Monday, November 30, 2015

Some Humor....


The Realist--Mini-Review: Leatherman Rev Multitool

Another guest post from The Realist:

The Leatherman Rev in its package

As a follow-on to my recent Ozark Trails multitool review (http://practicaleschatology.blogspot.com/2015/11/the-realist-mini-review-ozark-trail-12.html), I am going to do a quick review the new-ish Leatherman "Rev" multitool. This year, Home Depot is offering the Rev for less than twenty dollars ($19.88 plus sales tax, MSRP $34.85) as part of their Black Friday sales promotion. (If past marketing holds true, it will remain twenty dollars for the holiday shopping season or until inventory is exhausted.)

The Rev is probably the cheapest full-sized genuine Leatherman multitool you will find for sale new.

The first thing I noticed was the Rev's similarity to the Leatherman Wingman (MSRP $39.85). Besides a similar tool offering, similar tool designs, and asymmetric handles, the Wingman had been sold for twenty dollars at Home Depot during several past Christmas shopping seasons.

The individual tools in the Rev are 1) needle nose pliers, 2) regular pliers, 3) hard-wire cutters, 4) wire cutters, 5) straight edge knife, 6) package opener, 7) 1.5 inch ruler, 8) can/bottle opener, 9) wood/metal file, 10) Phillips screwdriver, 11) medium straight screwdriver, 12) small straight screwdriver, and 13) wire stripper. The two types of pliers and the two types of wire cutters are all part of the same jaw assembly. The file, ruler, and small screwdriver are a single blade. The can/bottle opener and wire stripper are all a single blade. Only the knife blade locks open. The Rev also has a removable pocket clip.

The file is a signal side single-cut file, and is somewhat short (less than 2 inches). The other side of the blade with the file is the ruler. Most other full size Leatherman multitools have a longer (greater than 2.5 inches) double sided file, with one side being double-cut and the other side being single cut.

The package opening tool is fairly useful for opening those evil plastic clamshell packages. However, if you slip while using it, it is sharp enough to cut through clothes and skin (I have a half-inch scar as proof).

The knife on my Rev was not razor sharp, unlike every other Leatherman multitool with a knife I have ever purchased. But, that was remedied with a few seconds of sharpening.

Folded and end-views of the Leatherman Rev (top) and Wingman (bottom).
A side-by-side comparison of the Leatherman Wingman (left) and Rev (right).

Comparison to the Wingman

The Wingman adds scissors, and the knife blade is partially serrated. Further, the Wingman's pliers are spring loaded and one-eighth of an inch longer than the Rev's pliers. (For reference, most other Leatherman multitools, such as the Rebar (MSRP $60.85) or Charge TTi (MSRP $170.85) do not have spring loaded pliers.)

The wire cutters on the Rev have been improved over the Wingman's design. The Rev wire cutters are of a shearing design (opposing blades move past each other, like scissors), rather than the Wingman's pinching design (V-shaped blades meet each other).

The Rev is noticeably lighter (my sample weighted 166 grams, 5.9 ounces) than the Wingman (193 grams, 6.8 ounces).

I would describe the Rev as a cheapened Wingman. Besides the omission of scissors, the Rev evidences several design changes to reduce manufacturing cost. The Rev takes the handle asymmetry to a whole new level, with one handle having a trapezoidal cross section (see the end-view comparison photos). The wide size of the trapezoidal handle is what your hand will press against when using the pliers.

Conclusions

Twenty dollars is hard to beat for a full sized Leatherman multitool. With the low price comes compromises, although the major tools - knife, screwdrivers, pliers, can/bottle opener - are fully capable of performing their intended functions. The Rev is certainly cheap enough to buy several units to strategically place where they are likely to be needed, such as in a desk, or to put in a vehicle emergency kit if you are concerned about theft of the kit and want to limit your financial loss.

Personally, I prefer to have a multitool that also includes a saw and a better file. But, those additions will cost substantially more from Leatherman, or I will have to take my chances with something made in China.

A Quick Run Around the Web--November 30, 2015 (Updated)

Internal view of the Stanford torus space station design (1976).

The World In Which We Live:

  • "'Jungle' migrant camp plans for tiny rural village"--Telegraph. A developer has proposed renovating an empty business park in the village of Littleton-upon-Severn--which has just 100 residents--so that the park can serve as a refugee center, housing up to 1,800 refugees. According to the story, "[r]esidents say the site is too isolated and the influx will swamp the village, which has just two churches and a pub. But 58-year-old Mr Tull says the site will be 'completely inclusive' and those living there will have no need to leave the site and integrate with the local community." Completely inclusive? So it is to be a prison camp? Somehow, I doubt it.
  • Related: "Uh-Oh… 14,000 Illegal Immigrants in Sweden DISAPPEAR WITHOUT A TRACE"--Gateway Pundit. "Of the 21,748 people who have been given deportation orders by Sweden’s Migration Agency last month – the largest number in history, by the way – 14,140 are registered by police as 'departed' or 'wanted,' the Swedish website The Local reports. 'We simply don’t know where they are,' said Patrik Engström, the head of the national border police."
The clash between the Turkish Air Force and Russia is dangerous because it violates the first rule of proxy warfare which is principals don't fight principals. The whole point of proxy warfare is that only the seconds are allowed to cross swords. The duelists are forbidden from engaging each other directly, a convention intended to limit the scope of war. 
This is exactly what failed to happen when Turkey shot down an Russian SU-24 on its border with Syria.
  • Related: "What happens if the US lose the Kurds in the fight against ISIS?"--SNAFU. I had predicted that the easiest way for Russia to punish Turkey was to start supplying weapons and material to the Kurds. Solomon reports that is exactly what the Russians are now starting to do.
  • Related: "Turkey Arrests Generals Who Stopped Syria-Bound, Weapons-Laden, Spook Trucks"--Zero Hedge. "So let's just be clear about what's going on here, because it would be a shame if the absurdity was lost on anyone. In January 2014, MIT loaded up some trucks with weapons bound for militant groups operating in northwestern Syria. Those trucks were stopped at the border by police who were subsequently threatened by intelligence agents who accompanied the drivers. Erdogan has now charged the officers with "forming and leading an armed terrorist organization," when in fact they were doing the exact opposite. That is, they were trying to keep several truck loads of weapons from reaching armed terrorist organizations."
      • "The Return of the Frontier"--Richard Fernandez, writing about the implications of the passage of the Space Act of 2015 in the U.S. House and Senate. The Act recognizes the right of private companies to claim property on celestial bodies--i.e., space mining and claims. Opponents argue that the Act violates the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which was an international treaty intended to prevent the United States (then the only country in a position to do so) from laying claim to the Moon or other bodies in the Solar System. The Treaty, however, is silent as to private space development, and only prohibits nations from making territorial claims to extraterrestrial bodies. I suppose that the Act may be moot from the standpoint that, since under the Treaty the United States does not have any rights to extraterrestrial bodies, it cannot grant those rights to a private entity. But the Act does make sense in that it would prevent the United States from seizing materials brought back from space. Anyway, all of that aside, is the implications for space industry and expansion into space. Fernandez writes:
        At stake is not only the biggest Gold Rush in human history, but the greatest territorial expansion since the Age of Discovery. Most products built from space resources will be left outside of earth's gravity well and men will go up to join their products rather than return them to Terra. Exploration means diaspora.
          The Gold Rush aspect of the space industry still dominates the public discussion. As Deep Space Industries writes, until now humanity, like Robinson Crusoe, has been living off resources washed up from the ocean of space. Within a few decades humanity could go for the mother lode. The availability of limitless resources and energy will redefine material prosperity for the entire human race.
          He goes on:
            Liberals must rightly sense, even if they don't currently understand why, that the bureaucratic controls which they have spent decades constructing can never be fully recovered after they expire. The reason is physics. The vast distances of the cosmos impose communications latencies that make real time monitoring and control impossible. When it takes as long as 22 minutes to send a one way message to Mars, the delegation of on-the-spot decision making to artificial intelligence or human beings on location is a necessity.
              The outcome will be the emergence of true frontier where authority must diminish with distance from the center. Out at the edge, humanity will be independent as never before since the age of sail. If mankind spills out into space, future historians will see the last years of the 20th century as the momentary triumph of the human hive, its golden flowering -- before it was replaced by a rough 21st century capitalism with its divergence in authority, and the re-emergence of local culture.
                The Dawn of the Space Mining Age probably signals the Twilight of Socialism as much as it does the end of all material poverty.  It marks the end of a way of life. We live in a special time; a brief epoch when the human universe has become as small as it will ever be, a moment when no man living is more than a few moments away by text messaging from any other and no home is beyond 48 hours of subsonic jet travel.
                  If man takes to the Cosmos, then distances will become real again; and goodbyes will be for the first time in a hundred years once more forever.

                  Firearms/Self-Defense:

                  Other Stuff:
                  • "Bracken: Tet, Take Two – Islam’s 2016 European Offensive"--Matthew Bracken at Western Rifle Shooters Assoc. "As we roll into the New Year, we are witnessing the prelude to the culmination of a titanic struggle between three great actors. Three great social forces are now set in motion for a 2016 showdown and collision that will, in historical terms, be on par with the First and Second World Wars." The three forces are: Islam, International Socialism, and Nationalism. It is a long read, so save this for when you have some time to absorb the whole thing. 
                  • Vox Day addresses Bracken's post
                  I'm not simply discounting the warning in this article postulating large-scale Islamic 4GW in Europe. But I am just a little amused by it, as Americans always, always, always fail to understand Europe and tend to underestimate the strong nationalist core underneath the soft modern welfare state. 
                  * * *
                    What Americans always fail to understand is that Europeans are, by and large, far more ruthless than they are. They [America], and not the Europeans or the Russians, were the party responsible for preventing the Serbians from ethnically cleansing the Muslims out of Bosnia and Herzogovina.
                      .... If there is an uprising of the sort envisioned, there will be an ultraviolent, ultranationalist reaction that will make the Russians in Berlin look calm and reasonable.
                        Keep in mind that Europeans are already banning the wearing of burqahs in public. They are erecting barbed-wire borders and openly abrogating treaties in defense of their nations. Political parties with considerable support are talking openly about tearing up residence permits and enacting mass deportations. Nor do Europeans have much regard for religious liberties behind which Muslims can hide in the USA; Scientology is already banned in Germany and they could literally ban Islam tomorrow if the leadership was amenable. And the fact that the Islamic populations tend to be concentrated only makes the strategic issue that much easier to address, if necessary.
                          Furthermore, Europeans are far from unarmed. Both France and Germany have more than 30 firearms per 100 population. This is lower than 88.8 per 100 as in the USA, but it is hardly an indication of being defenseless. What Europeans don't have is handguns; they have the rifles and shotguns that would be more militarily useful. 
                            But the chief problem with this Tet 2.0 concept is that it is simply not in keeping with everything we know from military history about how Muslims historically wage war. What works for a highly disciplined, patient group of Asians fighting foreigners in their homeland is considerably less likely to be effective for a more aggressive and impetuous collection of teenagers and twenty-somethings from the Middle East.
                              And while too much of the European leadership is very nearly as treacherous, and anti-nationalistic as he describes, I very much doubt that any of them are secret Muslims. The fact is that most Europeans look at Muslims the way Americans view Hispanics; they don't really see them as a serious threat. After all, their forefathers repeatedly defeated them for literally centuries. They may be right to discount the threat, they may be wrong, but they certainly aren't guided by abject fear of it.
                                If anything, I think the problem is that as highly secular societies, they find it difficult to take a threat that involves a religious motivation seriously.
                                  ... In my research on cultural appropriation, I’ve uncovered a shocking truth, a great, unspoken crime against humanity, hidden in plain sight. It is the greatest, longest-running, and most heinous act of appropriation in global history.
                                    The appropriation of Western Civilisation.
                                      This diabolical act of appropriation has been hidden in plain sight. For centuries, nation after nation brutally, viciously, mercilessly appropriated western culture. Just as they did Rwanda, an uncaring world averted its eyes, and this act of global racism has gone unacknowledged. Until now.
                                        Half-Pakistani in descent, I feel a personal sense of guilt at how non-western countries have unapologetically oppressed their fellow nations. I’ve therefore taken it upon myself to compile a list of all the things the world has culturally appropriated from the west, in hope that this injustice might one day be corrected.
                                        Read the whole thing....
                                        • "Oil Plunge Raises Fears of Societal Unrest"--Fox Business. "Five countries are high on the radar screen for societal risks from low oil prices, which RBC Capital Markets has labeled the 'Fragile Five.' They are Algeria, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, and Venezuela. ISIS operatives are believed to be in most of these countries."
                                        Update: Added a few cites throughout, including the response to Bracken's WRSA article.

                                        Sunday, November 29, 2015

                                        A Review of Revelations--Part 3--The Sixth Seal

                                        "The Opening Of The Sixth Seal" (Danby) (2013)

                                        [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5] [Part 6] [Part 7] [Part 8] [Part 9] [Part 10]

                                        This is the continuation of my series reviewing Revelations as part of my reading of The Book of Revelation: Things Which Must Shortly Come to Pass by G. Erik Brandt. My prior posts took a look at the opening of the first five seals, representing the first five thousand years of history. Now we move into the time of the Sixth Seal, approximately the period of 1,000 A.D. to the present.

                                        This past 1,000 years has been, indeed, momentous times upon the earth. 1201 saw the deadliest earthquake in recorded history. By the 12th and 13th Centuries, Islam's expansion had largely been contained in nearly all directions. The Islamic nations subsequently turned inward, and decided to commit suicide by killing the most productive of its peoples. When the Second Millennium began, Christians still constituted the single largest religion in the Near and Middle-East. By the end of the 13th Century, purges and pogroms had reduced Christianity to all but a small percentage in almost every Middle-Eastern and Near-Eastern nation. At the same time, Medieval European Civilization has reached both an apex of its art and culture, and, from contemporary accounts, was in a steep moral decline. The Mongols spread to create the largest land empire ever seen, capturing China and threatening the Middle-East and Europe.

                                        The next momentous event was the great plague. Starting somewhere in steppes just west of China, an especially virulent form of bubonic plague spread eastward across China, and westward across Asia to the Near East, North Africa, and Europe. (Undoubtedly, it also spread south into India and South East Asia) Although records from most regions are scarce, it is believed to have killed half of the populations in China and the Middle and Near East. So bad was it in many Muslim lands, that even livestock and wild animals succumbed to the plague. Europe did not seem to suffer the great death of animals, but anywhere between a third and half of the population died.

                                        Although old Europe died over the next two centuries, a new (or renewed) culture arose. European art and sciences flourished. There was a renewed interest in religion, including translations of the Bible into common languages, and the Reformation. Although the Byzantine Empire finally succumbed to the Ottoman Turks, Islam was driven from Europe. And, even as the last vestiges of the Byzantine Empire fell to the Turks, Europe was discovering the New World. Unfortunately, for the natives of America, they suffered plagues and sicknesses that were even more deadly to them than the Black Plague had been in the Old World, with upwards of 90 percent of populations succumbing within 150 years of Europe's discovery of the Americas. Whole Indian cultures collapsed and disappeared without having ever been seen by the Europeans. However, the spread of food crops from the New World to the rest of the world was the greatest biological diaspora in earth's existence, immeasurably raising the standard of living for the whole world.

                                        The 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries saw the first truly global empires of the Spanish, French, and, finally, the English. The past 100 years are largely the story of the collapse of these Empires.

                                        Yet John's vision does not appear to focus on any of this. John's record of what he witnessed after the opening of the Sixth Seal is recorded in Revelations 6:12-17:
                                        12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

                                        13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

                                        14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
                                        [However, Joseph Smith indicated that this verse should have indicated that the heavens were opened like a scroll].

                                        15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;

                                        16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

                                        17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
                                        (Compare D&C 88:87: "For not many days hence and the earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man; and the sun shall hide his face, and shall refuse to give light; and the moon shall be bathed in blood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that falleth from off a fig tree.").

                                        Brandt observes that the focus of the Sixth Seal is on (or begins with) a "great earthquake," and writes: "The term great separates this disaster into a class all its own, distinguishing it from other earthquakes that will occur in 'divers places' throughout the world (Matt. 24:7; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:11; D&C 45:33)." Brandt equates this to the "great earthquake" of Revelations 11:13 (following the death of the two prophets) and 16:18 (following the seventh angel pouring out his vial).

                                        To Brandt, however, this raises somewhat of a quandary as to the timing of these events. He writes:
                                        An interesting characteristic surrounds the signs that symbolize the sixth seal. In truth, many of these cataclysmic events take place within the seventh seal rather than the sixth. For example, John later places the "great earthquake" in the vision of the vials (or bowls) (Rev. 16:18), an event that clearly occurs after the seventh seal is opened (D&C 77:13). The well-known signs of the sun being darkened, the moon turning to blood, and the stars falling (Matt. 24:29; D&C 45:42; Joel 2:31; D&C 88:87), are prophesied events closely associated with the end of the abomination of desolation (JS-M 1:32-33) and the aforementioned great earthquake. Other prophecies portraying the heavens departing, the earth being "rolled together as a scroll" (Isa. 34:4; 3 Ne. 26:3; Morm. 5:23, 9:2), and the mountains and islands being removed ("mountains were not found") all occur within the seventh seal (Rev. 16:20).
                                        Brandt reasons that the placement of these events in the Sixth Seal is that they are more closely associated with the events preparatory to the Second Coming rather than the primary theme of the Seventh Thousand Years which is the peace and prosperity of the Millennium. He opines that "John's symbols of the six[th] seal represent the culmination of the signs, wonders, and upheavals that began in the sixth seal but reach their climatic crescendo at the beginning of the seventh seal."

                                        In Mick Smith's Book of Revelations: Plain, Pure, and Simple, Smith notes that the Greek word used earthquake, seismos, represents a "commotion" or "tempest." It can be of the earth or the air.  (See here). For instance, the same seismos is used in Mathew 8:24, where it is rendered in English as "tempest." Smith observes that seismos could be either a figurative or literal, and can imply any experience that causes one to fear or tremble. Nevertheless, Smith also seems to accept that it refers to a literal earthquake.

                                        I would suggest that, at least in this instance, and considering that we are discussing the Sixth Seal--the preparatory time to the Second Coming--that the "great earthquake" of Revelations 6:15 should, instead, be read more broadly as "great commotion," encompassing not just physical storms, tempests, and earthquakes, but spiritual, political and social commotion as well.

                                        There is scriptural support for this broad of a reading. For instance, in Daniel 2:34, we read of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, wherein he saw "a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces." The image, of course, is the image of man with different materials (gold, silver, brass, iron and iron mixed with clay) representing various earthly empires. In verse 44, Daniel explains that in the days of the kings represented by the feet and toes of iron mixed with clay, "shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever." This stone cut out of the mountain we know to be the restored Gospel. Brandt summarizes many of the political and religious historic events that led to the restoration of the Gospel--all within the period of time of the Sixth Seal. This stone--the restored Church--shall shatter the kingdoms of men.

                                        With the restoration of the Church comes a duty on the Saints to warn others through the preaching of the Gospel. Brandt writes:
                                        The mercy and justice of God require that the inhabitants of the earth be warned of impending judgments and that due process be fulfilled. A time must be provided for men to repent and prepare for that which is to come.
                                        In the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord commanded the elders of the Church to teach one another the Gospel, including the signs of the last days, to strengthen one another and increase in knowledge, for the purpose of preaching the Gospel to the world. (D&C 88:78-80). The Lord then stated:
                                        81 Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.

                                        82 Therefore, they are left without excuse, and their sins are upon their own heads.

                                        83 He that seeketh me early shall find me, and shall not be forsaken.

                                        84 Therefore, tarry ye, and labor diligently, that you may be perfected in your ministry to go forth among the Gentiles for the last time, as many as the mouth of the Lord shall name, to bind up the law and seal up the testimony, and to prepare the saints for the hour of judgment which is to come;

                                        85 That their souls may escape the wrath of God, the desolation of abomination which awaits the wicked, both in this world and in the world to come. Verily, I say unto you, let those who are not the first elders continue in the vineyard until the mouth of the Lord shall call them, for their time is not yet come; their garments are not clean from the blood of this generation.
                                        * * *
                                        89 For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand.

                                        90 And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds.

                                        91 And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people.
                                        (See also D&C 43:23-26, where the Lord describes providing warnings through both the mouth of his servants and ministering of angels, but also through tempests and disasters). As Brandt writes,
                                        The initial intent of these catastrophic events will be to stir or shake the people of the earth to repentance. Calamities help to prepare individuals and to open the doors of nations for the preaching of the gospel. As the elect are gathered in and wickedness increases, the purpose of these calamities will broaden to warn, and in some measure punish, the earth with His wrath. Scourges will intensify until they crescendo and the chastening hand of the Almighty is unmistakably felt.
                                        In short, the "great earthquake" of the Sixth Seal need not be the "great earthquake" of the Seventh Seal as Brandt supposes, but could more broadly be disasters and political/social commotion that generally proceeds the Second Coming. Certainly, the restoration of the Gospel is one of the signs of the End Times.

                                        It is notable that Smith, in his book, reminds his readers that the Hebrew number seven connoted completeness. Thus, citing Richard Draper, Smith observes that there seven consequences to the wickedness of mankind (1. the earthquake or commotion; 2. the darkened sun; 3. the reddening of the moon; 4. the falling stars; 5. the heavens rolled up (or opened up, per the JST); 6. the mountains and islands moving out of their place; and 7. the universal consternation of mankind). Similarly, Draper had noted seven classes of men who will be affected (1. kings; 2. great men; 3. rich men; 4. chief captains (i.e., generals); 5. mighty men (i.e., soldiers/military); 6. bondmen (i.e., slaves); and 7. free men).

                                        Thus, by the completion of the Sixth Seal, as Smith writes, "[a]t this point in the Revelation, the Lord has done all things possible to entice men on earth to take advantage of the things of God. Their time is now past." Brandt similarly writes: "Unfortunately, in the day when the 'great earthquake' and the signs in the cosmos are fulfilled, mankind's long day of grace will be past and the night will come, with many unprepared for the tremendous upheavals and convulsions that will shake the nations and cause great fear among the wicked."

                                        Saturday, November 28, 2015

                                        A Quick Run Around the Web--November 28, 2015 (Updated)

                                        Anders Andersen-Lundby, View of a street on the outskirts of Munich, winter.

                                        The World We Live In:
                                        • We demand all local, state and federal budgets to defund the police and invest those dollars and resources in Black futures.
                                        • We want reparations for chattel slavery, Jim Crow and mass incarceration.
                                        • We want to end all profit from so-called “criminal justice” punishment – both public and private.
                                        • We want a guaranteed income for all, living wages, a federal jobs program, and freedom from discrimination for all workers.
                                        • We want the labor of Black transgender and cisgender women (unseen and seen, unpaid and paid) to be valued and supported, not criminalized and marginalized.
                                        • We want investments in Black communities that promote economic sustainability and eliminate the displacement of our people.
                                        • Update: This AFP report, describing Obama's reaction to the shooting, notes: "The gunman had entered the Planned Parenthood clinic around noon Friday and started shooting from a window. Police surrounded the building, and after an exchange of gunfire and a standoff lasting more than five hours the gunman surrendered." In other words, he wasn't attacking the facility.

                                        Survival/Prepping:
                                        • "DIY: Reinforcing an Entry Door"--Advanced Survival Guide. Kick-proofing a door by reinforcing the back side of the jamb with an aluminum plate.
                                        • And while you are reading the ASG article above, check out the following: "Special Holiday Knife Sale for ASG Blog Readers." "Baugo Blades is running a limited Holiday Sale specifically for Advanced Survival Guide readers!  25 specially-priced Forager’s Camp Knives with MOLLE sheaths will be available exclusively through this blog [i.e., Advanced Survival Guide] for only $40.00 each plus shipping.  This deal can only be found here and will last until December 20,2015 or until the 25 knives are sold, whichever comes first."
                                        • "Making Your Own Probiotic Kombucha At Home"--The Homestead Survival. "Kombucha is a fermented, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea drinks that has a “symbiotic ‘colony’ of bacteria and yeast” (SCOBY). Contributing microbial populations in SCOBY cultures vary, but the yeast component generally includes Saccharomyces (a probiotic fungus) and other species, and the bacterial component almost always includes Gluconacetobacter xylinus to oxidize yeast-produced alcohols to acetic and other acids."
                                        • "Chicken Jerky Recipe: Use It To Make Turkey Jerky Too!"--Knowledge Weighs Nothing.
                                        • "The Neo Survivalist`s Special"--Neo Survivalist. The author recently had posted an article on how to make torches out of cotton strips soaked in wax. This article explains how to use the left over scraps of wax impregnated cotton as firestarters.
                                        • "Perspectives on Being the Gray Man"--The Order of the White Rose. "We talk a lot here about minimizing your online footprint. Minimizing your physical footprint and not drawing attention to yourself is just as important—and being able to spot the people around you who are gray is critical as well."
                                        • "Make a Simple Intercom From a Pair of Old Corded Phones"--Radical Survivalism
                                        • "Checklist For Winterizing Your Home"--The Survival Place Blog. Not just getting your home ready for winter, but also getting your preps organized for a winter emergency.
                                        • "Latest Test Results"--Survival UK. Faced with some plumbing issues, Skean Dhude decided to take the opportunity to test his survival preparations by going "off-grid" for a couple weeks. In this post, he describes how he did, and what problems/issues arose.
                                        • "Abandoned Cars: Survival Salvage Ideas"--The Prepper Journal. More than just a source for siphoning old gasoline.
                                        • "7 Secrets for Burning Sticks in the Rain"--Survival Sherpa. It takes preparation to be able to light and maintain fires in damp conditions.
                                        • "Kel-Tec Sub 2000 Project Complete!"--Practical Prepping Blog. The author had purchased a Kel-Tec Sub 2000 in 9 mm to serve as a "trunk gun" to carry in a vehicle. After about a year, he decided to make some upgrades to make it a better self-defense weapon. This post shows the end product.
                                        • And, an absolute must for post-Thanksgiving: "Leftover Turkey Recipes That Don’t Suck"--Survival Mom.

                                        Friday, November 27, 2015

                                        A Quick Run Around the Web -- November 27, 2015

                                        Pierre Mignard,  La rencontre d'Alexandre avec la reine des Amazones ("Alexander Meets the Queen of the Amazons") (c. 1660).

                                        Collapse of the West:

                                        Only one race is permitted to register to vote with Hawaiian government officials for the separatist election. Hawaii has given a private organization millions of dollars to run the election. ...
                                        * * * 
                                        Interests on Hawaii are attempting to set up a new government representing the "colonized" native Hawaiians. They do not view American sovereignty as legitimate.  Naturally, the Obama administration took their side and filed a brief supporting the racially discriminatory election.  They argued that even though Congress has never authorized a new government on Hawaii comprised of the native race, the state should be allowed to establish one.
                                          About 2,000 protesters, some holding signs reading "Stop Police Terror" gathered in a cold drizzle for the march on Chicago's "Magnificent Mile," which closed the major city street of Michigan Avenue to traffic on the traditional "Black Friday" shopping day after the Thanksgiving holiday,
                                            Organizers said the rally, led by activist-politician the Rev. Jesse Jackson and several state elected officials, was a show of outrage over the October 2014 death of Laquan McDonald, 17, and what they see as racial bias in U.S. policing.

                                            Turkey's Double Dealings:
                                              A senior Western official familiar with a large cache of intelligence obtained this summer from a major raid on an ISIS safehouse told the Guardian that “direct dealings between Turkish officials and ranking ISIS members was now ‘undeniable.’”
                                                The same official confirmed that Turkey, a longstanding member of NATO, is not just supporting ISIS, but also other jihadist groups, including Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria. “The distinctions they draw [with other opposition groups] are thin indeed,” said the official. “There is no doubt at all that they militarily cooperate with both.”
                                                  In a rare insight into this brazen state-sponsorship of ISIS, a year ago Newsweek reported the testimony of a former ISIS communications technician, who had travelled to Syria to fight the regime of Bashir al-Assad.
                                                    The former ISIS fighter told Newsweek that Turkey was allowing ISIS trucks from Raqqa to cross the “border, through Turkey and then back across the border to attack Syrian Kurds in the city of Serekaniye in northern Syria in February.” ISIS militants would freely travel “through Turkey in a convoy of trucks,” and stop “at safehouses along the way.”
                                                      The former ISIS communication technician also admitted that he would routinely “connect ISIS field captains and commanders from Syria with people in Turkey on innumerable occasions,” adding that “the people they talked to were Turkish officials… ISIS commanders told us to fear nothing at all because there was full cooperation with the Turks.”

                                                      Gun News:

                                                      Other Stuff:
                                                      • "Mercenaries make headlines again"--Bayou Renaissance Man. A New York Times article on Saudi Arabia hiring Colombian mercenaries to fight in Yemen give Peter Grant an opportunity to discuss modern mercenaries.

                                                      Range Time

                                                      I hope my readers had a good Thanksgiving. 

                                                      Since I was not working yesterday or today, I decided to set up my equipment to do some reloading and test out the loads at the range. Many years ago, I started loading light, fast loads for the 9 mm for plinking and target shooting. The specific load is a 90 grain hollow-points over 6.3 grains of Unique powder. When I last did this load, as you may remember, I had seated the bullets too deep, with the result that some were catching as they entered the chamber, causing a misfeed. I corrected this, seating the bullets so I had a cartridge overall length of 1.075 inches. 

                                                      I went shooting with my son at a nearby public range to test the loads. I also took out some of my hand loads for .38 Special. It was cold--about 25 degrees F--but sunny and clear, with no appreciable wind. A perfect day for shooting. Others felt so, too, because the range was busy. This particular range has no range master: everyone is responsible for themselves. It is split up into various lanes, with high dirt berms between, but it generally necessary to share lanes with other shooters.

                                                      We took the end of one of the wider lanes. At the other side was a group practicing with handguns and shotguns. There was what appeared to be a firearms class down further from us, and, otherwise, people either shooting individually or in small groups. Someone would occasionally fire bursts from a fully automatic weapon, but I wasn't able to see what it was. 

                                                      After a while, an older gentlemen took the space in the middle of the lane we were using. After setting up a target and shooting for a bit, he approached us. "Do you shoot much?" he asked. "I have a problem, and I don't want to blow my hand off." He held out an obviously new semi-auto with a slide out of battery and a cartridge partially stuck into the chamber. I removed the magazine and cleared the weapon for him. Embarrassed, he admitted he apparently hadn't pulled on the magazine hard enough. He was shooting for about another half hour, so apparently his handgun ran fine after that.

                                                      A bad day at the range beats a good day at work; but this was a good day at the range. And my hand loads all worked fine.

                                                      Wednesday, November 25, 2015

                                                      Why Are Black College Students Protesting?

                                                      I've seen a couple articles recently that argue that the reason that so many black students at elite universities are unhappy is because they are not suited for the rigors and competition of their respective colleges. A couple weeks ago, in an article at Chicago Boyz entitled "What are black college students rioting about?", Michael Kennedy wrote:
                                                      Power line has a post today that seems to me to be right on the topic of what these students want, which is freedom from accountability. They are afraid they are overmatched against white colleagues. They can’t hack it and want a pass. It is called“Mismatch.”
                                                      The author points out that, when examining the IQ of different races:
                                                      The curve for blacks has a peak at IQ about 80. White peak at 100 to 104. Asians peak at around 106. What this means is that the average IQ is lower for blacks but this does not mean that all blacks are less intelligent than whites. At an IQ of 110 there is a large difference but the number of blacks who will do well in certain academic fields like Medicine is still significant. It would seem important to identify those blacks who will do well in fields requiring higher than average intelligence but the present system of affirmative action ignores this truth.
                                                      The problem is that, because of affirmative action, many blacks are being admitted into colleges or programs that are above their capabilities. Kennedy finishes by stating: "I feel sorry for these students because, due to white leftist orthodoxy, they have been placed in a situation where they cannot succeed. They know it and demand special privileges. All this does is to degrade the accomplishments of black students who are far enough to the right in the curve to succeed in math or engineering or medicine."

                                                      In a similar article at the American Spectator, "A Little-Understood Engine of Campus Unrest: Racial Admissions Preferences," Stuart Taylor writes:
                                                      Many or most of the African-American student protesters really are victims — but not of old-fashioned racism.

                                                      Most are, rather, victims of the very large admissions preferences that set up racial-minority students for academic struggle at the selective universities that have cynically misled them into thinking they are well qualified to compete with classmates who are, in fact, far stronger academically.

                                                      The reality is that most good black and Hispanic students, who would be academically competitive at many selective schools, are not competitive at the more selective schools that they attend.

                                                      That’s why it takes very large racial preferences to get them admitted. An inevitable result is that many black and (to a lesser extent) Hispanic students cannot keep up with better-prepared classmates and rank low in their classes no matter how hard they work.

                                                      Studies show that this academic “mismatch effect” forces them to drop science and other challenging courses; to move into soft, easily graded, courses disproportionately populated by other preferentially admitted students; and to abandon career hopes such as engineering and pre-med. Many lose intellectual self-confidence and become unhappy even if they avoid flunking out.
                                                      Read the whole thing. But it is yet another example where blacks have been sabotaged by progressive-liberals that claimed to help them. How many of these students may have obtained degrees in useful and remunerative careers in business or the sciences, but either drifted into some useless "studies" degree or, worse yet, dropped out completely? As I've noted to my children, liberals don't actually care about people or the consequences of the policies they push; they only care about feeling good about themselves.

                                                      Oleg Volk's Take on the Kel-Tec RDB

                                                      The RDB is Kel-Tec's bull-pup 5.56 mm rifle. Volk has been using a couple over a period of 8 months and liked it--enough so that, once some minor changes are made, he is going to use it as his primary defensive rifle. You can read his full review here.

                                                      A Quick Run Around the Web--November 25, 2015

                                                      Henryk Siemiradzki, Begging castaway (1878)

                                                      One by one, the giant investment funds are quietly switching out of government bonds, the most overpriced assets on the planet.
                                                      * * *
                                                      This shift in reserve flows amounts to fiscal stimulus for the world. Less money is being hoarded as capital: more is going back into the real economy as spending - or it soon will do - exactly what the doctor ordered for a 1930s world, starved of demand.
                                                      * * *
                                                      All the stars are aligned for an end to the deflationary supercycle, and therefore for an end to the 35-year bull market in government bonds.
                                                      * * *
                                                      Mr O'Neill said the "trillion dollar question" is whether the Fed and fellow central banks will wake up one day to find that the inflationary horse has already bolted. 
                                                      My fear is that this is exactly what will happen. There will then be an almighty reckoning as global finance braces for a rush of staccato rate rises by the Fed, and a belated pirouette by the ECB. 
                                                      We will then find out whether the world can cope with public and private debt ratios hovering at all-time highs of 265pc of GDP in the OECD club and 185pc in emerging markets, up 35 percentage points since the top of the pre-Lehman credit bubble. Equities will not fare very well either when that moment comes.
                                                      • Examples of the failure of gun control:
                                                      • "Mon Dieu! A Review of French Gun Laws"--The Truth About Guns. As you might expect, civilians are prohibited from owning fully automatic weapons. That obviously did not stop the terrorists. Moreover, there is evidence that even possession of handguns by civilians would have made a big difference:
                                                      As the attackers mowed people down, a police commissioner and his driver, learning from the police radio that they were near the site, sped to the concert hall before more elite teams could get there. They charged inside, shooting one of the gunmen before the attacker had a chance to use his high-powered rifle. Then they retreated so that special-operations teams could assemble.

                                                      It was a key action that slowed the pace of carnage. "In hindsight, I know that we saved dozens, maybe hundreds of lives," the commissioner, who hasn't been named, told private television channel M6. While the Bataclan death toll of at least 89 was horrific, most of the partygoers survived.

                                                      "It's their action that made it possible to stop the killing," Christophe Molmy, who heads the elite BRI police intervention squad, said of the police commissioner and his driver.
                                                      • Immigration/Refugee crises:
                                                      The Islamic State has likely radicalized thousands of people in the United States, according to a new report, raising concerns that supporters of the terrorist group could be plotting domestic attacks similar to the recent shootings and bombings in Paris. 
                                                      The Threat Knowledge Group, an organization led by the counterterrorism experts Sebastian and Katharine Gorka, has compiled a list of 82 individuals in the United States who were affiliated with the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) and apprehended by law enforcement officials, including those who traveled or attempted to travel to Iraq and Syria, launched domestic attacks, or participated in recruiting or fundraising. 
                                                      The Gorkas note in a new report that almost one third of these individuals had plotted attacks against Americans on U.S. soil in the last 18 months. Sebastian is also an adviser to the Department of Defense, while Katharine has authored several publications about the terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland.
                                                            • "The New Invasion of Europe"--Chronicles. "Europe lost its will to survive and is being invaded by immigrants: It discarded its Christian faith, which plunged its birth rate to half the replacement level, meaning rapid extinction no matter what. The vacuum is being filled by foreigners arriving by the millions, encouraged by a religion, Islam, that retains strong belief and encourages children."
                                                            • "Why We Should Resettle Refugees In Their Own Lands"--The Federalist. The money quote:
                                                              We can begin the road to healing—which encompasses a better understanding of immigration and immigrants—by changing how we view nationality. Nationality is a good. Iraqis want a country of their own where they can have their own language, traditions, and way of life. So do the Syrians I know. Americans should want the same for themselves.
                                                                America is a nation, too. It has a culture, and it had at one point a national identity. You should want to care for your own country, you should desire to know and uphold your identity. You should love your country, your traditions, your holidays, your shared common life. You should want to uphold your laws and protect your borders.
                                                                  One of the maxims of 4GW is: Don’t break up states. Because then you create anarchic hotbeds of seething hatred that can’t be controlled, and can spread anywhere. But that’s just what President George W. Bush did in attacking Afghanistan and Iraq (instead of just going after Osama bin Laden in Northeastern Afghanistan), destroying their governments and creating anarchy, followed by the rise of ISIS in Iraq. It’s what President Obama and SecState Hillary Clinton did in Libya in 2011, with the help of Italy, Britain and France, when they toppled Qaddafi. The Libyan dictator even warned, just before he was toppled, that getting rid of him would put the jihadis in charge of Northern Africa, before they headed to Europe.
                                                                  • Global warming update:
                                                                  • "German Professor: NASA Has Fiddled Climate Data On ‘Unbelievable’ Scale"--Breitbart. "Professor Dr. Friedrich Karl Ewert is a retired geologist and data computation expert. He has painstakingly examined and tabulated all NASA GISS’s temperature data series, taken from 1153 stations and going back to 1881. His conclusion: that if you look at the raw data, as opposed to NASA’s revisions, you’ll find that since 1940 the planet has been cooling, not warming."
                                                                  1. Resources: "Cities have abundant offerings if you know where to find them. There are places to get a free meal and opportunities to acquire resources for manufacturing gear and tools."
                                                                  2. Lock Picks: "One of the most essential skills/tools for urban survival is a good lock pick set and the skills to use it. This gives you access to many places that may not otherwise be available," such as dumpsters (for food) or abandoned buildings (for shelter). But don't keep them on you; cache them somewhere accessible.
                                                                  3. Police Interaction: Basic tip--avoid police interaction. Pick good areas to sleep where police are not going to "rouse" you.
                                                                  4. Food Is Tricky: "Any homeless person going hungry is not taking advantage of the available resources." But be careful of eating rotting food.
                                                                  5. Hygiene Is Essential: "Poor hygiene leads to complications later, like fungal infections, rashes and sores." Good hygiene, including clean clothes, allows you to move around without being hassled by police or arousing suspicion.
                                                                  6. Water: Like food, water is available, but be careful of drinking from non-potable sources.
                                                                  7. Safety In Numbers: "Anywhere in the world, the appearance of vulnerability invites aggression. Consider forming a small team to increase the odds of personal safety."
                                                                  8. Cache Locations: "Losing your gear because you were too lazy to secure it is a royal pain. Take the time."
                                                                  9. Shelter: "Finding a secluded place to rest is not only essential to your security, it’s important for your health."
                                                                  10. Panhandling Sucks: "The bottom line is, if you’re at the point where you have to panhandle, you’ve failed as a survivalist." 
                                                                  • "Baby elephant in China can’t stop crying after being stomped by mom"--New York Daily News. This is from a couple months back, but a very sad story. Poor parenting is not limited to humans.
                                                                  • "Thousands in Washington to spend Thanksgiving in dark, cold"--Washington Post. "A windstorm Nov. 17 packed hurricane-force winds that toppled power poles and cracked trees, sending them crashing onto cars and killing three people in the state. More than 180,000 Avista customers lost power at the storm’s peak." According to the article, 11,900 customers are still without power, and they estimate that 5,000 will still be without power Thursday. This is not the first time for such problems for the area. Spokane was hit with a similar wide-scale outage in 1996 or 97 that left tens of thousands out of power for days and weeks following an "ice storm." Although we were not in the zone of the outage at the time, my wife and I lived close by. It was one of the reasons we began to take prepping seriously.
                                                                  • "'Turn the other cheek' Doesn't Mean What You Think"--Adventures In Keeping House. The author notes that Christ's teaching about turning the other cheek did not refer to responding to an assault or battery, but responding to an insult (to slap someone in the face was considered an insult); and an "eye for an eye" was not meant literally, but was the legal principle that a punishment had to be proportional to the crime committed. 

                                                                  Tuesday, November 24, 2015

                                                                  A Quick Run Around the Web--November 24, 2015


                                                                  Bruno Liljefors, Studie till Ung tjäderskytt (1923-24)

                                                                  In the McDonald case, ministers, community leaders and others worry the graphic images of the shooting from the squad car dash-board camera could lead to the kind of unrest seen in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, following police-involved deaths, including that of Michael Brown.  
                                                                    'I'm definitely concerned about people's outrage,' said the Rev. Corey Brooks of the New Beginnings Church on Chicago's south side.
                                                                      'Many in my community feel betrayed, they are so very angry and protests are imminent. It's clear from the meeting today that Emanuel knows that,' said the Rev. Ira Acree of the Greater St. John Bible Church on the west side. 
                                                                      • Related: "Take that! Obama: Climate summit a ‘powerful rebuke’ to terrorists"--Climate Depot.  "'I think it is absolutely vital for every country, every leader, to send a signal that the viciousness of a handful of killers does not stop the world from doing vital business, and that Paris … is not going to be cowered by the violent, demented actions of a few,' Obama said about the upcoming climate conference."
                                                                      Fearing that China will see an exodus of manufacturers, Chinese Communist Party Chief Xi Jinping last year called for “an industrial robot revolution” in China, which has become the world’s largest market for automation. 
                                                                      Looking ahead to 2050, the future appears mixed for consumers around the globe. Low-cost production in China has helped suppress inflation in the U.S., Europe and at home. It is an open question whether automation can hold down costs as effectively as Chinese peasant labor did. But consumers should look forward to more choice, faster delivery and, perhaps, less harm to the environment.

                                                                      Some technologists even think that inventions such as 3-D printing—essentially printers that replicate solid objects like copiers reproduce printed pages—will have a big impact by 2050. In such a world, printers could spew out clothing, food, electronics and other goods ordered online from a nearly limitless selection, with far fewer workers involved in production.
                                                                                    The New Shepard rocket lifted off from Blue Origin's launch facility in Van Horn, Texas, on Nov. 23, 2015, flew about 2,800 mph, and soared to more than 62 miles above the Earth, the company said in a press release.
                                                                                      After deploying a space capsule, the rocket then plummeted back toward the ground, reignited its booster, and — in a world first — gently and safely touched down in the middle of a landing target.

                                                                                      (Source)