Monday, August 15, 2022

The Docent's Memo (8/15/2022)


This was one of the later sniper versions of the M1 Garand that, according to the video, was a post-Korean War development. Based on the testing, it appears that the M1 Garand was really its maximum effective range at 500 to 700 yards.

VIDEO: "5 Signs Someone Is Secretly A Sociopath"--Charisma on Command (12 min.)

  Firearms & Self-Defense:
    Situation: Snarling homicidal threats … A big man lunges for your gun and then appears to go for his own. You perform the indicated response … and end up tried for murder.

    Lesson: Too few people, even in the criminal justice system, understand the concepts of disparity of force, disarming attempts and furtive movement shootings.

This is a case in which Ayoob served as an expert witness, so the article goes into a great deal of detail about the lead up to the shooting, the shooting itself, the aftermath, and the testimony and evidence at trial. Fortunately the armed defender was acquitted, but not until after spending $300,000 in legal bills. It's an interesting article and a good reminder of what happens when a father abrogates his duties as a father. You see, the attacker was one Joe Schumacher and boyfriend to the daughter of the defender, Jarrett Jones. Ayood gives the background that led up to the night of the fateful shooting:

    Jon Schumacher and Jarrett Jones had a history. Jarrett, 48, was a prosperous farmer and real estate developer. Jon, 28, owned an excavating business. Two years before, Jon had started dating Jarrett’s then 17-year-old daughter. She had fallen in love with the tall, handsome Jon, who could be charming when he wanted to be, and she enjoyed acting as stepmom to Jon’s three young sons. Jarrett was an indulgent dad despite instinctive disapproval of the relationship and wanted his daughter to be happy.

    Jarrett referred work to Jon and often helped him with manpower and equipment. Even so, Jon wasn’t making a go of his excavation business. Word was Jon was a couple hundred thousand dollars in debt. There were stories of jobs unfinished and people Jon hired going unpaid. Much of that debt was owed to Jarrett, who couldn’t say no when his daughter asked him to stake the boyfriend she loved.

    It wasn’t long before the daughter discovered another side of Jon. She told Jarrett Jon beat her and, on one occasion, raped her. Jarrett had a “come to Jesus” meeting with him. Jon was meek and contrite, wanting to keep the beautiful young girl and the money Jarrett sent his way. He promised to be better.

Who the hell lets a 26 year old man with at least one failed marriage (and three children) date their 17 year old daughter? And who would allow the relationship to continue after allegations of beatings and a rape? Self-defense begins by making correct life choices--it is mostly a matter of lifestyle. If you don't do stupid things with stupid people in stupid places and at stupid times, you probably will never have to defend yourself. 

    In big-bore revolvers, much of the recoil force is a vertical component: pitch. The muzzle comes up, often rising with the bullet still in the barrel. Vertical sight correction accommodates this effect.

    Some motion may also translate to roll, a twisting force that corkscrews the revolver, often to the left for right-handed shooters. Commonly attributed to the forces a big bullet exerts on the rifling, roll requires a combination of vertical and horizontal sight correction.

    The third directional component is yaw, a flat, left-right shift around a vertical axis that puts the front and rear sights out of line with the target. Yaw is a sure sign of grips that are too large and/or a weak grasp on the handle. Training and better grips, not sight adjustment, best eliminate yaw.

    Understanding these directional forces will help you more effectively sight your big bruiser. Learn to embrace this complex recoil arc rather than fight it. 

    Sight the way you plan to hold the revolver in actual use. Sighting for one-handed target shooting will produce a different POI than sighting with a two-handed field or defensive grip.

    The revolver must be free to move under recoil without contacting anything other than your hands. It should be a comfortable position. Even a sophisticated machine rest with recoil compensation will not duplicate the way your revolver recoils in your hand. Nothing on or around your test bench should interfere with the revolver’s natural recoil arc.

    You must grip the revolver consistently. Shifting your hand on the grip between shots will introduce undesirable variations.

    This critical relationship between your hands and the revolver means it will do little good to ask someone else to sight-in your handgun.

His secret?

    To best accommodate the motion of big revolver recoil, I offer the simple system I’ve used for decades. I use a triangular or round piece of upholstery foam as a rest, not for the revolver but for my forearms; the revolver hangs in air in front of the foam block. For comfort I prefer something about 10 to 12 inches high with a 30-degree to 45-degree bevel for resting my forearms.

    Extend your arms close to the extension you use in the field, and that will help determine the bevel angle. I shoot a basic Weaver stance for defense and in the field, so a steeper angle works. If you shoot the “isosceles” stance, shallower is better. The grip I have on the revolver while resting my forearms on foam lets the revolver move without touching anything but me. In the field I let my elbows act as a recoil-absorbing “hinge,” and the bench technique allows for this. Any between-shots repositioning seems to have less effect.
    4140, also known as ordnance steel, was one of the early high-alloy steels, used in 1920s' aircraft frames and automotive axles in addition to rifle barrels. It has about 1 percent chromium, 0.25 percent molybdenum, 0.4 percent carbon, 1 percent manganese, around 0.2 percent silicon and no more than 0.035 percent phosphorus and no more than 0.04 percent sulphur. That leaves most of it, 94.25 percent, iron. 
    The "big" difference between 4140 and 4150? The 4150 has 0.5 percent carbon in it. That extra 0.1 percent makes the 4150 alloy so much harder that it becomes a lot more difficult to work with, but the U.S. Army wants the extra wearability that 4150 offers and is willing to pay for it.

    Most rifle makers realize that their customers won't pay the extra costs and find that 4140 is more than good enough. After all, if a .30-06 hunting rifle already has a barrel that will shoot accurately for 5,000 rounds—which is like three lifetimes of hunting—who will pay twice the barrel cost for one that lasts 7,500 rounds?

    However, the SAE standards are merely a list of ingredients. When, and at what temperatures you add the alloying constituents also can change the final properties. AR-15 bolts, for instance, are made of a steel known as Carpenter 158. It is a product of the Carpenter steel company, the sole maker, and you won't find it on the SAE list (although if you did it would probably be known as 3310). It's Carpenter's secret, proprietary steel, and if you want it, you buy it from Carpenter.

... Long ago O’Connor proved what could be taken with the 270 Winchester— pretty much everything. Sheep, elk, moose, caribou, even brown bears. That was the kind of hard evidence hunters needed to put their trust in what was considered a fairly small cartridge/bullet at the time, a round Elmer Keith claimed was adequate for coyotes. But if O'Connor could take elk and moose with the original 270 Winchester in the 1940s and 50s, by golly so can we in the 2020s.

And on that point, he explains: 
A 150-grain AccuBond Long Range, B.C. .591, flung 2,900 fps from a 24-inch barrel and zeroed 3 inches high at 100 yards hits no higher than 3.5 inches at its maximum ordinate (150 yards) and doesn’t drop 3.5 inches below point-of-aim until 335 yards. At 400 yards it’s just 14 inches low and at 500 yards 31 inches low. Remaining energy at 500 yards is 1,559 foot-pounds, more than the 1,500 f-p often cited as benchmark terminal energy for taking elk. Deflection from a 10 mph right angle wind at 500 yards is a mere 14.5 inches. Does the 270 Winchester need heavier bullets? Not according to these calculations. At the more reasonable long range hunting distance of 300 yards that 150-grain AccuBond Long Range will be hauling 1,988 foot-pounds of energy. 

    A few years ago, my oldest son started thinking of what he wanted in a good, all-round hunting cartridge for North American game and this was one of the three or four calibers that I suggested. Although I have never owned one--I own a couple .30-06s which is basically in the same class--my reading on the subject has always placed the .270 as one of the best hunting rounds out there, and this seems supported by its enduring popularity as well as what I heard from people that used the .270. In fact, as I told my son, if I had started with a blank slate into hunting, I probably would have picked the .270 over other calibers. But my mother passed her .30-06 on to me in my teens and my father had much invested in loading equipment and supplies for the .30-06, so that is the direction I went. But now that my father-in-law has given one of my kids a .270 (and his dies, brass and bullets), I may have a chance to do some reloading and shooting with it as we get it set up for him.
  • One of my favorite pistols: "Beretta 84 Review | A Pistol With a Stellar Grip-Angle For Excellent Aiming"--Sharpshooter Society. The one reviewed here is the 84FS which has the squared off trigger guard (similar to that on the modern 92 models) and a combination safety and decocker, which is mounted to the frame rather than on the slide as with the later 84 models. Mine is the earlier 84BB model with the sleeker, curved trigger guard and a frame mounted safety (no decocker). The author says that his trigger pull (I assume in single-action) is 7.5 lbs and heavy. I haven't measured the trigger pull on my pistol but I don't believe it is anywhere near that heavy in single-action.
  • The author of the foregoing article noted that the grips on the Beretta 84 are a bit thick and suggested the slimmer Beretta 85 (which uses a single stack magazine) for those with smaller hands. Here is a review of the Beretta 85, "The Beretta 85F: Fixing a Problem the Industry Won’t," from Progun Millennial. The "problem" of which he speaks is the lack of a metal framed, single-stack, DA/SA firearm in 9 mm with a frame mounted safety. Although the Beretta is in .380 (9mm Short), the author decided it was close enough, especially since it met all of his other criteria. An excerpt:
After I bought the 85F, I began a period of testing before I started carrying it. My first range trip I fired 100 FMJs and 25 hollow points through it with no malfunctions. The recoil from the straight blow back system is stout, more so than you would expect from a .380. But, because of the light open top slide the recoil is very flat, even for new shooters. For the second range trip I bought four different brands of hollow point ammo (about 125 rounds total) and shot them all, I had three failures with 99 grain Federal HST. Further testing would lead me to avoid heavy for caliber rounds as I believe the extra bullet length is what causes problems with feeding. After the hollow point test I ordered a 350 round pack of 95 grain Blazer Brass. I shot all 350 rounds in one range session, at one point having to take a break because the gun was too hot to hold comfortably. There were no failures at any point in that session either. Around this time Caleb Giddings (of recent Paul Harrel-drama fame), was posting on Instagram about his Beretta 84, and mentioned that a Wilson Combat GP100 mainspring dropped right in. The Beretta 84 is the double stack version of the Cheetah, and the two have a great deal of parts commonality. I ordered a GP100 spring set and installed the 12# mainspring, and it fit! This cut the double action trigger pull by about 6 pounds (that’s a guess, I don’t own a trigger gauge). After installing this mod I ordered a 250 round case of Hornady American Gunner Hollow Points. I decided on the American Gunners as my carry load because in Shootthebull410’s videos, rounds loaded with Hornady XTP bullets performed the best, and American Gunner was plentiful at my local Academy Sporting Goods, and gun stores. The new mainspring caused no problems igniting primers, the 85 went over 1000 rounds with only three malfunctions, and I decided it was suitable for carry. (For anyone who actually tries this nonsense on their 84/85, Beretta recommends changing the recoil spring every 500 rounds if you have a lightened mainspring.) After this I also shot the 85 in an IDPA match with my actual carry gear, video of that be seen here. I finished 26th out of 76 shooters despite my equipment handicap and deliberately taking penalties on the one stage with movement. Not bad for a little pocket pistol.
  • However, if you are looking for a more modern design (i.e., polymer) in .380, Guns & Ammo has you covered with this review: "Walther CCP M2 .380 Pistol: Full Review." Probably one of the more interesting features of this weapon:
    ... At the heart of this 19-ounce semiautomatic pistol is Walther’s Softcoil gas operating system. (Softcoil was also used in the original CCP 9mm.) Unlike the more common recoil-operated autoloader, Softcoil utilizes a gas piston to assist slide operation. A small amount of gas from a fired round travels through a small port to drive a piston under the barrel. When the pressure drops, the slide moves rearward to cycle the action.

    The Softcoil system has a few distinct advantages versus the traditional recoil operation. First, the pivoting gas-piston design slows the motion of the slide, which, in turn, reduces felt recoil. Hence, the CCP is one of the softest-shooting handguns on the market. The system also abates the rearward impact on the slide, which reduces fatigue to the moving parts of the pistol. Therefore, a lighter spring was used to operate the action, which makes it easier to work the slide.

    Another advantage to this system: The barrel is pinned to the gas block and remains in a fixed position — and the slide rides on the barrel instead of rails. The serial number is on the gas block, which means the lower grip is just a polymer shell. Most recoil-operated pistols have barrels that have to move to unlock the slide and then maneuver back into position to lock and fire again. The barrel must return to exactly the same position every time for a consistent point of impact. With the CCP, however, having a fixed barrel that doesn’t move suggests that it’s easier to realize the gun’s accuracy potential.

    The gun rights advocacy groups argued that guns with bump stocks do not qualify as machine guns because, unlike with traditional machine guns, the user must maintain pressure on the trigger and barrel. The court rejected that argument. 
    "By this logic, we would no longer characterize even the prototypical machine gun as a 'machine gun,' given the extent of rearward pressure on the trigger required to operate it," Circuit Judge Robert Wilkins wrote in the court’s opinion. "That cannot be right."

I don't know if that is an accurate summary of the argument; but if it was, it was a terrible argument. The argument we most have heard and used is that there is a separate trigger action each time the gun recoils, taking it outside the ATF's definition.

    The Bureau reports that only 11 of the 252 active shooter incidents it identified for the period 2014-2021 were stopped by an armed citizen. An analysis by my organization identified a total of 281 active shooter incidents during that same period and found that 41 of them were stopped by an armed citizen.

    That is, the FBI reported that 4.4% of active shooter incidents were thwarted by armed citizens, while the CPRC found 14.6%. 

    With the Uvalde police response fresh on their minds, parents showed up in El Mirage, Arizona after the elementary school was locked down.  Apparently, an armed man tried to gain entry to the school.  The police were following their lockdown protocols and would not let the arriving parents into the building.

    Scuffles with law enforcement began breaking out as desperate parents wanted to protect and save their kids.  Subsequently, police opened fire on the parents with tasers then began arresting them.

A look at the consequences of Nancy Pelosi visiting Taiwan. I detest Pelosi, but it would be dangerous to let China believe it could dictate whether an American leader or politician could visit Taiwan. And I suspect that we learned far more about Chinese systems than any advantage China gained from attempting to blockade Taiwan. 

VIDEO: "HydroPod Water System Revealed! 3 Minutes to Better Gear!"--Coalcracker Bushcraft (5 min.). This is more of a camping gear than survival, but it is a system that can be pressurized to give you some pressure behind your water for camping needs for washing dishes, spraying yourself (or another down) for bathing or cooling off, etc.

 Prepping & Survival:

  • "13 Must-Have Survival Items for Emergency Prepping." This is from a site called Man of Many, which appears to be an Australian men's magazine. The article is aimed at people that are not preppers, being more of what to put into a 72-hour emergency kit in the event of a brushfire, flood, or some other natural disaster. The 13 items are: (i) a reliable, quality torch (flashlight to the rest of us) with the author recommending a head lamp; (ii) at least 10 liters (2.6 gallons) of water per person for a 3-day period (this is actually a bit low since most experts recommend at least 1 gallon, or 4 liters, per day); (iii) canned and long life food; (iv) heavy duty backpack, in case you have to evacuate; (v) a radio with quality batteries (the author recommends Energizer, with which I also concur--Energizer even makes some designed for long storage); (vi) batteries; (vii) charged power banks for cell phones; (viii) a Swiss Army Knife of multitool; (ix) a first aid kit (including stuff for managing burns and broken bones, so more than you standard automobile or household first aid kit); (x) sleeping bags; (xi) waterproof bags for storing batteries, cell phones, matches, etc.; (xii) lighter and matches; and (xiii) a deck of cards. 
    Overall, this is actually a pretty good list of items for a basic emergency kit. I would add copies of important documents and identification; a backup of a computer, or, at the minimum, electronic copies of family photos and videos and whatever else you could put on a thumb drive; baby wipes or something for cleaning up; extras of medications or other health devices if possible; dust masks; and some extra clothes (especially socks and underwear).  

    If you think of each of these items as representing categories of supplies it even is pretty good guide to building out prepping supplies. For instance, going down the list, we have: (i) lighting; (ii) water; (iii) food; (iv) transportation and cargo; (v) communications; (vi) and (vii) power generation and storage; (viii) tools; (ix) medical; (x) protection from the elements; (xi) storage gear; (xii) fire/heat; and (xiii) recreation/education. 

    Once referred to as survivalism, the prepper movement is a social movement of individuals or groups of people who proactively prepare for anything that can happen, any kind of emergency, from natural disasters, to social, political or economic disruptions. Those who proactively prepare for any kind of disruption work to anticipate both short-term and long-term disaster scenarios, which could impact them and their families. Arrangements can be to anticipate short-term disruptions of services, such as losing power for a couple of days, to preparing for an international or global catastrophe. Preppers can, and do, prepare for personal emergencies, such as a job loss or to being stranded in the wild, or to adverse weather conditions related to where they live.

    Their emphasis is on preparation, upon self-reliance, on the stockpiling of necessary supplies and having survival knowledge and skills while still living their everyday lives. Part of their preparation goes beyond first aid kits and water – it can include acquiring medical and self-defense training, stockpiling food and water, building structures such as survival retreats or underground bunkers, all in order to be self-sufficient in the event they need to be.
  • "The Baby Formula Shortage and the Rise of Rational Disaster Preppers." This article, from The New Republic, analyzes prepping through the lens of stockpiling or hoarding. It begins by looking at Covid panic and how people began by stockpiling toilet paper (which it describes as having been ridiculous) and hand sanitizer (which it characterizes as cruel) before shifting to the baby formula shortage and the sympathy it evoked. 
    Coming hard on the heels of other kinds of stockpiling where hoarding was easily condemned, the formula crisis feels a bit different. The desperate parents featured in news stories and Twitter threads who spend hours searching stores throughout their state and buying up any formula they can find have, for good reason, received public sympathy. Where toilet paper hoarding felt ridiculous, and hand sanitizer price-gouging cruel, the formula shortage raises two pressing—and traditionally opposing—questions: How can the government ensure that everyone has access to basic goods and, with them, a fundamental sense of safety? And how, in the absence of such guarantees, should people prepare for the worst?

    If stockpiling often seems immoral, that’s in part because an unconscionable number of people have always grappled with genuine scarcity. In 2020, while supply chain whisperers like Jeff Bezos were riding unprecedented market highs, at least 37 million Americans were living in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But the pandemic—or, perhaps more importantly, the mainstream media’s account of the pandemic—has democratized the feeling of lack and validated a certain set of responses: “Stockpiling is a normal behavior that many people practice in preparation for a known or anticipated shortage,” Carol Mathews, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Florida, wrote in a widely circulated November 2020 op-ed. While experts agree it should be discouraged to ensure roughly equal access to essential goods, stockpiling is now deemed “natural” in the face of uncertainty. (That uncertainty is the natural state of human existence often goes unsaid.)

    Legitimate responses to such hardship can feel hopelessly limited—become a survivalist or sit around waiting for the next disaster to befall you. But while doomsday “preppers” get all the attention, preparedness is for everyone, says Luis Rodriguez, a self-identified leftist prepper, known to his 3,500-odd Instagram followers as @prepperpig. That’s why Rodriguez started his account: to share practical, pro-social advice for emergency preparedness, self-defense, gardening, and more. Though nuclear fallout and solar flares capture some people’s attention, he focuses on more common chaos. “The number one calamity you’re likely to face is a house fire or an apartment fire,” Rodriguez tells me, yet, even among preppers, “I know a bunch of people that have all this gear and don’t have a fire extinguisher—or have one and haven’t checked it in five years.”

    Crucially, Rodriguez also believes that preparedness isn’t only individual but communal. In 1989, when Rodriguez was 11 years old, Hurricane Hugo ripped through his South Carolina town. A tree went through his parents’ house, and neighbors had to cut them out. They were without electricity for three weeks and without water for three days. “I thought, man, I don’t want to be caught off guard like this again,” he says.

    But Rodriguez remembers the experience also came with moments of uplift. As the items in everyone’s freezers were defrosting without power, the neighborhood decided to do a cookout, with barbecues as far as the eye could see. It raised important questions for a young Rodriguez: “Is my community going to have enough food? Are we going to take care of one another?” It’s this vision he takes forward with him into adulthood. “I really am driven to create a community of people who are knowledgeable and who are flexible,” he says.

    While every prepper has their own philosophy—and few, if any, align on all of the finer details—it’s clear that preparedness can look less like a bunker for two and more like a mutual aid organization. Instead of running for the hills, individuals can share their time, money, and, yes, stockpiles (ideally secured before a shortage strikes) to help themselves and their neighbors meet their basic needs.

The article then discusses the spontaneous online communities and assistance that sprang up to help families find formula, or donate and distribute breastmilk. 
    Unfortunately, and probably because The New Republic is a leftist magazine, it then quickly starts to call on the government to stockpile essential items, such as formula, and devise a system for distributing it when needed. Something like those vast stockpiles cheese which were a subsidy for dairy farmers, and the stockpile ultimately was sold? The Strategic National Stockpile of medical supplies and equipment that so underperformed during the Covid panic? Or the national corn and wheat reserves that no longer have reserves of corn and wheat but "now instead holds cash and commodities contracts, which it occasionally sells for foreign humanitarian purposes"? What the author doesn't seem to understand is that the government is as often, or more, the author of problem, not a solution. As Ronald Reagan quipped, “The top 9 most terrifying words in the English Language are: I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.” 
    And all of this is even before considering China is conducting extensive military drills around Taiwan which the island nation says are preparations for an invasion of its shores followed by forced reunification. And that is coming on the heels of China threatening “military action” if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi followed through on her now-concluded visit to the island.

    Presently Taiwan-based TSMC manufactures 92% of the most advanced sub-10nm semiconductor chips used by the world, and sold by companies such as those discussed above. The US does not manufacture any sub 10nm chips domestically. And there have been persistent rumors that Taiwan, in a mutual agreement with the United States government, has rigged all domestic semiconductor manufacturing facilities to self-destruct and slag their equipment, in the event of an invasion by China. That would prevent China from gaining the most sophisticated chip-manufacturing technologies of makers such as TSMC, which are viewed as a mixture of vital national security secrets and capabilities.

    Any sudden disruption of Taiwan’s ability to produce semiconductor chips, combined with some sort of retaliatory global sanctions regime applied to China for invading the island nation, would be catastrophic for the entire sector.

    The entire industry could be one surprise move by China away from years of disruption, before US chip factories came online, and other manufacturers in South Korea, Japan, and Europe were able to ramp up production to try and meet the demand currently being satisfied by TSMC.

    And as we have seen the semiconductor industry affect considerably more than just computers and personal electronic devices. Everything from washing machines to automobiles are dependent on semiconductors. In turn each of those industries generates the very jobs which pay for everything bought in the economy.

    The limits of the economic effects of such an event as a Chinese invasion of Taiwan are likely barely imaginable.

  • "This Prepper Is Building a Post-Apocalyptic Internet"--Vice. I think that I've linked to this article before, but it dovetails quite nicely with the article just above. The article is about an engineer, Mark Qvist, who has developed the Reticulum Network Stack: "a streamlined communications tool that can be quickly deployed in the case of systemic telecom failure, with minimal lift and a heavy focus on encryption and privacy. All of it is built on the back of an entirely new protocol that aims to be more resilient than IP, or Internet Protocol, which is a set of software rules that govern the flow of information on the internet." The article continues:

    Reticulum can run on just about anything, including the teensy Raspberry Pi Zero. According to Qvist, people with minimal telecom and computer knowledge could put together a long-range messaging system for their community in about an hour using Reticulum, communicating over any number of available channels to network peers. 

    “Want to extend it to the next town over VHF radio?” Qvist said on Reddit. “If you already have a modem and a radio, that's 5 minutes to set up. I really tried to make this as flexible as possible while still being very easy to use if you have a bit of computer and radio experience.”

    Qvist isn’t the first person to build community oriented internet replacement. In New York City, the NYC Mesh project is building a mesh network that delivers broadband to people across the city. But what Qvist is building is different. While many mesh projects exist to ultimately connect users to the regular internet, Reticulum is designed to be a support in essentially a post-apocalyptic scenario. It’s built with encryption and privacy in mind, is open source, and is primarily designed to to route digital information between peers without going through a server or service provider.

    “Reticulum is an effort to build an alternative base-layer protocol for data networks,” Qvist told Motherboard in an email. “As such it is not one single network, but a tool to build networks. It is comparable to IP, the Internet Protocol stack, that powers the Internet, and 99.99% of all other networks on earth. In essence, it solves the same problems that the Internet Protocol stack does, getting digital data from point A to point B, but it does so in a very different way, and with very different assumptions.”

    “The real strength of the protocol is that it can use all kinds of different communications mediums, and connect them together into a coherent mesh,” he added. “It can use [long-range] transceivers, modems, ham radio, ethernet, WiFi, or even a roll of old copper wire if that is what you have.”

    For Qvist, the circumvention of central control and privacy are just as important as resilience to disaster. “Without such an effort, our communications infrastructure (even if it runs entirely in private overlay networks) will always be at the mercy of various control complexes,” he said. “The power to simply disconnect the entire civilian population of an area from the Internet, for example, is readily available, and has been exercised many times.”

There is a manual (here) and you can get the files (here). 

  • Europe has been hit hard this summer with drought and--for them--high temperatures: "'It's like an apocalypse': France forced to call in hundreds of fire fighters from six other countries as 'monster' blaze spreads amid drought ravaging crops, melting glaciers and drying up rivers across Europe." The article reports that "Hundreds of firefighters from Germany, Poland, Romania and Italy are heading to Gironde, near Bordeaux, to help tackle a blaze that began burning in early July as Europe's record-breaking summer heatwave got underway before reigniting several days ago - forcing 10,000 people from their homes and burning 7,000 hectares of pine forest." That is roughly 17,300 acres. The article also reports that "[m]ore than 60,000 hectares (230 square miles) have gone up in flames so far in France this year, six times the full-year average for 2006-2021, data from the European Forest Fire Information System shows." By comparison, California, alone, has had 181,252 acres (73,350 hectares) burned due to wildfires just this year. And just a single fire in eastern Idaho has burned more than 58,168 acres (23,540 hectares). 

    In any event, the article also goes on to summarize some of the impact the drought and heat is having across Europe, including this: "The water level along Germany's Rhine River was at risk of falling so low that it could become difficult to transport goods - including critical energy items like coal and gasoline." This doesn't bode well for a country trying to stockpile fuel for the winter.

VIDEO: "Did An Ancient Pathogen Reshape Our Cells?"--PBS Eons (9 min.)
From the description: "There is one - and only one - group of mammals that doesn’t have alpha-gal: the catarrhine primates, which are the monkeys of Africa and Asia, the apes, and us." Alpha-gal is used to communicate to the immune system that a cell is not an invader. The reason why most primates no longer produce alpha-gal, it is hypothesized, is that primates were hit with some pathogens that either produced their own alpha-gal or used alpha-gal to target cells. In either case, the survivors had a mutation that allowed their immune system to attack cells with the alpha-gal marker.

VIDEO: "Bishop Sheen Predicts 2022 ½ A Century Ago"--Catholic 365 (18 min.)
Signs of the times.

News & Analysis

    On Monday, the FBI executed a search warrant of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home that was approved by a magistrate judge who is not only linked to Jeffrey Epstein but was also an Obama donor. According to CNN, the raid was “part of an investigation into the handling of presidential documents, including classified documents, that may have been brought there.” 
    If that is the case, then this further proves that the raid was an abuse of power, because we’ve known for months now that the documents in question were already declassified by then-President Trump.

    “Trump declassified whole sets of materials in anticipation of leaving government that he thought the American public should have the right to read themselves,” Kash Patel, a former top Trump administration official, told Breitbart News in a phone interview in May. According to Patel, the classification markings just had not been updated.

    “The White House counsel failed to generate the paperwork to change the classification markings, but that doesn’t mean the information wasn’t declassified,” Patel added. “I was there with President Trump when he said ‘We are declassifying this information.’” 
    On this note, Gateway Pundit is reporting that the FBI was there to get copies of documents from the Crossfire Hurricane operation (the investigation into the now debunked Russia collusion) that were declassified and which the DOJ was ordered to publish in the Federal Register, but never did. On the other hand, the FBI's pet newspaper, the Washington Post, is suggesting that the raid was to recover top secret documents on nuclear weapons, although "[t]he Washington Post claimed in a report that those familiar with the matter did not offer any specific details on whether the alleged documents on nuclear weapons were about weapons that were possessed by the United States or a foreign nation, and they did not disclose what was recovered during the search." Trump has denied that he had any documents on nuclear weapons and compared this allegation to the Russian collusion hoax perpetrated by the FBI in conjunction with the DNC. Given the FBI's history of lying when it comes to Trump, I have no choice but to believe Trump on this one. 
    While part of the motivation for the raid was to protect the FBI's power, that is probably not all: CNBC is crowing that "Trump likely to be criminally charged in DOJ election probe along with other former White House officials, Obama AG Holder says." From this latter article:

    Former President Donald Trump “probably” will be indicted on criminal charges along with officials in his White House as part of a Justice Department investigation of efforts to reverse the 2020 election results nationally, ex-Attorney General Eric Holder said in an interview Thursday.

    But Holder suggested that before that happens, Trump is more likely to first face possible criminal charges from the Georgia state prosecutor who is investigating attempts by Trump and his allies to undo President Joe Biden’s win there in 2020.

 The article continues:

    Madison asked Holder whether he would seek to indict Trump if he still were attorney general.

    Holder demurred, saying he did not have access to all the material that the Justice Department currently has regarding Trump.

    But he told Madison that, based on his experience as a federal prosecutor who filed public corruption cases against elected officials, as “more evidence is elicited, you will see people start to cut deals.”

    ″My guess is that by the end of this process, you’re going to see indictments involving high-level people in the White House, you’re going to see indictments against people outside the White House who were advising them with regard to the attempt to steal the election,” said Holder.

Note the reversal here: Trump had accused the Democrats of stealing the election, and now Holder has flipped that script and is accusing Trump of attempting to steal the election because he questioned whether the election was on the up-and-up. To me this is a tell or reveal: the Democrats and RINOs (and, by extension, the Deep State) are very concerned about anyone poking into how they helped voters arrive at the correct decision in the 2020 election and they want to make sure that no one ever questions them on this issue again. Not because they fear that the 2020 election will be overturned--even if that was a possibility that chicken has long flown the coop--but to maintain the illusion of legitimacy.

    William Lind's writings about fourth generational warfare discusses how the greatest threat to a government is for there to be a crises of legitimacy. Many times, however, when governments act to preserve the façade of legitimacy, their actions tend to actually aggravate the legitimacy crises. That is what we are seeing in this situation.

    I still don't understand why the Washington elites so hated and feared Trump that they went to such great lengths to try and impeach him and, failing that, subvert the 2020 presidential election. I believed before his election in 2016 that Trump would win because he was the only moderate candidate, and I still believe that is why he won in 2016. But for some reason, Trump put the fear of God into the elites. 

    And so the elites (and their useful idiots on the Left) went all in to cheat in the 2020 election. I don't know how coordinated was the effort, and I doubt we ever will know. But whether it was top down or the overlapping efforts of national, state and local political organizations, powerful corporations and NGOs, all acting independently, there is no doubt that there were substantial irregularities in how the election was conducted and counted. 

    I don't know whether those responsible just thought that nobody would care, or if they were so desperate that they did not consider the consequences, but the end result was that there was and continue to be a widely held belief that the elections were rigged. That is, the conduct of the election created a legitimacy crises.

    If we were talking just about the election, the legitimacy crises could have been limited to just the Biden Presidency. But in combination with the misconduct by the FBI and CIA, the Democratic Party and Hillary Campaign, and the constant impeachment attempts and, yes, the Covid panic and coddling of the BLM/Antifa rioters, the result was a legitimacy crises aimed at almost the whole of the federal government. And, to top that off, we are now in a period of inflation driven by a combination of outrageous amounts of government spending and supply chain problems constricting supplies.

    Like most governments faced with a legitimacy crises, the U.S. government decided that the best way to address questions of its legitimacy was to crack down on dissent. And so we saw the expanded censorship on social media, the increased focus on so-called "right wing" domestic terrorists (even beyond the absurdities under the Obama Administration), the arrest of the January 6 protestors on the flimsiest of grounds, the legal harassments of Trump officials and supporters, the public vilification of  anyone opposed to "the narrative" and, now, the raid on Trump's home in Florida. 

    And if these crackdowns do not tamp down discontent?  As the old joke goes, "the beatings will continue until morale improves."

    Sometimes it seems like the Boston office of the FBI — dumpster fire of breathtaking corruption and incompetence that it is — serves as a field laboratory for the Democrat briefers in D.C. whose mission it is to crush any opposition to the Deep State.

    All week long, since the FBI’s Stasi-style raid on Mar-a-Lago, it’s been deja vu all over again for anyone who’s been paying attention to the decades of multiple messes that our local on-the-take G-men have been diving headfirst into.

    Everything corrupt, illegal or unethical that the FBI does nationally, they did a dry run here first — just to see just how much they could get away with.

    The answer is: Plenty, especially now in Brandon’s Banana Republic.

    Remember how this week the D.C. Gestapo told us the raid was a matter of national security? Trump left office in January 2021, almost 19 months ago. Yet the jackbooted wokesters only now figured there’s a “national security” problem?

    It’s foot-dragging reminiscent of the feds’ hunt for Whitey Bulger, the serial-killing brother of the most powerful Democrat politician in the state.

    Whitey took it on the lam in December 1994, with his gal pal Theresa Stanley. She couldn’t take the fugitive life, so she came back to Boston. The feds didn’t get around to interviewing her about Whitey’s aliases until the summer of 1996.

    By then he’d been stopped at least twice by local cops — in Wyoming and Mississippi — for minor traffic infractions. But the cops didn’t know that they were dealing with a mass murdering cocaine-dealing registered Democrat, because the feds couldn’t be bothered debriefing his moll.

    It’s in the FBI handbook. Wherever investigating a fellow Democrat, a G-man must leave no stone unturned — except the one that the comrade, in this case Whitey, is hiding under (for 17 years).

    The FBI went after Whitey almost as hard as they’ve since gone after Hunter Biden, or Hillary Clinton, or antifa, or BLM, or … Democrats.

    Then there was the timing of the Mar-a-Lago warrant. The feds got it on Aug. 5, a Friday, but it was so damn imperative that they get into Melania’s wardrobe that they took the weekend off before commencing the raid at dawn Monday morning, Aug. 8.

    Anyone remember Gary Lee Sampson, a bank robber from Abington? Back in 2001, he wanted to turn himself in to the FBI. It was, again, a summer Friday afternoon. He called the Boston office and told them who he was, where he was, and that he wished to surrender. The feds hung up on him — it was Friday, Date Night Number One. Who could be bothered driving to Abington?

    Sampson waited around for a couple of hours, but no FBI appeared to make the collar. So he went on a murder spree that weekend.

    After he was arrested for the three killings, Sampson told local cops he’d called the FBI office. But everyone in the Boston office denied that Sampson had called — they lied, in other words, just like they did on those FISA warrants on Carter Page in 2016.

    Boston’s also long been setting the pace for payoffs. Whitey Bulger’s partner, Stevie Flemmi, said their mob had six local FBI agents on the payroll. Six!

    But hey, during one of the rare internal investigations of fed corruption back in 2017, the inspector general reported that in D.C., they’d discovered 50 agents were taking “gratuities” — also known as bribes — from assorted bad actors.

    The FBI — Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity. And free lunch. And free booze.

    The Boston office was just setting the pace for other corrupt American KGB-types to follow. There was John “Vino” Morris, a very special agent, who was paid off with $7,000 in cash and cases of wine by Whitey and Stevie. They got him so drunk one night they had to drive him home. That evening, in his drunkenness, he left behind one of the feds’ bugging tapes from Mafia headquarters on Prince Street.

    Long before corrupt agent Peter Strzok (another Boston alum) was chasing Lisa Page around the Xerox machine on the seventh floor, Vino Morris was doing his secretary. Whitey and Stevie gave him a grand so she could visit Vino at a Georgia “training” session for some closed-door dictation.

    Of course, with inflation, it’s gotten much more expensive to buy a G-man. Take Andrew McCabe — the disgraced ex-director who like all the rest lied under oath. When he was running the Hillary Clinton espionage “probe,” Clinton operatives funneled $700,000 to his wife’s state Senate campaign. . . .

    Maybe someday we’ll find out just what went down last week at Mar-a-Lago. But I doubt it. “Mr. White” made his call to Vino back in 1995. Earlier this year, the feds coughed up to this newspaper the 302 report that was filed after Bulger called his fed hireling.

    It’s part of the historical record. The call has been discussed in federal court, books, documentaries, etc.

    So we finally get the official FBI report and it begins with words to the effect of: “What follows is a transcript of the conversation:

    And then there’s nothing. Absolutely nothing. Just a blank page.

    Because … FBI. Because … Democrats. It’s the Boston way.

    FBI – Famous but Incompetent.
    Conservative MP Martin Shields is ringing the alarm bells after it was revealed that the RCMP and Trudeau’s other intelligence agencies are using spyware to spy on elected officials.

    Shields said that the Ethics Committee has been meeting over the last two days to discuss the recent revelation that the RCMP uses spyware to monitor Canadians — even elected Members of Parliament — through their devices.

    “What is spyware? Spyware is a technology that’s recently been developed in the last few years; even Canadian companies are developing it. It allows someone who’s using spyware to be able to turn your cellphone on, listen to what you’re saying, and all the other things that might be part of your cellphone,” Shields began.

    “What we found out was yes, the RCMP have been using it. Yes, there were smaller numbers [of use cases] to begin with, but as the Committee went on, the numbers grew to the number of people.”

    Shields continues, saying there appears to be no privacy protocol for utilizing this technology, and the Privacy Commissioner said he was never consulted about the use of spyware by Canada’s federal agencies. In fact, the Privacy Commissioner says that he didn’t know about it until the media revealed it.

    He adds that when the Committee got to the final witnesses yesterday, some indicated that other agencies are using the same spyware technology.

The technology to remotely turn on and use cell phones as a "bug" has existed since before smart phones--smart phones just make it easier. It would be naïve to believe that the agencies or departments that have access to this technology would limit itself to only employing this technology against foreign spires or drug cartel leaders. I would assume that any intelligence or law enforcement agency that that has the money to afford this type of spyware has been using it to monitor actual and potential political opponents in order to safeguard their power. 

    The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, said it was offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of whoever is behind the killings.

    President Joe Biden decried the murders, saying in a tweet Sunday that his "prayers are with the victims’ families, and my Administration stands strongly with the Muslim community."

And from Salon:

The killings have deeply shaken the Muslim community in Albuquerque. Ahmad Assed, the president of the Islamic Center of New Mexico, said in a statement that "we are incredibly sickened with the idea that someone has this much hate against innocent people." 

And more on Biden's statement:

    The murders have drawn national attention, with U.S. President Joe Biden writing in a social media post Sunday afternoon that he is "angered and saddened by the horrific killings of four Muslim men in Albuquerque."

    "While we await a full investigation, my prayers are with the victims' families, and my Administration stands strongly with the Muslim community," Biden wrote. "These hateful attacks have no place in America." 

Except when you import people with a history of tribal and religious violence.  

    Yuval Noah Harari, historian, futurist, and World Economic Forum (WEF) adviser, said, “We just don’t need the vast majority of the population” in the early 21st century given modern technologies’ rendering human labor economically and militarily “redundant.”

    Harari’s remarks were made in an interview with Chris Anderson, the head of TED, published on Tuesday. He assessed widespread contemporary disillusionment among “common people” as being rooted in a fear of being “left behind” in a future run by “smart people.” Such fears are justified, he added, given his projection that emerging technologies will displace economic needs to many categories of existing work:

    A lot of people sense that they are being left behind and left out of the story, even if their material conditions are still relatively good. In the 20th century, what was common to all the stories — the liberal, the fascist, the communist — is that the big heroes of the story were the common people, not necessarily all people, but if you lived, say, in the Soviet Union in the 1930s, life was very grim, but when you looked at the propaganda posters on the walls that depicted the glorious future, you were there. You looked at the posters which showed steel workers and farmers in heroic poses, and it was obvious that this is the future.

    Now, when people look at the posters on the walls, or listen to TED talks, they hear a lot of these these big ideas and big words about machine learning and genetic engineering and blockchain and globalization, and they are not there. They are no longer part of the story of the future, and I think that — again, this is a hypothesis — if I try to understand and to connect to the deep resentment of people, in many places around the world, part of what might be going there is people realize — and they’re correct in thinking that — that, ‘The future doesn’t need me. You have all these smart people in California and in New York and in Beijing, and they are planning this amazing future with artificial intelligence and bio-engineering and in global connectivity and whatnot, and they don’t need me. Maybe if they are nice, they will throw some crumbs my way like universal basic income,’ but it’s much worse psychologically to feel that you are useless than to feel that you are exploited.
    A corneal implant created from pig's skin has successfully restored the sight in 20 blind or visually-impaired people as part of a promising trial.  

    The implant is made from collagen protein from the animal, and resembles the human cornea - the transparent part of the eye that covers the iris and pupil.

    Scientists at Linkoping University and and LinkoCare Life Sciences AB have developed the implant as an alternative to donated human corneas, as well as a less-invasive surgery for implantation.

    A major breakthrough in nuclear fusion has been confirmed a year after it was achieved at a laboratory in California.

    Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's (LLNL's) National Ignition Facility (NIF) recorded the first case of ignition on August 8, 2021, the results of which have now been published in three peer-reviewed papers.

    Nuclear fusion is the process that powers the Sun and other stars: heavy hydrogen atoms collide with enough force that they fuse together to form a helium atom, releasing large amounts of energy as a by-product. Once the hydrogen plasma "ignites", the fusion reaction becomes self-sustaining, with the fusions themselves producing enough power to maintain the temperature without external heating.


In this latest milestone at the LLNL, researchers recorded an energy yield of more than 1.3 megajoules (MJ) during only a few nanoseconds. For reference, one MJ is the kinetic energy of a one tonne mass moving at 100mph.

  • "Making oxygen with magnets could help astronauts breathe easy." On the ISS, the story explains, oxygen is created through an electrolysis process, but, due to the lack of gravity, the bubbles of oxygen have to be separated using a centrifuge which is complex and heavy--to much so to be efficient for a Mars mission, for instance. 

    Enter the Center for Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM) in Germany. There, Brinkert, who has ongoing research funded by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), led the team in successful experimental tests at a special drop tower facility that simulates microgravity conditions.

    Here, the groups have developed a procedure to detach gas bubbles from electrode surfaces in microgravity environments generated for 9.2s at the Bremen Drop Tower. This study demonstrates for the first time gas bubbles can be 'attracted to' and 'repelled from' a simple neodymium magnet in microgravity by immersing it in different types of aqueous solution.

The Docent's Memo (8/15/2022)

  VIDEO: " The M1D Sniper Rifle, the most lethal version of the M1 Garand "--Garand Thumb (22 min.) This was one of the later snip...