Friday, March 10, 2017

March 10, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

"Mugging Turns Deadly While Bystanders Look On"--Active Self Protection (3:46)
This incident took place in the Philippines. The victim was a young man who was initially accosted by a woman, who attempted to take his bag. When the victim resisted, the woman's partner, a man, came up and started stabbing the victim repeatedly (18 times) until the victim released the bag. The primary take away is that, whether you intend to flee or fight, let go of the bag!  

  • TGIF: This week's Weekend Knowledge Dump from Active Response Training. One article he includes has a neat trick for helping you not drop a handcuff key if trying to unlock yourself with your hands behind your back: "If you have ever dropped a key in the middle of an Immersion exercise you know why putting a magnetic necklesses clasp on your key is a good idea." The idea is that you can anchor the key to the handcuffs with the magnetic clasp, so if it should be fumbled and dropped, the anchor will catch it.
  • "3 Post-Court Myths Dispelled By Massad Ayoob"--Personal Defense World. Basically, you have no guarantee that your self-defense claim will be accepted by the prosecutor; even if you aren't criminally charged, you will probably be sued in a civil action that may take years and hundreds of thousands of dollars before it concludes; and your reputation may be sullied for years to come. You might want to go over your homeowner's insurance policy to see what it will cover and what it won't.
  • "Tips for Using a Double-Barrel Shotgun for Home Defense"--Shooting Illustrated. Not the best weapon, but if it is what you have, you will have to make do. The author has a few tips, but probably the most critical difference between using said shotgun for self-defense versus field shooting is placement of the support hand: "If you’ve got a double barrel, this means wrapping the fingers and thumb of the support hand around the metal of the barrels as far toward the muzzle as comfortable, since the goal is not to swing with a bird, but to keep the barrels down to get off an accurate second shot quickly."
  • "The One Thing You Need to Carry Even More Than Your Gun!"--The Truth About Guns. A tourniquet or two to stop arterial bleeding, be it from a gun or knife wound, auto accident, or other cause.
  • "Pro Tip: How to Prevent Galling in Your Guns"--The Truth About Guns. The author explains: "Galling is the wearing away of the surface of certain materials that can lead to parts being permanently stuck together (friction/cold-welded)." The solution is to apply an "anti-seize" lubricant--which you can locate at an auto parts store--to the parts when installing them or screwing them together.
  • "The 3 Best Full-Size Pistols Under $400 MSRP"--The Truth About Guns. They are, in descending order: (1) Canik TP9SA / TP9SF (MSRP $399.95); (2) Smith & Wesson SD9 VE (MSRP $389); and (3) Hi-Point 9/.40/.45/.380 (MSRP $199 - $235). The article has more details about each weapon, plus links to reviews.
  • "Man attacked by biker gang on SF highway IDd as an Uber driver"--San Francisco Chronicle.  The gang (thought to number about 15 men) had been popping wheelies and otherwise driving recklessly, and for some reason decided to pick on the Uber driver. When the driver tried to exit from the highway, the bikers tried to hem him in, and another car got in front of him to block and slow him down. They were then able to antagonize the driver enough to get him out of the car where they beat him, leaving him with a broken leg. The article notes near the end:
           Roving biker groups flouting traffic laws have long been a problem in San Francisco. Numerous online videos show large groups of bikers, sometimes dressed in Santa Claus costumes, popping wheelies and doing burnouts on the Golden Gate Bridge and city streets.
             There have been numerous biker incidents in the Hayes Valley neighborhood, said Officer Giselle Talkoff, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Police Department.
               “They’re biking up and down some stairs near some apartment complexes,” Talkoff said. “We won’t chase them because it’s too dangerous” for police and innocent bystanders.

        Other Stuff:

        • "Zones of Thought"--West Hunt. So the map above shows how large each country in the world would be if its size were based on how many scientific papers it published each year. The author explains:
              ... Population size plays a role, but average productivity matters more.  Note that Singapore, with a population of 5 million, looks bigger than Indonesia, with 240 million people.
                 You might think that scientific productivity depends on science funding, rather than regional differences in talent.  But you would be wrong.  It depends to some extent on money, but it depends more on the distribution of talent.  You can get a feel for  the influence of money by comparing China or India and their diasporas in the West. You see far higher scientific productivity in those diaspora populations than in their homelands.  Partly this is due to selective immigration, but much of it has to do with with economic (and cultural) differences).
                   Like the Chinese and Indians, some ethnic groups show mediocre results in their benighted homelands and better results in Western countries. On the other hand, other groups do poorly everywhere. People whose ancestors are from sub-Saharan Africa  produce very few scientific papers – on average – no matter where they live.   This is also the case (to a lesser extent)  for mestizos from central and South America, for Filipinos and Malays, and most of the Indian castes. You don’t see much out of the Middle East, either –  although Armenians are an exception, and there may be others.  Interestingly, Armenians were generally thought (by themselves and others) to be smarter than the average bear back in Byzantine times.
                     Generally the pattern is about what you would expect from the world distribution of IQ (note the correlation with latitude), coupled with the notion that science is generated by people out in the tail of the intelligence distribution.
                     .... You might suspect that the pattern would change if we raised the bar, looked at more extreme and important examples of scientific creativity, rather than counting every paper.  It does.  If you look at Nobel prizes in the sciences, or Fields medals, the differences become starker.  Whole nations disappear. Single individuals outdo whole civilizations. The only noticeable deviation from the simple IQ-distribution pattern is somewhat lower-than-expected scientific productivity, at the highest levels, in northeast Asians. We will see if this persists as China modernizes.
                     Two men from Togo and six from Ghana reportedly went berserk at their asylum home in Rees-Haldern, near the Dutch border, just a DAY after moving in.
                       The eight men were returning from a food shopping trip when they began to complain they were “unhappy” with their new quarters.
                         The gang claimed phone signal was not available anywhere in the building…
                  AC goes on to comment:
                  When the Apocalypse hits, expect spotty electronic service, made worse by idiot migrants stealing the oil from transformers and taking down the electric service, just like they do back home. That will destroy the electronic means of ordering that everyone is dependent on right now, and that will destroy entire supply lines, creating mass shortage. If people had to call in orders by phone, it would be anarchy, but we may not even have that once all cell phone traffic tries to move back to landlines overnight, due to no power getting to cell towers. And I will not be looking for infrastructure upgrades at that point. Our dams are falling down now. In the Apocalypse, everything will be falling apart.
                           Next, consider what the CIA is doing.  They are quite literally buying the vulnerabilities in U.S.-made software.  They are paying money to keep the vulnerabilities in software and hardware in order to exploit those weaknesses.  One more time so you get the point.  They are creating and buying zero-day exploits for systems and of course refraining from telling the manufacturers of those devices.  This is irresponsible and dangerous to the point of being criminal.  It isn’t negligent, it’s intentionally criminal.
                             This lends itself to fraud, abuse, extortion, potential convictions in a courtroom with the use of illegally obtained material, material that violates the Fourth Amendment to the constitution.  Here is something else.  Since some of the malware is stolen from Russia, no one can ever, ever again trust the CIA when they say something like “this malware or hacking attack has a known Russian [or any other country for that matter] signature.”  Never.  Not that I ever trusted the CIA anyway.
                               We would all love to live in a country in which we know with certainty that the men and women in responsible charge of the nation’s international security target only the known enemies of state, i.e., foreign enemies.  But that’s not reality, and only a fool or simpleton believes things like that.  We know that this lust for knowledge, this consuming drive for power, it emblematic of the fall in Genesis, where they wanted to be like God.  Statism is a wicked religion, and jingoism is its bread and butter.
                        • Liberals are suddenly interested in limited government: "Bluexit: A Modest Proposal For Separating Blue States From Red" by Kevin Baker at The New Republic. Baker proposes severely cutting back or eliminating the federal income tax in order to shrink the size of the federal government and eliminate federal aid to the states, which he says overwhelmingly go to Red states. He believes that the Blue states, having most of the industry, major universities, and major hospitals, will economically prosper, while the Red states will fare little better than the third world. I would be willing to take him up on the challenge. 
                        • "Cui bono, Donald Trump edition"--The Fifth Wave. The author relates that those who have benefited the most from Trump's election are his detractors, and gives examples of how much money certain groups like NAACP and Planned Parenthood are bringing in, and the boost in subscriptions/viewership for media outlets like the New York Times and CNN. He concludes: "So here is my story in a nutshell.  The president’s attackers, who have profited enormously from the attacks, helped to raise him through these same attacks to the highest pinnacle of political power."
                        • "The Insiders versus the Outsiders"--Library of Economics and Liberty. A review by Arnold Kling of Martin Gurri's book, The Revolt of the Public. Gurri is the author of The Fifth Wave blog. Kling not only summarizes Gurri's ideas, but applies them to the 2016 election (Gurri wrote his book well before that). From his review:
                                 If Gurri is correct, however, then the current outlook is grimmer. In terms of game theory, the dominant strategies of insiders and outsiders will lead to an outcome in which government performance worsens, legitimacy declines, and conflict increases.
                                   The dominant strategy of the insiders includes doubling down on their demands for authority, resources, power, and respect. It means making make ever-more extravagant and unrealistic promises.
                                     The dominant strategy of the outsiders is to focus on the negative, exposing and denouncing the failures, imperfections, and corruption of the insiders. On the left, this means heaping blame on the institutions of capitalism and free markets. On the right, this means heaping blame on the institutions of government. Neither side will propose, much less implement, an effective reform agenda. Instead, the only thing that the outsiders can accomplish will be to undermine the trust in and effectiveness of both markets and government.
                                       Astronomers have catalogued just 20 or so of these brief, superbright flashes, which are known as fast radio bursts (FRBs), since the first one was detected in 2007. FRBs seem to be coming from galaxies billions of light-years away, but what's causing them remains a mystery.
                                          "Fast radio bursts are exceedingly bright given their short duration and origin at great distances, and we haven't identified a possible natural source with any confidence," study co-author Avi Loeb, a theorist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said in a statement Thursday (March 9). "An artificial origin is worth contemplating and checking." [5 Bold Claims of Alien Life]
                                            One potential artificial origin, according to the new study, might be a gigantic radio transmitter built by intelligent aliens. So Loeb and lead author Manasvi Lingam, of Harvard University, investigated the feasibility of this possible explanation.
                                              The duo calculated that a solar-powered transmitter could indeed beam FRB-like signals across the cosmos — but it would require a sunlight-collecting area twice the size of Earth to generate the necessary power.

                                      For a civilization that has spread throughout its solar system, the resources for putting together such a transmitter would be trivial. Watch "Interstellar Highways" by Isaac Arthur.

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