|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:
- "Florida gunman says 'demon voices' told him how to pull off school shooting and police reveal they were called out 39 TIMES to his family home before his mother died last year"--Daily Mail. According to the article, the police calls were for such things as "'mentally ill person,' 'child/elderly abuse,' 'domestic disturbance,' 'missing person,' and several others."
- Notwithstanding continued reporting that the shooter had ties to a white supremacist group, "A law enforcement official says he knows of 'no known ties' between the suspect who confessed to a deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school and a white supremacist group."
- "Here’s Why Majory Stoneman Douglas High School Never Reported Nikolas Cruz to the Police"--The Truth About Guns. According to the author of this article, "the Broward County School Board has an official policy requiring that they don’t report incidents with troubled youth to the police."
- "Florida shooting survivor who hid in a closet for two hours hits out at conservative pundit Tomi Lahren after she said massacre 'isn't about a gun, it's about lunatics'"--Daily Mail.
- "Why We Must Arm Teachers Now!"--Town Hall. From the article: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.
- "UPDATED: Comparing Death Rates from Mass Public Shootings and Mass Public Violence in the US and Europe"--Crime Prevention Research Center. It looks at data from 2009 through 2015. The U.S. has a lower number of incidents than most European countries.
- Disavowed by Russia: "Mercenaries Killed in Syria Were Part of Russian-Backed Hybrid Force"--Washington Free Beacon. From the article:
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.
- A reminder that we live in the 21st Century: "NASA Is Bringing Back Cold War-Era Atomic Rockets to Get to Mars"--Bloomberg. The idea was thought up in the Cold War-Era, but the execution will be modern. From the article:
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.”