Monday, March 27, 2017

March 27, 2017--A Quick Run Around the Web

This is a guest video by City Prepping produced in conjunction with Canadian Prepper that discusses some particular challenges facing Southern California (essentially the greater L.A. area, and south to San Diego), particularly based on new research and findings concerning earthquakes. The primary issue, though, is that faults could destroy not only east/west vehicular traffic, but destroy the aqueducts bring water into the region and natural gas pipelines. 

  • "Bicycle Powered Thresher"--No Tech Magazine. Explanation and link to plans at According to the article, Farmhack has plans for two other grain processing tools: a bicycle powered fanning mill and the bicycle powered de-huller/flour mill. It looks like it would be more fruitful to use an old exercise bike, rather than an actual bicycle.
  • "How To Fix Scratches On Your AR-15"--Captain's Journal. A link for a video about fixing scratches to the aluminum receiver or other aluminum parts. I would note that for steel parts, Birchwood Casey makes a pen for touching up bluing, and also offers a black touch up pen for anodized aluminum or black coated steel. 
  • "Quality Clothes"--Survival UK. Skean Dhude writes about how, with some items, you will be penny-wise and pound-foolish by purchasing low quality products, including clothing. He notes, however, "that simply paying a lot for some designer labels doesn’t mean that it is quality clothing."
  • Getting Started in Emergency Preparedness has had a couple recent posts concerning preparing for house fires, including smoke and CO detectors and having an evacuation plan. (See here and here). In the latter article, the author makes an important point: 
       First, during a fire, the hot, poisonous gases will rise to the ceiling of a room, so you and your family need to practice rolling out of bed when the fire/smoke alarm starts to beep, buzz, or sound.
             If you immediately sit up and take a breath, you may breath toxic fumes causing you to become unconscious.
               Next, once you, your partner, or children roll out of bed to the floor, they need to practice crawling out of the house, just in case the room has filled with smoke.
        I remember an instance of a woman who died as a result of being overwhelmed by toxic fumes from smoldering carpet in her car. She had driven onto a side road (really, nothing more than a dirt track) to rest a short while, and ran over a rock or some bump that smashed her exhaust pipe against the floor of the vehicle, which then heated it up until the carpet started smoldering. She lost consciousness as she was attempting to get out of the car. By that time, the interior of the car had caught fire and she burned to death before anyone passing by could do anything.
        Other Stuff:
               Predictive policing, or the idea that software can foresee where crime will take place, is being adopted across the country—despite being riddled with issues. These algorithms have been shown to disproportionately target minorities, and private companies won’t reveal how their software reached those conclusions.
                 In an attempt to stand out from the pack, predictive-policing startup CivicScape has released its algorithm and data online for experts to scour, according to Government Technology magazine. The company’s Github page is already populated with its code, as well as a variety of documents detailing how its algorithm interprets police data and what variables are included when predicting crime.
          Anyone that has examined FBI crime statistics can tell you why predictive programs would "disproportionately target minorities." 
                 Banks, mostly small or midsize ones, have been raising record sums via NCDs [negotiable certificate of deposit], selling 4.4 trillion yuan ($639 billion) worth this year, 65% more than in the same period of 2016. They use the proceeds to buy higher-yielding, longer-term assets like corporate bonds or investment products issued by fellow banks.
                   NCDs initially offered banks the attractions of low cost and no collateral requirements, but since October the average cost of issuing the AA-rated three-month NCDs has risen ... [and] in some cases exceeding yields on AA-rated one-year corporate bonds.

              * * *
                       As issuance costs rise, more Chinese banks are being forced to sell new NCDs just to repay old ones. “When your borrowing cost is getting close to 5% and your bond is yielding only a little over 4%, you must be borrowing money to prevent a liquidity crisis,” Mr. Wang said.
                         Even without the fresh pain of rising interest rates, the mismatch between the NCDs’ short lifespan and the bonds’ longer duration leaves banks with a liquidity hole needing constant plugging.
                           The pressure is imminent: According to research firm Rhodium Group, 1.53 trillion yuan in NCDs mature this month, while calculations by analysts at China International Capital Corp. indicated that around half of the NCDs outstanding would mature between February and May.
                    •  "New Crude Found in UK Waters"--The American Interest. The newly discovered field, in the North Sea off the Shetland Islands, may hold as much as 1 billion barrels.
                    • "A theory, falsified, again"--Vox Day. A fundamental premise of evolution--that complexity increases over time--has been shown to false. Day summarizes:
                    In summary:
                      1. Biologists predicted genome size would increase over time, and that was wrong. 
                      2. Biologists then predicted that gene number would increase over time, and that was wrong. 
                      3. Biologists predicted that complex body parts would develop after simpler body parts, and that was wrong.
                      4. Biologists have now found that the oldest living ancestor of animals, comb jellies, already had brain, nervous system, and muscles, and that sponges later lost those genes. Complexity was there at the start. 
                      5. Biologists have also found, through experiment, that most mutations cause a loss of complexity.
                                The latter is particularly important, because it renders evolution statistically improbable to the point of impossibility. ...
                                • "National Review To Baptists – Help Muslims Build More Mosques"--Anonymous Conservative links to an article where certain Baptist ministers apparently believe that they can ensure their future survival under a future Muslim majority by supporting Muslims now. Anonymous Conservative explains how this attitude is an r-strategy, completely at odds with K:
                                What they don’t realize is, if you are a K-strategist, your attitude would be “F[**]k the Muslims, and f[**]k anyone who f]**]ks with us one day too!” A K-strategist expects to face an angry mob one day, because that is the world they expect and what they are designed for. So when someone says, “If you don’t support the building of Mosques, one day others might fight with you,” the K-strategist fails to see why supporting the mosques now will avert what they view as an unavoidable conflict-circumstance later. Instead the K-amygdala will focus on the Muslim threat, and figure why not destroy it now while it is weak? That causes the whole argument to fail. ...
                                Read the whole thing.
                                Christians should be prudent, that is, not seek needless  career martyrdom in pursuit of principles where victory is impossible; they should save themselves for family and community. Where believers are driven out of certain professions by the new secular inquisition, Dreher says, they should instead be entrepreneurial. Christians should rediscover the trades, where the religious can make a living without signing on to secular ideology. They should buy from other Christians and help Christians find employment.
                                He goes on to compare what Dreher is recommending against the experience of the Jews, particularly Orthodox Jews. He observes:
                                ... Orthodox Jews succeed in keeping their children in the fold, to a greater extent, at least, than any other identifiable religious group in the United States. The survey data suggest that about two of three children born to observant families become observant adults. They do this by maintaining their own institutions and, where that is not practical, their own well-defined enclaves in such institutions as major universities. Observant Jews mainly attend Jewish day schools (I do not personally know any Orthodox home schoolers). They marry young, usually in their early twenties. Orthodox Judaism has one major university, New York’s Yeshiva University, but Orthodox students tend to cluster in other universities where they can find a daily minyan (prayer quorum), kosher food, and above all prospective Jewish mates.
                                But he also warns:
                                       As a practical matter, homeschooling isn’t a good option for most parents, not only because they may not be qualified to teach, but because children learn more from each other than they do from their teachers. Dreher cites Jewish education and the diligence of students at Yeshiva University, but he does not mention how expensive it is to live the simple life outside the orbit of the secular world.
                                         Jewish education is costly because it requires the service of professionals. Modern Orthodox Jewish students tend towards well-compensated professions in anticipation of the high cost of educating their children. The Modern (or university-educated) Orthodox embrace secular education in parallel to Jewish learning, and are one of the most successful communities in the United States. They need to be. As noted, marrying young is the only reliable way to insulate a community against the temptation of easy hook-ups. But that requires parents to support their married children for a considerable period of time.
                                           Among ultra-Orthodox Jews, the majority is composed of Hasidim, and most of them reject secular culture. Many speak Yiddish rather than English at home, and watch Yiddish soap operas, read Yiddish adolescent fiction, and so forth. Many of the Hasidim make do with purely religious education at low cost, but a high percentage of them are very poor. The Satmar Hasidic sect’s enclave of Kiryas Joel in Orange County, New York, had the highest poverty rate in the nation as of 2008. They are also heavily dependent on public assistance. The Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn is one of the highest recipients of rental assistance vouchers in New York City, with subsidized tenants making up half of all households in some census tracts.
                                             This is an untenable (and in my view unfortunate) state of affairs. ...
                                      I am only about halfway through The Benedict Option, so I probably should reserve any comments in regard to Goldman's thoughts. However, I would note that I have yet to see anything that changes the opinions I expressed the other day--that is, that Dreher either can't see or won't acknowledge the connection between the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the destruction of the right of association, and the developing government persecution of Christians who do not want to be part of the societal and moral decay that the left calls "freedom." However, he does present some good ideas on developing one's personal faith and religiosity, and ideas that seem applicable to the Christian prepper. I am still on the fence as to whether Dreher's thesis is defeatist or not. There is a difference between withdrawing to lick one's wounds, and conceding the field to the enemy.
                                      • Quote of the day: "It take oppression and hardship to stiffen men's guts and put the fire of hell into their thews."--Robert E. Howard in his story, "A Witch Shall Be Born."

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