Friday, August 17, 2018

August 17, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

"Max Talk 035: Survive a Gunfight: Use of Cover"--Max Velocity Tactical (25 min.)
The title of this video is self-explanatory. MV begins, though, on addressing some criticism of his video on why the lone wolf will die (fire and movement), and why he didn't make more use of cover. You can listen to MV's explanation, but I think it is pretty plain: MV was teaching that if you are on your own, rapidly trying to move from one position to another in order to break contact (i.e., retreating) you will have to run which means turning your back toward the enemy, during which time you can't employ suppressive fire. This is true whether you are moving from an open firing position to another, or moving from a place of cover to another. That was the lesson for that video--not how to use cover. 

      In any event, the article is mostly about Correia and his philosophy toward self-defense, but it also has some comments from Correia boiling down certain points he has learned from his study of defensive shootings, including:
  • He used to carry more than one gun on his person, plus a spare mag in case he needed to reload. But in his study of violent encounters, he has seen zero emergency reloads and zero uses of a backup gun (or bug, in gun lingo), so he seldom carries extra mags anymore and has stopped carrying an extra gun altogether. He replaced them with a first-aid kit—which he has used twice, once to save a life—and pepper spray, which he has used twice to defend himself against stray dogs.
  • Overwhelmingly, the lesson of his videos is to avoid violence in the first place. “The answer to most social violence is: Check your ego,” he told me. Give up your valuables. Don’t kill to save your car, and don’t die to save your wallet. Don’t play “the monkey game,” an escalating display of dominance, often but not always between two drunk men. Many of the videos take place at ATMs or in what he calls “transitional spaces,” such as convenience stores and parking lots. He enumerated for me his “rules of stupid”: “Don’t do stupid things with stupid people at stupid times.”
  • I've posted this before, but it seems to fit here as well and is a good reminder: "Analysis of Five Years of Armed Encounters (With Data Tables)"--Guns Save Lives. This 2012 article reports on an analysis made of incidents reported in 1997 – 2001 in the "Armed Citizen" column of American Rifleman. It summarizes certain facts to be gleaned from those reports, including the location, type of crime, number of shots fired, number of assailants, and so on. Sort of in line with what Correia reported, this study indicated: "Reloading was required in only 3 incidents. One of those involved killing an escaped lion with a .32 caliber revolver, which was eventually successful after 13 shots." Another point:
Incidents rarely occurred in reaction time (i.e., ¼ second increments). Most commonly, criminals acted in a shark-like fashion, slowly circling and alerting their intended victims. The defender(s) then had time to access even weapons that were stored in other rooms and bring them to bear.
The shark analogy is interesting because I have noted something similar in many videos, especially when you have a group of unarmed assailants attacking a person. Although, to me, it reminds me of how wolves or dogs will circle prey, dart in and out of range, until one can get a hit on the victim.
  • For the firearms history buff: "The Complete History of the AR-15 Rifle" by Sam Bocetta at the Small Wars Journal.
  • "Holsters for Self Defense: A Guide to Carrying Concealed"--Ammo.com. This is a fairly comprehensive article describing types of holsters, characteristics of good holsters, tips for selecting a holster, comfort tips, retention, and special considerations for women, people with range of motion limitations or chronic pain, and tips for carrying when you are around children.
  • "Eluding Dog Tracking Teams"--LDS Gunsite. The author notes that most anything you will see on TV to elude a tracking dog and team will not work in the real world. An excerpt:
       One of the most important things you can do is to get distance between you and the trackers. I know that seems pretty obvious, but some think they can double back or hide and that is a good way to get caught. Travel through difficult terrain. The idea is to tire the dog and handler out. Most handlers aren’t young guys. They are seasoned officers with maybe a few more years (and pounds) than the average rookie. Dogs are not built for endurance. They are also not very good climbers. Taking rocky, up-hill or mountain routes can aid in getting distance between you and your trackers. Crossing water does not do any good. Unless you have found a way to cross a larger, unpassable water source, water won’t help you much. It’s not your odor the dog is tracking, it’s your dead skin. We are almost constantly shedding skin cells. That is what the dog smells.
           One trick could be coating the body in petroleum jelly so as to not leave any skin cells for the dog to trace.
             Another trick would be to get a small bucket of water that you have washed your skin with, create a small drip hole in the bottom and attach it to a moving vehicle or a small raft made with sticks to throw the scent off.
              Remember that the dog has great senses, but it’s the handler that makes decisions. Make several sharp and large direction changes causing the handler to doubt his dog and call off the search. It’s easier to fool the human rather than the dog.
          He has some other tips, so read the whole thing.

          "Testing GYROJET Rocket Guns - Why were they a commercial failure?"--TAOFLEDERMAUS (23 min.) This is worth watching just for the fact that they actually shoot some Gyrojet rounds.

                   You watch the news and you read the papers and you're led to believe that the world is a big, scary place. People, the narrative goes, are not to be trusted. People are bad. People are evil. People are axe murderers and monsters and worse.
                     I don't buy it. Evil is a make-believe concept we've invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own—it's easier to dismiss an opinion as abhorrent than strive to understand it. Badness exists, sure, but even that's quite rare. By and large, humans are kind. Self-interested sometimes, myopic sometimes, but kind. Generous and wonderful and kind. No greater revelation has come from our journey than this.
                It seems to me that Anne Frank wrote something like this before the Nazis hauled her family and her off to a death camp. The problem is that, even if most people are kind or good at heart, there are enough that are not--some even enjoying hurting other people--that you cannot go through life with your eyes closed, trusting everyone all the time. Yes, not everyone is an ax murderer or monster, yet there are ax murderers and worse. And, unfortunately, you cannot easily tell who is what. 
                • Speaking of monsters: "The Catholic Church’s Rotherham"--National Review. The title is a bit misleading because Rotherham involved far more children over a much shorter period of time. In any event, this is another article on the Pennsylvania grand jury report on sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic church. I'm not going to speak on the specific allegations, other than to note that this is another example of how evil men can, through their secret combinations, infest and cripple a good institution. And, it is an example that predators generally try to be around their prey.
                  The way people match up varies according to how many partners they sense are available—no surprise there. And the number of men, and especially quality men, is declining relative to the number of women, especially for those of college age, when people are primed for pairing off, in the moment and as they march through post-college life.  
                    Note that the decline isn't in men, but in "good" men, where "good" is defined as being in college and seeking degrees. Of all the virtues that women could look for in a man, status and earning capacity ranks at the top. Tellingly, the article notes that with a gender imbalance, women have to compete more, which leads to lots of plastic surgery and slutty behavior. On the other hand:
                      It’s when males are in short supply that men turn promiscuous and spawn babies out of wedlock, and male violence rages: Male-male homicide rates go up; so do sexual assault rates. Men muster little energy for finding a mate and, preferring casual sex, happily engage in multiple relationships, University of Utah anthropologist Ryan Schacht reports in a recent issue of Royal Society Open Science.
                        Yet no discussion of the law of supply and demand.
                                 This mysterious bubble marks the boundary between the solar system and interstellar space and provides a marker for the edge of the sun's influence.
                                   According to the latest findings, the barrier is actually a vast amount of trapped hydrogen atoms caught up in the solar wind of our star.
                                     These produce waves of ultraviolet light in a very distinctive way, which have been detected by the sensors aboard the New Horizons interplanetary space probe.

                              Thursday, August 16, 2018

                              The Realist: "Counterfeit Products"

                              This is a guest post by The Realist:


                              Counterfeit Products

                                     Disclaimer: The following article reflects my personal experience comparing numerous authentic and counterfeit products, and studying various discussions about counterfeit products. This article reflects my unique circumstances, and my subjective observations and opinions. Your mileage may vary. If you have any questions about the legality of owning, using, or selling counterfeit, knockoff, or pirated products, consult with an intellectual property attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction.


                                      This counterfeit product discussion was originally intended to be a brief portion of another article, but it became large enough to merit separate treatment. I will begin this article by discussing the scope and nature of product counterfeiting. Then, I will examine several specific counterfeit products I have encountered in my online buying. And finally, I will discuss some strategies for avoiding the purchase of counterfeit products.

                                      Counterfeiting is big business. International trade in fake goods (both counterfeiting and piracy) is estimated to top $1.7 trillion in 2018, representing approximately 2-percent of all world economic output, and 10-percent of goods sold. In 2017, 89-percent of U.S. Customs and Border Protection seizures of counterfeit goods came from China (48%) and Hong Kong (39%), with the most commonly seized product categories being apparel, watches and jewelry, footwear, and consumer electronics.

                                     Just about any product you can imagine has been counterfeited, including luxury goods, toys, pharmaceuticals, medical instruments, cosmetics, perfume, foodstuffs, automotive parts, aircraft parts, electronic components, chemicals, and machinery.

                                    For purposes of this brief discussion, a "counterfeit" product is one that is nearly identical to the authentic product, is intended to be passed off as the authentic product, and carries the authentic product's trademarks. A "knockoff" is a product that is nearly identical to the authentic product, but does not carry the authentic product's trademarks. There are also fakes that illegally use trademarks on products the trademark owner does not sell - those fakes are outside the scope of this discussion. Closely related to counterfeiting is piracy, which is the illegal copying or distribution of copyrighted works.

                                     A good counterfeit will be difficult to distinguish from the authentic product, especially from the pictures you might see on ebay or some other e-commerce site. Knockoffs are generally "good enough" to fool people not intimately familiar with the authentic product.

                                    Counterfeits and knockoffs will usually be of inferior quality. This inferior quality can just be annoying (e.g. poor fit and finish) or it can result in an unsafe product (e.g. counterfeit pharmaceuticals, counterfeit aircraft parts).

                                     One of my first exposures to known counterfeit products was many years ago via a friend who was a private detective whose clients included a large well known media/entertainment company and several clothing and accessory manufacturers. The counterfeit products he encountered were primarily women's purses and unlicensed apparel (e.g. tee-shirts with printed cartoon characters or sports team insignia). He found these counterfeit products in retail stores, at kiosks in shopping malls, and at large flea markets.

                                     The counterfeit products this friend encountered were of universally inferior quality. The tee-shirts with unlicensed cartoon characters and sports team insignia were made of thin fabric, especially noticeable when compared to the licensed products. The workmanship on the women's purses was passable, but there were minor defects that would have never been allowed on an authentic brand-name purse.

                                     I attend an annual professional conference where there is regularly a presentation discussing counterfeit products. At the most recent conference, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) discussed some of the counterfeit goods they have encountered. This presentation was mostly focused on counterfeit lithium ion battery packs, but it also had a brief discussion about catastrophic failures caused by counterfeit bearings.

                                    Counterfeit lithium ion battery packs have caused fires and serious injuries. The first example presented was large burn on a woman's thigh caused by a counterfeit cell phone battery pack that had caught fire while the woman slept with her cell phone in a pocket - this woman will have a large scar from that burn for the rest of her life. Several examples of fires caused by counterfeit lithium battery packs in hover boards were shown, including one fire that required the evacuation of a shopping mall for several hours. The lithium battery packs lacked critical safety features and had counterfeit UL-listing labels.

                                    Examples of the harm caused by counterfeit bearings included the failure of a front axle of a light truck, and the failure of a jet engine in an aircraft.

                                    CBP will seize shipments of counterfeit goods when they are discovered. This is easier to do when it is a shipping container full of counterfeit goods. It is much more difficult when it is a small parcel containing only one or a few items being shipped into the United States through the mail.

                              Ebay, Amazon and Other E-Commerce Sites

                                     Ebay, Alibaba, and Amazon are all known to be potential sources of counterfeit goods. I have not personally ordered anything through Alibaba, but I have seen counterfeit goods for sale on that site.

                                     Most of my experience with on-line buying is through ebay and Amazon.

                                     There are all kinds of counterfeit products available on ebay. Ebay has policies and penalties to deal with the sale of counterfeit products, however even a cursory search for information about counterfeits on ebay turns up many discussions were buyers reported counterfeit products and ebay did nothing. At best, if a buyer buys a counterfeit product and reports it to ebay, ebay may refund the buyer's money.

                                     There are persistent reports of counterfeit products being sold on Amazon. In some respects, identifying a counterfeit product on Amazon's web site can be more difficult than ebay given the prevalent use of stock product photos. Obviously, the risk is higher when the product is sold and shipped by a third-party affiliate, especially if the product is being shipped from China. It can even be risky when the product is sold by a third-party affiliate but "fulfilled by Amazon." You are not immune to the risk of buying a counterfeit product even when it is "Ships from and sold by Amazon.com."


                              Knockoff (left), counterfeit (center), and authentic (right) Gerber MP600 DET EOD multitool. The counterfeit carries the Gerber trademark. On the counterfeit multitool, the "U.S.A." is laser etched, whereas it is stamped into the side of the authentic multitool. Note that the pivot screws are different between the counterfeit and authentic multitools - pivot screws on the counterfeit have a center hole for a hex key/bit.

                              Knockoff (left), counterfeit (center), and authentic (right) Gerber MP600 DET EOD multitool with the individual tools and blades fanned out. The knockoff and counterfeit have the same set of tools and blades, while the authentic multitool has the RemGrit blade (shown removed from multitool in lower inset). The knockoff and counterfeit multitools also use flat slider spring clips (upper inset, top) to hold the pliers head to the handles, while the authentic multitool uses slider spring clips with a shallow wave to improve head movement (upper inset, bottom).

                              Counterfeit and Knockoff Multitools

                                     This article got its start from observing a knockoff Gerber multitool being sold on ebay.

                                     I have seen knockoff and counterfeit Gerber multitools and counterfeit Leatherman Tread multitool bracelets being sold on ebay. There are also a fair number of what appear to be counterfeit keychain multitools being sold on ebay, but these tools are outside the scope of this discussion.

                                     Beyond what I just mentioned, I have not been able to identify any other counterfeit/knockoff multitool listings on ebay. This statement should not be construed to suggest that there are not other counterfeit/knockoff multitool listings on ebay.

                                     I have not had an opportunity to physically examine and compare authentic and counterfeit/knockoff Leatherman Tread multitool bracelets. However, I have been able to physically compare a common counterfeit/knockoff Gerber multitool, the Gerber MP600 DET (Demolition Explosion Tool) EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal).

                                     For reasons I do not understand, Chinese manufacturers are making knockoffs and counterfeits of the Gerber MP600 DET EOD, instead of the more useful non-DET-EOD version of the MP600. I have seen Chinese ebay sellers, and an Amazon affiliate seller probably located in China, selling these knockoffs and counterfeits.

                                     The Gerber MP600 DET EOD multitool is designed for use by military combat engineers. In addition to several screwdriver bits, a partially serrated knife blade with a straight edge, a file, a can opener, and pliers, it has a blasting cap crimper, and a sharp punch for making holes in blocks/sticks of explosives for inserting a blasting cap or detonation cord. It also has a "RemGrit" replaceable saw blade.

                                     The knockoff Gerber MP600 DET EOD is unbranded, lacks the RemGrit saw, has a slightly different tool mix, the edge of the knife blade is curved like early versions of the MP600 DET EOD, and the multitool is painted black instead of having a black-oxide finish. It was one-tenth the price of the authentic product.

                                     As of this writing, there is one Chinese seller who is selling new counterfeit Gerber MP600 DET EOD multitools. It appears to be the same product as the knockoff I just described, but carries Gerber trademarks, and has "U.S.A." as the country of origin marking laser etched (not stamped like the authentic product) on it. (I have seen pictures of counterfeit versions of the MP600 DET EOD with "U.S.A." stamped into it.) It is selling for one-quarter the price of the authentic product. And, as I was wrapping up this article, I saw a used counterfeit MP600 DET EOD being sold by a domestic ebay seller - I don't believe the seller knows he has a counterfeit.


                              Counterfeit Gerber Knives

                                     For quite a while, I have been aware that some Gerber knives were being counterfeited, which included the Bear Grylls knives. (There are reports of other major knife brands having their knives counterfeited, too.) While Bear Grylls no longer has a major television show and products carrying his name have largely disappeared from the stores, they are still available through Amazon and ebay.

                                    Gerber has provided TheCounterfeitReport.com with information about how to distinguish between three different models of authentic and counterfeit Bear Grylls knives. While that information is helpful, it is not dispositive. There are multiple variants of some knives that are not adequately addressed in Gerber's information.

                                    For this article, I acquired several authentic and counterfeit Bear Grylls "Scout" knives so I could do a detailed comparison. I used Gerber's information on TheCounterfeitReport.com to help select examples.

                                    Unlike many other counterfeit products I've seen on ebay, the Bear Grylls knives did not appear to be significantly discounted relative to the price of an authentic knife. And, unlike sellers of many other counterfeit and knockoff products, most of the sellers of counterfeit Bear Grylls knives appeared to be located inside the US.

                              Three examples of the Gerber Bear Grylls Scout knife: authentic example, one of unsure provenance, and counterfeit example. The authentic knife has distinct steps on the thumb studs, flush screw in the belt clip, and sharp molding of the handle.


                                      The counterfeit Scout knife came with a counterfeit copy of "Bear Grylls Priorities of Survival Pocket Guide," a wilderness survival pamphlet included with every Bear Grylls product. The first thing I noticed was how sloppy the folding was compared to the authentic Pocket Guide. The second thing I noticed was how heavy the Pocket Guide felt - it weighed over 8 grams, compared 4 grams for the authentic Pocket Guide. The counterfeit Pocket Guide was printed on a glossy clay-coated paper that will glue itself together if it ever gets wet, whereas the authentic pocket guide was printed on a waterproof plastic material. The third thing I noticed was the inferior printing quality, including difficult to read topic headings which are white letters on a hatched gray background.

                                     With the knife itself, I observed several noticeable differences: handle molding differences, thumb stud differences, and pocket clip attachment screw differences.

                                     The most obvious difference with the knife was the quality of the molding of the knife's handle. The handle is double-injection molded, with a rigid orange plastic structure over-molded with a soft gray plastic to form the non-slip grip. With the counterfeit knife, the border between the orange and gray plastics is somewhat indistinct compared to the authentic knife. Further, the orange "BG" logo on the handle has "BEAR GRYLLS" molded into it in small characters. In the counterfeit, "BEAR GRYLLS" is shallow and indistinct, while it is deeper and sharp on the authentic knife.

                                     The thumb studs on the blade of the counterfeit knife are comparatively crude, while the thumb studs on the authentic knife have nice distinct steps.

                                     The knife has a pocket clip held on by a couple of screws. On the authentic knife, both Torx screws are flush, while on the counterfeit knife, the screw under the loop of the clip is a pan-head Torx screw.

                                     I also acquired a third example of the Scout knife in blister-pack packaging from Amazon. To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure if I got an authentic knife or a counterfeit knife. The "Bear Grylls Priorities of Survival Pocket Guide" was folded sloppily and printed on glossy clay-coated paper, although the printing quality was better than that of the known counterfeit. The over-molded soft gray plastic had slightly obscured an edge of the "BG" logo, while the "BEAR GRYLLS" molded into the logo was deep and sharp like the authentic product. The thumb studs on the blade looked better than the counterfeit, but were inferior to the known authentic knife. And, the screw under the pocket clip loop was a pan-head screw, instead of being flush like the authentic knife. There were a few other details that suggested to me that it may be an authentic knife. However, if I was forced to make a decision, I would err on the side of caution and consider it a counterfeit.


                              Knockoff (top) and authentic (bottom) Gerber Bear Grylls Parang machete.

                              Knockoff Parang Machete

                                     I have had a Gerber Bear Grylls Parang machete for several years. Recently, I stumbled across an obvious knock-off of the Parang, called the "Necromancer Zombie Killer Parang Machete." The manufacturer may have originally intended to produce a counterfeit, but modified the handle molds to make it less Bear Grylls like, and more zombie-killer like. The place where the "BG" logo was located on the handle was filled in with a crawling zombie figure so the logo area isn't simply an orange rectangle. The two corners on the right side of the rectangle remain slightly rounded like in the original "BG" logo.


                              Counterfeit Swiss Army Knives

                                      As I illustrated in a prior article about buying Swiss Army Knives (SAKs) on ebay (http://practicaleschatology.blogspot.com/2016/10/buying-swiss-army-knives-on-ebay-realist.html), there are a wide variety of knockoff SAKs being sold, and their quality is generally poor.

                                     I have seen credible reports of counterfeit SAKs being sold on ebay and other e-commerce sites, and I recently encountered a counterfeit SAK being offered by an ebay seller in China. This counterfeit had the Victorinox cross-inside-a-shield logo printed on one of the scales and it came in a nice gift box emblazoned with the Victorinox logo. Beyond the logos, it was a typical poor quality knockoff SAK. Just looking at the pictures on ebay, it might be possible to mistake it for an authentic SAK. However, when inspecting the physical knife, it is obvious that it is a counterfeit.


                              Authentic (real) and counterfeit (fake) Swiss Army knives. The authentic knife has thicker tools, and "OFFICIER SUISSE" and "VICTORINOX SWISS MADE STAINLESS" on the ricasso (base) of the blade. The counterfeit knife has thinner tools and only "STAINLESS" on the ricasso.

                                     Authentic Victorinox knives carry a distinctive logo with a cross inside a shield and are marked "VICTORINOX SWISS MADE STAINLESS" and "OFFICIER SUISSE" on the ricasso (base) of the main blade. (The small SD Classic SAK may say "VICTORINOX SWITZERLAND STAINLESS ROSTFREI" on the ricasso, and will omit "OFFICIER SUISSE".) "Authentic Wenger knives carry a similar logo with a cross inside a shield and are marked "Wenger" on the ricasso of the main blade. Knockoff SAKs will frequently have some kind of logo on the scales, and simply say "Stainless" or "Stainless China" on the ricasso of the main blade.

                                     Most SAKs are composed of multiple blades with interspersed dividers riveted together. However, authentic SAKs have thicker blades and tools than the knockoff knives. The thinner blades and tools of the knockoff SAKs can be identified in most product pictures.


                              Counterfeit Fuses

                                     A couple of years ago, I wanted a spare fuse for my Fluke multimeter. My multimeter uses a type of fuse known as a High Rupturing Capacity (HRC) fuse, which incorporates several safety features to reduce the risk of injury if the fuse blows. Using an authentic fuse is important for the safe operation of that multimeter.

                                     The local store I first tried to buy the fuse from was out of stock, so I ordered a fuse through Amazon. I wasn't paying attention and ended up ordering it from an Amazon affiliate in China. When I received the fuse, it didn't quite look right. But, there was nothing I could point to that strongly indicated it was a counterfeit. I ended up buying additional fuses through a trusted electronics distributor, and through the local store which finally had them back in stock.

                              Counterfeit (left) and authentic (right) Bussmann multimeter fuses. The authentic fuse has BUSSMAN and the fuse type stamped into one of the end caps.
                                     I believe I got a counterfeit fuse from that Amazon affiliate. It lacked the "BUSSMANN" brand name and fuse type stamped into one of the end caps as found on the authentic fuses, and the crimping of the end caps was different from the authentic fuses. The labels looked the same, and the counterfeit fuse had the same weight and internal resistance as the authentic fuses. The authentic fuses are made in Mexico, and label on the counterfeit fuse also says it was made in Mexico.

                                     It seems rather odd that a Chinese seller would be selling products to US consumers that were made in Mexico.


                              Counterfeit Game Cartridges

                                     If you or your children are into retro-gaming, it is likely you will eventually end up on ebay buying game consoles and game cartridges.

                                     Counterfeit video game cartridges are common on ebay. Externally, some of these counterfeit cartridges are very convincing. The software contained in these counterfeit cartridges is obviously pirated.

                                     These counterfeit game cartridges are generally identified as "reproductions" in the ebay listing title, but relying on the honesty of the seller is not sufficient to distinguish between authentic and counterfeit game cartridges.

                                     Counterfeit Nintendo Game Boy cartridges are fairly easy to spot in photos. At the top of the cartridge, in the finger groove the authentic cartridge says "Nintendo GAME BOY," while the counterfeit only says "GAME." The fit and finish of the counterfeit cartridge is also inferior, with uneven seams where the two halves of the cartridge meet.

                                     Counterfeiters of Nintendo Game Boy Advance cartridges have improved their product to eliminate many of the external differences people have reported finding to distinguish authentic and counterfeit game cartridges. Today there are only a couple of very minor external distinguishing differences between authentic and counterfeit game Game Boy Advance cartridges - the font for "GAME BOY ADVANCE" text at the top of the cartridge is thicker on the authentic cartridge (even this difference is being mitigated by the counterfeiters), and a two digit production code is stamped into the paper label on the authentic cartridge. However, the only sure way to tell if a game cartridge is authentic or counterfeit is to disassemble the cartridge to examine the printed circuit board (PCB) inside the cartridge.

                              Authentic (far left) and counterfeit (center left) Pokemon Red cartridges for the Nintendo Game Boy. Authentic (center right) and counterfeit (far right) Legend of Zelda cartridges for the Nintendo Gameboy Advance.
                                     It is also worth noting that there are many "multi-carts" being sold on ebay. A multi-cart is a game cartridge containing a library of games. Sometimes, the cartridge will contain dozens or hundreds of games, and sometimes the cartridge will only contain a handful of games from a particular series/franchise. These multi-carts contain pirated software.

                                     In my experience with these counterfeit video game cartridges, about half of them require some adjustments - typically the PCB doesn't fit quite right in the cartridge housing - to get them to insert properly into the game console.


                              Counterfeit USB Flash Drives and SD Cards

                                     I would be remiss if I didn't briefly discuss counterfeit USB flash drives and SD cards (including micro-SD cards). Counterfeit USB flash drives and SD cards are so prevalent that I would never consider buying either of these products through ebay. I would cautiously buy them from Amazon, but only if it is "Ships from and sold by Amazon.com." They are generally safe to buy if in unopened original packaging from a brick-and-mortar retailer - it is too easy for someone to buy an authentic item, then replace it with a counterfeit before returning it to the retailer to get a refund.

                                     Counterfeit USB flash drives and SD cards are typically low capacity devices reprogrammed to report a much larger capacity. Then, when data is written to these devices, they will soon start overwriting previously written data, resulting in the loss or corruption of data. There are utilities to test the actual capacity of USB flash drives and SD cards. They accomplish the test by filling up the device to its stated capacity, then reading back the data to verify its integrity - very time consuming.

                                     I have seen counterfeit USB flash drives and SD cards sold on Amazon. The counterfeit devices were claiming astonishing storage capacities for very modest prices, and were either unbranded or unrecognized brands.


                              Avoiding Knockoffs and Counterfeits

                                     Above, I have discussed several specific counterfeit products I have personally encountered and had an opportunity to examine in detail.

                                     Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way to avoid counterfeit/knockoff products when buying on ebay, Amazon, or some other e-commerce site. However, there are several strategies you can employ to reduce the risk of unknowingly buying a counterfeit/knockoff product.

                                     First, is the price significantly lower that the price you are expecting to pay for the product? Counterfeiters rely on the greed of the buyer to entice them into buying the lower-priced counterfeit.

                                     A high price does not guarantee a genuine product, as discussed above with the Bear Grylls knives. Similarly, a low price does not guarantee a counterfeit. I have personally purchased deeply discounted authentic products being clearanced by a retailer. Many retailers will sell customer returns (open packages that can no longer be sold as new) in bulk to people who will then inspect and resell those products through ebay or at flea markets.

                                     Second, does the product look right? This question has two parts: 1) Do you have a sufficiently detailed knowledge of the product you intend to purchase, including its features and appearance? 2) Is the packaging, trademarks, and other trade dress attributes consistent with those of the manufacturer?

                                     You need to be knowledgeable about the product you intend to purchase. First to help identify counterfeits, and second to avoid misidentified products being offered online - this is a problem I see regularly on ebay. For new-in-package items, you need to be familiar with how the product can be packaged. This gets complicated when the manufacturer updates their packaging. For example, the early Bear Grylls products were packaged in blister packs with a picture of Bear Grylls from his <i>Man vs. Wild</i> program printed on the package. Later Bear Grylls products were packaged in a blister pack consistent with the trade dress of other Gerber cutlery products - prominent Gerber trademarks in orange on a hatched dark grey background - with Bear Grylls only mentioned secondarily as part of the product description. Further, Gerber also sold Bear Grylls knives in simple boxes to knife dealers where their inventory would always be locked up.

                                     Third, are you buying from an authorized retailer/distributor? Many manufacturers have established distribution channels for getting their products to market. These channels minimize the risk of counterfeit products being sold which could harm the manufacturer's good will and reputation. This gets real muddy with the pervasiveness of on-line retailers, such as Amazon and Walmart, who will let just about anybody sell products though their web sites.

                                     Fourth, is a product that was only manufactured many years ago being offered as "new" today? The product can be "new-old-stock" - an authentic product - where a small inventory of the product was found in the back of a warehouse or otherwise squirreled away. New-old-stock is legitimate, but you will likely not be able to get support from the manufacturer, or the product may have deteriorated in some manner and may not perform as designed. The product might also be newly manufactured counterfeit products, such as those "reproduction" video game cartridges I described above.

                                      Fifth, pay attention to the location of your seller/retailer. There are a lot of truly interesting legitimate products being sold by Chinese sellers, such as the Audiomax SR-202 radio I reviewed in the past (http://practicaleschatology.blogspot.com/2015/02/the-realist-ultra-portable-radios.html). At the same time, there are a lot of counterfeit products coming out of China. Ebay generally tells you were a seller is located, but Amazon does not. One indication I have found to identify a Chinese seller on Amazon is to look at the estimated delivery date. A delivery date of a month or so in the future strongly suggests a Chinese seller.


                              Conclusion

                                      This article has only scratched the surface on the topic of counterfeiting. I began this article by discussing the scope and nature of product counterfeiting. I then examined several specific counterfeit products I have encountered in my online buying. And finally, I presented some strategies for avoiding the purchase of counterfeit products.

                                     If you are a prepper or otherwise try to prepare for emergencies, you need to be doubly careful to avoid counterfeit products. You don't want to discover that you purchased a counterfeit product when you try to use it in the middle of an emergency, and it fails to perform.

                                    Caveat emptor. Be a careful and knowledgeable shopper.

                              ---------

                              Resources:


                              Gerber MP600 DET EOD product page:

                              A forum thread showing numerous Leatherman knockoffs:

                              A forum thread about the counterfeit Gerber MP600 DET EOD:

                              Extended discussion about counterfeiting and counterfeit consumer goods:

                              Economic impact of counterfeiting:

                              U.S. Customs and Border Protection resources:

                              Information about a wide variety of counterfeit products:

                              GAO report on counterfeit goods, GAO-18-216, "Intellectual Property: Agencies Can Improve Efforts to Address Risks Posed by Changing Counterfeits Market":

                              QOTD: On Women and Abortions

                              "Just as David sent Bathsheba’s husband off to get slaughtered to hide his sexual sins, women send their innocent kids off to the slaughter to hide their sexual sins."

                              --from "The Sin of Pedestalizing Women" at Mormon Red Pill.

                              Wednesday, August 15, 2018

                              Book Review: "The Sword of Michael" by Marcus Wynne

                              Book: The Sword of Michael (Depossessionist) by Marcus Wynne (288 pages).

                                    I'm going to go off the beaten track a bit here and review a fiction book that is not post-Apocalypse or post-SHTF (although it could be considered, perhaps, a pre-Apocalypse story!). Just for some background, I do not consider myself to be a fan of modern fantasy (i.e., a fantasy story in a modern setting). I have enjoyed Larry Correia's Monster Hunter International series, but had mixed reactions to Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series, Patricia Brigg's books, and those from a few other authors that I have tried.

                                    I think the reason I prefer the Monster Hunter books over most modern fantasy is that they are straight up adventure or action, taking into account how powerful modern weapons can be against traditional monsters. In short, there is a lot of gun action by someone that knows guns. This is in contrast to other series that concentrate more on creating a gritty atmosphere than on moving the story forward. Frankly, much of the modern fantasy genre seems to imitate film noir themes and atmosphere, but with magic and monsters thrown into the mix.

                                    Wynne's book is not a pastiche of the Monster Hunter books, but is similar in that it has clearly demarcated "good guys" versus "bad guys." And, it has gun action and fight scenes written by someone that knows guns and fighting.

                                   One of the points that differentiates this book from other modern-fantasy is that rather than "magic", Wynne makes use of spiritualism--mostly Christian spiritualism, but some Native American and other types of mysticism (but which he generally treats as just a different interpretation of Christian spiritualism). Obviously the title of the book comes from the sword wielded by the Arch-Angel Michael, and Christianity shows up in many other parts of the work, both light and dark, as the protagonist, Marius Winter, must travel to a Dante-esque Hell to rescue the woman he loves.

                                   The Christian spiritualism shows up on other ways. Winter's job, at the beginning of the book, is as a dispossessionist--i.e., helping rid people of troublesome spirits. Not so much an exorcist, in forcing the spirits out, but rather encouraging the spirits to "go to the light." In addition, Winter constantly must remind himself to be both meek (that is, submitting to the will of God) and humble (realizing the powers he uses do not come from him, but are gifts from God). In fact, the characters, as a whole, must struggle with comporting themselves with the beatitudes (while maintaining good trigger control) to defeat the forces of evil. The one dissonance is that certain of the characters, including Winter, engage in fornication. But this has been a constant of modern literature since, at least, the early 20th Century.

                                  In short, without disclosing spoilers, this was a fun read with a different take than any other modern fantasy I've read, and certainly more upbeat than most. If you like Correia's Monster Hunter series, I think you will like Wynne's book.

                              Roundup On Handgun Ballistics and Effectiveness

                              This video summarizes and discusses Greg Ellifritz's research into the effectiveness of various weapons in real world encounters. It then speculates as to the effectiveness of .410 buckshot, which I have my doubts about.


                              • "An Alternate Look at Handgun Stopping Power"--Greg Ellifritz at Buckeye Firearms Association (2011). This is Greg's original article describing and analyzing his research into real world shootings, which was used in the video above. Ellifritz conducted his research because of criticisms or concerns of a similar study conducted by Evan Marshall. Specifically, Ellifritz notes his criticism of Marshall's study:
                              For consistency purposes, they ONLY included hits to the torso and ONLY included cases where the person was hit with just a single round. Multiple hits screwed up their data, so they excluded them. This led to an unrealistically high stopping power percentage, because it factored out many of the cases where a person didn't stop! I wanted to look at hits anywhere on the body and get a realistic idea of actual stopping power, no matter how many hits it took to get it. So I started collecting data.
                              The main takeaway from Greg's study is that the popular self-defense cartridges (.380, .38 Special, 9 mm, .357 Mag., .40 S&W, .45 ACP) perform about the same. Although the smaller calibers (.22, .25, and .32) can perform as well as the larger calibers with an accurate hit to a vital zone, their failure rate (i.e., failure to stop an attack) is much higher than the larger calibers. (See also "DEFENSIVE CARRY: CALIBER AND INCAPACITATION"--The Daily Caller. This is a 2013 article by Ellifritz on the same topic, but it raises the point that there are three methods by which an aggressor is stopped by bullet impacts: psychological stop, central nervous system, and blood loss).
                              • "Handgun Ammunition Stopping Power Update"--Evan Marshall (2004). In this article, Marshall summarizes his research of the results of real world shootings. Marshall only focused on one-shot stops. He explains:
                              For the purposes of this study, a “stop” is defined as: 1) one shot to anywhere on the torso, not counting head, neck or extremity shots; 2) where the subject stops shooting, if he was shooting, or stops striking blows, if that is what he was doing; and 3) runs no more than 10 feet, if he runs. This study only deals with what happens in the first few seconds after the shooting, and does not factor in the eventual lethality of the wound or total recovery from the wound.
                              One of the useful features of Marshall's study is that he breaks down his data by particular brands and loads, so, for instance, you can compare Cor Bon versus Gold Dot for the same caliber. Based on his data, the top performers are 9mm, .357 Mag., .357 Sig, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. According to his data, the .32 ACP, .38 Special, and .380 ACP are of similar effectiveness, but much less effective than the top performers.
                              • "The Strasbourg Tests" (PDF). The article explains that "[t]he Strasbourg Tests were initiated on the strength of the premise that briefly amplified systemic pressure of a specific magnitude can cause disorientation and loss of consciousness." The subjects were goats of 155 to 165 pounds. Autopsies were also performed. The key information was the Average Incapacitation Time (AIT) of specific calibers. Per the article, "[a]n animal was deemed 'incapacitated' if it collapsed and was unable to rise to a standing position." There are tables at the end of the report setting out results for specific brands and types of rounds for each caliber. Basic results, looking at overall performance, show that .380 ACP and .38 Special (out of a 2-inch barrel) were about the same; 9 mm, .40 S&W, and .45 APC had comparable performance; and 10 mm and .357 Magnum were fairly comparable. However, there was considerable difference between different rounds for the same caliber that was greater than the difference between the averages between different calibers. In other words, according to this test, bullet design, velocity and power can be as much or more important than caliber (note, however, that all the ammunition tested was .355 or larger).
                              • "Handgun Cartridge Power Chart"--Chuck Hawks. This summarizes findings from ballistic gel tests, Marshall's study, and the Strasbourg goat test.
                              •  "THE MILITARY EFFECTIVENESS OF PISTOL CARTRIDGES: AN ANALYSIS OF THE .45 ACP VERSUS THE 9X19MM IN MILITARY SERVICE"--by Charles Q. Cutshaw at Small Arms Review. This article is probably of more limited use for the civilian shooter because it only looks at the effectiveness of FMJ (Ball) rounds. It is interesting because it discusses the testing conducted by the military prior to the adoption of the .45 ACP. A few other interesting points on wounding:
                                      There are, however, three fundamental mechanisms of injury: laceration/crushing, stress waves and temporary cavitation. Laceration is the primary injury method used by subsonic projectiles and can often be compared to a very deep stab wound. Unless major organs, blood vessels, or bones are struck, the laceration and crushing effect of a nonexpanding bullet is generally not serious.
                                        Stress waves are caused by high velocity bullets forcing their way through tissue, which is some 300% denser than air. As the bullet moves through tissue, it compresses it and forms a spherical shock wave that moves away from the bullet at approximately 1,500m/s. This shock wave lasts only about a millisecond, but reaches a peak overpressure of approximately 100 atmospheres. Tissue inertia precludes any actual movement or transfer, but nerve damage may occur at some distance from the permanent wound cavity. This phenomenon is associated almost exclusively with high-velocity rifle bullets, although a hit by a pistol bullet near the solar plexus or their nerve center might be sufficient to cause incapacitation in that it is similar to a hard punch in that area. This might explain why pre-fragmented low penetration bullets such as those manufactured by Glaser and MagSafe have been claimed to be so effective for quick incapacitation. This is, however, speculation; as there have been no tests known to this writer that attempt to measure the neural shock caused by stress waves induced by a bullet striking near a major nerve center such as the solar plexus. A sharp blow to that area will, however, quickly incapacitate most individuals although there is little or no issue damage.
                                         Temporary cavitation resulting from the impact of a high velocity bullet, however, can cause severe injury. It is rare for a pistol bullet to achieve velocities sufficient to cause severe temporary cavitation; as with stress waves, this phenomenon most often results from the strike of a high velocity rifle bullet. As a bullet enters the body, momentum is transferred to the surrounding tissues, causing them to move and oscillate even after the projectile has passed. This creates a large cavity that may reach over 30 times the diameter of the bullet in extreme cases. The cavity goes through several pulsations in only a few milliseconds before returning to a permanent shape only slightly larger than the permanent wound cavity. The violent oscillations caused by the passage of the bullet are sufficient to damage organs, blood vessels and nerves outside the immediate path of the projectile. Except for one or two magnum cartridges, pistol bullets do not have sufficient velocity or mass to cause the violent temporary cavitation necessary for tissue destruction.
                                          The temporary wound cavity is usually associated with high-powered rifle bullets or certain high-velocity pistol magnum rounds, such as the .357 or .44 magnum. Even these two rounds, however, cause far smaller temporary wound cavities than rifle bullets. With all other pistol bullets, the temporary wound cavity may be as much as ten times the diameter of the permanent wound cavity, but this “...does not exceed the elastic limits of the tissue, and little damage is done outside the bullet path.” In other words, the temporary cavity caused by most pistol bullets does not tear the tissue, as it would if the bullet were from a high-powered rifle - it merely stretches it, whereupon the tissue returns to its approximate original position, less the tissue displaced by the bullet’s passage. The FMJ bullet used for military handguns is the least effective type of pistol ammunition for antipersonnel purposes.
                                            As previously noted, the permanent wound cavity is almost like a knife wound unless the bullet strikes a major organ, blood vessel, or a bone. Otherwise, it will have little serious effect or “stopping power.”
                                        The author concludes that, when using FMJ ammunition, the .45 ACP is superior to the 9 mm, explaining:
                                          The cross sectional area of the .45 ACP 230-grain bullet is .160 square inches; the cross sectional area of the 124-grain 9mm NATO bullet is .0989 square inches. The 9mm possesses only about 62% of the cross sectional area of the .45 ACP. A more traditional method of establishing the effectiveness of a given bullet is its sectional density, the ratio of bullet mass to the square of its diameter. Generally, the higher the sectional density, the better the penetration of the bullet in living tissue. The sectional density of the FMJ 230-grain .45 ACP bullet is .162; for the 124-grain 9mm NATIO bullet, the figure is .144. By this traditional method of establishing a bullet’s terminal effectiveness, the .45 is again superior to the 9mm when both projectiles are of the FMJ type. By any mathematical calculation, given equal penetration, the .45 ACP bullet will create an approximately 40% greater permanent would cavity volume than a 9x19mm bullet. These mathematical predictions are borne out by actual testing, such as the FBI ammunition tests alluded to earlier.
                                          In order to predict the likelihood of incapacitation with any handgun round, an understanding of the mechanics of wounding is necessary. There are four components of projectile wounding. Not all of these components relate to incapacitation, but each of them must be considered. They are:
                                          • Penetration: The tissue through which the projectile passes, and which it disrupts or destroys.
                                          • Permanent Cavity: The volume of space once occupied by tissue that has been destroyed by the passage of the projectile. This is a function of penetration and the frontal area of the projectile. Quite simply, it is the hole left by the passage of the bullet.
                                          • Temporary Cavity: The expansion of the permanent cavity by stretching due to the transfer of kinetic energy during the projectile’s passage.
                                          • Fragmentation: Projectile pieces or secondary fragments of bone which are impelled outward from the permanent cavity and may sever muscle tissues, blood vessels, etc., apart from the permanent cavity. Fragmentation is not necessarily present in every projectile wound. It may or may not occur and can be considered a secondary effect.
                                          • Projectiles incapacitate by damaging or destroying the central nervous system, or by causing lethal blood loss. To the extent the wound components cause or increase the effects of these two mechanisms, the likelihood of incapacitation increases. Because of the impracticality of training for head shots, this examination of handgun wounding relative to law enforcement use is focused upon torso wounds and the probable results.
                                          Specific mechanisms of injury are through crushing (e.g., permanent cavity) and stretching (e.g., temporary cavity). The articles also notes that a gunshot wound can cause a psychological stop because the aggressor gives up after being shot. This article also offers up criticism of studies based on shooting incident results, such as Marshall's and Ellifritz's studies, reasoning:
                                                    There is no valid, scientific analysis of actual shooting results in existence, or being pursued to date. There are some well-publicized, so-called analyses of shooting incidents being promoted, however, that are greatly flawed.
                                                      These so called studies are further promoted as being somehow better and more valid than the work being done by trained researchers, surgeons and forensic labs. They disparage laboratories, claiming that the "street" is the real laboratory and their collection of results is the real measure of caliber effectiveness, as interpreted by them, of course. Yet their data from the street is collected haphazardly, lacking scientific method and controls, with no noticeable attempt to verify the less-than-reliable accounts of the participants with actual investigative or forensic reports.
                                                       Further, it appears that many people are predisposed to fall down when shot. This phenomenon is independent of caliber, bullet, or hit location, and is beyond the control of the shooter. Given this predisposition, the choice of caliber and bullet is essentially irrelevant. The causing factors are most likely psychological in origin – thousands of books, movies and television shows have educated the general population that when shot, one is supposed to fall down.
                                                The author offers several conclusions, including this:
                                                Kinetic energy does not wound. Temporary cavity does not wound. The bullet must pass through the large, blood-bearing organs and be of sufficient diameter to promote rapid bleeding. Penetration less than 12 inches is too little – and "too little penetration will get you killed."
                                                          Debates in terminal ballistics such as light-and fast vs. slow-and-heavy debates are dramatic oversimplifications of the more scientific question of whether the wound channel (directly crushed tissue) is the only contributor to handgun bullet effectiveness or whether a more energy dependent parameter such as hydrostatic shock, the temporary stretch cavity, or ballistic pressure wave can also contribute.
                                                    These debates have been dominated by longwinded rhetoric and authoritative appeals rather than scientific data and analysis. Here, we summarize findings that support and quantify the pressure wave hypothesis:
                                                      Other factors being equal, bullets producing larger pressure waves incapacitate more rapidly than bullets producing smaller pressure waves.
                                                               The pressure wave hypothesis is supported by:
                                                                 1) Pressure pulses inducing incapacitation and brain injury in laboratory animals.
                                                                   2) Ballistic pressure waves originating remotely from the brain causing measurable brain injury in pigs and dogs.
                                                                     3) Experiments in animals showing the probability of rapid incapacitation increases with peak pressure wave magnitude.
                                                                       4) Epidemiological data showing that the probability of incapacitation increases with the peak pressure wave magnitude.
                                                                         5) Brain damage occurring without apenetrating brain injury in a human case study.
                                                                           6) Ballistic pressure waves causing spinal cord injuries in human case studies.
                                                                             7) Blast waves causing brain injury without penetrating injury or blunt force trauma.
                                                                      (Citations omitted). The Courtneys have additional research and articles that you can find online. While they in no way argue that this is the only, or even most significant wounding effect, it does provide a mechanical explanation, for instance, of the results of the Strasbourg test where certain light weight rounds that didn't have much penetration (e.g., Glaser safety rounds) caused rapid incapacitation.
                                                                      In 2006, a coroner wrote a report titled, “Terminal Ballistics as Viewed in a Morgue.” [Dr. Andreas Grabinsky] stated he performed an average of 8.2 autopsies a day and chose to be blunt in his findings. “I absolutely despise a 9mm for defensive situations … and a .380 ACP as well,” he wrote, adding he will “take a slow-moving .45 ACP to a gunfight any day.” In addition, he stated that when a gunshot wound victim crossed his autopsy table with multiple rounds in their bodies, those bullets were typically .380 ACP or 9mm, while single-shot gunshot wound victims were usually shot by .40 S&W or .45 ACP.
                                                                                My advice (or reasoned speculation) is get a gun that you like and will carry around with you. Since what little data there is suggests that guns usually stop the festivities without pulling the trigger  50 or 100 times for every time they actually are fired, don’t get too lathered up about what caliber it is. More important is that it’s comfortable and that you like it, and will actually use it. A .22 in your hand is better than a .45 at home. View the advice you receive at the gun store or from cops with healthy skepticism. I was the kid behind the counter at a really good gun store back in the day, and I can assure you that we didn’t know the answers. Some of the biggest, most egregious whoppers I’ve ever heard floated across counters at gun stores. And cops…never mind.
                                                                                 More importantly, get your mind off of stopping power and onto fighting. That’s what your gun is for, and it’s what you’ll be doing even if your gun doesn’t work. They don’t always. Most of us would be safer with some generic training in tactics and strategy for everyday life instead of blasting away at hanging paper, fun as it is.
                                                                               I should probably write something more organized about this, but I wanted to share these articles in the interim.

                                                                          Tuesday, August 14, 2018

                                                                          August 14, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around The Web

                                                                          "The Art of the Draw"--VSO Gun Channel (10-1/2 min.)

                                                                          The blade of a flat-head screwdriver will pierce flesh with relatively little muscle behind it. It need not be sharpened, but can be honed to a chisel edge in 5-10 minutes on any abrasive surface, from a sharpening stone to a parking lot to the inside of a toilet tank lid. A motivated man with a screwdriver locked in his grip is well armed indeed… and it would seem that those in the self-defense community (particularly those who have advocated for expedient self-defense knives like the fruit knife) are now acknowledging the place of screwdrivers in personal protection. This is especially true for Non-Permissive Environments, or NPEs, where traditional and conventional knives and weapons are prohibited.
                                                                          • "SKS-31: The 7.62x54mmR Predecessor of SKS Carbine"--The Firearm Blog. This is an abridgment or summary of an article in a Russian gun magazine. As the title indicates, the focus of the article is on some of Simonov's early attempts to design a semi-automatic rifle using Russian full power rifle cartridge. Although those attempts were ultimately unsuccessful, the design was improved and resulted in the SKS carbine firing the 7.62x39 intermediate round. One SKS myth which the author wants to put to rest is that the SKS was NOT used during WWII, but that the myth might be because the similar looking SKS-31 saw limited field testing.
                                                                          • "Unarmed Self-Defense From WWII"--The Art of Manliness.  Excerpts from FM 21-150: Unarmed Defense for the American Soldier, published in 1942.
                                                                          • "MORE ON CATEGORIES OF PISTOL CARRY"--Gabe Suarez. What he terms standard combat carry (basically, open carry), social compromise carry (generally what we think of when we think concealed carry), and non-permissive environment carry (both concealed and without a holster). In the latter case, he advises:
                                                                          Holsters are proscribed. That means you carry without a holster or standard carry accessories. The reason is that there are times in a true NPE where you will wish to divorce from the weapon and not have tell-tale items indicating you were armed. Holster-less carry indicates either empty chamber carry for weapons like Glocks and M&P, or the use of DAO or DA/SA weapons like a SIG P239 or a revolver. Deep concealment requires the use of smaller weapons.
                                                                          • "Circumstances of a murder"--Tactical Professor. The author recounts how if he had been but a few minutes earlier arriving at a train stop in Chicago he may have been caught up in a murder. He also notes how the physical arrangement of the train station made it easy for the victim to be targeted, but difficult for anyone outside the station to come to her assistance. He explains:
                                                                                  As the attack was occurring, a man was running along Garfield Street and saw the crime in progress. He ran to help the woman but because of the layout, he had to run the half mile to get to her. Even for someone who can run fast, that takes several minutes. A lot can happen in several minutes, once an attack begins.
                                                                                    He may have been able to reach them while the attack was occurring. More likely, he arrived when it was over, she had been mortally wounded, and then he became involved in a struggle with the perpetrator. During that struggle, he was stabbed several times. He nearly died as a result. The newspapers reported that only his excellent physical condition prevented him from expiring. A friend commented that she had seen numerous articles about trauma survival rates as a function of cardiovascular condition.
                                                                              Like most murders in Chicago, the case was never solved.

                                                                              "FACTS | Part 1: Climate Change"--Suspicious Observers (8-1/2 min)
                                                                              This video has two basic themes: (1) GIGO--that is, climate scientists may be correct in their math, but they are basing their calculations on false data and completely ignoring major sources of temperature fluctuation; and (2) there are major cooling mechanisms that scientists have individually evaluated to be insufficient, each on its own, to stop warming, but climate scientists have failed to consider these mechanisms acting in unison. 

                                                                              • Today's cultural enrichment news:
                                                                                     More than 500 genes associated with intelligence have been identified in the largest study of its kind.
                                                                                       Researchers used data from the UK Biobank, comparing DNA variants from more than 240,000 people. Their analysis identified 538 genes linked to intellectual ability, and 187 regions of the human genome that are associated with thinking skills. Some of these genes are also linked to other biological processes, including living longer.
                                                                                Also: "It is thought that around 50 to 80 per cent of variation in general intelligence between people is down to genetics."
                                                                                        China's pool of workers is shrinking, with many young people supporting their parents and two sets of grandparents, in a country where social services for the elderly are still lacking. In 2017, the country's total fertility rate was 1.6 children per woman, well below the 2.1 rate estimated to be necessary to keep the population steady.
                                                                                         Simply reversing the policy has not been effective, as China's urban middle class settle into a low birth rate more in common with western countries, one that has been compounded by economic pressures.
                                                                                           "Especially in cities, the cost of having children is getting higher and higher. From birth to school, economic costs and time costs are rising," said the People's Daily opinion piece. "Many young people living in cities are not willing to have children."
                                                                                             The author of the piece, Zhang Yiqi, said that government action -- like providing educational and medical care -- was needed to encourage more people to have children: "In the face of low fertility, the government should take more targeted measures to solve it and satisfy people's yearning for and pursuit of a better life."
                                                                                        Other nations have tried subsidies to encourage more children, but it has proven to be fruitless in most cases, with any increases only temporary.