* Posts by Tom 13

6896 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Americans find fantastic new use for drones – interfering with firefighting

Tom 13
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Re: Shoot them down

While I like the idea, there's one small but very significant flaw in your plan. Drones of this sort aren't licensed, so there's no good way to track down the owner, other than maybe locating them at the time of the incident. Yes, if they find them, I'm all for throwing them in jail. I'm just not sure 5 years is long enough.

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Tom 13
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Re: Bah!

Because a little drone doesn't generate enough heat to accurately target a shoulder launched heat-seeking missile.

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Tom 13
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Re: may be a legit use of drones

Any legit use must obviously be coordinated with firefighter control and he did allow for "any other technology to take down..."

It is incontrovertible that given people have been, are, and will continue to be exceptionally stupid in even the worst of circumstances, the only viable solution is to give the firefighters the legal authority and the means to take down the drones.

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Crazy Chrysler security hole: USB stick fix incoming for 1.4 million cars

Tom 13
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Re: manually installed via a USB stick plugged into the car.

I think Steven Wright experienced that, except it was back in the 70s. He told the police someone stole his car an replaced it with an exact duplicate.

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Tom 13
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Re: Why is the onboard computer able to control the brakes and steering?

I suspect on most modern cars the computer always controls the braking even when you're depressing the brake pedal. That's certainly part of how ABS solutions work, and you need it if you're implementing some sort of automatic anti-tailgating or blind spot braking mechanisms that's how you'd implement that as well.

As other posters pointed out, the real problem is that that control subsystem was connected to the public internet.

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Tom 13
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Re: I don;t know about the US

It's a crazy quilt of regs over here. Feds regulate MPG through taxation and the NTSB does crash testing which I believe is mandatory. But it isn't necessarily illegal to produce an unsafe car. You just have to be able to survive the class action lawsuit which will inevitably follow. OTOH the NTSB can issue recall orders if as a result of complaints they determine the vehicle is unsafe.

Most regulation happens at the local level with Kalifornia having the most weight because of their high population. But the thoroughness of inspections is spotty. For example, I grew up in Pennsylvania. While growing up vehicles had to be inspected by licensed servicing stations every 6 months. They checked a variety of the standard stuff including body integrity (lack of rust), brakes, and tire wear. Somewhere along the way they switched to once a year (nominally cheaper, but all the inspection stations jacked their prices to make up for the lost business). I now reside in The People's Republic of Maryland. Despite state mandated emissions inspections every two years at state run stations, there are no corresponding laws about vehicle inspections. If you buy a used car, or transfer in from another state you have to have an inspection at the time you register the vehicle. After that, nothing.

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Tom 13
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Re: GM had a problem with the ignition

Was that about the time the US government was getting all over Toyota about an alleged accelerator problem?

I recall it smelled of a smoke and mirrors distraction at the time.

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Microsoft has RECORD quarter, in a BAD way - Sad Nad slashes phone biz

Tom 13
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Re: Write down

Everyone always assumed that was more or less what was going to happen when monkey boy put his man in at Nokia.

No, it never made sense to us either, but there it is.

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Tom 13
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Re: Windows Mobile^H^H^H^H^H^HPhone is a dead end

Depends on whether or not they can remove the last Balmerism that keeps on giving: that the desktop and phone have to have the same OS. Problem there is I don't think it's just a Balmerism, it's a Gatesism, too.

But if they finally see that light, don't count them out. I think people would like to see at least one more vendor for phone OSes. Two is too risky on the monopoly side.

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Tom 13
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Re: Without 1-off costs,

Aye, there's the rub though. Are they really 1-off costs? Or will there be a new reason next year for 1-off costs. And the year after that. And so on.

And that's assuming the major flagship release doesn't turn out to be the Titanic.

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Tom 13
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hasn't returned to the kind of growth that investors would like to see

And it is doubtful they ever will.

Investors want to see the kind of growth MS saw in the 90s. That isn't going to happen. The computer industry then was young and taking over the world. Now that they've conquered it, we're down to maintenance and the revenues you can generate from that.

This is MS's Michael Dell moment. Do they recognize the change in their market? Do they make changes that allow them to survive it and be profitable (even if it doesn't match the level "investors want"), or do they miss it and become another artifact of history?

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Robot surgeons kill 144 patients, hurt 1,391, malfunction 8,061 times

Tom 13
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Re: Except in the court rooms.

Sad isn't it?

You've got people who are 95%+ intent on doing something good for somebody who would otherwise likely (again in the 95%+ range):

- die

- constantly suffer great pain

- be crippled

- or some combination of all of the above

and unless everything goes as perfectly as it does for the forensic investigators in a CSI tv show, somebody is out to sue the living day lights out of them.

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Tom 13
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Devil

Re: Edit: Added a bootnote.

So, assuming each of the reported numbers is unique (that is a malfunction that leads to a death was counted only as death and not both) that give the robots an error rate of 0.5% compared to Between two and four per cent of operations in the US suffer from complications or somewhere between 4 and 8 times safer than a fleshie. And that's assuming the 2-4% isn't underestimating issues for unreported recoveries (or what the rest of us would probably call coverups). Yet no change in the headline. Isn't that rather, (oh what was that usual derogatory comparison I see in the comments oh yes) Daily Mail like?

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Google swears blind it doesn't give SEO advantage to new internet dot-words

Tom 13
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Re: Company websites rarely have the info I want

Depends what information you're looking for. I'm frequently annoyed when I'm looking for the specs on a particular consumable, say a Canon toner, so I want the actual vendor and the first 20 results are all for Amazon et al.

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Silicon Valley sides with Samsung in anti-Apple patent war

Tom 13
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Re: Seems samsung has some friends in the us

I don't consider myself a friend of either. It strikes me as rather foolish to treat a corporation whose sole reason for being is making money as if it were a friend. They are what they are. That being said, it strikes me as foolish to allow Apple to continue to shake down random competitors for government granted monopolies that should never have been granted (regardless of whether they are called patents, copyrights, trademarks, etc.).

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Tom 13
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Re: @Dazed and Confused

Gads the Apple fanbois are as rabid as their lawyers.

IF Apple had licensed properly, they would have gotten the FRAND rates. Just because it's FRAND doesn't negate the obligation to pay for the patents involved. Break the law and the FRAND agreement is null and void. Paying on the full price of the device is the price paid for KNOWINGLY infringing on the patent.

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Microsoft: Hey, you. Done patching Windows this month? WRONG

Tom 13
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Re: There is a "s" after the "math"

As this product originated in the US, no there is not. We do not share your fetish for adding unnecessary letters:

http://www.cpu-info.com/index2.php?mainid=Cyrix

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Tom 13
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Facepalm

People are urged to install the update as soon as possible, and long before miscreants begin to exploit the vulnerability to spread malware and misery.

You're already too late. The whole reason we know about this vulnerability is precisely that the miscreants found it, were subsequently hacked, and the exploit was posted to the internet.

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Tom 13
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Re: Kernel mode fonts

People who have never seen, let alone run a 386 really ought not spew in the forums.

Yes, I was running a Windows 3.11 workstation on a 386 with math coprocessor back in the day, never had a problem with displaying bit mapped fonts on either my paper white (DTP work) or color monitor (CAD). And your whole CAD argument is just right out of your arse. Granted I was running Autocad which most folks don't consider real CAD, but the relevant fonts for it were additional drawings.

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Driverless cars banished to fake Michigan 'town' until they learn to read

Tom 13
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Re: fake Michigan 'town'

Detroit might win for empty, but I'll put the roads in Philly up against the roads in Detroit any day of the week for title of worst. Couple years ago we made the mistake of taking the main road through there when leaving a convention and my friend wound up with two damaged wheels.

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Tom 13
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Re: Deer will just jump in front of you without warning.

I was thinking about them ambushing your car from their hiding place in the bushes, but same difference.

On the bright side, at least they aren't moose. You'll likely survive your crash with a deer. Not so with the moose.

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Tom 13
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Re: Scotland?

You have roads? Lucky dog. When I go to visit some of my friends, the instructions include "turn onto the stone path" before I drive the last 10 miles.

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Brit school software biz unchains lawyers after crappy security exposed

Tom 13
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Re: The default was to use the surname field!

Remember, it could be worse. I mean at least that's unique (sort of) and random. They could have just set all of them to:

-password

-12345

-asdf

-qwerty

or my personal favorite, simply left it blank.

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Space Station 'nauts dive for cover from flying Soviet junk

Tom 13
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Joke

Re: sports of orbits

Wait, I didn't know the ISS had put in a bid to host the Olympics.

I expect a lot of records will be broken if they win!

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Bitcoin fixes a Greek problem – but not the Greek debt problem

Tom 13
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Re: QE

When you start with a false premise, nothing deduced afterward is reliable.

Despite Tim's claims and derision for the gold bugs, I don't see that the US or the UK really are any better off for printing boatloads of money. The economy isn't improving. People aren't going to work. The number of people being helped by the inflation is vastly smaller than the number it is going to seriously hurt going forward. Despite government fiddling with the numbers the economy is still teetering on the edge of the Second Great Recession without an actual intervening recovery. I expect the sum of the downturns will be worse than the Great Depression.

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Netflix profits plunge, but streamer still plans global domination

Tom 13
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Re: gave me access to all of the TV/movie/etc out there.

While I concur, I suspect this isn't Netflix's fault. I expect the vendors are the culprits on that one.

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Tom 13
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Re: Netflix charges too little

I'm not interested in their original programming, so the price boost isn't worth it to me. Making the OP another tier at $8 would work for me.

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Hacking Team spyware rootkit: Even a new HARD DRIVE wouldn't get rid of it

Tom 13
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Re: zap anything and everything that has been to a list of countries

Nothing.

At that level of paranoia you're also certifying the factory and your transport service and implementing high level security controls for their facilities. Alos, think armored car transport principles without the obviousness of the armored car.

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Tom 13
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Black Helicopters

Re: Mitigation?

How do you know the latest BIOS/UEFI hasn't been compromised at the factory level?

Yeah, when you start going this route, you're deep in black helicopter territory.

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Tom 13
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Re: bios jumper in another physical position

I'd settle for a physical switch instead of a jumper. Depending on the motherboard some of those *&%*$!! jumpers were smaller than an eye glasses screw.

Also, all MBs these days should have a double BIOS setup: One flashable which is the primary boot chip, one ROM which by flipping another switch/setting another jumper can be used to restore the BIOS that originally shipped with the MB.

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Tom 13
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Re: zap anything and everything that has been to a list of countries

We've done away with the list. If you've been on travel, when you get back, it gets wiped and fresh image is installed.

Not that that would have helped with this particular hack.

If you're sufficiently paranoid these days, the correct procedure is actually to chuck it all to a reseller as soon as it comes back and give them a new, fresh out of the box, not re-furbed laptop. The BIOS, the hard drive, even the mouse might have been compromised with malware your OotB AV suite simply isn't equipped to deal with.

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Tom 13
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Re: Groupthink

How many of them were as big as Microsoft and completely independent of MS's OS?

When the Big Dog makes up his mind, you go along and hope for a piece of the kill.

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iPod dead? Nope, says Apple: New Touch has iPhone 6 brains

Tom 13
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Unhappy

Once a primary source of Apple's income, the iPod has fallen out of favor these days as users moved from dedicated media players to smartphones.

Not true at all. I'd love to pickup an actual iPod with a decent amount of music storage (say on the order of 100G) and maybe a bluetooth connection for the car. No need for a camera or wifi, just the usb to my Windows PC to synch my music collection. But Apple don't make/market those anymore.

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Microsoft customers on the great (hybrid) cloud migration

Tom 13
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"The Nimon speaks of many things. He speaks of the Great Journey Migration of Life."

"How many Nimon have you seen today?"

...

"How many?!!!!"

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Mathematician: SUNSPOT DROUGHT will mean mini ICE AGE from 2030

Tom 13
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Re: total energy output of the sun does not vary much

Neither does the variance mean solar temperatures. In fact the correlation between these two is much stronger than the the Cult of Warming will acknowledge.

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Tom 13
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Re:The difference is about 0.1% over a sunspot cycle

Which is about 10 times as much change as we've seen in actual surface temperatures over the last 20 years.

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Tom 13
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Re: We're using less today than we will tomorrow

Not exactly. We're using more total energy but we're using it more efficiently. "We" in this instance being the entire planet and not just the GB or the US. There is some debate about how much less we might be using if all the places coming online were using current technology.

I think your essential point still stands: we're not on the exponential curve the alarmists cry havoc about. More probably a straight line and possibly asymptotically decreasing.

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Tom 13
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Re: This good be good news or bad news.....

let me fix that for you:

The hockey team and other enviroMentalists will have killed more than doubled the number of people than killed by socialism by the time we get to 2040, and all they'll do is move the goal posts again.

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Tom 13
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Re: where a lot of the uranium comes from?

Do try to keep up with the posters. He's one of the thorium advocates, so no need for uranium.

I'm agnostic on the issue myself and haven't bothered to look into enough to have an informed opinion.

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Tom 13
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@AC Re: This good be good news or bad news.....

Yeah, some folks aren't keeping up with the new about who the current biggest producers are and where the largest known reserves have moved. Either that or they just hate both countries.

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Natural geothermal heat under Antarctic ice: 'Surprisingly HIGH'

Tom 13
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@ Flatpackhamster Re: Geothermal Power

Actually Efros is onto something even though he doesn't acknowledge having a solid handle on it. Yellowstone was one of the first parts of the US to be designated a federal nature preserve. As such, the government position on any sort of exploitation of resources in the area gets an even more jaundiced view than the econazis in these part give a Lewis Page article. It's getting to the point where they don't even want tourists in the park even though that's specifically part of its mission.

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I cannae dae it, cap'n! Why I had to quit the madness of frontline IT

Tom 13
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Re: That includes the firmware.

No they don't. Here's an economic truth for you that everybody denies:

Nobody knows how to make a pencil from start to finish, but the stores are filled with them.

http://www.joshharness.com/2012/10/nobody-knows-how-to-make-pencil.html

Same thing applies to electronics.

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Tom 13
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Re: IT is not just another cost-centre

No other part of the company is just another cost center. Each part thinks it is unique and ought to have special consideration. But the other parts of the company eventually come to understand that they have to communicate with management and understand the operations of the company. Only IT seems to persist in the belief that management needs to learn to speak its unique language.

This is our, or perhaps your problem to fix, not management's.

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Tom 13
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Re: Increase budget estimate by 45-80%

Won't work.

I've been sitting on the other side of the table in a non-IT context. We knew the guy asking for money. We knew he was planning to overspend his budget by 10% figuring that was allowed. So we cut his budget by an extra 10% so that when he overspent by 10% he'd still be about where we needed him to be. The people who weren't planning to overspend their budgets by 10% got what they asked for, at least in as much as we could fund them in any given year. The thing about budgets is that the guys running the numbers aren't really setting them. They are reporting them. They know how much money the company is going to generate and they know what all the Wants the company has. But Wants always exceed Income, so something has to give. The budget planning process is supposed to be about doing that rationally.* Oh, and for the record, the guy we knew would overspend was in a high visibility, high PR, medium impact on on "business" position.

The budgeting guys are as smart as you are. And they're watching your behavior on the numbers, not the way you set your budget.

So if you're getting your budget cut by 50% and can't make do, find another job. You've either got an asshole for in finance and you won't be able to change it, or a problem elsewhere in your IT management system which you probably won't be able to change that either.

*To the best of my knowledge the only time we shorted IT was once when I overlooked one of the needs we'd have for storage on a server. As I was the one submitting the request on that one, I can't really blame the budget committee for that one. If I had asked for it, I think I would have gotten it.

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NIST issues 'don't be stupid' security guidelines for contractors

Tom 13
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Re: Ah, I see now

The headline is pure bunk. NIST has been issuing these standards for years now. I recall a colleague who was testing some of them once. He eventually locked his computer down so tightly even he couldn't get back in.

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Ex-Goldman Sachs programmer's code theft conviction overturned AGAIN

Tom 13
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Re: GS in the firing line for potential GPL-type violations.

Probably not actually. So long as GS didn't distribute the code outside GS they're well within the GPL license.

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Oi, idiot fanbois. DON'T buy this gun-shaped iPhone case, mmkay?

Tom 13
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Re: am I in mortal danger carrying around a Super Soaker

Depends where you are. The higher the number of hoplophobes, the more danger you are in. Cops in Chicago and NYC have shot people who were pulling wallets/phones (without the gun handle case) out of their back pockets.

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Tom 13
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Re: If you do get one...

Racist!

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Tom 13
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Re: not being in the news

He didn't say "in the news" he said reported. Which include includes police reports where withholding information (in addition to your failure to report that your gun has now been stolen) is a crime. And you won't find any of those in the police reports either.

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Tom 13
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Re: Not good

You keep ignoring size and culture differences. Those account for all of your so called facts.

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