Misleading gun statistic

I’ve seen one particular statement replayed several times over, and it’s rather misleading in its representation: gun deaths have been cut in half over the last 20+ years. Let’s look at the numbers.

First, firearms-related homicides peaked in 1993 at 18,571 according to the CDC. Then the numbers started dropping like a rock and bottomed out at 11,071 in 2000. That is actually the lowest year on record since 1981 for total homicides. But then the number actually started going back up.

It would reach 12,267 in 2003, then decline again in 2004 to 11,935 before getting to 13,151 in 2006, the highest recorded total firearms-related homicides since bottoming out in 2000. Firearms-related homicides would go on a steady decline again, reaching 11,422 in 2010. Then it went back up to 12,093 in 2012, but then declined through 2014.

So it’s misleading to imply that “gun deaths” have been going down steadily since 1993. Instead it’s safer to say that firearms-related homicides have been going steadily up and down for about the last 15 years, kind of circling around 12,000 homicides per year.

But then it’s also misleading to go on raw numbers, as the rate of homicides has been on a steadily downward trend.

In 1993, again the peak year for pure firearms-related homicide numbers, the crude rate of homicides per 100,000 population was 7.14, higher only slightly than 1991’s crude rate of 7.11 per 100,000. That steadily declined and bottomed out in 2000 as well at 3.93 per 100,000, a 45% reduction in the firearms-related homicide rate.

But just like the pure homicide numbers, the homicide rate then started going up until it topped out at 4.61 in 2006, a 17% increase across those years. But then it started going back down, reaching 3.70 in 2010 and 2011, lower than 2000’s firearms homicide rate. And though it would bump back up to 3.85 in 2012, it dropped again in 2013 and again in 2014 to 3.59, a rate that is about 1/2 the firearms-related homicide rate of 1993.

All of these numbers can be found through the CDC WISQARS Fatal Injury Reports.

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Mira – Finished

I’m writing this on Mira, which means the system is up and running. But it wasn’t without hiccups. As much as I’d hoped the upgrade would go smoothly. I will say, up front, that my luck once again held out on the mainboard and processor and the system posted without issue… after I pressed the BIOS reset button on the I/O — one of the downsides to buying an open-box mainboard from Micro Center.

Draining the system

The graphics cards were set up in a U-parallel configuration, wherein both the inlet and outlet were on the top graphics cards:

Draining this using quick disconnects would’ve meant having to tilt the system in various directions to get the water flowing out. An alternative that panned out quite well is just taking the two stop fittings off the bottom graphics card and letting it drain out through there.

Once I had the graphics cards out, I flushed them with distilled water — three (3) gallons pushed through with a spare pump — and installed them in the H440, finished the cable management, and set that aside and turned my attention to the radiator box.

Radiator box

This was cause of all of my problems. After draining it (just took the quick disconnects off the tubing at the sink), I tore it completely down.

drain

radbox1

Getting the radiators off and flushed. Getting the dust blown out of the fans. Mostly. I didn’t take a brush to the fins this time. Then came putting the thing back together.

radbox2

radbox3

Before taking the box down completely, there was actually one fan that got disconnected during the last assembly that I never bothered to reconnect. So to ensure I had all nine (9) radiator fans and the three (3) exhaust fans powered and running, I periodically tested the fan connections to make sure everything was sound.

radbox4

The new reservoir suits this project much better as well being top-return capable. This top, though, is a separate purchase, but worth it for this, in my opinion. Your mileage may vary based on your project.

radbox5

radbox6

radbox7

And now, looking up from the bottom, the cabling at that point was a mess, but at least I was able to get the radiator panel mounted to the rest of the case without any difficulty. Managing the cabling was, at that point, less important than making sure all the fans were still connected.

radbox8

radbox9

Then it was time to clean up the cabling.

radbox10

radbox11

With the radiator box essentially done, I turned my attention to the main system, getting it tubed up and connected to the radiator box. The direction of flow is in to the graphics cards at the bottom, up through to the CPU, and out to the inlet on the radiator box. The inlet takes it through the bottom to the top radiator, then back to the reservoir.

mira1

mira2

mira3

But the leak test didn’t go smoothly. There were a couple leaks from the inter-connects on the radiators. At first, it looked like the leaks were coming from the Swiftech SLI fittings. So in tearing those apart, I noticed that the fitting wasn’t nearly as tight as I’d liked. A few measurements pushed me to buy #6 and #8 O-rings from Home Depot. I used one of each with the brass ring in between them. That sealed the SLI fittings nice and tight in a fashion similar to the Primochill Revolver compression fittings, but didn’t take care of the leak entirely.

fitting

That is an EK 90° rotary fitting. It snapped, and I’m not sure entirely how. But it was still sitting flat enough in the fitting that I didn’t notice it immediately. It was when I took out that fitting and the adjacent one on the other radiator that it came apart like this. Thankfully my local Micro Center had replacements in stock. Once I had that fitting replaced, the leak test passed and I was able to get the system up and running.

If you follow JayzTwoCents on YouTube, you’ve likely seen his video where he discussed a leak he had which is also from an EK 90° rotary fitting:

NZXT H440 – Mini-review

Let’s momentarily revisit the NZXT H440 chassis. I really enjoyed building into this. Even for the Sabertooth X99 and it’s full-cover “armor”, the mainboard seated relatively easily and I was able to easily access all the needed points for cabling. Cable management was reasonably easy as well, though having two PCI-Express power cables seemed to add just a little too much cable bulk for the back panel.

The threads, though, are very tight for the thumb screws, and I had to resort to a screwdriver to keep from tearing up my fingers. This is likely due to them not protecting the threads when painting the parts.

And the smoked window is darker than my sunglasses. Seriously. It requires you to install white lighting (definitely can’t go with a different color on this, or at least I can’t see doing that) replace it with MNPCTech’s clear window. So… yeah. Time to order a lighting kit, or pick up something from Micro Center.

Benchmarks

Here’s how the new platform tested (old benchmarks in red).

  • 3DMark Fire Strike: 12638 [9797]
  • 3DMark Cloud Gate: 31911 [19918]
  • 3DMark Sky Diver: 35006 [25205]
  • Unigine Heaven: 1904 [1826] (Ultra Quality, Extreme Tesselation, x8 Anti-aliasing)
  • Unigine Valley: 3743 [3025] (Extreme HD preset)

So the Unigine benchmarks didn’t change much. Not even an 80 point gain on the Heaven benchmark, though Valley went up by over 700 points. Valley is a bit more CPU-reliant, though, doing calculations with plants, wind, and rain. So given that the graphics cards didn’t change, seeing Heaven’s score go up by an insignificant amount (4.2%) isn’t surprising.

Further showing that the change in platform didn’t mean much for GPU performance, at least with regard to these GPUs, the graphics scores for the 3DMark benchmarks showed insignificant improvements on the X99 and 5820k versus the 990FX and FX-8350 in Fire Strike and Sky Diver:

  • Fire Strike: 16091 / 15849 (1.5% gain)
  • Sky Diver: 54593 / 52455 (4.1% gain)
  • Cloud Gate: 102438 / 81712 (25.4% gain)

The significant gain with Cloud Gate I’ll speculate is similar to the significant gain with the Valley benchmark: Cloud Gate relies on the CPU more than Fire Strike and Sky Diver for its graphics testing and scoring.

The gains in the overall 3DMark scores, however, show the much better contribution of the Haswell-E processor where the better CPU performance is needed: almost 3,000 points gained on Fire Strike, almost 12,000 points on Sky Diver, and almost 10,000 points gained on Cloud Gate.

It’s clear as well that the GTX 770s are holding things back now. But those will get changed out in a later upgrade.

Temperatures

Given that I’m using a very non-standard means of water-cooling this system, how does it perform, especially compared to the FX-8350?

The FX-8350 would easily get up above 60°C when under a high amount of stress — e.g. transcoding videos — with an EK Supremacy EVO block. But the graphics cards wouldn’t ever really get all that high — they’d touch at 50°C, maybe a little higher, but it’d take a while to get there, and the temperatures would typically hover in the mid-40s.

On Mira, after running a string of benchmarks, the GPUs would get into about the mid-40s°C. The CPU also touched in the low 40s on the hottest core.

But for a good temperature test, I took a BD rip of the latest Jungle Book (I own the physical copy as well) and transcoded it with Handbrake. The original file was 24.3GB. It took about 21 minutes to transcode and kept the CPU pegged at 100% the entire time, with the cores all running at the boost clock of 3.6GHz. At the time I write this, I’m using just straight distilled water as the coolant.

The CPU temperature jumped up to around 40C almost immediately. During the transcode, the hottest core hit 43°C, which was also the package temperature, with the coolest core being at 39°C.

temperature_test

And that is why I have an external radiator box, and why external water cooling had me intrigued. These temperatures are certainly rather interesting as well given that the i7-5820k is specified at a higher TDP than the FX-8350 — 140W and 125W, respectively. So easily the water block is the variable here, where the EK Supremacy EVO isn’t able to perform nearly as well as the Heatkiller IV. Which makes sense since I don’t recall seeing temperatures nearly as high with the Koolance CPU-380A as I saw with the Supremacy. Oh well.

Specifications

Main system:

  • CPU: Intel i7-5820k
  • Mainboard: ASUS Sabertooth X99
  • RAM: EVGA DDR4-3200 2x8GB (running at XMP profile)
  • GPUs: 2xPNY GTX 770 4GB OC
  • Chassis: NZXT H440 Black
  • Power supply: EVGA 1050 GS

Water cooling system and radiator box:

  • CPU block: Watercool Heatkiller IV Intel Pro
  • GPU blocks: Watercool Heatkiller GPU-X³ GTX 680
  • Radiators: XSPC EX360 (x3)
  • Pump: Koolance PMP-450S with AlphaCool HF D5 clear housing
  • Reservoir: EKWB EK-RES X3 250 Lite with Multiport Top and 140mm Internal Tube
  • Tubing: Primochill Primoflex Advanced LRT 3/8″x1/2″
  • Fans: Cougar CF-V12HB
  • Housing: Mountain Mods Pedestal 18 with Triple-120 panel

So for now the system is complete. About the only other change I’ll be making will be to drain out the distilled water and replace it with Mayhem’s X1 clear coolant and installing a bright white light to illuminate the system behind the dark window.

And later down the line will be a GPU upgrade, pulling out the GTX 770s and replacing them with, likely, a GTX 1080.

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Mira – II

Mira (Omicron Ceti)
Mira (Omicron Ceti)

That is a rendering of Mira in Space Engine 0.9.8, a screenshot I snapped from within the software. Mira is the Bayer designation for Omicron Ceti (ο Ceti), a symbiotic binary star system about 300 light years from Earth in the Cetus constellation. Mira A is a red giant star, and Mira B (VZ Ceti) is a white dwarf.

With that out of the way, let’s get back into the build.

New chassis

As functional as the Zalman chassis has been, I decided I didn’t want to keep with it for this build. But for the switch, I still required another mid-tower chassis with water cooling grommets. And the pickings weren’t all that great.

In the Corsair lineup, I was really impressed with and considered the Carbide Clear 400C as it provided for a full side-window. But without water-cooling grommets, the case would have to be modified or I’d have to find a different way to route tubing to get it through a Koolance PCI L-bracket. The same with the very impressive Crystal 460X (plus it’s available from only 1 reseller at the time I write this, and they were out of stock). The grommets on the Obsidian 450D also aren’t grommets but merely holes in steel, and they were too large to fit any pass-through fittings on the market.

So I looked at NZXT and Fractal Design. Fractal Design doesn’t have any chassis available with water cooling grommets, so they were out. And looking at NZXT, the only options I considered reasonable were the S340 and H440. Only one of which has water cooling grommets on the back.

Any guesses as to which?

NZXT H440

An all-black NZXT H440 was the selection.

The size of the water cooling holes is the only downside with this chassis as the holes with the grommets removed are too large for any pass-through fitting available. And while I considered trying to find an alternative means of mounting the fittings into the holes — e.g. using washers — I decided to go with a different route that will actually cut down on the number of fittings that will be in use.

But there was another reason to lean toward this that became apparent when I was researching the chassis. I have four (4) 1TB Western Digital Blue drives left over from another project that never panned out. The H440 has plenty of room to set the drives while allowing for adequate airflow around all of them. And the Sabertooth X99 has plenty of SATA connections. The only question is RAID 0 or RAID 10. And through the BIOS or through Windows.

Next Phase

So after buying the H440 at my local Micro Center, I started building the system into it. And I decided to violate the cardinal rule and not test the hardware before installing the water block — I’ve never had to return base hardware on the system, so I’m not worried.

sabertoothx99_h440

Only the graphics cards and power supply are going from β Ori. to Mira. And the fittings as well. Everything else is getting set aside to be used for something else. Not sure what just yet. But getting the system finished requires tearing down β Ori. So the next update to this will come after Mira is finished and up and running.

For now, here are some benchmarks I gathered on β Ori. I’ll provide the comparisons to Mira once everything is running.

  • 3DMark Fire Strike: 9797
  • 3DMark Cloud Gate: 19918
  • 3DMark Sky Diver: 25205
  • Unigine Heaven: 1826 (Ultra Quality with Extreme Tessellation)
  • Unigine Valley: 3025 (Extreme HD preset)

For immediate reference, the system is an AMD FX-8350 (stock speeds) with 16GB RAM and two GTX 770s in SLI.

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Almost getting it right

I’ve said numerous times that I really don’t like much of what is published about debt collections. Because most articles I’ve seen about the topic get a lot wrong. But the latest article I encountered published by the Los Angeles Times gets it right. Or at least pretty close. But given that it’s from a newspaper, I’d hope they’d get it right.

Sean Pyles wrote the article in question called “How to handle debt that has ‘expired’“. And as said he gets it mostly right, so go and read the article before coming back here as I’m only going to point out the parts where he’s wrong. First, though, I’ll point out what I’ve said numerous times about the statute of limitations, which Sean says right off the bat:

When a debt is older than the statute of limitations, it’s called time-barred debt. That means creditors don’t have a legal right to sue you — though debt collectors may still try. They also can continue to pursue you with phone calls and negative credit reporting.

The statute of limitations only means that a debt collector cannot sue to collect a debt. It doesn’t stop them from contacting you about it or making any other collection attempts. The only thing I would’ve liked to see him include here is the fact that you can, in writing, order the debt collector to not contact you. That will stop one debt collector cold, but won’t stop them from selling it off to someone else, meaning the whole process starts anew.

A debt collector should send you a validation notice within five days of first contacting you. This notice should include the amount owed, date of last payment, who the collector is and how to request information on the original creditor. If you don’t get this notice within 10 days after the debt collector first contacts you, ask for it.

A debt collector MUST send you a validation notice within five days of first contact. And that five day mark is the postmark date, not the date you receive it. If they never send it to you, then don’t ask for it. That’s kind of like discovering you have a warrant out against you and then calling the police so they can come and arrest you.

Now here’s a question for you: what if they don’t send it till after the 5-day limit? Are they barred from collecting the debt? No. It merely opens them up to potential penalties under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The debt is still a contract that can be enforced.

One thing I will point out here: Sean’s statements regarding validation are the most accurate statements I’ve seen in ANY article written about collections. Seriously, it brings a tear to my eye reading it. Until he gets to the part about disputing the debt:

Be as specific as possible in your letter. Say why the debt collection attempt is not valid, including information about payment history or why the debt may not be yours and any other relevant information. Send the letter by certified mail so you get confirmation of receipt.

You don’t need to be specific at all. The law requires that you merely state that you’re disputing the debt. You don’t need to provide anything more, and I’d highly recommend against providing anything more. Go here to find a letter template that you can use to dispute the debt. And if you think that the debt isn’t yours, then you can read my advice on how to interact with the debt collector.

Now while you do have the option to ignore it, Sean’s statements fall woefully short of what could happen and miss a lot of nuance:

When debt is time-barred, you can’t be sued for payment — but the debt doesn’t go away. You may ignore it, but debt collectors and your credit reports won’t.

Furthermore, debt collectors can continue to pursue payment. If you ignore the debt long enough, you risk the current collector selling the debt again.

The statute of limitations is nothing more than an affirmative defense in Court to get the suit dismissed. They can sue you — Sean even says such in the last section of his article — and you will have to show up to Court in order to assert that defense.

The debt will fall of your credit report typically seven (7) years from the date of charge-off, provided you don’t resurrect it. This is what happened to a number of collections accounts I had on my credit report.

This means as well you can have a time-barred debt listed on your credit report unless your State’s limit is higher. And generally you cannot have that entry removed. The statute of limitations that applies to the debt account is tied to your State of residence. Move out of a State where the debt was time-barred to one where it will not be and you can be legitimately sued to have the debt enforced.

And before writing this article, I think Sean should’ve followed the advice he gives about talking with an attorney so he doesn’t provide information that is demonstrably wrong. And he was going so well, for the most part.

If the case goes to court, you’ll probably submit evidence of the date of last payment and information about the bill. Simply stating that the debt is time-barred should be enough to get the case thrown out.

Merely stating the debt is time-barred isn’t enough. You will have to demonstrate the debt is time-barred. So it’s not “probable” that you’ll submit evidence. You will be required to submit that information.

But what if you no longer have the records demonstrating when you last made a payment? There are ways of getting that information, and it typically requires exercising a process called “discovery” and issuing subpoenas to applicable parties to see what records have been preserved. You’ll need to consult an attorney to discuss that option, though, as I highly recommend against going it alone.

Otherwise Sean was mostly correct and it’s one of the most accurate articles I’ve seen written on debt collections.

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Patreon feature request

I’m a Patron through Patreon, currently supporting three creators. Recently I put in this feature request with Patreon:

Good day,

There is a Creator for whom I’d like to bump my contribution to a particular reward level, but doing so requires that I provide my mailing address. This is because he does provide some physical merchandise that, frankly, doesn’t have my interest.

Now while I could contact the Creator to ask that they create another reward level that contains only the incentives that I do want for the target reward level, I think it’d be easier allow Patrons the option of not providing their mailing address. This way those of us who don’t want any merchandise incentives can easily opt out of it while retaining the other incentives that don’t require providing a shipping address.

Thanks.

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Mira

The time has come for another build log.

Seven months ago for Valentine’s Day, I posted a revisit to Absinthe in which my wife’s AMD FX-8350 system was upgraded to an Intel i7-5820k. Well, β Ori is next on the upgrade list. And the upgrade is going to be similar to Absinthe’s. And this will actually be a double-revisit.

First here are the current specifications:

CPU: AMD FX-8350 (stock speed)
RAM: 16GB (4x4GB) EVGA DDR3-1600
Mainboard: ASRock 990FX Extreme6
Graphics: PNY GTX 770 OC x2 in SLI
Storage: Samsung 850 EVO M.2 500GB

The system is water-cooled as well with an external radiator box supplying the pump, reservoir, and radiators:

CPU block: EK Supremacy EVO
GPU block: Watercool Heatkiller GPU-X³ for GTX 680
Pump: Koolance PMP-450S (D5 strong) with AlphaCool HF D5 clear
Reservoir: Phobya Balancer 150 Silver-Nickel
Radiators: XSPC EX-360 (x3) with Cougar CF-V12HB fans

box_and_tower

And this is the upgrade target:

CPU: Intel i7-5820k
RAM: EVGA DDR4-3200 2x8GB
Mainboard: ASUS Sabertooth X99
Storage: Samsung 950 PRO 512GB

So I’m taking β Ori up to X99 as well, Haswell-E instead of Broadwell-E. The selected mainboard supports Broadwell-E (with a BIOS upgrade), so it is an option if I decide to spring for it later. And the nearest Broadwell-E chip to the selected Haswell-E on core/thread count is the i7-6800k, which is about 50% more than what I paid to get the Haswell-E chip.

The AMD FX platform is admittedly dated, though it does still have its uses. I mean it’s an 8-core processor for under 200 USD. I considered holding out for the Zen platform but ultimately decided against it. I may check it out when it finally hits shelves, or use it as a platform to build a computer for another friend.

I also opted against retaining the EK Supremacy EVO. Instead I’m going with the same waterblock I used in Absinthe: the Watercool Heatkiller IV Pro. The graphics cards are also not going anywhere right now.

So what’s the “dual” part of this revisit? The radiator box.

The only thing I want to change is the reservoir. Replacing the bottom-return Phobya Balancer with the top-return option on the EK-XRES 250. It’s an overall larger reservoir — larger diameter and length. And since this whole thing will need to be drained and flushed and taken apart for cleaning, it’ll be the perfect time to do that.

And yes, the name for the system is changing as well.

Mira (Omicron Ceti)

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Breville Infuser – 3 years later

About three years ago, I ordered the Breville Infuser direct from Breville to replace my De’Longhi EC-155. Both are great espresso machines. I only wish that the Breville had lasted longer.

So what happened? In short, age.

Unlike the higher-quality, and more expensive espresso machines, the Infuser has a lot of plastic inside. This is one of the reasons it costs only 500 USD. Yes, I know I said “only”. Trust me, though, if this were made with higher quality parts instead of plastic plumbing parts, it’d be a bit more expensive. And the build of the machine makes it a little difficult to service at home.

At this point I’m certain, based on what I’m observing and what I’ve read, that one of the plumbing parts — whether it’s tubing, junctions, or what have you — is clogged. The machine is no longer able to put pressure through the group head, and is instead dumping all the water through into the drip tray — when I attempted a descale recently, it seemed more water was being evacuated to the drip tray than was coming through the group head. This again tells me that something is clogged, and I’d likely need to tear it apart to find out what.

So my options on this were varied. I could send the machine back to Breville (I bought it direct from them) and have them “remanufacture” it and send it back. I could try to get ahold of all the various parts myself and figure it out, with no guarantee I’d be able to do that. I could try to pull things apart and clean them out myself, which would only be kicking the can down the road until I replaced the parts.

I decided on another option. I took this as a chance to upgrade away from the Breville Infuser, something I’d been considering for a little over a year.

Now as I’ve said before, the Infuser is a great machine. It served me well for three years, and I wish I’d gotten more out of it given it carries a 500 USD price tag. But then I’ve read reviews of the De’Longhi EC-155 where the owners said they’d had it for several years while mine lasted only about 15 months before I started experiencing problems I couldn’t correct.

If I was better on upkeep — e.g. descaling, clean cycles, paying attention to the shower screen — then it’d probably still be in working order.

Sure I could’ve gotten better mileage with a machine like the Racilio Silvia — easily the most popular mid-level consumer espresso machine on the market, and the one with the best reputation. It’s also likely much easier to service at home compared to the Infuser. The only thing that turned me off to the Silvia is its recommended 30 to 45 minute warm-up time (in part because the boiler isn’t insulated out of the box, but can be), while the Infuser has no warm-up time due to its thermocoil.

Also unlike the Rancilio and De’Longhi, the Breville Infuser is programmable, and that’s a major feature for a mid-level machine. You won’t get that on the Rancilio Silvia without installing a PID.

But otherwise, again it’s a good machine that is actually a great value in all. It comes with everything you need out of the box: tamper, pitcher, and pressurized and non-pressurized portafilter baskets, single and double shot, along with water filters and cleaning tablets. The only thing you’d have to buy is additional filters and tablets as needed.

Which for 500 USD is a decent value, even for the longevity I got out of it. Again if I’d taken better care of it, I probably could’ve done better. But as I said I’d been planning an upgrade for a little over a year now, so it’s time to sign off on the Breville Infuser.

If you are considering the Infuser and have any questions about it, feel free to ask in the comments below.

 

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Revisiting Brock Turner

There’s a big reason we don’t have “justice” in the United States: justice is not objective. It’s entirely subjective. What is “just” for a crime varies from person to person. Many feel that Brock Turner should be dead. Not just in prison. Dead. Many feel the same about Casey Anthony and George Zimmerman despite the fact both have been ACQUITTED of their respective charges.

That’s why we have laws. Laws that objectively define a crime. Laws that mostly objectively define a sentence. Laws that are applied to a set of given facts to determine the proper outcome. An outcome in part determined by the representatives that we have elected to our respective state legislatures to define the crimes and define the sentences.

brock_turner_protesters

When people seek “justice”, the above is what we get. “He deserves worse” as many others have said. Armed protesters standing outside not just Brock Turner’s home, but standing outside the homes of people who have committed no crime and are not deserving of any punishment.

“Justice” is never objective. That is why we have Courts and Laws that are presumed to be. That is why we ceded our right to justice in exchange for laws while at the same time defining rights in how those laws are to be applied to all of us.

Due process has been satisfied in Brock Turner’s instance. He has been convicted, a sentence has been handed down, he has met the requirements of that sentence, and he has been released to probation where he will have additional requirements to meet to avoid going back to prison. If you don’t like how due process has been satisfied, find some other way to express that which harasses NO ONE. Not Brock Turner. Not the people who live around him.

And don’t pull the “you’d feel different if it was your wife/daughter/mother/sister/what have you” bullshit card on me either. While I’d likely be disappointed with an outcome, I also know that the outcome is not my decision. What happened with Turner is not our decision.

For fuck’s sake, stop trying to throw everyone’s rights under the bus simply because you don’t like one particular outcome.

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Corsair AX860: A retraction

Last year I wrote a negative review of the Corsair AX860 power supply in which I said that I had two units on me fail in a short period of time:

When an 800W power supply can better keep a system stable than an 860W power supply, there’s a problem with the power supply, especially when it cannot keep the system stable under the kind of load every online evaluation says it should be able to sustain.

There was a variable in this equation that I was overlooking. I had the AX860 connected through a 24-pin ATX extension cable and 8-pin CPU power extension cable to the mainboard (first picture), while the GS800 was connected directly without using extension cables (second picture):

When I pulled the AX860 out of the system to replace with an EVGA 1050 GS, I noticed that the extension cables had started to deteriorate. Indeed in later examining the 24-pin extension, the cable had started disintegrating with the end almost readily coming apart in my hand.

On a whim, I also decided to use the AX860 to power the graphics cards in Colony West. I didn’t buy a new unit, but used the one that Corsair sent to me in response to my RMA. And I didn’t have any stability concerns with regard to power delivery. Power consumption, yes. (More on that separately.) But the graphics cards never experienced any issues from the power supply.

So as such, I retract in full my review of the AX860. I’ve noted such on my original review. I’ve pulled the Amazon review and asked NewEgg to pull the review I published there as well.

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To the Vacca family

When we lose a loved one, we need someone to blame. And often we don’t want to lay blame where it belongs, simply because of what it means.

In your instance, you suffered a horrible loss when your husband and father, Charles Vacca, was killed when a 9 year-old lost control of an Uzi in full-automatic mode. I’ve seen the video. What was clear from the outset, however, is that Charles was to blame for his own death. Not the range that employed him. Certainly not the 9 year-old. But Charles.

In your lawsuit, you contend that the Uzi should never have been placed into the 9 year-old’s hands. And on that I concur in part and disagree in part. The problem wasn’t the Uzi itself, but its full-automatic mode. I’ve said in other venues that the Uzi should never have been switched into full-auto mode. But who switched it to full-auto mode? Charles.

Safety is also everyone’s duty at the range. If anyone feels that a person is about to do something dangerous at the range, the person who sees it has an implicit obligation to call a cease fire on the range and see the issue corrected. If they notice but don’t do or say anything, they can be held liable in part for the consequences if something bad happens.

And that goes double if a person is acting as an instructor for someone unfamiliar with firearms. Again, this comes back to Charles. Charles would still be alive if he never put the Uzi into full-auto mode. Charles would still be alive if he never allowed the 9 year-old to even handle that weapon.

Charles also would likely still be alive if he had not been standing so close to the 9 year-old in question. He was practically behind her shoulder, something that any person knowledgeable of gun safety will say is not the place to be standing. You should instead always be at least two feet behind them at minimum, with where you stand being depending on where shell casings are flying to avoid contact burns.

But this is especially the case when you’re talking about a fully-automatic weapon. Charles should’ve known the recoil characteristics of that weapon. He should have known that a person who has never fired a full-auto firearm previously is going to have difficulty controlling the compounding recoil to keep the barrel forward. He should have known that a 9 year-old will also, simply by nature of their size and typical level of strength, have a lot of difficulty controlling the compounding recoil of that firearm.

Again, all of this could’ve been avoided had Charles not put the firearm into full-automatic mode. And it also could’ve been avoided if Charles had not allowed the 9 year-old to fire the weapon at all. I can understand wanting to lay the blame for Charles’s death on the employer. Since it avoids laying the blame on Charles.

How many minors have fired Uzis and other full-automatic weapons at that range without incident? Charles’s life could’ve been spared had some other details been observed. Again, he should not have switched the weapon into full-automatic mode simply because a 9 year-old isn’t going to have the strength to control the compounding recoil. I agree as well the 9 year-old shouldn’t have had hold of it to begin with.

But once the firearm was in her hands, there were ways of mitigating the risks that led to his death, starting with not having his face so close to the firearm.

Charles failed in his job, and it cost him his life. I know that’s difficult to accept. But unfortunately that is just the reality of the situation.

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