Sunday, May 21, 2017

Strike Industry's SI Link Curved Foregrip


       I haven't had time to write an in-depth review of Strike Industry's SI Link Curved Foregrip, although I've had it about 6 months. It is an aluminum foregrip designed to attach to either MLOK or K-Mod handguards. It is not designed to attach to rails, however. The configuration is designed to accommodate different styles of grips on the weapon, but allow the user to pull the weapon more forcefully into the shoulder, giving greater stability.

       The open portion of the grip is about a handwidth from the front to the back. Putting the hand into the grip allows a very strong C-clamp grip or modified version. Alternatively, a shooter can just hook a finger or two over the front of the grip that projects down, or around the back portion of the grip. Although small for this purpose, the back portion can even be gripped and used like a vertical foregrip. The front part can also be used to provide a barricade stop function.

       I have the black version. You can also pick it up in grey, blue or red. The latter two colors run about $5 more than the black or grey versions. MSRP for the black or grey models are $37.95,  but I picked mine up for $35 at a local store.

       I cannot say enough in praise of this grip. I use a modified C-clamp grip (i.e., basically a version where the thumb isn't position so high as to go over the top of the handguard, but oriented along the side and higher than a standard/traditional method of gripping the handguard on a rifle) with this device, pulling the rifle deeper into the shoulder, and it keeps the weapon very steady and minimizes inadvertent muzzle movement. In dry firing, I've also noted that using this there is less movement just from the force of pulling the trigger than I see with some of my other rifles.

       There are texture cuts into the device that provide a very positive grip. I have not had any issues with it slipping or sliding.

       It costs only slightly more than a Magpul Angled Foregrip (AFG-2), which requires a rail section, and about $10 more than the AFG intended to attach to the MLOK system, but, I believe, a better than either two. It gets two thumbs up from me.

What Makes the Current Influx of Immigrants from Central America Different From Past Waves

        This post is intended to follow up on yesterday's post entitled "The Reconquista." I had linked to a video by Black Pigeon that discussed some differences from the Latin American (mostly Mexican) immigrants of today versus the waves of immigration experienced by the United States at other periods. He noted, correctly, that one factor is the social cohesiveness of Latin Americans which is assisted by the fact that most have settled near each other, and have a social and cultural reinforcement that comes from close proximity to the border and the ease of crossing said border. He also observes that, unlike other immigrant cadres, Mexican immigrants view the United States (or, at least, large portions of it) as belonging to Mexico.

       What is clear, however, is that they do not view themselves as part of or belonging to the same European Tradition (i.e., the West), let alone being descendant from English or German Protestant roots, as does most of the United States. The same could be said, though, for immigrants from Catholic Ireland or Italy, yet even these immigrants--which lived in close proximity with one another and maintained close contacts with their homelands--assimilated, for the most part, into the then existent culture. Won't the same happen with Latin American immigrants?

       It traditionally has not. The United States has periodically had large influxes of Latin Americans (again, primarily Mexican) move into the United States and, for the most part, not assimilate.  On occasion, these immigrants have moved back south of the border when government hostility has increased (e.g., the 1910s, or as a result of Operation Wetback).  But, by an large, Latin Americans have been hostile toward integration.

       Let me suggest another factor, one briefly discussed by Carroll Quigley, arguably one of the most significant historians of the 20th Century. In his book, Tragedy and Hope, Quigley notes that "Spain and Latin America, despite centuries of nominal Christianity, are Arabic areas." Latin and South America are part of what Quigley describes as the Pakistani-Peruvian axis.
The old French proverb which says that “Africa begins at the Pyrenees”does not, of course, mean by “Africa”that Black Africa which exists south of the deserts, but means the world of the Arabs which spread, in the eighth century, across Africa from Sinai to Morocco. To this day the Arab influence is evident in southern Italy, northern Africa and, above all, in Spain. It appears in the obvious things such as architecture, music, the dance, and literature, but most prominently it appears in outlook, attitudes, motivations, and value systems.
He explains:
       In Spain, the Arab conquest of 711, which was not finally ejected until 1492, served to spread Arab personality traits, in spite of the obvious antagonism between Muslim and Christian. In fact, the antagonism helped to build up those very traits that I have called Arabic: intolerance, self-esteem, hatred, militarization, cruelty, dogmatism, rigidity, harshness, suspicion of outsiders, and the rest of it. The Arab traits that were not engendered by this antagonism were built up by emulation—the tendency of a conquered people to copy their conquerors, no matter how much they profess to hate them, simply because they are a superior social class. From this emulation came the Spanish and Latin American attitudes toward sex, family structure, and child-rearing that are the distinctive features of Spanish-speaking life today and that make Spanish-speaking areas so ambiguously part of Western Civilization in spite of their nominal allegiance to such an essential Western trait as Christianity.
* * *
       In Latin America the Mediterranean version of Arabized life again found its traits preserved, and sometimes reinforced, by the historical process. In Latin America non-Spanish influences, chiefly Indian, Negro, and North American, can be observed in such things as music, dances, superstitions, agricultural crops and diet (largely Indian), or in transportation, communications, and weapons (largely European); but the basic structures of family and social life, of ideological patterns and values are, to this day, largely those of the Arabic end of the Pakistani-Peruvian axis.
Thus, he states:
To this day, the characteristics we have listed as Arabic dominate Latin America: no real concern for the soil, the area, for workers, one’s fellow men, or the community as a whole; the dominance of family connection and of masculine dominance with its dual standard of sexual morality, its cult of virility, its selfishness, self-indulgence, lack of self-discipline or of concern for others; and the whole Mediterranean view of politics as a system of exploitative, personal relationships of an arbitrary and corrupt character combining extortion, bribery, tax evasion, and total divorce from community spirit or personal responsibility for the welfare of others or of the nation.
       In contrast:
For the West, even as it nominally ceases to be Christian, and most obviously in those areas which have, at least nominally, drifted furthest from Christianity, still has many of the basic Christian traits of love, humility, social concern, humanitarianism, brotherly care, and future preference, however detached these traits may have become from the Christian idea of deity or of individual salvation in a spiritual eternity.
Quigley suggests that this could be overcome by Latin Americans actually practicing Christianity. That is, adopt and follow the Christian ideology "that places emphasis on self-discipline, service to others, love, and equality, [which are] virtues, almost wholly lacking in practice in Latin America...."

       It is interesting to contemplate that, just as Europe is being overrun by Islamic invaders, we in the United States are similarly being overrun by immigrants that Islamic in their culture, if not in their religion.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Reconquista

Black Pigeon Speaks (11 min.)

       Black Pigeon doesn't argue that it will necessarily mean the end of the United States as a political entity, but, rather, the end of the United States as we know it because of the replacement of the peoples and culture that have historically made up the United States.

       I doubt it will be all that peaceful. I would note that we have been at war with Mexico, with open conflict off and on, for 150 years. The Zimmerman Telegram was so decisive in pushing the United States into World War I because it followed on the heels of armed attacks from Mexico and plot to encourage an insurrection among Latinos in Texas and the American South West. It wasn't viewed as delusional or wishful thinking on the part of Germany, but a real and possible threat.

A Summer of Troubles

       I noted the other day an article from David P. Goldman discussing why the current, baseless accusations being raised against Pres. Trump represented not an attempt at impeachment, but a de facto coup attempt by the Establishment and Deep State. Remember that Trump was elected to fight not one, but two empires: a transnational empire of international law that's primary focus is trade and national (imperial) security; and an Empire of Ideology primarily rooted in cultural Marxism. And as Daniel Greenfield observes:
These two types of imperialists are incapable of representing native workers or communities because they are transnationalists. Their vision is cosmopolitan, rather than representative. They are entranced with a byzantine international arrangement and uninterested in the lives of the people they are ruining.
Paul Joseph Watson has posted a video (below) discussing the narrative that is being formed to delegitimize Trump, with the aim of forcing him from office.

Paul Joseph Watson (6 min.)

Watson believes that Trump could only gain a reprieve, albeit temporary, by getting the U.S. involved in a war, which would satiate the first empire for a while, but only for a while. Second, he could try and fight back against the Deep State, which will just see a war at home in the form of riots, protests, and endless harping from the MSM.

       I had noted the other day a story discussing George Soros' essentially buying up district attorneys and prosecutors in local elections, and suggested that a list of these would be useful for predicting where the rioting will be the worst. The reason I raised that issue is because the decision of whether to prosecute criminals, and what charges to pursue, lies with the district attorney's and prosecutors (essentially different names for the same thing: the chief attorney representing the State in criminal prosecutions)--what is termed, "prosecutorial discretion."

       At any rate, it is a given that we will probably see outright riots this summer. To what extent is unknown. I'm sure that the organizers of these events will want something similar to the "long hot summer" of 1967 which saw 159 race riots across the United States, including major riots in Harlem, Brooklyn, and Newark. In the latter case--Newark--the city never recovered from the riots which induced "white flight" and a loss of businesses and jobs to the City. Again, Paul Joseph Watson has a video about how the left is planning for more aggressive "protests" this summer.

Paul Joseph Watson (7 min.)

Friday, May 19, 2017

May 19, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

The Wound Channel (8-1/2 min.)

Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:
  • TGIF! This week's Weekend Knowledge Dump from Active Response Training. Articles on the effective range of buckshot, veterinary treatment of pets when SHTF, the "Israeli Limited Penetration" tactics of searching a building (which Greg suggests is good for both police and homeowners checking out a "bump in the night"), and a lot more. Check it out.
  • "Jeff Gonzales: How to Use a Flashlight for Armed Self-Defense Pt. 2"--The Truth About Guns. The author discusses that two of the biggest problems he sees in using a flashlight in armed self-defense is (1) people who don't know how to use a flashlight for searching, and (2) are not comfortable/practiced in operating in dark or dim environments. As to the second point, the only solution will be practice; and, if available, the author suggests taking a low-light shooting class. As to the first point, the initial lesson is to not use your weapon light for searching because, the author opines, using your weapon light means that you must have had a justification to draw the weapon and point it someone--otherwise, you are just brandishing. Finally, the author describes his favored method of holding the flashlight: the light held in his off-hand, indexed against his (off-hand) jaw line, which allows him to illuminate both a potential threat and, if needed, the firearm's sites. 
       Due to the prevalence of lighting in streets, parking lots and garages, and so on, shooting a handgun in a situation requiring a flashlight is probably going to be more rare than most people think. If you are in your own home, I don't believe brandishing a firearm is an issue; the reason not to rely on a weapon mounted light in that situation is, in my opinion, to avoid a panic shot should you be surprised by a family member who was just bumbling around in the dark. (Yes, the trigger should be off the trigger; but when over a quarter of trained shooters will still unconsciously put their finger on the trigger when anticipating danger, you should not assume that you will never have your finger on the trigger). Whether the same would apply to searchers outside the home, but still within the curtilage, probably would depend on your local laws. 
    A    Alpha
      B    Bravo
        C    Charlie
          D    Delta
            E    Echo
              F    Foxtrot
                G    Golf
                  H    Hotel
                    I    India
                      J    Juliet
                        K    Kilo
                          L    Lima
                            M    Mike
                              N    November
                                O    Oscar
                                  P    Papa
                                    Q    Quebec
                                      R    Romeo
                                        S    Sierra
                                          T    Tango
                                            U    Uniform
                                              V    Victor
                                                W    Whiskey
                                                  X    X-ray
                                                    Y    Yankee
                                                      Z    Zulu
                                                      •  "The Flowchart Of Killing"--Gabe Suarez. A decision tree for the use of lethal force.
                                                      • "6 Helpful Tips for Disabled Shooters"--Pew Pew Tactical. The author discusses each of the tips which cover: (1) Ask the Right Questions to Find the Right Gun; (2) Shooting From a Wheelchair; (3) Shooting With Chronic Pain; (4) Shooting With Impairments of the Hands, Arms, or Shoulder; (5) Choose the Right Holster; (6) Investigate Other Firearm Accessories for People with Disabilities.
                                                      • "CDM Gear BC47 AK Light Mounts – Now Available"--Jerking The Trigger. These mounts are designed to clamp to the barrel, and include a hole for the cleaning rod.
                                                      • The real world is different than a Disney cartoon: "The Downfall of Bear Fanatic Timothy Treadwell"--Field & Stream. I don't remember where I came across a reference to Treadwell, but it is an interesting, if sober, story. Treadwell was one of those environmental wackos that believed that people could get along with bears if they just understood them better. Accordingly, he started spending summers living in Alaska amongst Alaskan Brown Bears. Apparently it worked well, until it didn't. In early October 2003, "[w]hen a bush pilot arriving to pick up Treadwell sighted his flattened tent and investigated, an old boar bear was perching on his partially buried remains. Treadwell had been largely eaten. Along with his body parts were those of his 37-year-old girlfriend" who had also been mauled and partially eaten. When the bear first started bothering the couple's tent, Treadwell asked his girlfriend to start recording the encounter. Unfortunately, Treadwell wasn't able to make peace with the bear, and ended his life begging his girlfriend, first, to hit the bear with a frying pan (apparently his only "weapon") and, finally, to get out of there. 
                                                      • "How The Humvee Compares To The New Oshkosh JLTV"--Motor Trend. The Humvee, in its military configuration, is an underpowered, overly large vehicle for its role. To make matters worse, the military has gradually transformed it from a utility vehicle into an armored car (albeit, not a very good one). Its heir apparent, the JLTV, has over twice the horsepower, and is more heavily armored, but is also fatter and has a curb weight of 14,000 lbs. Just the thing for fighting in built-up areas with narrow streets, chasing insurgents along narrow goat trails, and crossing rickety wooden bridges. 

                                                      Other Stuff:
                                                      • "Scientists think they found proof of a parallel universe"--New York Post. The evidence is a "region of space which is 1.8 billion light years across and colder than its surroundings." According to the article, the scientists "believe a parallel universe could have smashed into ours affecting it in a way similar to a multiple vehicle pileup," and that the impact "pushed energy out of a huge region of space resulting in the Cold Spot."
                                                      • "George Soros Still Quietly Buying District Attorneys’ Seats"--The Daily Caller. Soros paid for Larry Krasner to win the primary election in the race for the Philadelphia district attorney. It would be nice to have a list of the district attorneys/prosecutors that are owned by Soros, as it would give us a map of where BLM and La Raza protests will be the most violent.
                                                      • The consequences of letting the camel's nose into the tent: "Black Students at UCLA Make Ultimatum Demanding $40 Million, Free Housing and ‘Safe Spaces’"--Heat Street. Remember, affirmative action programs (including the favored admission status) was supposed to have been compensation for past wrongs to blacks.  
                                                      • "Sex Differences in Intelligence in Nigeria"--Unz Review. In the most comprehensive study to date of intelligence and scholastic ability among Nigerians, the researchers discovered that while there was near parity in intelligence between boys and girls at young ages, a male advantage in IQ begins to appear as the children age, appearing as early as 10 years of age. By ages 18 and 19, the male participants in the study had a 7 point advantage over females, on average (although the standard deviation for females was less than males, meaning that females cluster more tightly around the norm). The author also notes that this is the most comprehensive study on IQ, generally, in Nigeria, and shows an average IQ of 70 for the country. An IQ of 70 represents borderline mental disability, while "in the past, an IQ score below 70 was considered a benchmark for mental retardation."
                                                      • "Intelligence: Clever Korean Con Compromised"--Strategy Page. This article goes into more detail on the evidence showing the China (or, at least, certain Chinese companies) have been violating trade restrictions with North Korea, and providing it with technology and equipment needed for its ballistic missile program. 
                                                      • And this is a problem? "Report: Illegal Aliens Forego Food Stamps to Stay off Trump’s Radar"--Breitbart
                                                      • The wages of sin socialism: "In secret recording, Venezuelan general pushes for snipers to control demonstrators"--Miami Herald. Read the whole thing, but basically, according to the recording of a meeting between Venezuelan military leaders, they already view the protests as "war," and (all but one) believed that killing protesters would soon be the only way to keep them off the streets. The lone dissenter argued that shooting protesters could result in jail for the military leaders, and would turn the tide of public opinion against the government. However, Division General José Rafael Torrealba Pérez stated that he didn't care about public opinion.
                                                      • "A Coup Attempt, Not a Constitutional Crisis"--David P. Goldman at PJ Media. Goldman writes:
                                                      A ranking Republican statesman this week told an off-the-record gathering that a “coup” attempt was in progress against President Donald Trump, with collusion between the largely Democratic media and Trump’s numerous enemies in the Republican Party. The object of the coup, the Republican leader added, was not impeachment, but the recruitment of a critical mass of Republican senators and congressmen to the claim that Trump was “unfit” for office and to force his resignation.
                                                      He goes on to explain: 
                                                             Why did Obama get a pass while Trump got the bum’s rush? Apart from the antipathy of the major media to a candidate who campaigned against them, there is the hostility of the intelligence agencies. That, the Wall Street Journal editors said, is Trump’s own fault: “Mr. Trump’s strife and insults with the intelligence community were also bound to invite blowback,” their May 17 editorial scolded. “In that case the public leaks about Mr. Trump’s actions, if true, will do more damage than whatever he said in private.”
                                                               The Journal editors imply that disaffection in the intelligence community is the result of Trump’s obstreperousness, but the source of the dispute is policy and accountability. Trump’s first national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn, was fired by Obama as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency for claiming that U.S. intelligence agencies bore some responsibility for the emergence of ISIS. The CIA funded Sunni rebels against the Assad regime including many from a branch of al-Qaeda, the al-Nusra Front, in its campaign to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Trump has shifted America’s priority to stopping the bloodshed in Syria rather than forcing out al-Assad, and is willing to work with Russia to achieve this—provided that the result doesn’t give undue influence to Iran, a senior administration official explained.
                                                                 A shift to peacemaking and the limited possibility of a regional deal with Russia away from the covert war operations of the CIA under the Obama administration represents a major policy change. It threatens the credibility of Sen. McCain, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and the Republican Establishment, not to mention the CIA officials who made their careers on collaboration with Syria’s Sunni rebels.
                                                            Richard Fernandez, adding his own thoughts to Goldman's analysis, writes:
                                                              Who will eventually dangle from the gibbet now under construction is hard to predict, but it's safe to say the victim will resist with a fight that will devastate the political landscape. The Trump election revealed a nation nearly evenly divided. This near equality means neither side can realistically expect an outright victory. Nothing is now certain except uncertainty ...
                                                                I would direct you to a piece written by the Diplomad concerning this issue. He observes:
                                                                         Let us not forget, as I have written often, that the progressives have infiltrated the bureaucracy of government from top to bottom. There is a palpable hatred for Trump within that bureaucracy; he wasn't supposed to win! I am willing to bet, for example, that easily 80% of State Department bureaucrats voted for Hillary Clinton--easily 80%, and probably closer to 90%.
                                                                           Sabotage is all they have left on the left . . .
                                                                      And remember, the Deep State plays to win:

                                                                      Thursday, May 18, 2017

                                                                      Paying For Our Own Extinction


                                                                             The Abolish Borders mural shown above is supported by Galeria de la Raza, and is based on Gilda Posada’s Destroy White Supremacy Project. 

                                                                             The Galeria de la Raza is funded by the usual leftists and your tax dollars, to-wit: 
                                                                      Bloomberg Philanthropies; The California Arts Council, a state agency; Grants For the Arts - San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund; the Hellman Family Foundation; Horizons Foundation; the National Association for Latino Arts and Culture - NALAC Fund for the Arts/Nescafé Clásico; the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; San Francisco Arts Commission; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; The James Irvine Foundation; The San Francisco Foundation; the Zellerbach Family Foundation and Galería members.
                                                                            Posada describes his "work" as "a tribute to the many people who decided that enough is enough and that they would not go down without a fight. This project is for the great celebration of the revolution that has begun on account of these policies. But most of all, this work is for those who come together to relentlessly radicalize a better future for tomorrow in the name of the generations that came before us and for those that are to come after us."

                                                                             We are paying for our own extinction. Roosh V. posted an article the other day entitled "The Barbarians Will Solve Your Sterile Existence." While "first world problem" is used jokingly to refer to trivial, unimportant inconveniences of life only faced by the developed peoples, that the mural above, and what Roosh V. discusses, are actual, serious first world problem, which is that developed peoples are simply not reproducing enough to withstand the dark tide of humanity that threatens to overthrow the civilized world. He observes:
                                                                      Nature doesn’t care about your egalitarian laws or your superior IQ. It cares about reproduction and power, and what the barbarians lack in intelligence, they make up for in life energy. We are the anomalies, we are the mistakes, and unless we re-discover the ways of family, tradition, and God, we must be ready to accept the inevitable end that it was us who become so weak as a people that we didn’t even bother having a gate, and that all the barbarians had to do was walk right in.
                                                                       Roosh is not alone in his concern. Mark Steyn recently published a video entitled "Tomorrow by the Numbers" which discusses what Steyn calls the most important graph of our age.


                                                                      The graph, published by Steven Sailor, has two lines: one showing the historical and projected population of Europe from about 1950 through 2100; the other showing the historical and projected population of Africa during the same period. The two lines crossed in the late 20th Century, with Africa rising rapidly. It is estimated that Africa will have a population--just by itself--of over 4 billion by 2100. Europe, on the other hand, has and will stay a steady 500 million. Except it won't, because the 4 billion in Africa aren't going to stay there. They will migrate into whatever area will let them. Although Steyn focuses on the Europe, it won't be the only destination of boatloads and planeloads of people. And the biggest threat we face is the idea that borders are obsolete, passe, and irrelevant.

                                                                             Hearkening back to the writings of Oswald Spengler, we have become so divorced from our root culture that we no longer have a purpose. The will to power is used to describe why certain leaders come to dominate their group, their community, their country, or even their era. But our culture has become so civilized that we don't have the will to do anything; least of all, to save our civilization. Perhaps this is the great filter.

                                                                             Perhaps I'm just feeling pessimistic, but, to be frank, I don't see the West, or even a sizable portion, rekindling the spirit that drove the scientists, explorers, and settlers of our past. It may be, as Rod Dreher suggests in his book, The Benedict Option, that the best we can do is preserve the precious things in Christian enclaves until the time of troubles passes. As the Anonymous Conservative notes, whatever is coming down the pike will mostly kill off what he terms the r-selected portions of the population. So, perhaps we play the role of Noah, with tight knit Christian communities serving as our Ark, sealed up while the rest of the world burns. But I can't see complete passivity being a winning strategy. So perhaps we become the badger, wolverine or bear: live and let live, but expect to be the subject of awesome fury if you cross us.

                                                                      May 18, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                      Black Pigeon Speaks (8 min.)
                                                                      Seth Rich:
                                                                             This might be a big deal. First, some background. Rich was a Democratic National Committee staffer who was fatally shot in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C. at about 4:20 a.m. on July 10, 2016. He was shot twice in the back, and, although his death was described as a botched robbery by police, none of his possessions--watch, wallet, etc.--were taken. He apparently left a bar that he frequented shortly before the shooting, appearing more drunk than what was normal. After Rich's killing, Julian Assange, of Wikileaks fame, hinted that Rich may have been the source of the emails leaked to Wikileaks showing collusion between Hillary Clinton's campaign and the DNC. Wikileaks later offered a reward for information leading to the arrest of Rich's killer(s).
                                                                             A few days ago, Fox News reported that Rod Wheeler, a retired Washington homicide detective investigating the case on behalf of the Rich family, claimed that there had been email correspondence between Rich and Wikileaks. However, an unnamed federal source seemed to back up Wheeler's claim, telling Fox that:
                                                                             An FBI forensic report of Rich's computer -- generated within 96 hours after Rich's murder -- showed he made contact with WikiLeaks through Gavin MacFadyen, a now-deceased American investigative reporter, documentary filmmaker, and director of WikiLeaks who was living in London at the time, the federal source told Fox News.
                                                                               “I have seen and read the emails between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks,” the federal investigator told Fox News, confirming the MacFadyen connection. He said the emails are in possession of the FBI, while the stalled case is in the hands of the Washington Police Department.
                                                                          Rich's family, however, has denied that Wheeler's claims are true. Wheeler also has walked back on his statements, claiming that he was merely summarizing what the Fox News reported had told him--presumably, referring to the information from the unnamed federal official. 
                                                                                   In any event, it is what the unnamed federal investigator said which is important, if true. Robert Gore at Straight Line Logic sums it up in his article, "Let’s Connect the Dots." His basic conclusion, however, is that: 
                                                                              If Seth Rich was the source of the WikiLeaks’ DNC email disclosures and the FBI knew it, then the Russian hacking story was a fabrication, and James Comey was probably involved in an attempt to drive President Trump from office.

                                                                                Firearms/Prepping:
                                                                                • "TFB REVIEW: Comrade Arms TAK-47"--The Firearms Blog. The TAK-47 is a Chinese manufactured semi-automatic shotgun based on the AK platform. Although the weapon only ships with 5-round magazines, it will accept magazines designed for the Saiga shotguns. It has an adjustable gas regulator to allow use of both express rounds or field/practice loads. The author indicates that the street price is between $500 and $600.
                                                                                • "Executive Protection Gear: Tools Of The Trade"--Loadout Room. Handgun in an IWB holster (so he can ditch his jacket if necessary), programmable field radio, and he carries a trauma kit and a Swisstech ‘Bodygard’ which has a window breaker and seat belt cutter. Anyway, he lists specific brands and models of holster, belt, phone apps, and other gear, so check it out if it interests you.
                                                                                • "8 Things That Can Go Wrong in the Next Disaster"--Modern Survival Online. (1) panic; (2) hypothermia; (3) dehydration; (4) physical injury; (5) bad food or water leading to food poisoning, dysentery, or other maladies; (6) allergic reactions; (7) getting lost; and (8) threats or dangers poised by other people.
                                                                                • "History & Physical: Full Version"--Grid Down Medicine. What questions to ask, and what vitals to take, when treating a patient. Of course, knowing what to do from that point is what separates a doctor from the rest of us.
                                                                                • "Decoding Cast Iron Numbers and Lettering"--Mental Scoop (H/t SHTF Preparedness). The author explains:
                                                                                        Back when wood-burning stoves were first becoming prevalent, pans were made to fit the variously sized openings in the top called stove eyes.  Essentially a stove eye is the equivalent of a modern burner.  It was a heavy cover piece made to fit eyes not being used directly.  For maximum direct heat, the stove eyes could be removed with a special lifter handle as well.
                                                                                           In early cast iron pans, there was typically a rim or heat ring on the bottom surface of the pan.  The heat ring provided stability for the pan and helped to maintain consistent temperature by essentially sealing the pan over the stove eye.  So depending on the brand of a particular stove and the sizes of its eyes, pans of various and corresponding sizes would need to be purchased.
                                                                                             Though wood-burning stoves gave way to gas, and eventually electric stovetops, this system of numbering continued as the standard for sizing cast iron cookware.
                                                                                      Other Stuff:
                                                                                      South African farmers were being exterminated at the annual rate of 313 per 100,000 inhabitants, 3,000 since the election of the sainted Nelson Mandela (1994), two a week, seven in March of 2010, “four times as high as is for the rest of the [South African] population,” in the words of Genocide Watch’s Dr. Gregory H. Stanton.
                                                                                      That makes being a South African farmer the most dangerous job in the world; and, the most dangerous population demographic outside of a war zone. 
                                                                                      • Related: "South Africa: New wealth distribution measures just empty rhetoric?"--Deutsche Welle. The article relates that South African President Zuma is coming under increasing pressure to redistribute land and wealth from whites to blacks. Accordingly, he has stepped up his rhetoric, claiming that his attempts at economic reform have been stymied by a "Western forces" conspiring to remove him from office because he is fighting "white monopoly capital." The probable outcome is that South Africans will butcher the goose that lays the golden eggs, and wind up with no goose or eggs.
                                                                                      • So, sort of like Africa: "The secret in paradise: Violence mars Caribbean life"--Miami Herald. According to the article, "the region has some of the lowest victimization by property crime in the world but one of the world’s highest violent crime rates. Nearly 1 in 3 citizens has lost someone to violence, and individuals are more likely to be a victim of assault or a threat than anywhere else in the hemisphere." The crime is largely kept away from the glitzy tourist traps, but rather "the region’s crime victims are often concentrated in poorer communities where graffiti, trash and abandoned buildings are the norm, trust among neighbors is low and gangs are aplenty."
                                                                                      • Ibid. "Chicago district’s violence escalates with assault-style rifles"--Gun Writer. The media has complained of "assault rifles" in the hands of gangs for so long that the gangs have finally taken notice. Or, it is the result of growing influence of gangs migrating north from Mexico and Central America. As I've noted before, Chicago is the primary distribution hub for drugs in the United States, and valuable territory for the cartels. 
                                                                                               Over a five-day stretch this month, in a single police district on this city’s South Side, 13 people were shot with assault-style rifles. The victims included two police officers wounded while sitting in a van. And 10 others were shot last Sunday during an impromptu memorial service for a man who had been killed a few hours earlier near the same spot along a neighborhood street.
                                                                                                 The use of high-powered weaponry is an unsettling subplot in Chicago’s long-running struggle with gun and gang violence. Most of the city’s shootings involve handguns, but the use of an AK-47 or AR-15 rifle can wound far more victims in far less time, leaving police overwhelmed and residents ever more wary of venturing outdoors.
                                                                                          From the late 1970s until 2010 China averaged more than nine percent real growth, but growth has fallen considerably since, coming in at 6.7 percent for all of 2016. More troubling than the country’s dive in growth is its collapse in productivity. All of China’s growth now is achieved through mobilizing more money and labor, not improvements in human capital or technology. It now takes three times as much capital to generate a single unit of economic growth as it did in 2008. The result is an explosion of debt that now accounts for at least 280 percent of GDP, and could break through the 300 percent mark by year’s end.
                                                                                          On top of everything else, China is starting to chase away foreign investors who are getting tired of the corruption and onerous restrictions on foreign businesses.
                                                                                          • "Migrants Are r-strategists – Is Enslaving Them Wrong?"--Anonymous Conservative. No, this isn't a call to resume the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Rather, it is a look at the slave markets that have emerged in Libya after Hillary's and Obama's "successful" intervention there, and an observation that liberals are predisposed to be either tyrants or slaves. In particular, AC notes an article describing the encounter between a migrant and his former slaver. AC points out: 
                                                                                          Notice, he essentially says, “You killed my best friend, made me into a slave, and ruined my life!… Hey, do you have something to give me to eat?” That is an r-strategist. His friend was killed right in front of him. He was totally screwed by someone with no morals. And just like a ... rabbit next to another rabbit’s dead body, he doesn’t care. All he can think about is grazing. To a K-strategist, that is the makings of a blood oath of vengeance. But not to a rabbit.

                                                                                          Wednesday, May 17, 2017

                                                                                          May 17, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                                          Jason Blaha Firearm Enthusiast (13 min.)

                                                                                          • "Missile Defense 101: N. Korea could hit with little warning"--ABC News (warning: video plays automatically). Depending on the method of attack, there would be little to no warning. The article notes that North Korea has significant amounts of artillery aimed at targets in South Korea, including Seoul. There would probably be no warning of such an attack, and no real defense to such attacks. The article also notes that while Seoul has Patriot defense missile batteries and, most recently, THAAD, these would not protect against short range SCUD missiles. In addition, North Korea could attack South Korea using chemical or biological weapons (the assassination of Kim Jong-nam using VX nerve agents show not only that North Korea has such weapons, but is more than willing to use them). The article also mentions that:
                                                                                          One nuclear scenario that has been raised is an attack on the city of Busan, a major port sometimes used by the U.S. Navy. That's an option Pyongyang might consider if it believed it was under immediate threat of attack and wanted to make a show of overwhelming force to keep Washington from committing further.
                                                                                          In any event, South Korea would have 0-6 minutes warning of an attack (absent intelligence data of impending attack, such as troop movements). Japan is within reach of the intermediate range ballistic missiles that North Korea possesses, and would have 10-11 minutes from launch to time of striking. However, Japan also has Patriot missile batteries and, probably, Aegis ship based missile defense systems which could intercept such missiles. However, the article notes that it is questionable whether North Korea has an actual nuclear warhead: there is a big difference between a test device tested in a tunnel, and one mounted on a missile. I presume that since we have not attacked North Korea that there is no current evidence that they have a workable nuclear warhead. 
                                                                                          • "Should You Act? - Get Involved Or Run Away?"--Gabe Suarez. There is a perhaps natural impulse to "ride to the rescue" if you see someone being attacked--particularly a woman. Suarez notes, however, that in most cases you probably will want to not get involved in breaking up a fight. He notes:
                                                                                          So I am not saying to default to doing nothing, merely that you should have sufficient information on what is happening before reacting.  Lacking sufficient information, minding your own business may be a better option. Your decision will be based on three factors – location, companions, and information.  Let’s discuss it.
                                                                                                 By location, he means whether you are in a location (no gun zone, city or state) where you could be criminally charged for possessing a weapon, presuming that you are carrying in a "non-permissive" environment.
                                                                                                 By companions he is discussing who you are with. He notes an example of an off-duty police officer who decided to intervene in a robbery while accompanied by his daughter. His daughter was killed during the altercation. On the other hand, if he was having lunch with a bunch of his fellow instructors, and they were all armed, he would be more willing to interject himself into a dangerous situation.
                                                                                                 By information, he means what you know about the situation and what the situation entails. The lack of information is probably the most critical factor because without information, you don't know who the attacker is, whether it is justified, whether they are armed, whether they have compatriots. For instance, you see two men fighting, or even a man striking or threatening a woman, but know nothing more, you don't have enough information to intervene. And don't bother playing the "white knight" expecting that some pretty woman will be gushing all over you after you help her--you aren't going to get to even first base.   
                                                                                                 I'm reminded by an account that Mas Ayoob has mentioned of a truck driver in New York City that saw a man rough handling a woman, who was screaming "rape," and decided to play the white knight. Unfortunately for our would-be hero, the woman turned out to be a prostitute, and the "rapist" was a plains clothes vice squad officer attempting to arrest her. I am also reminded of the story from a couple years ago of one of the Americans who helped stop a terrorist attack on a train in Paris, who was stabbed while trying to break up a fight between a man and a woman in L.A. And, as any police officer who has had experience in responding to domestic disturbances can tell you, a woman being beaten by her husband or boyfriend may very well attack you should you get physical with her "attacker." 
                                                                                                 Anyway, read the whole thing.
                                                                                          • Related: "Self-Defense Tip: Stay Out of Domestic Disputes"--The Truth About Guns. Echoing the same advice, the author of this piece cites to an article that reports that "[a] young father and Air Force veteran was the man shot and killed outside an IHOP restaurant Sunday morning. Police said he was murdered while breaking up a domestic violence incident."
                                                                                          • "The Wave: Bugging Out? Some Things To Think About"--Lizard Farmer. The author relates some friends of his son that thought it might be a good idea, in the event of SHTF, to head over to the author's retreat. However, some quick questioning found that none of them had any skills or materials to contribute, or even sufficient physical fitness to be a good farm hand, so he made sure they knew they would not be welcomed. Just something to keep in mind.
                                                                                          • "Why a Handout Gun?"--The Survival Blog. I guess this is somewhat related to the article immediately cited above, In any event, the author suggests having some extra, bare-bones weapons on hand to give "to someone who arrives at your home during societal collapse without one." The general justification is to make sure that you have enough armed people to keep 24/7 guard shifts during a SHTF situation. He goes into the roles for which you will need people for good, overall security, and some of the characteristics of a good weapon: reliable, standardized, and nothing special in way of triggers or sights. 
                                                                                                 The immediate thing that strikes me about this idea is expense. I suppose that it might have been doable, at least to some extent, back when you could pick up an SKS or Mosin-Nagant rifle for less than $100 dollars, and a 1,000 rounds of the appropriate ammo for about the same price. Today, however, an AK or a very basic AR is probably going to run at least $500, not including the cost of magazines or ammunition; and even Mosin-Nagant rifles are selling for well over $200 or more each.
                                                                                                 The other thing that strikes me is that if these people don't have weapons, there is a good chance that they don't know how to use the weapons either. The midst of SHTF is not the time to be learning how to use a firearm. 
                                                                                                 I agree that a few extra weapons might be useful, although perhaps people might have to share weapons (i.e., while their on "duty" they get the weapon, and then pass it one to the next person that comes on "duty"). Ideally, however, unless it is your immediate family members, people expecting to hang out at your retreat after TEOTWAWKI should provide their own weapons and ammunition.
                                                                                          •  It depends. "How Many Firearms Do You Really Need?"--Modern Survival Online. But no more than you can afford the time and ammunition to be proficient.
                                                                                          • They are looking for a few good rifles: "USMC Releases RFI for New Infantry Rifles, Uppers, Optics, Suppressors, Targets"--The Firearms Blog. No caliber is specified, but the weapon better have a free floated barrel.
                                                                                          • "7.62x39 vs. .300 Blackout"--Shooting Illustrated. A 2015 article discussing the differences and similarities between the two cartridges. Ballistically, the two are similar (at least when considering the super-sonic .300 BLK loads). But the .300 BLK is intended to work with standard AR lowers and bolts. The 7.62x39 has sufficient case taper that it requires a bit more curvature in the magazine, and thus may not feed reliably through the magazine well for the standard AR. 
                                                                                          • "Sprouting - Growing your own vitamins"--All Things Provident. The author explains how to grow wheat, lentil, and alfalfa sprouts in wide-mouthed Mason jars.
                                                                                          • "How To Grow The Perfect Peppers: Survival Gardening"--Survival Life. Besides spicing up foods and dishes, peppers provide more vitamin C than most citrus fruits. The article discusses the three general categories of peppers, considerations and instructions for planting and caring for them, pests (and how to deal with them), and good companion plants.
                                                                                          • "Experts’ 10 Best Home Remedies—Using Stuff Around Your House"--The Survival Doctor. Some of the tips, such as using super-glue for small cuts or crack in your skin, I'd hear about before. Others, such as using duct-tape to treat warts, were new. Check it out.
                                                                                          • "SouthOrd PXS-14 USA-Made 14 Piece Lock Pick Set Review"--More Than Just Surviving. The author really likes SouthOrd brand lock picks, and this is his favorite set of the sets they offer. These picks are stainless steel, and, the author writes:
                                                                                          The SouthOrd PXS-14 is what I would define as a “full” kit for beginners. It doesn’t have a crazy amount of tools (and it’s missing specialty picks for dimple locks, amongst others), but what it does have is a solid foundation to learn lockpicking and deal with the majority of locks you will encounter in day to day life. It’s well made, durable (more on this later) and in my opinion features all the high quality tools you need at a price that is extremely reasonable – especially compared to other brands like Sparrows.
                                                                                           Interestingly, although it does not appear to be available on Amazon (in the U.S., it is listed on the U.K. site), Walmart lists it on their site.

                                                                                          Monday, May 15, 2017

                                                                                          May 15, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                                          Jason Blaha Firearm Enthusiast (26 min.)

                                                                                          Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:
                                                                                          • Related: "9mm vs. .40 Caliber"--Police Magazine. A 2016 article briefly outlining the data that convinced the FBI to switch back to 9mm. Basically, though, there is no significant difference in terminal ballistics, so they went with the one offering the highest capacity and least recoil. 
                                                                                          • Related: "9mm vs .40 vs .45: Which Chambering Has More Stopping Power?"--Massad Ayoob at Personal Defense World. A March 2017 article discussing the role of velocity and energy, and some of the police loads that have worked well, and other that were disliked. In the 9 mm, he notes that the LAPD seem to like their Winchester 147-grain Ranger 9mm ammunition; the Portland, Oregon, and St. Paul, Minn., departments have done well with their Federal 147-grain HST; Orlando, Florida, police seem well served by Winchester Ranger 124-grain +P rounds; and the NYPD and Topeka, Kansas, police like the Speer 124-grain Gold Dot +P JHPs.
                                                                                          These rioters who trash their own cities and attack women? They ARE NOT like you. The Antifa thugs, Communists, and far-left progressives don’t like people like you. They hate freedom. They don’t care if children get hurt, or if you’re with your family; so don’t try to reason with them, because it won’t work. They are not rational, so don’t expect any favors. Valueless people act in valueless ways, and you could be shown no mercy. Know your enemy.
                                                                                          Read the whole thing.
                                                                                          • "7 Tips on How to Shoot a Compound Bow Better"--Surviving Prepper. Most of these are common sense, but one that the author believes is often overlooked is follow through. Just as you should avoid moving or shifting a rifle after making a shot, so too you need to keep the bow up and arm extended after you have loosed an arrow.

                                                                                          Other Stuff:
                                                                                          • "Second Ebola case confirmed in Congo outbreak: Health officials try to trace 125 people linked to the cases"--Daily Mail. By second, they mean that an autopsy/test has confirmed that a second victim had Ebola. There are 3 dead among 19 suspected and confirmed cases.
                                                                                          • Diversity is our strength: "Measles Outbreak Caused by Anti-Vax Campaign, Officials Say"--Live Science. This article is a fun read because, even as officials try to divert attention from the fact that almost all of the victims are Somoli refugees, they end up emphasizing other negatives about immigration. For instance, the officials cited in the article blame the outbreak on an anti-vaccination group targeting the Somoli community with its propaganda. But why did the group target the Somolis? Because "[i]n 2008, local news agencies reported that Somali-American children were accessing special education services in Minnesota school districts more than children in other ethnic demographics." Then, to top it off, the article goes on to observe that measles, at one time, had been eradicated in the Americas (North and South). "However, this meant only that cases no longer originated in the Americas; measles could still appear in the U.S. if they were imported, infectious disease specialist Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior associate at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, told Live Science in September 2016." Thus, the article necessarily implies that the Somolis were likely the source of the measles. So, in order to avoid blaming the Somolis for not being vaccinated, the authors wound up instead indicating that the Somolis are mentally deficient and the source of the measles.
                                                                                          • The Japanese don't import workers in large numbers: "Japanese firms are employing ROBOTS to replace the plummeting working-age population"--Daily Mail
                                                                                          • The European refugees cause crime in all sorts of ways: "Italy busts 'mafia operation' in large migrant center in Calabria"--Deutsche Welle. Mafia controlled refugee centers have been siphoning off millions in government aid.
                                                                                          • "What Did Donald Trump’s Tweet To Comey About 'Tapes' Mean?"--Anonymous Conservative. AC reasons that Trump was letting Comey know that he (Trump) knew the he (Comey) had been recording their meetings in the Oval Office. He explains:
                                                                                                 ... Trump’s tweet was not implying President Trump recorded the conversation. Rather President Trump was letting Comey know he is aware that Comey recorded the conversation, and he is letting him know that as President he can pull the conversation from the FBI database for public release or leaking, embarrassing Comey twice – first over his misrepresentation of what was said, and second over the fact that Comey recorded their conversation, which carries a creepy, mentally unbalanced air to those outside of intelligence circles and unfamiliar with intel practices today.
                                                                                                   That would also explain why Trump has nothing further to say. This was a one-off press of Comey’s buttons over the whole wiretapping scandal, which I’m sure is a button among upper level FBI and domestic intel. Now everybody in intel is wondering if Trump might leak classified intel techniques that would freak out the populace [of] the nation, just out of spite.
                                                                                            • Related: "Did James Comey Bury Evidence Of Spying On Trump?"--Anonymous Conservative. He notes that "years before Donald Trump announced he was running, Obama had him buried under surveillance, and was pulling all his communications for monitoring."
                                                                                            • "Dinosaur asteroid hit 'worst possible place'"--BBC. As sneak peak to an upcoming BBC documentary, the researchers cited in the article indicate that the asteroid that allegedly caused the extinction of the dinosaurs hit at the exact time and place to cause the most devestation; striking in an area with only a shallow sea and high amounts of sulphur (from the mineral gypsum) which was thrown high into the atmosphere and cooled the planet. A few moments earlier or later, and the asteroid would have impacted into deeper ocean waters, with far less consequence on climate. A couple points, however. First, I would remind readers that there is some dispute whether the asteroid killed off dinosaurs since there are fossils of dinosaurs appearing afterward (thus, getting us back to the theory that wide spread volcanic activity killed off the dinosaurs). Second, and just me being picky, but the screen shots from the documentary shows the dinosaurs with scaly skin, whereas it is now generally accepted that they had feathers.
                                                                                            • Aiming to bypass North America: "China's new Silk Road summit opens with major funding vision"--Deutsche Welle. North America stands in the enviable position of sitting between East Asia and Europe, and thus having a key advantage in international trade. China wants to mitigate this by building an overland trade route through Central Asia (although bypassing Russia). If it gets built, it will make things much more interesting in Asia as China will then be forced into keeping its investment safe. Just as the Suez Canal drew England into wars and battles, the "Silk Road" will likely do the same for China.
                                                                                            • "More Evidence Conservatism Is About The Recognition Of Threats"--Anonymous Conservative. Scientists were able to use focused magnetic fields to shut down portions of the brain that assists in detecting and analyzing threats. The result was that the subjects acted more liberal/leftist, including a declined belief in God. As AC notes, leftism appears more and more to be the consequence of deficient brain development. Also:
                                                                                            It is interesting that shutting down the part of the brain that recognizes reality also shuts down one’s belief in God. God is reality. You need to be disconnected from reality to assume this world is an accident, and there is nothing special about it.
                                                                                            • Paging Joseph Tainter: "Our Fragile Civilization"--Richard Fernandez. Discussing the malware attack of last Friday, and other massive data breaches, Fernandez writes: 
                                                                                            These suggest that too many of our systems may be built on rotten props or false assumptions. The ice looked solid enough until the weight of civilization stepped on it and things fell through.
                                                                                            From there, he goes on to discuss the rise of Trump and the Alt-Right, observing that, contrary to what the left believes, this past election was never been about Trump, but people voting against the current system and world order. The reason that the left--what he terms "the Resistance"--can't get the populace to cooperate, can't overcome the "Tea Party" and Alt-Right, is because they are not just fighting these groups, but fighting against complexity:
                                                                                                   The liberal project wanted the global world.  Maybe they didn't understand what came with it.
                                                                                                     The problem may be not with liberal compassion but its eschatology: the Great State at the End of History was their paradise on earth. Progressives built a great state at huge expense and sacrifice, yet now as they approach the Throne in final triumph they are dismayed to see it occupied by Trump! "Tis' witchcraft," said some.  "Tis' Russian hacking," said still others.   But the words  'any government big enough to give you everything you want [can] take everything you have' never came to mind. Perhaps the real reason for the surprise is our old friend complexity. The liberal project really thought they could control the complex world when it's all you can do to control parts of it.
                                                                                                       What globalism forgot is that system complexity doesn't just expand linearly; potential interactions can increase exponentially.  As they tore down borders and plugged stuff into whatsis and whosis things not only got more complicated than the Masters anticipated they got more complex than they could imagine. ...
                                                                                                Read the whole thing. 

                                                                                                Sunday, May 14, 2017

                                                                                                May 14, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                                                Some music for your listening enjoyment: Lindsey Stirling - "Lost Girls" (5 min.)

                                                                                                Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:
                                                                                                • Firearms Tutorial from the University of Utah Medical School. From the introduction:
                                                                                                No matter which side you take on the sale and use of firearms in this country, the fact remains that you will encounter the results of firearms injuries. This tutorial is designed to give you a working knowledge of the types of firearms, the types of ammunition used, the nature of injuries that can be produced in the body, and the investigative techniques employed by the forensic pathologist in assessing firearms injuries.
                                                                                                • "Velocity is great, but mass penetrates."--Ballistics By The Inch. The author explains why velocity (and hence muzzle energy) is not, by itself, a reliable measure of the effectiveness of a bullet. After discussing bullet shape and design, the author notes: "The other REALLY important consideration in bullet effectiveness is penetration. This is so important, in fact, that it is the major criteria used by the FBI and others in assessing performance." He goes on: "As noted above, the design of the bullet can have a substantial effect on how well it penetrates. But another big factor is the weight, or mass, of the bullet relative to its cross-section — this is called ‘sectional density‘. Simply put, a bullet with a large cross-section and high mass will penetrate more than a bullet with the same cross-section but low mass moving at the same speed." The kinetic energy formula places a great deal of emphasis on velocity, which is why I believe that momentum may be another factor to consider.
                                                                                                • "THenar – 'The Missing Half of the AFG'"--The Firearms Blog. The THenar is essentially a knob that attaches to the side of a handguard of a weapon to give an anchor point for those using a modified C-clamp hold on the front of the rifle.
                                                                                                • "Planning And Maximizing Dry Fire"--Primary and Secondary. Discussing the implementation of a plan of dry fire practice for unit training. The author observes: 
                                                                                                The analogy used previously with dry-fire it is PT for weapons mastery. You cannot score a 300 on the PT test without having put in the repetitions to build the muscle needed to perform at that level. Similarly, you cannot expect Paratroopers to shoot above Marksman if they do not put in the repetitions of dry-fire before going to the range.


                                                                                                Other Stuff:
                                                                                                • "Got an Android Phone? Ultrasonic Tracking is Growing"--The Silicon Graybeard. An Indian company, Silver Push, developed tracking software that correlates users with advertisements by having smart phones or other devices listen for high frequency sound frequencies embedded in advertisements. Although the company had reached a deal with the Federal Trade Commission to kill off their product, German researchers discovered that the software was more widespread than ever before, with at least 234 Android apps incorporating the tracking software.
                                                                                                • "'Accidental hero' finds kill switch to stop spread of ransomware cyber-attack"--The Guardian (via Yahoo). The ransomeware attack last Friday, based on software tools used by the NSA, was stopped not due to our cybersecurity agencies, but by private malware experts. Reports the article:
                                                                                                         A cybersecurity researcher tweeting as @malwaretechblog, with the help of Darien Huss from security firm Proofpoint, found and implemented a “kill switch” in the malicious software that was based on a cyber-weapon stolen from the NSA.
                                                                                                           The kill switch was hardcoded into the malware in case the creator wanted to stop it from spreading. This involved a very long nonsensical domain name that the malware makes a request to – just as if it was looking up any website – and if the request comes back and shows that the domain is live, the kill switch takes effect and the malware stops spreading.
                                                                                                             Of course, this relies on the creator of the malware registering the specific domain. In this case, the creator failed to do this. And @malwaretechblog did early this morning (Pacific Time), stopping the rapid proliferation of the ransomware.
                                                                                                      • Yes. "Is Global Warming A Myth?"--Powerline. While temperatures may have increased between 1900 and 1940 (and even that is questionable), the data does not support more recent warming. Basically, the various methods of collecting temperature in the last several decades do not agree on whether there was a temperature increase, when it happened, or by how much. Any increase is the result of data artifacts, not any actual increase in temperature. The author also adds:
                                                                                                        These are not the only reasons to suspect that the claimed temperature increases of the last few decades may be spurious. There is a huge problem, which Dr. Singer does not address in this post, with the surface temperature record. Pretty much all temperature records are under the control of global warming alarmists, and the alarmists constantly “adjust” temperatures that were recorded historically by thermometers by making the past cooler and the present warmer. We have written about this many times. A large portion of the warming that is alleged to have occurred in the late 20th century is attributable to these after-the-fact “adjustments.”
                                                                                                          The article by Dr. Singer, which is reference above, can be found here
                                                                                                          • Related: "China Chief Climate Negotiator: Where’s the Money?"--Watts Up With That. This is what the global warming theatrics are about: "Top Chinese Climate Negotiator Xie Zhenhua has responded to a parade of official reassurances about the Paris Climate Agreement, by demanding to know when 'developed' countries will start paying China the money which was promised in Paris."
                                                                                                          • The morals of r-selection: "This Is How the Elite Poisons Our Culture"--National Review. Commenting on a New York Times Magazine article about couples choosing "open marriages" and polyamory, the author observes: "Their stories are both revolting and pathetic." Going on, he writes:
                                                                                                            What’s revolting is the sheer selfishness of one or both of the spouses involved. Their obsession with a completely fulfilling and intoxicating sex life borders on the pathological. They seem to regard a boring marriage bed as a human-rights violation, as if they were absolutely entitled to thrilling sex. 
                                                                                                                     However, Ijjas, Steinhardt and Loeb disagreed with this interpretation. “If anything, the Planck data disfavored the simplest inflation models and exacerbated long-standing foundational problems with the theory, providing new reasons to consider competing ideas about the origin and evolution of the universe,” they write.
                                                                                                                       The three physicists argue that since the 2013 [cosmic  microwave background] map was produced, more precise data has been gathered. And this data, they say, adds more evidence to the argument that the Big Bang and inflation do not adequately explain how the universe started. “Yet even now the cosmology community has not taken a cold, honest look at the big bang inflationary theory or paid significant attention to critics who question whether inflation happened,” they say.
                                                                                                                         Instead, they claim the idea of a “big bounce” is a more likely scenario. In this theory, the universe works on a cyclical basis of expansion and contraction. At the moment, it is expanding. However, when it runs out of energy (or whatever happens to stop its expansion), it will start contracting. Eventually, it will get to the point where it is so small it starts expanding again.
                                                                                                                           They point to several flaws in inflation theory, including that we are yet to discover primordial gravitational waves—ripples in spacetime created by the Big Bang. Another problem is that inflation requires the existence of “inflationary energy,”  for which there is no direct evidence.
                                                                                                                              “Given all these problems, the prospect that inflation did not occur deserves serious consideration,” they write. “Today we are fortunate to have sharp, fundamental questions imposed on us by observations. The fact that our leading ideas have not worked out is a historic opportunity for a theoretical breakthrough. Instead of closing the book on the early universe, we should recognize that cosmology is wide open.”
                                                                                                                        Given that it now appears that dark energy is non-existent, cosmology is going to face a lot of upheaval in the coming decade.