Thursday, February 22, 2018

February 22, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

The example he gives is a gash in the lower arm that would be treated by direct pressure. He notes that current thinking is that if a bandage becomes soaked, not to remove it, but add another on top and continue applying pressure. However, this can be repeated over and over, and the result is a thicker wad of bandages and less actual pressure. He suggests that if direct pressure hasn't worked after 2 bandages, remove the bandages and try applying pressure in a slightly different location to see if it works better at controlling the bleeding.

  • First off, I want to thank Grant Cunningham for linking to my article on escaping a burning building in his "Hump Day Reading List" for this week. Check out his list for other great articles.
  • There was a lot of criticism about the Glock 19X because it combined a shorter slide with a longer grip--basically the opposite of what you want for a concealed carry handgun. Well, for those wanting the longer slide/barrel to use with a G19 frame: "Brownells Glock 17 Length Slides for Glock 19 Pistols"--The Firearm Blog. It appears to be similar to a Glock 34 slide (which is a long slide intended for the G17 frame), except it is a G17 length slide designed to fit on the G19 frame. The article indicates that these are compatible with Gen. 3 frames.
  • "AR15 vs AR10 , Is Bigger Really Better? A Look at Big vs Little ARs Downrange"--Ammo Land. As you know, .308 and 6.5 Creedmore don't work in the standard AR15 receiver, so you have to go to an AR10 style receiver to accommodate the longer cartridge. So what this article is really about is the performance of .308 or 6.5 Creedmore versus .223/5.56 at longer ranges.
  • "Do Handgun Optics Help You Shoot Better, Faster?"--Range 365. The author discusses the pros and cons to using a red dot sight on a handgun, and writes of his experience:
         The first thing I found while practicing raising the pistol to target was that I tended to angle the muzzle up. Because I was focusing on the optical sight lens, I found myself raising the gun differently and I had to focus on pushing down the front sight to bring the dot into my sight picture. I think this was because my eye was wanting to focus on the rear of the pistol where the optic was mounted rather than the muzzle where the front iron sight lives.
               There’s an easy fix for this. Don’t look for the dot. Keep on raising your gun and look for the front sight as always. You’ll find the dot will appear all on its own. This was the most significant learning “habit” to recognize and address. If you forget you have a red dot, you’ll find that dot naturally. If you focus on looking for it, you’ll tend to get wrapped around the axle.
      He also compared used a shot timer to see if there was any difference in speed:
         After coming home and dumping all my notes and times into a spreadsheet, the overall overage time to raise, sight, fire, and hit the plate using iron sights was 1.26 seconds. When using the Trijicon RMR, the overall average time was just .96 seconds. That’s about a 24% speed improvement. Adding the subjective observation, I felt that I was shooting more accurately with less effort using the red dot.
                   Clare Schexnyder, a mother of a middle-school student in Decatur, Georgia [an Atlanta suburb], said she wants moms to take their kids out of school for a day to make a statement.
                     She said a private Facebook page she launched announcing a meeting of her Stop School Shootings group after the Florida shooting attracted more than 7,000 followers overnight.
                      Her protest is planned for March 2.
                        “President Trump talked about the American carnage in the United States. This is the American carnage,” she said.
                I'm pretty sure that name is probably pretty uncommon, even in an area the size of the Atlanta metropolis. Thus, it is reasonable to believe that the Clare Schexnyder that started the protest movement is the same person as the co-founder of Oh-Baby Fitness. And according to the Oh-Baby Fitness website:
                Clare Schexnyder is the founder, CEO and co-owner of Oh Baby! Fitness. She was a producer at CNN for 17 years before she came to the fitness industry. Clare is a proud parent of a teenager and lives in Atlanta with her family. 
                I found exceedingly rich, white men with enormous cultural influence are funding the transgender lobby and various transgender organizations. These include but are not limited to Jennifer Pritzker (a male who identifies as transgender); George Soros; Martine Rothblatt (a male who identifies as transgender and transhumanist); Tim Gill (a gay man); Drummond Pike; Warren and Peter Buffett; Jon Stryker (a gay man); Mark Bonham (a gay man); and Ric Weiland (a deceased gay man whose philanthropy is still LGBT-oriented). Most of these billionaires fund the transgender lobby and organizations through their own organizations, including corporations.
                She also notes that the Tide Foundation donates money to the cause, but acts to protect the identity of its personal and corporate donors. But the bottom line (pun intended) is that pharmaceutical and medical companies stand to make a lot of money off those seeking to change their gender.
                           The employers in the H-1B program (for foreign college grad workers, mostly in IT) say that they must have unlimited access to the world's best and brightest or else America's advances in technology will come to a screeching halt.
                            But what they, do, in fact, is to hire a remarkably high percentage of their workers who just happen to be:
                               Male, and
                                  From just three southern Indian states.
                                     The employers' objective, of course, is to cut costs, taking hundreds of thousands of good jobs from residents of the United States.
                                      Residents of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka, as we will show, have 24 times the chance of being hired as an H-1B as the average resident of the world, excluding U.S. workers, who, of course, have zero chance of being hired in this program.
                                      Nepotism also runs strong in India. Nearly 85% of the country’s businesses are family-run, and Bollywood is dominated by just a few families. Even job-seekers with impressive resumes have to fall back on personal connections to find work.

                                       Those dynamics are now playing out at Oracle, the $160 billion California-based software giant run by Larry Ellison. Earlier this week, the US Department of Labor (DOL) sued (pdf) Oracle for wage violations and hiring bias, alleging that the company displayed “hiring discrimination against qualified White, Hispanic, and African-American applicants in favor of Asian applicants, particularly Asian Indians.”
                              • "Fourth US man dies hunting for buried $2m treasure"--BBC. The deceased, Jeff Murphy, apparently fell 500 feet from a mountain side or cliff side in Yellowstone National Park looking for the treasure. The treasure was allegedly hidden by Forrest Fenn who then has published a couple books with clues to the location, including a poem that sets out the 9 primary clues to finding the treasure. (See also here). Fenn has also given interviews where he has given some additional hints. But one that he emphasizes is that he was 80 years old when he placed the treasure, so it is hid where an 80 year old man could transport a bronze chest and its treasure over a period of two afternoons--so if you are looking in someplace difficult or dangerous to reach, you are probably in the wrong place.

                              Wednesday, February 21, 2018

                              February 21, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                              Source: "What the world would look like without people: Shopping malls, houses and even a Ferris Wheel are reclaimed by nature after being abandoned"--Daily Mail.  The photograph shown above is of the railroad tracks running down the center of an abandoned rail station. The article has photographs of many different buildings and locations across the Eastern United States.

                              Australia made it extremely difficult to buy a new gun as it instituted a gun buyback. This means that in 1996, there were 17.5 guns per hundred people and in 2016, the number was only down to 13.7 per hundred people. So Australia’s big accomplishment was to decrease the number of guns in its nation by 22 percent. How much of a difference would that make in America where there are 101 guns for every 100 citizens and open borders that would allow illegal weapons to stream in if there were ever a large-scale demand for them?
                              • A couple for from Gabe Suarez on dealing with police after a self-defense shooting:
                              • "Killing Within The Law: Managing the Initial Police Contact". Suarez takes issue with those that say you should not talk to the police after a shooting. He notes that there are two reasons you want to do so: (1) to help establish in the responding and investigating officers' minds that you were the victim and acting in self-defense; and (2) to point out evidence that support's your recitation of events, or at least motivate the police to look for corroborating evidence. 
                              • "Killing Within the Law: Be The Gentleman Killer". The gist of this article is that the police will treat you according to how you present yourself. Act and talk like a foulmouthed brute, and the police will treat you (or ignore you) accordingly; but act and talk like a gentleman (or at least a decent, upstanding citizen) and the police will more likely consider and listen to what you say.
                              • At one time, twist rate was (mostly) a non-issue because the manufacturer would generally make barrels with a good all-round twist rate for the particular caliber--although there are a couple spectacular examples where the manufacturers got it wrong. However, with more people wanting to shoot bullets that are long for the caliber, whether because they want a heavy bullet for long distance shooting or are using non-lead bullets, twist rate has gained more attention in recent years. It also is an issue because milspec ARs use a 1:7 twist which is really too fast for the common bullet weights used by most AR aficionados. In any event, a couple good articles on twist rate from Shooting Times. I believe that I have linked to the first one before, but it is worthwhile to mention it again:
                              • "The Importance of Twist Rates". This is a good discussion on twist rates, and discusses a simple formula to determine the best twist rate for a given caliber and bullet:
                              The Greenhill Formula for most standard cartridges is T=150(d/r), where T is the twist rate, d is the bullet diameter, and r is the bullet length to diameter ratio (bullet length divided by its diameter). For cartridges with a muzzle velocity of more than 2,800 fps, substitute 180 for 150.
                              • "Practical Considerations On Twist Rate". This article is a good follow on to the one cited above. It goes into a deeper discussion of over-stabilized and under-stabilized bullets, spin velocity (including that the 1:7 twist on your favorite AR rifle is probably too fast for thin-walled varmint cartridges, which can literally come apart from the centrifugal force).
                              • Some really dumb ideas are being fielded in relation to gun control. For instance, Ross Douthat (the New York Times' token "conservative") has proposed that different types of firearms should have different minimum ages for buying them. He suggests that the minimum age for buying an AR should be 30 years old. This, less than 6 months after a 64 year old man committed America's worst mass shooting. In any event, Sean Davis at The Federalist notes that:
                                        Since the 1966 shooting at the University of Texas, an incident which many believe touched off the modern phenomenon of mass shootings (defined as a public shooting in which 4 or more people were killed), there have been 150 shootings involving 153 individuals, according to a detailed database published by the Washington Post. Of those, 150 were men, and the ages of 148 of them are known.
                                          The average of those male mass shooters is just over 33 years old. 
                                  • "Is The Second Amendment Worth Dying For?"--John Daniel Davidson at The Federalist.  The author argues that some things are more important than safety, even if it means that we may personally be put at risk in order to protect those ideals. He observes that, notwithstanding the nay-saying from leftist politicians, "[i]f we’re going to regulate firearms like cars, we’re going to have to decide that owning a gun will no longer be a constitutional right but a heavily regulated privilege. If we do that, we’re going to have to be honest about what that means: changing the very nature of the constitutional system America’s Founders designed." He continues:
                                           Here it must be said that the Second Amendment was not meant to safeguard the right to hunt deer or shoot clay pigeons, or even protect your home and family from an intruder. The right to bear arms stems from the right of revolution, which is asserted in the Declaration of Independence and forms the basis of America’s social compact. Our republic was forged in revolution, and the American people have always retained the right to overthrow their government if it becomes tyrannical. That doesn’t mean that private militias should have tanks and missile launchers, but it does mean that revolution—the right of first principles—undergirds our entire political system.
                                             That might sound academic or outlandish next to the real-life horror of a school shooting, but the fact remains that we can’t simply wave off the Second Amendment any more than we can wave off the First, or the Fourth, or any of them. They are constitutive elements of the American idea, without which the entire constitutional system would eventually collapse.
                                               In this, America is unlike the European nations that gun control advocates like to compare it with. Germany can restrict the right to bear arms as easily as it can—and does—restrict free speech. Not so in America. If we want to change that, it will involve a substantial diminishment of our constitutional rights as we have known them up until now. After last week’s school shooting, some Americans are okay with that, especially those families who are grieving. But I suspect most Americans are not willing to make that trade-off, and might never be—unless they suffer the same of kind personal loss.
                                                Returning to Wallace’s thought experiment, we might rephrase it like this: is the Second Amendment worth dying for? That’s another way of asking what the American idea is worth. It’s not an easy question, and I don’t pose it lightly, as I’m sure Wallace didn’t.
                                                   But it’s one we need to ask, even in the face of heartbreaking and devastating loss. Is ours a generation of Americans called to make great sacrifices of our personal safety in order to preserve our democratic way of life? If we will not sacrifice some measure our personal safety, are we willing to sacrifice something like the Second Amendment? If so, what else are we willing to sacrifice?
                                          • "Ban Secularism and Fatherlessness, Not Guns"--PJ Media. There are many who have tied mass shootings to SSRI drugs, but there are other similarities between the teens that have become mass shooters: a lack of a father in their lives. From the article:
                                                    The break-up of the traditional family and the rise in fatherless boys have woven themselves into the natural, narcissistic consequences that result from free and unfettered sexuality. With that freedom, though, comes pushback when one person's freedom is another person's prison. In moments of conflict, what recourse do those steeped in the moral vacuum of secularism have other than to lash out?
                                                     Wilson concludes his short article by poetically pointing out that when confused, fatherless, godless boys lash out, "they find a gun, left around from simpler times, and do their bloody work. Our proposed solution is to ban all reminders of those simpler times."
                                                       Douglas Wilson's article is a needed reminder that the answer to gun violence is found in Christianity. Instead of banning guns, we need to ban godlessness and fatherlessness. Sadly, as Wilson knows and alludes to, secularists will never cede their gains in society, even if that means sacrificing children.
                                                • For some perspective, even with this shooting in Florida there are nations that suffer through much worse, including our neighbor to the immediate south. Just in the past week:
                                                • Something is rotten in Germany: "Germany's lack of military readiness 'dramatic,' says Bundeswehr commissioner"--Deutsche Welle. The article notes that "[t]he call on politicians to double-down on reforms and increase funding came in the same week a Defense Ministry paper revealed German soldiers did not have enough protective vests, winter clothing or tents to adequately take part in a major NATO mission." The article also points out other problems demonstrating an increasingly hollow German military, including a lack of officers (27,000 unfilled positions), and that "[a]t the end of 2017, no submarines and none of the air force's 14 large transport planes were available for deployment due to repairs."
                                                • Related: "German War Planes Grounded By Eco-Gas"--The Washington Free Beacon. Germany is trying to go "green" on its jet fuel, including using biodiesel in its fuel. Problem is, the mixture has to be precisely tuned or it will gum up the jet engines. It was not precisely tuned, and now Germany's air force is grounded until fuel tanks can be flushed. Political correctness will be the death of Europe.

                                                Tuesday, February 20, 2018

                                                Trump's Call for Bump Stock Regulations

                                                I'm sure that many of you have already seen reports from one media outlet or another that Trump has directed the Department of Justice to issue regulations banning bump stocks. This article from PJ Media relates:
                                                        Trump said more than 100,000 public comments were received during the Justice Department's rulemaking period that ended Jan. 25. Today's memo directed the DOJ "to dedicate all available resources to complete the review of the comments received, and, as expeditiously as possible, to propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machineguns." 
                                                         "Although I desire swift and decisive action, I remain committed to the rule of law and to the procedures the law prescribes," said the president's memo. "Doing this the right way will ensure that the resulting regulation is workable and effective and leaves no loopholes for criminals to exploit."
                                                Trump is generally careful not to alienate his base, but he also likes to give his opponents plenty of rope with which to hang themselves. Trump knows that the ATF has already reviewed this issue before and concluded that the bump stocks did not convert a rifle into a "machine gun" as that term is defined under the law, so I have a hard time believing that he expects that it will somehow be different this time absent some, shall we say, "creativity" on the part of the ATF. He also is not the type that cedes anything to the opposition without gaining something in return, which makes me leery of concluding that he has simply rolled over to the gun-grabbers. Yet his direction to the Department of Justice is clear. So, either he has concluded that his base (speaking as whole) doesn't really care about the bump-stock issue and he can use it as a sop to the Progressives, or he believes that he can somehow use this to make his opponents look foolish, or he believes that it opens the door to some other advantage, or some combination thereof.

                                                        I will say this: if there is a regulation, no matter how badly it mauls the definition of "machine gun", I fully expect it to be upheld by a court regardless of the logical and grammatical contortions necessary to do so. It is a trite saying that "bad facts make for bad law." And that is exactly what we are seeing.

                                                February 20, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                "Earth’s Magnetic Flip | Earthquakes & Volcanoes"--Suspicious Observers (5-1/2 min.)

                                                • A new Woodpile Report is up.
                                                • BREAKING: Optics Planet complying with the magazine restrictions of the County in which it is located. Stories from The Firearm Blog and The Truth About Guns. Apparently someone just noticed that Optics Planet doesn't sell magazines of greater than 10 rounds and started hyperventilating about it on the Internet, falsely suggesting it was because of the recent school shooting in Florida.
                                                • "224 Valkyrie: Breaking Down the Numbers"--Range 365. The author provides charts and numbers outlining the external ballistics of a 95 grain exemplar. Short story: Compared to the .223, "[t]he 224 Valkyrie will allow you to shoot more accurately at longer distances. Not only is the trajectory flatter, but the bullet is also less affected by wind so you’ll have an easier time accounting for that." Also, "[t]he Valkyrie delivers similar results to larger cartridges like the 6.5mm Creedmoor but with smaller size, ability to use a standard AR-15 lower receiver, and with a lot less recoil."
                                                • "10mm Auto vs. 357 Magnum Ammunition : Ballistic Gel Test Results"--Ammo Land. Article and video at the link. The author tried to eliminate variables as best he could by shooting similar loads out of weapons with similar barrel lengths. The ammunition he used was Hornady Custom line with a 158 grain XTP bullet for the 357 Magnum and a 155 grain XTP for the 10mm. He notes that 155 grain is on the light side for 10 mm. Shots were into ballistic gelatin blocks and through 4 layers of denim per FBI protocol. The 10 mm penetrated 16-inches and expanded to 0.70 inches. The .357 penetrated to 22 inches and expanded to 0.54 inches. One thing I would note, however, is that the test is against the clear gelatin rather than the 10% ballistics gelatin. I've seen articles discussing that there can be some variance in performance between ordnance gel and the clear gel (see here and here, for example), but it generally is pretty close. 
                                                • A review of the Ruger “Officer” Size SR1911 9mm at The Tactical Wire. This is a compact 1911 style pistol using an aluminum frame and 7-round magazine. Weight is 27 ounces. 
                                                • Oops. "São Paulo Military Police Glock G22 Gen5 initial test setback"--The Firearm Blog. An initial shipment of handguns had accessory rails that were out of specification.
                                                • "Pat McNamara: Why Mobility Is Essential in a Real-Life Gunfight"--Tactical Life. One of the key points he makes is: "Tactical shooting is more than target discrimination and proper bullet placement. It’s about eliminating predictability, surviving through mobility and being lethal." He adds:
                                                        Two things not practiced enough, or at all, on the range are proprioception and kinesthetic sense. Proprioception is the sense of the relative position of neighboring parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement, and kinesthetic sense helps us detect weight, body position and the relationship between movements in our body parts such as joints, muscles and tendons. In short, it is the muscle sense. It lets us know whether the body moves with effort and where the body parts are located in relation to other parts of the body.
                                                          Kinesthetic sense is closely related to muscle memory, which is the memory that we possess due to constant repetition of a motor task, like signing your name or walking. Hand-eye coordination is also largely related to the sense of kinesthesia. This sense becomes automatic because of constant training.
                                                            Guys with little or no athletic background sometimes suck at this. They move like they’ve got a broomstick shoved up their asses. Movement should be smooth and martial-art like. When we are in motion, we tend to be more confident. Confidence and performance work hand-in-hand. Additionally, cognitive performance is increased when we are in motion.
                                                    He also recommends stepping to one side when you draw a firearm. Read the whole thing.
                                                             ... Broward County used to lead the state of Florida in sending students to the state's juvenile justice system.  County leaders responded with a perfectly progressive solution: "lower arrests by not making arrests."
                                                               Authorities agreed to treat twelve different misdemeanor offenses as school-related issues, not criminal ones.  The results impressed the people who initiated the program.  Arrests dropped from more than a thousand in 2011-2012 to less than four hundred just four years later.
                                                               One particular motivation behind programs like Broward County's was the pressure from multiple sources to reduce the statistical disparity between black and Hispanic student arrests on one hand and white and Asian student arrests on the other.  ...
                                                                 By virtue of his name alone, Nikolas de Jesús Cruz, the adopted son of Lynda and Roger Cruz, became a statistical Hispanic.  As such, authorities at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland had every reason not to report his troubling and likely criminal behavior to the police.
                                                                     According to a source who spoke to the Miami Herald, Cruz had been suspended from Stoneman Douglas High for fighting and also for being caught with bullets in his backpack.  This was apparently at least one of the reasons why administrators reportedly emailed a warning to teachers against allowing Cruz on the campus with a backpack.  He was later expelled for reasons that have not been disclosed, but he was apparently not arrested.
                                                                     Since 1990, there have been 22 shootings at elementary and secondary schools in which two or more people were killed, not counting those perpetrators who committed suicide.
                                                                       Whereas five of these incidents have occurred over the past five-plus years since 2013, claiming the lives of 27 victims (17 at Parkland), the latter half of the 1990s witnessed seven multiple-fatality shootings with a total of 33 killed (13 at Columbine). 

                                                                Monday, February 19, 2018

                                                                February 19, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                The last several weekends have been too wet to go shooting. Well, not too wet to actually do some shooting, but too wet to get to the place I typically go shooting. But, after a windy week where we didn't get much precipitation, I decided to give it a try, and found the road (a glorified cattle trail, to be honest) to be passable. It was cold--temperature was about 28 degrees (F) plus a constant strong wind. Based on the various flags I passed on my drive, the wind was at least 20 mph. (Here is a nice tip for estimating wind speed using a flag: "Estimate the angle between the bottom of the flag and the pole if the flag is extended. Divide the estimated angle by 4 to get the wind speed in miles per hour. For example, if you estimate the angle to be 45 degrees, the wind speed is approximately 11 miles per hour (18 kilometers per hour). This is the method used by United States Army sharpshooters"). Needless to say, I was not shooting any great distance, and had to switch to a kneeling position for some of my shots because my body was swaying too much because of the wind. I used my Riflecraft shooters sling on this outing and was very happy with it. Since it was too windy to put up target stands, I was just shooting at a couple of reactive steel targets--the types that look like large jacks
                                                                Anyway, on to some articles:
                                                                          Americans consume about 46% of the world’s brand name drugs but supply 70% of patented drug makers’ profits. France, Norway, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Italy, and other government-run health systems buy the identical drugs at bargain prices — usually half what Americans pay. These state-run health systems often threaten to exclude a drug from their country entirely, even if it could save lives, until they extract a deep discount. Norway barred Roche’s breast cancer drug Perjeta, until the company slashed the price far below what Medicare pays.
                                                                            These foreign governments know, when push comes to shove, a manufacturer will sell for a price that barely covers the cost of production, rather than not sell at all. That leaves American consumers stuck paying exorbitant prices to cover the sunk costs of researching and developing a new drug.
                                                                              So many have fled to neighboring Colombia for health and other reasons that its president, Juan Manuel Santos, announced last week that his country would beef up security along the 2,205-kilometer border. Just last month, Santos had reiterated Colombia's longstanding offer of "humanitarian support in the matter of food and medicines," and his criticism that "the Venezuelan government has refused because they do not want to accept the serious crisis they have on their hands."
                                                                                Colombia's foreign ministry estimates that roughly 600,000 Venezuelans have arrived in the country, straining the health system.
                                                                        • Deep dreams: "The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI"--MIT Technology Review. A lengthy article, but worth the time. The gist of it, however, is that the most successful AI systems have been developed using artificial neural networks that are capable of learning. And they have been pretty successful at learning difficult tasks and spotting patterns that have eluded humans. The problem, however, is that the scientists, engineers, and programmers that have developed these systems don't really know how they work. Yes, the systems have learned how to perform tasks, and deliver useful results, but the developers don't know how these neural networks think; that is, the processes and considerations that they use to get from the raw data to the final conclusion or result. And this could be a problem if the systems make a mistake--the developers won't know how to debug it.
                                                                        • Antipathy toward homosexuals is a consequence of the disgust response: "Gays Getting Parasites From R***ming"--Anonymous Conservative. AC cites an article in which the author complains of having to be treated for Giardia and Entamoeba histolytica, two parasites that are transmitted via fecal matter. The amazing thing about this is, notwithstanding the author's repeated infections and infecting his "boyfriend", that he has not considered changing the behavior that led to the infections. Rather, he is upset that a medical clinic that caters to LGBT has not done enough to warn the gay community.
                                                                        Update (2/20/2018): Edited the headline of the last article to avoid offense by adding asterisks.

                                                                        Saturday, February 17, 2018

                                                                        Black Panther Review (Spoilers)

                                                                        I had mentioned that one of my sons was anxious to see the new Black Panther film, which is part of the Marvel franchise. I thought it was one of the better Marvel superhero films. Some critics have discussed the relatively poor pacing of the film and that the Black Panther character (T'Challa) didn't seem to have any flaws or moral dilemmas to resolve (he begins the story as the heir elect to the kingdom with his suit and everything). And that is true. I put it down to the film having to do too much as far as presenting backstories for the main characters, and changing villains part way into the film. There simply wasn't time to develop some of the story elements.

                                                                                 Since the villain, Killmonger, is a black power supporter and figure, you can't escape the anti-white/anti-European message to the movie: Killmonger wants to be king of Wakanda so that he can export advanced weapons to "oppressed" blacks all over the world. Also, we have one character refer to a white character as a "colonialist" (which doesn't even make any sense because the character was an American--if he had been Belgian, German, French, or English, maybe, but an American?). At the end of the movie, there is a scene where T'Challa is talking to his love interest, and there is some gang graffiti on a wall behind them; although I can't interpret it, the fact that it is the only graffiti in the whole of Wakanda makes me suspicious of its meaning.

                                                                               In any event, the underlying theme to the movie is whether Wakanda, which has not helped other peoples, even those in Africa, should open itself up to the world to help black people and, if so, the form of that help. However, allowing refugees into Wakanda is dismissed early in the movie. T'Challa is speaking to one of his military leaders about whether Wakanda should involve itself in the affairs of other countries, and mentions the possibility of giving aid or accepting refugees. The military leader shuts him down on refugees pretty quick by observing that refugees just bring their problems with them. Ouch!

                                                                               If you have read or studied Sir James George Frazer's magnum opus, The Golden Bough, the movie has a bit more to offer you. As you may remember, Frazer's book originally was intended to be a simple monograph into a peculiar practice of a certain temple of Diane where a "king" lived at the base of an oak tree, ever fearful of his life being taken by any challenger. From that limited beginning, Frazer begin to discover an almost universal mythology and practice of kings being chosen based on their fighting ability, and their reigns only lasting until they were replaced by a challenger. Even though this practice weakened over time, becoming merely pro forma or ceremonial, and, eventually, fading from existence. However, in the Wakanda of the film, this practice still goes strong. Although T'Challa is the prince and heir apparent, he must still present himself open to challenge by combat for the throne before he can become king. Each of the tribes of Wakanda also presents a putative challenger, although all but one tribe waive their challenge, and T'Challa is able to defeat the single challenger to his ascension.

                                                                              This comes up again, however, because Killmonger arrives in Wakanda and challenges T'Challa to combat for the right to take the throne. This time, T'Challa sort of loses by being thrown off a cliff, although he does not die. Later, healed, he returns to reclaim his throne under the pretense that the prior challenge had not been finished.

                                                                               It is one of the puzzling aspects of the movie that T'Challa had so little support from his army or subjects following his being deposed, but if you keep Frazer's work in mind, it makes more sense. That is, the duty was to the king who won by trial by combat, rather than any particular line. It is also interesting, in reference to Frazer's work, that Wakanda seems dominated primarily by women (there is more than enough "girl power" to keep the feminists happy), which is consistent with the myths documented by Frazer, where political power derived from the matriarchal line rather than a patriarchal line. We see a hint of this even in the Bible, where in Genesis 2:24 and Matthew 19:5 where we are told that the man must leave his father and mother to join with his wife. In any event, the lack of loyalty to T'Challa won't make sense unless you keep this early practice in mind.

                                                                             In short, if you like the super-hero genre, I think you will like the film; or, if you have to chaperone your children, it is entertaining enough. It is not a film that celebrates ghetto culture.

                                                                        Friday, February 16, 2018

                                                                        Ramaphosa Becomes New President of South Africa

                                                                        Jacob Zuma stepped down as the President of South Africa, and was replaced by Cyril Ramaphosa. Zuma was forced out due to rampant corruption. In his State of the Nation Address earlier today, Ramaphosa is promising to root out corruption in the government. However, for whites living in South Africa, Ramaphosa's ascendancy to the presidential post should be greeted with concern given what he said in today's address. In his state of the nation address given today, Ramaphosa spoke of using measures to increase black control of industry and businesses. Later, as to the issue of "land reform," he stated:
                                                                                   This year, we will take decisive action to realise the enormous economic potential of agriculture. 
                                                                                  We will accelerate our land redistribution programme not only to redress a grave historical injustice, but also to bring more producers into the agricultural sector and to make more land available for cultivation. 
                                                                                   We will pursue a comprehensive approach that makes effective use of all the mechanisms at our disposal. 
                                                                                    Guided by the resolutions of the 54th National Conference of the governing party, this approach will include the expropriation of land without compensation. 
                                                                                     We are determined that expropriation without compensation should be implemented in a way that increases agricultural production, improves food security and ensure that the land is returned to those from whom it was taken under colonialism and apartheid.
                                                                          This is also revealing about Ramaphosa's goals:

                                                                                 In recently published memoirs, one of Cyril Ramaphosa's main opponents pays generous tribute to his character and negotiating skills during the talks leading up to the new South African constitution and the election in 1994.

                                                                                Dr Mario Oriani-Ambrosini, who died in 2014, was a constitutional lawyer who became an  MP. He was also a key adviser to Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi both during the negotiations and afterwards when the latter was minister of home affairs in the governments of national unity. His memoirs – the Prince and I: A South African Institutional Odyssey – are published this year by his estate.

                                                                                 According to the memoirs, Mr Ramaphosa, "stood head and shoulders above his colleagues" in the African National Congress (ANC) as well as above the National Party's negotiators. He was a "born leader" and a "straight shooter". Nor did he ever lie or "misrepresent anything".

                                                                                 What then are we to make of this paragraph in Dr Oriani-Ambrosini's intriguing memoirs?
                                                                        "In his brutal honesty, Ramaphosa told me of the ANC's 25-year strategy to deal with the whites: it would be like boiling a frog alive, which is done by raising the temperature very slowly. Being cold-blooded, the frog does not notice the slow temperature increase, but if the temperature is raised suddenly, the frog will jump out of the water. He meant that the black majority would pass laws transferring wealth, land, and economic power from white to black slowly and incrementally, until the whites lost all they had gained in South Africa, but without taking too much from them at any given time to cause them to rebel or fight." 

                                                                        Groan: "Mitt Romney launches Utah Senate campaign with dig at Trump"--BBC

                                                                        According to the article, Romney stated in a Facebook campaign video that "Utah welcomes legal immigrants from around the world," but "Washington sends them a message of exclusion." Or to translate into plain English, Romney is a globalist who supports undermining American tech workers' salaries by importing workers.

                                                                        A New "Weekend Knowledge Dump" from Active Response Training

                                                                        Greg Ellifritz of Active Response Training has posted his newest Weekend Knowledge Dump. Articles on the dangers of setback in pistol cartridges (from feeding into a magazine multiple times--replace, or at least rotate, your carry ammo once in a while), situational awareness, a link to free downloads of topographic maps, managing a police contact, and more.

                                                                        February 16, 2015 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                        Source: "Empty beds and long-forgotten toys: Eerie images reveal inside an abandoned Red Cross children's home reclaimed by nature"--Daily Mail. The structure is in Italy, and appears to be remarkably well preserved based on the photographs.

                                                                        • "Berdan to Boxer conversion kits"--Something Wicked Comes. As you probably know, Berdan primed ammunition is popular in Europe, especially for military ammunition, but is a difficult proposition to reload due to the difficulty of removing a spent primer. I've seen a few different tools or techniques for removing the primers, including using a claw like tool that tears the primer out, to filling the case with water and then ramming a plug down into the neck to use hydraulic pressure to pop the primer out. Although it doesn't solve the problems with the first time removal of primers, the video embedded in the article explains how to convert the casings to a Boxer set up. I'm somewhat dubious of all of this--not only the effort to do so, but also the slight difference in diameter of the primer pocket. It might be worthwhile if you had a cartridge where Boxer casings were unavailable, such as the 5.45x39, but it seems a lot of work for little gain otherwise.
                                                                        • Related: "Reply - Berdan conversion and steel cased ammo"--Something Wicked Comes. This post is a reader's comments to the first article cited above. It primarily discusses the feeding problems inherent in steel cartridge cases, and how to coat your own cases for easier extraction.
                                                                        • "A Quick Start Guide to Emergency Preparedness for Apartment Dwellers"--Apartment Prepper. It is what it says it is: a quick and dirty guide to what you need in basics for prepping: food and water, toiletries and hygiene products (e.g., feminine products or diapers, toilet paper), first aid kit, spare cash, copies of important documents.
                                                                        • "25 Must Have Survival Foods in your Pantry"--Emergency Outdoors. This list expands on the basic 5 and makes a good check list to use to make sure you have a good stock of foods and other cooking items (baking powder, spices, etc.) you will want. Check it out and print it for future use. I would note that the Jello or pudding packages are probably more important than you think: they contain collagen, which is necessary for strong healthy nails, hair, and skin. I have been having problems with nails cracking and splitting and started taking a collagen supplement that has helped. (See also "Gelatin Uses, Benefits, & Recipes"--Wellness Mama").
                                                                        • "How To Survive Radiation Poisoning From A Nuclear Attack Or Accident"--Geek Prepper. A lengthy article on the subject--and timely given that both Iran and North Korea are on their way to having nuclear tipped ICBMs. One thing that I would emphasize is that the two primary types of radiation from nuclear fallout are the alpha and beta radiation--essentially, high speed particles given off during radioactive decay. Alpha particles are actually quite weak, and generally cannot even penetrate your out layers of skin; and certainly not clothing. Beta particles are a bit more powerful, but can also be stopped with heavy clothing, cardboard, etc. Where these are dangerous is if they are inhaled or ingested. That means, you need to be careful about breathing in dust from fallout (thus, you may need dust masks or filter masks), drinking unfiltered water, or eating food that might be coated or contain particles (such as food animals that may have ingested it). Obviously, if you have to go outside while fallout is a danger, you want to wash off or dispose of clothes and footwear that might have collected dust or dirt contaminated with fallout so you aren't tracking it into a shelter. Anyway, read the article.
                                                                        • "Backup Backups"--Left Wing Survival. It never rains, but it pours, as the saying goes. In this case, the author describes various appliances that have died or having problems, and how his preps have helped him weather the problems. He has also learned how to make repairs, which has saved significant money. Finally, the author reminds us that it is time to start planning our spring gardens.
                                                                        • "Restoring A Cast Iron Treasure: How To Clean And Season The Old Time Cooking Utensils"--Survival Common Sense. If you are going to be cooking over an open fire or hot coals, cast iron is probably the best way to go. I don't see much used in my area, but I suppose that old skillets and such are probably more common in the East and South with their greater, long-term population. This article is one getting it ready for use (and some of the tips are equally valuable if you buy new cast iron cookware).
                                                                        • More on the Florida shooting:
                                                                                Guns in the hands of trained teachers would’ve saved lives Wednesday in Broward County, Florida.

                                                                                Sadly Florida’s own state legislature preferred children and school personnel die instead.

                                                                                In a minimum of back to back legislative terms, then state House of Representative Greg Steube introduced legislation in 2014 and 2015 to allow teachers to be armed on school campuses in the State of Florida. The successful measures in the state House then died in the state Senate where both the teachers’ unions and the PTA brought political pressure to bear to kill the bills.

                                                                                 So blame—at least in part—the carnage this week at Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school—on the lobbying efforts of those two groups as well.
                                                                        • "Flashback 30 Years: Guns Were in Schools ... and Nothing Happened"--PJ Media. The author notes that 30+ years ago, students were generally allowed to bring knives to school, there were firearms at school because of shooting clubs and whatnot, so the availability of weapons hasn't changed. He then asks what changed that could have led to the increase of school shootings? 
                                                                        What changed? The mainstreaming of nihilism. Cultural decay. Chemicals. The deliberate destruction of moral backstops in the culture. A lost commonality of shared societal pressures to enforce right and wrong. And above all, simple, pure, evil.
                                                                        • "School Shooting in Florida: Why yet another one?"--Modern Survivalist. FerFal similarly asks what has changed such that these shootings seemingly are more common. It's not guns, it's not even necessarily the mentally ill (they've been around, too). Rather, he writes:
                                                                        I think that the problem is within the family, as often seen in these mass shootings, but also within society itself. The family is the building block of society, when that starts failing everything else falls apart. When you have broken families you have a hard time building a healthy society. But there’s a point where broken or dysfunctional families becomes the norm, when society itself doesn’t care anymore. Then that’s when you have this kind of large scale social problems. Even with families where parents aren’t divorced you have too many people that are cold, distant, dysfunctional parenting and simply don’t give a damn.
                                                                                Dozens of Russian mercenaries killed in a U.S. airstrike in Syria last week were part of a secret Kremlin-backed private military company, according to U.S. and Ukrainian officials.
                                                                                   The dead fighters worked for the Wagner company, part of Moscow's use of hybrid warfare—covert military and influence operations that include use of so-called "little green men"—unconventional forces operating without official insignia. The forces were first seen in 2014 during the military takeover of Ukraine's Crimea by Russia.
                                                                                     "They are a private army," said Vasyl Hrytsak, head of Security Service of Ukraine, known as SBU, in a recent interview.
                                                                                        Ukraine believes the Wagner company was formed, equipped, and financed by Russian intelligence services for military, terrorist, and other criminal activities in support of Russian geopolitical interests.
                                                                                         Last year, NASA partnered with BWXT Nuclear Energy Inc. for an $18.8 million contract to design a reactor and develop fuel for use in a nuclear-thermal propulsion engine for deep-space travel. While that small start is a long way from the the heady days of the Space Race of the Cold War, it marks the U.S. return to an idea that is also being pursued by Russia and China.
                                                                                           A model of a nuclear-powered rocket that uses fission to generate propulsion.Photographer: Science & Society Picture Library via Getty Images
                                                                                              Unlike conventional rockets that burn fuel to create thrust, the atomic system uses the reactor to heat a propellant like liquid hydrogen, which then expands through a nozzle to power the craft.
                                                                                                 That doubles the efficiency at which the rocket uses fuel, allowing for a “drastically smaller” craft and shorter transit time, said Stephen Heister, a professor at Purdue University’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics. “This factor is absolutely huge, especially for very difficult missions that necessitate a lot of propellant such as a Mars flight.”

                                                                                      Thursday, February 15, 2018

                                                                                      February 15, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                                      "South Africa: Failed State 2.0"--Black Pigeon Speaks (15 min.)
                                                                                      This seems a good follow up to the videos that Lauren Southern has released, but takes a broader view than just the murders of Boer farmers. Black Pigeon indicates that South Africa has the world's highest rates of rape, but I think that distinction is actually held by Lesotho, a small country almost entirely surrounded by South Africa. In any event, the infection rates for HIV is astronomically high as well. The author ends by urging viewers to contact national elected officials (Congressmen or MPs, depending on your country) or sign petitions about allowing white South Africans to move to Europe, the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, or Australia. 

                                                                                      • Does it seem strange to anyone else that yesterday, the Florida high school shooter was almost universally identified as "Nicolas de Jesus Cruz," but today it is "Nikolas Cruz"? Even revisiting stories from yesterday, the name has been changed--that is faster than the Ministry of Truth was able to change items in the novel, 1984.  For instance, in this story, the named changed in the story, but you can still see the original in the html address: .
                                                                                              In any event, this is another case of a mentally disturbed young male. According to the Daily Mail, Cruz "stopped getting mental health treatment about a year ago and recently suffered the loss of his adoptive mother." More interesting, however, is that Cruz was a "known wolf", so to speak. A different article relates
                                                                                              YouTube vlogger Ben Bennight alerted the FBI to a comment shared by Cruz on one of his videos back in September, when the boy wrote: 'I'm going to be a professional school shooter.'
                                                                                                 Bennight revealed that the FBI was quick to respond to the concerning statement, arriving at his office the very next day to find out if he knew anything about the young man. 
                                                                                                   That was after he called a local field agent, revealing that his initial attempts to send in a screengrab of the comment failed when the email address he found listed on the federal agency's website came back with a domain error saying that it did not exist.
                                                                                                    He finally heard back from the FBI on Wednesday, when they called with some additional questions after 17 people were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
                                                                                            Of course, the media is concerned, not with mental health issues or the such, but that the shooter used an AR style rifle. And certain politicians are already jumping at the chance to pass gun control legislation. For the conspiracy theory types, the latter article indicated that "[Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck] Grassley told Feinstein -- a longtime advocate of tougher gun measures -- that he planned even before the shooting to sit down with her and Senator John Cornyn of Texas to 'see what sort of an agreement we can reach on legislation.'"
                                                                                                       It is telling to me the number of accounts we have heard of various teachers or administrators (including a security guard) that were shot while shielding students. While I respect and honor their bravery, think of how much better they could have protected their students if they had been armed. They didn't have to die, but because their right to carry a weapon was abridged, they did.
                                                                                            • Interesting factoid: worldwide, an average of 3,287 people die every day in automobile accidents.
                                                                                            • "The background of the new Kalashnikov AK-12/AK-15 and how they are Engineered"--The Firearm Blog. Other than caliber (one is in 5.45x39 and the other in 7.62x39), these weapons are virtually identical. The article has a nice photograph showing the weapon and, laid around it, some of the accessories. The primary things to note about these newer generations of AKs is that they sport a full length Picatinny rail on the top (the dust cover is more substantial and hinges to allow a rigid base for optics), the safety selector lever has been changed so there is a shelf near the trigger finger similar to the Krebs enhanced selector lever, and that the rifle can use AR style adjustable stocks. There are also a couple small side rails for lights or whatever, and a vertical foregrip available as an accessory. 
                                                                                            • "The Budget Plate Carrier"--Load Out Room. The author gives a generally positive review of the Flyye Industries Fast Attack Gen 1 Plate Carrier, which can be had as low as $60 according to the article. The primary complaint is that it is not comfortable for longer duration wear. 
                                                                                            • "Mossberg 590M vs. Remington 870 DM"--Range 365. A side by side comparison of the features and magazines between these new models sporting detachable box magazines. You all probably know the mechanical operation and layout of the base Mossberg and Remington shotguns, so there is no need to address that. On to the detachable magazine bit. One of the big differences between the two is that the Mossberg does not have a magazine well: "The magwell on the 590M isn't really a magwell at all, as it's cut right into the bottom of the receiver where the elevator would be and doesn't extend below the bottom of the receiver. The retention system and release button is a small unit located between the front of the trigger guard and the back of the magwell." The Remington, on the other hand, has a magwell, and the release is a nice big paddle lever on the front of the magazine. The magazines also are substantially different. The Remington magazines are single stack, are currently offered only in a 3- or 6-round configuration; prices are $35 each. The Mossberg magazines use a double-stack system (so they are more compact for a given capacity) and come in 5-, 10-, 15-, or 20-round capacities; but they will also cost an eye-watering $101 to $140 a piece.
                                                                                            • While we are on the subject of shotguns: "The Trouble with Trench Guns"--American Rifleman. Although shotguns were available to, and used by, American troops in World War I, it is hard to find photographs of troops actually using them. The reason, this article explains, is that after Germany complained about the use of the shotguns, the U.S. decided to censor them from photographs from the front lines.
                                                                                            • I know that corruption is playing a large part in this, but still: "After Four Months, Much of Puerto Rico Still Dark and Damaged"--The Atlantic.
                                                                                            • Paging Colin Flaherty: "Shocking moment five armed robbers with handguns and AK-47s open fire at a game room in Fort Worth before robbing patrons and shooting 18-year-old woman in the leg"--Daily Mail. They were stymied by an interior locked door to getting into one part of the facility, so their haul was probably less than television shows had led them to believe. Although they all wore masks and had hooded jackets, one of the perps pulled his hood back and mask down in order to make a wardrobe adjustment ... right in front of one of the surveillance cameras.
                                                                                            • "People Have Believed a Lie About Rabbit Domestication for Decades"--The Atlantic. The "lie" (myth, really) was that rabbits were first domesticated by French monks around 600 AD. The truth is that no one really knowns when rabbits were domesticated. I would guess that it is a pointless exercise since, as r-selected creatures, the rabbit will hang out with anyone willing to give them food. In any event, the following bit caught my eye because of the implications it has for similar genetic dating of other species or sub-species (emphasis in original):
                                                                                                       Theoretically, it should be possible to compare the genomes of wild and domestic rabbits living today, measure how different those genomes are, and work out how long they would have needed to acquire those differences. Using this approach, Larson estimated that the common ancestor of domestic rabbits split away from its wild kin between 12,200 years and 17,700 years ago. Those dates seem far too old, and there are two big problems with them.
                                                                                                        First, to make these calculations, you need to know how quickly rabbit DNA changes over time—and scientists have estimated four such rates that differ substantially from each other. Second, it’s possible that Larson and his team looked at the wrong population of wild rabbits, which don’t actually descend from the same group that gave rise to domestic ones. Larson thinks that probably is the case.
                                                                                                  So, basically, figuring the rate of genetic drift is apparently subjective, and probably not constant.
                                                                                                             Strains of Mycobacterium leprae—the main bacterium behind leprosy*—are hypermutating and becoming extremely drug resistant. Researchers made the alarming discovery in a survey of 154 M. leprae genomes collected from 25 countries. The survey, published recently in Nature Communications, offers a rare genetic glimpse of the ancient, yet cryptic, bacterium, which still manages to cause 200,000 new cases worldwide each year.

                                                                                                      * * *

                                                                                                                The team also noted step-wise development of antibiotic resistance, particularly in some of the hypermutants. Since the 1980s, leprosy has been treated with a combination of two to three antibiotics, typically rifampicin, dapsone, and clofazimine, though it’s unclear how clofazimine kills M. leprae. Prior to that, doctors sometimes prescribed single antibiotics.
                                                                                                                  For several strains that were resistant to three or more drugs (extensively drug resistant or XDR strains), the researchers looked back at the medical records of the patients from which doctors isolated the strains. The researchers noted that, in several cases, the XDR strains infected patients over decades, with resistance to individual drugs developing one by one as new drugs were tried.
                                                                                                            New research published today in Science Advances suggests the impact of the Chicxulub meteor spawned large seismic waves that coursed through the planet, reaching mid-oceanic ridges where tectonic plates rub against each other. This triggered intense volcanic activity across the Earth’s ocean floor, and the release of magma trapped beneath the crust. This happened around the globe, extending for tens of thousands of miles along the mid-ocean ridges. The lead authors of the new study, Joseph Byrnes and Leif Karlstrom from the University of Oregon, say the ensuing global volcanism was likely a contributing factor to the mass extinction that followed.
                                                                                                              An unstated implication from this is that it may have accelerated continental drift. One of the primary mechanisms of continental drift is the eruption of magma along plate boundaries which serves to force those plates apart, such as the mid-Atlantic ridge between the Americas and Europe/Africa. Obviously, is the rate and size of eruptions increased, it should have further acted to force the plates to separate.
                                                                                                                       In a new book, former geophysicist and author Stephen C. Meyer, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, explains why intelligent design is not a "god of the gaps" argument, but a viable scientific theory.
                                                                                                                          "The theory of intelligent design, unlike creationism, is not based upon the Bible," Meyer wrote in Four Views on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design. Rather than a Bible-based theory, ID "is based on recent scientific discoveries and what we know about the cause-and-effect structure of the world — specifically, what we know about patterns of evidence that indicate intelligent causes."
                                                                                                                            Intelligent design focuses less on Genesis and more on the complexity of DNA and genetic codes. It merely posits that the world — and especially life — has the kind of complexity that can only be explained by intelligence. It does not attempt to prove the existence of a God, or to identify a God, but to present the case for an intelligence behind natural phenomena.
                                                                                                                             Meyer explained that "god of the gaps" arguments fail to convince because they are arguments from ignorance. Such arguments "occur when evidence against a proposition is offered as the sole grounds for accepting an alternative position." For instance: Evolution cannot explain this part of life, ergo there must be a designer.
                                                                                                                              Intelligent design does not work like this, the author argues. "Proponents of intelligent design infer design because we know that intelligent agents can and do produce specified information-rich systems," Meyer writes. "Indeed, we have positive, experience-based knowledge of an alternative cause sufficient to have produced the effect in question — and that cause is intelligence or mind."
                                                                                                                                   ID proponents like Meyer point out that even the most basic forms of life are remarkably complex. ....
                                                                                                                                   Furthermore, Meyer points to the work of Douglas Axe, a biologist whose experiments revealed "that for every one DNA sequence that generates a short functional protein of just 150 amino acids in length, there are 10^77 [one with 77 zeros following it] non-functional combinations — that is, 10^77 amino acid arrangements that will not fold into a stable three-dimensional protein structure capable of performing a biological function."