Sunday, August 6, 2017

August 6, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

Garand Thumb (20 min.)

The US Army has released a solicitation for a new 7.62mm infantry rifle to replace the M4. The Interim Combat Service Rifle program, known to be in the works since April of this year, would replace M4 Carbines in use with combat units with a new weapon in the 7.62x51mm caliber. The new solicitation requires companies to submit 7 weapons plus ancillaries for testing, and includes the promise of up to 8 Other Transaction Agreements (OTAs, non-contract transactions), leading to the eventual selection of 1 weapon for a contract of 50,000 units.
The reasoning for this is that current weapons cannot penetrate ceramic armor that might be encountered on the battlefield. As Fitch points out, this reasoning is dubious at best: the 7.62 NATO currently used by the military can't penetrate the same level IV ceramic armor; and the tungsten armor piercing ammunition which is being developed to counter this threat can also be put into a 5.56 mm cartridge. In addition, as Fitch has discussed in depth in numerous other articles, is that the additional weight of 7.62 ammo will significantly reduce the number of rounds that individual soldiers will be able to carry. Now, perhaps the military thinks that it can make this up using polymer cases and/or exoskeleton equipment. But Fitch, probably correctly, believes that the real reasoning has to do with money; in particular, the industry has been pushing a return to a 7.62mm rifle because a contract for such a weapon will be exclusive--i.e., unlike the M-16/M-4 system, which intellectual property is wide open, a 7.62mm rifle will probably involve new patents.
            Service is being restored after widespread mobile and landline phone service outages affected customers, emergency operations and airports across parts of eastern Canada.
              Bell confirmed that services were back online in a statement on Friday afternoon after a “major service outage” affected internet, TV, wireless and landline phones in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland.
                The outage was caused when major fibre network links were cut during third-party construction in two separate locations, Bell spokesman Marc Choma confirmed.
                  “We are still investigating how the fibre cuts happened with those involved,” Choma told CTV News.
            There had been some speculation that the outage was related to solar activity, but that apparently is not the case.

            Other Stuff:
            •  "Everyone thinks he was whacked"--Buzz Feed. Back in 2015, Mikhail Lesin--Vladimir Putin’s former media czar--was found dead only hours before he was supposed to meet with FBI officials. The official cause of death was blunt force trauma to his head, neck and torso due to accident: according to the medical examiner, Lesin was drunk and stumbled around his hotel room hitting things until he died from his injuries. But, according to the article, "the two FBI agents — as well as a third agent and a serving US intelligence officer — said Lesin was actually bludgeoned to death. None of these officials were directly involved in the government’s investigation, but they said they learned about it from colleagues who were." What's more, the article cites sources who believe that the Russians have killed many others in the U.K. and U.S. 
            • The coming Ice Age: "German Scientists Claim Climate Change Is Cyclical"--Global Warming Policy Forum. The full research article is here. Basically, however, the researchers identified that global warming and cooling follow several cycles, including a 60 year cycle. They believe that these cycles explain why temperatures have plateaued over the past 15 years, and predict that temperatures will drop in the coming decades. 
            • While we are on the subject of global warming, I would note the Australia has been seeing record low temperatures and record high snow falls over the last few weeks:
                     In 1940, my father, already in the British Army in which he was to spend 6½ years, was stationed on the English Channel at Folkstone, looking right at Dunkirk. Years later, reading about the German plans for Operation Sea Lion, the invasion of England, I realized he was right where paratroopers were to land and asked him what kind of resistance his unit would have been able to mount.
                       He said: “They would have had to give us rifles.”
                         The Germans never came—but Britain was invaded anyway. By 1990, when my father died, he was bitterly in agreement with Pringle’s interviewees: it wasn’t worth it.
                             My considered reaction to Dunkirk: People should be hung from lampposts—they should be burned alive—for what they’ve done to Britain.
                    The "Pringle interviewees" he refers to are from author Nicholas Pringle's 2009 questions to veterans about whether their sacrifice was worth it.  An article on the topic relates:: 
                              But was it worth it? Her answer - and the answer of many of her contemporaries, now in their 80s and 90s - is a resounding No. 
                                They despise what has become of the Britain they once fought to save. It's not our country any more, they say, in sorrow and anger.

                          * * *

                                    Many [who responded to Pringle's inquiry] are bewildered and overwhelmed by a multicultural Britain that, they say bitterly, they were never consulted about nor feel comfortable with. 
                                      'Our country has been given away to foreigners while we, the generation who fought for freedom, are having to sell our homes for care and are being refused medical services because incomers come first.'
                                       Her words may be offensive to many - and rightly so - but Sarah Robinson defiantly states: 'We are affronted by the appearance of Muslim and Sikh costumes on our streets.' 
                                • "Trying to Make Sense of The Opioid 'Epidemic'" (Part 1) (Part 2)--Silicon Greybeard. In Part 1, the author looks at some of the "scare" statistics being bandied about, and notes that the per capita prescription rates for the states listed as being in a crises are not out of line with what you would expect, stating: "I think 'less than 4% of the population being treated for an injury or recovering from surgery' on any given day sounds pretty normal." However, it is not as scary sounding as "433 pain pills for every man, woman and child" in West Virginia. In Part II, the author gets cynical, and notes at the same time as everyone is suddenly pushing for all first responders (and many others) to carry naloxone (to treat overdoses), the price of the drug has gone up at least 17 fold in the last few years. He also points out that:
                                         ... But the heroin overdose problem is not the myth that it's prescription drugs and it's entirely possible that a bump in heroin deaths is being exploited all the way around.
                                              Invoking the specter of prescription drugs being used improperly appears to be an attempt to lump heroin and prescription drugs together as one massive problem which makes people who are taking prescription drugs for post-surgery pain afraid of becoming addicts or overdosing.  They're different problems. 
                                             In his weekly televised show, the unpopular socialist leader condemned the attackers as "mercenaries". He said around 20 armed men had entered the Fort of Paramacay near Valencia, about two hours west of capital Caracas, before dawn, surprising guards and making straight for the weapons cache.
                                                Two of the attackers were killed in a firefight with soldiers, Maduro said. Socialist party officials said eight others were arrested, including at least three from the military, while the remainder made off with weapons.
                                                  "Those who escaped are being actively searched for, and we are going to capture them," Maduro said.
                                                   AFRICA is giving nothing to anyone outside Africa — apart from AIDS and new disease. Even as we see African states refusing to take action to restore something resembling civilisation in Zimbabwe, the Begging bowl for Ethiopia is being passed around to us out of Africa, yet again. It is nearly 25 years since the famous Feed The World campaign began in Ethiopia, and in that time
                                                     Ethiopia’s population has grown from 33.5 million to 78+ million today. So, why on earth should I do anything to encourage further catastrophic demographic growth in that country? Where is the logic? There is none.
                                                       To be sure, there are two things saying that logic doesn’t count. One is my conscience, and the other is the picture, yet again, of another wide-eyed child, yet again, gazing, yet again, at the camera, which yet again, captures the tragedy of children starving.
                                                         Sorry. My conscience has toured this territory on foot and financially. Unlike most of you, I have been to Ethiopia; like most of you, I have stumped up the loot to charities to stop starvation there. The wide-eyed boy-child we saved, 20 years or so ago, is now a low IQ, AK 47-bearing moron, siring children whenever the whim takes him, and blaming the world because he is uneducated, poor and left behind. There is no doubt a good argument why we should prolong this predatory and dysfunctional economic, social and sexual system but I do not know what it is.
                                                   He goes on:
                                                         Meanwhile, Africa’s peoples are outstripping their resources, and causing catastrophic ecological degradation. By 2050, the population of Ethiopia will be 177 million; the equivalent of France, Germany and Benelux today, but located on the parched and increasingly Protein-free wastelands of the Great Rift Valley. So, how much sense does it make for us actively to increase the adult population of what is already a vastly over-populated, environmentally devastated and economically dependent country?

                                                         How much morality is there in saving an Ethiopian child from starvation today, for it to survive to a life of brutal circumcision, poverty, hunger, violence and sexual abuse, resulting in another half-dozen such wide-eyed children, with comparably jolly little lives ahead of them. Of course, it might make you feel better, which is a prime reason for so much charity!
                                                   And as for Somalia? He describes that area (country is probably too much) as "another fine land of violent, AK 47-toting, khat-chewing, girl-circumcising, permanently tumescent layabouts, and housing pirates of the ocean. Indeed, we now have almost an entire continent of sexually hyperactive, illiterate indigents, with tens of millions of people who only survive because of help from the outside world or allowances by the semi-communist Governments they voted for, money supplied by lending it from the World Bank!"

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