Tuesday, July 26, 2016

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

The News:

  • "Generac Vs. Kohler: Finding The Best Portable Generator"--Survive the Wild. The author compares a portable generator (the Generac) and what is essentially a large Universal Power Supply (UPS) (the Kohler) for use as a short term backup power source. He also discusses some alternatives to the aforementioned products, and notes the advantages to the UPS's when combined with solar panels for charging.
  • "PTR-91 A3R Review"--Modern Rifleman. The PTR-91 is a semi-auto version of the HK G-3 battle rifle; i.e., an American made HK-91. The author goes a bit into the history of the G-3 and how the PTR rifles came to be made in America, before delving into the specific details of this particular rifle. One of the failings of most versions of the HK-91 style rifles (and the HK-93 styles, as well) is the general lack of the paddle-mag release. Although there is a side-button release, similar to the release on the AR pattern rifles, the size of the HK rifles places the button too far forward to be accessed without breaking your grip on the weapon. To make up for this, the CETME and G-3 rifles included a paddle shaped magazine release at the bottom of the magazine well that you can engage with your thumb when grasping the magazine as you withdraw the magazine. However, most civilian versions of the rifle lack this release. The A3R version of the PTR-91 includes that paddle mag release; it also has a Picatinny rail for mounting scopes or other optics.
  • "BREAKING: US Army Introduces New Enhanced Performance Magazine for M4/M16 Series Rifles"--The Firearms Blog. The new magazine, which will be tan with a blue follower, is designed to angle the cartridge slightly upward so that the steel tips on the new M855A1 rounds do not contact (and thus damage) the aluminum feed ramps.
  • "Is Middle America Due For a Huge Earthquake?"--The Atlantic. From the article:
The source of all this anxiety is the fabled New Madrid Seismic Zone. In the winter of 1811 and 1812, three earthquakes of magnitude 7, and possibly as high as 7.7, and countless punishing aftershocks thereafter, rocked the sparsely inhabited frontier of the American Midwest. The earth had slipped somewhere deep under the frontier settlement of New Madrid, Missouri, and the resulting earthquakes opened up chasms, diverted the Mississippi, threw trees to the ground and landslides into the river. It created temporary waterfalls and lasting lakes. Meanwhile, existing lakes were turned inside out, as cracks in the ground spewed volcanoes of sand and water into the air. Boatmen caught in the maelstrom said the Mississippi appeared to run backwards. The quakes woke New Yorkers, rang church bells in Charleston, South Carolina, buzzed bemused Torontonians a country away, and brought down chimneys from St. Louis to Cincinnati. Because the deep rock in the middle of the continent is older and colder than out west, strong shaking was felt over an area 10 times that of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. An alarmed President James Madison even wrote Thomas Jefferson from DC about the tremors.
However, the author goes on to interview a geologist that has studied mid-plate faults who argues that the strain is gone and the New Madrid Fault has shut down. The next big earthquake will be somewhere else. Read the whole thing.
  • "Supervolcanoes May Erupt Surprisingly Fast"--Real Clear Science. "Once primed, a supervolcano can decompress and erupt in under a year, a new study shows, offering little warning before a potentially cataclysmic event."
  • "The economy: 'Things fall apart', Part 1" and "Part 2"--Bayou Renaissance Man. Part 1 gives a background primer on inflation, the devaluation of money, and how globalization has led to reduced wages. Part 2 discusses how it impacts us, the ordinary citizen. For instance, the author asserts that the actual rate of inflation is currently 10%, which means that if you are not getting at least a 10% raise in salary or wages each year, you are actually slipping behind in terms of purchasing power.

Odds and Ends:
  • "The Cost of Nepotism: J.P. Morgan to Pay $200 Million"--The American Interest. The author writes: "J.P. Morgan had been running a 'Sons and Daughters' program; hiring children of several powerful Chinese officials as well as friends and family of leaders at '75% of major Chinese firms it took public'." I've noted before that a meritocracy only lasts one generation.
A lot of it is pure disconnect–many elites just don’t know a member of the white working class. A professor once told me that Yale Law shouldn’t accept students who attended state universities for their undergraduate studies.  (A bit of background: Yale Law takes well over half of its student body from very elite private schools.)  “We don’t do remedial education here,” he said.  Keep in mind that this guy was very progressive and cared a lot about income inequality and opportunity.  But he just didn’t realize that for a kid like me, Ohio State was my only chance–the one opportunity I had to do well in a good school.  If you removed that path from my life, there was nothing else to give me a shot at Yale.  When I explained that to him, he was actually really receptive.  He may have even changed his mind.

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