clinton campaigns in past years as well. This doesn’t even get into the fact that Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton are friends.

Previous evidence leads me to believe that Trump isn’t an idiot. He has raked in a ton of cash over his lifetime and became prominent enough to rub elbows with powerful political figures. Yet he seems to have become entirely incompetent overnight, which leads me to think he might be part of his good friend Hillary’s campaign.

Why do I care? The only reason I care is because I want this to be true so I can rub it in the faces of all those so-called gun rights activists telling gun owners they need to support Trump even though he has a long history of being anti-gun. If Trump is part of Hillary’s campaign they’re actually providing material support to her campaign and that would amuse me to no end.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 19th, 2016 at 10:00 am

Rocket Surgery

with 4 comments

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has released a report that nobody will find surprising:

It’s not just your brakelight-riddled imagination: Freeway congestion in and around Minneapolis and St. Paul was the worst on record last year, according to a new report from Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The agency’s annual report on freeway congestion said congestion was up from 21.1 percent in 2014 to 23.4 percent last year. That’s the highest number since the agency started collecting data in 1993.

Anybody who lives in the Twin Cities knows that traffic congestion is terrible. But it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to know why congestion is so bad. The blame is entirely on MnDOT. The brilliant men and women at MnDOT thought it would be a jolly good idea to tear up most of the major traffic arteries simultaneously. When you tear up a major traffic artery more traffic is forced onto the remaining arteries. If you tear up all but a few arteries the few remaining ones quickly exceed capacity and nobody can go anywhere quickly.

Not only did MnDOT decide to tear up all of the major arteries but it also seems entirely unconcerned with finishing any of the projects in a timely manner. Highway 100, for example, has been torn up all summer and still isn’t finished.

MnDOT’s report illustrates what everybody living in the Twin Cities already knows: whoever is in charge of planning road construction projects is a sadist who gets off on inflicting pain on motorists.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 4th, 2016 at 11:00 am

You Ought to Trust the Government with the Master Key

with one comment

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) director, James Comey, has been waging a war against effective cryptography. Although he can’t beat math he’s hellbent on trying. To that end, he and his ilk have proposed schemes that would allow the government to break consumer cryptography. One of those schemes is call key escrow, which requires anything encrypted by a consumer device be decipherable with a master key held by the government. It’s a terrible scheme because any actor that obtains the government’s master key will also be able to decrypt anything encrypted on a consumer device. The government promises that such a key wouldn’t be compromised but history shows that there are leaks in every organziation:

A FBI electronics technician pleaded guilty on Monday to having illegally acted as an agent of China, admitting that he on several occasions passed sensitive information to a Chinese official.

Kun Shan Chun, also known as Joey Chun, was employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation since 1997. He pleaded guilty in federal court in Manhattan to one count of having illegally acted as an agent of a foreign government.

Chun, who was arrested in March on a set of charges made public only on Monday, admitted in court that from 2011 to 2016 he acted at the direction of a Chinese official, to whom he passed the sensitive information.

If the FBI can’t even keep moles out of its organization how are we supposed to trust it to guard a master key that would likely be worth billions of dollars? Hell, the government couldn’t even keep information about the most destructive weapons on Earth from leaking to its opponents. Considering its history, especially where stories like this involving government agents being paid informants to other governments, there is no way to reasonably believe that a master key to all consumer encryption wouldn’t get leaked to unauthorized parties.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 3rd, 2016 at 10:00 am

To the Gulags, Slaves

with 2 comments

The centrally planned paradise of Venezuela is falling apart. People are starving. Animals are starving. And President Maduro keeps making the situation worse by ordering even more central planning. His latest decree, a socialist favorite, is to allow the government to force people to work in the fields:

International human rights activists are complaining that new laws have introduced forced labour in Venezuela.

“A new decree establishing that any employee in Venezuela can be effectively made to work in the country’s fields as a way to fight the current food crisis is unlawful and effectively amounts to forced labor,” Amnesty International said in a statement released on Thursday.

President Nicolás Maduro signed a decree at the end of last week that gives powers to the labor ministry to order “all workers from the public and private sector with enough physical capabilities and technical know-how” to join a government drive aimed at increasing food production.

They can be required to work in the agricultural sector for a 60-day period that can be extended for another 60 days “if the circumstances require it.”

I’m sure mandatory field work can be extended for an infinite number of 60-day periods.

President Maduro is either ignorant of history or a sadistic son of a bitch. The Soviet Union tried collectivizing agriculture and forcing people to work fields and the country never fully recovered from it. Bread lines were the norm until they were replaced by starvation. If you’re a student of history you know that making people slaves does not motivate them to work harder. Instead they work as little as possible to avoid being beaten too severely because they’re not getting anything for their efforts. I guarantee that the poor Venezuelans that are forced to work in the fields will produce very little foodstuff. And why should they? They don’t want to be there, they’re not knowledgable in the skills of agriculture, and they have every right to resist since they’re being coerced.

Venezuela is fucked. It should go down in the history books as yet another demonstration of the futility of central planning.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 2nd, 2016 at 10:00 am

Screaming at a Wall

with 3 comments

It’s election season so a lot of gullible people have developed very strong opinions about which of the two indistinguishable presidential candidates must win in order to stave off the downfall of civilization. These opinions are manifesting online as ridiculous comments that would be considered hyperbole if the commenters didn’t actually appear to believe what they’re posting. I’ve seen comments by a gay woman claiming that anybody who doesn’t vote for Clinton is literally trying to murder her. On the other side of the aisle I’ve seen comments by a well-to-do white man claiming that anybody who doesn’t vote for Trump will be responsible for the downfall of the United States because evil terrorists from the Middle East will flood through its unprotect borders.

How can such ridiculous comments be taken seriously by anybody? Because logic isn’t a play. We’ve devolved debate into an exercise of virtual signaling:

Children are largely deprived of the noble joy of discovering truths as revealed by successful action. Instead they are left with the ignoble gratification of pleasing a taskmaster by reciting an answer that is marked “correct.” And this goes far beyond academics. For the modern child, learning “good behavior” is not about discovering through trial and error what kinds of behaviors are conducive to thriving socially. Instead, it’s about winning praise and avoiding censure from authority figures.

Thanks to this conditioning, we have all become approval-junkies, always on the lookout for our next fix of external validation: for the next little rush of dopamine we get whenever we are patted on the head by others for being a “good boy” or a “good girl,” for exhibiting the right behavior, for giving the right answer, for expressing the right opinion.

This is why the mania for virtue signalling is so ubiquitous, and why orthodoxies are so impervious. Expressing political opinions is not about hammering out useful truths through the crucible of debate, but about signaling one’s own virtue by “tattling” on others for being unvirtuous: for being crypto-commies or crypto-fascists; for being closet racists or race-traitor “cucks;” for being enemies of the poor or apologists for criminals.

We live in a society that teaches children at an early age that truth doesn’t come from experimentation and discovery but from authority figures. Instead of seeking answers through reason we seek them through approval of authority figures. That requires expressing the “right” ideas and expressing them loudly in the hopes that people in authority will hear them and give an approving nod.

This is another side effect of the public indoctrination system. Instead of providing children the tools they need to learn; namely grammar, logic, and rhetoric; public schools focus on making children memorize “facts” and having them prove that they’ve memorized those “facts” by regurgitating them on tests. This focus on memorizing “facts” provided by authority figures often has lifelong ramifications. One such ramification is cognitive dissonance. Take supporters of the drug war, for example. They claim to support drug prohibitions because drugs can kill people. They ignore the fact that the solution they support, prohibition, also kills people. Heroine might kill you over time if you keep using it but an officer shooting you during a no-knock raid performed to find heroine may also kill you. The solution ends up doing the same thing as the problem but most supporters of the war on drugs will ignore you when you point that out. People in authority told them that the solution to drugs killing people is stronger laws and more rigorous law enforcement efforts so that’s what they believe.

Online debates often feel like you’re screaming at a wall because most of the other people debating you aren’t relying on logic. The only way you could get through to them is if you were able to become an authority figure in their eyes. Then they would happily regurgitate whatever you told them was factual.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 29th, 2016 at 11:00 am

Americans aren’t Ready for Most Things

with 3 comments

One of the worst characteristics of American society, which is probably common in most societies, is the popular attitude of resisting change. Many Americans resist automation because they’re afraid that it will take people’s jobs. Many Americans resist genetically modified crops because they think nature actually gives a shit about them and therefore produces pure, healthy foodstuffs. Many Americans resist wireless communications because their ignorance of how radiation works has convinced them that anything wireless causes cancer.

With such a history of resisting advancement I’m not at all surprised to read that most Americans are resistant to human enhancement:

Around 66 and 63 percent of the respondents even said that they don’t want to go through brain and blood enhancements (respectively) themselves. They were more receptive to the idea of genetically modifying infants, though, with 48 percent saying they’re cool with making sure newly born humans won’t ever be afflicted with cancer and other fatal illnesses. Most participants (73 percent) are also worried about biotech enhancers’ potential to exacerbate inequality. Not to mention, there are those who believe using brain implants and blood transfusions to enhance one’s capabilities isn’t morally acceptable.

The concern about exacerbating inequality really made me guffaw. Few pursuits could reduce inequality as much as biotech. Imagine a world where paralysis could be fixed with a quick spinal implant. Suddenly people who were unable to walk can become more equal with those of us who can. Imagine a world where a brain implant could help people with developmental disabilities function as an average adult. Suddenly people suffering from severe autism can function at the same level as those of us not suffering from their disability. Imagine a world where a brain implant can bypass the effects of epilepsy or narcolepsy. Suddenly people who cannot drive due to seizures or falling asleep uncontrollably can drive.

Human enhancement can do more to create equality amongst people than anything else. Physical and mental disparities can be reduced or even eliminated. Anybody who can’t see that is a fool. Likewise, any moral system that declares self-improvement immoral is absurd in my opinion. Fortunately, the future doesn’t give two shits about opinion polls and the technology will advance one way or another.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 28th, 2016 at 11:00 am

Garbage In, Garbage Out

with one comment

In computer science the term garbage in, garbage out is used frequently to note that if you have garbage data as an input you will get garbage data as an output. This is applicable in any research. A new study has been released that claims there is no racial bias in polices’ use of lethal force in the United States. Quite a few people have jumped on this because it supports their bias that there isn’t a problem with policing in this country. However, Radley Balko points out a serious flaw in the study. It uses reports written by police officers:

For the purpose of the discussion, let’s break shootings and killings by police into three categories: incidents that were illegal and unnecessary, incidents that were legal and necessary, and incidents that were legal but unnecessary. If you’re asking whether current laws and policies allow for too many police shootings, looking at how many shootings are justified under current law and policy is just question begging. It’s that last category — legal but unnecessary — that we want to explore. Unfortunately, it’s also a category that is plagued by subjectivity and the simple fact noted above: Most of the data we have comes from police reports themselves.

If we were to compile statistics on, say, medical mistakes in an effort to make policies that would improve the state of medicine, we wouldn’t get all of our data from written statements by the accused doctors or hospitals. If we wanted to compile data on conflicts of interest in politics, we wouldn’t rely on members of politicians to self-report and adjudicate when their vote may have been influenced by a campaign donation. But this is essentially what we do with shootings by police officers.

The study is simply an extension of the phrase, we investigated ourselves and found that we did nothing wrong. Studying police use of force in the United States is difficult because most of the data is created by the police themselves. There is very little third-party oversight and what little exists is usually tied to the law enforcement community in some manner.

I’m sure Jeronimo Yanez, the officer who killed Philandro Castile, wrote a report that exonerated him of wrongdoing. This isn’t just because he wants to avoid punishment but also because he probably wants to justify his actions to himself. We humans are great at twisting logic to justify our actions to ourselves. Thieves will tell themselves that since the person they were stealing from was wealthy no real harm occurred to him and therefore the theft was justified. Domestic abusers will tell themselves that they have to hit their partner in order to teach them important lessons. Police, likewise, will tell themselves that lethal force was necessary to preserve their lives. We cannot rely on the reports thieves, domestic abusers, and police write about their own actions because they are necessarily biased. So long as rely on such data as our input we’re going to get garbage as our output.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 15th, 2016 at 10:30 am