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Elite Hacker Barnaby Jack 'overdosed on drugs' (bbc.co.uk)
50 points by braveheart1723 1297 days ago | hide | past | web | 64 comments | favorite

Heroin, coke, and alcohol. Quickest way to overdose, even if it is fun... RIP mate, we'll miss you.

My worst OD was with that mixture as well, only I was lucky enough to have people with me and live in a country where calling the emergency services doesn't end with police at your door for overdoses. Narcan in the back of the ambulance brought me back. I got clean a month later, and am still clean 20 months later.

Some of my friends weren't so lucky, and neither was Jack, the poor bastard. He did awesome work. Mudge had an awesome talk at Defcon where he told a story about Jack in Dubai, go have a listen, it's well worth it.

Drug abuse (opiates in particular) is more common in our field than we think, I believe.

> Mudge had an awesome talk at Defcon where he told a story about Jack in Dubai, go have a listen, it's well worth it.

For those interested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tPPD0MRX7I

Legal opiates are now the biggest killer of addicts, according to at least one new study:


I think the fact the use and abuse of legal opiates are much more common (abuse is estimated an 10% of US population each year) than heroin (use is estimate at only 1.6% of US population even once during their entire lifetime) explains this.

Heroin is made much more dangerous because it is illegal and therefore of unknown potency and purity.

(Hate to be that guy, but:) Not ‘legal’, but licensed opiates that are abused, beyond or outside of a prescription — and as such can often fall under the law. Some of those can have the appearance of licensed drugs but be imported without control or be replicas. I’d talk about “opiates under their licensed forms”.

Doesn't surprise me. While being a heroin addict requires knowledge of risks (dealers don't like customers dying on them), popping a few OxyContin that you have left over from surgery doesn't, despite being nearly as strong.

In the area I live in oxycontin could be considered an epidemic at times.

"Drug abuse (opiates in particular) is more common in our field than we think"

Even opiates aside, drug & alcohol abuse is ridiculously common for people that have a very /public/ and forced extraverted role in any field. The creative field is probably one of the most heavy cases for this sort of thing.

I can attest to this. I spent some time in the stand-up comedy community. The penetration of serious alcohol or drug abuse within the stage professions is mind-boggling.

I got out when I realized that I was consuming far too much alcohol for the life I wanted to live.

> Heroin, coke, and alcohol. Quickest way to overdose

Is there something specific about this combination or do you simply mean generally with Class A drugs?

This combination in particular. A speedball is simply one of the most intense and amazing feelings you can experience on this earth. The problem is, the coke stops an overdose of heroin from being dangerous to begin with, as the stimulant stops the respiratory depression from being too bad. The thing is, alcohol adds to the respiratory depression far too much, and when the coke wears off (as heroin lasts far longer), suddenly you've gone under....

Coke and heroin, mainlined together, is infamous for killing many people: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speedball_(drug)#Notable_deaths...

The situation cannot be analyzed w/o alcohol. Combining alcohol is too much. Coke gives you sort of a 'mental buff' where it gives you your mental control back but your body still has the same amount of alcohol in it.

This allows you to do more of the alcohol, even past where you would have normally stopped and this is OK up to a point, but if the coke wears off you get re-drunk far past you could have gone. It hits you like a brick wall. Shit goes bad fast.

Coke has a much shorter duration than either alcohol or heroin. Timing is key and can get complicated. Either 2 combinations of the three are already dangerous enough.Adding the other is too much.

Yeah, it sounds like coke/alcohol is dangerous for the same reason that coke/heroin is. All three at once is a really bad recipe.

DEA classing is best to be ignored. The specific combination of booze and opiates has killed many due to how it depresses functions of the body like breathing. Really is a wicked one two punch.

Again, best ignore DEA classing. I have yet to figure out rhyme or reason of it.

Class A, B, etc. are from the UK's drug laws, DEA uses Schedule 1, 2, etc.

But your point stands that things get grossly mis-classified.

Ugh, correct. Thanks for that.

I didn't know him, but was familiar with his work and this obviously is all very sad.

Infosec is a very strange slice of the tech industry/IT. I've been a generalist sysadmin for more than 25 years so I have broad exposure to most of the specialties in the industry. What strikes me about infosec is how the cult of celebrity is very prominent. Maybe it's just where my interests lie, but I can name a dozen high profile "hackers" or infosec researchers. If you ask me to name the names of linux kernel hackers or nginx hackers or whatever and I'd struggle.

Also, it seems like every week there is a security conference somewhere in the world. I guess maybe it's sexy or flashy but the security industry seems to have proportionally way more extrovert-type people in it.

He died in July but the autopsy has only just been made available? Or did the news of his death just fall off the radar so much that no one checked the coroner's office earlier? (coroner reports in newsworthy cases are generally public record)

For reference sake, Paul Walker, the star of "Fast and Furious", had his autopsy reported on today but he died on Nov. 30 (roughly 35 days) http://www.tmz.com/2014/01/03/paul-walker-autopsy-report-rog...

Michael Hastings, the Rolling Stone reporter who also died in a car accident, died in mid-June and his autopsy report was made available in mid-August: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/21/michael-hasting...

Both of those deaths may have been more in the news than Barnaby Jack's, but they also involved fiery car crashes. It's possible that Barnaby Jack's death was just forgotten about, which is not unheard of (how many people not related to you can you recall the date of their deaths, a month later?). I guess you can assume that news orgs don't follow up as quickly on non-celebrities, and that tech advocates don't do as much public records requesting.

The SF Medical Examiner is particularly slow, per a recent article in the Chronicle: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/S-F-medical-examiner-l...

i believe his family kept it back as they also didn't want to say anything about the reason of his death.

I remember the conspiracy theories surrounding his death so close to the event where he would reveal how to hack pace makers... Since his family/friends said nothing and he had drug problems in the past, this seemed like the most plausible reason for his death to me. Incredibly sad.

My Dad once said, the world would be a better place if drugs and alcohol only killed people we didn't care about. Sadly the world is not like that.

That's a horrendous sentiment.

I suspect it was offered as a dark koan, not an earnest wish.

Exactly, it was a sad day when he had lost a friend at the hands of a driver under the influence.

I suppose that depends on how many people one cares about.

Sorry for the comment. My Dad had just lost a good friend, he was sad, he was angry, he was sharing his pain of losing someone he cared about due to an entirely preventable cause. I feel the same way when ever someone I care about takes their own life, either explicitly like Aaron did, or implicitly like Barnaby Jack did. It hurts.

There'd be a lot fewer minorities if that was the case.

Can we please give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he intended to note that society doesn't allocate opportunity evenly across all demographics, even though it should.

Don't vote the comment up though - let it fall peacefully to the bottom of the pile where it belongs.

Agreed. I think his comment is being taken way out of context. Drop the pitchfork guys.

Yes, I feel like people didn't understand the point of my comment. I was pointing out that the OP's "ideal world" sounded pretty xenophobic when taken in context. Just because we don't care about someone doesn't mean it's irrelevant if they're killed.

To anyone attacking me, my comment was sarcastic and intended to point out the xenophobia inherent in the OPs statement. I wasn't saying that "I" thought minorities should be killed, I was dryly saying that the "ideal world" spoken about by the OP would be a horrible one in which many innocent people would die.

For that matter - what kind of terrible person would publicly go on Hacker News and say that they think minorities should die? Why would that be your first thought?

> what kind of terrible person would publicly go on Hacker News and say that they think minorities should die? Why would that be your first thought?

Are we reading the same HN?

I took your comment immediately to be what you intended, but how can you possibly act surprised at the comments here anymore? This isn't 2012's HN anymore.

I don't understand where the inherent xenophobia is in the original statement? I am not being a dick I am just interested in seeing what I am missing.

I'm not trying to defend the guy if he actually meant what people here seem to think he meant, but it's possible he was referring to how society ('we') doesn't care about minorities, rather than saying that he himself doesn't care about minorities.

What the F^^^ kind of reply is that? Really a disappointment this filth can leak into here.

your comment is probably just really shittily delivered wry commentary on the justice system, but...

logically, this doesn't follow. drugs already kill the people you don't care about (in your case, minorities, although i suspect you really mean hispanics and blacks, not "minorities").

the statement was about excepting the ones you DO care about (white people, in your case). so there would just be more white people, but no less "minorities".

Why do you think OP meant just race minorities? There are many other minorities possible, based on religion or even sexuality.

Quite handy that you're using your real name, real company and real account to post such an insane comment. Now we can all know who to avoid.

Are you sure it's meant as a serious statement? I took it as an observation on the sad state of the world we live in (i.e. the general apathy of people toward those unlike themselves).

>There'd be a lot fewer minorities if that was the case.

Let's see you post that shit on your company facebook page and see what minorities looking for great apartments think.


Please see above for the context of my statement.

I'm not usually one for indulging in conspiracy theories, but if there was ever a shady coincidental happenstance. This "overdose" definitly deserves to be looked at more thoroughly under a metaphorical blacklight.

Why was he doing drugs?

For recreational purposes most likely? It's sad that this highly intelligent person has died, but drugs are a thing. And people do them, and sometimes it gets out of hand and those people die. There's nothing too unique about this.

This whole thing sounds highly suspicious. There was also no reason for the downvote.

I don't see why. Lots of people take drugs, they're very available in San Francisco, and that particular combination is famously risky. Sure, common sense would tell you that the risk isn't worth it, but people often take foolish risks in pursuit of a good time.

Accidental drug overdoses from heavy drug users are suspicious? They happen all the time, unfortunately.

Any specific reasons why it sounds highly suspicious?

I don't mind theories, but just throwing that out there with literally no supporting evidence is just a waste of energy.

I was not the person who downvoted.

I do agree that the timing is very suspicious, and i'm sure this will be construed as some kind of conspiracy- but realistically, considering the kind of death; I think it's most reasonable to accept that this was a standard mixed drug overdose death.

Why not come out and say what you're too coy to say?

For fun, most likely.

Drugs are bad mmkay.*

*may or may reflect the actual feelings of the author

"*may or may reflect ..."

You might want to fix the footnote when you're less high...

Why do people smoke, drink, ride rollercoasters? Why do they do dangerous things like parkour or traditional free climbing?

RIP mate. i was still coming to terms with you being gone and this news article just brings everything back.

Did anyone know him to have a drug problem? I still find the timing suspicious.

Yes, it was widely known. Don't be surprised that none of his friends wanted to discuss it in public after he passed.

Certainly. Thanks. I'm still keeping my tinfoil hat on though.

Sad that he went.

How well know was he? Will HN have a black banner to remember him?

I'm certain many a reader here can attest to being awed by his cracks on pace makers and ATMs. I know I was.

Not sure what gets you a black banner. Did Steve Jobs get one? I've never seen one personally. If it's only based upon how well known you are in the tech community than Steve Jobs would certainly deserve one.

What about Aaron Schwartz? Probably less known among the general populace but a minor celebrity within the tech community prior to his death. And much more well know post-mortem like many great and talented persons through the ages.

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