Sunday, November 30, 2014

Does ISIS Have A Dirty Bomb?

From The Daily Mail:
Islamic State fanatics claim to have constructed a dirty bomb after stealing 40kg of uranium from an Iraqi university.  
Militants boasted of the device on social media, with one even commenting on the destruction such a bomb would wreak in London, four months after the chemical was reported missing from Mosul University.  
Among extremists making online threats to the West is British explosives expert Hamayun Tariq, who fled his home in Dudley, West Midlands, for the Middle East in 2012. 
Using the Muslim name, Muslim-al-Britani, he posted on Twitter: 'O by the way Islamic State does have a Dirty bomb. We found some Radio active material from Mosul university,' the Mirror reports. 
He continued: 'We’ll find out what dirty bombs are and what they do. We’ll also discuss what might happen if one actually went off in a public area.  
'This sort of a bomb would be terribly destructive if went off In LONDON becuz (sic) it would be more of a disruptive than a destructive weapon,' before having his Twitter account suspended. 
I don't have any information on the form of Uranium: whether it is powdered or in larger chunks, or if it is a compound or pure uranium. Here are MSDS sheets for Uranium powder and Uranium Oxide. However, it is clear from looking at these sheets that the primary concern would be inhalation of dust. Thus, if you believe that you are in an area of risk, you should have a dust mask of some sort.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The First Thanksgiving

File:The First Thanksgiving Jean Louis Gerome Ferris.png
The First Thanksgiving by Jean Louis Gerome Ferris
Before European settlement of the New World, New England was populated by a relatively large number of Indians (more than 100,000) of diverse tribes, most engaged in farming to some extent or another and, contrary to popular belief, well versed in concepts of private property rights--they could identify precisely the plots of land that belonged to each farmer. Giovanni da Verrazzano left on an expedition in 1523 to try and find a norther route to the Pacific Ocean. Sailing north along New England, he reported that the coastline was everywhere densely populated.

Although the Indians successfully kept the Europeans from colonizing New England, they did engage in trading. By 1610, Britain alone had some 200 vessels operating off Newfoundland and New England. And it was not just the Europeans--Indians had learned to sale European style vessels and accounted for a great deal of the coastal trade. However, the Indians would not permit permanent settlements, or even lengthy stays, using force, if necessary, to drive off the Europeans. (It would be a misconception to believe that the Europeans had superior weapons--most were unpracticed in using their firearms, and the range, accuracy and rate of fire of the European firearms was far inferior to the Native American bows).

In 1614, a raid by an English trader (the one described below) enraged the Indians, who vowed to not let any more Europeans land on their shore. In 1616, the Indians captured a group of French sailors that had shipwrecked. All but 5 were killed in a battle. A surviving sailor warned the Indians that God would destroy them. The Indians scoffed, but the sailor was right--the sailors carried a disease (probably viral hepatitis A). The Indians died in the thousands, turning the New England coast into a charnel house. The pestilence lasted 3 years, killing an estimated 90% of the native coastal people.

On March 22, 1621, a delegation of Indians approached the Plymouth settlement. At the head of the party was Massasoit, the secham (a political and military leader) of the Wampanoag confederation; Samoset, the sachem of an allied group; and Tisquantum ("Squanto"), a Wampanoag prisoner/slave brought along as a translator because he spoke fluent English. Massasoit sought a military alliance against another Indian confederation--the Narragansett. Such an alliance would have been unthinkable not so many years earlier, but the Wampanoag had been decimated by disease. The Wampanoag had been particularly hard hit by the disease, and it was all Massasoit could do to hold his people together, and they were threatened by the Narragansett who had survived untouched by the epidemic. In fact, the Pilgrims had settled in an empty village--the very village from which Tisquantum had hailed.

Tisquantum spoke fluent English because he had lived for several years in England. Years earlier, about 1614, Tisquantum had been abducted by European traders that took him to Spain. There, because slavery of the Indians was frowned upon by the Catholic Church which considered them to be fully human, he was set free. He journeyed north through Europe before arriving in England where he hoped to catch a ship back to New England. It took several years, and many misadventures, but Tisquantum finally reached his native lands only to find his entire people dead from disease. After this first meeting, he lived the rest of his life among the Pilgrims.

Tisquantum was vital to the Pilgrim's survival. The English colonists were woefully unprepared for life in the New World, and ignorant of farming. Tisquantum showed the colonists how to plant corn, beans, and squash together, and to use fish as fertilizer. (Ironically, Tisquantum probably picked up the latter technique during his travels in Europe--there is no evidence that Indians used the technique, although it was well known in parts of Europe). By fall, the Pilgrims' situation had improved to such an extent that they held a feast of Thanksgiving. Massasoit, accompanied by two score warriors, attended.

Massasoit stratagem succeeded in the short term--his people were not overrun by the Narragansett. But his alliance with the Pilgrims permitted the first permanent European settlement in New England--the first of many. The Indian population never recovered from the pestilence--the Narragansett were themselves devastated by smallpox in 1633--and eventually the Europeans expanded their settlements until they outnumbered the Indians.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

"Fergusons in Perpetuity"

Fred Reed thinks we could have race riots into perpetuity; and it will only get worse as the Hispanic population increases. On that point, he writes:
...  First-world countries are brain-intensive. Automation eats rapidly away at the low-end jobs for which blacks are usually qualified. So do Mexicans. In a technological society, people at the bottom at some point become economically unnecessary, unemployable for anything at any wage. This happens now to blacks, and soon will  to unintelligent whites. The unnecessary will need, do need, to be kept in custodial care, however disguised. The alternative is starvation. 
Third, serious conflict is likely between blacks and Hispanics. There is no love between the two. Today when Latinos move into a neighborhood, they tend to drive blacks out. They are brighter and work harder. For the moment blacks hold the political upper-hand, but Latinos grow in number and in their proportion of voters. A train-wreck is on the way. 
Fourth, the danger will grow of serious conflict between whites and blacks. I suspect that even now only heavy federal pressure and dissimulation by the media keep the cork in the bottle. Among whites a large proportion loathe affirmative action, degraded educational standards, toleration of crime, and compulsory integration. 
 As the economy declines and jobs become scarcer, the likelihood grows that jobless whites will rebel against racial preferences. The hidden rock in the current is that if affirmative action were eliminated, blacks would almost disappear except in sports and entertainment. There will be hell to pay, though in what currency is not clear.
 He sees several possible outcomes. The most likely, in his estimation, is that things continue as they are, with occasional race riots (by which, he means, rioting by blacks) and welfare. A second would be to re-segregate much of society: black police in black neighborhoods, segregated schools with black teachers teaching black students, etc. The third is a race war:
The third—“solution” isn’t exactly the word, but maybe “possibility” fits—is carefully called “civil unrest” when what is meant is “race war.” Black extremists have often called for it, thoughtful blacks have worried about it, and a lot of whites think “bring it on.” (Read Black Mobs and the Coming Race War, a column by Thomas Sowell. Also The Coming Race War in America, a bookd by the (deceased) black columnist Carl Rowan.) 
The big media outlets have little idea of what is going on. Their reporters live in a bubble of political correctness, policing each other stringently, and have little contact with the black underclass or with America outside the Beltway. Books (e.g. Face to Face with Race) detail the underclass, but few read them.) 
Such a race “war” would be a spontaneous and simultaneous, though uncoordinated, burning of many cities. Blacks would quickly lose. Whites are much more numerous, food comes not from Safeway but from remote farms belonging to whites, welfare checks do not materialize magically in post-offfice boxes, and so on. The danger is that blacks, accustomed to intimidating whites, may push too far and find that they have made a very serious mistake. 
Afterward, what? Blacks as Palestinians and whites as Israelis? The country would never recover.
 The fourth solution--the unspoken solution being carried out by progressives using organizations such as Planned Parenthood--is to reduce the population so that option 3 never happens.

Related Posts: Is There A Coming Race War?

Ebola Update (11/26/2014)

Sierra Leone's information minister claims that Ebola has peaked in that country, and should be going down. However, other reports don't support that claim. First, as the prior article observes, yet another doctor in Sierra Leone has been diagnosed with Ebola. Second, because of a pay dispute, burial teams have been dumping bodies outside hospitals; health workers in other parts of the country have repeatedly gone on strikes. According to a Reuters article, "[t]he total number of cases reported in Sierra Leone since the outbreak began will soon eclipse the number reported from Liberia."

As for the other countries, health officials on the ground in Liberia are reporting what they term "pingponging"--infected people came to the cities for economic reasons, infected others in the cities, and now some of the infected city-dwellers are returning to the rural villages to be cared for by relatives, thus re-introducing Ebola to these villages. There may be a resurgence of rural cases in Liberia.

"What to Look for in a Handheld Transceiver"

An article at ITS Tactical.

A Few From Grant Cunningham

A sacred cow (Source)

For those interested in self-defense with a firearm, here are a few articles from Grant Cunningham that skewers some sacred cows:

First, Cunningham explains why he doesn't think the shotgun is all its cracked up to be for home defense. Hey, I've seen plenty of movies and know that the shotgun is the ultimate weapon! (Just kidding).

Second, he muses that "situational awareness" is more than "a technique or a practice, but as the sum of your conscious knowledge of your immediate environment." He explains:
Think about that for just a second; situational awareness is simply what you actually know about your surroundings at any given point in time. If your knowledge of your surroundings is complete, and those surroundings don't change, your situational awareness is high regardless of what color code you're in or how much your head is swiveling (to use two common and almost always misunderstood terms from the defensive training lexicon.)
He takes some of his inspiration from an article by Bryan Black at ITS Tactical on gathering intelligence and understanding about your neighborhood.

Third, and finally, he suggests that we don't necessarily need to be trained to the level of the ultimate warrior. He doesn't eschew training, though:
Does this mean you need to become an expert just to keep yourself and your family safe? Does it mean you need to take all of these classes right now, even before you own a gun? 
No, on both counts. But a commitment to getting the training you do need is vital to your physical, legal, and financial well being. Owning or carrying a firearm for self defense is a grave responsibility, perhaps the biggest one you will ever shoulder; doesn't it make sense to learn as much as you can about it? 
I agree with Claire: you certainly don't need to become a Rambo, but you should strive to be more than a Gilligan. Somewhere in the middle is your ideal place. If you'll stick around and take advantage of the free information I (and many others) supply, I think you'll get a better idea of what your own balance is.
The article he references is "We Don’t All Need To Be Rambo" by Claire Wolfe at SWAT Magazine. Wolfe's commentary was directed at those persons that believe that you should not be allowed to exercise your Second Amendment rights unless you are a combat veteran or trained to the same proficiency. She writes:
I own guns. I’ve had some decent training, but it was a while back. I don’t practice frequently. When I do, it tends to be with a favored few firearms. I haven’t rehearsed clearing a room or firing while “moving in a highly dynamic manner” in ages. Nor do I regularly practice things like shooting with partially obscured vision or slippery hands.
According to certain persons (self-styled experts), this makes me an “irresponsible and incompetent” gun owner.
 
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposed to great training or steady practice. On the contrary. If you have the time, money, need or inclination to train like a pro (and given that we’re meeting here in S.W.A.T. Magazine, there’s a good chance you do), more power to you. We need people like you. 
What we don’t need are so-called experts who set the bar so high that they discourage decent, responsible people from possessing guns. One such bloviator recently wrote, “Get professional training. Then get more professional training. And do it again. Practice on your own. Every week. With each of your weapons. If you’re not going to train with your guns, don’t buy guns for self defense.”
And don't buy a car unless you have the skills of a stunt car driver or professional racer.

Who is the National Bar Association?

I've seen various news articles quoting or referring to a statement from the National Bar Association condemning the Ferguson grand jury decision.

Everyone knows who the American Bar Association (ABA) is--they are the organization that spouts off stupid liberal nonsense, but also performs practical tasks such as setting standards for, and accrediting law schools, and promulgating model rules of conduct for attorneys to be considered by individual states. The ABA is the legal equivalent of the American Medical Association, except that they only care about a small number of their members--plaintiff lawyers (sort of like the AMA deciding it only represented surgeons and telling the rest of the medical profession to go take a flying leap...). But who or what is the National Bar Association?

Although most people don't know it, each state also have bar associations which assist with training, standards, admissions, and discipline of attorneys in that particular jurisdiction. But that is not a function of the National Bar Association.

Wikipedia describes the group as "the oldest and largest national association of African-American attorneys and judges in the United States." Well, I can now understand why they took the particular stance they did, but I still had never heard of them.

"Finnish Small Unit Tactics"



An article at Cold Weather Operations Journal. An excerpt:
Although Finnish troops are organized into divisions, brigades, regiments, etc., in the same manner as other modern armies, their operations against an enemy emphasize use of small units: patrols, attacking groups, and detachments. 
The basic tactical doctrine assumes that the enemy will follow avenues of approach which will make him vulnerable to encirclement, after which his forces are to be destroyed piecemeal. This is accomplished by forcing the enemy to follow routes outlined by either natural or artificial obstacles until he reaches the terrain selected for his annihilation. 
The tactics of annihilation are carried out through the use of a “motti”. In original usage the word motti means a pile of sawn timber held in position by upright stakes driven in at intervals along its edges. In military usage, motti refers to an enemy group surrounded by Finnish patrols each of from eight to twelve men armed with automatic arms. Lines of communication are severed and the surrounded enemy is decimated by numerous raids, severe cold, and slow starvation. This encirclement may last several months, until the enemy force is completely destroyed. 
A modern army invading Finland is to a large extent confined to the roads in order to move its mechanized units and weapons forward. Finnish light artillery is so emplaced as to force these moving columns off the road into the adjacent forests. The Finns then rush their machine guns and antitank guns through the forest on a special type of sled called a “pulka”; they attack and are off again before the enemy can take any counteraction.
 Although the original article was written in 1942, it still make interesting reading.

"Dollar Store Prepping"

The Approaching Day Prepper has a nice article listing items that are easily and cheaply found at stores such as Dollar Tree or Family Dollar. Check it out.

Drawing a Concealed Carry Pistol While in a Car

Gun Digest has a nice video on drawing your concealed carry handgun while seatbelted into your car. And, of course, if you have other passengers in the vehicle, or are having to get out and move around your vehicle, don't forget to use the temple index to maintain good muzzle control.

Survival UK Back Up and Running

Since I couldn't access the site, I haven't checked it for a few weeks, but the Survival UK site is back and running.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Police From Around the World Show Off Their Military Style Weapons

Armed: Belgian special forces pose for a photograph with an armoured vehicle and working dog outside their headquarters in central Brussels
Belgium 
More photos and story at The Daily Mail.

"What Do We Do With Suicidal Cultures?"

David P. Goldman has written at length about how some cultures reach a stage where they become nihilistic and suicidal. He has more to say on the topic in this recent article. The problem is, we in the West do not know how to analyze, let alone deal with, suicidal cultures.
We simply do not understand the world in which we live. That is why we mistook the terminal decline of Muslim civilization for an opportunity to extend Western democracy to the Middle East. That is why we mistook Russia’s desperate efforts to revive its old nationalism as an antidote to cultural despair for a replay of Munich in 1938. These have had baleful consequences: we destroyed an ugly but efficient system of governance in the Middle East and left chaos in its place in Libya, Syria and Iraq. We undid one of the premises of Cold War victory, namely keeping Russia and China apart, and stood godfather to a new Sino-Russian alliance. And we did this systematically and deliberately, because we think the wrong way.

In doing so we demoralized a generation, .... We have lost the confidence of the American public in foreign interventions through overreaching. Our blunders helped elect Barack Obama, the gravedigger of America’s influence in the world.
As we look at what has happened to black communities during the last 40 years, it may be fair to characterize it as a suicidal culture. And, as Goldman has pointed out in his earlier writings, suicidal cultures tend to strike out.

More on the Sharpshooter .22 LR Reloader

You may remember my September 9 post on a kit to reload .22 LR. The Firearms Blog has more info, including a demonstration video.

Abandoned Hotels

A couple of shots from a Daily Mail article on abandoned hotels:

In this more modern hotel room, the walls and ceiling are deteriorating rapidly while the plastic in the television set still looks new; plastic does not biodegrade like other materials

At an unnamed resort, the bar area is slowly falling apart, as revealed in this photo by Matthew Christopher for his new book

More photos and story at the link above.

Ferguson and the Aftermath (Updated)

Raid: Looters smashed their way into a local Ferguson business and helped themselves to products that it sold
Free stuff! (Source)

As expected, the grand jury refused to indict Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown--a violent street thug that attacked Wilson shortly after robbing a tobacco shop. And, also as expected, the community organizers, the "gangsta" wannabe's and the professional victims all rioted and protested. In addition to Ferguson, Missouri, the Daily Mail reports on protests in some 90 other cities across the nation.

The Drudge Report and Weasel Zippers are both good sources for aggregations of reports on the violence and protests. KSDK, a local television station, has a slideshow of the some of the damage. I would also note this summary from The New York Times:
After a chaotic night of demonstrations that erupted in many fires, frequent bursts of gunshots, looting and waves of tear gas, Gov. Jay Nixon said early Tuesday that he would send additional National Guard troops to help quell the worst violence this battered St. Louis suburb has seen since a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in August. 
The hours of unrest followed the announcement on Monday evening that a grand jury had chosen not to indict the officer, Darren Wilson, for the death of Michael Brown. St. Louis County reported that 61 people had been arrested. 
“I really don’t have any hesitation in telling you that I didn’t see a lot of peaceful protest out there tonight, and I’m disappointed about that,” Jon Belmar, the St. Louis County police chief, said early Tuesday at a news conference. “I’m not saying there weren’t folks out there that were out there for the right reason — I’m not saying that wasn’t the case — but I am saying that, unfortunately, this spun out of control.” 
Chief Belmar said demonstrators had set fire to at least a dozen buildings in and around Ferguson, and estimated that he had heard about 150 gunshots. The police, he said, did not fire any live ammunition. 
Asked whether he would call the unrest that unfolded in Ferguson a riot, the chief replied, “Oh yeah, this fits.” 
Fires continued to burn into Tuesday, and some of the flames and smoke on West Florissant Avenue, a main thoroughfare that was an epicenter of violence in August, lapped over the fence lines behind the storefronts, swooping perilously close to homes. 
“It’s horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible,” said Tammy Ruffin, 54, standing in stinging smoke that swept over her house Tuesday morning. “I knew this was going to happen.” 
Although she said that she, too, was upset that Officer Wilson had not been indicted, “It’s the wrong reaction,” she said.
Actually, it meets the definition of domestic terrorism under Federal law. But don't hold your breath about the DOJ actually investigating, let alone prosecuting any of the rioters for terrorism.

Race: A firefighter walks past the burning Little Ceasars restaurant in Ferguson on Monday. Within a few hours, several large buildings were ablaze, and frequent gunfire was heard
(Source)
The real victims of this will be the local residents. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the damage is much worse than the riots earlier in August. In a case of eating-their-own, most of the damage was to minority owned businesses. Fred Siegel, writing in August after the initial riots, pointed out:
Riots bring but one certainty—enormous economic and social costs. Businesses flee, taking jobs and tax revenues with them. Home values decline for all races, but particularly for blacks. Insurance costs rise and civic morale collapses. The black and white middle classes move out. Despite its busy port and enormous geographic assets, Newark, New Jersey has never fully recovered from its 1967 riot. This year, Newark elected as its mayor Ras Baraka, the son and political heir of Amiri Baraka—the intellectual inspiration for the 1967 unrest. 
The story is similar in Detroit, which lost half its residents between 1967 and 2000. Civic authority was never restored after the late 1960s riots, which never really ended; they just continued in slow motion. “It got decided a long time ago in Detroit,” explained Adolph Mongo, advisor to the jailed former “hip-hop mayor,” Kwame Kilpatrick, that “the city belongs to the black man. The white man was a convenient target until there were no white men left in Detroit.” The upshot, explained Sam Riddle, an advisor to current congressman John Conyers, first elected in 1965, is that “the only difference between Detroit and the Third World in terms of corruption is that Detroit don’t have no goats in the streets.” 
The grotesque pantomime of repression and redemption, riots and never-quite-achieved rewards, plays out time and again. The chaos in Ferguson is but the latest episode of this long, sad drama of resentment and revenge. The drama persists in part because so many journalists and academics, not to mention black activists, have so much invested in it. It’s the conceptual air that they breathe. Sadly, to paraphrase the philosopher Ernest Gellner, some failed practices cannot be the subject of reconsideration, because they already shape the way we think.
Update:  More photos at Zero Hedge.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Quick Revisit of the OODA Loop

File:OODA.gif
(Source)
I've been meaning to revisit my earlier article on the OODA loop because I missed an important point that became apparent the more I thought about the issue. In my earlier article, I focused on a couple of police shootings where the officer(s) fired on persons that did not actually pose any threat. (I'm not trying to pick on police--it is simply easier to get more detailed accounts and/or video of police involved shootings than a civilian shootings in self-defense). In one case, the person was ordered to produce identification by the officer, leaned inside his vehicle to get the identification, and was shot by the officer.  In the other case, the person was playing with a BB-gun inside a store when shot by an officer. (I plan on revisiting the latter shooting in the future because it raises another issue about group dynamics).

In my prior post, I concentrated on the observation stage. That is, that the officers did not actually make a careful observation. However, the more I thought about the shootings, it became apparent that it was more than the simply failure to observe--it was also a lack of having a repertoire of other responses. A situation of "if your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail." Essentially, the officers jumped to a conclusion of using deadly force. Panic? Lack of training? Justifiable? I don't know for the specific cases.

Greg Ellifritz touches on this issue in a recent article on timing of a response to a threat. He writes about trying to get his students to accept using a firearm in self-defense. Once the hurdle of using deadly force on an attacker is overcome, he noted another problem manifest itself:
The students train with their firearms so much and think about their responses to attack scenarios so often that they are unable to recognize when it might be a better option to keep their gun holstered in the face of a criminal attack.  They go to their guns as a default response to any lethal force threat.  In general, that’s a great plan; but there are times  that call for a more modulated response.  Immediate violent resistance usually works to repel any criminal attack.  There are scenarios, however, where immediate violent resistance is more likely to get you killed.
As he notes, one of those times is if the perp has a pistol pointed at you ready to fire--"You can’t outdraw a trigger press!"

At Breach-Bang-Clear, in an article entitled "The Power of Myth, Misinformation and Ego," makes a similar comment about another defensive technique:
What about teaching students to throw their arms up to protect their face/chest before drawing their weapon as an automatic response? Makes sense for protecting against a thrown blow…doesn’t make sense for any other situation, yet if it’s sold under some scientific premise as a this is what happens in real life .... 
There is no one, universal response or technique that will work for every situation. Knowing and practicing various responses or techniques (training + practice + experience) will give you options to correctly decide how to react.

TTAG Muzzle Device Test

The Truth About Guns has posted the results of a test of 35 different muzzle devices intended for the 5.56/.223 (mostly muzzle brakes, but including some others) to test how effective they were at reducing recoil. (They didn't test muzzle flash). Video, charts, and photos at the link.

Ebola Update (11/24/2014)



Zulfiqar Ahmad, 40, who resides in Chiniot, returned to Pakistan on November 16 after working for the Togolese Republic in West Africa. 
Ahmad faced multiple health-related problems and was admitted to the DHQ Hospital in Chiniot and later shifted to the Allied Hospital by his relatives. 
After conducting initial diagnostic tests, doctors said that he may have contracted the Ebola virus. 
“He is a chronic patient of various diseases, and was previously admitted in a hospital in Togo for more than 20 days,” Medical Superintendent (MS) Allied Hospital Dr Rashid Maqbool told The Express Tribune. 
He also stated that Ahmad has a serious liver issue and has been vomiting blood.

On Friday, the FDA announced that it would start developing a stockpile of blood plasma from Ebola survivors, treated with a pathogen inactivation system that’s never been used before in the United States. So far, the US has had some amazing success in curing Ebola, possibly thanks to experimental plasma treatments. Drawn from survivors, the stuff comes enriched in antibodies that could help to fight off the disease—but it also has the potential to carry other diseases, like malaria, that are common in west Africa where Ebola is raging. The new system will kill off any extra contaminants that may be lurking in this potentially live-saving serum.


Arthur the Stray Dog

An interesting story at The Daily Mail of a Swedish team participating in the Adventure Racing World Championship that was adopted by a dog that accompanied them on their race through the Amazon.
As the group of four navigated the final two stages of the 430-mile Adventure Racing World Championship, the dog befriended them and was eventually given the name Arthur. 
Every grueling task the team face, Arthur would do the same. He swam alongside them while they kayaked down rivers, dragged himself up hills during hikes and pulled through knee-deep mud during treks.  
Even when the team tried to get rid of their new member out of concerns for his safety - he refused to leave.
Read the whole thing.

The Consequences of Relying on Renewable Energy Sources

A UK paper, The Register, reports the conclusions of two scientists that had worked at Google on renewable energy projects--renewable energy will never replace non-renewable sources. The whole article is worth reading, but this portion caught my eye for its application to the purpose of this blog:
In reality, well before any such stage was reached [i.e., trying to replace all hydrocarbon based energy sources], energy would become horrifyingly expensive - which means that everything would become horrifyingly expensive (even the present well-under-one-per-cent renewables level in the UK has pushed up utility bills very considerably). This in turn means that everyone would become miserably poor and economic growth would cease (the more honest hardline greens admit this openly). That, however, means that such expensive luxuries as welfare states and pensioners, proper healthcare (watch out for that pandemic), reasonable public services, affordable manufactured goods and transport, decent personal hygiene, space programmes (watch out for the meteor!) etc etc would all have to go - none of those things are sustainable without economic growth.
(Underline added).

Climate Change Was Not Responsible for Collapse of Bronze Age Cultures

Scientists will have to find alternative explanations for a huge population collapse in Europe at the end of the Bronze Age as researchers prove definitively that climate change – commonly assumed to be responsible – could not have been the culprit. 
Archaeologists and environmental scientists from the University of Bradford, University of Leeds, University College Cork, Ireland (UCC), and Queen’s University Belfast have shown that the changes in climate that scientists believed to coincide with the fall in population in fact occurred at least two generations later. 
Their results, published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that human activity starts to decline after 900BC, and falls rapidly after 800BC, indicating a population collapse. But the climate records show that colder, wetter conditions didn’t occur until around two generations later. 
Fluctuations in levels of human activity through time are reflected by the numbers of radiocarbon dates for a given period. The team used new statistical techniques to analyse more than 2000 radiocarbon dates, taken from hundreds of archaeological sites in Ireland, to pinpoint the precise dates that Europe’s Bronze Age population collapse occurred. 
The team then analysed past climate records from peat bogs in Ireland and compared the archaeological data to these climate records to see if the dates tallied. That information was then compared with evidence of climate change across NW Europe between 1200 and 500 BC. 
“Our evidence shows definitively that the population decline in this period cannot have been caused by climate change,” says Ian Armit, Professor of Archaeology at the University of Bradford, and lead author of the study. 
Graeme Swindles, Associate Professor of Earth System Dynamics at the University of Leeds, added, “We found clear evidence for a rapid change in climate to much wetter conditions, which we were able to precisely pinpoint to 750BC using statistical methods.” 
According to Professor Armit, social and economic stress is more likely to be the cause of the sudden and widespread fall in numbers. Communities producing bronze needed to trade over very large distances to obtain copper and tin. Control of these networks enabled the growth of complex, hierarchical societies dominated by a warrior elite. As iron production took over, these networks collapsed, leading to widespread conflict and social collapse. It may be these unstable social conditions, rather than climate change, that led to the population collapse at the end of the Bronze Age.

Temperatures Rise in Buffalo, As Residents Prepare for Floods

Temperatures in Buffalo, New York, are reaching 60 degrees F, leading to worries that the sudden increase in temperatures will lead to flooding. (Stores: Associated Press; Daily Mail). According to the Daily Mail article, "[t]he National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for Monday and cautioned that trees weakened by heavy snowfall and saturated soil could come crashing down.
High wind gusts of up to 60 mph also could topple electrical wires and trigger power outages."

Tips for Rifle Shooting

An article entitled "8 Uncommon Rifle Shooting Tips for Beginners" at the Firearms Blog. Tip #7--shoot with both eyes open--is more nuanced than just a general rule. I've seen people that are right-handed, but left-eye dominant, contorting themselves around a rifle in order to hold it with their right hand, but aim with their left eye. I think it is easier for those people to simply close their left eye and force themselves to use their right eye. Gabe Suarez also notes that the one or two eye question depends on the situation--up close, you want both eyes open, but using a scope or for long distance shooting, it may be better to close one eye.

Anyway, good tips. Read the whole article.

Getting Through the Technology--Example

I recently posted excerpts from an article discussing methods to get through an OPFOR's technology. Here is a real life example, from an article posted at Voltaire.net: "What frightened the USS Donald Cook so much in the Black Sea?":
On 10 April 2014, the USS Donald Cook entered the waters of the Black Sea and on 12 April a Russian Su-24 tactical bomber flew over the vessel triggering an incident that, according to several media reports, completely demoralized its crew, so much so that the Pentagon issued a protest [1]. 
The USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) is a 4th generation guided missile destroyer ... equipped with the most recent Aegis Combat System. It is an integrated naval weapons systems which can link together the missile defense systems of all vessels embedded within the same network, so as to ensure the detection, tracking and destruction of hundreds of targets at the same time. In addition, the USS Donald Cook is equipped with 4 large radars, whose power is comparable to that of several stations. For protection, it carries more than fifty anti-aircraft missiles of various types.
Meanwhile, the Russian Su-24 that buzzed the USS Donald Cook carried neither bombs nor missiles but only a basket mounted under the fuselage, which, according to the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta [2], contained a Russian electronic warfare device called Khibiny. 
As the Russian jet approached the US vessel, the electronic device disabled all radars, control circuits, systems, information transmission, etc. on board the US destroyer. In other words, the all-powerful Aegis system, now hooked up - or about to be - with the defense systems installed on NATO’s most modern ships was shut down, as turning off the TV set with the remote control. 
The Russian Su-24 then simulated a missile attack against the USS Donald Cook, which was left literally deaf and blind. As if carrying out a training exercise, the Russian aircraft - unarmed - repeated the same maneuver 12 times before flying away.
After that, the 4th generation destroyer immediately set sail towards a port in Romania.
 Scary stuff, indeed, if Russia has decided on a policy of expansion (i.e., capturing resources).

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ebola Update (11/23/2014)

Today's news is a bit of mixed bag. First, the good news. The number of new cases in Liberia continues to drop. Currently, only 20 more cases are being reported per day, down from the 100 per day in August.

However, the rest of the news is more glum. A BBC reporter travelled from Sierra Leone to Guinea to report on what she saw. While Sierra Leone has taken Ebola seriously--there were multiple check stops to check temperatures, for instance--where in Guinea, the reporter traveled 50 miles before being asked to wash her hands or have her temperature checked. And this was only because she had stopped at a small
Ebola holding center. She writes:
We wander inside. It's the first time we've been asked to wash our hands and have our temperatures checked since we arrived in Guinea. 
It's eerily quiet. There are around 15 staff, but no patients. 
I ask the doctor in charge why it is so quiet. 
"Some people prefer to die in the village rather than come here to get help," he says.
At another village, they are met by men who do not believe in Ebola. They don't know what is killing the people, but it is not Ebola because Ebola is not real. Denial.

Thailand may soon have an Ebola problem. A Sierra Leonean man who had come to Thailand was suspected of having Ebola symptoms. He was supposed to check in regularly with a hospital, but has instead disappeared. There is a manhunt underway.

Finally, officers of the Public Health Services--a uniformed branch of the Department of Health and Human Services, with military ranks--were reported as holding services to honor the death of a nurse they had been treating. The Public Health Service has taken over treatment of infected health care workers in Liberia.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Fluted Barrels Are Less Accurate...

...as the barrel heats up. The Precision Rifle Blog was recently reviewing the types of barrels used by the top 50 precision rifle champions, including manufacture, length, profile, caliber, etc. The author discovered that of the top 50 champions, only one used a fluted barrel. Looking into the issue further, he observed that Shilen Barrels refuses to flute barrels because it causes uneven expansion when the barrel heats up, adversely impacting accuracy--although Shilen Barrels did not provide research or data. But Accuracy International had performed research on the issue and reached the same conclusion:
Engineers at AI decided to isolate the barrel flutes to see what impact they had on accuracy. The engineers attached a laser to the rifle’s receiver, another to the barrel, and a third to the scope. All three dots were zeroed at the same point, then they started shooting the rifle. They discovered that, no matter which fluted barrel they used, the dots would diverge as the barrel heated. The dots from the devices mounted to the scope and the receiver would stay in place, but the barrel’s device would manifest a point-of-impact (POI) shift. The POI shift from the warming barrel greatly diminished when they used barrels without flutes. 
Engineers determined that the flutes never heated evenly, causing the POI shift. ...
So fluting may be fine for a light-weight hunting rifle--i.e., a "mountain rifle" that is easy to pack around and won't be fired more than once or twice at a given time--but not for a rifle which may be expected to engage in protracted firing strings, such as a tactical rifle.


Rioting in Toulouse

The Daily Mail reports riots in Toulouse after an enviro-wacko was killed in an earlier protest. From the story:
Riots have broken out in southern France over the death of a young activist killed by a police grenade. 
At least 16 people were arrested in Toulouse as rubbish bins were torched and bus shelters smashed during a demonstration in the French city. 
The riots unfolded on the margins of an otherwise peaceful march where protesters carried placards reading 'End to the licence to kill'.

... It was the latest clash in a series of demonstrations which have embarrassed the Socialist government.
 
The chaotic scenes came just weeks after Remi Fraisse, 21, was killed by a so-called 'offensive grenade' during a standoff between police and opponents of a dam project in wetlands near Toulouse.

Coyotes in Chicago

(Source)

From The Daily Mail:
As suburban populations increase in places like Chicago, there is no space left for coyotes to live and roam for their prey. 
Therefore almost 2,000 have ventured into a new habitat - among the skyscrapers of downtown Windy City. 
The animals have adapted to living in close quarters with humans and have learned to navigate tasks associated with built-up areas - such as crossing busy roads and avoiding cars. 
Over the past few years they have spread to nearly every corner of the United States - wreaking havoc by preying on domestic pets and even attacking children.  
But the suburban sprawl and increase in out-of-town developments have prompted some to migrate to more urban areas. 
They are strictly nocturnal, curling up in a ball during the day just yards from where people walk, and are able to defend large settlement areas.  
Researchers found that the coyotes actually thrived in the urban environment, living longer than their rural cousins and producing larger litters of puppies.

Friday, November 21, 2014

"True Facts About the Owl"

So my wife found a great new series of science videos for you homeschoolers out there...



I'm just kidding. But it is a funny video in an understated way.

Ebola Update (Nov. 21, 2014)

(Source)

NBC News reports:
There may be signs of hope in Liberia, but the epidemic of Ebola in West Africa is getting worse, not better, and it’s going to take a lot more work to control it, United Nations officials said Friday. 
Concerted efforts might be able to end it by the middle of next year, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon told reporters. 
“There has been some welcome progress,” Ban said. “The results are uneven. The rate of transmission continues to worsen.” 
Three top international leaders — Ban, World Health Organization director-general Dr. Margaret Chan and World Bank president Jim Yong Kim — used uncharacteristically strong language to urge more cooperation, coordination and a faster, sustained international response to the epidemic. 
WHO released new statistics on Ebola that show “intense” transmission in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. “There have been 15,351 reported Ebola cases in eight countries since the outbreak began, with 5,459 reported deaths,” WHO said.
And, from The New York Times:
Most of the casualties are in the three most afflicted countries: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. 
But the focus of the message of Mr. Ban and Dr. Chan was their concern about Mali, a vast country where the government does not have full control and where a United Nations peacekeeping force is deployed. At least six people in Mali have died of Ebola.
A successful effort to halt Ebola infections in Mali last month, caused by an infected 2-year-old from Guinea, has now been overshadowed by a second and far more serious source of infection, from an imam from Guinea. He had been misdiagnosed with a kidney problem after traveling to Bamako, the capital, to seek treatment.
 
Dr. Chan said nearly 500 people in Mali and Guinea had come into contact with the imam, whose body had been returned home and been given a ritual Muslim funeral.
Mr. Ban said that a team led by Dr. Chan was headed to Mali later Friday and that a new support center would be established there.
 The article now indicates that the disease may not come under control (i.e., overall infections falling) until the middle of next year.

It Never Rains But It Pours...

via listverse
(Source)

An outbreak of bubonic plague in Madagascar has infected 119 and killed 40 people since August. The outbreak has now reached the capital city of Antananarivo, where there has been two infections and one death.

That is an unusually high mortality rate--33.6 %. That is equivalent to that of the Black Death in the 14th Century. Modern outbreaks generally have mortality rates in the single digits.

Although I'm sure it is unrelated, there is evidence that ISIS may be investigating using the plague as a weapon. Al Qaeda tried this in 2009, with disastrous results.

Duncan Long's Article on Survival Fighting

(Link here).

Getting Through the Technology

Independence day movieposter.jpg
(Source)

There is a line in the movie Independence Day, where a scientist studying the alien invaders notes that the aliens are as easy to kill as us--you just need to get through their technology. 

The same issues arise as to any modern nation's military and intelligence organizations, especially as to surveillance techniques. So, it was of interest to come across this post discussing ways in which low-tech forces have fooled high tech weapon systems and surveillance. From the article:

The other technique that works to defeat JSTARS is infiltration-the movement and concentration of a large mobile organization by moving it in small packets of vehicles along multiple routes, seemingly without any pattern-concentrating forces over time.
The Serbs used similar techniques to preclude effective air attacks against their ground combat forces and deceive NATO forces of their actual strength, disposition, and location. Even more ingenious, they used the appreciation of this vulnerability to lure NATO attack aircraft, cued by JSTARS, into attacking organized columns of civilian vehicles, then exploiting the scenes of carnage via the international media-information warfare at its best, designed to attack the solidarity of the NATO coalition.
 
In short, against a savvy opponent, JSTARS acquisitions have little intelligence value to tactical and operational commanders unless the data or images are confirmed quickly by another real-time imagery system such as a UAV, AFAC, or a well-trained reconnaissance team that has the capability and optical resolution to discern the exact composition and type of vehicles acquired. 
The same goes for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In response to the presence of UAVs on the battlefield, we have developed several techniques to deceive and defeat its capabilities. We use a combination of physical and thermal decoys to deceive the UAV pilots and image analysts, and thereby nullify the effects of indirect fires while preserving our actual combat systems and crews. 
For example, we will construct deception fighting positions and in them place tank decoys made of fiberglass turrets, gun tubes made out of steel/PCV pipe, and other materials to create a realistic physical image. Furthermore, we cut 55 gallon barrels in half, and place them where the engine compartment of the tank is located, then we fill them with burning charcoal to create a realistic thermal signature. Flying at an altitude of 2000-5000 feet, and looking through the narrow field of view to achieve resolution, a UAV image analyst, unless very experienced, cannot tell it's a decoy. From these altitudes, they look just like tanks. We also use vehicular decoys made of fabric and wood frames, just like the Serbs employed. They work. 
Finally, we have become adept at conducting air defense ambushes to destroy UAVs. We place actual unmanned, usually inoperable combat equipment, such as an armor or air defense system, into a position where the enemy would expect to find them. We will throw in a blanket of smoke to attract their attention and really draw them in. We ring this equipment with multiple organic air defense radar and missile systems, camouflaged well with engines cold. Basically, we lure UAVs into an area. Once we visually or acoustically acquire the UAVs-which can be easily acquired by their sound-and determine they are within range, we unmask and fire. Using this technique, we routinely destroy 50%-75% of UAVs employed against us during the course of an NTC training exercise. In case you're wondering, we employ systems that accurately replicate ZSU-23-4s, SA-18s, SA-8s, and SA-9s. By the way, the hand-held, shoulder-fired S-18 air defense missile is our most effective ADA system against both rotary wing and UAV capabilities.
Since JSTARS cannot reliably acquire and define the composition and types of vehicles in a column of vehicles, the OPFOR routinely organizes battalion-size truck columns, perhaps led by 2-3 armored vehicles, all dragging 20-30 ft. lengths of concertina wire. This column, easily acquired by JSTARS, is then employed along an expected route of march towards the enemy. This imaginative technique is aimed at deceiving the enemy commander as to our intended point of attack or main effort. Being told that this is an armored column by his JSTAR data analyst, the enemy commander will typically react and shift targeting assets, or his mobile reserves to interdict the advance. This technique in offensive operations can be used to create a weakness in the enemy's defense permitting rapid penetration and exploitation. Employment of this technique has set conditions for OPFOR tactical success several times in the past.
And the author recommends detecting and attacking communications systems:
Another important lesson we've learned is this.the key to defeating forces equipped with sophisticated collection, targeting, and situational awareness technologies is to quickly gain information dominance in the initial phase of the operation. We have learned that if we focus reconnaissance assets and lethal/non-lethal fires to acquire and destroy or disrupt the enemy's ability to move information across the battlefield, then we can quickly level the playing field, negate this asymmetric advantage, and thereby set conditions for success. Against the Army's current situational awareness, information, and communications systems, fielded or in development, it is not a difficult task given the capabilities we possess. 
Take the Army Tactical Command and Control System (ATCCS), a suite of 5 different software systems (MCS, ASAS, AFATADS, FAADC3, and CSSCS), designed to provide critical combat information to commanders and staffs at brigade, division, and corps level. 
These information systems, in various stages of development, employ a line-of-sight communications system called the Mobile Subscriber Equipment (MSE) system, as the means to move information across the battlefield between commanders and staffs from battalion to corps level. 
Based upon mission requirements, the MSE system operates at multiple frequency ranges from tactical VHF to SHF ranges above 15 GHz using a digital communications signal. We have learned that the electronic signature is a relatively easy target to acquire and jam, using a technique we call dual harmonic jamming. Basically, the MSE signal frequencies lie above our ability to jam with the systems we have, but we have learned that by taking 2 jammers and jamming 1/3 of the primary carrier wave and 1/2 of the primary carrier wave frequency simultaneously, the combination of these attacks affects 5/6 of the carrier wave therefore most of the transmission is not received. No MSE transmission, then no ATTCS-no ATTCS, then no situational awareness from brigade to corps level. 
Furthermore, because it is a stationary, line-of-sight system, the MSE system is limited in its positioning to easily predictable terrain locations and the node centers present a large physical signature. They can be easily acquired by aerial and ground reconnaissance teams and have very little security, if any, surrounding these sites. They will be one of the first set of targets we attack. 
In short, destroy the brigade MSE node complex with indirect fires or direct attack, and you stop the flow of information and sustainment of both friendly and enemy situational awareness. In other words, by attacking this vulnerability, the OPFOR has learned how to level the playing field very quickly and eliminate its opponent's asymmetric information advantage.
 I'm sure that the techniques would be applicable against other OPFORs. Anyway, read the whole thing.

"Firearms 101: the 'Assault Rife', Capabilities, and the 'Militia' Concept"

A fairly good description of the assault rifle versus the battle rifle at the Daily Kos, of all places.

Use and Care of the Molle System

A guide (PDF).

Bayonets Are Not Obsolete

An article and videos on using the bayonet in the modern tactical environment.

Infantry/Marine Skill Manual

2nd Marines, 5th Battalion has downloadable instructions and articles on tactics and training.

Rains Threaten New York...

... with further building collapses from the extra weight that will be taken up by the snow, and possibly floods.

The NSA Toolkit

An interesting article from Motherboard about hacker's making their own copies of equipment detailed in the NSA's Advanced Network Technology catalog. Some of the devices are available for sale, and for prices much lower than the NSA pays (capitalism versus cost-plus, I guess).

Bandits in Guinea Steal Ebola Infected Blood

The Canadian Press (via Yahoo News) reports:
 It was a highway robbery but the bandits got more than they bargained for when they stopped a taxi van in Guinea and made off with blood samples that are believed to be infected with the deadly Ebola virus. 
Authorities publicly appealed on national radio Friday to the unidentified robbers to hand over the samples that were stolen from the minibus taxi during its 265-kilometre (165-mile) trek from central Kankan prefecture to a test site in southern Gueckedou. 
The samples were drawn from a single person and were stored in a sealed container, and handed off to the taxi driver when armed bandits stopped the vehicle the aid group had commissioned near the town of Kissidougou, said Faya Etienne Tolno, a press officer for the Guinea Red Cross. 
... Dr. Barry Moumie, who heads patient care for the national Ebola response co-ordination committee, told The Associated Press: "We have informed the security services. If these thieves handle this blood, it will be dangerous."
This might be the most valuable theft they have ever pulled off.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

From the Archive: Tips on Winter Driving

Various tips on preparing you and your vehicle for winter, as well as actual driving tips, from the Ontario, Canada, Ministry of Transportation.

A few highlights:
Winter Driving Survival Kit

It’s a good idea to keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle. Having essential supplies can provide some comfort and safety for you and your passengers should you become stranded.

Recommended items include:
Ice scraper/snowbrush
Shovel
Sand or other traction aid
Tow rope or chain
Booster cables
Road flares or warning lights
Gas line antifreeze
Flashlight and batteries
First aid kit
Fire extinguisher
Small tool kit
Extra clothing and footwear
Blanket
Non-perishable energy foods – e.g., chocolate or granola bars, juice, soup, bottled water
Candle and a small tin can
Matches
Also:
Winter Driving - Handling Your Vehicle
Braking
Make sure you know how to use your braking system in all weather and road conditions. Consider taking an advanced driving course that teaches emergency driving skills.
How To Regain Control Of Your Vehicle In A Skid
A skid happens when your wheels slide out of control on a slippery surface. Skids can involve the front, rear, or all four wheels. Most skids result from driving too fast for road or traffic conditions. Sudden, hard braking, going too fast on a curve, or accelerating too quickly can cause your vehicle to skid and even roll over.

Once in a skid, steer in the direction of the skid. To do this, look where you want your vehicle to go and steer toward that spot. Be careful not to over steer. If you are on ice and skidding in a straight line, step on the clutch or shift to neutral.
 (Original post)

Gun Rights Victory in Russia

The Truth About Guns reports that Russia has changed its laws to allow licensed gun owners to carry their firearms for self-defense.

A Good Idea For Food Rotation

The author of Le Survivaliste describes his experiences on using various shelves and racks to keep his food rotated so he was using his oldest foods first. To be brief, it was more complicated than it was worth. So he came up with a different idea--rather than split food out by the type, and then rotating each type, he devoted sections of his pantry to different years representing the expiration date for those foods. So, all his food with an expiration date of 2017, for example, would go into one section of his food storage area whether it was canned soups or vegetables, boxed goods, canned fruit, etc.

Read the whole thing (you will need to right click and select translate to English unless you are fluent in French).

A Couple Articles on Using Radios





"The Ultimate Guide to Learning About Radio Communication and Why You Should" from Imminent Threat Solutions.

"Do You Need A Grab-n-Go Two-Way Radio Bag?" from God, Gals, Guns, Grub.

Also, a reminder that Advanced Survival Guide has a number of articles on radio communications.

Ebola Update (Nov. 20, 2014)

Breitbart reports:
The spread of Ebola remains "intense" in most of Sierra Leone even as things have improved somewhat in the two other countries hardest hit, the World Health Organization says. 
Some 168 new confirmed cases emerged in a single week in Sierra Leone's capital of Freetown recently, according to a WHO report. 
"The numbers are still rising and the transmission is persistent and widespread," said Amadu Kamara, the U.N.'s Ebola crisis manager in Sierra Leone. "Rapid and coordinated response are needed to overcome the spread of the Ebola disease." 
The WHO report released late Wednesday indicated that Sierra Leone had the lowest percentage of Ebola patients who had been isolated — only 13 percent. By comparison, that figure was 72 percent in Guinea.

Currency War!

The value of the Yen continues to fall against the dollar, reaching 118 Yen to the U.S. Dollar. "This is a seven-year low for the currency, which continues to tumble and has lost more than 30% of its value against the dollar since the start of 2012," according to the Business Insider. This is what Japan wanted--lower prices to spur their manufacturing and export sector.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ebola Update (Nov. 19, 2014)

I flew by helicopter over one of the worst affected areas, the district of Port Loko just north of the coastal capital Freetown. 
Other journalists who have been in this district, but on the ground, have reported finding abandoned villages with dead or dying Ebola patients in them, the healthy having fled in fear or in search of food. 
So I looked carefully out of the helicopter window.

Even from this height it is usually possible to see signs of normal life.
 
Typical ones are smoke from cooking fires and colourful daily laundry draped over bushes to dry. 
But in a large number of villages there were no signs of life. 
Back down on the ground, near Port Loko, I crossed the main road that runs from the capital, north towards the neighbouring state of Guinea. 
Normally this is a bustling highway, but Ebola checkpoints and roadblocks have limited trade in the region: there were very few vehicles on the road. 
It is clear that Sierra Leoneans are not yet winning the war they have mounted against Ebola.

How to Survive Falling Through a Hole in the Ice

It is winter. You are panting with fatigue because for the past 30 minutes you have been running and walking through knee deep snow attempting to evade a group of marauders.  You come to the edge of a clearing. Normally you would skirt around the edges, but that would take time. You decide to risk a straight path across. A hundred feet from the edge of the woods, you hear a large "crack". As you plunge through the ice, you realize it was not a clearing, but a frozen lake. What do you do?

The Art of Manliness has an infographic on surviving a fall through the ice, and some additional advice at the link. Check it out.

1. Do not breathe in the water. Your body’s shock response will cause you to gasp and hyperventilate. Resist this force. The shock will wear off in 1-3 minutes and you have 15-45 minutes to get out before you lose consciousness, so try to stay calm.  2. Orient yourself and get back to where you fell through – this ice held you before, so it should be sturdy enough to crawl back onto.  3. Don’t try to pull yourself straight up. Get horizontal, and in a coordinated motion, kick your feet while using your elbows for traction to get up out of the water and onto the ice. Pull and kick until you’re out.  4. Lie flat on ice and ROLL away. This helps prevent further cracking in the ice. Find warm, dry shelter immediately.  5. If you can’t get out, stop trashing to conserve heat and avoid exhaustion. Put arms on ice and don’t move them – they may freeze to the ice, keeping you from slipping into the water when you lose consciousness and giving rescuers more time to get to you. Get as much of your body onto ice as you can – water draws heat away from the body 25x faster than air. Your beard can also freeze on the ice and save you.  6. If your friend falls through, call 911 and then coach them through this process rather than going out to them the hazardous ice. Two victims are worse than one. If they can’t get out on their own, extend a looped rope they can put around their arms, or a tree branch or ladder to hold onto.

Taurus Curve (Updated and bumped)

Taurus is introducing a new handgun intended to be more ergonomic to carry, called the Curve, for obvious reasons (see the photo below). Guns & Ammo gives a brief description and has more photos of the gun.

Guns & Ammo. Supposedly Taurus will offer a left-hand model in the future.

Guns & Ammo. You can see the lands and grooves end before the end of the barrel (the cut-off
on the end reminds me of the slant muzzle compensator on the AKM).
Sighting is done with a built in laser-sight, although the cross on the back of the slide is supposed to function as "iron" sights. It also has two illuminating LEDs. There is a pocket/belt clip that can be mounted on the side for carrying without a holster.

It is an interesting concept for inside the pants carry, and exhibits a willingness to innovate that normally is reserved for Kel-Tek. However, Taurus has a bad reputation when it comes to quality control, and the design is unusual, so it will be interesting to see where this goes.

Update: In response to a reader's comment, here is a photo showing it carried inside the waist band so you can see how it prints:

Source: Guns & Ammo
The shape gives it a square outline, and with something other than skin tight jeans, it may not even show up very much.

By the way, Caleb at Gun Nuts Media really hates the Curve. Did I say that he really hates it. Is it a gimmick or innovation? I don't know. But it attempts to address ergonomic issues, so to me it falls closer to changeable backstraps on a handgun (was that a gimmick or innovation?), than merely adding a different color finish.

Update (11/21/2014): John Boch at Guns Saves Life really hates the Curve as well. His complaints have to do with carrying inside the waistband without a safety, and the lack of iron sights. And he rips on Guns & Ammo for carrying a positive review. In defense of Guns & Ammo, I will note that their article was a "First Look," and the actual review will be published in January. I agree with Boch, though, that most gun magazines try to write a positive review to please advertisers. That's why it is Guns & Ammo and not Consumer Gun Reports.

I'm going to hold off on my judgment until someone actually gets a chance to try one out and report on it. I question the lack of iron sights, but also know that realistically, you only focus on the front sight when under pressure anyway. So, at the distances the gun is intended to be used for, perhaps the cross-hairs on the back of the slide would be enough.