Thursday, July 27, 2017

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

"Home Invaders Stopped by Armed Home Owner"--Active Self Protection (5 min.)
The homeowner was enjoying an evening on his patio when 3 robbers decided to make their entrance. The homeowner reacted very aggressively, throwing a chair at the robbers before they even get within view of the camera, then using a length of 2x4, and finally running into his house to get a machete. I got a chuckle that only after the robbers had fled or subdued, the owner's little dog finally makes his appearance. You can read a local news account of the incident here.


Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:
  • "Choosing Body Armor: Is Steel Armor Worth Your Money?"--The Firearms Blog. A brief overview of steel plates, what is generally meant by "Level III+," and the pros and cons as compared to ceramic plate. Basically, the pros are price and that steel plate doesn't necessarily need replacement if you get shot (the ceramic will continue to protect you, but it will likely have shattered or splintered). Weight is somewhat of a draw: Level III steel plate weighs more than Level III made from other materials, but Level IV ceramic is about the same weight as Level III+ coated steel plate.
  • "Accurate 5744 Powder Review – Made & Distributed by Accurate Arms"--Ammo Land. The author reviews this powder, which intended for reduced loads in large rifle cases and large magnum pistols shooting heavy bullets. The author found it useful even in more modern rifle calibers for use with heavy bullets. It uses very small amounts of powder for the cartridge: for instance, the author used between 13 and 17 grains of powder under a 220 grain bullet for .30-06, and between 10 and 12.5 grains for various 7.62x39mm loads. It appears, based on the review, to generally give consistent velocities notwithstanding air space in the cartridge. 
  • "The ship captain's medical guide"--The UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The guide is for layman to use. It is available for download at the link listed: there are 14 PDFs, each corresponding to a chapter or appendix.
  • "Improvised Trauma Gear: What’s In Your Range Bag?"--The Loadout Room. Some items you can use as improvised tourniquets (e.g., a bore snake), and some suggestions as to other first-aid trauma gear to carry. The author writes:
           There are plenty of ways to improvise tourniquets when you’re in a pinch. Think of what’s in your range bag already. Bore snakes, rifle or shotgun slings, anything else you can use to tie around the extremity. Throwing a few first aid bandages or cravats in your range bag is also an inexpensive alternative. The next thing you need is a windlass. A cleaning rod, a strong enough twig or stick, something cylindrical that won’t break.
              Tie the tourniquet around the extremity that is bleeding uncontrollably. Place the tourniquet as high as possible. This ensures maximum pressure against the artery. After you have secured the tourniquet, take the windlass and tie it on top of the knot you made on the tourniquet. Twist the windlass until bleeding stops.
                Using the remainder tabs from the tourniquet knot, secure the windlass in place. It’s important to remember that if the bleeding begins again or if the tourniquet comes loose, DO NOT REMOVE IT!!! If this happens, just add another tourniquet ABOVE the existing one.
                 I was fortunate enough to thoroughly test the Leupold LTO Tracker over the course of a few months and test it under a variety of scenarios, including one severe snowstorm and no less than a dozen major thunderstorms. It worked flawlessly. ... Through the downpour from the massive thunderstorms we experienced in the Midwest this spring, I could see the heat signature of a neighbor who made a mad-dash run to his car or another standing on the porch, smoking a cigarette. Both were easily 100 yards away.
                   On a camping trip, several of us were camped out in hammocks and a few more in tents. While you couldn't see a definitive "human" heat signature from the hammocks or the tents, you could easily tell which ones were occupied and which ones were not, and it was evident who had gotten up in the middle of the night to answer the call of nature. You could watch these individuals walk back into camp and even tell who it was within 25 yards. This is a tool every back-country camper, especially those who trek into bear country, would find simply invaluable. 
                     In one test, I held my hand flat against an interior wall for 30 seconds and was able to get a heat-signature reading for 5 minutes. I know because I timed it. The Leupold LTO Tracker will pick up footprints on hardwood floor. A bare foot registered longer than a heavily soled boot, but that is something to think about with regards to wondering if someone is in your house in the middle of the night. 

                * * *

                          It was also run through actual field use by our private intelligence firm. When we used it on surveillance, it allowed us to judge just how long a vehicle had been parked, based on the heat coming off of the brakes and the engine. The brakes would cool down first, usually glowing less and less within a half hour, while an engine would stay hot for a couple of hours. Metal that has cooled down completely, especially well after dark, gives off a negative heat signature. 
                             While the Leupold LTO Tracker is a monocular, it's also an extended eye-relief device, which means you don't press it to your eye to see out of it. I hear the tactical gods crying already "Now your face is backlit, and the bad guy can see you!" Well, not really. My business partner and I gave that particular issue the once-over one night on a two-man surveillance. Sitting in my vehicle and he in his, he could not see any discernible back-lighting issues from across the street. Even if one of the color palettes available on the device did appear to give too much of a backlighting issue, there are more to choose from. We found that the White Highlight setting gave off the most backlighting, the Red setting gave off none. In total there are six color palettes to choose from, ranging from White Hot, Black Highlight, Green, Red, Black Hot, and White Highlight. Not one of them was altogether superior, though I found Green to be the setting I used most, while the White Highlight setting was my least preferred. 

                    Other Stuff:
                           None of this is a surprise for those who see the world through honest and open eyes. In a speech in April 2016, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (at the time he was merely a retired general) said the U.S. should recognize Iran not as a nation-state but “a revolutionary cause devoted to mayhem…”
                              He added, “The Iranian regime, in my mind, is the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East. For all of ISIS and AQI’s –AQ –al-Qaida’s mention everywhere right now, they’re (Iran) an immediate threat. They’re serious.”
                               Indeed, the ayatollahs are serious and enduring. They seriously want to pursue global revolution, they seriously want a nuclear bomb to promote and protect that revolution, and they seriously want the money and time to build their nuclear arsenal.
                                  Yet former President Barack Obama claimed the ayatollah regime could be trusted to observe the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that would assure not quite peace for our time but maybe possibly let’s hope delay Iran’s nuclear weapons program for 10 years—and maybe in the interim create a middle class and maybe moderate Tehran’s behavior and maybe possibly until November 2016 distract American media from Obama’s grand foreign policy failures in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Korea and the South China Sea.
                          • As you may know, Imran Awan, a Pakistani IT specialist, had been employed by several House Democrat members as an IT assistant or aide. He was, however, discovered to have been defrauding the government in various ways, and inappropriately accessing data on the House of Representative's network. It is believed that he may have accessed classified information. His wife had previously fled to Pakistan, but he continued to work for Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D) until recently arrested when he tried to flee the country. The Miami Herald reports that "[h]e made $164,000 in 2016 and $170,000 in 2015, according to congressional payroll records." And his attorney released a statement saying, in part, that the reason Awan's wife had returned to Pakistan was because "he and his wife were both abruptly and unjustly fired, leaving them without a reliable source of income to pay typical U.S. living expenses[.]" Yet, according to The Daily Caller, Awan "was arrested Monday attempting to board a flight to Pakistan after wiring $283,000 from the Congressional Federal Credit Union to that country." Seems a substantial amount for someone "without a reliable source of income." 
                          • "Ancient DNA offers clues to the Canaanites’ fate"--Science News. From the article:
                                   Researchers reconstructed the genomes of the 3,700-year-old remains of five Canaanites unearthed in Sidon. Comparisons of these genomes with those of other ancient Eurasian peoples indicate that Canaanite ancestry was split roughly 50-50 between the early farmers who settled the Levant and immigrants of Iranian descent who arrived later, between 6,600 and 3,550 years ago.
                                       “You’d need a lot of migration for roughly half of the population to be replaced by the incoming Iranian-related populations,” says Iosif Lazaridis, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School who was not involved in the study. “This must have been some important event in the history of the Near East.” One possibility is the spread of the Akkadian Empire, which controlled a region spanning from the Levant to Iran between 4,400 and 4,200 years ago. That connection may have presented the opportunity for interbreeding between these far-flung populations.
                                        The researchers also determined that modern Lebanese people can attribute about 93 percent of their ancestry to the Canaanites. The other 7 percent comes from Eurasians who probably arrived in the Levant 3,700 to 2,200 years ago. Study coauthor Chris Tyler-Smith, a geneticist at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, England, was surprised by how much Canaanite heritage dominated modern Lebanese DNA. He says he expected to see a more mixed gene pool because so many populations have crossed through the Levant in the last few thousand years.
                                  This should not be too surprising: invasions often only replace the people at the top, but the lower classes (e.g., the peasants) often continue on as before. An example of this was the Norman invasion of England, which didn't see Norman's displace the native populations, but simply replace or supplant the upper classes. Moreover, as another article on this same research notes, the genetics tell us nothing about the culture: it is possible that the Israelites of the time were genetically similar to the Canaanites. 
                                  • "USS Constitution, newly restored, is returning to the water"--Fox News. The ship just finished a 2-year restoration. The article indicates that "[t]he ship enters dry dock about every 20 years for below-the-waterline repairs," and the most recent work included replacing 100 hull planks and installing 2,200 new copper sheets. The copper sheets are intended to prevent or minimize the buildup of barnacles which would, of course, add considerable drag to the hull. 

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