Friday, June 16, 2017

June 16, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

"Camping Knots"--Jason Eke (14 min.)
Although there are lots of videos on tying notes, the camera work and general use of a white background on this one made it very easy to see what was being done.


Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:
  • TGIF: This week's Weekend Knowledge Dump from Active Response Training. Links and commentary on dealing with a child that is a psychopath, concealed carry in winter/inclement weather, U.S. knife laws, factors that lead to cops winning a gunfight when ambushed, and a lot more. Check it out.
  • Speaking of knife laws: "Victory!: Governor Abbott signs Texas 'Bowie Bill'"--The Truth About Knives. "[K]nown colloquially as the 'Bowie Bill' [it] removes daggers, dirks, stilettos, poniards, swords, spears and most notably, Bowie knives, from Texas statute, effectively legalizing carry of said knives almost everywhere in the state." Idaho has a very similar law prohibiting the concealed carry of such weapons (apparently adopted from California back in the late 1800s), which has only been partially ameliorated by recent laws (last couple of years) legalizing the concealed carry of any knife with a blade less than 4-inches in length. Interestingly, Idaho's "constitutional carry" law is limited to handguns, and does not extend to knives.
  • "Congress Baseball Shooter Used SKS, 9mm Handgun"--The Truth About Guns. Even though some news outlets are still claiming that the rifle used was an "M-4," it has been established that the weapon used was an SKS. I still see some reports calling it an SKS "assault rifle," which is an oxymoron since the SKS was quite deliberately designed and adopted by the Soviets to not be an assault rifle (which was still in development). Nor, as the TTAG article points out, does it satisfy the definition of "assault weapon" under most states' laws that use the term. Interestingly, the use of specialized "assault" or "storm" troops originated with Germany in 1916 as they attempted to devise new tactics to break the stalemate of the Western Front. The Great War channel has a video on the topic
  • "How to Develop the Situational Awareness of Jason Bourne"--The Art of Manliness. The article discusses situational awareness as the "observe and orient" portion of the OODA loop, particularly the "orient" part--that is, for what we are supposed to be looking. The author goes on to discuss how we should strike to maintain condition "yellow," and put ourselves in a position where we can observe what is happening around us (sitting with your back to the wall, for instance). But the key point is:
The Orient step provides three things to help us achieve situational awareness: 1) baselines and anomalies for our particular environment, 2) mental models of human behavior we should look for, and 3) plans of action depending on our observations.
      The author also suggests that you practice by playing games by analyzing people around you, or attempting to memorize the things you see. He also discusses some general attributes to look for. And, of course, there are many other articles and books out there that discuss specific warning signs, but this article is probably one of the better explanations of situational awareness that I've seen, and I would recommend it.
       However, there is point about situational awareness, and developing it, that I've never seen discussed, but I think it is a good way to develop the basics of situational awareness, which is practicing common courtesy. By that, think of a couple synonyms for a courteous person. We describe them as "considerate" or "thoughtful." But, when you think about those words, they have more with being aware and thinking about what is going around you than just being nice: their roots are, after all, consider and thought. I would contend that if you cannot or do not notice, for instance, that the person following you through the door is carrying a load of heavy boxes (and thus would need the door held for him or her), the footsteps of the person running to catch the elevator (and thus needs the door held open), or that someone just dropped something without noticing it (and thus needs to be alerted), you do not have the situational awareness to recognize and respond to a potential attack. Being "considerate" or "thoughtful" requires not only that you observe what is going around you, but anticipate the needs of those people based on your observations. It is only a short step from being considerate of the needs of others to training yourself to see the person that is acting peculiar or suspicious, or aware of the person(s) rapidly walking up behind you or crossing the street to intercept you, or the person lurking near the ATM machine, etc. So, if you want to develop situational awareness, practice being considerate and thoughtful.
  • "Gear Review: Shield Sights RMS (Reflex Mini Sight)"--The Truth About Guns. A well thought out mini-reflex sight with two really nice features: the battery can be changed without having to remove the sight from its mount (not all mini-reflex sights allow this), and it has a backup rear iron sight as part of its unit, so if you are having to mount this on a firearm using a base that fits into the dovetail for the rear sight, you still can have a backup sight. MSRP is not listed, but the article indicates that pre-orders are $400 at Brownells, so it is not an inexpensive option, unfortunately. 
  • "7.62 NATO vs .308 Winchester Ammo, What’s The Difference?"--Ammo Land. Although commercial .308 is intended to have a higher pressure than 7.62, the 7.62 has thicker case walls (and thus less room for powder) and firearms chambered in 7.62 have a slightly longer head space than those chambered for commercial .308. Ironically, this means that commercial .308 shot through a 7.62 chamber could stretch enough to rupture under certain circumstances.
  • "Descent Into Madness: Intro to Teludyne Tech and the 'Straight Jacket'"--The New Rifleman. The company shaves down your barrel, puts it into an aluminum jacket, and fills the space between the two with a proprietary material that not only put pressure on the outside of the barrel (thus making it stiffer), but also acts as a heat sink. They claim that it substantially increases accuracy and barrel life. The author just got back his barrel and is beginning to test it, but so far found that the accuracy seems to, indeed, be better. 
  • "Contradicting Myself: Revolvers for Non-Shooters"--Revolver Guy. The author was contacted by a reader who had purchased a semi-auto pistol years earlier for self-protection. She took a class, and then sort of forgot about the pistol for a long time. Now she wants to use it, but sent a picture to the author to remind her whether the safety lever pushed up meant that the safety was on, or was off--she couldn't remember. The author writes:
           ... if she can’t remember which way the safety goes, is the gun really making her safer, or just making her feel safer? And what else is she forgetting?
             One seriously doubts that she could unload and clear the weapon if necessary. One further doubts she could employ it to great effect, especially considering she isn’t confident in the two positions of the safety. It is also possible (terrifyingly so) that she has been handling and possibly carrying this single-action semi-auto with the safety disengaged. And we haven’t even addressed the fact that this little aluminum-framed 9mm is a handful. Is this, or any semi-automatic handgun, really the best choice for her?
      From there, he argues that, in this woman's particular case, and for many like her, a revolver (but not a snubby) really is the better choice. 
      • Heh: "Iraq: How I got the Ammo to shoot at the al Qaeda Guy"--Michael Yon. Someone asked how Yon (former military, current journalist) was able to load an empty M-4 and join in the fight during an ambush. He went all "Capt. Kirk versus Gorn" in his reply. Worth the read for a good laugh.


      Other Stuff:
               Anyone looking at this investigation with even a tad of objectivity can see that it has been tainted before it has barely started.  Leave aside the optics (apologies for the already tired cliché) of the close relationship with Comey and the three Democratic donors in key positions.  This leaking is on another level altogether. It is obstruction of justice, in its pure Stalinist form. If I were Robert Mueller, I would be humiliated.  If I were not able to find those leakers and prosecute immediately, I would recuse myself.
                 There is no other way.  With the leakers unpunished, Mueller's decisions will not have convinced half the country of what has been referred to by others as their "fairness." They will only exacerbate an already bad situation.  And that is -- given the dreadfully divided state of our nation at the moment -- a recipe for civil war.
          • Because they don't leave a unique pattern caused by scratches on the glass like a photocopier: "Why Printers Add Secret Tracking Dots?"--BBC News. Discussing the  arrest of Reality Leigh Winner for leaking classified documents, the article notes:
                   At that point, experts began taking a closer look at the document, now publicly available on the web. They discovered something else of interest: yellow dots in a roughly rectangular pattern repeated throughout the page. They were barely visible to the naked eye, but formed a coded design. After some quick analysis, they seemed to reveal the exact date and time that the pages in question were printed: 06:20 on 9 May, 2017 – at least, this is likely to be the time on the printer’s internal clock at that moment. The dots also encode a serial number for the printer.
                     These “microdots” are well known to security researchers and civil liberties campaigners. Many colour printers add them to documents without people ever knowing they’re there.
              They were originally added in order to catch people using color printers to counterfeit money. 
                       The recent spate of murders attributed to the MS-13 gang on Long Island is no accident — but rather the result of a sick directive from higher-ups in El Salvador for bloodshed in the Empire State, law enforcement revealed Thursday.
                         MS-13 honchos in El Salvador have “implemented the ‘New York Program,’ which mandates an increase of violence and bloodshed in New York,” Nassau DA Madeline Singas revealed Thursday.
                    Unfortunately, the article doesn't explain why the gang is increasing violence. Is it simply for purposes of general terrorism?
                             Swearing in fury, the crowd strips the man naked and stomps on his head as he sprawls on the ground.
                               "You want things that come easy? Then take this, you bastard."
                                 In Venezuela, this is what robbers get when they are caught by passers-by.
                                   It is not just the country's economy and political system that are sick, but society itself, experts say. An epidemic of lynchings is one of the most gruesome symptoms.
                              When a nation abandons the basic purposes of government, the people will take on the role of government, including punishing criminals. It reminds me of Glenn Reynolds observation that the police are actually there to protect the criminals from the populace, not the other way around. I suppose that Anonymous Conservative would feel vindicated as this appears a clear case of K-behavior arising during a period of shortage.
                              • "The Western Museum of Antiquities"--Richard Fernandez at PJ Media. Fernandez observes that: "the characteristic of a system in institutional crisis ... is that the right choice is impossible to make. You can't choose the future, only variants of the past." In that regard, he explains:
                                ... The natural impulse of a political system in institutional crisis is to dig in.  Too many institutions in the West remain decades after their birth, frozen in the moment of their creation. NASA, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the university system and the United Nations rule us from the past.  Public life has become a museum of memes from which nothing can escape without a mummy hand dragging the fugitive back into the darkened interior. It is perhaps no coincidence the two most popular leaders of the Western left, Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders, might credibly impersonate Boris Karloff.  They are here to lead us back to 1968.

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