Thursday, December 2, 2021
Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Alec Baldwin wept as he described accidentally shooting dead his cinematographer on the set of his film Rust, saying 'I didn't pull the trigger' during an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos.
Baldwin said accidentally discharging his gun and killing Halyna Hutchins was the worst thing that's ever happened to him.
'I think back, I think: 'What could I have done?' Baldwin said.
In a teaser of the interview that's set to air tomorrow at 8 a.m., Baldwin at times held his head in his hands and appeared tearful, the actor denied firing the bullet, saying the gun inexplicably went off after he picked it up.
'The trigger wasn't pulled, I didn't pull the trigger,' he said. 'I would never point a gun at anyone at point a trigger at them, never.'
Well, the single-action revolver didn't cock itself.
- "The Long Game: Shooting Drills and Skills for Deer Hunters" by John B. Snow, Outdoor Life.
The fundamentals of marksmanship—a good trigger press, breath control, sight alignment—don’t count for diddly-squat if you can’t hold your rifle still. At 100 yards and in, a competent marksman should be able to shoot a whitetail offhand without difficulty. At ranges beyond that, the rifle needs some type of support.
Traditionally, this means mastering the kneeling and seated positions and the use of a shooting sling. These old-school skills are effective but not widely practiced anymore. Bipods are useful provided the legs are long enough to elevate the barrel above any surrounding vegetation, but in the real world that’s often not the case.
The best way to build a rock-solid position when you can’t lie prone is with a tripod equipped with a flat tac-table and a lightweight shooting bag. With the bag on top of the tac-table and the rifle balanced on the bag, you can make an accurate hit on the vitals of a deer hundreds of yards away, even while standing.
To maximize your accuracy when shooting off a tripod this way, keep these tips in mind:
- Place the rifle on the bag lengthwise to maximize the amount of contact between the bag and the stock.
- Keep the top of the bag about level with your sternum when you shoot from a standing position. If you position the bag any higher, accuracy will decrease.
- Use your lead hand to pinch the gun and bag together to steady the rifle and control recoil.
- Square your shoulders so that you are directly behind the rifle. That will improve recoil management.
- Do not overfill your shooting bag. They often come with too much fill and don’t have enough give. Try filling it three-quarters of the way.
- Use a lightweight fill like Git-Lite, which will take a solid set under pressure for a steady shot. Don’t use cheap plastic beads. They slide around and aren’t very steady.
The author, Snow, also recommends using ballistic apps and suggests a couple 100-yard drills to practice making off-hand, snap shots.
- "Why Lightweight Carbines Are a Game Changer" by Steve Adelmann, Shooting Illustrated. The author begins:
Technology and demand are driving a light-rifle trend that shows no signs of slowing down. Purpose-built, flyweight guns are a dream to carry and shoot, but the additional machining, exotic materials and manufacturing methods that can bring something like an AR rifle down to 4.5 pounds make it expensive. Fortunately, there are cost-effective options for cutting weight on existing rifles, too. This work can be divided into gunsmith-specific tasks which require special tooling and machining skills, and those components which require nothing more elaborate than a screwdriver to install. The latter category is the focus of our efforts here.A sizeable chunk of the following component options is AR-specific, but there are also varying degrees of lightweight, retrofit parts for other rifle platforms, including AKs, M1As, FALs and Mini-14s. Options will also be on the table for any long arms that use AR-style stocks, grips and rail-mounted ancillary devices. Speaking of stocks, the included tables show how ounces can be shed in both the collapsible and fixed categories. As with the items shown in other tables, these are just a few samples shown in comparison to standard-component weights. All data comes from the author’s measurements or manufacturers’ published specifications.
The included table is useful for picking certain items. But I'm puzzled by the author eschewing exotic materials generally, but then including in his list a bunch of expensive small AR parts made of titanium that only save you a fraction of an ounce over using the same parts in steel. As I discovered as I started collecting parts for my lightweight AR-308 build, you get more weight savings for your buck by looking at large items--the stock, the upper and lower receiver, the barrel and the handguard/barrel nut-- than on smaller stock parts like the pistol grip, buffer tube, and small specialty items like titanium magazine release buttons, firing pins, or bolt-release levers. For instance, ROAM is a company that makes lightweight components, and their AR-308 receivers made of magnesium are about half the weight of a standard aluminum receiver, but only cost about 50% more than Aero Precision receivers. You can also save a couple pounds by going with a pencil profile barrel or other lightweight barrel over a heavy contour barrel without having to do anything exotic. For instance, Faxon offers barrels in pencil and "Gunner" configurations that weight quite a bit less than standard or medium profile barrels.
- "TFB Armorer’s Bench: General Bench Setup – Quick Tips"--The Firearm Blog. I think everyone knows that working on guns requires a set of quality screwdrivers and various punches. This article goes into some tools, equipment and supplies of which you might not have immediately thought such as: magnets for finding or picking up items, various types of tape to protect parts or the firearm while you are working on it, a bookshelf (for keeping your gun maintenance books handy), a compressor for use in blowing out excess oil or dirt and grime, maneuverable lighting, a vise with padded jaws, a mat or other cover for your bench, and drawers or other methods of organizing your tools.
While I have a lamp/magnifier similar to that pictured in the article, I find myself often using a headlamp with a decent lumen output because it puts the light where I'm looking without having to maneuver the lamp. And a good bench block or two is handy. I have a standard one a little bigger than a hockey puck that works well, but I've also made my own on occasion by drilling one or more holes in a piece of wood; and have even used a roll or two of masking tape at times, simply laying the roll on its side to hold the firearm up high enough to push out a pin. The advantage to buying a block, however, is that manufactured bench blocks have grooves and cutouts to keep your firearm from moving around.
- "Anatomy of a Misfire"--The Truth About Guns. A look at different types of misfires and how to diagnose them, with special attention to squibs. The author advises:
If you do experience a misfire, where the gun goes “click” instead of “bang,” the first thing to do is wait a few moments with the gun pointed in a safe direction to ensure it isn’t a hangfire (a delayed discharge). Once you are sure it’s safe to extract the cartridge, continue to keep the gun pointed in a safe direction and examine it. Take the round out of the chamber and see if the round has a firing pin indentation on the primer. Is the bullet still in the casing?
If the bullet is not in the casing, then you may have a squib load with the bullet obstructing the barrel.
- "Gun Review: Diamondback Sidekick .22 Revolver" by Virgil Caldwell, The Truth About Guns. Caldwell verifies my earlier conjecture that the Sidekick is a copy of the old High Standard Double-Nine. This is a revolver that has the outward appearance of a Single-Action Army (SAA) but is actually a double-action swing-cylinder. The one thing I hated about the old Double-Nine was the weight of the double-action pull. Caldwell does not tell us what weight was the trigger pull, but he does say that the double-action was pleasant. A notable difference between this and the High Standard is that you can switch between a .22 Short/Long/LR cylinder, and a .22 WMR cylinder. While the author didn't want to get into the merits of .22 Magnum for self-defense, I would note that Greg Ellifritz has had some favorable things to say about it for self-defense purposes--especially if you are going to have 9 shots available to you.
- "Hunting Guns in Colonial America" by George C. Neumann, American Rifleman. Neumann begins by noting that, unlike England where hunting was generally restricted to the gentry, the wilds of North America invited hunting by all people.
... Rural homes depended on arms to help feed their large families, as well as to provide physical protection and fulfill local militia demands. The heavily wooded terrain of the New World, in turn, provided a bounty of game ranging from turkeys, geese, ducks and game birds to the larger deer, bear, elk and moose. In order to take advantage of this, the provincials employed various combinations of ball, buckshot, or buck and ball in smoothbore flintlock fowlers which were the forerunners of today’s shotguns. (The rifles developed in Western settlements are not included here.)
These arms generally had long barrels averaging 44" to 60" to permit the full powder charge to burn effectively and to provide an extended sight radius. Such lengths may seem unwieldy, but the dense overhead canopy of the virgin forests permitted far less undergrowth than that encountered in today’s second growth woodlands. The typical gunstocks were walnut, maple or cherry and included a high-raised comb, plus a fore-end that reached to the muzzle—which frequently had the wood cut back 3" to 4" and a barrel stud added to mount a socket bayonet for military service. Second sights were rare; the front blade was usually supplemented by a groove filed into the breech tang as the rear-aiming guide. Sling swivels, too, were omitted as the arms were intended to be hand-carried for instant use.
A great article for the historian or the collector, with photographs of various firearms, including close-ups of some of the finer details.
- "How to Siphon Gas in an Emergency" by Rich Murphy, Urban Survival Site. The author's focus is on siphoning gas from abandoned vehicles after SHTF, but there are times when you need to siphon fuel from one of your own vehicles. Anyway, on to how to do it:
Siphoning functions by gravity, so it is basically impossible to siphon gas directly from one vehicle’ s tank to another. Rather, the gas is siphoned out of the donor vehicle into a container, such as a gas can. It can then be poured into your vehicle. For it to siphon, the container must be lower than the level of the fuel in the gas tank. The greater the distance below the tank, the faster the gas will flow.
The safest and easiest way to siphon gas is with a pump. Of course, that means buying a siphon pump before it is needed, as it probably won’t be available when it is. These pumps come in both manual and electric versions, which plug into the vehicle’s accessory connector. The manual ones usually have a plastic bulb that you squeeze to create a vacuum, drawing the gas out of the tank; but there are also hand crank versions, which are more costly but easier to use.
To siphon the gas, the hose at one end of the pump is inserted through the flapper in the fuel filler of the donor car and the hose at the other end is inserted into the container. The end in the tank must be inserted far enough to get to the bottom of the vehicle’s gas tank. To make sure that happens, estimate the distance and hold the hose there with one hand; keep feeding it into the tank until that hand reaches the fuel filler.
It is important that the right hose be inserted into each end, as the pump doesn’t work in reverse. Then just turn on the pump to start the gas flowing. Once gas is flowing, you can stop pumping with the manual pumps, as the gas will flow on its own. Stop the flow by either pinching the hose shut, raising it up above the level of the gas tank or removing it.
But he does go on to discuss how to do it with just a hose, and how to remove gas from a tank via the fuel lines.
- "Can Portable Generators Get Wet? How To Run One In The Rain Safely"--SHTF Preparedness. The portable generators commonly used by preppers are not safe to use if they get wet such as from rain. The author explains how to rig a tarp or other cover to keep water off the tarp, but still allow the necessary venting, including making your own cover and frame.
- "Prep Your Apartment or Suburban Home for Riots and Civil Unrest: How to Get Ready FAST"--Organic Prepper. Because the riots we have seen over the last several years have been leftist rioting and looting, typically to protest some police shooting or some such, the author's first recommendation is to become the "gray man" by removing American flags, removing "thin blue line" stickers from cars (or parking the cars out of sight), and, as repulsive as it might be, to have a sign you can display with some "anti-racialist" message. (I would note that, on the downside, having such a sign might put you on another list and a target when the inevitable blow back happens). The main portion of the article, however, concerns it with physical preparations including methods to harden your home by securing the outside, deterring entry, setting up a safe home, and funneling anyone that gets through these other defenses. The author also discusses protection against fire and making sure you have an escape route.
I especially liked some of the ideas concerning boarding up windows. For instance:
Many people board up all their windows with plywood. If you plan to do this, get the plywood well ahead of time and pre-drill the holes so you can install it quickly. You can store plywood between your mattress and box springs, or under your bed. I’ll go into this more in a moment but do not cover every single window of your home with plywood. You don’t want to create a prison from which you have no escape. Generally, just cover the front windows and sidelights by your doors.
... When I was staying with my daughter in her downtown apartment during the COVID lockdowns, we realized that our front hallway was a true weak spot. The front door was solid glass and there were also glass sidelights. The door frame of the old building wasn’t of the highest quality and I could easily see the door being breached, either by the glass being broken or by a strong person simply breaking through due to the weak frame. As renters this is not something we could replace. So, we got plywood cut to fit and I added spacers that allowed the blinds to be between the plywood and the glass, making it look less obvious that we had boarded things up.
- "30 Kitchen Items that Work When the Power is Out" by Tom Marlowe, The Survivalist Blog. A good list of items to use for preparing food when the power is out, such as, manually powered (handcranked) mixers and can openers, cooking gear suitable for cooking over a fire or on a propane stove (e.g. a Dutch oven), a mechanical kitchen timer, a pitcher pump to pump water from a container into the sink, a Zeer pot to cool things, etc.
- "Is Trapping in America on the Brink of Extinction, or at the Beginning of a Comeback?" by PJ Delhomme, Outdoor Life. The article indicates that there are between 210,000 and 260,000 trappers in the U.S., but the sport is currently under attack by anti-hunters, and fur prices have declined. Yet, Delhomme observers, the number of people interested in trapping continues to grow.
Take Idaho. In 2015, Idaho had 61 students in its trapper education course. In 2016, there were 171 students, and in 2017, there were 456. Then the course became mandatory, and in 2018, the state had 1,500 would-be trappers. Enrollment is still over 1,000 students each year.
“We’ve seen a tremendous increase last year in the number of trapper education students,” says Bill Seybold, a trapper education coordinator with Idaho Fish and Game. “Trappers can’t make money on it anymore, and people are doing it for different reasons.”
- The Manchurian Candidate: "Joe Biden was involved in a deal with a Chinese giant — and was expecting a 10 percent cut"--New York Post. Part of a series investigating what was on Hunter Biden's laptop.
- In the Near East: "Israeli military readying for 'Plan B' if Iran nuclear talks fail"--Jerusalem Post.
[The IDF] held large-scale exercises in the North in October and November, and there are plans to hold 50% more drills next year than in 2020, and 30% more than in 2021.The increased exercises set for 2022 follows years of stagnation, and will be the largest training operation in five years, especially for reserve forces.Following the signing of the Abraham Accords, the IDF has also begun conducting drills with Gulf Arab states.In a subtle message to Iran, Israel took part in a multilateral maritime security drill in the Red Sea with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and US Naval Forces Central Command’s (NAVCENT).The drill in early November was the first of its kind, and showed what kind of naval coalition Israel might join should there be military action against Iran.
- In the Far East: "Taiwan Scrambles Jets after Chinese Air Force Breaches Buffer Zone"--National Review. The article reports:
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said 18 fighter jets from mainland China’s air force, along with five H-6 bombers and a refueling aircraft, flew through the defense zone near the southern part of the island. Taiwan scrambled its own air force to respond and deployed missile systems to track the Chinese breach.
The incursion came at the close of a three-day military conference attended by Chinese premier Xi Jinping, where he called for the cultivation of military talent, according to state-run news agency Xinhua.
- Ukraine: "US Says "All Options" On Table Over Alleged 'Russian Invasion Threat' To Ukraine"--Zero Hedge.
- "In Haiti, rise of gangs leads to another horror: gang rape"--France 24.
As the rising power of criminal gangs plunges Haiti deeper into chaos, health care workers are getting overwhelmed by the number of women being raped by these violent groups, and by the sheer horror of the victims' ordeals.
"Some of the kidnapped women don't even know how many men raped them," said Doctor Judith Fadois, who has worked for the past six years at a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) clinic in Port-au-Prince for victims of sexual violence.
"In some cases, I would speak of mutilation, they were treated like objects so much," the doctor said of the awful things she has seen and heard at the clinic in recent months.
There is already a taboo surrounding sex crimes in this society widely seen as chauvinist, and that makes it hard enough to talk about rape. But the heightened cruelty of Haitian gangs has stunned some of the medical teams beyond words.
In the past two months, as gangs virtually took control of the capital in the wake of the president's assassination and a years-long social and economic crisis, the staff at the clinic have heard things that the doctor says she "never thought a human being could do to another human being."
Interesting factoid: In 1804, Haiti became the first black controlled country with a republican form of government after throwing off French colonial control.
- Crises by design: "Crime on L.A. trains, buses rises as riders return: 'Poor people are suffering the most'"--Yahoo Business. An excerpt:
In 2021, through September, reports of violent crimes were up 25% from the same time last year and 9% from 2019, according to L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority data. Some crimes, such as aggravated assaults, are exceeding pre-pandemic levels even though bus and rail ridership hasn’t fully recovered.
Although still rare, homicides jumped from one in 2019, to three in 2020, the first full year of the pandemic. So far in 2021, five people have been killed in stations or on public transport, including a 28-year-old woman fatally shot on the train while on her way to work.
While most people ride public transit without incident, the issue of crime recently sparked a clash between L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Metro board members over the future of law enforcement on the system. At a news conference to argue for the extension of his department's contract with Metro, the sheriff rattled off a list of eight violent crimes, dating back to 2019, including shootings, stabbings and sexual assaults. He referred to the incidents as "the level of carnage" happening on trains.
It's the 1970s all over again, except with worse music. But we may be lucky if it only stops with how bad things were in the '70s. We have seen increasing incidents involving mob violence and theft. For instances, The Daily Wire reports that "Two Minneapolis Best Buys Robbed On Black Friday As ‘Flash Mob’ Thievery Spreads Beyond California." The article relates:
The thefts come days after Best Buy chief executive Corie Barry expressed concern that retail thefts in California stores will provoke employees to quit.
“These are traumatic experiences, and they are happening more and more across the country,” Barry told CNBC, adding that California cities represent “hot spots” for the thefts.
“When we talk about why there are so many people looking for other jobs or switching careers, this of course would be something that would play into my concerns for our people because, again, priority one is just human safety,” she said. “And it’s hard to deal with this potentially multiple times in one location.”
Also on Black Friday, a Home Depot in Lakewood, California, was robbed by a group of teenagers. The suspects reportedly arrived in several cars, donned ski masks, and stole sledgehammers, hand hammers, and crowbars before fleeing the scene.
(See also this New York Post article). Hammers and crowbars aren't the latest fashion accessory. These are being stolen to help facilitate other property crimes. Combine this with the expected protests in the lead up to the mid-term elections, and we may see the increased mobocracy that will eventually end in Civil War 2.0.
- Related: "PICTURED: Battered and bruised Boston man after he was attacked by 40 illegal ATV and dirt bike riders while going to collect his Thanksgiving turkey"--Daily Mail.
- "Rare hunting scene raises questions over polar bear diet"--France 24. The article reports about a video showing "[a] polar bear chases a reindeer into the water, drags it ashore and devours it, in a striking scene caught on film for the first time." The incident occurred near Norway's Svalbard archipelago on August 21, 2020 and was filmed by a research team from a nearby Polish scientific station. The article explains that "in summer, the sea ice retreats and takes with it the seals that make up the polar bear's main source of food." But then, of course, the article throws out the obligatory global warming propaganda. In this case: "With sea ice melting, the king of the Arctic may be changing its diet." Although the National Wildlife Federation observes that "[i]n the Arctic, polar bears are at the top of the food chain; they eat everything and nothing (except native hunters) eats them."
- Speaking of Arctic sea ice and global warming: "Arctic Sea Freezes Early, Trapping 18 Ships in Ice Near Russia"--Legal Insurrection. A strong polar vortex has already formed over the North Pole.
- The Left is constantly telling us to follow the science (although, according to Fauci, he is the science), so let us see what it says: "Transmission potential of vaccinated and unvaccinated persons infected with the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant in a federal prison, July—August 2021." Key part from the abstract:
A total of 978 specimens were provided by 95 participants, of whom 78 (82%) were fully vaccinated and 17 (18%) were not fully vaccinated. No significant differences were detected in duration of RT-PCR positivity among fully vaccinated participants (median: 13 days) versus those not fully vaccinated (median: 13 days; p=0.50), or in duration of culture positivity (medians: 5 days and 5 days; p=0.29).
Taking an act-now-ask-questions-later approach, countries around the world slammed their doors shut again to try to keep the new omicron variant at bay Monday as more cases of the mutant coronavirus emerged and scientists raced to figure out just how dangerous it might be.Japan announced it would bar entry of all foreign visitors, joining Israel in doing so just days after the variant was identified by researchers in South Africa. Morocco banned all incoming flights. Other countries, including the U.S. and European Union members, have moved to prohibit travelers arriving from southern Africa.Travelers infected with the new version have turned up in a widening circle of countries over the past few days, including now Spain, and cases in Portugal and Scotland have raised fears that the variant may already be spreading locally.“Many of us might think we are done with COVID-19. It’s not done with us,” warned Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization.
- How fortuitous: "Novavax Developing Vaccine Against Variant That Appeared 72 Hours Ago – Will Be Ready in Two Weeks, Already in Emergency Use Trials in Indonesia and Phillipines"--The Last Refuge.
- "Covid omicron variant poses ‘very high’ global risk and is likely to spread, WHO warns"--CNBC. From the article:
The omicron variant of the coronavirus is likely to spread further and poses a “very high” global risk, according to the World Health Organization, which warned Monday that surges of Covid infections caused by the variant of concern could have “severe consequences” for some areas.“Given mutations that may confer immune escape potential and possibly transmissibility advantage, the likelihood of potential further spread of Omicron at the global level is high,” the WHO said in its risk assessment on Monday within a technical brief to its 194 member states.
It said in its report on Monday that it is “a highly divergent variant with a high number of mutations ... some of which are concerning and may be associated with immune escape potential and higher transmissibility.”
Is the high risk concerned with potential deaths? No. South Africa, where the variant appeared, has reported that the Omicron variant has very mild symptoms. The risk instead appears to be to public opinion about the efficacy of the vaccines which are expected to have little or no affect on the Omicron variant. Interestingly, this new variant "seems to have evolved in someone who was HIV positive while infected for an extended period of time with SARS-COV-2, giving the virus ample time to figure out an optimal solution to the vaccine induced immune response."
- Speaking of "I Am The Science!": "Biden says he delayed Africa travel ban over Omicron variant on advice of advisers led by Fauci"--New York Post. An excerpt:
President Biden said Friday that he delayed implementation of a new ban on travel from southern Africa on the advice of his medical advisers, who are led by Dr. Anthony Fauci.A reporter asked Biden why the emergency precaution will take effect Monday, rather than immediately to contain the potentially more contagious Omicron version of COVID-19.“Why not do it now like other countries have done?” the journalist asked Biden, who is spending a long Thanksgiving weekend in Nantucket.Biden said “because that was the recommendation coming from my medical team.” Fauci is Biden’s chief medical adviser and led a half hour briefing for Biden on Friday.Biden said “we don’t know a lot about the variant except that it is of great concern and it seems to spread rapidly — and I spent about a half hour this morning with my COVID team led by Dr. Fauci and that was the decision we made.”
- More: "Biden and Fauci’s Omicron travel ban ‘worse than useless,’ critics say"--New York Post. The money quote:
“No worries, travel ban begins next week because you know, variants don’t spread on holiday weekends,” Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky scoffed on Twitter.
- Vaccine mandates in action: "Hospital Struggles To Treat 18 Waukesha Parade Victims Because Of Vaccine Mandate"--The Federalist. From the article:
The largest children’s hospital in Wisconsin has been struggling to care for patients in injured in the Waukesha Christmas parade attack on Nov. 21 in large part because of staffing shortages stemming from its COVID-19 vaccine mandate, multiple sources say.Eighteen children were brought to the Children’s Wisconsin Milwaukee Hospital with injuries suffered when a driver plowed into parade-goers that Sunday afternoon. ...
* * *
Sources at Children’s Wisconsin indicate that when victims first started to be transported to the hospital, it did not have enough nurses or support staff to adequately handle the sudden rush.
- Damned if you do and damned if you don't. I saw two op-ed pieces in Deutsche Welle concerning Covid and vaccine mandates in Germany. The first said it was time for mandatory vaccines, even if it was too late for the fourth wave, because it would protect against the fifth wave, dismissing societal and legal arguments against such mandates. The second op-ed argued that mandatory vaccines were too late in coming, and so lockdowns needed to be reimposed. How about a third option of no vaccines, no lockdowns? It's crazy enough, it might work.
And Now For Something Completely Different:
- "Morning exposure to deep red light improves declining eyesight"--Medical Xpress. An excerpt:
Just three minutes of exposure to deep red light once a week, when delivered in the morning, can significantly improve declining eyesight, finds a pioneering new study by UCL researchers.
Published in Scientific Reports, the study builds on the team's previous work, which showed daily three-minute exposure to longwave deep red light 'switched on' energy producing mitochondria cells in the human retina, helping boost naturally declining vision.
She was flying home from a holiday in Samoa when she saw it through the airplane window: a "peculiar large mass" floating on the ocean, hundreds of kilometres off the north coast of New Zealand.
The Kiwi passenger emailed photos of the strange ocean slick to scientists, who realized what it was – a raft of floating rock spewed from an underwater volcano, produced in the largest eruption of its kind ever recorded.
"We knew it was a large-scale eruption, approximately equivalent to the biggest eruption we've seen on land in the 20th Century," said volcanologist Rebecca Carey from the University of Tasmania, who co-led the first close-up investigation of the historic 2012 eruption, and together with colleagues finally published the results in a paper in 2018.
The incident, produced by an underwater volcano called the Havre Seamount, initially went unnoticed by scientists, but the floating rock platform it generated was harder to miss.
These types of events are probably the source of stories of floating islands, or islands suddenly appearing and then disappearing.
- "Why a toaster from 1949 is still smarter than any sold today" by Sean Hollister, The Verge. Most toasters rely on timers to adjust toasting time for different types of bread, or bread that is frozen or colder. But it is all too easy to under-toast or over-toast by having to guess where it should be when you turn the knob. The Sunbeam Radiant Control Toaster, sold from 1949 all the way through the late 1980s, used a thermocouple to detect the temperature of the bread to get the perfect toast each time, no matter the type of bread or if it started out cold or frozen.
Tuesday, November 30, 2021
... from Greg Ellifritz at Active Response Training. Plenty of good stuff here, but let me focus on a few.
Greg links to an article from Breach Bang Clear that describes a drill or practice for developing your situational awareness.
He also includes an article from Tier Three Tactical that evaluates the ability of a variety of pistol, rifle and shotgun ammunition to penetrate an interior wall (i.e., sheetrock).
And he cites to an article from Imminent Threat Solutions listing some 35 different places or ways to hide a firearm (generally a pistol) in plain sight. This focuses on having a place where you can readily get to a firearms but that isn't going to be apparent to a criminal. And speaking of staging weapons, Greg also includes an article from Recoil Magazine providing tips on preventing and protecting your family from a home invasion.
Finally, Greg includes a video from Active Self Protection which examined an incident in Utah that appears to have exemplified the bystander effect. The surveillance video takes place at a gas station and mostly focuses on what one man gassing his truck did, or rather, didn't do. A small statured woman is seen running from a red SUV in one corner of the picture up to the man pumping gas, apparently asking for help. A man, also from the red SUV, chases her, and so the woman tries crawling under the pickup, but her pursuer hauls her out, throws her over his shoulder, takes kicking and screaming back to the red SUV, and then drives off. The man gassing the truck just kept what he was doing, finished gassing his truck, and left without even calling the police. Fortunately for the woman, other people at the gasoline station, although they didn't intervene, took down information and called 911, resulting in the woman's captor being arrested and charged with several felonies.
Greg notes that his general attitude is "not my people, not my problem," but acknowledges that the man gassing his truck could have at least been a good witness and called 911.
I've expressed a similar attitude, including in my article on "The Dangers of White Knighting" which discussed an incident in Portland where three men intervened in a situation without ascertaining the facts of the situation (including the aggressor was armed with a knife) with the result that all three men were slashed in the neck, with two of them dying.
There are also lessons to be learned from police experience in domestic disputes where it is not uncommon to have the battered spouse violently attack police as they arrest the abusive partner. It is also not uncommon for a female criminal to feign distress in order to lure a victim into a place or position where one or more accomplices can then rob them. And then there are the stories where someone goes in guns blazing and kills the wrong person, like one recounted by Massad Ayoob of a trucker that went to the rescue of a woman screaming "rape" and shooting the "attacker" who, it turned out, was a vice cop attempting to arrest the woman for prostitution.
On the other hand, it is a morally poor society where criminals can operate with impunity because people, generally, are unwilling to do something. This leads to a criminal class that will become increasingly brazen, just as we are seeing in San Francisco and other large cities where shoplifting has morphed into gang looting.
So is there a balance between being so cautious to studiously ignore the crime and getting involved in a situation where you are placing your own life, liberty, and fortune on the line for a stranger?
At a minimum, as Ellifritz points out, you can be good witness and call 911 or contact the police. That is what the other people at the gas station did.
Whether you can or should do more is going to depend on the circumstances of each situation. Several years ago there was a video that circulated of a brutal stabbing where an ex-boyfriend had tracked his girlfriend down, attacked her on a busy street in a European city, and basically kneeled on her as he stabbed her repeatedly. There were one or two people that tried to intervene, but being in Europe, lacked any means of effectively doing so. I would hope that if faced with a similar situation here in the U.S. that a concealed weapon carrier would intervene.
But what about the situation in the ASP video? I have to wonder how things would have turned out if the man pumping the gas had simply pulled out his phone right then and there and dialed 911 to report an assault and kidnapping? Or told the man from the red SUV something like, "Hold it right there. I don't know what is going on but I'm calling the police to sort it out."
Monday, November 29, 2021
I think the saying that "when guns are outlawed, only criminals will own guns" has finally moved from a truism to an axiom. Chicago has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation and so, of course, it also has one of the highest gun crime rates. But the violence has clearly moved beyond just Chicago's restrictions to federal restrictions on gun ownership.
When it was enacted in 1934, the creators of the National Firearms Act were frightened that the law would be struck down as unconstitutional for violating the Second Amendment because it banned the unorganized militia (i.e., the citizens) from owning military weapons, including fully automatic weapons. To try and avoid such an outcome, the NFA creators decided against an outright ban and settled on a tax (ostensibly under the Congress' taxing authority) to make the weapons so prohibitively expensive that no one but the rich would be able to afford them. Even so, the creators were correct in their fears: in United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939), the Court came close to striking down a provision of the NFA taxing the purchase or possession of short-barreled shotguns and only siding with the U.S. attorney general because the U.S. argued that short-barreled shotguns had no military purpose and, therefore, were not protected by the Second Amendment. Presumably, if someone had challenged the restrictions on owning an automatic, military style weapon, the Court would have struck down that portion of the NFA because such a weapon had a military purpose.
But the NRA had supported the NFA and no else apparently pursued such a case, so in the face of numerous bans on classes of firearms, there still remains the anomaly that a person can purchase a fully automatic weapon provided that they can pass the background checks and pay the tax on such weapons. But just as inflation reduced the amount of the tax to something that would make such weapons affordable to the middle-class, the anti-gunners decided to once again make them too expensive to afford, but this time they attacked the supply side of the equation by making the manufacture of automatic weapons illegal. So, just as demand was beginning to increase, the supply was cut, and prices quickly climbed to the point that the rich are still the only ones that can afford the weapons.
But how has that worked out? Not very well. We've seen an increasing number of accounts of automatic weapons fire between criminals. The most recent I came across was an article from the Daily Mail reporting that "'Chicago is a war zone': Terrifying video shows machine gun fire erupting on the streets in bloody Thanksgiving weekend of gun violence as three are killed in [sic] and another 40 are shot." The story includes the video and describes it as showing "a man, who does not appear to have a gun, running through the streets of Chicago as machine gun fire erupts nearby." It doesn't show the weapons, but you can definitely hear a couple bursts of automatic weapons fire. So, yes: if you make a class of weapons illegal, whether de jure or de facto, only the criminals will have them.
I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving and weekend. I am pleased to announce that we have a guest post written by The Realist on basic hand tools to keep on hand. Enjoy ....
Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this article were purchased by myself. I did not receive samples, evaluation models, or other compensation from any manufacturer or retailer. I have no formal relationship with any manufacturer or retailer mentioned in this article - I have only been an arms-length customer. All brand names and product names used in this review are the trade names, service marks, trademarks, or registered trademarks of their respective owners. I am not a licensed or certified tradesman. Further, this article reflects my unique circumstances and subjective opinions with regard to performance and other characteristics of the products being discussed. Your mileage may vary.
Growing up, my father taught me how to fix many things around the home and on our vehicles. Since then, my repair skills have continued to improve. Besides having the knowledge of how to fix things, having the appropriate tools is necessary to fix many things.
As the economy gets more dicey every day, being able to fix things yourself rather than pay someone else to make repairs or buy a replacement item (if you can find it for sale) will become increasingly important. I have no idea how much money I have saved by being able to fix things myself. Certainly, being able to make repairs around the house has saved me a bundle of money. Even though I dislike working on automobiles, I have made many automobile repairs over the years. Further, I have occasionally purchased non-working or "needs repair" items, and usually been able to repair them, saving money over purchasing the item new.
You learn how to repair things by doing repairs. Although, now there are many excellent YouTube videos that explain how to perform various repairs, and you can dramatically shorten the learning curve by watching a few videos on a specific repair topic.
There are three tools I use for probably eighty percent of the repairs I make: a 9-in-1 screwdriver, a 4-in-1 electronics screwdriver, and long-nose pliers.
The 9-in-1 screwdriver has three hex-nut sockets and six different screwdriver bits. There are numerous manufacturers selling this type of screw driver. I just happen to have picked up the Irwin brand.
This screwdriver meets the overwhelming majority of my needs. The hex-nut sockets are really handy when doing appliance repairs, and in my experience negated the need to use a socket set or traditional nut drivers. The straight screwdriver tips are ground such that they are parallel, which reduces cam-out when tightening or loosening regular slotted screws.
4-in-1 Electronics Screwdriver
The 4-in-1 electronics screwdriver, has two small straight tips (1/8 and 3/32 inch) and two Phillips tips (#0 and #00). In the past, I have used other small multi-bit screwdrivers, and would recommend them, except they are no longer sold. I am currently using the Klein Tools screwdriver. There are sets of individual screwdrivers that accomplish the same purpose, but they are not as compact as this screwdriver.
I use this screwdriver a lot when repairing small appliances and small electronic devices, which frequently use smaller sized screws.
Long Nose Pliers
The long-nose pliers I use are the Channellock model 317 . I have been using these pliers for
several decades. Harbor Freight sells similar pliers under their Doyle brand that seem to be well made.
Long nose pliers, as opposed to needle nose pliers, have the strength to squeeze or grab things, yet are thin enough to reach into many tight spaces. They also have wire cutters.
Other Tools I Use Frequently
While the three tools above address eighty-percent of my tool needs, an adjustable wrench (Crescent wrench), adjustable water pump pliers (grove joint pliers), locking pliers (e.g. Vice Grip pliers) round out most of my tool needs, meeting ninety-percent of my tool needs.
The adjustable wrench is handy for many tasks. My go-to wrench is 8-inches long. It is small enough and light enough to be used in many tight areas, yet offers more leverage over a smaller wrench. It is the perfect size for assembling many things that come unassembled.
The water pump pliers are a necessity when doing many plumbing repairs, such as working on the various drain pipes under a kitchen sink.
The locking pliers are necessary when dealing with a rounded bolt head or grabbing something round that needs to be twisted. (I found the pictured Vice Grip locking pliers along the side of a road several decades ago, cleaned them up, and have been using them ever since.)
Tools You Should Have
The above tools do not eliminate the need to have other common hand tools, such as a quality socket set, box and open-end wrenches, several different sizes of adjustable wrenches, hammers, pry bar, handsaw for wood, hacksaw for metal and plastics, files, hex wrenches, a Torx bit set, and an electric drill or manual drill. While I don't use these tools as frequently, they are also necessary for a variety of repairs I do perform.
Not mentioned in the tools above is a pocket knife. I always have a pocket knife on me, and it gets used for all kinds of tasks.
Six tools address ninety-percent of my tool needs for household repairs. I regularly use two different sizes of multi-bit screwdrivers, three different types of pliers, and an adjustable wrench. You will note, I didn't include a hammer in this list because I usually use screws for many applications where nails are traditionally used. But yes, I do have several hammers for various tasks.
Friday, November 26, 2021
|One of Jeong's less offensive tweets|
Of course, the far left seemed either outraged or puzzled that anyone would find Jeong's tweet's racist. Aja Romano, writing at Vox, thought the whole backlash was unfounded and, she believed, perpetrated by the Alt-Right. Romano defended Jeong's tweets as sarcasm, jokes, or "counter-trolling." She explained that "Jeong’s tweets were, at best, mean to some white people, and were written in a context reasonably understood to be a sarcastic response to people who were perpetually harassing her on the basis of her gender and race." She had no problem with what Jeong had written over the course of many years.
Libby Watson penned an op-ed for Splinter News that also characterized Jeong's tweets as jokes. Moreover, Watson explained, "[t]he tweets were not racist; they were jokes about white people, which is a different thing that is not racism." She elaborated:
Making jokes about white people isn’t the same as making racist jokes about black people, or Asian people, or Jews, or gay people, or any other historically oppressed minority. This is a very simple principle, but one that many aggrieved whites find difficult to accept. You can’t say, “Well, imagine if you replaced ‘white’ with ‘black’ in those tweets,” because those two things are not equally replaceable. As much as you might find it desperately oppressive to not be able to use the n-word when you sing along to rap songs, there has never been a government-endorsed legal or societal campaign of oppression against whites. White people can be oppressed by other means, such as through gender or economics, but whites in the U.S. have never been systematically oppressed on the basis of their race alone.
In fact, white people in the United States have had it comparatively super good in large part because of their oppression of other races; when you, a white person, express or act upon your prejudice towards oppressed groups, you are taking part in that oppression. You contribute to the project of belittling, keeping down, otherizing, and exploiting historically oppressed minorities. When a member of an oppressed community complains about white people, that is different, because it is the whites who are doing the oppression. It is just different, which things often are.In short, she contends that racist tweets are okay when they are about white Americans because whites deserve it, and if any white Americans object, they are just being racist.
However, the rank hypocrisy has even bothered some of those on the left--but not enough for them to condemn Jeong. For instance, Bret Stephens, a columnist for The New York Times acknowledges that many of Jeong's tens of thousands of tweets are, in fact racist.
We should call many of these tweets for what they are: racist. I’ve seen some acrobatic efforts to explain why Jeong’s tweets should be treated as “quasi-satirical,” hyperbolical and a function of “social context.” But the criterion for racism is either objective or it’s meaningless: If liberals get to decide for themselves who is or isn’t a racist according to their political lights, conservatives will be within their rights to ignore them.Nevertheless, he believes her tweets should be overlooked and that The Times made the right decision in retaining Jeong.
Compare this with the reaction to commentary on Fox News by Laura Ingraham, in which she stated that "[i]n some parts of the country it does seem like the America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore,” and crediting it to massive demographic changes "that none of us ever voted for and most of us don’t like." Ingraham was immediately labeled a racist or worse. MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace said Ingraham’s comments were “articulating and embracing a racist ideology.”
Others questioned whether Ingraham really loved America--America being, in their minds, merely a proposition.Sarah Quinlan, writing at Red State, stated:
I love this country because it recognizes “that all men are created equal” and “that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” I love this country because it is based on the belief that the people should be safe from tyranny and their rights should be protected. I love this country because of the ideals that America was built upon.
I love my country because of what America represents, not because of the background of her people.Conor Freidersdorf, writing for the Atlantic, similarly proclaimed that "[w]hat I love about America is its animating idea: 'That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness'," and chastised Ingraham for loving America's "former demographic profile." Rick Moran found Ingraham's comments "puzzling," because, "these demographic changes that we've managed to absorb over the centuries are, in large measure, what make America so exceptional."
Of course, we know that Moran, Quinlan, Freidersdorf are wrong: there is substantial research showing that diversity reduces social capital and trust. And, even if America is an idea, not a people, that idea arose from and is rooted in the cultural backgrounds, philosophies, practices and civilization aspirations of Western Europe--specifically Great Britain, Denmark, Holland, and certain of the Germanic states. Ideas completely alien to the third world. It may be possible to admit a small number of aliens and have them assimilate, but alien peoples bring their alien ideas and culture, and in large numbers, those alien ideas can erode the America aspirations and replace it with something else. For instance, the founders thought of equality as being "equal" before the law--i.e., no special privileges for any particular group. However, the import of immigrants with socialist or Marxist leanings have attempted to twist that credo of "all men are created equal" to be "all are entitled to equal outcomes." This, in turn, has morphed into the concept of "social justice" founded on the resentment of the white middle class and a lack of gratitude for the civilization that they bequeathed to us.
And if this is not enough, Moran, Quinlan, and Freidersdorf are wrong because they presume to ignore identity politics--or, rather, implicitly argue that whites should ignore identity politics. To people like them, "that white Americans are slowly waking up to the fact that they don’t really want to get pushed around by newcomers just for being white merely proves that whites deserve their fate." And they don't want whites to react to the fact "that the Left has declared war on straight American white people for decades."
So, what motivates this current hatred of all things white? Although concentrating on the Jeong affair, Reihan Salam, in an article at The Atlantic, believed that much of it came down to virtue signaling:
... What I want to do, though, is look beyond the particulars of Jeong’s remarks to better understand why anti-white rhetoric is, in some communities, so commonplace as to be banal.
To state the obvious, Jeong is hardly alone in colorfully expressing anti-white sentiment, and it is this broader phenomenon I find most interesting. ... The people I’ve heard archly denounce whites have for the most part been upwardly-mobile people who’ve proven pretty adept at navigating elite, predominantly white spaces. A lot of them have been whites who pride themselves on their diverse social circles and their enlightened views, and who indulge in their own half-ironic white-bashing to underscore that it is their achieved identity as intelligent, worldly people that counts most, not their ascribed identity as being of recognizably European descent.
One reason I’ve been disinclined to take this sort of talk seriously in the past is that it has so often smacked of intra-white status jockeying. It is almost as though we’re living through a strange sort of ethnogenesis, in which those who see themselves as (for lack of a better term) upper-whites are doing everything they can to disaffiliate themselves from those they’ve deemed lower-whites. Note that to be “upper” or “lower” isn’t just about class status, though of course that’s always hovering in the background. Rather, it is about the supposed nobility that flows from racial self-flagellation.
But many of the white-bashers of my acquaintance have been highly-educated and affluent Asian American professionals. So why do they do it? ...
... In some instances, white-bashing can actually serve as a means of ascent, especially for Asian Americans. Embracing the culture of upper-white self-flagellation can spur avowedly enlightened whites to eagerly cheer on their Asian American comrades who show (abstract, faceless, numberless) lower-white people what for. And, simultaneously, it allows Asian Americans who use the discourse to position themselves as ethnic outsiders, including those who are comfortably enmeshed in elite circles.These people have no moral compass, other than what finds them favor with the "in crowd."
Think about what it takes to claw your way into America’s elite strata. Unless you were born into the upper-middle class, your surest route is to pursue an elite education. To do that, it pays to be exquisitely sensitive to the beliefs and prejudices of the people who hold the power to grant you access to the social and cultural capital you badly want. By setting the standards for what counts as praiseworthy, elite universities have a powerful effect on youthful go-getters. Their admissions decisions represent powerful “nudges” towards certain attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, and I’ve known many first- and second-generation kids—I was one of them—who intuit this early on.
In short, however, the 6 basic tenets of CRT are:
“The desire is that Salvationists achieve the following,” the Army says in an online “resource” titled “Let’s Talk About Racism,” listing several goals including to “lament, repent and apologize for biases or racist ideologies held and actions committed.”The resource claims Christianity is inherently racist and calls for white Christians to repent and offer “a sincere apology” to blacks for being “antagonistic… to black people or the culture, values and interests of the black community.”“Many have come to believe that we live in a post-racial society, but racism is very real for our brothers and sisters who are refused jobs and housing, denied basic rights and brutalized and oppressed simply because of the color of their skin,” one lesson in the resource says. “There is an urgent need for Christians to evaluate racist attitudes and practices in light of our faith, and to live faithfully in today’s world.”“And as we engage in conversations about race and racism, we must keep in mind that sincere repentance and apologies are necessary if we want to move towards racial reconciliation. We recognize that it is a profound challenge to sit on the hot seat and listen with an open heart to the hurt and anger of the wounded. Yet, we are all hardwired to desire justice and fairness, so the need to receive a sincere apology is necessary,” said the resource.In an accompanying Study Guide on Racism, the Salvation Army says whites are racist. “The subtle nature of racism is such that people who are not consciously racist easily function with the privileges, empowerment and benefits of the dominant ethnicity, thus unintentionally perpetuating injustice,” it says.“We must stop denying the existence of individual and systemic/institutional racism. They exist, and are still at work to keep White Americans in power,” the lesson says.
A key principle of rainbow liberalism is that the solution to working-class woes is hiking taxes on the rich to finance a generous suite of wage subsidies, social services, and, for the truly ambitious, basic-income grants. But will white liberals be as enthusiastic about sharp increases in their taxes if they become something other than theoretical? Immigrants in New York, for instance, live in a state where the Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, recently championed a tax reform designed to sharply reduce the total tax burden facing his state’s wealthiest residents while stymieing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s efforts to raise taxes on the city’s ultrarich. Cuomo did so as New York’s transit infrastructure was in crisis and rising rents were exposing tens of thousands of families to the risk of eviction.But Salam also predicts that Latinos will likely favor restrictions to immigration in coming decades. Again, from his article:
These betrayals sting in the present. But in the near future, such efforts will be undertaken in the midst of “the Great Wealth Transfer”—in which trillions of dollars in accumulated cash, homes, and other assets will be transmitted from disproportionately white, native-born, college-educated Baby Boomers to their long-waiting heirs. In this context, a brown populism might emerge, one that is sharply to the left of today’s rainbow liberalism. Just as Donald Trump appeals to the ethnic self-interest of rural whites, a tribune of working-class Latinos could call attention to the dearth of Latinos in the uppermost echelons of American society and promise to do something drastic about it, such as redistributing the inherited wealth of privileged whites. In the post-civil-rights era, many charismatic African American politicians—and activists like Fred Hampton—promised to redress the racial injustices plaguing majority-black cities by confronting an ostensibly liberal white elite. Brown populism would pledge to do the same, but from a position of far greater electoral strength. Latinos already outnumber whites in California, and aren’t far behind in Texas; the electorates of the two most populous states will soon have a Latino plurality.
According to the historian Brian Gratton, America’s major restrictionist movements have emerged in response to a dramatic increase in immigration levels coupled with a change in the ethnic origins of new immigrants. Both factors are important. If a dramatic increase in immigration levels occurs but natives by and large see the newcomers as their cultural kin, the reaction might be muted, as cultural affinity overrides other considerations. If a dramatic increase occurs and the newcomers are culturally distinct, however, intergroup tension is all but inevitable. Gratton’s thesis partly captures why older whites have been so resistant to Latino immigration.
But as Latino immigration slows, and as working-class Latino Americans come into their own politically, Gratton’s work leaves us with an irony-laden prediction about what is to come: A coalition of cosmopolitan whites, Asian Americans, and blacks may well fight to open the U.S. labor market to growing numbers of desperate people from Asia and Africa, whether out of class interest, ethnic loyalty, or devotion to rainbow liberalism as an ideology—but these new immigrants could be met by a coalition of working-class whites and Latinos who favor closed borders.
For Christians, it is a time to look to our scriptures. Christ is no respecter of persons or races, including blacks. The Bible is replete with the admonition that the son should not be judged for the sins of his father. God expects us to abide by his commandments, not act according to our will or emotions. CRT is the exact opposite of this and is, therefore, anti-Christ. In matter of fact, that CRT identifies Christians as an "oppressor" class, is proof positive that it is an anti-Christ philosophy.
VIDEO: " Are we in the 6th or 7th Seal - LDS Last Days Signs of the Times "--Gospel Lessons (22 min.)