Friday, December 16, 2016

December 16, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

"Stunning new maps show every lake around the world: Researchers reveal most complete database yet"--Daily Mail. Hmm. If the star called Wormwood in the Revelation were to destroy a third of the fresh-water on the planet, where might it fall?

Self-Defense/Firearms/Prepping:
  • TGIF: This week's "Weekend Knowledge Dump" from Active Response Training. Check it out.
  • "Reliable EDC on the Cheap: The TriStar C100 9mm Pistol—Full Review."--Guns America. This is a Turkish DA/SA semi-auto pistol that, according to the review, is a pretty good copy of the CZ-75. For those that don't like double-action first shots, the gun sports an external safety that allows the gun owner to carry in “condition 1” (hammer cocked with safety on). (Note: this is a feature that I'm familiar with from my use of the 1911, and which I appreciated on my first handgun, a PT-92 from Taurus). The model reviewed was 9 mm, with a magazine capacity of 13 rounds. The MSRP is listed as $460.
  • "Tsunamis Fast Facts"--KBZK 7. Just a brief blurb on how tsunamis form, but it also includes a list of notable tsunamis. (H/t KA9OFF).
  • "Your First HF Station"--Brushbeater (h/t  AGates of Vienna). Although moving to High Frequency radio is more difficult, due to the necessary licenses and the equipment, the author argues that it provides some advantages over short-wave: "You can communicate world wide over HF, with relatively small amounts of power, provided you understand the components of the system." After discussing the why, the author moves into the how, with specific tips on equipment and setting up a base station. 
  • "Amateur Ham Radio: What’s In It For You?"--Security & Self-Reliance. In juxtaposition to the article I linked to above, the author of this piece discusses one of the primary advantages to Ham radio for most preppers, which is the lower cost and time involved to get licensed, at least for the lowest level Technician license. He also discusses the frequencies open to someone with a Tech license.
  • "AR-15 Rifle Barrel Length – Does It Even Matter? Maybe NOT"--Ammo Land. The author tested various barrel lengths (16", 18", and 20") from uppers all from Aeroprecision with a couple different types of ammunition and compiled the results for muzzle velocity and accuracy. As a general rule, longer barrels provided higher velocities (although the differences were small). However, the author took note of the fact that he actually had his highest velocity out of the 18" barrel when shooting the American Eagle 55-grain FMJ. Accuracy with M855 wasn't great to begin with (basically 4" groups at 100 yards), but it was most accurate from the 20" barrel. Interestingly, though, Norma 77-grain match gave the best accuracy with the 18" barrel.
  • "Skill Set: Hard Times"--Tactical Wire. The author writes:
         Today, in the U.S., most of us have become soft. Life is extremely easy compared to what it has been in the past. We complain bitterly when the 'net goes down or we lose power. Our visions of survival are often based on movies and books, and even if they are modeled on "true" events they usually have "story-book" endings where the good guys win. To learn about real survival you have to study history, the unedited truth.

           History shows us how ugly it can get and the horrible things people will do to others in the name of "right." History shows us what you do in order to live without power and all the nice modern things we take for granted. Then, once you get an idea of what this is like try it for a few days. It will be hard, but you'll learn a lot about how well you're prepared.

             Today we have instant access to almost anything we want or need. This is great, but it also means you can go from having all that to nothing in a heartbeat - especially considering how fragile our support systems like power, the economy and society are today. It's a fine act of balancing, and it doesn't take much for things to tip over and go sideways. To be ready you have to study and know what it's truly going to look like, and then prepare accordingly.
        • "Semi-Auto Hunting in Pennsylvania: How the Black Rifle Went Mainstream"--Guns America. An interesting discussion for you hunters on how the popularity of the AR platform is mainstreaming the use of semi-automatic rifles for hunting, specifically looking at its recent legalization in Pennsylvania.
        • "Overheated Rifles Is The Last Thing You Want ~ VIDEO"--Ammo Land. The author briefly explains what happens to a barrel that is overheated. One thing I didn't know is that, according to the author, "The AR, for example, is designed so that, under extreme heat, the gas-tube will fail first, preventing the barrel from getting so hot that it softens and actually 'droops,' eventually causing bullets to blow out the side. Simply replacing the gas-tube will subsequently return the rifle to full service."
        I have to disagree with one comment from the author, though: "Precious few are the personal defense circumstances under which full-auto fire is genuinely useful." As you read on, it is clear that the author has in mind suppressive fire. However, as I've noted before, the purpose of automatic fire for self-defense is to give you the same effect as a shotgun, but with better ballistics. 

        Other Stuff:
        Roughly 90 percent of this gun violence, police say, flows from gangs. And the rivalry that police say led to Nelson’s death reflects the changing nature of criminal organizations in Chicago. Massive gangs like the Gangster Disciples and the Black Disciples used to operate with a corporate-like hierarchy and business planning, but aggressive federal prosecutions and the teardown of public housing splintered and scattered the gangs.
               [O]ur nation was never truly post-racial, and many seemingly deracialized areas of society have again become racialized.

                 Rival yet complementary ideological systems that had served to sublimate racial animosities — political correctness on the liberal left and colorblind meritocracy on the conservative right — have both been thrown to the curb.
              The author is a loon. "Colorblind meritocracy" has not existed in this country for decades--not since the federal courts adopted the theory of disparate impact discrimination, which essentially outlawed color blind university admissions or the use of aptitude tests for hiring.What is particularly rich about this article is that Trump, the candidate, was praised by the leader of the New Black Panthers, who apparently recognizes that jobs are more important to the black community than EBT benefits. 
              So, in theory, free trade was a win-win proposition, but only as long as a few key assumptions held true: There needed to be fixed exchange rates, full employment, an absence of international flows of labor or capital, an absence of economies of scale, and perfectly competitive markets.
              The article notes that in the first two decades following World War II, conditions were close to what was required to realize the benefits of free trade, but those conditions slipped away and, by the 1980's, were gone. The author continues:
                     These shifts represented departures from those crucial base-state theoretical conditions upon which free trade depended. First, the advent of shipping containers and the construction of huge vessels dramatically reduced the costs of international transport. Also, trade that in the past had been largely in commodities came to be dominated by the manufactured goods of industries characterized by economies of scale, such as steel, cars, and chemicals—which violated another theoretical assumption in the argument for free trade.
                       Further deviating from those assumptions were the policies of major trading countries such as Japan, which accounted for half of the U.S.’s trade deficit. In theory, nations were expected to concentrate on producing and exporting what they did best while importing most everything else. But, like Alexander Hamilton and a number of early American leaders, Japan and others chose not to go along with that thinking. Some of the key elements of Japan’s approach were a focus on exports, the protection of domestic markets, government-guided investment in industries that featured economies of scale (steel, ship-building, and semiconductors, to name a few), and the management of the yen to be undervalued versus the dollar. As an architect of Japan’s strategy, Naohiro Amaya, explained to me for my 1988 book Trading Places, “We did the opposite of what the American economists told us.”
                         This was not the comparative-advantage theory of Ricardo—it was catch-up industrial policy, and it worked so well that it was quickly imitated by countries in Asia and beyond. It was through a strategy like this, in which the government favored certain industries, that South Korea—a country with little in the way of natural resources, capital, or skilled labor—could come to gain an edge in producing cars, semiconductors, and other goods.
                           These policies, along with expanded international flows of finance and technology and trade dominated by industries with economies of scale, essentially negated the assumptions upon which the postwar conventional wisdom of free trade was based. ...
                             ... Incorporating economies of scale into the equation meant that comparative advantage depended not only on the factors of production—labor, land, capital—but also on quantities produced. Advantage, as Hamilton had long ago perceived, could thus be created by policies that would, through the selective imposition of tariffs, subsidies, and other policies, encourage certain industries to thrive. This is what Naohiro Amaya meant when he spoke of rejecting American advice on free trade: He was in the business of picking winners.
                          Read the whole thing.
                          • "NASA Says We May Have to Nuke Killer Asteroids"--Popular Mechanics. Basically, if suddenly confronted with an imminent impact from an asteroid, our only option would be to use a nuclear explosive.
                          • A few reminders that we live in the 21st Century: 
                               ... scientists have found a way to turn back the clock on human and animal cells, making them look and behave like younger versions of themselves. 

                               The researchers also used the method to treat mice with a rare disease that causes them to age prematurely and die early, and found that the method increased the animals' lifespan by 30 percent. And, when normal mice received the treatment, they appeared to be rejuvenated, with some of their cells healing faster than normal in response to injury.

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