Sunday, April 30, 2017

April 30, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

City Prepping (10 min.)

Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:
       Because Animals are tough, but they aren’t that tough.  Humans are even more fragile.  Put a Quality bullet through the heart and lungs and the animal will die.
            I have a whole article on terminal performance, but I can sum it up pretty easily.  The bullet needs enough mass and velocity to reach the “boiler room” (heart/lungs) AND cause cavitation.  (the actual source of a damaging Temporary Cavity)
              Anything beyond that doesn’t help, and can hurt.  Truthfully, I think the 6.5 Grendel has three big advantages compared to the .308: Lighter weight, lower recoil and less expensive ammo.
               Lighter weight means less fatigue when it’s time to shoot.
                 Lower recoil means more attention to shot placement.
                   Most importantly, less expensive ammo means more practice and thus better shot placement.
                     You can buy 6.5 Grendel Ammo for as little as $0.28/round. (which is $5.60 for a box of 20)
                       That’s cheap.

                Other Stuff:
                There are two types of societies, production societies and rationing societies. The production society is concerned with taking more territory, exploiting that territory to the best of its ability and then discovering new techniques for producing even more. The rationing society is concerned with consolidating control over all existing resources and rationing them out to the people.
                He goes on to explain:
                         Socialist or capitalist monopolies lead to rationing societies where production is restrained and innovation is discouraged. The difference between the two is that a capitalist monopoly can be overcome. A socialist monopoly however is insurmountable because it carries with it the full weight of the authorities and the ideology that is inculcated into every man, woman and child in the country.
                           We have become a rationing society. Our industries and our people are literally starving in the midst of plenty. Farmers are kept from farming, factories are kept from producing and businessmen are kept from creating new companies and jobs. This is done in the name of a variety of moral arguments, ranging from caring for the less fortunate to saving the planet. But rhetoric is only the lubricant of power. The real goal of power is always power. Consolidating production allows for total control through the moral argument of rationing, whether through resource redistribution or cap and trade.
                             The politicians of a rationing society may blather on endlessly about increasing production, but it's so much noise, whether it's a Soviet Five Year Plan or an Obama State of the Union Address. When they talk about innovation and production, what they mean is the planned production and innovation that they have decided should happen on their schedule. And that never works.
                               You can ration production, but that's just another word for poverty. You can't ration innovation, which is why the aggressive attempts to put low mileage cars on the road have failed. As the Soviet Union discovered, you can have rationing or innovation, but you can't have both at the same time. The total control exerted by a monolithic entity, whether governmental or commercial, does not mix well with innovation.
                        • Mexico is afraid, very afraid: "Mexico Assembles Team for All-Out Legal Assault on Border Wall"--CNS News. The article reports that Mexico is prepared to spend tens of millions of dollars challenging the proposed border wall in U.S. courts. The court challenges will probably focus on challenges based on environmental treaties or discrimination. However, the real concern is money: 
                        Any attempt by the U.S. to tax remittances sent home by Mexicans in the U.S. would threaten negotiations on any other matters, [Mexico's Foreign Secretary Luis] Videgaray said.
                          “Remittances are not only a flow of foreign exchange from the macroeconomic point of view, but as we all know it is a fundamental support for many families, particularly low-income families,” he said, adding that a tax on the payments would be a “breaking point in any dialogue on other issues.”
                          In other words, Mexico feels entitled to foist its poor upon the United States.
                                  One intriguing site in Amazonia is the island of Marajo, 15,000 square miles in area, located at the mouth of the Amazon. Here are found some 400 huge dirt mounds, including one with a surface area of 50 acres and a volume of a million cubic yards. Radiocarbon dates suggest that Marajo had been occupied for over a thousand years.
                                     Nearby, on the Tapajos River in Brazil, A. Roosevelt found elaborate pottery, finely carved jade, and a culture going back perhaps 7,000 years.

                              Some More Thoughts on THAAD in South Korea

                              "Are the US Navy Carrier Fleets Obsolete?"
                              Black Pigeon Speaks (10 min.)

                                     The video from Black Pigeon argues that aircraft carriers are so expensive, that the United States could not afford to lose any in a war with a near-peer. Thus, he contends, they are useless for modern war. This is not a new argument. George Friedman made a similar argument in his book The Future of War published in 1998.  The threat, at least from China, are its Dong Feng (DF) 21D and 26 anti-ship missiles, often referred to as carrier-killers.

                                    Of course, if aircraft carriers are obsolete, it begs the question of why both China and Russia are engaged in developing their own blue-water carriers. China just launched its first home-built carrier, and Russia has announced its own super-carrier.

                                     But it raises, in my mind, another reason why the Chinese are so upset by the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea and, in particular, its radar systems.

                              (Source)
                              This allows the U.S. to extend its missile defense radar deep into China, perhaps enough to provide early warning of missile launches by China against a U.S. carrier group in the South China Sea. (Ideally, the radar could be used to identify targets for counter-battery fire by the United States).

                              If Science Is Your Religion, You Are On Shaky Ground

                              (Source)
                                     Neo-neoconservative just published an article on how "when a scientific theory becomes a religion…then those with an opposing view become apostates." Her focus is on anthropogenic global warming (AGW), about which she writes:
                              Science, of course, is not a religion, and the history of science is littered with theories that have been considered proven and then are disproven. So scientists must remain skeptical and open to any evidence that would challenge their theories and their findings. That’s difficult enough to do when the topic is an abstract one with few practical applications. But when a topic is highly highly politicized (as with AGW), the difficulty increases exponentially and the public also becomes very much involved.
                                     If you have followed my blog for any real period of time, you're aware of the many shenanigans perpetrated by climate scientists. Watts Up With That pointed out this past week an article reporting that "Former Obama Official: Bureaucrats Manipulate Climate Stats To Influence Policy." But it goes beyond climate science. Basic scientific theories and research--some accepted as fact for decades--are overturned on a regular basis, especially in the psychology and medical fields.

                                     For instance, a study of a large group of participants recently discovered that the participants that limited their salt intake per government guidelines had higher blood pressure than those consuming higher levels of salt. In other words, "[c]onsuming fewer than 2,500 milligrams of sodium daily is actually associated with higher blood pressure, according to the Framingham Offspring Study report, given today." The American Heart Association (which was responsible for fake research on fat intake), on the other hand, has recommended that salt intake be limited to less than 2,300 milligrams per day. This isn't to say that going to the opposite extreme is recommended, but that a salt restrictive diet is also dangerous. As another article notes:
                                    Although the findings appear to kick against the status quo, they are in line with other recent studies asking similar questions. Research has shown that there is a "J-shaped relationship" between cardiovascular risk and sodium. This means that low-sodium diets and very high-sodium diets both carry a higher risk of heart disease. 
                                    Many people in the United States sit in the middle of this curve, where the cardiovascular risk is at its lowest. 
                                     "We saw no evidence that a diet lower in sodium had any long-term beneficial effects on blood pressure. Our findings add to growing evidence that current recommendations for sodium intake may be misguided."
                                     Such a dramatic reversal should not be surprising. "Nearly all of our medical research is wrong" according to Quartz. The article explains:
                                     When it came to light that the biotechnology firm Amgen tried to reproduce 53 “landmark” cancer studies and managed to confirm only six, scientists were “shocked.” It was terrible news, but if we’re honest with ourselves, not entirely unexpected. The pernicious problem of irreproducible data has been discussed among scientists for decades. Bad science wastes a colossal amount of money, not only on the irreproducible studies themselves, but on misguided drug development and follow-up trials based on false information. And while unsound preclinical studies may not directly harm patients, there is an enormous opportunity cost when drug makers spend their time on wild goose chases. Discussions about irreproducibility usually ends with shrugs, however—what can we do to combat such a deep-seated, systemic problem?
                                        Lack of reproducibility of biomedical research is not the result of an unusual level of mendacity among scientists. There are a few bad apples, but for the most part, scientists are idealistic and fervent about the pursuit of truth. The fault lies mainly with perverse incentives and lack of good management. Statisticians Stanley Young and Alan Karr aptly compare biomedical research to manufacturing before the advent of process control. Academic medical research functions as a gargantuan cottage industry, where the government gives money to individual investigators and programs—$30 billion annually in the US alone—and then nobody checks in on the manufacturing process until the final product is delivered. The final product isn’t a widget that can be inspected, but rather a claim by investigators that they ran experiments or combed through data and made whatever observations are described in their paper. The quality inspectors, whose job it is to decide whether the claims are interesting and believable, are peers of the investigators, which means that they can be friends, strangers, competitors, or enemies.
                                          Lack of process control leads to shoddy science in a number of ways. Many new investigators receive no standardized training. People who work in life sciences are generally not crackerjack mathematicians, and there’s no requirement to involve someone with a deep understanding of statistics. Principal investigators rarely supervise the experiments that their students and post-docs conduct alone in the lab in the dead of night, and so they have to rely on the integrity of people who are paid slave wages and whose only hope of future success is to produce the answers the boss hopes are true. The peer review process is corrupted by cronyism and petty squabbles. These are some of the challenges inherent in a loosely organized and largely unregulated industry, but these are not the biggest reasons why so much science is unreproducible. That has more to do with dumb luck.
                                  Some publishers are taking action. For instance, Retraction Watch (which monitors retractions of scientific papers) reported recently that Springer, one of the major publishers of scientific journals, is retracting 107 papers from one journal after discovering they had been accepted with fake peer reviews. By fake, they mean fraudulent: "To submit a fake review, someone (often the author of a paper) either makes up an outside expert to review the paper, or suggests a real researcher — and in both cases, provides a fake email address that comes back to someone who will invariably give the paper a glowing review."

                                         Some of the fake research is probably due to the money and prestige involved. For instance, the New York Times reports on one influential researcher that, so far, is escaping consequences for allegedly falsified research. According to the article:
                                  Dr. Carlo Croce is among the most prolific scientists in an emerging area of cancer research involving what is sometimes called the “dark matter” of the human genome. A department chairman at Ohio State University and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Croce has parlayed his decades-long pursuit of cancer remedies into a research empire: He has received more than $86 million in federal grants as a principal investigator and, by his own count, more than 60 awards.
                                  The article goes on:
                                         Over the last several years, Dr. Croce has been fending off a tide of allegations of data falsification and other scientific misconduct, according to federal and state records, whistle-blower complaints and correspondence with scientific journals obtained by The New York Times.

                                         In 2013, an anonymous critic contacted Ohio State and the federal authorities with allegations of falsified data in more than 30 of Dr. Croce’s papers. Since 2014, another critic, David A. Sanders, a virologist who teaches at Purdue University, has made claims of falsified data and plagiarism directly to scientific journals where more than 20 of Dr. Croce’s papers have been published.
                                         “It’s a reckless disregard for the truth,” Dr. Sanders said in an interview.
                                         In increasing number of journals are posting notices of possible problems with Dr. Croce's work. But he is not the only one. "Findings of fraud in biomedical research have surged in recent years, whether from an actual increase in misconduct or from heightened caution inspired in part by an internet-age phenomenon: 'digital vigilantes' who post critiques of scientific papers on anonymous websites." Harvard and Duke Universities have been accused of fraudulently obtaining federal grants for research.

                                         Dr. Croce is not the only one. In " 'Mindless Eating,' or how to send an entire life of research into question," from Ars Technica, reports:
                                  Tim van der Zee, one of the scientists participating in the ongoing examination into Wansink’s past, keeps a running account of what’s turned up so far. “To the best of my knowledge,” van der Zee writes in a blog post most recently updated on April 6, “there are currently 42 publications from Wansink which are alleged to contain minor to very serious issues, which have been cited over 3,700 times, are published in over 25 different journals, and in eight books, spanning over 20 years of research.”
                                  The article goes on to note that "[y]ou’ve probably come across Wansink’s ideas at some point. He researches how subtle changes in the environment can affect people’s eating behavior, and his findings have made a mark on popular diet wisdom." Some of the ideas from his research are using smaller plates to limit portion size, moving unhealthy snakes to hard to reach areas while putting healthy snakes out, and using very low calories snakes to curb hunger.


                                         A lot of the problem is just sloppy science, such as reported by Slate in the article entitled "The Impostor Cell Line That Set Back Breast Cancer Research." The article reports:  
                                         It’s an open secret among cancer scientists that a staggering number of cell lines used in studies—one 2007 paper estimated a fifth to more than a third—are later discovered to be contaminated or misidentified strains of the disease. 
                                         Researchers, in other words, often end up studying the wrong cancer. (HeLa cells, a cervical cancer–derived line of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks fame, are the most common contaminators, in part because their ability to replicate indefinitely makes them fantastic for lab experiments). The mix-ups end up in tens of thousands of studies, costing billions of dollars and years of setbacks on the road to potential treatments. And the scientific community’s pressure to publish and general unwillingness to admit error have made the problem even worse. Biologists rush to research without authenticating their cells; some even dug in their heels after a strain they researched got unmasked as a wayward line. Gradually, a group of alarmed scientists began to coalesce with a mission to expose these shams. As of 2016, the International Cell Line Authentication Committee database had grown to 438 false cell lines, with no end in sight.
                                  The sad part is I had read about this same problem in the 1980's, but apparently cancer researchers have still not learned.

                                  Update: Fixed a couple typos and a dropped link.

                                  Friday, April 28, 2017

                                  April 28, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                  Black Pigeon Speaks (9 min.)

                                  Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:
                                  • TGIF: Active Response Training has another Weekend Knowledge Dump posted, including an article by yours truly (thank you, Greg!). Lots of good articles, as always. One you might want to check out in particular, however--especially in light of the recent opinion letter from the ATF reversing its position that shouldering an arm support converts an AR pistol into an SBR--is an article from Imminent Threat Solutions entitled "Considering Building an AR-15 Pistol? Here’s the 411."
                                  • "Trauma patients may benefit from ice bag on face after blood loss"--UPI. From the article:
                                         Cooling the face of an accident victim who has lost a lot of blood may help prevent a life-threatening drop in blood pressure, according to preliminary research.
                                           The researchers said first responders could apply an ice bag to the face of trauma victims to help ensure that their heart, brain and other vital organs continue to receive adequate oxygen. Sudden drop in blood pressure -- known as cardiovascular decompensation -- is a major risk after blood loss. And it's even a danger after the patient is no longer bleeding, the researchers added.
                                             "We think that this technique could be used by first responders or combat medics on the battlefield to give additional time for transportation or evacuation," study leader Blair Johnson said in an American Physiological Society news release. Johnson is assistant professor at the University at Buffalo's department of exercise and nutrition sciences.
                                               The researchers stressed that the cooling should only be used after a tourniquet or direct pressure is applied. That's because boosting blood pressure while a patient is bleeding could worsen blood loss.
                                        • "Chip McCormick Railed Power Mags"--The Firearms Blog. If you shoot .45 ACP 1911 style pistols, you undoubtedly have seen, heard about, or used the Chip McCormick magazines. They are great magazines and, I believe, one of the first (at least, first reliable) magazines for the 1911 that stuffed 8 rounds into the same space as had previously only held 7. He has a new design out that uses feed lips of a rolled/folded steel, and claims that it makes the feed lips twice as strong as regular feed lips, and will provide twice the service life.
                                        • As good as a .30-30 for taking deer? "The .357 Magnum Carbine, Perfected"--The Six Gun Journal. The article mostly is about the author discovering the joys of shooting a lever-action .357 Magnum and his work to bring a Rossi Model 92 up to snuff (the author complains about the rear sight, but I would point out that Steve's Gunz offers a peep sight that replaces the safety lever on the top of the bolt and, if using the rounded barrel rather than octagonal barrel, you can order a rail attachment from Rossi for scope or red dot). However, what caught my attention was the comments on the performance of the round out of the carbine barrel:
                                               In 20” barrels, the 30-30 is capable of making clean kills on deer to around 200 yards. I’ve chronographed Winchester’s Power Point and a number of other 150 grain factory loads. Most of them start around 2280 fps and at 200 yards, are down around 1600 fps. If you start a 140 grain XTP from a 16” .357 carbine at 2000 fps, your retained velocity at 200 will be around 1250- typical handgun muzzle velocity for today’s watered-down .357 factory loads. This is well within the expansion range of the slightly larger XTP. If you compare a 16” 30-30 to a 16” .357 Mag, the difference is even smaller. Careful load selection and good shot placement are far bigger factors, than any power difference between these cartridges.
                                               I am a great proponent of the 30-30 Winchester, but it is nowhere near as versatile as the 357 Magnum in a rifle or pistol. The 357 round is substantially cheaper to buy, reload for and specialty loads abound. The ability to use 38 Specials adds another layer of versatility. 38/357 brass and bullets are widely available. The 357’s range of useful bullet weights is 90 to 200 grains; and loaded to about 1500 fps, that 200 penetrates like there’s no tomorrow.
                                        • "The Scout Rifle: Is it Still Relevant?"--Lucky Gunner. Cooper's concept of a scout rifle was a general purpose rifle suitable for taking game or, in a pinch, use in a defensive role against other riflemen, that could have been carried by the likes of a wilderness scout or explorer for extended periods in the field. As such it had to be reliable, light weight (under 7 lbs including scope and sling), use a forward mounted optic of low power (to maintain situational awareness when using the scope), and sport an integral bipod. There are some physical drawbacks to the design,which are detailed in the article, but the more serious drawback is whether it is a useful concept. The author explains:
                                                 If we take a cold, hard look at the place of the scout rifle in the modern world, it’s essentially a decent hunting rifle with some features that make it better suited for dangerous game, prolonged trips in the field, and about as good for protection from two-legged predators as a bolt gun can be.
                                                   According to NSSF research, the overlap between avid shooters and avid hunters is declining. Some shooters hunt and some hunters shoot, but most people pick one or the other. When the guy or girl we would consider a shooting enthusiast goes looking for a “general purpose” rifle, hunting is going to be a secondary consideration at best. They want a rifle they can use to protect their home and family, and hone their skills on the range. Sure, you could use a scout rifle for any of those things, but if you’re not planning to sleep under the stars on your way to hunt mountain goats tomorrow, there are other guns that are better suited for those tasks.
                                                     If you’re looking for that one “general purpose” rifle that can do all of the above, we can borrow a lot from Cooper’s ideas, but shouldn’t limit ourselves to the specifics of his scout concept. For instance, contemporary shooters seem to have adopted the AR-15 as their default go-to rifle. Cooper would scoff at the idea of using an AR for self-defense and hunting, and is known to have called the M16 a “poodle-shooter”. However, today’s bullet choices make the .223 more versatile than ever, and it’s proven to be pretty effective on small and medium game, including The Most Dangerous Game of All. For a little more punch, we now have other excellent options in the AR platform like the 300 BLK and 6.8 SPC. An AR in .308 Win or similar battle rifle will put you over the scout weight requirement, but not necessarily by much.
                                              • The Truth About Guns reports that "11 prestigious professional policing organizations, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Fraternal Order of Police, and the National Tactical Officers Association" have recommended that police use "warning shots" under certain circumstances where deadly force is called for, but use of a warning shot would not jeopardize the safety of the officer and would reduce the need to actually use deadly force. I can think of no situation where a mere member of the public should use a warning shot, but I suppose there are limited situations where an officer pursuing a fleeing felon might want the option. What I wonder, and which is raised in the comments, is whether this will lead to policies to shoot to wound or some other nonsense. 
                                              • "Negative Outcomes: Mistaken Identity Shootings"--The Tactical Wire. Another article on the importance of identifying your target before employing a firearm, lest you shoot an innocent. The author mentions the need to use a flashlight when checking out those bumps in the night, but also notes the need to use your voice: 
                                              Along with illumination, your voice is one of your most valuable tools. A simple 'Who's there?' would have prevented any number of tragedies I can name. If you want to be really 'tactical,' you can make your challenge from behind a position of cover. If you hear "It's me, Daddy" then it's time to stand-down.
                                              As I watch movies or television programs where someone walks into their darkened house or apartment and is set upon by a burglar, I always wonder: "Who walks into their house without turning on the lights?" Don't ignore the possibility of using interior or exterior lights in addition to, or in lieu of, a flashlight.  
                                              • "Gunman pursued injured officer seeking cover, fired again"--AP via My San Antonio. An incident in Delaware where a police officer had confronted a robber outside a convenience store. The robber shot the officer, who withdrew to cover behind his patrol car. However, the robber followed the officer around the vehicle and killed the officer. Lesson: Don't assume that just because you get behind cover that you are going to remain safe. (The robber was later killed in a shootout with other police).
                                              • "Springfield Armory® Introduces the New Springfield XD-E with external Hammer"--The Firearms Blog. The primary advantage is supposed to be a 27% reduction in the force needed to rack the slide. 

                                              Other Stuff:
                                                       MS-13, or the Mara Salvatrucha, is believed by federal prosecutors to have thousands of members across the U.S., primarily immigrants from Central America. It has a stronghold in Los Angeles, where it emerged in the 1980s as a neighborhood street gang.
                                                         But its true rise began after members were deported back to El Salvador in the 1990s. There, the gang thrived and spread to Honduras. 
                                                           MS-13 and rival groups there now control entire towns, rape girls and young women, massacre students, bus drivers and merchants who refuse to pay extortion, and kill competitors or youths who simply refuse to join.

                                                      * * * 

                                                               Since the fall of 2013, the U.S. has placed 165,000 unaccompanied minors. Long Island has been a frequent landing spot. Suffolk County, which includes Brentwood and Central Islip, has gotten 4,500. Neighboring Nassau County has received 3,800.
                                                                 In a recent roundup of 13 suspected MS-13 gang members accused of murder and other charges, seven had entered as unaccompanied minors.
                                                                   'There's no question that MS-13 is recruiting these unaccompanied children,' said Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini. The youngsters 'don't have an established social network, at least many of them don't, and MS-13 is providing that network.'
                                                                      'They're also using coercion,' Sini said. 'They say, 'If you don't join the gang, we will kill you.''
                                                              So, basically, the admission of these "children" included "teens" that were gang members, who then proceeded to build up their gangs by further recruitment of "children". Nice job, Obama. 
                                                              The [European Council on Foreign Relations] report claims there is a close connection between the Kremlin's state security apparatus represented by the Foreign Intelligence Service, military intelligence (GRU), and the Federal Security Service (FSB) and Russian organized criminal groups active in European countries. Moreover, the Kremlin often tasks these groups to act on its behalf. "The Russian state is highly criminalised, and the interpenetration of the criminal ‘underworld’ and the political ‘upperworld’ has led the regime to use criminals from time to time as instruments of its rule," the ECFR study said.
                                                                     The visible struggle for the soul of Europe may be going on in France, but the real action lies further east, in Hungary, where prime minister Viktor Orban is locked in a struggle with the Hungarian-born George Soros (real name: Gyorgy Schwartz) in a proxy war against the de-Christianization and Islamization (via "migrant" invasion) of Europe. While the countries of Western Europe have largely become non-observant, former Soviet satellite states like Poland and Hungary have not only maintained their faith in Christianity and Western civilization, but are strengthening it.
                                                                     ... Orban supporters see the CEU as a globalist stalking-camel, trying to get its nose under the tent of Hungarian nationhood and indigenous culture. The fight also pits Orban and Hungary against the EU, which naturally supports Soros, so in case you were wondering, now you know which way to root.
                                                              Walsh compares Soros to the "Dr. Evil" character from the Austin Powers movies, but Soros has always reminded me of Palpatine, probably because with his blotchy, pale skin and huge eye bags, he looks like Palpatine. Oh, and the whole evil emperor bit. 
                                                              • "The Gruesome Reality of Racist South Africa"--FrontPage Magazine. A 2013 article about the ongoing genocide of the Boer farmers of South Africa--the most dangerous profession in the world based on homicide rates. 
                                                                     The incident has sparked both concern and outrage from the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union (Kwanalu). Their security desk head, Koos Marais, said farm attacks were becoming more violent.

                                                                     Marais said there had been nine farm attacks and two murders in KZN this year to date.

                                                                     He said although last year’s figures were similar, the organisation had noticed intruders were attacking farms in much larger groups than in previous years.

                                                                     He said the organisation had also seen a surge in intruders carrying firearms and using extreme physical violence on their victims.

                                                                     “They are attacking in larger groups with up to seven people and they are more brazen,” said Marais.

                                                                     “They are attacking during the day, and in the early evenings when farm staff are still on the property.

                                                                     “They are using any means of force to achieve their goals.”
                                                                       "The time direction of the space-time surface also shows curvature. There is evidence showing the closer to a black hole we get, time moves slower," says Tippett. "My model of a time machine uses the curved space-time—to bend time into a circle for the passengers, not in a straight line. That circle takes us back in time."
                                                                         While it is possible to describe this type of time travel using a mathematical equation, Tippett doubts that anyone will ever build a machine to make it work.
                                                                           "HG Wells popularized the term 'time machine' and he left people with the thought that an explorer would need a 'machine or special box' to actually accomplish time travel," Tippett says. "While is it mathematically feasible, it is not yet possible to build a space-time machine because we need materials—which we call exotic matter—to bend space-time in these impossible ways, but they have yet to be discovered."
                                                                      In a nod to Dr. Who, Tippet named his model the Traversable Acausal Retrograde Domain in Space-time, or TARDIS.

                                                                                                What's Wrong With This Picture?


                                                                                                The Daily Mail has a story on an armed robbery at a Kansas City, Missouri, Jimmy John's restaurant. Normally, having a gun pointed at you would make you nervous--especially with a finger on the trigger. Yet, as the article reports, "In a situation that would generally cause panic, the employee seems completely calm as he removes his plastic gloves, throws them away, then slowly begins stacking up cash to hand to the man." But, as you probably have already noticed, the slide is locked back on a jammed round. Maybe that is why the cashier was so calm.

                                                                                                Thursday, April 27, 2017

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

                                                                                                "MURDERS IN US VERY CONCENTRATED: 54% OF US COUNTIES IN 2014 HAD ZERO MURDERS, 2% OF COUNTIES HAVE 51% OF THE MURDERS"--Crime Prevention Research Center. The article also notes that when looking at the counties with high murder rates, murders are not evenly distributed throughout any such county. For instance, "[t]ake Los Angeles County, with 526 murders in 2014, the most of any county in the US. The county has virtually no murders in the northwestern part of the county. There was only one murder each in Beverly Hills, Hawthorne, and Van Nuys. Clearly, different parts of the county face very different risks of murder."

                                                                                                Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:
                                                                                                • Not to be outdone by Mossberg: "Remington Introduce Model 870 Tac-14 – Featuring 14in. Barrel No Tax Stamp Required"--Ammo Land. MSRP is stated as being $443.05, which seems an odd number. 
                                                                                                • "Best .22LR Rifles For The Money – 2017 Rimfire Reviews"--My Hunting Gear. This article is more than just a review of some of the author's favorite .22s, but contains a list of considerations for selecting a .22 rifle. One part of the list was a good breakdown of pros and cons of semi-auto versus bolt-action, looking specifically at price, magazines, speed of shooting, accuracy/ballistics. One thing to consider is the range at which you expect to shoot the rifle. Generally speaking, .22 rifles are intended to be 50 yard guns, but a good one should allow accurate shooting at 100 yards or more (provided that there isn't a lot of wind). Realistic hunting distances on small game may be far less: 25 yards seems to be the range commonly thrown about for things such as rabbits and squirrels. 
                                                                                                • Related: "Steyr Arms to Unveil the Rimfire Scout RFR at the NRA Annual Meetings"--Ammo Land. It has the forward Picatinny rail for a scout scope (or red dot), but lacks the integral bipod of its larger caliber brother. It will be available in .22 LR, .17 HMR, and .22 WMR. It does use a straight-pull action, which should be fast. It just seems overly heavy at 7.3 lbs. (not including whatever scope you put on it).
                                                                                                • "Review: Aguila Ammunition 12 Gauge 'MiniShell'- A Game Changing Round for Wilderness Survival Shotguns"--Rocky Mountain Bushcraft.  According to the article, "[t]he MiniShell is a shortened 1 3/4" Shotgun shell with a 5/8 ounce load of #7.5 Birdshot." The advantages is that each shell only weighs the same as a .410 shell, but has a much better pattern of shot for hunting small game. The author only tested it in a single barrel, break action shotgun (the type generally touted for a survival weapon), so it is not clear if it would work through any other type of action. The author had two criticisms: first, that the #7.5 shot is too light for many small animals, including rabbits, and recommends that Aguila offer it in #6 shot; the second is the price--$13 to $16 dollars for a 20-round box, making it more expensive than most high-brass 12 gauge loads. However, it seems to be competitive with the prices I've seen for .410.
                                                                                                • "Ohio Woman Shoots Intruder After He Tackles Her in Her Elderly Parents’ Home"--Washington Free Beacon. The man was in the garage when the woman called police. While waiting for the police to arrive, she advised the man that police had been called and to not come out as she had a gun and would shoot him. As would expected, the man came out and attempted to wrest the revolver from the woman, who shot him in the lower extremities (the article is not clear where), after which he fled the scene. Ignoring whether or not she should have attempted to hold the man until the police arrived, she should have kept greater distance from him and/or put some object (e.g., a car) between her and him. The story indicates that he lunged and was then face-to-face with her, which suggests that the initial distance was not that great.
                                                                                                • Don't be this man: "Missing Taiwanese trekker found in Himalayas after 47 days"--BBC News. The man and his girlfriend (who did not survive) decided to go hiking on remote mountain trails despite a heavy snowfall. They apparently slid off a slippery trail and down into a cave-like formation (a grotto?) and were not able to climb out. Apparently they hadn't told anyone where they were going, or when they were expected back. It was only when they hadn't returned from their trip and their parents began to worry that authorities were notified and a search started.

                                                                                                Other Stuff:
                                                                                                • Related: Just how effective will that air defense system be? "Damascus airport rocked by 'Israeli strikes' on arms depot"--France 24. The article states that "Syrian rebel and intelligence sources said Israel struck an arms supply hub on Thursday operated by the Lebanese Hezbollah group near Damascus airport where weapons from Tehran are regularly sent by commercial and military cargo planes."
                                                                                                • "Liberals Begin Strategy Of Flash Anarchy"--Anonymous Conservative. Commentary on the "protesters" that forced their way into the Heritage Foundation. AC predicts that these flash "protests" will become increasingly violent and then, "[w]atch how fast the cucks line up behind the alt-right once they realize they need Based Stickman and his armored phalanx to survive."
                                                                                                • Related: "A Chilling Threat of Political Violence in Portland"--The Atlantic. Portland is cancelling its yearly 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade because of threats made by leftist fascists after it was learned that Republicans, of all people, would be participating in the parade. Fascists threatened:
                                                                                                "You have seen how much power we have downtown and that the police cannot stop us from shutting down roads so please consider your decision wisely," the anonymous email said, telling organizers they could cancel the Republican group's registration or else face action from protesters.
                                                                                                The article also reports:
                                                                                                The email went on to speculate that right-wing extremists would march among the Republicans, and warned, “we will have two hundred or more people rush into the parade into the middle and drag and push those people out as we will not give one inch to groups who espouse hatred toward lgbt, immigrants, people of color or others.”
                                                                                                • Related: "UC Berkeley Gears Up For Violent Protests Over Coulter Speech Cancellation"--CBS  SFBay Area. From the article: "Following the cancellation of the Ann Coulter speech at University of California, Berkeley, far-right supporters plan to hold a rally Thursday to denounce what they claim is the attempted silencing of their conservative views, stoking fears of another violent encounter with far-left groups."
                                                                                                As China shifted to a hybrid capitalist system and globalized in the late 20th century, so did its criminal economy. Indeed, an overlooked but important trend has been the rise in Chinese organized crime in Latin America. While their presence is not entirely new to the region, Chinese organized crime is also a natural by-product of the increased legitimate human and commercial interactions between the two regions. Narcotics and commodities smuggling, human trafficking, racketeering and extortion, and other illicit activities are all facilitated by this increased trade. Since China plans to continue deepening commercial ties with Latin America, it is possible that the increased flow of goods and people could present more opportunities for Chinese triads to expand their operations. It is abundantly clear that one country where they have such a past, present, and future in this enterprise is Mexico, and the implications are worrisome for both Mexico and her northern neighbor.
                                                                                                • Cultural enrichment in Germany: "German Govt: Crime by Immigrants Skyrocketed 50% Last Year"--Heat Street. "Figures published this week confirm that police hunted 174,000 suspects classed as immigrants during 2016 – up 52.7 per cent on the previous year." The article also reports that crimes motivated by Islamism increased by 13.7%. I presume the latter only applies to terrorist attacks, and not crimes committed by Muslims because they thought it was appropriate to take from the Kaffir
                                                                                                • "More Culture-Enriching Hospital Rapes, This Time in Hamburg"--Gates of Vienna. This time, a 25-year old Afghani man sexually molested a 15-year old female patient. Get this, though: after police initially detained the man, "[a]fter taking his personal data, he was released for lack of reasons for arrest." Also:
                                                                                                The same St. Georg Hospital, and the Altona Hospital, now offer an escort service for their nurses after shift, because within the past few weeks two nurses have been raped on hospital premises or in a nearby park, when they heard someone yelling for help —hey rushed to where the shouts coming from, and instead found themselves attacked, beaten up and brutally raped by several men.
                                                                                                • K selection must be rising in Germany. Two reports:
                                                                                                • First, German police have arrested an officer in the German Army who they believe was going to carry out an attack on immigrants (or a false flag attack against Germans). It is not clear from the article whether the arrest arises from an earlier attempt to hide a weapon in Vienna in January and retrieve it in February (he was arrested by Austrian police, but then released), but indicates that authorities believe he was planning an attack (whether on immigrants or a false flag). The same article indicates that another man living in the same town was arrested for possibly the same reason, although there is no explicit connection between the two. 
                                                                                                         Serious and fatal bouts of malaria in the United States are a greater problem than has been previously reported, according to a new study. Most appear to be in immigrants who have made summer or Christmas visits to their home countries without taking precautions against infection.
                                                                                                           The typical victim appears to be a man ranging in age from 20 to 50 who is from Africa or the Caribbean, said the lead author, Diana Khuu, an epidemiologist at the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles.
                                                                                                    The article notes that India is another major source of for these infections. 
                                                                                                    • Diversity is our strength: "Muslim Open Carrier Ehab Jaber"--The Captain's Journal. Jaber, you may remember from news stories, had shown up at Christian conference on the dangers of Islam, wanting to convince the attendees that Muslims weren't dangerous--while in a car loaded down with weapons and ammunition. After being ejected from the premises, and displaying true Jihadist logic:
                                                                                                             Jaber went to his car, and still sitting in the parking lot, once more took to Facebook Live where he began complaining about how many people were in attendance. It was then that Jaber asked “ya know, if you want to be really scared?”
                                                                                                               Jaber then reached behind him and began displaying various handguns and an AK-47, each time saying “be scared.” Pulling out an extended magazine and an AR-15 he added “be f***ing terrified.”
                                                                                                         Herschel Smith reports on further developments in the story, including that Jaber has since been arrested for possession of meth. However, to those wanting to know why the police didn't do anything earlier, Smith has a word of advice:
                                                                                                        ... Hard times are coming, sir.  Hard, hard times.  Law enforcement will implement and effect the wishes of the rulers, and the rulers do not have your interests at heart.  You’d better gun up now and try to keep that blood from running cold.  You’d better steel yourself, calm your nerves and prepare for battle.  It’s interested in you even if you aren’t interested in it.
                                                                                                        • The science is never settled: "Incredible discovery places humans in California 130,000 years ago"--Ars Technica. See also these articles from USA Today, BBC News, and the The Guardian, Basic story is that in 1992, a trove of mastodon bones and what appeared to be stone tools and a camp sight were discovered in California. The bones appear to have been shattered using the stone tools. The soil in which the items were discovered was undisturbed. The problem was dating the remains. However, newer methods of dating show that the bones and tools were buried roughly 130,000 years ago. The implication is that early hominids (possibly Neanderthal) had settled in North America much longer than prior previously believed time of 15,000 years ago. Of course, there are anthropologists and archaeologists that question whether the stone tools are really tools at all. 
                                                                                                               The issue of when and how the Americas were originally settled has been contentious for decades. Not only is there evidence suggesting that settlers may have leap-frogged down the Pacific Coast rather than using a theorized internal ice-free passage across the Bering Strait and down through Canada, but that there were multiple waves of settlements.
                                                                                                               Problems with the accepted theory really began to show up with additional evidence from South America. For instance, a site in Chile called Monte Verde is now believed to date back to over 18,000 years ago (even its original dating put it at over 14,000 years old, which by itself challenged the view that humans entered North America 15,000 years ago). In addition, findings of early human settlements in Northeast Brazil have been dated to as much as 22,000 years old, which in itself caused consternation among scientists and still is not fully accepted because, if correct, the first trans-Bering Strait migrations took place between 20 and 40 thousand years ago. And some researchers believe that some of the sites in Brazil were settled as much as 32,000 years ago
                                                                                                        • A heads up to us all: "Goodbye, Evangelicalism"--American Conservative. Rod Deher has published a letter from a long-time reader on why he (the reader) is leaving his Evangelical congregation for another church. (Deher also has updates from other people commenting on the original letter). The problem that the reader had noticed in the congregation he attended, as well as the Evangelical movement in general (although, I daresay that this is not limited to the reader's church or Evangelicalism) is how shallow are the foundations of faith among church goers and, in particular, the youth. He writes, for instance:
                                                                                                                 ... And what dawned on me was that a great many of these people who had been raised on Scripture, prayer, and Sunday School lacked any kind of cohesive Christian worldview. They knew dozens, maybe hundreds, of Bible verses but could not connect them to larger themes or ideas. The problem is that when ideas about sex or greed or whatever are not grounded in a larger framework, it’s easy to simply discard them. “We don’t practice animal sacrifice as Leviticus tells us, so why should I take what it has to say about sex seriously?” So the minute that a younger Christian faces cultural pressure because of their beliefs, the inclination is to ask “How important is this particular belief?” rather than “Is my entire framework for living going to collapse if I change?” And what I saw was that despite all the Bible study and whatnot, the culture won almost every time.
                                                                                                                   Even in youth groups, certain kids were held up as role models of what good Christian kids look like, even though the entire county knew those same kids were hammering down beers illegally on Friday night, bragging about stealing, and even discussing sexual adventures on social media. Yet come Sunday they are “walking right with the Lord”. And there seemed to be an invisible but very real pressure among families to present as the Mr. & Mrs. Perfect Christian Family, as if problems don’t exist in truly Christian households.
                                                                                                              As I said, this is not something limited to just one congregation or sect. I suspect that the reader is going to eventually be disappointed wherever he goes because this seems endemic throughout Christendom.
                                                                                                                     The basic problem is that religion is no longer the center of our social and family lives, and, in an attempt to make Christianity more amenable and inclusive to everyone, many churches and/or members have become unmoored from basic Christian principles. We are at a time of a great schism, the separation of the wheat from the tares, and the chaff from the grain, but we are too afraid to lose members. How long can you keep the rebellious and unrepentant, even the saboteur, within the flock?
                                                                                                                     We have also lost sight of the grand goal. We have the potential to be co-heirs with Christ in his Father's Kingdom. The Christian heaven is not the heaven of other religions, where the reward is satiation of our earthly lusts, but is one of great joy and great responsibility. It requires that we develop moral principles, love and self-control, even if it conflicts with our mortal wants and desires. Christ is our example. He could have smitten those who tried, tortured, and killed him, but he exercised his self-control for the greater good.   

                                                                                                              Wednesday, April 26, 2017

                                                                                                              Beating the Drums of War

                                                                                                              Source: "The Hard Truth About THAAD, South Korea and China"--National Interest
                                                                                                                     As you know, a special meeting was held for all Senators on North Korea. Although specifics are classified, some of the general points are leaking out. Reuters reports: 
                                                                                                                     Democratic Senator Christopher Coons told reporters after the White House briefing that military options were discussed. 
                                                                                                                     "It was a sobering briefing in which it was clear just how much thought and planning was going into preparing military options, if called for, and a diplomatic strategy that strikes me as clear-eyed and well proportioned," Coons said. 
                                                                                                                     Tillerson will chair a ministerial meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Friday that is expected to discuss tougher steps, which U.S. officials say could include an oil embargo, banning North Korea's airline, intercepting cargo ships and punishing Chinese and other foreign banks doing business with Pyongyang. 
                                                                                                                     However to be effective, such steps will require the full support of China, North Korea's neighbor and only ally.
                                                                                                                     From the Washington Free Beacon, we also learn that:
                                                                                                                     Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.) told MSNBC the meeting was "very consequential" and included discussion of North Korea's shift from liquid to solid fuel missiles, and improving nuclear weapons and missile capabilities. 
                                                                                                                     Barrasso said he favors increasing sanctions, including sanctions on China.
                                                                                                              Interestingly, the same article indicates that "[a] U.N. panel of experts revealed in a report in February that debris obtained from a North Korean missile flight test last year included Chinese and Russian components."

                                                                                                                     At the same time, in addition to the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile defense system newly installed in South KoreaAdm. Harry Harris, the chief of U.S. Pacific Command, told the House Armed Services Committee that a similar system and radar should be installed in Hawaii.

                                                                                                                    China has objected to the siting of the THAAD in South Korea, complaining that "the system's powerful radar can penetrate its territory and undermine its security." This explanation is contrived: U.S. radar already "penetrates" its territory, spy satellites pass overhead, and listening stations intercept its communications. I suspect China's objection is that THAAD would act as a shield should military action be used against North Korea. North Korea's conventional armaments won't be as effective as often portrayed in the media, and offer much less a deterrent than do nuclear weapons.

                                                                                                                    What is being overlooked by the media in all of this is that the current response is not because North Korea can strike South Korea with a nuclear missile, or even Japan, but that North Korea is reaching for the gold ring: to be able to directly threaten the United States. If North Korea had limited its missiles to only short or medium range systems allowing it to strike only its neighbors the response from the United States would have been the traditional saber rattling and threats of economic sanctions. But North Korea instead has decided to pull on Superman's cape, so to speak, and thus the response is much different.

                                                                                                                     Also note that much of the response, to date, has actually been aimed to pressure China into doing something. China is upset about the THAAD deployment. China is the one that is going to be facing pressure at the U.N. over sanctions intended to isolate North Korea. China is going to be facing questions about what materials it provided to North Korea. China is the one facing possible economic sanctions from the U.S. if it continues to support North Korea. It is really up to China whether the U.S. will take direct action. The problem for China (or rather, its leaders) is to come up with a face saving way to take action against North Korea. The longer this is drawn out, the harder it will become for China to do so.

                                                                                                              April 26, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                                                              "The five-star squat: Hotel that was once the most opulent in Africa is now home to thousands of homeless families and drug pushers"--Daily Mail. Living among the ruins of a civilization that they cannot understand yet alone emulate. To the photographer, the hotel represents "the folly of colonialism." Or, rather, the futility of attempting to bequeath civilization on those unready for it.  
                                                                                                              Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:
                                                                                                              • "DIY: Build a Portable Antenna for a CB Radio Base Station"--Security and Self-Reliance. A tutorial on making your own portable dipole antennae for a short wave radio. According to the article, when completed, "[y]ou should have an almost perfect match on channel 20 and less than 1.5:1 on channels 1 and 40." Other than (maybe) the coaxial cable, most electronics buffs will probably have the equipment and parts to put this together. 
                                                                                                              • "How do you defend yourself against this?"--Bayou Renaissance Man. "This" being the raiding party of 40+ "teens" that robbed a BART train and its passengers in the San Francisco area. The author opines that this magnitude or scale of violence cannot be successfully defended against. He notes that, in addition to the abuse you will receive from the press: 
                                                                                                                     In a situation where you're armed with a typical concealed handgun, usually small and with limited ammunition capacity, you may not be able to prevail against so many attackers anyway - particularly if some of them are armed as well.  Even if you succeed, you run the risk that some of your bullets may miss their intended target, or over-penetrate it, and strike innocent bystanders.  Finally, there's the aftermath to consider.  It may be better, no matter how unpalatable, to hide your handgun and submit to robbery, rather than fight back - even if that grates with the macho element among us.
                                                                                                                     I guess it depends on how violent are the perpetrators: like everything else in life, there is a cost/benefit analysis that must be made. That said, if the goal of the "teens" is simple robbery, it may not be worth the paperwork and expense to defend yourself. If the threat is sufficient to justify using lethal force, shooting one or two of the criminals may be enough to encourage the others to flee. 
                                                                                                                     However, if it is a mob intent on "polar bear hunting," even your acquiescence won't protect you. In that case, you better hope that you and fellow passengers can injure or kill enough of the attackers to destroy their will to fight and/or that you can escape the area. 
                                                                                                                       The attack happened around 3:30 p.m. Saturday on Russell Boulevard. Three officers were driving in an unmarked police vehicle when they encountered a large group of people blocking traffic, the Davis Police Department said.
                                                                                                                         One officer was wearing police attire with a visible badge. The other two were wearing plain clothes but wore badges on their chests and their police weapons were visible.
                                                                                                                           The officers said a large, hostile group began to yell threats at them while they were inside the car. An unarmed person gestured as if he was pulling a weapon on the officers.
                                                                                                                              As the officers got out of the car, two of them were immediately attacked and beaten on the ground, police said. The crowd kicked and punched one officer in the head, and the other officer was hit with a bottle on the side of his head.
                                                                                                                                The third officer was not injured in the attack.
                                                                                                                                  The officers could see people in the crowd recording the attack with their cell phones, police said.
                                                                                                                                 “Stopping Power”- In the 36 shotgun gunfights, 31 criminals were hit.  Eighteen of those criminals died from their wounds.  Only five of the 31 people shot required more than one round to neutralize.  That means 25 out of 31 stopped after being hit with a single shotgun round.
                                                                                                                                   An 81% “one shot stop” rate is quite enviable.  In my 2011 study of handgun stopping power, I found that in nearly 1800 shootings, service caliber handgun loads stopped people with one shot between 34% and 49% of the time, depending on caliber.  In 126 rifle-caliber shootings, the criminal stopped after one shot in only 58% of incidents.  Twelve gauge 00 buckshot loads are likely the most potent shot for shot “manstoppers” we currently have available.
                                                                                                                            •  "Understanding the Biomechanics of the Pistol Grip"--The Truth About Guns. Why a good two handed, thumbs forward grip, performs so well at steadying a handgun.
                                                                                                                            • "'But he was unarmed!' – Maybe so, but he could still kill you"--Stuff From Hsoi. Quoting Robert A. Margulies, MD, on blunt force trauma: "I consider hands and feet, knees, elbows and shoulders, to be deadly weapons. Once that first blow is delivered and once you go to the ground, the kick to the head, the knees in the chest, may produce permanent injuries and fatalities." The article goes on to describe the actual mechanics of injury as well as the impact of resultant bleeding or swelling. Read the whole thing.
                                                                                                                            • "Skill Drills vs. Scenario Training"--Primary and Secondary. Skills/proficiency/techniques are different from tactics; and while the two may be trained together, they need not be. Thus, there is no need, to borrow from the author's example, to always check your six when moving through a drill solely intended to test weapon manipulation and proficiency. 
                                                                                                                            • "Man Arrives Home To Find Door Open, Gets Gun From Car, Shoots Two Intruders: What Would You Do?"--Concealed Nation. The facts are that a man was woken by his back door being kicked in. He went to investigate, and then out to his car to retrieve a firearms, and turning, was confronted by the suspects, whom he proceeded to shoot. The gist of the article and comments was that the man shouldn't have attempted to return to the house. But, from the details given, I don't see it as him returning to the house, but being confronted while still out at his vehicle. Rather, I think he erred by leaving the firearm in his car, instead of having it inside with him.
                                                                                                                            • "Start With a .22 Rifle– Part 1, by behind-the-counter"--Survival Blog. The author, a firearms dealer (or, at least, seller) draws on his experience with helping customers and recommends a .22 rifle for a first firearm. His particular recommendation is a Ruger 10/22 Takedown because of ease of cleaning and storage.

                                                                                                                            Other Stuff:
                                                                                                                                   No matter the severity of King’s injuries or the tragedy of that child’s death, it’s not “understandable” that Reginald Denny, someone with zero relationship to the events of King’s arrest, was dragged from his truck and beaten within an inch of his life. It’s not “understandable” that small businesses owned by individuals crossing all racial, religious and gender lines were looted. It’s not “understandable” that the city was set afire causing billions of dollars in damage. And most of all it’s not “understandable” that law enforcement was essentially chased out of an entire section of a major metropolitan center and hoards of violent mobs were set loose to unleash mayhem.
                                                                                                                                     The thin fabric of civilization broke down that week. The rule of law was shattered and what was left in its wake was anarchy. It was mob rule, something which has never boded well for humanity throughout all of hour history. If we were to take any lesson away from the Los Angeles riots 25 years later it should be that our civilization rests on a knife edge where only a thin blue line stands between the peaceful, ordered society the American experiments depends on and the type of chaos which could collapse the entire thing.
                                                                                                                              Islam has been on a mission to conquer and convert the world for a thousand years.  At first ... the methods have been via military invasion and conquest.  But today, the would-be invaders are using far more subtle means.  Theirs is the slippery slope of compromise and appeasement...the "cultural" and "societal" jihad that some writers speak of.  And with every point of compliance from western nations, they take another small step toward their objectives.   The west has helped in that mission by its policies.  And if steps are not taken to change the west will lose...and it will lose by defeating itself.