"Super-recognisers: the future of law enforcement?"--Lindybeige. A discussion of how poorly facial recognition software works, but how the Metropolitan Police have had great success with those people that naturally seem to be able to recognize faces.
- Active Response Training's "Weekend Knowledge Dump" for this week. Good selection of links, as always, but there are a couple that I want to comment upon:
- "Why do you yell at your targets?"--God, Gals, Grub, Guns. The author recommends that you not only practice your shooting skills and movement while firing skills at the range, but also practice using verbal commands, verbal judo, and communication skills. That is, loudly projecting your commands (e.g., "freeze" or "stop"), your "verbal judo" (e.g., adding expletives or cussing in order to shock the perp), and keeping your commands or instructions simple.
- "Robert Young Pelton on All the Ways You Can Actually Use a Pocket Knife"--Outside. Mostly the article is about the different tasks (particularly emergency tasks) a good pocket knife is useful for. However, the author also contends that a knife blade makes a terrible weapon because it is so easy to disarm someone using a knife. Well, that depends on the knife and how you use it; thousands of years of history indicates that he is wrong. Sure, an overhead stab (similar to a hammer blow) is easily defended against. A blind thrust is simple to defend against. Reverse grip horizontal slashes are harder. And a person that approaches the fight more akin to fencing will probably land a strike by feinting and avoiding a counter. There is a reason why, prior to the advent of reliable repeating pistols, that there were hundreds of schools of defense around the United States that specialized in teaching using the knife as a weapon.
- "Protect yourself from falling luggage and ALWAYS leave your laptop behind: Experts reveal how to survive a plane crash"--Daily Mail. Tips include making note of where are emergency exits and how far (count the rows) from your seat; read the safety card so you know how to open the emergency door and if there is anything additional you need to do to deploy the emergency slide; pick a good brace position, so that if there is a seat in front of you, "cross your hands on that seat back in front of you and rest your forehead on top of your crossed hands." Otherwise, bend over as far as you can and grab your legs behind your knees. Also, "[p]rotect your head, neck and back with a blanket, jacket, coat or whatever you have to dampen the blow of overhead baggage flying out and down upon you and the ceiling falling apart" and keep your carry on under the seat in front of you to protect your feet and legs. Finally, if you have to evacuate, just leave your carry on and laptop and get out of the plane.
- "Are you truly living or are you merely surviving?"--Modern Survivalist. In this article, FerFal addresses a more philosophical topic of the difference between "living" (i.e., finding joy and fulfillment) and "surviving" (getting by without dying or being killed). He also relates that the primary reason he and his family eventually fled Argentina is because they were merely surviving in Argentina because of the constant threat of crime and the economic problems, and he wanted to live.
- "Mental Health in the Apocalypse"--George Groot at Blue Collar Prepping. The author originally sought help for depression and anxiety during tours of duty in Iraq and, later, Afghanistan. True depression and anxiety is hard for those without these disorders to understand because they think of it a passing phase, while when you suffer from it, you realize that something about yourself is broken. In the past, people dealt with these conditions through unregulated drugs (think of cocaine in the late 1800s and early 1900s) or copious use of alcohol. Today, sufferers have access to medications and therapy. In a grid-down, post-SHTF world, however, medications will be unavailable. The author apparently has tried some herbal replacements, but finds them to be too imprecise to be of assistance. However, there is always therapy--talking to someone.
- "Top 5 SHTF ‘Surprises’"--SHTF School. Based on the author's experience from the Balkans: (1) how close the fighting will be; (2) the enemy will look, sound, and speak like you; (3) how busy an average day is what with procuring food, water, fuel, etc.; (4) the level of threat (i.e., not just the threat of crime or violence, but hygiene, disease or injury, being turned in to authorities, being tricked, being captures, etc.; and (5) the reality of protecting and defending your assets. Read the whole thing.
- "Best Backpacking Gun?"--Active Response Training. I believe I opined before that if I had to bug out, the weapons that would provide the most flexibility would be a defensive rifle and a .22 caliber pistol. The rifle would be for protecting against threats (2 or 4 legged) or taking larger game; the handgun would be for taking smaller game, yet, if accurate, could also be used for taking small game and as a back up defensive weapon. Ellifritz takes the latter half of this combination in recommending an 8-shot Smith and Wesson model 317 .22 revolver. His choice is based on the fact that the area he backpacks lacks large predators, is remote enough not to worry about human predators, the revolver is lightweight and reliable, and he can use it to signal for help or take out snakes or small game ... and, if necessary, it is accurate enough for him to put all 8 rounds into an attacker's head.
- "MNKF – M1917 Trench Dagger"--Breach Bang Clear. A review of a reproduction of the knife produced by Windlass Steelcrafts of India and sold through Atlanta Cutlery. The original knife sported a
rectangulartriangular blade (apparently based on certain bayonet designs) and a heavy handguard and pommel sporting spikes for breaking jaws and crushing skulls. The reproduction has the rectangulartriangular blade, but the handguard is stamped and lighter weight. I don't know if it has the mass to use it as original intended, but it might be an interesting addition to a collection.
- "The Lee Loader Kit"--Blue Collar Prepping. If you don't know, these are inexpensive kits intended for hand loading small quantities of ammunition without using a reloading press or powder measure, but instead using a mallet and the special dies and powder scoop included in the kit. The author reviews and gives his impressions on using this kits. I started reloading using my father's equipment, then purchased my own press and other equipment, so I've actually never used these small kits. But if you are only loading for a small number of different calibers, and only loading a small number of rounds at any given time, this is probably a more economical method of getting into reloading.
- "Which AR-15 magazines should I buy?"--Bayou Renaissance Man. Grant lists his four favorite brands of AR mags, with most favored first: Magpul 3rd generation PMAGs, the Troy Battlemag, the Lancer L5AWM, and the ETS AR-15 magazine.
- Some Shot-2017 News:
- "MagnetoSpeed Shot Indicator"--TFB. This is a device intended to assist those interested in long range shooting. It apparently attaches to the back of a steel target and lights up to confirm a hit on the target. No MSRP listed, however.
- "Is Ulticlip Going to Change the Holster Market?"--TFB. The author reports: "Instead of running your belt through loops or traditional style holster clips the Ulticlip clamps directly onto the belt." It is supposed to offer 10 times the retention of normal clips, and can be clipped to not just a belt, but to the waistband of your pants or shorts. It is also shorter than standard clips, which the author believes will make it more concealable.
- Hexmag is entering the Glock magazine market. No MSRP, but presumably it will be similar to offerings from Magpul. The one advantage offered by the author is that Hexmag offerings will feature witness holes so you can see how many rounds are loaded.
- I'm sure that most of you have heard that the winner of the Army handgun selection is the Sig Sauer 320 modular pistol. (More here). For those of you not familiar with the weapon, it is a striker fired model that is based around a chassis system (which is the serial numbered part) that can be fit into different sized grip/frames. It also sports a true Picatinny accessory rail (instead of the Glock, one-slot rail) and, in the military version, presumably comes with a manual safety). A lot of people are surprised (and disappointed) that the Glock did not win. I can only presume the result was because Sig actually submitted something that met all of the requirements of the Army's request for proposal (RFP) instead of most of them.
- "Using the Stakeout Shotgun"--Gabe Suarez. Suarez has been using a shotgun similar to the Mossberg 590 Shockwave (he calls it the Battle Axe), and gives his thoughts on what is different and what is the same as compared to traditional shotguns.
- "Changing Buffer Weight on AR15s"--Rifle Shooter Magazine. From the article:
To operate reliably with a diverse array of loads in conditions ranging from extreme heat to extreme cold, even when dirty, requires a careful balancing act. An AR needs to have enough gas tapped off to cycle the action forcefully but not excessively.
If too much gas is tapped off, felt recoil and wear on the mechanism is increased. Too little and the action will not cycle properly, leading to malfunctions, failure to feed or failure of the bolt to lock back on the last round.
Typically, a factory AR carbine will normally be a bit over-gassed to ensure reliable function even in extreme conditions. While being a bit over-gassed aids reliability, it is not always advantageous or even desirable. This is especially true for recreational use or for various types of competition where a lighter-recoiling and smoother-operating cycle is desired. For such use it is possible to tune how the carbine cycles by adjusting the weight of the reciprocating mass: the buffer.
- Yes. "Cold Weather And Handguns: Do Freezing Temperatures Affect Firearm Function?"--Concealed Nation. The author states that "Unless you are dealing with -35° F and your gun is exposed to the elements, you have little to worry about." I know from personal experience that it does not need to be that cold. Once you get below about 10 or 15 degrees Fahrenheit, if the weapon is exposed to the cold for more than a minute or two (such as an exposed holster or just laid on a shooting table), you will start to have operating problems as lubrication begins to solidify. Keeping the firearm in a holster or pocket inside your coat will alleviate this problem because it will keep the firearm warm until you need to use it. It also helps to minimize the amount of lubricant used on your pistol in extremely cold weather, as attempting to run the weapon "wet" just means that there is more lubricant to freeze and gum up the action. Rifles and pump shotguns are a different matter. I've used a Winchester pump action shotgun with no problems in that cold of weather, and not had any problems with a Mini-14 that I once had.
- Some thoughts on bugging out and bug out kits:
- "A Realistic Bug Out"--Mason Dixon Tactical. The author notes:
Most who know me, know that I am staunchly against most people planning to just “Bug Out”to the mountains when the SHTF. I advise people to plan on “Bugging In” where they are, or “Bugging To” a pre-planned location. The are a number of reasons why I’m against a “Bug Out”, but chief among them is that most who plan to do this are doing it out of laziness and/or an overwhelming lack of reality.
If you aren't staying in place, or bugging out to a pre-planned (and pre-stocked) location, you are just a refugee.
- "Evacuation Plans And Getting Home"--Mason Dixon Tactical. Start with the “5 W’s: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Then figure out the How--which is routes, equipment, signals, and so on. As I've noted before, don't overlook alternate routes such as bike paths or trails, empty canals, railroad tracks, and so on.
- "Urban Survival: Do You Really Need A Bug Out Bag?" (Part 1 and Part2) -- Death Valley Magazine. The author raises some points that might be considered heresy in the survival and prepping community: that most people will not benefit from a bug out bag. The author points out that, if you live in the continental U.S. (CONUS), most common disasters will not call for a bug-out bag. For instance, he notes that with hurricanes and tornadoes, you will either not be leaving your home, or you will have plenty of warning about the impending disaster. Flooding, similarly, is another disaster where you will have time to load up the car, not just grab a BOB. An earthquake doesn't allow for warning, but when everything starts shaking, who is going to grab their BOB and head outdoors? He notes that civil unrest (i.e., a mob or riot) similarly won't see you grabbing your BOB when the mob comes down your street, nor will a BOB be of use in a pandemic (you actually won't want to leave your home). As for terrorism: "Going on the road immediately after a terror attack is foolish due to follow-up attacks and because you would contribute to already congested streets causing Emergency Services to divert resources to crowd control and civil policing when they are needed for helping the wounded and capturing those responsible." Notwithstanding the foregoing, he notes that there are some people that need BOBs, namely expatriates living in foreign countries who will want to leave as fast as possible in the aftermath of a coup, civil unrest, disaster or pandemic, your business "partners" suddenly stealing all your money (and preparing to have their fellow tribesman arrest you!), and similar.
- "Addressing the Foot-Pound Fallacy"--Rifle Shooter Magazine. Craig Boddington presents a lengthy, albeit non-mathematical, discussion of bullet energy and terminal performance. Boddington's focus is on bullet energy and the transfer of the energy to the target. He begins by noting the old rule that you should have at least 1,000 ft-lbs of energy at the range of the target to reliably take down animals. However, this should be increased to 2,000 ft-lbs for larger game (such as elk) and 4,000 to 5,000 ft-lbs for the largest game. But he notes that kinetic energy is not the only factor to consider, but also transfer of energy, which he believes is better with a correctly expanding bullet or a blunt nosed bullet over a standard Spitzer bullet. For instance, he notes that:
Obviously, penetration to (or through) the vitals remains essential, but I believe initial energy transfer of traditional blunt-nose bullets is why the good old .30-30 kills deer the way it does despite unimpressive ballistics. And big woods hunters who want to drop deer in their tracks often rely on archaic “brush-busters” such as the .35 Rem., .444 Marlin and .45-70. None of these produce as much kinetic energy as, say, a .270, but they flatten game with authority. Part of it is bullet frontal area, and another part is the blunt-nosed bullet—both of which contribute to a rapid initial energy transfer.
I don't believe that kinetic energy is the end-all factor either, but you have to look at properties such as momentum and the characteristics of the bullet as well. Ultimately, the size of the wound channel and whether it produces sufficient shock (loss of blood pressure) are the key factors in bullet effectiveness. Obviously, what is effective on a small game animal may be ineffective (due to a lack of penetration) in something larger; something effective in a larger animal may be too effective in a smaller animal (e.g., shooting a squirrel with a .30-06, which won't leave too much behind) or largely ineffective (e.g., using a bullet intended for large, thick skinned game on a small deer; the bullet will probably not expand and just leave a through-and-through wound). I've discussed the effectiveness of large caliber bullets with broad meplats before, and much of the effectiveness of large, slow moving lead bullets or slugs comes from the ability to not just push aside tissue or punch a clean whole through bone, but cut or smash the flesh and shatter bone. Anyway, terminal effectiveness is a complex topic, and this article gives you a lot to think about.
- "A Tip for Concealed Carry for Civilians and Pro's Alike: 'Printing'"--Ed "Digger" Thompson. Summary: concealed means that someone shouldn't be able to see that you have a gun, so make sure you are not printing. As the author notes, "If a bad guy see's that you are printing it say's to him, 'Shoot me first'...".
- "The Truth About Pistol Lights"--Gabe Suarez. And by "pistol light," the author means lights mounted on a pistol. First, Suarez notes that:
I teach to refrain from using the light as much as possible and only use it when absolutely necessary. And that "necessary" occurs only when there is doubt about what the target is. We do not need as much "Target ID" as the Liability-Mongers would have you believe.
He gives the example that if he hears a crash in the night and, in investigating, sees the hulking outline of a large man, he knows that person is not supposed to be in his house because there are no other large men residing there. In this regard, while he likes lights on his "pro-active" CQB weapons, he doesn't believe that there is generally the need on what he terms a reactive weapon;
Weapons that are reactive in purpose do not require nor do they benefit from adding a light. Move through the urban night environment and you will see that short of a black out (which would require a light to navigate), there is always sufficient ambient light to recognize a pending threat or upcoming attack. There is no tactical scenario that I can envision where one would need to reactively illuminate a threat prior to shooting.
But should you have a light on your weapon, it brings up his second point:
The second important point is that if you are mounting a light on a pistol, it must be operable with the shooting hand, and while the trigger finger is on the trigger. If you cannot operate the light, in a pressure activated momentary manner with your shooting hand only, and while your trigger finger is on the trigger, it is a stupid accessory and does not belong on the weapon of a serious gunfight-focused shooter.
- "How to Travel Grey"--Ed "Digger" Thompson. This article is focused on security consultants or "operators." It can be summed up as don't wear 5.11 clothing or clothing or hats with your company's logo or other firearm/operator logos.
- "Human Trafficking, You And Reality"--Ed "Digger" Thompson. The author has published an article from someone he knows who had to rescue his/her daughter from traffickers. This article, among other things, discusses how pimps and other traffickers suck their victims in and manipulate them, and gives you some warning signs. The article lists the steps that most groomers will follows:
Befriend – It starts in a way that seems innocent and remains that way for many weeks or months. The ‘friends’ that start this process are not always a guy. It is often a girl (usually a few years older). The new friend takes your daughter places, she is fun, she has a lot of advice, and gives the impression she is sort of a mentor. This person is referred to as a “groomer”. They may be grooming girls for something as simple as some free drugs or another form of payment. Their job is to identify potential targets. The groomer is likely a recent high school graduate living on their own, without a job (or not enough of a job to pay their expenses). The whole purpose of step 1 is to establish trust.
Intoxicate – The friend introduces drugs and /or alcohol. If the targeted teen has already experimented the groomer will increase the frequency of use and ease of access.
Alienate - The groomer will be very polite in front of the parents, but when alone the groomer is constantly trying to drive a wedge between the teen and the parents. “Your mom is such a b¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬…... She treats you like a child.” “Your father grounded you for that? He never lets you do anything.” “I bet you can’t wait to get out that house.”
Isolate – The groomer will begin to slowly separate the teen from their other friends and introduce new friends.
Desensitize – The groomer knows this really cool guy. He is an up and coming rapper. Sometimes he works as a DJ at some of the coolest clubs in town. He is fun, has money, and is always on his way to a party. After a friendship develops he offers to get your teen into a club even though she is underage. He is working a private party and can put her on the guest list. That happens a time or two. The teen gets to sneak a few drinks at the club and hang out with a group of people who are four or five years older. The people at the club fawn over the teen and make her feel very special. The newest friends reinforce the same idea the groomer started. “Your parents are the worst. If you ever need a place to stay just give me a call.”
A cool girl is introduced. She is nice, fun, and pretty. She has her own apartment and seems to have money. A new friendship is developing. Then it is revealed that the cool girl is a dancer. She dances in videos and makes appearances at clubs with the rapper and gets paid for it. Can you believe that? Life is so easy when you are pretty and cool. Who needs college or parents?
Capitalize – They take advantage of the right opportunity when it presents itself. It could be the teen getting into trouble or fighting with the parents. Or it could be an offer to take a ride with the rapper right after the 18th birthday. It happens with younger teens too, but a girl who just turned 18 is a real target. Your daughter goes to a party and disappears. If she is 18 law enforcement is handcuffed. Unless there is clear evidence of a crime, she is just another young adult who decided to leave home. If the people who led her away can keep her away for three weeks the chances you will ever see your daughter again decrease significantly.
And advice for parents:
1. Be watching for the any signs of the [pattern] above.
2. Never worry about being over protective. In our case it all started with friends from high school. The people involved are not limited to the inner city. Talk to your girls about the risks of trafficking. Maybe the awareness will help them be less susceptible to it.
3. Forget about privacy. The fourth amendment to the Constitution protects citizens of the United States from our government against unreasonable searches of their houses, papers, and effects. Children of parents have no right to privacy. We have a responsibility to search EVERYTHING. Install an application like mobistealth or Mobil-spy on your kid’s phone. Mobile-spy monitors a few more things, mobistealth doesn’t let the child know a monitoring application is installed.
4. Beware of Snapchat. It is extremely difficult to monitor effectively and it is used brilliantly by teens trying to escape detection. The only luck we had with Snapchat was to literally grab my daughter’s phone unexpectedly (before she could log out of the app) and look at recent communications, but even that had limited effectiveness.
5. Insist on having all the passwords. If your child gives you all the passwords and does not object to you monitoring their communications, beware of a second account. Apparently it is common for teens to have an account their parents know about and one they don’t. Kids these days may struggle with basic algebra, but when it comes to covert communications they are like CIA operatives.
6. Get a second phone with the sole purpose of having it linked to your teen’s phone. Do it at the Apple Store before you give the new phone to your child. You will be to see texts, who is calling, who is calling, what websites have been visited, etc. This approach is less comprehensive than mobistealth or Mobile-spy, but it is less expensive and easier.
- If you haven't already seen it, I recommend you watch the inauguration speech given by President Trump. It is a ray of hope in a dark time for our nation and world.
- Related: "Will There Be An Internal Revolt Against Trump?"--Commentary Magazine. Tevi Troy warns about the opposition that Trump will face from
essentiallybureaucrats that are virtually impossible to fire. Quoting Steven Hayward, he notes: “That bureaucratic government is the partisan instrument of the Democratic Party is the most obvious, yet least remarked upon, trait of our time.”
- Related: "Saul Alinsky Leaves the White House"--The American Spectator. "When Barack Obama leaves the White House tomorrow, he leaves with his worst dreams unrealized. Still, what he leaves behind is awful. Thank goodness he’ll be gone." A run down of Obama's subversions of the government, failures, and scandals.
- Related: The face of evil: "Connoisseur of Chaos: The dystopian vision of George Soros, billionaire funder of the Left"--City Journal. From the article:
... Soros’s global reach and influence far outstrip those of the Koch brothers or other liberal bogeymen—and that underlying it all is a vision both dystopian and opportunistic. “The main obstacle to a stable and just world order,” Soros has declared, “is the United States.” Ergo, that constitutional republic must be weakened and its allies degraded. The Sorosian world order—one of open borders and global governance, antithetical to the ideals and experience of the West—could then assume command.
This is one of the most in-depth articles I've seen about Soros and his background and philosophy. Read the whole thing.
- Celebrating diversity: "Malmo Descends Into A No-Go Zone"--Anonymous Conservative. Problems with crime, burning of vehicles, and gangs have gotten so bad that one of Sweden's political parties is calling for the military to be deployed in Malmo.
- Obama leaves us with yet another last-minute present: "With midnight regulation, Obama Energy Department just outlawed your three-way bulb"--Washington Examiner. The three-way incandescent light bulbs had been exempt from earlier regulations on incandescents, but no more. Apparently too many consumers were buying them to replace old light bulbs instead of the much more expensive florescent or LED lights.
- "First 'Silk Road' train arrives in UK"--DW. From the article: "The train began its intercontinental journey in the eastern Chinese city of Yiwu on January 1. It then passed through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France before entering Britain through the English Channel." George Friedman's predictions in his book The Next 100 Years are predicated on the importance of North America for trade between Europe and the Far East. This is an example of Europe and China attempting to bypass North America as a trade route for its goods.
- Global warming alert: "Sledging… in the Sahara! African desert region is hit by its biggest snowfall in living memory with snow up to a METRE deep"--Daily Mail.
- Related: Everything old is new again. Following an article entitled "All References to ‘Climate Change’ Deleted From White House Website at Noon Today" at Climate Depot, a commentor wrote:
The Arctic Ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and insome places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consulate at Bergen Norway.
Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes.
Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm.
Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared.
Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.
Within a few years it is predicted that due to the ice melt the sea will rise and make most coastal cities uninhabitable.
Key point is that what he wrote is a quote from a November 2, 1922, Washington Post article. He also linked to a 1922 report from NOAA's own archives that says basically the same thing.
- Muslim outreach: "Anti-Christian Attacks Rise 38 Per Cent in France"--Breitbart.
- More from the Religion of Peace: "Austrian police arrest man allegedly planning terror attack"--DW. The attacker, a self-admitted member of ISIS, had made explosive while in Germany and was apprehended after travelling into Vienna with the intent of carrying out a terrorist attack.
- "Biological weapon terror fears after Russian scientist in charge of producing Ebola and smallpox for the Kremlin disappears"--Daily Mail. Fears that he may have decided to sell his services to the highest bidder.
- Heh. When Chavez tried to force Exxon-Mobile to give his government a bigger percentage cut of revenue from oil production, then-CEO Rex Tillerson (Trump's Secretary of State nominee) refused. Chavez nationalized Exxon's facilities, and Exxon took it money, equipment and expertise to next-door Guyana where it developed one of the largest oil finds in the world. Now Guyana is becoming rich and, well, we all know what happened to Venezuela.
- "Migrants Race to Reach US Before Trump Takes Over"--Breitbart. Trying to get across the border before the wall is built.
- The progressive threat: "Religious freedom: It’s a core American principle, and it doesn’t mean what right-wingers want it to mean"--Salon. Basically, to the progressive, religious freedom only extends to the privacy of your own thoughts: otherwise, the government is free to dictate how you behave, even if it means forcing you to work for others in contravention of your religious beliefs (i.e., slavery). I've written on this topic many times before (see here, here, and here, for instance). The Salon article attempts to anchor this theory in the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom drafted by Thomas Jefferson which eliminated the Anglican's church's state sanctioned monopoly. Interestingly, however, the article never quotes the Virginia Statute. And with good reason. The statute does not establish the primacy of a secular government, but states (ellipses in original):
I. Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishment or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was his Almighty power to do . . .
II. Be it enacted by the General Assembly, that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.
III. And though we well know that this assembly elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, have no power to restrain the act of succeeding assemblies, constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act to be irrevocable would be of no effect in law; yet we are free to declare, and do declare, that the rights hereby asserted are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present, or to narrow its operation, such as would be an infringement of natural right.
Thus, rather then reject God, the statute expressly recognizes God. And, more important for the present discussion, it does not stand for the proposition that the government can coerce a person to act against their religious beliefs (such as baking cakes for gay weddings), but that it instead provides the negative right that government is not allowed to coerce someone to do something contrary to their beliefs. This right, to be free of government coercion, is exactly what the godless progressives reject. (See, e.g., "LGBTI Australians: Churches, Pastors, Bakers Can't Say No to Gay Marriage"--PJ Media).
- "How West and East Think in Profoundly Different Ways"--BBC. From the article:
From the broad differences between East and West, to subtle variation between US states, it is becoming increasingly clear that history, geography and culture can change how we all think in subtle and surprising ways – right down to our visual perception. Our thinking may have even been shaped by the kinds of crops our ancestors used to farm, and a single river may mark the boundaries between two different cognitive styles.
The article goes on to discuss how most social research is based on studies conducted of Westerners, primarily Americans. It was assumed that "people are people" and there was no real differences between how people think and understand the world. But studies that included other people showed differently, and it has now become clear that Westerners are outliers. For instance:
Some of the most notable differences revolved around the concepts of “individualism” and “collectivism”; whether you consider yourself to be independent and self-contained, or entwined and interconnected with the other people around you, valuing the group over the individual. Generally speaking - there are many exceptions - people in the West tend to be more individualist, and people from Asian countries like India, Japan or China tend to be more collectivist.
Which, by itself, is a good argument against allowing immigration. In any event, although the main theory is that these differences are due to culture--for instance, that Americans are more individualistic because we are descendants of pioneers--other theories believe that there is a biological mechanism: infection.
In 2008, Corey Fincher (now at the University of Warwick) and colleagues analysed global epidemiological data to show a region’s score of individualism and collectivism appear to correlate with disease prevalence: the more likely you are to get infection, the more collectivist you are, and the less individualistic. The rough idea is that collectivism, characterised by greater conformity and deference to others, may make people more conscientious about avoiding the behaviours that could spread disease. It has been difficult to prove that the apparent correlations in the real world are not caused by some other factor, such as the relative wealth of the country, but lab experiments offer some support for the idea – when psychologists prime people to feel afraid of disease, they do seem to adopt more collectivist ways of thinking, such as greater conformity to group behaviours.
Yet another theory, arising out of studies of Chinese, suggests that the types of crops may have impacted cultures: rice is labor intensive and requires close cooperation (matching with collectivism) while wheat does not require the same level of cooperation (matching with individualism).
- A sign of the times? "Lots of corpse flowers bloomed in 2016 and nobody knows why"--BBC.
- "How Irish falconry changed language"--BBC. Apparently Shakespeare was a falconer and brought falconry terms into the English language to be used as idioms and figures of speech. Examples are: "Under your thumb" (referring to pinching the jesses, or tethers, of the hawk between your thumb and hand), "wrapped around your finger" (referring to then wrapping the tail of the jesses around your finger for even greater control of the bird), "hoodwinked" (putting a hood on the hawk to keep it from being distracted), "rouse" (which now means to awaken came from a term for hawks taking flight), and "fed up" (from feeding the hawk to the point where it will no longer hunt). Anyway, read the whole thing. It's interesting.