Friday, August 18, 2017

August 18, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

Sigma 3 Survival School  (7 min.)


Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:
       Now, you may be thinking this has to be the Glock G19, and we certainly have a big place in our heart for that pistol. But it isn't our favorite. It's not the G43, or a custom 1911, a tricked out wonder pistol or even Han Solo's blaster.
            Our favorite firearm is the one in our hand at the moment we need to do serious work. And at that moment, having a gun is far more important than having the perfect gun. (Except for a HighPoint, we might take a Noveske Assault Hammer over one of those).
             As Mike Pannone from CTT Solutions has said, "you need a quality pistol in a quality holster." That pretty much sums up the requirements.
                That particular pistol should be safe, reliable, chambered in 9mm, and loaded with high quality, modern hollow point ammunition for defensive purposes. The holster needs to retain the pistol securely and cover the entire trigger guard of the pistol.
        • "Pentagon to Conduct Another Camo Test for Afghanistan"--Kit Up. As you may remember, Army SOCOM studied this matter, and decided on Multi-Cam as the best for the Afghan environment; then the Department of the Army conducted another test, also finding Multi-Cam to be the best. But that was not good enough, and so the DoD is going to spend more time and money to determine what is the best pattern for use in Afghanistan.
        • "There is No Spoon"--Telluric Group. In this handgun drill, you are supposed to intermix a few dummy rounds into your magazine to simulate weapon stoppages. Details of the drill, including the time requirement and a downloadable target, are at the link.
        • "The Value of Accuracy"--Gabe Suarez. He begins:
                  On the face of it, the title seems obvious. Sort of like saying water is wet. But it is something that must be discussed in the realm of combat shooting as there seems to be a great deal of the "complacent quest for adequacy" creeping into the study. "Its good enough for gunfighting", one man may say as he views his pizza sized group on the cardboard, not taking into consideration that what he is viewing was not the result of an hour of busting off the x in reactive drills...but rather his best in non-pressured proactive group shooting.
                    The combat crowd might scoff at our standards of all shots touching as an indicator of accuracy (both of man and gun and ammo). But the more accurate the shooter is, and the more accurate his weapon is, the greater a margin for error he has if things are less than optimal when he has to shoot. ...
            Read the whole thing, as he discusses the components needed for good accuracy from the shooter and the weapon.
            • "On Damaged Edge…: Historical Evidence, Practical Experience"--by J. Clements at The Association for Renaissance Martial Arts. The author discusses why you don't want to parry or block using the edge of the blade, and it is because it will put nicks and gouges into the blade reducing its cutting ability, and possibly compromising its strength. From personal experience, I can tell you that even at a slowed speed for beginning practice of technique, a parry or block with the edge can leave nicks in dull blades--I can only imagine what it would do if a blade had been sharpened. As the author explains in another article, if  you have to parry or block with a cutting blade, do so with the flat of the blade. (I have a cutlass that I will probably have to replace because I've made a few mistakes when blocking). Anyway, good stuff if you are into historical European martial arts or swordplay.
            • "Preparedness: How Much is ‘Enough’?"--The Truth About Guns. The author discusses how much of various supplies you should have on hand for an emergency. He begins by discussing food and water:
                     So, how much food and water should you put away for an emergency?
                        Two weeks’ worth makes a great start for your personal preparedness. If you have nothing currently, seven days’ worth is a 1000% improvement over your current state of readiness.

                  * * *

                            For the average American, a two-week supply of emergency supplies will get them through 99.999+% of anything life will throw at them.
                           One issue the author brings up, and which I have touched upon once or twice, is that for various reasons it will be hard to conceal the fact that you have food and others don't, one of these being the smell from food preparation. I've stated before that I can walk down the sidewalk in my neighborhood during the dinner hour when the weather is mild and windows open, and smell what is being cooked in the various homes.
                           Anyway, the author goes on to discuss extra ammunition and magazines, medications, fuels, etc. (I would note that the one possible exception to "aftermarket" magazines for pistols is Mec Gar because, in many cases, they actually manufacture the "factory" magazines).
                            The author touches upon barter and brings up a couple important points:
                              The first rule of barter is never trade away anything that can be used against you. You don’t buy stuff with ammo – not even .22s. You never trade away a gun.
                                Top three things to store for barter: fuel, alcohol and sugar. Everyone will need fuel: treated gasoline, diesel, kerosene, etc.
                          I would add to this list salt and pepper (or other spices), as well as any produce you grow or eggs (if you have chickens) or honey (if you have bees). Salt was one of the very first commodities traded over long distances and often used as salary in ancient societies. And, for much of Western history, pepper was literally worth its weight in gold.

                          Other Stuff:
                          • The Religion of Peace has been very busy over the last couple of days. In addition to the vehicle attack in Barcelona, we have the following:
                          • Meanwhile, in the United States, the Left continues its erasure of pre-Progressive era history:
                          Lexington Green, at Chicago Boyz, points out that this penchant to destroy artifacts of a despised ideology has happened many times in the past, noting examples from European History and the communist revolution in China. As to the latter, he writes:
                          The Chinese Cultural Revolution seems the most apt comparison to where this is going. The Red Guards tried to stamp out the entirety of Chinese history up to their own time. Everything that had occurred before their revolution was corrupt and any attempt to preserve it was a political offense requiring the harshest possible personal attack, including violent attack, and including death. Further, the activities escalate because people must engage in increasingly extreme behavior to show their commitment and fervor. Slacking off becomes suspect.
                          He also warns that it won't stop at just Confederate memorials: 
                                   Absolutely everything that occurred in the American past is necessarily, in this view, tainted and corrupt, valueless and worthy only of elimination. For example, most of the Founders were slave-owners. All depictions and references to them must be destroyed. George Washington, a slave owner, was no better than a Nazi. All institutions and documents associated with slave-owners, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, are no better than Nazi documents. All of them must be destroyed.
                                      Christian churches have traditionally been associated with condemning homosexuality as sin, or fighting against Islam. These religious buildings and their images must also be destroyed, by this logic.
                                        Buildings traditionally associated with male privilege, or capitalism, for example old office buildings with traditional lobby spaces, or clubs that were once restricted to men, are tainted. These also have to be destroyed.
                                          At a certain point public monuments will be attacked if they are old or have figurative statues simply because everything from the past falls short of the ideal politically correct standard and is therefore evil.
                                  • "Tehran has exceeded its heavy water production cap, necessary for a plutonium nuclear bomb,"
                                  • "testing more advanced centrifuges,"
                                  • "illicitly procuring highly sensitive nuclear and ballistic missile technology in Germany, according to Berlin’s intelligence services," and,
                                  • "surpassing its uranium enrichment cap, another key non-compliance factor".
                                           North Korea says it has developed intercontinental missiles capable of targeting any place in the United States.
                                              Now comes the hard part of fulfilling the declared goal of its leader Kim Jong Un: perfecting a nuclear device small and light enough to fit on the missile without affecting its range as well as making it capable of surviving re-entry into the earth's atmosphere.
                                                To do that, weapons experts say, the isolated state needs to carry out at least another nuclear test, its sixth, and more tests of long-range missiles.
                                                  North Korea's two tests of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) last month likely carried a payload lighter than any nuclear warhead it is currently able to produce, the experts said.
                                                    One way to have a lighter warhead would be to concentrate on developing a thermonuclear device, or hydrogen bomb, which would offer much greater explosive yield relative to size and weight.
                                                   A technique called "electrical grounding" may moderate preterm infants’ electromagnetic exposure in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and improve their health outcomes, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.   
                                                   Equipment in the NICU produces low-frequency electromagnetic fields that can have subtle yet measurable effects on the autonomic nervous system, the system that regulates involuntary body functions. Preterm infants may be especially vulnerable to these effects. 
                                                   Previous research in adults has shown that exposure to electromagnetic fields can affect the vagus nerve, a key component of the autonomic nervous system which regulates the body’s internal organs during rest. Previous research also has shown that electrical grounding, which reduces the electrical charge to the body, can improve the functioning of the autonomic nervous system and the vagus nerve, producing improved vagal tone. 
                                                  Vagal tone, which is measured by analyzing heart rate variability between inhalation and exhalation, is a valuable indicator of health. ...
                                              A total of 482 individuals treated at Hippocratio General Hospital in Athens, the Cardiology clinics of Nikaia General Hospital in Piraeus and the Heraklion University Hospital in Crete, Greece, were assessed from July 2011 to April 2013. The heart rate of the individuals was recorded by a Holter monitor on a n hourly basis, while the hourly variations of the cosmic ray intensity measured by the Neutron Monitor Station of the Athens University and of the geomagnetic index Dst provided by the Kyoto Observatory were used. The ANalysis Of VAriance (ANOVA) and the Multiple Linear Regression analysis were used for analysis of these data. A statistically significant effect of both cosmic rays and geomagnetic activity on heart rate was observed, which may indicate that changes in space weather could be linked to heart rate variations.
                                              • This is from yesterday: "Florida prisons — all of them — on lockdown"--Miami Herald. The article reports that all correctional officers were required to report to work, and "[a]ll of Florida’s 97,000 state prison inmates are on lockdown — and will remain confined to their dorms at least through the weekend — in response to unspecified threats about potential rioting, officials from the Florida Department of Corrections confirmed Thursday."
                                              • They've been lying to you: "Uncovered: decades-old government report showing climate data was bad, unfit for purpose"--Watts Up With That. The author of a document from 1999, including later members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), show that they knew the climate data upon which they were relying was unreliable.
                                              • "NASA looks at reviving atomic rocket program"--New Atlas. This is all stuff we could have had in the 1970s if our attention and money hadn't been going elsewhere:
                                                       Atomic or nuclear engines for spacecraft were conceived of almost before the ink was dry on Albert Einstein's famous E=mc² equation. The exploding of the first fission bomb in 1945 and the development of the first power reactors shortly thereafter made the idea seem feasible, and from 1955 to 1972 the US government pursued a test program to create a practical engine.
                                                         The reasons for this were obvious. With its higher exhaust velocities and greater specific impulse, a nuclear rocket could carry larger payloads or smaller payloads at greater speeds. Today, as the hazards of spaceflight are better known, such engines are particularly attractive because they could cut months off a trip to Mars, resulting in less exposure time of astronauts to weightlessness and cosmic rays. In addition, once on Mars, the engine's reactor could provide a round-the-clock, high-density power supply for an outpost.
                                                           Under the NERVA project, a workable engine was developed, but it was never used on any space mission. Part of the reason was that, though the rocket was twice as efficient as chemical rockets, its need for highly-enriched uranium as fuel, plus its need to operate at temperatures of 3,000 K (2,727° C, 4,940° F), made it the very definition of "risky". Small wonder then that when the Apollo program wound down and the NASA Mars mission was scratched, so was NERVA.
                                                             Today, with NASA once again considering the challenges of sending astronauts to Mars, the nuclear option is back on the table as part of the agency's Game Changing Development program. ...
                                                               Unlike previous designs using highly enriched uranium, BMXT will study the use of Low-Enriched Uranium (LEU), which has less than 20 percent of fissile uranium 235. This will provide a number of advantages. Not only is it safer than the highly enriched fuel, but the security arrangements are less burdensome, and the handling regulations are the same as those of a university research reactor.
                                                                 In addition, LEU allows much of the testing of the technology to be done without any fuel at all because the destructive radiation effects are much lower. Also, the initial live engine tests can take place in a single, closed-loop facility that has no outlet to the natural environment.
                                                                   Key to the concept is the development of an isotopically pure form of tungsten that, mixed with uranium, could be used to create a ceramic-metallic (Cermet) fuel, which would be more stable under the tremendous heat created by the engine.
                                                                     Under the contract, BMXT and NASA will manufacture and test prototype Cermet fuel elements with 90-percent pure tungsten, as well as look to solve problems in making the fuel, seeing if an LEU engine will have the required thrust, and work on resolving nuclear licensing and regulatory requirements. In addition, BMXT will study the costs of building and operating such an engine.
                                                                         If NASA determines next month that the LEU engine is feasible, the project will conduct testing and refine the manufacturing process of the Cermet fuel elements over the course of a year, with testing of the full-length Cermet fuel rods to be conducted at Marshall.
                                                                This type of engine would not be used for Earth to orbit launches, but could be used in lieu of ion engines to move craft to and from the Moon or other objects in the Solar System.

                                                                        Thursday, August 17, 2017

                                                                        The Religion of Peace Strikes Again--Barcelona, Spain

                                                                        From The Sun.
                                                                               Another Islamic terrorist attack in Europe using a vehicle: this time in Barcelona, Spain. From the Daily Mail:
                                                                                At least 13 people have been killed and dozens injured after a van in Barcelona ploughed into pedestrians in a busy tourist street. 
                                                                                 Pictures and video emerging from the scene show armed police and paramedics rushing around Las Ramblas, a busy promenade in the centre of the city, as victims lie hurt in the street. 
                                                                                 Local media are reporting that Driss Oukabir, named earlier by police as a suspect, has been arrested. 
                                                                                One suspect has been killed after a shootout on the outskirts of the city with police, La Vanguardia newspaper has reported.   
                                                                                  It remains unclear how many attackers were involved in the incident, which is being treated by police as a terror attack.  
                                                                                Horrifying footage recorded at the scene shows dozens of victims lying injured on the pavement. 
                                                                                 Police have confirmed that at least 64 people are hurt, with Catalonia's interior minister Joaquim Forn saying it is 'very possible' that the number of dead will rise because of the 'very serious' wounds to victims.  
                                                                                 The civil guard has said the van used in the attack was rented by Oukabir in the town of Santa Perpetua de la Mogada. 
                                                                                 A second van was found parked in the town of Vic some 50 miles north of Barcelona after police said it could have been used as a getaway vehicle. 
                                                                         Driss Oukabir is Moroccan, born there in 1989.  According to The Sun, one terrorist was killed in a shootout with police. There were rumors that two terrorists took hostages after fleeing on foot, but a Washington Post article indicates that it was just that--rumors. (More from the AP here; and from The Atlantic here).

                                                                        August 17, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                        John Lovell (7-1/2 min.)

                                                                        Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:
                                                                        • Watching the video above on managing recoil from a pistol, and watching part of a DVD last night on wilderness survival techniques got me to pondering self-learning versus being trained. I have been (and am) somewhat critical of firearms instructors that are adamant that a person needs to undergo X hours of training (preferably from them) before purchasing a firearm for self-defense or even concealed carry. Perhaps I feel this way because I had so much time and experience under belt, had been taught the basics of firearms use by my father, and had read a lot on the topic, that, when I first obtained a concealed carry license, I didn't feel that I lacked the necessary knowledge and skill to safely carry a firearm. 
                                                                               But, as a general matter, I don't believe that using a firearm safely is actually all that difficult. In the book, Marine Sniper, which was a biography of Carlos Hathcock, there is a section where he and his commanding officer are trying to demonstrate the value of aimed semi-automatic fire over mass automatic fire as was the norm in the Vietnam theater at the time. They took a company and had its members all shoot at a single target just as they normally would if they encountered an enemy during patrol, and then counted up the number of hits. They then asked who was the worst shooter in the company, and took that marine aside for 5 minutes of instruction on using the firearm. This "worst shooter" was then let loose to shoot at the target using aimed fire. He struck the target more times than the entire company had done before hand.  
                                                                               The point of this is that it actually takes very little instruction--and not even formal class work at that--to learn how to shoot. And individual practice, focusing on the basics that you were taught, read about, or shown in a video, will result in proficiency. 
                                                                               Instead, as I've noted before, the real value of instruction is for those that seek to excel at their craft, just as a good coach can assist a talented athlete to excel. They do so through two ways: First, they can furnish you with new or better techniques or knowledge. Second, and in my mind the more important point, they can check and correct you to squeeze the most out of your performance. Is your elbow sticking out too far? Is your grip a little low? Can your stance be improved? Are you too slow getting off the X? It is the one-on-one assistance that makes the difference, and is something that a book or video can never replicate. (I would note that force-on-force training/practice is a whole other issue, and will require a trainer for various reasons: providing other people to train against, equipment, and a safe location to practice). 
                                                                                 Having said that in regard to firearms, I want to clarify that training and/or belonging to a school/club/gym is required to attain any real proficiency at hand-to-hand combat/self-defense: not only to be taught techniques (and how one flows into the next), but for that instruction to correct bad form or technique; and, for the practice against others. 
                                                                        Folks that have never been to 3rd world countries just don’t understand the power of a 20, 50, let alone 100 USD bill. With absurd conversion rates in most of the third world, a 50 dollar bill is in parts of the world more money than the average person there will see in the same place in his entire life. You can buy shelter, food, you can buy transportation or even loyalty.
                                                                        • "Low Tech Electronics"--Survival UK. Skean Dhude discusses his collection of relatively low tech electronics parts (transistors and similar, and basic IC chips--I presume just basic NAND chips and the like), how technology has become so complex that most of us don't understand it let alone know how to fix it, and how his electronics skills have perished from non-use.
                                                                        • "Soon You’ll Be Able to Snag Your Army Surplus 1911"--American Concealed. An article form a couple weeks ago about the House passing H.R. 2810--a defense spending bill that includes, as part of it, a requirement that the military transfer its old 1911s to the CMP. Looking at the current status of the bill, though, it does not appear to have advanced any farther.
                                                                        • "How to Get In The Zone"--Functional Self Defense. Most all of us know what is "the Zone": "It is the optimal state for performance, where the performer and performance are one, unobstructed by conscious thought." This article discusses ways to train yourself to more easily enter "the Zone" through waking up your mind via meditation.
                                                                        • Is the arithmetic that hard? "New targets cut ammo use for soldiers zeroing their weapons"--Gear Scout. Drill sergeants are celebrating the introduction of a new target for soldiers to use to zero their weapons. At the proscribed distance, each square on the target is equal to one click on the weapon sight. This relieves the soldiers from having to remember how many clicks to an inch.
                                                                        • For the hand loader: "Would You Reload a Bear Claw? Federal Premium Now Selling their Trophy Bonded Tip"--The Firearms Blog. The bullets are being sold for hand loading in three calibers at two different weights for each caliber:
                                                                        • .270 caliber--130-grain
                                                                        • .270 caliber--140-grain 
                                                                        • 7mm caliber--140-grain 
                                                                        • 7mm caliber--160-grain 
                                                                        • .30 caliber--165-grain
                                                                        • .30 caliber--180-grain
                                                                        The bullets are being sold in boxes of 50, and the prices vary from $30 to $35 per box depending on caliber and weight. 
                                                                               The pair were driving in rural Chelyabinsk, in a south-western section of the country near the Kazakhstan border, when two men blocked off the road with their van.
                                                                                 The thugs then jumped out of the vehicle and walked slowly up to the victims' car with one of them holding a baseball bat nonchalantly at his side.
                                                                                So, basically its a narrow road and the van was able to mostly block the road. One man was already standing in the middle of the road with a baseball bat, while the other was at the van. When the driver began slowly backing up, the first man kept pace, while the second man retrieved another bat. The driver then stopped the vehicle. The second man approached the driver's side of the vehicle while the first man stayed at the front, first trying to pull up a windshield wiper, then quickly feeling along the under edge of the hood to see if he could find the latch (back in the day, when there were no interior hood releases, it was a not-uncommon tactic in cases like these for the robbers to pop the hood open in order to obscure the driver's vision). When both men had gone to each side of the vehicle, the driver gunned the car and was able to drive around the van.

                                                                                 Things turned out okay, so the driver to that extent did okay. But I don't understand his not rapidly backing away for a longer distance and, with the room it would give him, then attempting to turn around. 
                                                                          Other Stuff:
                                                                                 I have no idea what part of the political spectrum is occupied by Unite the Right. I know that the KKK were the militant arm of the Democratic party for a long time, so that would put them on the left. I know that Nazis were socialists, so that puts them on the left. So, presumably, Unite the Right is also leftist. It is debatable how racist or bigoted the Nazis truly were since their idea of Aryan seemed to include pretty much everyone other than sub-Saharan Africans, Jews, and the Russo-Slavic peoples--Palestinians and Arabs were some of their staunchest supporters. 
                                                                                 The Antifa and Black Lives Matter are die hard socialists/communists. That means that they are intellectually rooted in the ideology that has murdered more people than all other ideologies combined (e.g., Stalin's purges and starvation of peasants, Mao's "Great Leap Forward" and famines, Pol Pot, etc.). Antifa and Black Lives Matter appear, based on the public comments of followers and supporters, to be vehemently anti-White, with some even calling for the extermination of white men. And we know that they are so bigoted against Christians and conservatives that they will not even allow those groups a public voice. 
                                                                                  So, in a way, the three cuckservatives are correct in stating that there is no moral equivalence between the two sides that clashed in Charlottesville. But they have the balance out of whack: it is Antifa and BLM that occupy the lower moral ground, and who are the true racists and bigots.
                                                                          • "Single-Molecule Transistors Get Reproducibility and Room-Temperature Operation"--IEEE Spectrum. In a couple hundred years, if not sooner, Charlottesville will be forgotten, but it will be technical advances like this that will be remembered.
                                                                          • This is what the Left wants to replace us with: "15 Moroccan Teenagers Treated For Rabies After Sex With Donkey"--Anonymous Conservative. According the article cited in the post: "[A]ccording to the scholars Allen Edwardes and Robert Masters, Ph.D, FAACS, the Muslims of Morocco believe that sexual intercourse with donkeys 'make the penis grow big and strong' and masturbation is often scorned by them in favor of bestiality."
                                                                          • The bigger picture: "The Erasure Of The Southern Heritage"--Captain's Journal. After noting that the Civil War was not really about slavery, but the supremacy of the central government over the state governments, Herschel Smith goes on to write:
                                                                                   ... Reverence to confederate monuments has to do with a philosophy of decentralized government, not slavery, smaller government, not more control, reverence for time-honored institutions, and liberty from a quarrelsome, meddlesome government and ruling class.
                                                                                      Roy Cooper’s project in North Carolina won’t be the last you see of this.  Stone Mountain is next, and then CNN has an entire list of monuments they think need to come down, essentially all of them.  This is a war against what America was, and what the progressives want it to become, with the skirmishes (and ultimately the larger battles to come) being so much the better because it justifies more state control for the purpose of safety, security and stability.  You can see law enforcement in the role of national stability operations as we speak, and even aiding and assisting the transition.  The police will never say there isn’t a need for greater stability.
                                                                                       ... Monuments are just that, symbols.  They are important symbols to be sure, but in the end they are still just symbols.  What’s significant is that they represent the first fruits of the war against Southern and conservative culture.  The progressives won’t stop with symbols.

                                                                                Wednesday, August 16, 2017

                                                                                August 16, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                                "China-India Tensions Mounting"--China Uncensored (2-1/2 min.)
                                                                                China and India are still saber rattling over the Chinese incursion into disputed territory claimed by both Bhutan and China. 

                                                                                Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:
                                                                                • You may remember from January of this year the news item about a man in Washington state that shot an intruder that was showering inside the man's home. I came across an article ("Practical Home Self-Defense Tips This Year") that discusses that incident, and more generally discusses concepts like "stand your ground" laws and the duty to retreat. Basically, though, "stand your ground" laws arose in response to courts in certain jurisdictions (I'm looking at you, Massachusetts) deciding that a homeowner had a duty to retreat, if safely possible, rather than use force to protected him- or herself from an intruder. Other states allowed a person to stand his/her ground in the home, but not elsewhere (e.g., in a public location). Some states did not impose any duty to retreat. Unfortunately, even states where there had previously been no duty to retreat still passed "stand your ground laws." These laws do not obviate the other requirements of self-defense, such as that the person shot posed an imminent threat of serious bodily harm (or however it may be articulated in your jurisdiction), which was the crucial point in the Washington state matter. That is, in that case, the intruder broke into what the article terms "a place of business" to use the shower and was discovered there by the business owner ... who shot him, even though the intruder did not appear to have threatened or harmed the business owner. 
                                                                                • "Our Preparedness Plan Pie Chart: 2017 Update"--Security and Self-Reliance. The author's pie chart is a conceptual model for planning your preparations. Essentially, each segment of the pie represents a type of preparation, whilst the center represents a very short term (1-2 weeks), the succeeding circle on the outside represents an intermediate period of 1 to 12 months, and outside the circle represents over 1 year out. I would probably split the intermediate period up into a 2 to 3 month window, and then out to a year; but that is just me and your needs or ideas may differ. Nevertheless, as I stated, I have found it a useful conceptual model to ensure "full coverage" for your preps. Please also note that author's comments advising against storing cash or valuables at a bank because of potential problems accessing them in an emergency. The same also applies to important documents. For instance, it does no one any good if a will is stored in a safe deposit box if the decedent is the only person that can access the box.
                                                                                • "Guns and Gear: Have Fun"--Modern Service Weapons. The author reminds us to not be overly serious about self-defense or prepping; get in your shooting practice because it is fun, even if that means that some of your purchases are for "range toys." He writes:
                                                                                Don’t sweat those folks who think everything has to be about urban combat. Guess what?  My favorite caliber is the 10mm!  I don’t carry it for bipedal defense…it’s just for personal enjoyment.  ...  Train and practice for self defense.  But, life is short.  Buy toys.  Have fun.  Live life.

                                                                                Other Stuff:
                                                                                China on Wednesday urged India to protect the peace and stability of their border after Indian sources said soldiers of the two Asian giants were involved in an altercation in the western Himalayas.
                                                                                Although details are lacking, it appears from the news story that "altercation" is probably the best word to summarize what happened. "Some of the Chinese soldiers carried iron rods and stones, and troops on both sides suffered minor injuries in the melee, the source said."
                                                                                • "India pulling it together on infrastructure is entering a China scale buildout"--Next Big Future. The article notes that "On a purchasing power parity [PPP] basis India is about 10 to 15 years behind China’s Economy," but India has begun heavily investing in infrastructure and other capital investment. This includes several tens of billions of dollars aimed at travel--especially in improving trains and lines in its major cities, and expanding rail service in other cities. "Other planned transportation initiatives include the development of 2000 kilometers (km) of coastal roads to connect ports and remote villages, as part of an 11 percent increase in the highways budget to almost US$10 billion." It's good to see the self investment in India, but its growing economy and power has a strong potential to bring it into conflict with China. Definitely something to watch.
                                                                                • "Signs of Diplomacy Appear as North Korea Delays Guam Missile Test"--Global Security. Trump's carrot (back channel negotiations) and stick (public rhetoric) approach seems to be working. North Korea has blinked, but will it stand down?
                                                                                • "North Korea's missile program linked to Soviet technology, says report"--Deutsche Welle. The article reports:
                                                                                         "North Korea has acquired a high-performance liquid-propellant engine (LPE) from a foreign source," said IISS missile researcher Michael Elleman in the report.
                                                                                           "Available evidence clearly indicates that the LPE is based on the Soviet RD-250 family of engines, and has been modified to operate as the boosting force for the Hwasong-12 and Hwasong-14."
                                                                                    The missile for which the R-250 engines were produced was developed in the Ukraine, but the Ukraine has denied providing assistance to the North Koreans.
                                                                                    • "Inspire 17 Train Derail Operations"--Krypt3ia. Al Qaeda apparently has put its publishing arm back together, because it has just released Issue 17 of its Inspire magazine. This article gives an overview of some of the topics discussed, including directions to Islamists to sabotage train tracks with derailer devices, and Al Qaeda's mocking of ISIS for its failures. Pot calling the kettle black, it seems to me. (See also this article from MEMRI).
                                                                                    • Well this is interesting:
                                                                                    • "Health risk alarm over water rationing in Rome"--The Local. Because of drought conditions and a dispute between the water utility and a neighboring local government over a lake that is the source of much of Rome's fresh water, Rome is looking at rationing the water provided via its municipal water system. The article indicates that authorities are looking at shutting down neighborhoods on a cyclical basis for 8 hours daily. This has some health experts concerned because it could impact hygiene in homes and restaurants, and threaten "essential health services."
                                                                                    • "Inside the Country Where Down Syndrome is Disappearing"--WFMY2. Expectant mothers in Iceland whose babies test positive for Down Syndrome are aborting them. Currently, there is nearly a 100% termination rate for Down Syndrome pregnancies. The article indicates that the United States has a 67% rate.
                                                                                    • "Trump’s 'America First' vs. McCain’s 'America Last'"--David P. Goldman at PJ Media. Goldman has criticism for McCain and his fellow RINOs for tying President Trump's hands when it comes with dealing with Russia vis-a-vis trade sanctions. As you know, Congress voted to continue sanctions against Russia, and added a provision of law prohibiting the President from lifting the sanctions without Congressional approval. Goldman believes this will unnecessarily and counter-productively bring us into a trade war with Russia, and limits the President's options on the diplomatic front. He writes:
                                                                                             New sanctions against Russia passed by the House and Senate last week force Europe into a de facto alliance with Russia against the United States, and by extension with China as well. It is the dumbest and most self-destructive act of economic self-harm since the United States de-linked the dollar from gold on August 15, 1971, and it will have devastating consequences. The charade in the House and Senate may embarrass Trump, but it also poses a threat to European energy supplies as well as an extraterritorial intrusion into European governance. Berlin, Paris and Rome will conspire with Moscow to circumvent the sanctions while attacking the United States at the World Trade Organization and other international fora.
                                                                                               Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), and their counterparts in the House of Representatives allowed their dudgeon against a sometimes provocative president to overwhelm their sense of self-preservation. The sanctions will hurt Russia, but not nearly as much as they will hurt the United States over the long term. The White House envisioned sanctions as a bargaining chip, to be used to persuade Moscow to behave in the Ukraine and to limit the ambitions of its Iranian ally of convenience. In their present form, however, the president will have no authority to remove sanctions imposed by Congress. That turns a feint into a threat. Wars have been started over less.
                                                                                          He also speculates as to motives:
                                                                                                   Trump humiliated the Democrats and the Establishment rump of the Republican Party last November. The losers now face the prospect of permanent exile from political life. Writing in the Times Literary Supplement July 25, historian Edward Luttwak predicted a Trump dynasty lasting sixteen years, in which Ivanka Trump Kushner would succeed her father. “No wonder that leading Democrats and non-Trumpers continue to act hysterically even eight months after the election. President Trump’s plan threatens to exclude them all from office until long past their retirement age,” Luttwak wrote. The hopes of high office of the defeated Establishment can be realized only by stifling the Trump administration in its cradle.
                                                                                                     That is the motivation behind the Black Legend of Russian collusion that continues to occupy the waking hours of the American media while putting most Americans to sleep. ...
                                                                                                       ... McCain and Schumer want to destroy Trump because a successful Trump administration would destroy them, and destroy the reputation of an entire generation of diplomats, intelligence officers, academics and military officers who achieved rank by promoting the export of democracy, nation building, counterinsurgency, and so forth.
                                                                                                  Read the whole thing.

                                                                                                  The Removal of Confederate Monuments is Only a Part of a Larger Picture

                                                                                                  "The Cultural VANDALISM of the USA"--Black Pigeon Speaks (7 min.)

                                                                                                         I had noted the other day that the Left's desire to tear down Confederate war memorials (see also here and here) was akin to ISIS and the Taliban destroying ruins, statues and so forth in order to eradicate pre-Islamic history. Well, apparently great minds run in the same ruts, because Black Pigeon has a video (above) on that very topic, although he explores the issue in more detail.

                                                                                                         Others, including President Trump, have questioned where all this historical revisionism will end. Will it soon be extended to statues or plaques commemorating slave owners such as George Washington or Thomas Jefferson? Of course it will, because, as Black Pigeon notes, these efforts are not limited to just eradicating Confederate history, but the history and achievements of white men generally. (See, e.g., this article on a professor dissing research conducted by white men).

                                                                                                  Tuesday, August 15, 2017

                                                                                                  August 15, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web (Updated)

                                                                                                  "Either Act to End the Threat or Leave the Area"--Active Self Protection (4 min).
                                                                                                  The example used in this video is surveillance footage of a hitman shooting his victim. During the shooting, the victims friends/colleagues just mill around unsure of what to do. Related article here

                                                                                                  Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:
                                                                                                  You have three choices when you have cross-eye dominance in this situation [shooting using an open sight]: Close the dominant eye (opposite your strong shooting side) so that only the non-dominant eye sees anything, switch your shooting to the weak-hand/dominant eye side or train your non-dominant eye to be dominant. I took the last approach by retraining my brain to ignore the dominant-eye image and instead give prominence to the non-dominant eye image when both eyes are open. I have no idea if optically educated folks or the expert-shooter class would condone my method, but I stopped worrying about such things a long time ago. I used this technique through a great deal of real-world CQB and I’m still here to write about it, so I know it works. But, practice is required to get to the point where you don’t have to think about which sight image to use under pressure. You can practice on the range, during dry fire or simply with your finger out in front of your face, but using the strong shooting side/weaker eye image has to be an automatic process before you rely on it in a pinch.
                                                                                                  • Forward Observer is moving. New site here.
                                                                                                  • "Don’t Get Locked Out"--Breach Bang Clear. The author recommends carrying a basic set of lockpicks taped to the inside of your cell phone case so you always have them (assuming that you always carry your phone). I would remind readers that some jurisdictions make it illegal to carry burglary tools, so you may want to check your state or local laws.
                                                                                                  • "Homemade Pistols and the Post Shooting Investigation"--Gabe Suarez has a word of caution for those using 80% lowers to build a weapon: according to detectives with whom he has been working, law enforcement looks dimly on persons using firearms without serial numbers, assuming that you only have such a weapon for some nefarious purpose.
                                                                                                  • "The Woodpecker In The Quiet Wood"--Mason Dixon Tactical. A response to negative comments that have been made concerning the author's statements that no amount of civil training will ever make up for lack of military training.

                                                                                                  Other Stuff:
                                                                                                  • Some more indications that the Charlottesville incident was manufactured: "Antifa Started Violence In Charlottesville, Police Directed White Nationalists To Disperse To Where Antifa Was"--Weasel Zippers. According to the author: "When the rally was declared an illegal protest, the Unite the Right folks were directed to disperse in direction of the Antifa." Video at link. I think the Unite the Right folks should practice close order formation and use of a shield wall. Nobody was better at that than the Romans, so there is no lack of information on how it was done.
                                                                                                  • Antifa and BLM are emboldened and go on vandalizing spree:
                                                                                                         An estimated 25,000 Venezuelans make the trek across the Simon Bolivar International Bridge into Colombia each day. Many come for a few hours to work or trade goods on the black market, looking for household supplies they cannot find back home.
                                                                                                           But increasingly, they are coming to eat in one of a half-dozen facilities offering struggling Venezuelans a free plate of food.
                                                                                                    We have already moved into the inevitable next stage of the James Damore “Google memo” saga. This is the stage where it’s not enough to fire Damore. We also have to fire everyone left at the company who might agree with him in any way. No one expects the Google Inquisition.
                                                                                                    He continues:
                                                                                                             ... Remember that Damore originally circulated his memo privately on an internal Google message board for discussing work policies. There was no immediate crackdown from his bosses and there probably wouldn’t have been—except that one of his co-workers clearly wanted to force Google’s hand by leaking the memo to the press and creating a frenzy.
                                                                                                                Well, they’re at it again. Someone followed up by sending further leaks to the media, consisting of photos of internal message board discussions showing that some other Googlers agreed with Damore, at least in part. The obvious purpose of those leaks is to keep up the pressure on Google, to set off an inquiry into how many other horrible, raging, sexist bigots—as Damore has been styled in the technology media—also need to be purged from the company. That’s the clear implication: that Google needs to conduct a thorough investigation to root out any other James Damores who might be lurking there.
                                                                                                                 In the Swedish region of Västmanland, a woman lived in a house in a town, together with her children. Her house had previously been the home of a so-called ‘unaccompanied refugee child‘.
                                                                                                                   According to Västmanland District Court records, this former resident, accompanied by his brother and three other men aged 20 to 25, went back to his old house in November 2016, to greet the family which had sheltered him. They stayed two nights, after which the mother reported to the police that her 14-year-old daughter had been raped by one of them, a 25-year-old from Syria.
                                                                                                              Turkey regards China’s security as akin to its own and will move to stamp out any anti-China reports in its media, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday, after meeting his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. 
                                                                                                                Given its rapprochement with Russia and China, it appears that Turkey is betting that America (and Europe, for that matter) are no longer the strong horse when it comes to global matters. 
                                                                                                                • "Hostile Terrain: Tank Traps, Fake Towns & Secret Tunnels of the Korean Borderlands"--99 Percent Invisible. Photographs and more concerning the fortifications and tunnels along the Demilitarized Zone.
                                                                                                                • "Uncivil Religion" by Angelo M. Codevilla at the American Affairs Journal. This is a review of the book The Tragedy of U.S. Foreign Policy: How America’s Civil Religion Betrayed the National Interest by Walter A. McDougall. By civil religion, he is not talking about Christianity, per se, but the drive to improve the world that underlies late Christianity, the Progressives, and the Socialists/Marxists (by the way, it is this connection that led Oswald Spengler to conclude that socialism is the natural successor to Western Christianity). An interesting excerpt from Codevilla's essay:
                                                                                                                         McDougall reports that William Randolph Hearst bankrolled a movie, Gabriel over the White House (1933), about a president who “miraculously transformed into that Platonic ideal, the benevolent dictator.” That, of course, is the whole rationale behind the campaign for the administrative state, which Progressives have waged since the 1870s. FDR loved the movie. More important, the taste for supposedly benevolent administration was widespread enough in those years to lead countless American Progressives to see all manner of good and imitable things in the regimes of Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, and especially of Joseph Stalin. The archives of America’s prestige press bear witness to how unshakable was that passion. Diplomatic recognition of the Soviet Union in 1933—just as the genocide-by-starvation of the Ukraine was getting into high gear—was Franklin Roosevelt’s only major foreign policy initiative between his inauguration and 1940.
                                                                                                                            Only outright lies could balance the equation between religious universalism and pro-Soviet foreign policy. FDR delivered them with a straight face. The Soviet constitution of 1936, he said, guaranteed religious liberty. America did not believe him. That disbelief helps explain why, especially after June 1941, when Germany broke the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and invaded Russia, only an attack on America itself could convince the vast majority of Americans to enter a war whose winner would be either Hitler or Stalin, both equally godless. That in turn is why FDR resisted all attempts to bring the question of war and peace to Congress and why he yearned for Germany or Japan to do something that would outrage Americans.
                                                                                                                              McDougall’s account of what that yearning entailed is limited to the Roosevelt administration’s drafting of (and perhaps being responsible for the leak of) Rainbow 5, a plan for war with Germany, as well as to Roosevelt’s request to his principal advisers to ensure “that Japan was put into the wrong and made the first bad move—overt move.” Hence the provocative effects of the economic sanctions and diplomatic demands placed on Japan in the autumn of 1941 were far from accidental, in McDougall’s view. His point is that FDR and his class had come to desire the war precisely in order to mobilize the American people behind a gigantic enterprise in which the defeat of Germany and Japan was merely instrumental. Indeed, he shows that utopian postwar planning for “extra-regional hegemony” had begun at least a year before the war broke out, and two years before U.S. entry into it “in the expectation that the United States would eventually have the means, motive, and opportunity to achieve it.”
                                                                                                                               McDougall’s use of the language of criminology is no more an accident than administration officials’ appeal to the American people’s religiosity. In 1942 the Federal Council of Churches’ Commission on a Just and Lasting Peace (established by John Foster Dulles) declared that it is “the purpose of God to create a world-wide community in Jesus Christ, transcending nation, race and class.” The statement was unexceptionable as an expression of Christian theology, but heretical in its intended confusion of God and the U.S. government, and perverse in the result it produced: indulgence of the deadly fantasy that the Soviet Union’s purposes were potentially allied with America’s. This view, George Kennan wrote, was “the great deceit that was practiced on the American public.” Reinhold Niebuhr “sensed power-hungry elites lurking behind the utopian plans for postwar collective security. . . . It would be fatal to assume that the wiser and more sensitive forces of America have already lost the battle against an irresponsible expression of American power in the postwar world.” This world would be one of illusions manipulated by illusion-makers in government, academia, the media, and corporate and religious life. Disney figured in at the 1964 World’s Fair, with child dolls, identical but for color and dress, singing “It’s a Small World (After All).” Librarian of Congress Daniel Boorstin diagnosed it thus in his The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America (1962): “we are the most illusioned people on earth. . . . Our illusions are the very house in which we live; they are our news, our heroes, our adventure, our forms of art, our very experience. . . . We have come to believe in our own images, till we have projected ourselves out of this world.”
                                                                                                                        Read the whole thing. 
                                                                                                                        For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

                                                                                                                        Monday, August 14, 2017

                                                                                                                        August 14, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                                                                        "SKS: Dos and Don'ts"--Plains Prepper (7 min.)
                                                                                                                        The author of this video goes over some of the problems with accessories to make the SKS into a modern sporting rifle. His conclusion is much like mine: stick with the standard configuration. He also notes that the prices of SKS rifles continues to increase, such that they have now entered the lower bracket of prices for AR rifles. In other words, they are no longer the low cost alternative for a defensive rifle.

                                                                                                                        Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:
                                                                                                                        • "Realistic Emergencies- Money not Guns and Gear and Buckets O Food"--Total Survivalist Blog. The author raises a point that I have made many times before: the need to first prepare for the more probable or more likely emergencies over the less likely. In this case, the author notes that most emergencies that someone will experience--such as medical issues, automobile repairs, or legal issues--require money, not bullets or buckets of wheat. Have cash set aside, or funds in a savings account.
                                                                                                                        • "Don’t Dig the Rig #11"--Active Response Training. Greg Ellifritz occasionally comments on Concealed Nation's "Dig the Rig" where readers can post photographs of their personal concealed carry rig. In this case, "the Rig" he comments on is one where Concealed Nation's post featured a compact Springfield XD in a Sticky Holster. Ellifritz does not particularly care for the XD, having seen too many malfunctions in his classes and because it uses a grip safety; nor does he like the Sticky Holster, which is advertised as a holster that can be used in the pocket or inside the waist-band, although it lacks clips, loops, or other attachment points. While he acknowledges that the holsters can work okay as a pocket holster, they fail as to inside-the-waistband carry because they will not stay in place in extreme movement. And his complaint about grip safeties is that a person that is fatigued after a struggle may not have enough grip strength to actuate the safety.
                                                                                                                        • "Omaha Outdoors Drop Test Follow Up: Dropping More Guns!"--The Truth About Guns. One of the many complaints by people commenting on articles about the Sig P320 is that no one has done a comparison against other popular handguns to see if the P320 is less safe. Well, now someone has. Omaha Outdoors tested several models of Glocks, a couple HK models, a Smith & Wesson M&P, and a Springfield 1911 style pistol, and none of them had a discharge on the same test that had led to a discharge in the P320. However, I think that some writers have been too focused on the angle of the drop rather than the general problem. That is, the problem is not the angle, per se, but that a hard blow to the back of the slide could cause the P320 to discharge. Patrick R. at The Firearms Blog demonstrated this by setting off a P320 by striking the rear of the weapon with a plastic mallet.
                                                                                                                        • "A Rifleman’s Support Bag"--The New Rifleman. The author writes:
                                                                                                                        The bag is comprised of elements that will support your marksmanship. Even the bag itself is a tool to support your marksmanship. The bag and its contents are universal in nature. It is intended to assist you regardless if you are packing a M16A2 or a modern DMR build.
                                                                                                                        As such, the author recommends: a basic, non-electronic range estimator (specifically, he uses the Vortex Solo R/T); a mil-dot master (a slide rule type device to help with adjusting for range); a first-aid/trauma kit; data book; basic tools for your weapon, its mounts, sights, etc.; spare small parts; and extra ammo. 
                                                                                                                        Federal Premium has released a video explaining the AccuChannel Groove technology seen on the bullets of their Edge TLR ammunition. Based on the conducted tests, they’ve found out that if placed in a specific location, a single groove on the projectile will have the advantages of multiple grooves. They also have a different groove geometry which according to Federal Premium reduces the pressure on the groove as well as decreases the drag of the bullet thus improving its performance.
                                                                                                                        I don't have the equipment and/or long range shooting skills to take advantage of these, but some of you might.

                                                                                                                        Other Stuff:
                                                                                                                        • Related: "Are We Going to War With North Korea?"--The Silicon Graybeard. He notes that, technically, we have been at war with North Korea since the beginning of the Korean War--the 1953 armistice did not end the war.
                                                                                                                               Has the Trump pressure strategy produced positive results?
                                                                                                                                 North Korea has blinked, but the sensationalist mainstream media, from The New York Times to CNN, have missed it.
                                                                                                                                   But the sharp minds at 38north.org didn’t. They reported, “Anyone familiar with the North’s statements knows that over the past month there has been a major shift in Pyongyang’s formulation about negotiating.”
                                                                                                                                     Yet CNN quoted North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho as saying “…We will, under no circumstances, put the nukes and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table…”
                                                                                                                                       38north provided the correction:
                                                                                                                                         “Unless the hostile policy and nuclear threat of the U.S. against the D.P.R.K. are fundamentally eliminated, we, under no circumstances, will put the nukes and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table and will not flinch even an inch away from our path of strengthening of the nuclear forces, which is chosen by ourselves.”
                                                                                                                                            To interpret Pyongyang’s statement as the “we just might talk about getting rid of the nukes” signal it is requires that the interpreter possess certain skills.  The interpreter must know the relevant history, have common sense (a skill related to historical knowledge), pay close attention to current developments, and maintain an open mind free of ideological and emotional-political distortion. Unfortunately, the contemporary U.S. mainstream media fall short in all four skill sets.
                                                                                                                                              Responding to Trump’s rhetorical fireworks, Kim threatened to fire missiles at Guam. Remember, Guam is U.S. soil.
                                                                                                                                                It’s where America’s day begins.
                                                                                                                                                  Following that North Korean threat, Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said his country would immediately come to the aid of the U.S. if North Korea attacks Guam.
                                                                                                                                                    Japan announced it may intercept the North Korean missiles with anti-ballistic missiles.
                                                                                                                                                      But here’s the big news: now China is warning North Korea that it’s on its own “if it launches missiles threatening U.S. soil and there is retaliation…” China, however, “would intervene if Washington strikes first. ”
                                                                                                                                                        China is clearly separating itself from the Kim regime and saying it will not defend North Korea if North Korea attacks U.S. territory. China is no longer North Korea’s shield.
                                                                                                                                                        So what would a world made up totally of women really be like? It would be tyrannical beyond belief. No one would be willing to speak against the accepted narrative unless they were willing to be unpersoned or killed. Think of a mix between 1984, the very worst social aspects of socialist regimes, and the Borg. ...
                                                                                                                                                       ... If any thinking individualist finds themselves in a society run by women, may God have mercy on their souls because those women will have none at all.
                                                                                                                                                • "Wrong Turn"--originally from the New Yorker Magazine. A history of how we wound up with air bags: those hideously expensive, somewhat dangerous, and generally useless devices mandated for most motor vehicles in the United States. Basically it comes down to one serious mistake, though: air bag proponents seriously underestimated how willing Americans would be to buckle up in the face of seat-belt laws. From the article:
                                                                                                                                                There is no question that the improvements in auto design which Haddon and his disciples pushed for saved countless lives. They changed the way cars were built, and put safety on the national agenda. What they did not do, however, is make American highways the safest in the world. In fact--and this is the puzzling thing about the Haddon crusade--the opposite happened. United States auto-fatality rates were the lowest in the world before Haddon came along. But, since the late nineteen-seventies, just as the original set of N.H.T.S.A. safety standards were having their biggest impact, America's safety record has fallen to eleventh place. According to calculations by Leonard Evans, a longtime General Motors researcher and one of the world's leading experts on traffic safety, if American traffic fatalities had declined at the same rate as Canada's or Australia's between 1979 and 1997, there would have been somewhere in the vicinity of a hundred and sixty thousand fewer traffic deaths in that span.