Thursday, February 23, 2017

February 23, 2017--A Quick Run Around the Web

HaleyStrategic (5 min.) (h/t Fleeting Survival)

Firearms/Prepping:
  • "Domestic Violence: More Guns, Less Injury"--The Truth About Guns. "A new study [based on data from Philadelphia] shows that only 17 of 35,413 domestic violence incidents resulted in a gunshot wound." Citing a Journal of Family Violence paper, the author also notes: "Numerous studies have shown that women use IPV [intimate  partner violence] against men at a rate that is equal or higher than men use IPV against women."
  • "Basic Radio Equipment for Preparedness and Survival: Our Recommendations"--Security and Self-Reliance. The author has some radio equipment advice for a family or small group--i.e., not for a large, geographically separated group. His equipment recommendations go from the most basic that you should have (a NOAA radio receiver) and then in increasing importance (and cost) all the way up to a portable shortwave radio. Check it out.
  • Putting things into perspective: "Some Numbers on the European Radioactive Iodine Story"--The Silicon Graybeard. Most of you have probably seen some scare headlines about Iodine-131 being discovered in the atmosphere in Europe. It probably is the result of something innocuous: a mishap on changing a filter at a manufacturing facility (something like this happened several years ago) or even the urine of someone being treated for thyroid cancer. But the Silicon Graybeard has made the effort to put this into perspective. The level of radioactive iodine detected is 0.31 µBq/m3 for particulates, and an estimated 1.5 µBq/m3 for total particulate and gaseous. The author explains:
That abbreviation represents a rate, and means 1 micro (millionth of) 1 Bequerel per cubic meter.  A Bequerel is a measure of how much radioactive material there is. 1 Bq means that one atom is decaying every second.  Saying 1.5 micro Bequerel implies one millionth of one atom is decaying but that just can't happen; atomic decay only applies to whole atoms.  To turn that into a whole number, you have to multiply the whole thing by 2 million, which says 3 atoms are decaying in 2 million cubic meters per second. 
Or, as he goes on to explain, this is equivalent to those three atoms decaying in a volume encompassed by 10 Hindenburg sized zeppelins. As he further notes, you would receive five times as much radiation from eating a banana. So, just another example of media scaremongering (and an example of how sensitive our detection equipment has become).
           Ross River Virus is a mosquito-borne pathogen harboured by marsupial animals like kangaroos and wallabies. So far, it has been restricted largely to Australia and Papua New Guinea. But scientists from the University of Adelaide and the Australian National University have now found that the virus has been silently circulating in the South Pacific. The area saw an outbreak of Ross River Virus fever in 1979-’80 with more than 5,00,000 [sic] cases and is thought to have been started by an infected Australian tourist who travelled to Fiji.
             Ross River Virus infections symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, rash, fatigue, headaches and joint aches. Although an infection has never killed anyone, it can be severely debilitating for months, sometimes years.
               According to a study published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, the Australian research team found that the virus circulating in the South Pacific has escaped its marsupial reservoir and can been able to survive in other mammals. The researchers tested blood samples of American Samoan born after the 1979-1980 epidemic and had lived in American Samoa their whole lives. Among these subjects, a massive 63% had antibodies to the Ross River Virus, suggesting local transmission of the virus after 1980.
        Interesting. Compare with Revelation 9:5. Not saying its the same, but here is a disease that doesn't cause death but produces debilitating symptoms for several months. 


        Other Stuff:
               Working from an office suite behind a Burger King in southern Virginia, operatives used a web of shadowy cigarette sales to funnel tens of millions of dollars into a secret bank account. They weren’t known smugglers, but rather agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
                 The operation, not authorized under Justice Department rules, gave agents an off-the-books way to finance undercover investigations and pay informants without the usual cumbersome paperwork and close oversight, according to court records and people close to the operation.
                   The secret account is at the heart of a federal racketeering lawsuit brought by a collective of tobacco farmers who say they were swindled out of $24 million. A pair of A.T.F. informants received at least $1 million each from that sum, records show.
                     The scheme relied on phony shipments of snack food disguised as tobacco. The agents were experts: Their job was to catch cigarette smugglers, so they knew exactly how it was done.
                       Government records and interviews with people involved reveal an operation that existed on a murky frontier — between investigating smuggling and being complicit in it. After The New York Times began asking about the operation last summer, the Justice Department disclosed it to the department’s inspector general’s office, which is investigating. The inspector general “expressed serious concerns,” court records show.
                         It is unclear how broadly the A.T.F. adopted this practice, at what level it was approved, and whether it continues. Nearly all references to the A.T.F. have been blacked out of public court records, and most documents are entirely sealed.
                           The investigation and the looming racketeering trial will bring renewed scrutiny to the A.T.F., which has been buffeted in recent years by the botched gun-tracking operation known as Fast and Furious and its mismanagement of undercover investigations. Representative Jason Chaffetz, whose House oversight committee investigated Fast and Furious, asked the A.T.F. on Wednesday for reams of documents related to the secret tobacco account.
                      This shouldn't be all that surprising to anyone. It has long been rumored that the CIA has done the same with drug smuggling since at least the 1960's where the Agency was reputed to have used Air America to smuggle heroine from South East Asia, to the smuggling of cocaine in the 1980s and 1990s from South America.
                               The statement of the German test pilot Hans Zinsser in the file is considered evidence: the missile expert says he observed in 1944 a mushroom cloud in the sky during a test flight near Ludwigslust.
                                 His log submitted to the Allied investigators reads; 'In early October 1944 I flew away 12-15 km from a nuclear test station near Ludwigslust (south of Lübeck).
                                   'A cloud shaped like a mushroom with turbulent, billowing sections (at about 7000 metres) stood, without any seeming connections over the spot where the explosion took place. Strong electrical disturbances and the impossibility to continue radio communication as by lighting turned up.'
                              The cited report also listed other witnesses to the explosion.
                                       In the end the report states that the Allies believe the Germans fell short of triggering the nuclear chain reaction necessary to trigger a nuclear blast - but none could come up with an explanation for what occurred in the skies over Ludwigslust in 1944. 
                                  Skulls from two of the Mexican regions – Sonora and Tlanepantla – clustered together in the shape analysis. But skulls from the third region, Michoacán, were different. The variation was on a scale normally seen between two populations that have been separated for millennia, often because they have settled in regions that are thousands of kilometres apart. Yet the distance between Michoacán and Tlanepantla is under 300 kilometres.
                                           The bodies of five per cent of females and 11 per cent of males had marks of violence, such as arrow wounds, stab wounds or evidence of being bludgeoned.
                                             This level of trauma in the population wasn't reached even in countries involved in the Second World War, said study author Mark Allen of California State Polytechnic University Pomona in a statement.
                                        Sadly, this was downright peaceful compared to most other primitive societies.
                                        • "With the Pentagon on the telephone, BYU president held his ground on the Honor Code"--Salt Lake Tribune. I'd mentioned this incident before: the head of the Air Force RTC program at BYU refused to sign the honor code that all students and faculty at the University are required to follow (the officer was to serve as faculty, so it is not purely a military appointment). I wondered at the time why the officer had even been assigned to BYU or accepted the assignment if it was going to be an issue--it's not like requirement was anything new or surprising. Moreover, the BYU program was conducted jointly with one at Utah Valley University (UVU), and the solution was to move the classes to UVU. But this article sheds a bit more light on the background:
                                                 Documents obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune show the discussions the Air Force and BYU had after Col. Timothy Hogan in July decided not to sign the campus' Honor Code, which includes prohibitions against premarital sex, alcohol, coffee and tea.
                                                   Those discussions reached the upper echelons of the U.S. Department of Defense, where at least one official was concerned about a "religious test for appointment to a military position," the documents show.
                                              I know that this is probably quite a reach, but we've seen that the military has been infected with Cultural Marxists (wearing high-heels, anyone); and I wonder whether this was another attempt by so-called social justice warriors to try to get the Church to cave on other issues of morality.
                                                       According to the Washington Post, Donald Trump wants to make a splash in space. And he apparently wants to make that splash by orbiting the Moon.
                                                         Orbiting the Moon? Merely circling it? What a comedown from America’s past high…landing twelve humans on the lunar surface. ...
                                                    It is as though the author is trying to give the impression that it is Trump's fault for wanting such limited goals. However, the truth of the matter is that NASA didn't even want a manned mission. It is because of Trump that NASA will be sending anything other than an empty capsule around the Moon.
                                                             Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) secretly traveled to northern Syria last weekend to speak with American military officials and Kurdish fighters at the forefront of the push to drive Islamic State out of their de facto capital of Raqqa, according to U.S. officials.
                                                               The unusual visit, which officials said was organized with the help of the U.S. military, came as the Trump administration is debating plans for an accelerated military campaign against Islamic State, also known by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL.
                                                                 Mr. McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, first traveled to rebel-controlled Syria in 2013, when he met with leaders of the Free Syrian Army, the umbrella group supported by America and its allies. This was believed to be his first visit to Syria since then.
                                                            The article goes on to then explain that such trips by Congress-critters is unusual, while listing trips by other Congress-critters to the region. Then it concludes with the Catch-22 that we need Kurdish help to retake Raqqa, but Turkey is opposed to arming of the Kurds.

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