Tag Archives: crime

Three unmentionable insights about people, free from Ashley Madison

Summary: This post describes three lessons from Ashley Madison that are dark and so seldom mentioned by our clickbait media.

Ashley Madison


  1. Millions of women used Ashley Madison.
  2. We become criminals for a good paycheck.
  3. Bots can easily become good enough for men.
  4. For More Information.

The story of the rise and fall of the Ashley Madison cheating service reveals much about us. It reminds us of old truths, such as that many men want to cheat on their spouses. It reminds us of things about which we don’t care, such as that early news stories contain much guesses and bunkum (OK so long as it’s fun and confirms our views). It reminds us of things too dark to see, such Americans’ willingness to work for criminals — and even be criminals. It reveals powerful trends not yet seen, but will shape our future.

(1)  Millions of women used Ashley Madison

GIZMODO journalist Annalee Newitz electrified the intertubes with her discovery that Ashlee Madison hosted 31 million men looking to hook up with only 12,000 women (“there’s a good chance that about 12,000 of the profiles out of millions belonged to actual, real women who were active users of Ashley Madison.”). So women were roughly zero percent of AM users: a triumph of virtuous women over lecherous men!

Few will learn of her later admission that she was wrong…

“Today Ashley Madison released a statement saying that I couldn’t have figured out how many active women are on the site based on the data dump. The company is right about that.”

After further research she reports that AM management sought a “sustainable male to female ratio of 9:1” (11%), but probably had roughly 5% women (and tens of thousands of bots pretending to be women). That’s roughly 1.6 million women. Aprox 1/3 of men’s contacts were with bots, implying the bots were far more attractive to men than the real women, or there were more than 5% women.

“Only 19% of men who paid to join Ashley Madison did it after talking to a real woman.

“… senior data analyst Haze Deng copied Biderman and COO Rizwan Jiwan on an email where he analyzed how much money men were spending to message with bots versus real women. Deng wrote that men who had paid for credits would, on average, pay to send custom messages to 16-18 different women. “Around 35% chance, the contacted female is an engager {a bot},” he admitted. “This ratio is not so good,” he added, but he still argued that it’s “reasonable” because bots will never reply to a paying member’s messages. So the bot won’t continue to lead the member on indefinitely.”

How many of the journalists who excitedly reported Newitz’s original false number will tell readers about the correction? Publishers’ incentives tilt overwhelmingly to reporting clickbait; don’t wait for confirmation. Americans are so often misinformed because we read the news.

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Are protests about police killings causing crime to rise?

Summary: First came the revelations of brutal police killings of unarmed people for little or no reason. Then the blowbacks of police excuses and rising crime. How we deal with this will have large effects on our cities and show how well we can deal with problems in American society.

Indications that the 3 decades of declining crime has reversed

Lots of stories about rising rates of crime. “Quiet Santa Clarita adjusts to recent jump in violence.” “After a 12-year decline, crime in L.A. surges in first half of 2015.” “Several big U.S. cities see homicide rates surge.” “Baltimore killings soar to a level unseen in 43 years.”

Conservatives explain what’s causing crime to increase

“The criminal element is feeling empowered’ by anti-police sentiment.”
—- Police Chief Sam Doston of St Louis.

Conservatives have the explanation. It’s a mixture of evil and lies, as in this Wall Street Journal op-ed by Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute — Excerpt…


The most plausible explanation of the current surge in lawlessness is the intense agitation against American police departments over the past 9 months. … The news media pump out a seemingly constant stream of stories about alleged police mistreatment of blacks, with the reports often buttressed by cellphone videos that rarely capture the behavior that caused an officer to use force. … Acquittals of police officers for the use of deadly force against black suspects are now automatically presented as a miscarriage of justice. Proposals aimed at producing more cop convictions abound, but New York state seems especially enthusiastic about the idea. …

Similar “Ferguson effects” are happening across the country as officers scale back on proactive policing under the onslaught of anti-cop rhetoric. Arrests in Baltimore were down 56% in May compared with 2014. “Any cop who uses his gun now has to worry about being indicted and losing his job and family,” a New York City officer tells me. “Everything has the potential to be recorded. A lot of cops feel that the climate for the next couple of years is going to be nonstop protests.”

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False rape accusations tell us something important about America

Summary: The changes in America are often easily seen in the news, if read analytically (rather than as entertainment). Read about the latest false accusation of rape to see not just a gripping story of injustice and eventual vindication — but also an important trend affecting America.  {2nd of 2 posts today.}

“I interviewed the victim twice, and I believed her.”
— District Attorney Denise Lunsford, explains why she ignored evidence showing that Mark Weiner was innocent (from Slate).

Justice lying down

In Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird all-white jury convicts an innocent black man of raping a white woman in a small 1930s southern town, despite the efforts his lawyer who defies the town’s lynch-mob mentality and proves the victim’s story to be false. It’s a new century, a sequel has just come out — and we have a new surge of men being falsely convicted of rape despite the evidence.

The latest example is Mark Weiner, who on a rainy day gave a woman a ride to her home — ending in a sentence of eight years in jail for abducting a woman with the intent to sexually harm her. There was almost no evidence of his guilt, and considerable exculpatory evidence (some of which was not disclosed to his attorney), but that does not matter to the true believers who increasingly run America. This happened in Charlottesville, home of the infamous fake rape publicized in last November’s Rolling Stone.

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Prepare for cyberwar: today’s are small compared to what’s coming

Summary: Here’s a brief look at the state of cyber-conflicts. The first ones have run their course; from them we can guess at the outlines of the larger ones to come. As with nukes and drones, America has laid a path for others to follow. We’ve been bold and innovative, but lawless. We might regret this when others imitate us.  {2nd of 2 posts.}

Cyberspace: a global dynamic environment created by interlocking networks linking people and computers for communication, control, and trade. Like other human domains, it consists of multiple levels — from purely conceptual (e.g., laws, designs) down to the hardware and people that are its material substrate. The term coined by William Gibson in his 1982 story “Burning Chrome“.

cyber war


  1. Battlefields of the future.
  2. The first cyber conflict.
  3. Playing defense.
  4. Are we beleaguered in cyberspace?
  5. For More Information.

(1)  Battlefields of the future

We have entered a transitional period in the art of war much like that between WWI and WWII, when a new form of war (the 3rd generation) slowly emerged, but military institutions kept their eyes turned to the past. Many armies were slow to develop innovative tactics for their new internal combustion driven engines. Their cavalry units were symbols of this retrovision. Navies lavished their greatest attention on battleships, not the submarines, escorts, and carrier-borne aircraft that would dominate WWII (e.g., aircraft were the “eyes of the fleet”, not its teeth). Communications technology rapidly improved, but the senior officers paid relatively little attention to cryptography and signals intelligence.

Today war-as-usual continues in the emerging nations, but in the developed world it has moved into new realms — with the cutting edge in cyberspace. It’s the age of 4th generation war, waged among state and non-state actors in shifting coalitions, taking many forms…

  • Hacking: probes and parries by people exploring the nature and uses of cyberspace, rapidly expanding in scale, sophistication, and consequences.
  • Raids: the Sony hack and Stuxnet.
  • Conflicts for control: Pirate Bay and the Silk Road.

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News from England on the great experiment about gun rights

Summary: Together the UK and US are running one of the greatest social experiments in history, testing different ways to maintain internal order. The test of capitalism vs. socialism produced definitive results; perhaps this one will as well. If so, let’s hope the cost to the loser will be less than suffered by the socialist and communist states.  {1st of 2 posts today.}

Ask The Police

For decades UK public policy has strived to eliminate from public use guns and knives. Only the State can protect you. Subjects of the crown still have a right to self-defense (here is a clearer explanation). American right-wingers often get this wrong.

Simultaneously the US has gone in the opposite direction by eliminating restrictions on both concealed and open carry of guns — including rifles — and in some States even broadening people’s right to shoot others for flimsy reasons (“stand your ground” laws).

Time will tell which works better. The cost of the American experiment is paid in blood by those shot by accident, those who shoot themselves (a 7 year is the 360th so far in 2015), and those are shot in anger (made easy by our lightly regulated gun markets).

Today we look at developments in the UK, with helpful advice from their police about your right to defend yourself as a subject of the Queen. There is an important limit on your right to self-defense: not with weapons. Red emphasis added in the following excerpt.

Helpful advice brought to you from the website of the Police of England & Wales

Ask the police about self-defnese

The only fully legal self defence product at the moment is a rape alarm. These are not expensive and can be bought from most local police stations or supermarkets.

There are other self defence products which claim to be legal (e.g. non toxic sprays), however, until a test case is brought before the court, we cannot confirm their legality or endorse them. If you purchase one you must be aware that if you are stopped by the police and have it in your possession there is always a possibility that you will be arrested and detained until the product, it’s contents and legality can be verified.

However, accepting there is a lot of concern about street crime, we can try to clarify matters a little by putting forward the following points.

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Cybercrime: Now More Profitable Than The Drug Trade

Summary: Today we have a report from the front lines of the cyberwars. It’s an axiom of 4th generation war that crime and war increasingly use the same methods, and even merge at higher intensities (as seen in Mexico’s fight with its drug cartels). Today we hear about companies fight against cybercrime, still growing and already more profitable than drugs.  {2nd of 2 posts today.}

37% of respondents said they were not confident in their company’s ability even to detect a breach. … Only 45% were confident about the security of their Point of Sale devices.

Tripwire Online Survey , March 2015.


Cybercrime: Now More Profitable Than The Drug Trade

By Irfahn Khimji and David Bisson
From tripwire, 30 March 2015.
Posted here with their generous permission.


Tripwire recently hosted a webcast entitled, “PCI Breach Scenarios and the Cyber Threat Landscape with Brian Honan: Real World Cyber Attacks and Protecting Credit Card Data.” For our presentation we discussed the importance of the new Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard 3.0. Together, we also provided some insight into how companies can leverage this new compliance standard to protect themselves against a security breach.

As reported by the 2013 Europol Serious & Organized Threat Assessment, the “Total Global Impact of CyberCrime [has risen to] US $3 Trillion, making it more profitable than the global trade in marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined.”

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Since 9-11 we have less crime but more fear of crime. A win-win for our rulers!

Summary:  Today we look at falling crime rates in America and our blindness to this good news, 16th in the seemingly endless series of posts showing Americans’ disconnect from reality, our inability or unwillingness to clearly see the world around us. This is the 2nd of 2 posts today.

Crime under the microscope


I see no large reality-based community in America. Not on the Left; not on the Right — although each clearly sees their foes’ flaws. We stumble blindly into the 21st century. I doubt this will work well for us. Perhaps it’s for the best that we’re led by the 1% until that day we decide to rip off the blindfolds, again to see and stand like citizens.

Most of these posts discuss our inability to see our problems. Today we have the opposite, as we allow the government and Hollywood to conceal good news about falling crime rates. Gallup asks how many Americans believe the rate of crime has risen from last year? They compare the answers with the DoJ’s crime statistics.

Gallup: Crime vs our perception of it
There was an uptick in the violent crime rate during 2011 and 2012. The FBI’s 2013 report shows the estimated number of violent crimes in 2013 decreased 4.4% YoY and property crimes decreased 4.1%. The FBI prefers to use the 5-year average, which smooths out the noise.

Something happened in 2001.

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