Friday, June 30, 2017

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

Ultimate Survival Tips (5 min.). Just a quick interview with Dave Canterbury.

Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:
  • TGIF: Greg Ellifritz's Weekend Knowledge Dump. Check it out.
  • "Cheap Level IV Plates – And No, They’re Not Made of Steel"--The Firearms Blog. The company is RMA Armament, and the plates are $115 each. Per the article, "[t]hese plates are NIJ 0101.06 certified and they are ... made of monolithic ceramic and polyethylene. This reduces the concerns about spalling that metal plate manufacturers try to control with the application of coatings." The article indicates that the plates use an older technology and so weigh more than newer ceramic plates (8.3 pounds versus 4.4 for the newer technology).
  • Self-Defense Tip: Don't use your car to run down a purse snatcher: "'I wasn't going to let him get away with it': Dramatic moment pregnant woman runs down a fleeing man 'who stole purse from her car' in Walmart parking lot"--Daily Mail. She actually struck him with her car in order to stop him. Needless to say, although he was charged with various crimes, the woman was charged with misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon.
  • "What Do You Do If You're Confronted By An Aggressive Dog?"--Alien Gear Holsters. This "article" uses a quiz and answer format to explain some aggressive behavior you might see from dogs and how to respond. The main points, however, is that if a dog (off-leash) approaches or is acting aggressive, give it room and try to proceed around it (don't run away); it may charge at you and stop suddenly short, in which case you need to remain calm, speak assertively, but don't make any moves toward it; and if a dog attacks your dog, grab the attacking dog by its hind legs and pull it away, rather than attempting to grab it around the neck or by the collar (if any).
  • A word from Rory Miller:
Naively, I also used to believe that there was always a non-violent solution, but even then I realized there wasn't always time to find that solution. I was wrong. There are people who enjoy hurting others, and only force or the threat of force will stop them. Predators who can't feel closure without pain. Really bad guys who need to see someone break. People who honestly believe that acceding to a verbal solution is an act of cowardice.
  • "The answer!"--Defense Training International. On June 18, in Mali, a group of terrorists decided to attack a resort with the intent to gun down as many people as they could. A French soldier, on leave and carrying a concealed pistol, completely disrupted the terrorists' plan. As the author notes, this is another example of concealed carriers, on scene, achieving positive outcomes.
  • "What To Say To The Man You Are Ready To Kill"--Gabe Suarez. According to the situations he presents, generally nothing, just pull the trigger. However, if the perpetrator does not pose an imminent threat, it is something like this: "Don't move ... turn around (so his back is to you) ... drop the gun ... get on the ground face down ... hands out to the side ... cross your feet." Read the whole thing so you can get all the nuances and instruction. I would also add that in most circumstances you should not approach him to search him or anything--let the police do that when they arrive.
  • "The Problem With Wonder Woman"--Schafer's Self-Defense Corner. He addresses an issue which I've raised before, which is that woman are generally no physical match for a man, but they can suffer from overconfidence due to childhood experiences where they bested a boy their own age and/or from the overall "girl power" themes of television and movies. The author writes:
       While a female who is properly trained can disable a man through injury the fact is that a lot of women simply can’t, at least no intentionally.  Men are generally bigger, stronger, and more aggressive which can mean quite a bit when it actually comes to a real violent encounter.  ...
            When it comes to self-defense a woman is just not on equal footing when it comes to a man and all the Hollywood movies and “girl power” can’t change that.  There is no way of getting around the fact that if a woman has to fight off a man she will more than likely be fighting someone who is bigger, stronger, and more aggressive than she is.  If a woman thinks she can punch a guy in the face or kick him in the stomach and drop him she is most likely mistaken; even a kick to the testicles is not always guaranteed to put someone down.  ...
            Now I’m not saying there is anything wrong with these movies or even with the concept of “girl power” itself.  I think boys and girls should be empowered to follow their dreams and blah, blah, blah.  My only issue is that I’ve seen firsthand that a lot of these movies give women a false sense of security that they can take down a guy if they have to and this is dangerous.  A woman shouldn’t try to fight a guy empty handed unless she has to because she is at a size and strength disadvantage.
               ... Woman have to rely on intelligence, weapons, anatomy, and leverage a bit more than guys do if they want to disable a man and that is life but it is also perfectly doable.  ...  [But because] a right cross to a man’s face is probably going to just piss him off then throwing a jab is nothing more than wasted time ....
                 Woman need to realize that while, yes, they’re equal and just a “good” as a man they are not the same.  Men’s and women’s bodies are quite different and if a woman doesn’t plan for that then she is going to suffer the consequences when a violent act occurs.
          Read the whole thing.
                Keep in mind that in many cases, good people do justifiably shoot attackers in the back after they've stopped attacking and started to run away. How can this be? Because of the fact that there's a half- to three-quarter-second delay between what our eyes see and what the conscious mind is able to process.
                   During that delay, the attacker has plenty of time to drop his weapon, turn and — depending on the situation — start moving away. All the while, the shooter is seeing what happened earlier — which was the attacker facing him and posing a threat.
                     If you're firing off shots with quarter-second splits, that means that you could feasibly shoot your attacker once in the side and a time or two in the back without even realizing he was no longer a threat.
              • "Man Dragged From Car, Beaten"--New Haven Independent. In this case, the reporter is giving a first hand account as he was there when the incident occurred. He reports:
                     A woman, then three young men and several dogs, crossed in front of the BMW, though the driver had the light.
                       The driver pressed hard on his brakes and put his car in park. (He would later tell police that he hadn’t seen anyone at first, then hit the brakes to avoid hitting the female.)
                         At that point the group passing by started speaking with each other; one of the men told the woman to go across the street with the dogs.
                          When she did, he made his way around to the driver’s side of the SUV.
                            He said something to the driver of the SUV. Then he suddenly punched the man in the face.
                               As the man tried to recover from the unexpected punch, the attacker grabbed his car door and opened it. The driver tried to close his door, but by then another young man had joined the man who had punched him.
                                 They dragged the man from his vehicle to the ground behind his parked car and proceeded to punch and kick him. A third young man proceeded to damage the passenger side rear-view mirror and hurl a Huffy Trail Runner bicycle at the passenger side door and the front passenger side of the car.
                                    The two other men didn’t stop beating the man until a woman stepped in between them. They ran from the scene, headed in the direction of downtown, leaving the man in the street bloodied.
                                   The victim and suspects were black, so this was not a case of black on white violence, although it may have been motivated by some tribal animosity as the victim was Caribbean, which would have been apparent as soon as he spoke to the suspect that approached his window (although, more likely than not, the suspect speaking to the driver was probably only to distract the driver while the suspect made his attack).
                                   In any event, note that this is not an attack that came out of the blue: the suspects were visibly upset and had stopped to talk to one another. While it makes sense to keep your doors locked and windows rolled up when going through certain areas, even if this location was nominally safe, that was a sign to lock the doors and roll up the windows. If the driver wanted to speak to the suspect that approached the vehicle, he could lower the window an inch or so to speak, but no so far that the person could have reached in. 
                                   I also question his sticking around. If the light was still green when the group cleared the lane in front of his vehicle, the driver should have just continued on his way. Certainly, if he had windows up and doors locked, he could probably have left as soon as the suspects became belligerent.

                              Other Stuff:
                                     Fedrick and Gordon are accused of then sexually battering the woman, according to the report. The woman said she “attempted to fight them, but they were too strong.”
                                       According to the report, the men told her, “We’re going to teach you a lesson about dating a black man and white [women] don’t mean [expletive] in this town.”
                                         When they were finished, the men told the victim they would “make it ten times worse next time” if she went to the police, according to the report.
                                  A Daily Mail article on the same event indicates that the men raped the woman; per the media's unspoken rules of censorship, however, it omits any mention that the victim was white. However, it does have photographs of the suspects. No mention of it being a "hate crime" either.
                                           ... the modern German mentality is in many ways a mutation or an update of the same mentality that has guided Germany since the eighteenth century, and especially since the unification of the country in 1870.
                                             Let us begin with the more obvious parallel: German support for further European integration. Despite all the German talk about subordinating narrow national interests to the European project, careful observers must have noticed the coincidence that the Germans always see themselves as the leaders of this disinterested project, and that the measures deemed to be necessary for further European cooperation always seem to be German-made.
                                               Are the Germans really such idealistic supporters of the European project? It is more probable that in reality they see the European Union as an ideal instrument to control the rest of Europe. Indeed, in 1997 the British author John Laughland wrote a book about this subject, The Tainted Source: the Undemocratic Origins of the European Idea, which is still worth reading for anyone who wants understand what kind of organization the EU actually is. According to Laughland, the Germans are such big supporters of the European ideal because they know that all important decisions in a confederation of states can ultimately only be taken by or with the approval of the most important state -- in this case, Germany.
                                                 Thus, on closer scrutiny, there is a strong continuity between the foreign policy of Wilhelm II, Hitler, and Merkel. And this continuity can easily be explained by looking at Germany’s position within Europe. On the one hand, Germany is the strongest and largest country in Europe, but on the other hand it is not strong or large enough to dominate the rest of Europe automatically. In consequence, ever since German unification in 1870, the country has been presented with the choice either to subordinate its wishes to those of the rest of Europe -- which has always appeared rather humiliating -- or to attempt the conquest of Europe, in order to ensure that Germany’s wishes would always prevail. Unsurprisingly, the Germans have consistently chosen the second course, and both World Wars were attempts to permanently bring the rest of Europe under German control.
                                                    The most prominent foreign policy decisions of Merkel can also be interpreted as attempts to expand German dominance in Europe. For instance, during the refugee crisis Germany tried to force Eastern European countries to take in refugees, not only because Merkel wanted to ease the burden upon her own country, but also because it was an ideal way to find out to what extent Germany could impose its will upon the new and independent-minded Eastern European members of the EU. Another example of the new German attempt to dictate policies to the rest of Europe is the Greek banking crisis. Whatever the considerable economic blunders successive Greek governments have committed over the years, it is undeniable that the ultimate goal behind Germany’s harsh demands towards the Greeks was the extension of German economic influence over other EU members.
                                            There is a lot more. Read the whole thing.
                                                     ... contemporary criminal cartels have become more sophisticated, both technologically and operationally. They run money-laundering and financing operations. The Sinaloa and Los Zetas cartels employ gunmen with combat skills comparable to military commandos. Mexican cartel operations are no longer confined to the Americas. Several have significant operations in Asia and Europe.
                                                      Their sophistication and global reach create a complex law enforcement problem. Their contacts and potential cooperation with terrorists goes beyond crime and threatens national security.
                                                         TCOs and terror networks have "converging interests," particularly in the areas of financing, movement of personnel and corrupting law enforcement. They may also have common interests in cyber espionage.

                                                    * * * 

                                                             Criminalized states are a major part of the problem. The report says "A "criminalized state" is reached when "senior leadership is aware of and involved -- either actively or through passive acquiescence -- on behalf of the state, in transnational criminal enterprises..." The criminal gang may be used as an instrument of "state power."
                                                               The Venezuela created by Hugo Chavez is a criminalized state. According to the report, the current Venezuelan government has a "sprawling network of transnational criminal enterprises..." When he was alive, Chavez used it to "sustain terrorist groups" inside neighboring Colombia.
                                                          The article goes on to describe how Iran has been active on infiltrating Hezbollah into Middle-Eastern communities in Central and South America, even using its networks to commit terror attacks in Argentina in the 1990s.  He also leaves with this warning: "Because the gray zone where crime becomes war is no longer very large, some security analysts are convinced American special operations forces and perhaps conventional forces as well will play a larger role in future counter-cartel operations."
                                                          • "House panel votes to split Air Force, create new U.S. Space Corps"--Federal News Radio. The new Corps would be subordinate to the Air Force in the same way that the Marines are subordinate to the Navy. I think the better idea would be to create a separate branch for space operations, and fold the Air Force back into the Army.  
                                                          • "Hints of Skull Cult Found at World's Oldest Temple"--National Geographic. The temple complex in question is Göbekli Tepe in southeastern Turkey, which dates back as far as 10,000 years ago (8,000 B.C.). Scientists have found skull fragments at the site that show modifications--grooves cut into the bones and, in one case, a hole drilled in order to hang the skull--that suggest that skulls were hung for ritual or ceremonial purposes. Moreover:
                                                            “Skull cults are not uncommon in Anatolia,” says Gresky. She explains that archaeological remains from other sites in the region indicate people would commonly bury their dead, then exhume them, remove the skulls, and display them creatively. Other archaeologists have even found that Neolithic people would remodel the faces of the dead with plaster.
                                                              Some former state functions -- telecommunications and postal services most notably -- are no longer the province of the State. The cellphone revolution was the first blow. In time, more traditional public sector roles may migrate in the same way. Perhaps the only residual State function will be the provision of physical security. This will lead to a new political architecture consisting of full countries, part countries and very powerful affinity groups. Countries which ensure peace within their borders will have local sovereignty. States which guarantee the order of the Global Commons, notably the oceans and the information highways, will remain the only true great powers. Countries which cannot provide internal security will effectively cease to be sovereign, though they may fly a flag.

                                                              Wednesday, June 28, 2017

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

                                                              Some firearms history: "Forward Thinking: Lewis 'Assault Phase' Rifle"--TFB TV (10 min.)
                                                              Lewis--of "Lewis Machine Gun" fame--also developed a relatively light-weight assault rifle using a detachable box magazine and shooting the .30-06 round. This was offered in competition to the Browning BAR, and well before the Garand. If it wasn't for personal enmity between Army ordinance officers and Lewis, the U.S. could have entered WWII with an actual assault rifle.

                                                              Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:
                                                              • Finally: "Magpul Shipping AK-74 5.45x39mm PMAG"--The Firearms Blog. These were originally scheduled to have started shipping earlier this spring. I am anxious to try them out.
                                                              • "Should You Choose a Reticle Positioned in the First or Second Focal Plane?"--Tactical Life. Reticles in the first focal plane will not change its size in proportion to a target as the magnification is increased or decreased (in other words, the reticle is also magnified), whereas the reticle is not magnified when in the second focal plane. The advantage of the first focal plane is where you are using a bullet drop compensator (BDC) or other markings for determining range, compensating for wind, etc., the subtensions (the markings) are the same for any magnification; in a second focal plane scope, the subtensions will only be usable for a specified magnification (for instance, I have a 3-9x scope with a BDC, but the BDC is only accurate at the maximum magnification).
                                                              • "Negligent Discharge Of A Gun And How It Happens"--Modern Survival Blog. I'm not going to get into the difference between "negligent" and "accidental." Although the article lists 5 situations where there is an unintended discharge, the first three are variants of the same problem: assuming the firearm is unloaded when it is not--always remove the magazine and then check the chamber. The other two are: letting your finger contact the trigger while manipulating the firearm (e.g., loading, unloading, or even checking to see whether it is loaded or unloaded); and clothing or other material catching the trigger as the weapon is carried or holstered.
                                                              • "Occam Power Solutions Company For the AK Front Sight Tower Win"--The Firearms Blog. This is a block that replaces the rear sight on an AK, with a milled Picatinny rail on the top, and the back edge incorporating a backup iron sight. No information on pricing, release date, or anything else, however.
                                                              • "Czech Parliament Approves Citizens’ Right to Bear Arms"--The Truth About Guns. According to the article, the lower house has overwhelming passed a constitutional amendment that allows citizens to possess and carry firearms for self-protection, subject to legislative restriction. The bill now heads for consideration by the Czech Senate.
                                                              • "Silent Alarm & Area Denial"--Dreaming of Sunsets Over Ochre Dunes. The author has a clever idea for dissuading people from messing with your property (e.g., taking wood from a woodpile or messing with locked up bicycles), which he has used successfully. It requires a strong steel rat trap that can be amounted above the area to be protected. On one side of the trap, where it can be broken or burst open by the trap as it is sprung, place a vial of some extremely vile smelling liquid (the author calls his a stink bomb which he ordered from Germany), and on the other side, a small chem stick light that will also activate when struck by the snapping trap. The chem light will not only notify you when the trap has been activated, but the author found that the timing of the light going dead roughly corresponded to when the smell dissipated. 
                                                              • "Emergency Rations Test #5: SOS Brand"--Blue Collar Prepping. This was a test of the company's individually wrapped “New Millennium” bars and 3600 Calorie packages. Basically, of the emergency bars that he had tested, he thought this the best overall due to quality and packaging and variety, although slightly more expensive than its competitors. 
                                                              • "How To Grow Melons"--Go Garden Club. Advice on planting, fertilizing, and growing melons. The author notes, for instance, when growing direct from seeds:
                                                                     Temperatures between 70 and 90ºF are best for melons, but they can be planted when soil temperature is over 65ºF. Planting in cooler temperatures risks root diseases. This can stunt melons that are intolerant to cold. The usual planting date is 7 to 10 days prior to the frost free date. The actual date varies by latitude.
                                                                       Plant seeds one half to one inch deep. Plant groups of two or three seeds 18 to 24 inches apart inside the row. Later, keep only the best plant in each group. Leave five to six feet between rows.
                                                                The author indicates that while melons are in the same family as zucchini, summer squash, winter squash, pumpkins and cucumbers, it won't cross-breed. This is not my experience: we have had watermelon planted near squash produce a green fruit that appears to be a watermelon, but fibrous and relatively dry on the inside like a pumpkin. So, my advice is to grow the melons away from the squash and pumpkins.
                                                                • "Micro Production Survivalist"--Le Survivaliste. The author describes he and his wife's efforts to integrate chickens and honey bees into their food production. The bees they use are Carniolans, which the author describes as "a bee little aggressive, hairy and tall with a long tongue that allows him to reach a wider range of nectars." Since this bee is from Slovenia, it is better adapted to cooler climates, such as Montana where the author resides. They have four different breeds of chickens: the Plymouth (the author's favorite), a Rhode Island, a Leg Horn, and a fourth breed which I don't think its name translated correctly. In any event, interesting comments and great photos.
                                                                • "IPCS and Defensive shooting skills"--Modern Survivalist. FerFal discusses the benefits competition can bring to your defensive pistol skills so long as you approach it as training/practice rather than just a sport; e.g., using the firearm you will be carrying instead of a race gun.
                                                                • Not worried enough: "Japan is so worried about North Korea's missiles, there's a waiting list for bomb shelters"--Business Insider. Apparently the sole company in Japan that constructs bomb shelters normally only builds 6 per year, but already has orders for 8.

                                                                Other Stuff:
                                                                         A total of 68 stores were looted and several government offices were burned following anti-government protests late Monday and Tuesday in the city of Maracay, west of Venezuela's capital of Caracas.
                                                                           Large protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro have been regularly held in Caracas over the last three months, but significant protests have also occurred in provincial cities.
                                                                             The pro-Maduro governor of Aragua state, of which Maracay is the capital, said the looting hit supermarkets, drug stores and small bakeries and liquor stores.
                                                                               Gov. Caryl Bertho said a tax office, a government telephone office and ruling party headquarters were burned late Monday.
                                                                                 Some 216 people were arrested.
                                                                                   Bertho blamed protesters for the looting, but opposition activists say gangs of men on motorcycles looted without interference from authorities. Such groups are often government supporters.
                                                                                     An officer with the nation’s leading law enforcement agency hijacked a helicopter Tuesday afternoon and hurled grenades as it flew over Venezuela’s presidential palace, Foreign Ministry and the Supreme Court building in an episode that President Nicolas Maduro described as a “terrorist attack.”
                                                                                       The chopper pilot was identified as Oscar Perez, an official with CICPC, Venezuela’s equivalent of the FBI. The helicopter belonged to the CICPC and was stolen from La Carlota air base in eastern Caracas.
                                                                                         Perez also flew a banner from the aircraft that read “350 Liberty,” a reference to a Venezuelan constitutional clause that gives citizens the right to ignore the commands of oppressive governments, a reference to the Maduro administration. The flyover was perhaps the most dramatic demonstration of discontent in a once prosperous nation racked by protests against a government opponents denounce and inept and corrupt.
                                                                                           Reclining on bunk beds while sucking on opium pipes, these haunting photos provide a rare glimpse into life in America's 19th century opium dens that prompted the country's first crackdown on drugs.
                                                                                             Established by the Chinese and arriving in the US via ships, the first opium dens sprung up in San Francisco's Chinatown during the 1840s and 1850s, and were soon being used by people from all walks of society. 
                                                                                               The opium rush was at its most prevalent during the 1880s and 1890s, which coincided with the rise of the temperance movement.
                                                                                                  Its popularity eventually resulted in a string of legislative measures being introduced to try and stamp out the addictive craze, including the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906 and Smoking Opium Exclusion Act in 1909. 
                                                                                            The opium dens eventually spread to all the major cities in the United States, by which time "[o]pium dens were ... increasingly frequented by men and women from the middle and upper classes." According to the article, the dens provided bunks or place to recline, the opium, and, if the user did not have one, an opium pipe.
                                                                                            •  "The Old Are Eating the Young"--Bloomberg. The article reports that all around the world, governments are borrowing to provide benefits for current users of welfare and social services, at the expense of future generations that will have to pay back these loans. It explains:
                                                                                              A significant proportion of recent economic growth has relied on borrowed money -- today standing at a dizzying 325 percent of global gross domestic product. Debt allows society to accelerate consumption, as borrowings are used to purchase something today against the promise of future repayment. Unfunded entitlements to social services, health care and pensions increase those liabilities. The bill for these commitments will soon become unsustainable, as demographic changes make it more difficult to meet.
                                                                                                It adds:
                                                                                                  In a 2010 research paper, entitled “Ask Not Whether Governments Will Default, But How,” Arnaud Mares of Morgan Stanley analyzed national solvency, or the difference between actual and potential government revenue, on one hand, and existing debt levels and future commitments on the other. The study found that by this measure the net worth of the U.S. was negative 800 percent of its GDP; that is, its future tax revenue was less than committed obligations by an amount equivalent to eight times the value of all goods and services America produces in a year. The net worth of European countries ranged from about negative 250 percent (Italy) to negative 1,800 percent (Greece). For Germany, France and the U.K., the approximate figures were negative 500 percent, negative 600 percent and negative 1,000 percent of GDP. In effect, these states have mortgaged themselves beyond their capacity to easily repay.
                                                                                                           ... “The prolonged presence of a warm and engaged father can buffer girls against early, high-risk sex,” Dr. DelPriore said. This doesn’t mean that divorced fathers can’t provide quality care. “A silver lining,” she adds, “is that what dad does seems to matter more than parental separation.” In other words, a divorce may be less harmful for a girl than more years with a bad dad.

                                                                                                             The growing field of evolutionary child psychology adds interesting context to these findings. Biologists find that organisms in unstable environments grow up faster and start reproducing earlier than those in stable ones. Theoretically, in a stable environment you can take more time growing into your reproductive activities, focusing on long-term quality rather than on getting an early start. Conversely, in an unstable situation, it might “pay” (in Darwinian terms) to begin reproducing earlier, since in those girls’ worlds, a good man is hard to find.
                                                                                                        Note that the second paragraph is basically stating that engaged fathers have daughters that pursue a K-reproductive strategy, while single motherhood results in daughters that pursue an r-reproductive strategy.
                                                                                                        • More black on white crime: "'You're on my f***ing property!' Shocking moment white off-duty cop pins black teen to ground and threatens to kill him for trespassing on his lawn"--Daily Mail. Reading the headline, or even the first half of the article, you would leave with the impression that the off-duty police officer acted inappropriately. However, once you get through the whole thing, the situation was this: a young white kid goes onto the officers porch, bleeding, and claiming he was beat up by a group of black youths. As the officer is talking to the white youth, two black kids (including the one that is the subject of the story) entered the yard, were told by the officer to stop but not leave, and then they attempted to leave, which resulted in the subject being restrained. Also, the officer didn't threaten to kill the youth; he said he could kill the youth. Of course, the black suspect immediately began to scream racism.
                                                                                                        • Juxtaposition This: 
                                                                                                        • "Starbucks pledges to hire 2,500 refugees in eight markets"--Seattle Times. The article states: "On World Refugee Day, the company said it will hire 2,500 refugees by over five years to work in eight European markets: Great Britain, France, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands."
                                                                                                        • "Why We Should Look For Alien Megastructures Around Pulsars"--Gizmodo. Some scientists suggest that an advanced civilization might construct a Dyson sphere around a pulsar rather than their own star, and that we should be able to detect these structures from earth. The advantage is that most of the pulsar's energy is released as a beam which could be intercepted by a belt of energy collectors, and these collectors could be orbited much closer than to an active star, requiring less material. As a side note, it is a misnomer that Dyson suggested that these structures would be a rigid shell around a star. He, instead, envisioned a cloud of objects--habitats, energy collectors, etc.--orbiting a star, which would be more practicable in any event.

                                                                                                        Tuesday, June 27, 2017

                                                                                                        June 27, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                                                        "Zippo Lighter Mod For Fuel Longevity And Waterproofing"--Far North Bushcraft And Survival (3-1/2 min.). While there are many outstanding qualities to a Zippo lighter, fuel longevity is not one of them because the fuel will evaporate within several days if not replenished. This video offers a possible solution: cutting a short section out of a bicycle inner tube to use as a sleeve around the outside of the lighter. 


                                                                                                        Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:
                                                                                                        • "What You Need to Know About Yellowstone Volcano"--All Outdoor. On June 16, 2017, there was a cluster of 60 earthquakes in Yellowstone Park, which has raised concerns that the Yellowstone caldera is acting up, and may be signs of an impending eruption. The number has climbed to 878 over the past 2 weeks, although this includes quakes so small that they can only be detected using specialized instruments. Earthquake swarms are not unusual at Yellowstone, and scientists say "we would need to see considerably more and larger earthquakes, combined with contemporaneous ground deformation, steam explosions, and changes in gas and heat discharge prior to moving the alert level. None of that has occurred.” I've discussed before that one of the key signs that the magma chamber was filling would be uplift, which is not happening.
                                                                                                               In any event, the All Outdoor article discusses what could happen if the volcano were to erupt, including a map showing ashbeds from past eruptions. These ashbeds provide evidence of how far from the volcano that ash fall could be expected, and how thick. Notably, the ashbeds tend to fall to the south and east of the volcano due to the direction of prevailing winds. Thus, while the Pacific Northwest is largely spared, there have been ashfalls that covered Southern California, and then east until nearly the Mississippi River, and north east into Canada. 
                                                                                                        • "Don’t Back Up (Unless You Have To): Self-Defense Tip"--The Truth About Guns. It's good to get off the X and all that, but backing up exposes you to the risk of tripping or falling over something, while not moving you out of an assailant's aim.
                                                                                                        • "TFB REVIEW: Strike Industries G4 SlideComp"--The Firearms Blog. This is a muzzle compensator designed for certain of the Gen 4 Glocks, which does not require a threaded barrel or permanent modifications to the firearm. The reviewer believed that it did its job.
                                                                                                        • "The Truth About Manual Handgun Safeties"--The Truth About Guns. The author delves into the contentious argument of passive versus manual safeties. From the article:
                                                                                                               If you carry a gun with an engaged manual safety, part of that training and practice must therefore be deactivating the manual safety. That isn’t hard to do in the least. It fits into the draw very well, as a matter of fact.
                                                                                                                 What of real-world incidents where a concealed carrier or officer got themselves killed by not deactivating a manual safety? Back in 2009, Massad Ayoob wrote (in Tactical Life) that he was only able to find one example of a manual safety failure, injury (not death) resulting. A private citizen was wounded after failing to disengage the safety of his Walther .380.
                                                                                                                   Said citizen also admitted that he’d never practiced with his pistol.
                                                                                                                     Ayoob recounted several incidents in which officers were killed when a suspect got their gun away from them and shot them due to their duty pistol lacking a manual safety. He also found several instances in which suspects grabbed guns but weren’t able to shoot the disarmed officer because the safety was engaged.
                                                                                                                       He tested the speed of drawing a gun and firing with the safety on and the safety off, finding only a 1/100th of a second difference. Granted, Mas is far better trained than most shooters and indeed most police officers. But the point remains: with regular practice, there’s little speed advantage to be gained by going sans safety.
                                                                                                                         Ultimately, the fundamentals of concealed carry are largely the same for everyone, regardless of the platform involved. You need a decent holster with good trigger guard coverage. You have to follow the four rules, especially keeping that booger hook off the bang switch. And you should train enough to become proficient.
                                                                                                                    I would rather have a manual safety than not.
                                                                                                                    • "What Bullets Do (And Don’t Do) to Bodies"--John Wayne Taylor at The Truth About Guns. The article is mostly a criticism of an article by Dr. Leana Wen published in The New York Times about bullets and their effects. Needless to say, Taylor finds much wrong with Wen's article. However, Taylor provides some examples of how greatly wounds can vary:
                                                                                                                             The reality: whether the bullet is expanding or solid, whether it’s fired from a rifle or pistol, bullets can do incredible damage to a human body. But sometimes they don’t.
                                                                                                                                I’ve seen plenty of tiny icepick wounds from M855 rounds fired from an M4 (see: photo at the top of the post). And I’ve seen an FMJ from an AK-74 turn a femur into what looked like Jell-o.
                                                                                                                                  I’ve seen a patient shoot himself point blank in the hip with a .45ACP fired from a pistol, creating an injury so minor that he was able to hide it from his wife. For weeks. And I’ve seen a bullet from a .357 Magnum revolver make a heart look like half a heart.

                                                                                                                          Other Stuff:
                                                                                                                                   So we are left with this question: if their proposed remedies would be so obviously and demonstrably unlikely to solve the very problems they claim to intend to solve, then why do gun controllers keep advocating these ridiculous and counterintuitive laws?
                                                                                                                                      The answer is not hard to see. Gun control advocates, like most political actors, are pragmatic and practical. They understand that certain legislative goals and ambitions must play out over a period of time rather than in a political instant. You can see this type of long-game strategy in, say, the American health-care debate: after seven years of Obamacare, Democrats are increasingly pursuing single-payer, something that was much less feasible before the Affordable Care Act. Indeed, Sen. Harry Reid has explicitly stated that Obamacare is intended solely to be “a step in the right direction” towards single-payer, nothing more.
                                                                                                                                       So it is with gun control: liberals propose these useless laws and regulations not in an attempt to honestly curb gun violence but rather in a long-form attempt to pass other laws down the road. It will be much easier to ban large classes of semiautomatic rifles, after all, after five or ten years of banning scary-looking AR-style “assault weapons.” It will be far easier, too, to sharply restrict firearm purchases after a decade of regulating ammunition sales, the latter of which will soon begin in California.
                                                                                                                                          This doesn’t have to be some grand conspiracy theory or dark, shadowy intrigue. Gun controllers are not stupid. They understand long-form political action as well as anyone. They do not like guns and they are more than patient enough to play the drawn-out politics necessary to curtail American gun rights.
                                                                                                                                  • Related: "Anger Privilege"--Sultan Knish. Discussing the Left's hypocrisy concerning politically motivated violence or vandalism:
                                                                                                                                         Not all anger is created equal. Anger, like everything else, is ideologically coded. Left-wing anger is good because its ideological foundations are good. Right-wing anger is bad because its ideology is bad. 
                                                                                                                                           It’s not the level of anger, its intensity or its threatening nature that makes it good or bad. 
                                                                                                                                             And that is why the left so easily slips into violence. All its ideological ends are good. Therefore its means, from mass starvation to gulags to riots and tyranny, must be good. If I slash your tires because of your Obama bumper sticker”, I’m a monster. But if you key my car because of my Trump bumper sticker, you’re fighting racism and fascism. Your tactics might be in error, but your viewpoint isn’t. 
                                                                                                                                      Argentine police believe a Mexican drug cartel is shipping cocaine through Argentina and shipping a lot of it. Police seized two metric tons of cocaine in the port of Bahia Blanca on June 19. The cocaine was hidden in steel coils in an effort to deceive customs and police electronic scanners. The big cache had a street value of at least $60 million. In the same anti-smuggling operation, Argentine security forces seized another half-ton of cocaine in in Mendoza province, near the border with Chile. And that indicates the new shipping route. Police say the usual route for drug smuggling in Argentina is Bolivia or Paraguay, not Chile, but Argentina’s borders with Bolivia and Paraguay are heavily patrolled. Since the major territorial disputes between Argentina and Chile have been resolved their mutual border is more open. The cocaine route begins in Peru. The drugs may still transit Bolivia on the way to Chile. From Chile smugglers enter Argentina’s Mendoza province and move the cocaine to an Argentine seaport for shipment. Police believe cocaine from the two metric tons discovered in Bahia Blanca had two destinations: Canada and Spain. 
                                                                                                                                      • "2 more plague cases reported in New Mexico's Santa Fe County"--KOB 4. The article warns that the bubonic plague can be transmitted via flee bites (brought indoors from pets, for instance), or from direct contact with an infected animal, but can easily be treated with antibiotics if caught early. The low probability of infection, as well as the infection vector, show that this is far less virulent than the Black Plague.
                                                                                                                                      • Evolution in action: "At least 148 killed in Pakistan oil tanker explosion after rushing to collect spilled fuel"--The Independent. After the tanker truck overturned, a large crowd gathered to collect the fuel that had spilled, or was spilling, out of the tank. Based on initial reports, one of the crowd decided to enjoy a cigarette while doing so. An exothermic reaction resulted.
                                                                                                                                      • "Microphone Cut After Mormon Girl Reveals She's Gay At Church"--Associated Press (via AT&T). Per the article: "A video of a young [13 year old] Mormon girl revealing to her congregation that she is lesbian and still loved by God — before her microphone is turned off by local church leaders — is sparking a new round of discussions about how the religion handles LGBT issues." The announcement was during a "Fast and Testimony" meeting: one Sunday a month that the congregation fasts, and have an opportunity to individually stand before other members of the congregation to express their testimony of Christ, the Gospel, or the Church. These meetings (or any Sunday services, for that matter) are not recorded. Deeper in the article, it reveals that the recording was made by a friend of the girl, and that there was a group of adults that were not members of the congregation that disrupted the meeting. Also, the girl was reading from prepared notes (which is also irregular--testimonies are impromptu, not speeches). Recording + supporters that were not members = set up. 
                                                                                                                                              Moreover, even deeper in the article, it states: "Her microphone was muted after about two minutes — shortly after she said she's not a 'horrible sinner' and that she someday hopes to have a partner, get married and have a family." So, her feed was not cut until after 2 minutes and after she evidenced her desire to breach the law of chastity and mock marriage between a man and a woman. 
                                                                                                                                             So, is she a "horrible" sinner? For sake of argument, I'll presume she is not engaged in any prohibited behavior, but is only preaching that others accept the prohibited behavior. The Bible is pretty clear that, under Mosaic Law, homosexuals should be stoned, which ranks pretty high on the types of punishments to be meted out for particular sins, which gives an indication of how serious it was considered. Thus, it is not some minor sin or ritual uncleanliness for which she is advocating. I am reading Isaiah currently, and it has chapter after chapter stating that those that make and worship idols, or encourage others to do so, are not only morons, but abominations to the Lord. If carving an idol out of wood makes one an idiot and abomination in the sight of God, what does the desire to mock God's commandments about chastity and marriage make one? 
                                                                                                                                      • "Posterity: TK vs VD"--Vox Popoli. Vox Day presents his argument why he believes that the word "posterity" as used in the Constitution refers to direct descendants, and not merely succeeding generations.
                                                                                                                                      • "Something big is warping the outer solar system"--Futurity. The article indicates that "[t]he plane of our solar system is warped in the outer reaches of the Kuiper Belt, suggesting the presence of an unknown Mars-to-Earth-mass planetary object far beyond Pluto—but much closer than [the proposed] Planet Nine." The article continues:
                                                                                                                                               In a new paper, scientists present compelling evidence of a yet-to-be- discovered planetary body with a mass somewhere between that of Mars and Earth. The mysterious mass, has given away its presence—for now—only by controlling the orbital planes of a population of space rocks known as Kuiper Belt objects, or KBOs, in the icy outskirts of the solar system.
                                                                                                                                                 While most KBOs—debris left over from the formation of the solar system—orbit the sun with orbital tilts (inclinations) that average out to what planetary scientists call the invariable plane of the solar system, the most distant of the Kuiper Belt’s objects don’t.
                                                                                                                                                   Their average plane is tilted away from the invariable plane by about eight degrees. In other words, something unknown is warping the average orbital plane of the outer solar system.

                                                                                                                                              * * *

                                                                                                                                                       If one were to think of the average orbital plane of objects in the outer solar system as a sheet, it should be quite flat past 50 AU, Volk says.
                                                                                                                                                          “But going further out from 50 to 80 AU, we found that the average plane actually warps away from the invariable plane. There is a range of uncertainties for the measured warp, but there is not more than 1 or 2 percent chance that this warp is merely a statistical fluke of the limited observational sample of KBOs.”
                                                                                                                                                             In other words, the effect is most likely a real signal rather than a statistical fluke. According to the calculations, an object with the mass of Mars orbiting roughly 60 AU from the sun on an orbit tilted by about eight degrees (to the average plane of the known planets) has sufficient gravitational influence to warp the orbital plane of the distant KBOs within about 10 AU to either side.
                                                                                                                                                               “The observed distant KBOs are concentrated in a ring about 30 AU wide and would feel the gravity of such a planetary mass object over time,” Volk says, “so hypothesizing one planetary mass to cause the observed warp is not unreasonable across that distance.”
                                                                                                                                                                 This rules out the possibility that the postulated object in this case could be the hypothetical Planet Nine, whose existence has been suggested based on other observations. That planet is predicted to be much more massive (about 10 Earth masses) and much farther out at 500 to 700 AU.
                                                                                                                                                                 On a side note, the most recent research suggests that there is no Planet 9: "the survey found no evidence of clustering [among trans-Neptunian Objects or NTOs] whatsoever, and scientists now say ‘detection biases' could be to blame for earlier data that favor Planet 9."

                                                                                                                                                          Shooting Slings

                                                                                                                                                          Forgotten Weapons (5 min.)

                                                                                                                                                          In general:


                                                                                                                                                          Modern variants:

                                                                                                                                                          Sunday, June 25, 2017

                                                                                                                                                          Micah 5:8 and Civil War

                                                                                                                                                          (Source)

                                                                                                                                                                 There is increasing discussion of the possibility of the United States disintegrating, whether it be a de facto secession or a civil war. For instance, Jason Willick, writing at The American Interest, comments on California's "soft secession"--the beginning of a social and economic separation from the conservative portions of the United States by such actions as California banning the use of public funds to pay for travel to a growing list of States that have not adopted California's boundless acceptance of sexual deviancy. While the impact, at this stage, is largely symbolic, the author writes, represents a serious threat to the Union. Willick observes:
                                                                                                                                                          ... American federalism is based on the agreement that different states can pursue different policies (within Constitutional bounds) while retaining equal status within the union. California’s decision to escalate the culture war with “sanctions” against states with different political orientations represents a direct challenge to America’s federal structure.
                                                                                                                                                          He adds:
                                                                                                                                                          If we accept this precedent—if blue states begin to sanction red states and red states return the favor—then it’s easy to see how the culture war’s tendency to escalate could produce a full-blown constitutional crisis, or worse. We need to stop this before it sets us on a road from which there’s no turning back.
                                                                                                                                                                  That road is the one that leads to civil war, and it is probably inevitable because we have reached a point where the values of a large segment of the population is incompatible with the values of the other half. Earlier this month, Clifford Humphrey hit the nail on the head, I think, as the general Red/Blue divide. He explained:
                                                                                                                                                                 ... It is clear that we are not arguing, at bottom, about different means to the same ends. We do not even agree about what the ends should be. For example, the real argument is not about what may be the most prudent way to deal with the large population of illegal immigrants living and possibly voting in our country. The argument is about whether citizens of any country have the right to say who can become a fellow citizen. The disagreement is so sharp because it is a disagreement about justice itself. 
                                                                                                                                                                   To put the issue in Lincoln’s terms, now the Left insists Americans only tolerate illegal immigration, but cease to call open borders wrong and join its proponents in calling it right. We must cease to call abortion wrong and join the Left in calling it right. And so on with economic issues, health issues, social and moral issues. ...
                                                                                                                                                          Angelo Codevilla similarly has written:
                                                                                                                                                                 ... The 2016 election and its aftermath reflect the distinction, difference, even enmity that has grown exponentially over the past quarter century between America’s ruling class and the rest of the country. During the Civil War, President Lincoln observed that all sides “pray[ed] to the same God.” They revered, though in clashing ways, the same founders and principles. None doubted that those on the other side were responsible human beings. Today, none of that holds. Our ruling class and their clients broadly view Biblical religion as the foundation of all that is wrong with the world. According to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, “The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy, or any form of intolerance.”
                                                                                                                                                                 The government apparatus identifies with the ruling class’s interests, proclivities, and tastes, and almost unanimously with the Democratic Party. As it uses government power to press those interests, proclivities, and tastes upon the ruled, it acts as a partisan state. This party state’s political objective is to delegitimize not so much the politicians who champion the ruled from time to time, but the ruled themselves. Ever since Woodrow Wilson nearly a century and a half ago at Princeton, colleges have taught that ordinary Americans are rightly ruled by experts because they are incapable of governing themselves. Millions of graduates have identified themselves as the personifiers of expertise and believe themselves entitled to rule. Their practical definition of discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, etc., is neither more nor less than anyone’s reluctance to bow to them. It’s personal.
                                                                                                                                                          Or, as Daniel Greenfield points out, "[t]he left doesn’t want to secede. It wants to rule. Political conflicts become civil wars when one side refuses to accept the existing authority. The left has rejected all forms of authority that it doesn’t control." Because it is about control, because it is personal, there is no amicable divorce in the offing, either.

                                                                                                                                                                 Accepting that a hot civil war is inevitable, it naturally raises the question of who would win. A common argument is similar to the following:
                                                                                                                                                                 If civil war comes, on one side you'll have the guys with all the guns and they've made no secret about their intent to keep them. Their women are pretty, dedicated wives and mothers. They've built communities and nations that last centuries. 
                                                                                                                                                                 On the other side, the women have the facial hair and the men have boobs. Those that manage to successfully mate tend to abort their children before they're born. If they do successfully mate, and if they choose not to flush the fetus down the crapper, their children tend to turn out [as effeminate transgender queers].
                                                                                                                                                          However, David Hines, in an article at Jacobite magazine entitled, "Political Violence Is A Game The Right Can't Win" argues that the political left is more organized and would, therefore have the upper hand. In this regard, Hines writes:
                                                                                                                                                                 The organizational capacity required to build a new world is the same organizational capacity have Lefties built to pressure government. So who’s in a better position to shape the big moment when it comes?  Hell, if tomorrow civilization goes completely Mad Max: who’s got existing local networks of people who they’re used to turning out and doing stuff with on a regular basis?  Answer to both questions: not the Right. 
                                                                                                                                                                 Passivists say activism accomplishes nothing. What it actually accomplishes is practice.  Practice for networking, practice for turnout, practice for speed, practice working as a team. Anybody who’s ever tried to get five people together for dinner knows it’s a pain, but look at the airport protests after the travel ban, and see how many people the hard Left can turn out on next to no notice.  Say the balloon were to suddenly go up: forget having a detailed and specific plan; in that first five minutes, do you — not some veterans’ network you’re hoping will salvage things, not some imaginary Great Man; *specifically you* — even know who you’re going to call? 
                                                                                                                                                                 The Lefties do. And that’s why righties who say the Right has nothing to learn from the Left are wrong. That’s because righties don’t read lefty books. I read lefty books and organizational manuals, and I can tell you: they’re smart. 
                                                                                                                                                                 Accordingly, righties face two major challenges: building things, and understanding the strengths, weaknesses, and tactics of their Lefty opposition.  Righties won’t do the same things as the Left, or do them in the same ways, but that doesn’t mean the Lefties don’t have lessons we can learn. 
                                                                                                                                                                 The first thing righties have to understand about Lefties is that lefties have a lot more practice building their own institutions, and assuming control of existing institutions, than their counterparts on the right do, and they share their practical experience with each other. Righties who like to build churches will build a church and worship in it. Lefties who like to build churches will build a church, write a book telling people how to build churches, go out and convince people church-building is the thing to do, run workshops on how to finance, build, and register churches, and then they’ll offer to arrange church guest speakers who’ll come preach the Lefty line. 
                                                                                                                                                           He has a point. The Left has conducted a successful march through the institutions, while, as Vox Day likes to point out, Conservatives have failed to conserve anything. As I've noted before, as a consequence of the march through the institutions, Leftists do not require an explicit conspiracy. Rather, as Sarah Hoyt explains, it instead provides guiding principles and abiding ideas "that inform and shape a movement, and in people so completely in communion with the revealed message of 'progressivism' that they will do the things that no police force or government could force them to do, were they free."

                                                                                                                                                                 But a review of history would suggest that Hines confidence may be misplaced. For one thing, socialism embodies a flaw so basic that it must always fail: it views "people as a homogeneous mass, with identical needs, without taking into account the differences that abound in character, ability, intelligence and other aspects that make us all uniquely human," and its solutions to inequality is merely a different form of slavery and inequality. Socialism is so antithetical to human experience that people will naturally tend to vomit up its teachings once they have adequate life experiences.

                                                                                                                                                                The other flaw is Hines belief that the Left has the superior skill set. This skill set is the experience to subvert existing institutions. Contrary to Hines position, the Left is not the type to build, but is a cancer that slowly takes over organizations founded by others. Besides, if we are talking a hot civil war, the fact that it has judges that belong or belonged to the National Lawyers Guild, or community organizers experienced at blackmailing cities and corporations, is of less use than experience with naked force. In that regard, I must point out that the modern left is not the fighters hardened by the horrors of World War I such as Lenin had at his disposal, nor the militant core that remained to Mao Zedong following his long march. Rather, the Left represents the old and tired remains of a civilization in the winter of its life, as Spengler would describe it. It's only hope is to pit us against each other.

                                                                                                                                                                 Finally, while the Right may lack the likes of AntiFa or Black Lives Matter, it has other organizations that have proven very effective at calling up people in times of disaster or other great need: churches. And this is not something for the Left to lightly dismiss. For instance, we read in Micah 5:8:
                                                                                                                                                          And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.
                                                                                                                                                          LDS readers should read and understand: they know their lineage. But more generally, the Lord will protect his own. Just as churches responded quickly and decisively to assist after Hurricane Katrina, we can expect that churches and congregations will be able to respond to other threats. So, in response to Hines' question, "Do you ... even know who you’re going to call?," I can say: yes, yes I do.

                                                                                                                                                          June 24, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                                                                                                          The title is a bit misleading. The author is not contending that the Mini-14 is necessarily a better rifle, overall. Rather, he notes 8 features or attributes of the Mini-14 in which he believes it excels over the AR. He also gives a bit of a history of the newer models where Ruger worked on making the Mini-14 more accurate than it had been. One thing I found puzzling, however, was the difficulty that the author had in removing magazines from the Mini-14. I have found that when using factory Ruger magazines, the magazines will easily drop free just by pressing the magazine release.

                                                                                                                                                          Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:
                                                                                                                                                          • First up, Active Response Training has a new Weekend Knowledge Dump. As always, a good selection of articles on firearms and self-defense. A couple in particular jumped out at me: an article entitled "The Myth of Perfect Situational Awareness," which seems self explanatory; and an article on the history of the .38 S&W cartridge, and the differences between it and the .38 Special. But check them all out.
                                                                                                                                                          • "HAM Advice From Warrior Capitalist"--Mason Dixon Tactical. This is a re-post of an article offering advice on how to prepare and obtain a HAM license.
                                                                                                                                                          • "Portrait of a bad shoot"--Vox Popoli. Vox Day comments on the acquittal of Officer Jeronimo Yanez for the shooting-death of Philando Castile, and, in particular, Yanez's claim that he feared for his life because he smelled marijuana smoke coming from the vehicle. Specifically, Yanez claimed: "if he’s, if he has the, the guts and the audacity to smoke marijuana in front of the five-year-old girl and risk her lungs and risk her life by giving her secondhand smoke and the front seat passenger doing the same thing then what, what care does he give about me...." If that is the criteria, then it is open season on cigarette smokers. In any event, Day writes:
                                                                                                                                                          Police must be held to a higher standard by the law, not so much to protect the public as to protect the police themselves as well as their standing with the public. A decline in discipline and accountability has never generated increased respect for the members of any organization.
                                                                                                                                                          • "Does Pointing Your Gun Up Affect Accuracy? ARDEC Study Reveals the Effect of Weapon Orientation on Ammunition Velocity and Consistency [NDIA 2017]"--Nathaniel F. at The Firearms Blog. The study "examined the effect of ullage (free space in a loaded round) and orientation on the consistency and velocity of small arms ammunition." He adds: "The findings of the study may not be exceptionally surprising – it turns out that rounds with more ullage are less consistent – but they are remarkable in how detailed they are." This is generally more of an issue in cartridges with longer cases (e.g., .38 Special and .357 Magnum) where the powder load does not fill, or mostly fill, the case capacity. Where this seems important, at least where I've heard, is in competition shooting where a competitor may seek to load a cartridge with the lowest possible recoil, but must still meet minimum power requirements for the competition. The orientation of the cartridges (tilted nose first) can sometimes dip a competitor on the edge of the envelope below the minimum. 
                                                                                                                                                          • "The Missile Type"--Guns Magazine. A primer on different types of bullets and for what they are used, the different sizes and types of bird shot and buck shot, and a look at cast bullets.
                                                                                                                                                          • "Shooter, Train Thyself"--Guns Magazine. Some advice for new shooters to take a shooting class, for more experienced shooters to seek out competition shooting (e.g., IDPA) if they want more of a challenge, and a shooting "drill" to increase your pistol marksmanship:
                                                                                                                                                                 Between beginners and blazing-fast blasters there’s “muddlers in the middle,” like me (and maybe you). Here’s my default drill which works with both long guns and handguns: Set up an array of cardboard torso targets; full-size, 2/3-size plus 10-inch and 5-inch mini-torsos. Set a shot-timer like the PACT Club Timer III to give you a starting beep and time elapsed at your last shot.
                                                                                                                                                                   Shoot singles or doubles on each of your multiple targets, at whatever speed is necessary to assure all “center hits.” Increase speed until you start dropping shots, then slow down and work up again. It’s simple, measurable and effective. Integrate reloading, movement, hitchin’ your britches or whatever. Keep records, just so’s you can chuff yourself up over your amazing improvement.
                                                                                                                                                              Remember that there is a trade-off between accuracy and speed, and you want a proper balance. While it is true that you can never miss fast enough to win a fight, tight groups mean nothing if you can't shoot them fast enough to matter. 

                                                                                                                                                              Other Stuff:
                                                                                                                                                                       Most illegal immigrants who pay taxes have stolen someone else’s legal identity, and the IRS doesn’t do a very good job of letting those American citizens and legal immigrants know they’re being impersonated, the tax agency’s inspector general said in a new report released Thursday.
                                                                                                                                                                         The theft creates major problems for the American citizens and legal foreign workers whose identities are stolen, and who have to deal with explaining money they never earned.
                                                                                                                                                                           But the IRS only manages to identify half of the potentially 1.4 million people likely affected by the fraud in 2015, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said in its report.
                                                                                                                                                                    • "The FBI’s Briefing On The GOP Baseball Shooting Couldn’t Have Been More Bizarre"--Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist. Despite admitting that James Hodgkinson had a long history of ranting against Republicans, had a list of Republican Congressmen, had researched and reconnoitered the baseball field where the shooting took place, the FBI concluded that Hodgkinson had not planned his attack (which would clearly show the attack as a case of leftist terrorism) but that the attach was instead a spontaneous act--a consequence of anger management issues. 
                                                                                                                                                                    The claim that tourists take pictures of a a completely unremarkable baseball field in a tiny neighborhood also seems odd, particularly when the pictures were taken a few days after The New York Times reported that Republican members of Congress practice baseball there with little security. 
                                                                                                                                                                    In a related article, "Who Does The FBI Work For?", Ben Domenech cautions: 
                                                                                                                                                                    Step back, though, and think on the institutional conclusions here. Considering how ludicrous the FBI’s conclusions are as it relates to an attack on the third ranking member of the House of Representatives, you might reconsider whether to trust the FBI’s conclusions in other areas, as well. And this is how our faith in institutions is degraded: steadily, gradually, with incident after incident where men in suits stand in front of microphones and make claims we know are not the whole truth.
                                                                                                                                                                    • "Sea of sarin: North Korea’s chemical deterrent"--Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The article warns that North Korea would, in the event of military action against it, shell Seoul, South Korea, with artillery shells, including many carrying chemical weapons. The article notes:
                                                                                                                                                                    By 2010, North Korea was estimated to possess 2,500 to 5,000 tons of chemical weapons, mostly sarin and the nerve agent VX. Furthermore, it is assumed that North Korean military doctrine treats chemical weapons as a natural aspect of the nation’s scheme of maneuver, and that chemical weapons would be used from the outset of hostilities. Chemical weapons are reportedly pre-deployed—with one out of three North Korean projectiles believed to be chemical. The February assassination of Kim Jong-nam in Malaysia with VX was undoubtedly a reminder to North Korea’s enemies of the chemical threat that Pyongyang poses.
                                                                                                                                                                             We are getting ever deeper into this six-year sectarian and civil war. And what we may be witnessing now are the opening shots of its next phase — the battle for control of the territory and population liberated by the fall of Raqqa and the death of the ISIS “caliphate.”
                                                                                                                                                                               The army of President Bashar Assad seeks to recapture as much lost territory as possible and they have the backing of Russia, Iranian troops, Shiite militia from Iraq and Afghanistan, and Hezbollah.
                                                                                                                                                                                 Assad’s and his allied forces opposing ISIS are now colliding with the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces opposing ISIS, which consist of Arab rebels and the Syrian Kurds of the PYD.
                                                                                                                                                                                   But if America has decided to use its air power to shoot down Syrian planes attacking rebels we support, this could lead to a confrontation with Russia and a broader, more dangerous, and deadly war for the United States.
                                                                                                                                                                                     How would we win such a war, without massive intervention?
                                                                                                                                                                                       Is this where we are headed? Is this where we want to go?
                                                                                                                                                                                  I would say that it is where the globalists/ internationalists/ multi-nationalists want to go. In 2012, Obama mocked Romney for calling Russia a geo-political foe. Yet all we have heard throughout Hillary Clinton's campaign and the months subsequent is the threat that Russia posses. The New York Times reported, for instance, on October 20, 2016:
                                                                                                                                                                                           Hillary Clinton made it abundantly clear Wednesday night that if she defeats Donald J. Trump next month she will enter the White House with the most contentious relationship with Russia of any president in more than three decades, and with a visceral, personal animus toward Vladimir V. Putin, its leader.
                                                                                                                                                                                            “We haven’t seen a you-can’t-trust-these-guys tone like this since the days of Ronald Reagan,” said Stephen Sestanovich, who served in President Bill Clinton’s State Department and is the author of “Maximalist: America in the World from Truman to Obama.” “But even that was more a systemic criticism of the Soviet Union. This is focused on Putin himself.”
                                                                                                                                                                                               In a reversal of political roles, Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic candidate, is the one portraying Mr. Putin as America’s newest archenemy, whose underlings hack into her Brooklyn campaign headquarters, bomb Syrian civilians and threaten Ukraine and NATO allies in Europe. For a woman who presented a big red “reset” button to her Russian counterpart in March 2009 (with the word incorrectly translated into Russian), the change in tone was more striking than ever in her debate with Donald J. Trump.
                                                                                                                                                                                                 She, and the Obama White House, insist they were on the right course until Mr. Putin decided he had more to gain from reviving Cold War tensions than from a quarter-century effort to integrate with the West. Now, much of the Democratic foreign policy establishment has become as hawkish as Mrs. Clinton on the subject of Russia, a view that seems almost certain to outlast the campaign.
                                                                                                                                                                                          • "Incitement to Violence"--City Journal. Key point: "The daily repetition that President Trump is an illegitimate usurper who stole the election through collusion with foreign powers has been a hypnotic incantation in search of an Oswald: a siren call for an assassin."
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Game of thrones: "The Rise of Mohammed bin Salman"--American Interest. King Salman of Saudi Arabia has promoted his 31-year-old son, Mohammed bin Salman, to be next in line to the throne.