Elkhart Four

Felony murder: Why a teenager who didn’t kill anyone faces 55 years in jail.

You can certainly argue whether the relevant law is a good law or bad law, but it is what it is.

And the law appears to require that the accused actually do the killing, not that it simply happens.  It seems to be “if they kill someone under circumstances that normally would not be murder, but it’s in the course of burglary, it’s counted as murder anyways”.  I’d have to dig up the full statute and maybe research case law, but if the quoted section in the article is accurate, that’s what the law says.  The murder charges never should have even reached a jury.

It’s up to the legislature to change such laws so that future incidents can be prosecuted as murder, not for the prosecutors to make shit up and the courts to let it fly.

I wonder about Indiana self defense law, too?  True, in most jurisdictions you don’t have to flee your home, and I’m ok with that.  The duty to flee should stop when you reach your home.  But the perceived threats are themselves running and hiding, it’s hard to imagine the requirement of an actual threat or the employment of a proportional response was met here.  Now, a lot of that depends on the homeowners perception- assuming they reasonably believe there’s such a threat and that lethal force is the only way to deal with it, they can be wrong about that and it would still count as self defense.  Requiring objective truth in such situations risks forcing the insane choice of suicide by asshole or prison.  Still, it sounds fishy to me.

What if Pi is rational?

Things I wonder about- Pi is an irrational number. However, there is, in principle, a small but nonzero chance that everyone who has proven Pis irrationality was wrong, and that Pi is, in fact, rational.

If this were to be the case, I wonder what the implications would be? Not much on a day to day basis right now, we use it to great practical effect under the assumption it is irrational and get the right answer(or at least something usefully close). But I wonder what would be impacted in more pure mathematics and number theory, and if there might be something humans might get into some day where this would have significant practical implications?

I suppose the implications would depend at least on part on where in the proofs people have gone wrong. This could potentially have implications beyond pi and its uses.

Now I’m not as crazy as this might make me seem- I’m pretty well satisfied that Pi is irrational.  While I have no idea what the proof is and might not understand the math involved anyways, it’s been treated as irrational for so long that if it wasn’t, *someone* would have noticed by now. I just wonder about weird things sometimes.

To The FDA, Everyone Transgender Is a Gay Man | Advocate.com

I could see an argument for trans women being treated as AMAB men for this policy for sexual history when they were living as men, or perhaps while they still have a penis should be the determinant- the risks under those circumstances would be comparable .  But for activity after SRS?  The risks at that point are comparable to those of AFAB women, and their sexual history from that point should be judged by those standards.

Though I don’t think the MSM donation ban should exist anyway. Screening for HIV has improved dramatically- the reliability of the tests is much better, and the detection window is much shorter. It’s not 100%, very few medical tests are, but it’s quite good these days. And on the small chance it slips through?  Treatment options are far superior. An HIV+ person who is treated by current standards can expect to live pretty much a normal life. It’s not ideal(especially when considering issues of access to treatment), but the consequences of HIV positive blood slipping into the supply are far less severe than they used to be.

I do think the ban was justified in the early days- little was known about how the disease spread except that it was spreading faster among gay men(at the time).  But science marches on, and policy should change to reflect that. With the reduction in the chance for HIV+ blood to get into the supply, and the reduction in severity in the event it does, the importance of ensuring we have enough blood supply becomes more significant in the risk-benefit analysis.

It’s time to drop the ban.


To The FDA, Everyone Transgender Is a Gay Man | Advocate.com.

Study: E-cigarettes could be more deadly than regular cigarettes – WFSB 3 Connecticut

“The take home is we don’t have the data”

Important line in the article.

More data are needed.  Specifically what needs to happen is studies comparing different vape liquids and different devices, with different settings.  This hasn’t happened much that I’ve seen, and it’s important.

While the studies I’ve seen come up so far do seem fairly unanimous in saying that e-cigs aren’t as harmless as e-cig companies want you to think, I haven’t seen anything that really says more dangerous than regular cigarettes- especially not when looking at overall risk.

And the risks will vary- different liquids have different chemical makeups, different devices have different stuff that might leech into the liquid, different temperatures can affect the chemical reactions and thus what the user inhales.

We need good studies comparing different devices and liquids to figure all this out.  With that, sensible regulation might be possible that mitigates the risks with minimal intrusion on the freedom of e-cig users and makers.  Maybe a bit of intrusion, but if we have to go on the fairly limited studies that exist now it would be much worse if we want any useful amount of mitigation.

And this headline really isn’t justified IMO.  Yes, it’s possible that under some circumstances they could be, but that’s not established and the headline implies that this is fundamental to the concept of e-cigs, not an implementation specific detail like the actual information in the article suggests.  This is kind of a big deal sort of distinction.


via Study: E-cigarettes could be more deadly than regular cigarettes – WFSB 3 Connecticut.

Education plans

I need to get my CompSci degree.  At least an AS degree in it.

Now, my math grades from my AS in General Studies were bad.  It’s not that I didn’t understand the math- my procedural skills were at or near the top of the class pretty much every time.  My attention to detail, though, hurt my grades badly.  I’d write down x^2 when it was supposed to be x^3, not because I miscalculated, but just a copying error.  It would be x^3 on the first line, and just end up x^2 on the next.  I need to fix that.

So, my short term plan is use some online resources to brush up on my math skills through Calculus 1.  Going through Algebra and Pre Calculus on Khan Academy.  I’m signed up for a Geometry course on edX, and a self paced Calculus 1 on Coursera.

Once all that is done, it will be time to start at OTC.  I will probably just have to take CompSci courses and a few math courses, with all the general ed stuff taken care of with my General Studies degree.  So a year or so.  Maybe less if I take advantage of winter and maybe summer terms.

Then I might look at a job in the field, or doing my own business with the knowledge, or perhaps moving on to a 4 year degree. I’ll see how that goes.

Apartment woes

I hate the heater in this apartment. Oh, it works fine, well enough that I trust when the season changes it should switch over to cooling mode fine.

But the thing is LOUD. I’ll have something on my TV or computer at a nice comfortable volume, then have to throw the volume up when it kicks in, then it’s too loud when the heater goes off.

I suppose the only thing they likely considered beyond “how cheap are these climate control units” was “how long until we have to buy a new one”. Noise level was probably very low on their list of concerns, if it made the list at all.  You generally get what you pay for, and this apartment is cheap for the area, and the are is cheap to begin with.

OS X Yosemite install stupid

So, the OS X Yosemite installer checks your hard drive before installing.  Makes sense, right?  You don’t want something wrong with the drive leaving you with a broken installation.  Now, you’d think this would be the first thing the installer does- while most problems can’t be fixed while the drive is mounted, they can be checked for and the installer would refuse to proceed until the errors are fixed.

Except… the Yosemite installer does not do this check until after the point of no return.  If your drive fails the check, as mine did, the installation will fail and your original OS will be inaccessible.  I had no opportunity to even try to repair the disk to allow the upgrade to proceed.

Now, thankfully, at the point in the installation where this check is done, the Yosemite installer is booting into a minimal OS X environment.  Terminal and Disk Utility were both there, and the downloaded installer for the upgrade was still present.  This did allow me to create a bootable USB installer to attempt to repair the disk.  Unfortunately, the problems with the disk were too severe to be repaired.  It reformatted fine, so it appears to have just been some data corruption rather than a failing hard drive, still, it would have been nice to find this at a stage where I could shove all my important data out over the network as I didn’t have the money at the time to run out and get blank DVDs, as I’ve just moved and moving is expensive as fuck(at least when it’s your first apartment you are moving to).

Yosemite isn’t bad now that I’ve got it installed.  I’m not sure how much is due to improvements in Yosemite over Snow Leopard, or the elimination of accumulated cruft from SL or the Leopard install that was installed over, but this thing feels a good bit snappier.  I just wish Apple had made the sensible decision to run the disk verification *first*, leaving me with a full OS X install to bring to bear on the problem, or at least a functioning system I could use and only run the upgrade again once I had the media or network connectivity to easily back up some data.


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