Saturday, April 30, 2016

April 30, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web


  • "Iraqi protesters pour into Green Zone, storm parliament"--Los Angeles Times. The protesters were Shia (the majority Muslim sect in Iraq ... and Iran), allegedly protesting government corruption resulting from patronage. A couple points. First, in a tribal society, patronage (and its attendant corruption) is a given because of the duties and obligations owed in such societies to members of one's own tribe. (I don't necessarily agree that a professional civil service is better; in many ways, I think it is worse, because such systems are completely unaccountable to the electorate). Second, this appears, in many ways, to be a direct challenge to the government system designed by the Bush administration for Iraq (I merely note this because it is a challenge to the American order, not because I think the political system established by the Bush administration was workable or even advisable). 
This could turn much worse. From the article:
    Iraqi security forces initially responded by tightening security across the capital, sealing off checkpoints leading to the Green Zone and halting traffic on main roads heading into the city, according to the Baghdad Operations Command.
      But Iraq's elite counter-terrorism forces, who have in the past been called on to reinforce security in the capital, said they are standing down for now.
        "We still view this as a demonstration," said Sabah Numan, spokesman for the counter-terrorism forces. "We aren't taking any part in this as it's not something regarding terrorism."
          He added, however, that if the unrest escalates his forces may be forced to intervene to "protect the legitimacy of the government."
          "The legitimacy of the government"--a term that should be familiar to those who have followed any of the writings on 4th Generation Warfare. It can be ephemeral in the age of You Tube and Twitter.
          This sort of statistical noise has been going on for years, mostly because the Great Recession threw off normal adjustments. And this will continue to happen. US economic data today is untrustworthy. Even worse, it is causing the Federal Reserve and others to make bad decisions.

          This unpredictable, inaccurate data is causing politicians and others to incorrectly understand the mood of the nation.

          Americans are angry because they don’t care about the statistical noise — they care about what they see with their own eyes.

          True, there may have been 15 million new jobs created during the Obama administration — which, on the surface, is laudable. But that’s about half what was needed to both absorb newcomers to the workforce and those who were laid off over the past decade and would like to return.

          And that drop in the unemployment rate that everyone likes to point to? Even the Fed doesn’t trust it and has formulated its own replacement gauge.

          Here’s why: When you count all the workers who have been stuck with part-time employment or who haven’t searched for work in a year, the jobless rate is twice the official 5% level. And many of the full-time jobs created have been in the lower-paying service sector of the economy.

          When you include those people who haven’t sought a job in more than a year, the unemployment rate jumps much higher.

          How high? Washington doesn’t even bother trying to calculate what it is.

          One last statistic, from Sentier Research. Median annual household income in the US reached $57,263 this past March, which was 4.5% higher than in March 2015.

          But — and here’s where the anger comes in — this March’s figure is still slightly below the $57,342 median annual income in January 2000.

          January 2000!

          Americans haven’t gotten a raise in more than 16 years.

          Another Glock Gadget Update

          A new update from the Gadget Indiegogo page doesn't have any new information as to a deliver timeline, but does have a reminder to update your shipping address, if necessary. The link for updating your shipping address is here.

          Friday, April 29, 2016

          April 29, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

          Anti-Trump Protesters Faced Off Against Police Yesterday (Source: Daily Mail).
          News and Opinion:
          Holding a Mexican flag, Juan Carlos, 16, said his parents came to the U.S. from Mexico and that he was protesting to support others like him.
            "Donald Trump is worthless," Carlos said. "There won't be no United States without Mexicans."
            Self-Defense/Firearms:
              As the chart shows, the pistols, whether modern or ancient, all have similar penetrative properties at 30 meter range. Although the modern Glock had the best penetration on both steel and wooden targets, it didn't outperform the ancient pistols by that much in the penetration tests. On the other hand, it has a much longer range than the other pistols (and even the ancient muskets). This is because the tapering bullet does not lose velocity as quickly as a spherical ball does. 
                On the other hand, the modern rifles simply outperformed the ancient muskets by a large margin in the penetrative tests, as well as the maximum range test. The AUG firing the NATO 5.56x45 cartridge penetrated about 2x to 3x the depth of the ancient muskets and the FAL firing the NATO 7.62x51 cartridge penetrated about 3x to 5x the depth of the ancient muskets. The maximum range of the modern rifles also far outperformed the ancient muskets.
                  However, there are other interesting results that became apparent by this series of tests.
                    Since the ancient weapons all fire larger spherical balls, (the calibers are listed in our previous post) they left larger volumes of wound cavities at shorter ranges. This is because, at close distances, the spherical balls were moving fast enough to do some serious damage. For instance, the flintlock musket that was made in Suhl in 1686, fires a 17.8 mm. diameter ball weighing 30.93 grams and at 9 meter distance (about 30 feet), it left a cavity of 530 cm3. Similarly, the flintlock musket from Austria that was made in the second half of the 18th century, fires a 16.4 mm. diameter ball weighing 26.73 grams and left a cavity of approximately 369 cm3 at a distance of 9 meters.
                      By contrast, modern weapons fire much smaller tapered bullets, which generally do less damage. At the same 9 meter distance, a modern Steyr AUG rifle firing a 5.56x45 mm. cartridge only left a cavity of 101 cm3.
                        On the other hand, as the distance increased, the tests showed that the wound cavity made by spherical balls decreased much more significantly. The same musket that made a 369 cm3 cavity at a distance of 9 meters, made a 155 cm3 cavity at 100 meters distance. In contrast to this, the Steyr AUG rifle which made a a cavity of 101 cm3 at 9 meters range, left a cavity of 70 cm3 at 100 meter range. This means that the modern rifle only lost approximately 30% of its penetrative powers at this distance, whereas the older weapon lost about 60%. Still, the older weapon left a much larger cavity, even at 100 meters distance. This explains the extremely horrific wounds experienced by soldiers in the 16th to 18th centuries.
                          Additionally, the tests showed that the shapes of the wound cavities are also different. Spherical musket balls leave trumpet-shaped wounds. They are widest at the point of entry and taper steadily down in diameter as the ball slows down and loses energy. By contrast, modern bullets leave cavities of a completely different shape: ...
                          Read the whole thing.
                          Well, for something like the M1A, it means if you go with polymer, you can carry two extra 20 round mags (since the steel mags weigh 1.5 pounds, and the total polymer weight of the basic load is 3 pounds lighter), or 80 extra loose 7.62 Nato rounds. For the AKM rifle, you can carry one extra 30 round mag (since the steel mag “Basic load” total was two pounds heavier, and the polymer mags weigh 1 1/3lbs.) or 80 extra loose 7.62x39S rounds.

                          The Demographic Decline Continues

                          The national teen birth rate has fallen to a record low, according to a new analysis released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  
                          From 2006 to 2014, the teen birth rate declined 41 percent. In 2014, there were 24.2 births for every 1,000 adolescent females — the lowest rate ever recorded. 
                          Either the Huff Po reporter didn't read the CDC news release, or is not aware of the meaning of "adolescent." From the CDC's statement:
                          In the new report, CDC researchers analyzed national- and state-level data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) to examine trends in births to American teens ages 15 to 19 years between 2006 and 2014. County-level NVSS data for 2013 and 2014 also offer a point-in-time picture of local birth rates. To better understand the relationship between key social and economic factors and teen birth rates, researchers examined data from the American Community Survey between 2010 and 2014. 
                          (Underline added). Unfortunately, the CDC statement didn't give a further breakdown of the ages, so we don't know what percentage of the decline was from adults (i.e., the 18 and 19 age bracket), or from the lower age brackets. However, since more and more women are delaying marriage and having children, I would expect that the decline is probably concentrated in the 18 and 19 year old age bracket.

                          Related: "Latino, black teen birth rates fall to all-time low – though still twice the rate of whites"--Fox News.

                          Thursday, April 28, 2016

                          Video: "What It's Really Like to Fight for the Islamic State"--Vice News.

                          This video is freaking hilarious:


                          April 28, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                          Abandoned Synagogue (Source: Daily Mail). 
                          Self-Defense/Firearms:
                          • "Triggering a Lockdown"--Active Response Training. Thoughts on when school lock downs can be effective, and the best method for announcing a lock down to students and staff. Basically, the author notes that to be effective, locking doors to class rooms must actually provide protection to the children and staff, and that there should be a means of escape. The author also suggests that rather than using code words or phrases to announce lock downs (or the types), announcements should include concise but clear descriptions of the type of lock down, the reason for the lock down, and any instructions. This is a just a brief overview of a couple points--read the whole thing.
                          • "Difference Between Rifle and Handgun Red Dot Systems"--Suarez International. Tips on quickly acquiring the dot when using a pistol (hint: use the iron sights as an assist).
                          • "Pistol Optics: The Trouble with the Dot"--Breach Bang Clear. Discussing issues with picking up the dot when using a red dot sight with a handgun, and some tips to make it easier and quicker. The take away I get from these two articles is that the red dot is best used to augment your iron sights, not replace. Use the iron sights (or some other fixture on your hand gun) to get your eye roughly in position, then use the dot for fine tuning.
                          • "4 Effective Ground Submissions That Every Man Should Know"--The Return of Kings. 4 ways of ending the ground fight. 
                          • "Concealed Carry With A Tucked In Shirt."--Alien Gear Holsters Blog.  
                          • "Self-Defense Myths That Just Won’t Die: 11 Experts Weigh-In"--Lucky Gunner.
                          Other Stuff:
                            This is socialism at its best: trying to share scarcity and failing miserably. The country is close to a total implosion because the huge Guri Dam that supplies 60% of electricity for the country is barely operating due to the El Nino-caused drought. Venezuela is sitting on an ocean of oil but long ago decided to invest in hydroelectric power instead.
                              But lack of maintenance of its infrastructure and the drought have combined to produce a critical situation that may actually plunge the country into darkness in a few weeks unless the rains come.
                              • "The Surprising Weakness of Invincible Institutions"--Richard Fernandez at PJ Media. Eventually, even the largest, most powerful institutions, run out of other people's money. Although he begins with the public pension mess, he moves on to address the issue more generally, including a reference to Venezuela:
                                Venezuela is a country floating on oil with a climate where anything grows and yet it is doomed. Yet even that agony has been eclipsed by the crisis in Brazil, where a presidential impeachment is in progress. "Founded by Portuguese monarchs who moved their court to Rio de Janeiro in 1808, Brazil has experienced almost every conceivable sort of rule over the past two centuries. Its leaders have run the gamut from emperors and dictators to democrats and former Marxists. Regardless of their politics, however, almost all of them have shared a commitment to the Leviathan state as the engine of progress."

                                  “The problem is, from time immemorial, Brazil’s political leaders only see one way forward, the growth of the state,” said Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a former leftist intellectual.  The European Union saw the march of progress through the prism of institutional expansion also. And they too are running out of money.  Recently the EU told Palestine that its stipend will wind down though Brussels expressed the hope that Israel would pick up the slack.
                                  He goes on to explain why nation after nation repeatedly falls into this same trap:
                                    When Barack Obama recently endorsed Angela Merkel's proposal to admit more refugees into Europe he justified it with a curiously Marxist phrase. "She's on the right side of history on this," Obama said.  Perhaps the key to understanding why leaders repeat the same mistakes lies in Obama's remark.   Leaders live within their own mythical histories and climb hierarchies within them.  The phrase "I have had a dream," was uttered long before Martin Luther King -- by King  Nebuchadnezzar in the Bible.
                                      “I have had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means,”  said Nebuchadnezzar and he sent far and wide for someone to explain things.  It comforted him greatly when Daniel told him the dream meant he had a place, albeit a transient one, in cosmic history.
                                      Read the whole thing.
                                        There are numbers of immigrants, many here illegally, who have no interest in assimilating. Their interest is taking over.
                                          At Chicano Park Day, flags are raised for the mestizo race (La Raza) and for Aztlán, the part of the U.S. claimed for the Chicano (Mexican) people.
                                            Chicano-ism is a neo-Aztec, pagan, Mexican nationalist, brown-supremacist movement. It is a cultic mixture of Marxism and ethnic nationalism.
                                              Chicano Park is on State land, maintained by San Diego.

                                              The Ongoing Decline of the West--University of Washington Edition (Updated)

                                              The Daily Mail reports today, "Flattering eye shadow - but no tattoos: Outrage at University of Washington's checklist for budding cheerleaders that 'objectifies women'." The outrage is over a poster published by the cheer-leading squad to provide tips on personal appearance for women interested in trying out as a cheerleader:

                                              The poster that offended the ugly racist snowflakes at UW (Source: Daily Mail).
                                              Apparently the Social Justice Warriors would prefer that cheerleaders look like what is shown below (warning: you may want to poke out your eyes after viewing):

                                              Jabba the Hutt Feminist protesting a conservative speaker (Source: Instapundit)
                                              Update: Apparently the people upset by the poster are racists; the "problem" is that the poster featured a white woman. From The Huffington Post:
                                              “I can’t believe this is real,” UW student Jazmine Perez, who is director of programming for student government, told the Seattle Times. “One of the first things that comes mind is objectification and idealization of Western beauty, which are values I would like to believe the University doesn’t want to perpetuate. As a student of color who looks nothing [ed: a lot] like the student in the poster, this feels very exclusive.”
                                              Poor, whiny rich girl: cheer squad is supposed to be exclusive. Otherwise, we would have people like Feminist the Hutt, pictured above, jumping up and down on the football field (well, a few times before they were exhausted and collapsed to the ground) and yelling expletives at everyone.

                                              Video: "The #1 Risk to Earth"--SuspiciousObservers

                                              SuspiciousObservers publishes daily reports on space weather. The author of the reports, Ben Davidson, believes that solar storms can affect storms or cause earthquakes on Earth. (FYI: The USGS indicates that solar activity has no impact on earthquakes). But mostly his reports pertain to whether there are any solar flares or coronal mass ejections that might impact radio, electronics, or the power grid.

                                              The video linked to below--The #1 Risk to Earth--discusses the danger of a significant solar storm, such as the Carrington Event, and the interplay between the strength of the earth's magnetic field and its ability to protect the earth from these solar storms. Davidson also discusses the shift in the magnetic poles, overall weakening of the earth's magnetic field, and the result that, because our "shields" are down, smaller storms may have a disproportionate impact. The video is 21 minutes long, but worth your time.


                                              Wednesday, April 27, 2016

                                              Quote of the Day -- April 27, 2016

                                              "The road to Hell may be paved with the best of intentions, but it takes liberals to be stupid enough to lay all those bricks."--Anonymous Conservative.

                                              April 27, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                              If you like lacrosse and primitive survival, you will like this video.

                                              The Department of Justice along with the FBI have identified 2,500 cases for review after finding that experts on its microscopic hair comparison unit overstated evidence concerning pattern-based forensic techniques in 95 percent of the 268 cases reviewed so far, reports the Washington Post.
                                              That is not random error, indicating deliberate bias on the part of the FBI forensics lab.
                                              • "'A Total Game Changer' - From Over-Population To De-Population"--Zero Hedge. "Strangely, the world is suffering from two seemingly opposite trends...overpopulation and depopulation in concert.  The overpopulation is due to the increased longevity of elderly lifespans vs. depopulation of young populations due to collapsing birthrates.  The depopulation is among most under 25yr old populations (except Africa) and among many under 45yr old populations." The author warns that the pension/social security Ponzi scheme is about to completely collapse. Looking at the graphs presented, the descent began in the late 1980's, and should be complete by the late 2020's or early 2030's.
                                              • And the Eurocrats roll over to expose their bellies: "Europe will 'soon have more Muslims than Christians': Belgium warns against 'making an enemy of Islam' at Brussels attacks hearing"--The Sun.
                                              • "The Culture War In One Graph"--Rod Dreher at The American Conservative. The author writes: "There’s a fascinating graph for you. It tells you the radical shift from 'materialist' values [i.e., focused on material needs and economic security] to 'postmaterialist' values [i.e., focused on issues of esteem and self-actualization] in the West, over a 30-year period." The author also has a lengthy excerpt from an interview with Camille Paglia, in part of which she states:
                                              There [comes] a time when these fine gradations of gender identity—I’m a male trans doing this, etc.—this is a symbol of decadence, I’m sorry. Sexual Personae talks about this: That was in fact the inspiration for it, was that my overview of history and my noticing that in late phases, you all of a sudden get a proliferation of homosexuality, of sadomasochism, or gendered games, impersonations and masks, and so on. I think we’re in a really kind of late phase of culture [or "civilization", to use Oswald Spengler's terminology].
                                              • "Why are we so bored?"--The Guardian. If you follow the Anonymous Conservative or have read his book, you should already know the answer. The author of the foregoing Guardian article states the reason we are so bored with everything is because we are over-stimulated, and explains: 
                                              We are hard-wired to seek novelty, which produces a hit of dopamine, that feel-good chemical, in our brains. As soon as a new stimulus is noticed, however, it is no longer new, and after a while it bores us. To get that same pleasurable dopamine hit we seek fresh sources of distraction.
                                              • "The Great Filter Hypothesis Suggests That Foregoing Patriarchy Will Lead To Human Extinction"--The Return of the Kings. The article has to do with the famous Drake Equation, which attempts to predict the number of technological civilizations in the universe. Of course, at the time Drake developed the equation, most of the variables were unknown to him. However, recent discoveries concerning exo-planets and the abundance of organic molecules and water in the universe suggest that life should be relatively common and, therefore, there should be a large number of civilizations. But we don't have any evidence of such civilizations (that that believe in the UFO phenomena would argue otherwise, of course). There are a couple of explanations for this, the most well known being the "Great Filter Hypothesis." (Another is that because the Universe is actually still quite young, it may be that we are actually one of the first intelligent civilizations to form). The Great Filter Hypothesis suggests that there is "something" that kills off technological civilizations before they can make their presence known. The author of this particular article suggests that the cultural war is that filter. The article is interesting because it also draws on the Anonymous Conservative's observations of r/K theory and its application to politics.
                                              • Juxtaposition This:
                                              Getting at questions about the nature of reality, and disentangling the observer from the observed, is an endeavor that straddles the boundaries of neuroscience and fundamental physics. On one side you’ll find researchers scratching their chins raw trying to understand how a three-pound lump of gray matter obeying nothing more than the ordinary laws of physics can give rise to first-person conscious experience. This is the aptly named “hard problem.”
                                                On the other side are quantum physicists, marveling at the strange fact that quantum systems don’t seem to be definite objects localized in space until we come along to observe them. Experiment after experiment has shown—defying common sense—that if we assume that the particles that make up ordinary objects have an objective, observer-independent existence, we get the wrong answers. The central lesson of quantum physics is clear: There are no public objects sitting out there in some preexisting space. As the physicist John Wheeler put it, “Useful as it is under ordinary circumstances to say that the world exists ‘out there’ independent of us, that view can no longer be upheld.”
                                                  So while neuroscientists struggle to understand how there can be such a thing as a first-person reality, quantum physicists have to grapple with the mystery of how there can be anything but a first-person reality. 

                                                  Another Update on the Glock Gadget

                                                  You may remember that in July of last year, word came out of the imminent crowd-funding of the Glock Gadget Striker Control Device to bring it to market. Prototypes had been circulating and tested for several years prior among certain members of the firearms community and results had been positive. The device replaces the rear plate on the Glock slide with essentially a big button or lever. When depressed, it prevents the pistol from firing. The intended use was for when holstering a Glock--apparently the most likely time an accidental discharge could occur, especially with concealed carry.

                                                  The original due date for those that ordered during the crowd-funding (which included yours truly) was in the fall of 2015. In early December, I received an email indicating that some quality control issues had pushed the shipping date back to January 2016. Since then, I'd heard nada, and couldn't find any information on a shipping date. Frankly, I began to wonder if it had become vapor-ware.

                                                  I finally decided to start digging around on the Pistol-Forum and found this April 17, 2016 post from Tom Jones responding to a request for an ETA (estimated time of arrival):
                                                  Sorry, I've been busy doing my unnecessarily complicated taxes.  
                                                  I should have another set of samples that address all the (very small) issues that were seen on the previous batch probably by the end of next week or beginning of the following week. The 100% honest and truthful answer on when the gadgets will ship is "when they are ready" (which is synonymous with Soon™), but the more specific (but ironically less exact) answer is "most likely in May".  
                                                  Soon™ should be soon.  
                                                  Thanks for your patience.
                                                  So, there you go. They should be ready "soon."

                                                  Tuesday, April 26, 2016

                                                  Lake Suwa and Freezing (Update)

                                                  In "Rare ice data collected by early 'citizen scientists' confirms warming" at Eureka Alert, it describes how freeze/thaw records kept by Shinto priests near Lake Suwa in Japan and merchants living near the Torne river in Finland support anthropomorphic global warming. Since I lived in a town on the edge of Lake Suwa for a time, I wanted to comment on the researchers' conclusions.

                                                  The article states:
                                                  For example, the study found that from 1443 to 1683, Lake Suwa's annual freeze date was moving almost imperceptibly to later in the year -- at a rate of 0.19 days per decade. From the start of the Industrial Revolution, however, that trend grew 24 times faster, pushing the lake's "ice on" date back 4.6 days per decade. ...
                                                  "Although there are local factors that are influencing both systems," says Sharma, "climate changes associated with increasing carbon dioxide emissions and air temperatures are important, perhaps overarching factors explaining the trends." 
                                                  In recent years, she notes, both waters have exhibited more extreme ice dates corresponding with increased warming. For Lake Suwa, that means more years where full ice cover never occurs. Before the Industrial Revolution, Lake Suwa froze over 99 percent of the time, but beginning more recently, it does so only half the time. ...
                                                  "Our findings not only bolster what scientists have been saying for decades, but they also bring to the forefront the implications of reduced ice cover," says Sharma -- with consequences for ecology, culture and economy.
                                                  Lake Suwa sits high in the Japanese Alps. It is one of the few fresh water lakes in Japan, and, I believe, the largest. For that reason, at least when I was there as a missionary, there were several large manufacturing plants scattered around the lake operated by companies such as Seiko and Canon. The local economy was very dependent on electronics manufacturing. The lake not only provided water needed for their manufacturing processes, but was also a convenient place to discharge wastes, including hot water that had been used for cooling. (As an aside, those companies also funded what was the largest fireworks display in Japan at the time, set off over the lake, and some even on the surface of the lake--very awesome).

                                                  Pollution of the lake was a problem. One of the gentlemen I taught, while there, had been a tank driver in World War II. He said that during World War II, they could drive their tanks over the lake, the ice was so thick. At the time I was there (late 1980's), though, locals told us that the lake rarely had any ice at all. It also lacked fish and other wildlife around its edges. Suwa City had a large number of hotels and a very nice park along the lake shore, but they piped in bird sounds over loud speakers because there were no birds.

                                                  In short, the lake was polluted, which lowered its freezing point, and had hot water dumped into it. Ice cover was more complete and thicker as recently as World War II. In my mind, this raises serious questions regarding the conclusions of the climate researchers that the change in ice formation is due to atmospheric CO2.

                                                  Update (4/28/2016): An article and numerous comments at Watts Up With That regarding the research.

                                                  April 26, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                  News Items:
                                                  Mexican drug traffickers help Islamic terrorists stationed in Mexico cross into the United States to explore targets for future attacks, according to information forwarded to Judicial Watch by a high-ranking Homeland Security official in a border state. Among the jihadists that travel back and forth through the porous southern border is a Kuwaiti named Shaykh Mahmood Omar Khabir, an ISIS operative who lives in the Mexican state of Chihuahua not far from El Paso, Texas. Khabir trained hundreds of Al Qaeda fighters in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen and has lived in Mexico for more than a year, according to information provided by JW’s government source.
                                                    Now Khabir trains thousands of men—mostly Syrians and Yemenis—to fight in an ISIS base situated in the Mexico-U.S. border region near Ciudad Juárez, the intelligence gathered by JW’s source reveals. Staking out U.S. targets is not difficult and Khabir actually brags in an Italian newspaper article published last week that the border region is so open that he “could get in with a handful of men, and kill thousands of people in Texas or in Arizona in the space of a few hours.” Foreign Affairs Secretary Claudia Ruiz, Mexico’s top diplomat, says in the article that she doesn’t understand why the Obama administration and the U.S. media are “culpably neglecting this phenomenon,” adding that “this new wave of fundamentalism could have nasty surprises in store for the United States.”

                                                    Survival/Prepping:
                                                    • "Firewatch"--Wilderness Survival Skills. The author writes:
                                                    Unless you've built a Teepee, it's usually impossible to build a fire inside your shelter. Ring your campfire with grapefruit sized rocks. You can't take the fire into your shelter with you, but you can wrap hot rocks in spare clothing and use them inside your shelter or bedroll like hot water bottles. You can also bury 3 or 4 of them directly under your bedroll to heat the ground. That gives you several hours of continuous heat and a good night's sleep. Exchange them for hot ones as they cool off. Be cautious not to use rocks from stream beds or lakes. Those are waterlogged and can explode if you heat them, sending sharp rock shards flying thru your campsite like shrapnel. ...
                                                    • "Armageddon Wok"--Neo Survivalist. Using a small vertical log fire with a cast iron wok for cooking.
                                                    • "Is a Russian SF AK really an AK?"--John 1911. A look at the modifications that Russian special forces make to their AKs, and which you might want to consider.
                                                    • "How To Quickly Force Open a Padlock Using a Pair of Nut Wrenches"--Laughing Squid (h/t Breck Ellison on Pinterest). Video at the link. I have an old padlock to which I've lost the key that I may try this on--so far, it has resisted my bolt cutters, and I haven't bothered to try and cut it with a saw.
                                                    • "Radiation Doses for Dummies"--Blue Collar Prepping. Another in their "Radiation for Dummies" series, this time discussing the acute versus chronic exposure, and the impact of shielding and distance.
                                                    • "How to Make a River Cane Fish Trap"--Survival Sherpa. You've probably seen a basic illustration and, perhaps, bare bones instructions on these before. Basically, you have a larger cone made of canes, and a smaller funnel set within the opening of the large cone. The fish swim through the funnel into the larger body of the trap, but, because of the narrow opening on the funnel, can't find their way out. The author has not only detailed written instructions and photographs, but also includes an instructional video. 
                                                    • "An $89 backup generator"--Backwoods Home Magazine. The author writes:
                                                      While a generator rated at 1000 watts or less may not be able to power your toaster, coffee pot, or microwave oven, they can keep a residential refrigerator operating by running about two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening (while also powering your television, radio, a few LED lights, and perhaps recharging a few battery-powered devices) with only one gallon of gas per day. The larger contractor and whole-house generators may have the capacity to power all of your electrical loads, but this is little comfort if your fuel supply only lasts a few days. At a one-gallon consumption per day, a 1000-watt backup generator can operate an entire week on the fuel a larger generator would use in less than a few hours — something to think about when facing a potential grid-down event.
                                                        In this under 1000-watt size range, there is a small gasoline generator being marketed by Harbor Freight. The Storm Cat 800-watt (900-watt peak) generator has a huge following on YouTube with videos describing their operation and suggested modifications to make as soon as you open the box. Many owners feel its extremely low price is the reason several needed features were left off, while others have a love-hate relationship with this little generator. While I am not going to recommend readers run out and buy one tomorrow, I do think it might be worth a closer look, especially for those with limited cash.
                                                          I actually paid only $89 for this generator, which normally sells for $135, using a magazine coupon at a Harbor Freight store located in a nearby city, which saved the shipping cost.

                                                          Monday, April 25, 2016

                                                          April 25, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web


                                                          • "We Aren't The World"--Pacific Standard Magazine. An article about the ground-breaking research by anthropologist Joe Henrich, challenging long-held assumptions of human psychological universality, but that how we perceive and think about the world is strongly influenced by culture. From the article: 
                                                          ... It is not just our Western habits and cultural preferences that are different from the rest of the world, it appears. The very way we think about ourselves and others — and even the way we perceive reality — makes us distinct from other humans on the planet, not to mention from the vast majority of our ancestors. Among Westerners, the data showed that Americans were often the most unusual, leading the researchers to conclude that “American participants are exceptional even within the unusual population of Westerners — outliers among outliers.”
                                                            Given the data, they concluded that social scientists could not possibly have picked a worse population from which to draw broad generalizations. Researchers had been doing the equivalent of studying penguins while believing that they were learning insights applicable to all birds.
                                                              ... In our own day, both neoconservatives and progressives have accepted the view propounded by Francis Fukuyama that only “democratic capitalism” can satisfy modern needs—a prognostication that is likely to prove no better founded. Modernity in politics is a species of phantom, constantly elusive because it is continuously mutating.
                                                                A pursuit of this ghost has shaped the ruinous “war on terror.” The course of the Iraq war illustrates some of the consequences. The effects on the West, which included a colossal waste of resources and the rehabilitation by the Bush administration of the barbarous practice of torture, are by now well known. Less well understood is the fact that disaster in Iraq flowed not only from mistakes in policy (grotesque as some of these were) but also from the attempt to remake the country as a democracy. The state of Iraq was built by the British from provinces of the Ottoman Empire by applying a divide-and-rule strategy that meant Iraq’s governance could never be democratic. One of the state’s chief architects, the British colonial officer, archaeologist, and scholar Gertrude Bell, wrote: “I don’t for a moment doubt that the final authority must be in the hands of the Sunnis, in spite of their numerical inferiority. Otherwise you’ll have a mujtahid-run theocratic state, which is the very devil.” Formulated some eighty years before the American-led attack, Bell’s analysis has been amply confirmed by events.
                                                                  The invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in April 2003 destroyed the state of Iraq. Partly this was because of the policies of the occupying power, such as disbanding the Iraqi army in May 2003, a bizarre exercise that had far-reaching consequences. A more fundamental reason was the fact that the integrity of the state rested on Sunni hegemony, which the occupation undid. Iraq was a multiethnic and multisectarian state held together principally by force. Self-government for “the Iraqi people” was impossible, since nothing of the kind had ever existed. The only realistically imaginable outcome of regime change was the violent disintegration of the state.
                                                                    Since the American-led invasion, three new states have emerged in Iraq: the Islamic State (as the territorial unit of ISIS is sometimes called), which is ruled according to ISIS’s extreme interpretation of Sunni Islam; a de facto Kurdish state in the north of the country; and a Shia state headquartered in Baghdad that operates in an expanded zone of Iranian influence in what remains of the historic state of Iraq. Of the three, only that of the Kurds can claim to be anything like the modern secular democracy that regime change was supposed to install. In most of Iraq, the result of attempting to install democracy has been to empower theocracy—just as Bell predicted.
                                                                      “They have no sense of the great patterns of world history, the rise and fall of civilisations like Babylon and Rome that became very sexually tolerant, and then fell. If you’ve had no exposure to that, you can honestly believe that ‘There is progress all around us and we are moving to an ideal state of culture, where we all hold hands and everyone is accepted for what they are … and the environment will be pure…’ – a magical utopian view that we are marching to perfection. And the sign of this progress is toleration – of the educated class – for homosexuality, or for changing gender, or whatever.
                                                                        “To me it’s a sign of the opposite, it’s symptomatic of a civilisation just before it falls: ‘we’ are very tolerant, not passionate, but there are bands of vandals and destroyers circling around the edge of our civilisation who will bring it down.”
                                                                          The barbarian has no morals. He obeys tribal codes that he does not understand, but accepts. Fairness exists only relative to his own interests. Empathy is foreign to him. He holds life cheaply and kills casually. He loathes outsiders and obeys no universal laws. His tribe is ruled by hierarchies which gain their position through brutality and trickery. And he assumes the world works the same way.
                                                                            He cannot and will not interact with a more advanced civilization on any terms other than these. Cunning barbarians may learn the languages of more advanced civilizations and even ape their values for their own purposes, but they never adopt them. When a barbarian speaks of democracy, he means power. When he talks of religion, he means the worship of his own power. When he prattles of morality, he does not mean universal laws, but anything that impinges on his own power.
                                                                              To the barbarian, all values are reducible to power. They are his gods, his religions and his laws.
                                                                              • "The 1%"--West Hunter. The author explains why we don't see modern people with Neanderthal Y chromosomes or mtDNA:
                                                                                ... A slight disadvantage is all that would be required to totally eliminate Neanderthal Y-chromosomes or mtDNA.
                                                                                  Imagine that a Neanderthal Y-chromosome reduces the bearer’s fitness by 1%, and that the original frequency of Neanderthal Y chromosomes (after admixture) was 2%.
                                                                                    It’s been something like 1500 generations. The expected frequency is 5.67 x 10-9. In real life it would probably have fluctuated to zero, and of course stayed there.
                                                                                      German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition announced new “integration” reforms Thursday that will remove worker protections from European Union and German citizens so refugees can compete with them for jobs.

                                                                                        The draft measure would suspend a law preventing companies from hiring non-EU citizens, unless there is no EU citizen willing or qualified to take the job. The new law would allow those companies to also hire refugees.
                                                                                          According to the article, companies would be allowed to pay the refugees as little as one or two Euros per hour.
                                                                                           (Updated 4/25/2016: Corrected typo).

                                                                                          Ghettos or Death Camps?

                                                                                          This past Saturday, I cited to an essay by Fred Reed discussing the issue that technological advancement is resulting in more and more people being unemployable: that they lack not only the skills necessary for the modern workforce but, increasingly, the basic IQ necessary to learn those skills. The problem is exacerbated in the West by not only advances in robotics and automation, but by the fact that the jobs remaining to such persons are being gobbled up by immigrants, illegal or otherwise.

                                                                                          Reed's essay has received a lot of attention, including a good discussion of its implications by Vox Day. Day concludes:
                                                                                          The feudalism of the Middle Ages required peasants for agriculture. But the technofeudalism of the future doesn't appear likely to require peasants for anything. So what will be done with them? What will be done with us? The long and bloody history of Man does not suggest an optimistic answer.
                                                                                          I have briefly addressed this topic at various times, including a post from last July on "The Coming Surplus Population Boom."  While current thinking seems to be expansion of welfare to include a guaranteed income, my belief last year was that "[t]he wealthy and the elites are already thinking about this, and I would be willing to bet that a whole lot of their thinking will be around how to get rid of the surplus."

                                                                                          In his novel, Hegemony, Mark Kalina imagines that the surplus population will be walled away in ghettos located some distance away from the metropolises, made docile by sufficient food and entertainment, with limited access to the outside world and, absent extraordinary effort on their part, having only a limited education. The society he imagined would be very class structured based on intelligence and ability, with the top elite ruled by nearly immortal transhumans. Testing and monitoring would allow the elite to cull those few from the ghettos that had the intelligence and drive to succeed in the transhuman Hegemon.

                                                                                          So, two possibilities: ghettos or death camps. Which is more likely?


                                                                                          Saturday, April 23, 2016

                                                                                          April 23, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web



                                                                                            The feared Cosa Nostra are desperate to maintain supremacy after African crime gangs arrived with the migrants - and they are engaged in a deadly turf war.

                                                                                              An innocent Gambian man was shot through the head by an assassin in broad daylight sparking fears of a wider bloodbath. 

                                                                                                Mayor Leoluca Orlando told MailOnline: 'Palermo is no longer an Italian town. It is no longer European. You can walk in the city and feel like you’re in Istanbul or Beirut.'
                                                                                                • "'El Mencho' the deportee who became the bloodiest narco trafficker"--Borderland Beat. An illegal that was arrested in Sacramento at age 25 for distributing heroin. After his release and deportation, he reportedly reentered the United States many times, was detained on numerous occasions, using different aliases, and released. He now leads the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG), which traffics drugs not only into the United States, but also Europe, Asia and Australia, and is described as Mexico's most powerful crime boss. He is also a bloody man: "One of the most heinous acts that will be remembered in the history of drug trafficking, and was attributed to CJNG, was on September 20, 2011, when they left the bodies of 12 women and 23 men outside a shopping center in Boca del Rio, Veracruz, as a message to the rival group Los Zetas." The article also mentions: "Another violent episodes was an attack by 'El Mencho's' hitmen on May 1, 2015, when the city of Guadalajara (the country's third largest) was besieged by the CJNG where vehicles, banks and gas stations were set on fire to block roads and prevent a military operation. On that occasion they also shot down an army helicopter with a grenade launcher, killing three soldiers."
                                                                                                • "Venezuela cuts power for four hours a day to save energy"--BBC. The article indicates that "[t]he cuts will last for 40 days as the country struggles under a severe drought limiting hydroelectric output."
                                                                                                • "China’s President, Xi Jinping, Gains a New Title: Commander in Chief"--New York Times. From the article:
                                                                                                  Mr. Xi, who is general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, is also chairman of the Central Military Commission, which runs the country’s armed forces. After his visit on Wednesday, a new title was unveiled in the state and party news media: commander in chief of the joint battle command center.

                                                                                                    Although predecessors like President Hu Jintao delegated operational responsibilities to professional soldiers, the new title reflects Mr. Xi’s desire to have a more direct role, said You Ji, who oversees the department of government and public administration at the University of Macau.
                                                                                                      Chinese espionage against the United States is in the news again. Recently in this column I explained the sensational case of Edward Lin, the Taiwanese immigrant turned U.S. Navy officer who stands accused of committing espionage against his adopted homeland. This story raises many troubling questions about the dismal state of security in our navy, which seems unable to keep secrets anymore.

                                                                                                        Although the navy is staying tight-lipped about Lieutenant Commander Lin, it’s already evident that the damage he perpetrated—thanks to his high-level access to some of the navy’s best-guarded secrets—is daunting. Damning, too, is the news that Mr. Lin was arrested while boarding a flight bound for China, the beneficiary of his alleged betrayal. No wonder top admirals want to keep as much of his impending trial classified as possible, to prevent public discussion of how much damage this traitor wrought on our national security.

                                                                                                          Yet this is no isolated incident. In the two weeks since the Lin story broke, we have still more cases of Chinese immigrants accused of spying against their adopted country on behalf of their ancestral one. Szuhsiung “Allen” Ho, a Chinese immigrant and naturalized American, faces a raft of charges for running an espionage ring aimed at stealing nuclear secrets for Beijing. According to the Federal indictment, at the direction of a Chinese state-owned nuclear power company Mr. Ho recruited a half-dozen engineers to get nuclear secrets that Beijing wanted but could not obtain legally from the United States.
                                                                                                          The article describes how the Chinese prefer to use ethnic Chinese for their spying. Read the whole thing.
                                                                                                          • "Indian Army Debates New Gun: Kill (7.62) or Wound (5.56)?"--The Truth About Guns. You would think that this debate (and the idea of "bigger is better") would be dead by now. Tests and battlefield evidence show that the tendency of the FMJ 5.56 to yaw when striking a target makes it deadlier than the fairly stable 7.62 in FMJ--at least at ranges where the velocities of the 5.56 result in it "tumbling" upon striking soft tissue. If you want the 7.62 to live up to its potential, you need to use a soft-point or expanding bullet of some type. There is a military manual on field medicine which features an illustration of a significant wound channel from a .308 bullet, which I've seen used as an example of how much deadlier the 7.62 NATO round is, but the caption indicates that it was from a soft-point bullet, not a full metal jacketed (FMJ) bullet. 
                                                                                                          • "Do Genes Time One's Loss of Virginity? A U.K. study links the varying onsets of sexual activity to genes and personality traits"--Scientific American. From the article:
                                                                                                          The team found that 38 specific regions of the genome contributed to the age at which people first had sex. Those regions roughly fell into two groups, Perry says: genes that act on reproductive biological processes such as estrogen signaling and genes that appear to play a role in behavior and personality. One gene that the team associated with early sexual behavior, CADM2, influences risk-taking behavior, and another, MSRA, leads to irritability.
                                                                                                          A study looking at the genetic makeup of 895 criminals in Finland has discovered a pair of genes linked with extreme violent behaviour. 
                                                                                                          The research, carried out by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and published in the journal Molecular Pyschiatry, compared the genes of non-violent offenders with a group of 78 individuals convicted of violent crimes.  
                                                                                                          Experts involved in the study say that the majority of violent crime in any society is usually carried out by a small group of repeat offenders who resist attempts at rehabilitation. 
                                                                                                          The group of 78 were responsible for a total of 1,154 murders, manslaughters, attempted homicides or batteries and the geneticists concluded that between 4 and 10 per cent of all violent crimes in Finland could be traced back to individuals with these genotypes. 
                                                                                                          All those in the study that had committed murder (including a secondary group of 114 individuals who had all killed at least one person) possessed the MAOA gene, with a variant gene of cadherin 13 or CDH13 also found to be common among violent offenders. 
                                                                                                          The MAOA gene is sometimes known as the “warrior gene” and is associated with higher levels of aggression in response to provocation, while studies into CDH13 have associated it with substance abusers and low impulse control. The "warrior gene" is controversial because it is more common among black men--almost 10 times as many black men have the gene than whites. See also the following article at Conservative News.
                                                                                                          • Related: "Male Impulsivity & Addiction Linked to One Gene"--Live Science (2011). "The gene, a snippet of DNA called NRXN3, has previously been linked to nicotine dependence, as well as alcohol dependence, opiate addiction and obesity. The new research suggests a common denominator of impulsivity underlies all of these troubles."

                                                                                                          (Source)
                                                                                                          Looking at the photographs and diagrams of the drive, I can't help but observe a similarity to something else:
                                                                                                          An artist's conception of the semi-mythical "Nazi Bell" (Source)

                                                                                                          Friday, April 22, 2016

                                                                                                          April 22, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                                                          Self-Defense:

                                                                                                          Other Stuff:
                                                                                                          ... If the Silver Creek Caldera erupted for 2.5 to 10 hours at a sustained rate of 38 to 150 million cubic meters per second, then these flows could move blocks even moving at only a few tens of kilometers per hour. Now, that eruption rate is huge, tens to hundreds of times more than Pinatubo, Tambora or Novarupta, some of the biggest eruptions of the last few centuries.
                                                                                                            This means that the eruption of the Peach Springs Tuff was at least as large if not larger than the super-eruptions like Toba or Taupo. Yet, if you were 150 kilometers from the eruption, you might have upwards of 10 hours to get out of harm’s way (well, at least out of the way of the massive pyroclastic flows—the resulting ash fall and climate cooling is a little trickier to handle).
                                                                                                              • Related: "Capitalism and the Minimum Wage: 'I Got Mine, Screw You.'"--Fred On Everything. "An economic system that works reasonably well when there are lots of simple jobs doesn’t when there aren’t. In particular, the large number of people at IQ 90 and below will increasingly be simply unnecessary."
                                                                                                                If a company or a government department were in charge of the record, it would be vulnerable – if the company went bust or the government department shut down, for example. But with a distributed record there is no single point of vulnerability. It is decentralised. At times, some computers might go awry, but that doesn’t matter. The copies on all the other computers and their unanimous approval for new information to be added will mean the record itself is safe.
                                                                                                                  This is possibly the most significant and detailed record in all history, an open-source structure of permanent memory, which grows organically. It is known as the blockchain. It is the breakthrough tech behind the digital cash system, Bitcoin, but its impact will soon be far wider than just alternative money.
                                                                                                                    McCulloch’s idea is that inertia arises from an effect predicted by general relativity called Unruh radiation. This is the notion that an accelerating object experiences black body radiation. In other words, the universe warms up when you accelerate.
                                                                                                                      According to McCulloch, inertia is simply the pressure the Unruh radiation exerts on an accelerating body.
                                                                                                                        That’s hard to test at the accelerations we normally observe on Earth. But things get interesting when the accelerations involved are smaller and the wavelength of Unruh radiation gets larger.
                                                                                                                          At very small accelerations, the wavelengths become so large they can no longer fit in the observable universe. When this happens, inertia can take only certain whole-wavelength values and so jumps from one value to the next. In other words, inertia must quantized at small accelerations.
                                                                                                                            McCulloch says there is observational evidence for this in the form of the famous fly by anomalies. These are the strange jumps in momentum observed in some spacecraft as they fly past Earth toward other planets. That’s exactly what his theory predicts.
                                                                                                                              Testing this effect more carefully on Earth is hard because the accelerations involved are so small. But one way to make it easier would be to reduce the size of allowed wavelengths of Unruh radiation. “This is what the EmDrive may be doing,” says McCulloch.
                                                                                                                                The idea is that if photons have an inertial mass, they must experience inertia when they reflect. But the Unruh radiation in this case is tiny. So small in fact that it can interact with its immediate environment. In the case of the EmDrive, this is the truncated cone.
                                                                                                                                  The cone allows Unruh radiation of a certain size at the large end but only a smaller wavelength at the other end. So the inertia of photons inside the cavity must change as they bounce back and forth. And to conserve momentum, this must generate a thrust.

                                                                                                                                  Thursday, April 21, 2016

                                                                                                                                  Up on the Soap Box: A Case of Regret Equals Rape?


                                                                                                                                  Apparently college women are being taught that “regret equals rape”--i.e., "that what first passes for a consensual sexual experience later can be called a rape by a woman who has second thoughts." Which brings me to this story from The Daily Mail: "BYU student says the Mormon school started investigating her for 'honor code' violations after 'she was raped'." To save you from having to read the whole story, here are the essential facts:
                                                                                                                                  • 20 year old Madi Barney decided to have a tryst with Nasiru Seidu, a Ghanian immigrant whom she believed to have been in his late 20s and unmarried. 
                                                                                                                                  • Barney claims that while at her apartment, Seidu raped her. She came to this conclusion after learning that Seidu was actually 39 years old and married. Specifically, the story states:

                                                                                                                                  After the incident, Barney says she hesitated to report the rape, fearing that the school would find out and it would ruin her reputation at the conservative institution. 
                                                                                                                                    But when she learned that her attacker had lied about his identity, she became convinced that the rape was premeditated and decided to file a police report. Soon after, a cop turned her case file over to the school without her permission and her fears were realized.
                                                                                                                                    (Underline added). 
                                                                                                                                    • A sheriff's deputy provided a copy of the case file to BYU for reasons that are not clear. 
                                                                                                                                    • BYU began an investigating Barney for a possible violation of its Sexual Misconduct Policy. (Seidu is not a student at BYU, so obviously it isn't conducting an investigation of him).
                                                                                                                                    • Barney has now filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, "claiming the school has violated Title IX by failing to aide her as a victim of sexual assault."
                                                                                                                                    Because BYU regulates what apartments single students can rent (yes, even the off-campus housing is regulated by the school), she would necessarily have been sharing an apartment with other young, single women. This strongly suggests that she took Seidu into her bedroom in violation of the moral code that the students are required to follow (the news reports are strangely silent as to the actual facts surrounding her alleged rape).

                                                                                                                                    With that in mind, it seems very likely that she violated the moral code--a code that is in place for her safety. As a result of the violation, she allegedly was sexually assaulted. Her argument is that because she claims to be the victim of a sexual assault, she ipso facto could not have violated the moral code, even though she clearly violated the code if she invited the man into her bedroom. In other words: "I was hurt so I didn't do anything wrong." Typical rabbit logic. And her filing a complaint against the school is yet another example that SJWs always double down.