Friday, March 3, 2017

March 3, 2017--A Quick Run Around the Web

Suarez International (2 min.)


Firearms/Self-Defense:
  • No, no, no! "When You Can’t Afford to Miss – Patriot Ballistics Flak .45 ACP Ammunition"--Ammo Land. A cartridge consisting of a bullet atop a layer of fine bird-shot, wadding, and the powder charge. Hitting a target doesn't matter if the projectile can't penetrate and cause damage. In this case, the shot is of so little power and mass that you would be lucky if you were able to draw blood (or maybe hit them in the eye). All this does is rob energy from the main projectile (the bullet) through either energy drawn off to accelerate the shot and wadding, and/or through a reduced powder load to accommodate the wadding and shot.
  • "Defensive ammunition when you can't use hollowpoints"--Bayou Renaissance Man. This post is not meant to be critical of Peter Grant's article or the information he provides, but to point out a misconception that started nearly 100 years ago and continues to this day. As Grant relates it:
... Bigger, heavier cartridges still tended to do better than smaller ones at ending an attack, as the infamous Moro rebellion demonstrated.  It was the experience of that conflict that prompted the US Army to replace its newly-issued Colt M1892 revolvers chambered in .38 Long Colt.  As General Leonard Wood reported in 1904:
           “Instances have repeatedly been reported during the past year where natives have been shot through and through several times with a .38 caliber revolver, and have come on, usually cutting up the unfortunate individual armed with it. The .45 caliber revolver stops a man in his tracks, usually knocking him down.”
       This led initially to the reissue of older Colt Single Action Army revolvers (the famous 'Peacemaker' of the so-called 'Wild West'), and ultimately to the adoption of the renowned M1911 pistol and its .45 ACP cartridge. ...
      For a more detailed account, see "The Legend of the Colt .45 Caliber Semi-Automatic Pistol and the Moros" which notes that not only were there problems with the new .38 caliber pistols, but also with the effectiveness of the .30-40 Krag rifles. The solution was not just a return to a .45 Colt cartridge for handguns, but also a retreat to .45-70 rifles and adoption of short-barreled shotguns. Unfortunately, the adoption of the M1911 pistol was too late--the guerrilla war finished before the pistols were distributed. Thus, we will never know if the .45 ACP would have been more effective against the Moros.
      However, as has come up before, the issue is not just the caliber and weight of the bullet, but its construction: i.e., shape and material. That is, the cartridges (both rifle and pistol) which the government forces resorted to used blunt lead projectiles that would flatten or deform on impact, smash bone, and otherwise create merry mayhem. Just as with the Minie ball, the effectiveness is a result of a large meplat combined with an easily deformed material and substantial momentum. The .45 ACP, using a fully jacketed bullet, probably would not have fared much better than the 9mm Parabellum (which the Army also tried and found to be wanting). 

      Other Stuff:
      The data suggest that violent crime rates in American cities primarily reflects a subculture embraced by a small core of black men and has little to do with employment opportunities. For 34 of the largest cities, the figure below indicates the relationship between each city’s share of black men, 20 to 34 years old, and its 2014 violent crime rate. Using multiple regressions, the correlation is highly statistically significant, while the citywide jobless rate is not. These findings indicate that the racial composition of young men is a strong predictor of a city’s violent crime rate than labor market conditions.
             With regard to fake news, I can sum up what is relevant to my theme by answering two simple questions:  Why? and So what?
                The why question gets at causation.  Fake news can exist only because of the failure of traditional news to retain the trust of the public.  It is an effect, not the cause, of that loss of trust.  The cynicism with which the news regards the political world, voters included, has been turned against the news.  People “like” a story from an unknown website about Pope Francis endorsing Trump because, to those people, all producers of information appear equally corrupt.  In this crucible of distrust, the term “news” as a category of information – never crisply defined – now sounds strangely old-fashioned.  Where all sources are equally tainted, everything is news and nothing is.
                 The so what concerns the impact of fake news.  For all the frenzied discussion of the subject, no effort has been made to measure that impact.  There have been no studies linking fake news to voter opinion or behavior in 2016.  For reasons both substantive and methodological, I doubt that connection will ever be made.  The relationship between information and human behavior is exceedingly complex – but we seldom change our core beliefs because of a story we read online.  That’s so whether the story is true or false:  on the question of influence, too, the distinction between fake and real news tends to disappear.  Though much criticized for allowing lies to spread on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg had the weight of evidence on his side when he stated:  “Voters make decisions based on lived experience.”
          • "Francis Fukuyama: Democracy Needs Elites"--The Huffington Post. Remember that this is a man who, in the late 1980s and early 1990s had said we had reached the end of history (speaking of conflicts of ideology) because globalization based on Western liberalism had, in his opinion, prevailed against all other political ideologies. "The Clash of Civilizations" was intended as a refutation of Fukuyama's thesis. Interestingly, in this article, it appears that even Fukuyama realizes his mistake, for he is quoted as saying: "Economic globalization has exceeded the boundaries of political globalization. We’re still not organized on a global basis, and I don’t think we ever will be."
          • "A Deplorable Vote for Angela Merkel"--David Goldman. Obviously, just as European concepts of what constitutes the political right or the political left are inapplicable to the United States, the reverse is also true. That is, the right and left in European politics is not individual freedom and responsibility versus socialism and big government, as in the U.S. The choice in Germany, according to Goldman, is between pro-Western socialists and pro-Russian socialists. And, in that regard, Merkel (representing pro-Western socialism) is, in his opinion, the better choice. 
          • "Did loss of manufacturing jobs cause poor men to marry less? Or is it Uncle Sam?"--Helen Smith at PJ Media. CBS News recently reported that due to job loss and erosion of income among blue collar working men, their marriage prospects had declined (remember my recent discussion about female hypergamy and marriage). Smith, however, observes that these unemployed men didn't just stand around on street corners, but instead retreated to recreational type activities. At the same time, government increased the welfare available to single mothers. Thus, she writes:
            But given the high demands that women and the state put on marriage these days, what makes more sense to a man whose prospects are poor: enjoying life or trying to support a woman when she can get more help from the government? Uncle Sam is the richest guy in the room and for women with fewer prospects of getting a rich man, Uncle Sam is often her husband. Poor men can't compete or they might kill themselves trying. It's easier to play video games or spend time doing other things that bring less stress.
              For more than 8,000 years, people lived in the Amazon and farmed it to make it more productive. They favored certain trees over others, effectively creating crops that we now call the cocoa bean and the brazil nut, and they eventually domesticated them. And while many of the communities who managed these plants died in the Amerindian genocide 500 years ago, the effects of their work can still be observed in today’s Amazon rainforest.
                The author obviously did not bother to look up the definition of genocide. The inhabitants of the Amazon were not purposefully killed, but died from disease and pestilence inadvertently passed to them.

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