Wednesday, March 21, 2018

For My LDS Readers: Wolves in Sheep's Clothing--Gun Control Edition

        In Matthew 7:15, the Lord warns: "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."

        By "false prophets" and "ravening wolves" the Lord is discussing those that will appear to be harmless, but profess doctrines and beliefs that are not only false, by highly destructive. We see this in regard to many of the teachings of the world that find their way into our congregations; e.g., gay marriage is premised on a false notion that love somehow justifies or consecrates what is a sin, and then if love justifies all, it would be wrong to not extend marriage to those that are "in love."

        However, gay marriage is not the topic of this post, but rather that of firearms and self-defense. In Alma 43:47, we are told:
 And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed. Therefore for this cause were the Nephites contending with the Lamanites, to defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion.
In D&C 98:23-32, the Lord instructs us to bear with patience those that smite us--to a limit. For instance:
... if he has sought thy life, and thy life is endangered by him, thine enemy is in thine hands and thou art justified. 
Behold, this is the law I gave unto my servant Nephi, and thy fathers, Joseph, and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham, and all mine ancient prophets and apostles.
(See also Luke 22:31-33 in which the Lord instructs his Apostles to purchase a sword to protect themselves, if necessary, against the soldiers that would come to arrest Him. It is relevant to note that the Lord specified a sword--a military weapon--and not a dagger or knife, such as most people would carry for self-defense, nor a bow and arrow, such as would be used for hunting).

        More broadly, we also have the right to defend "our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children." (Alma 46:12) For instance, in Alma 62, we are provided the moving story of Alma who, having been informed that the Kingmen have sought to overthrow the government and ally with the Nephites' enemies, gathered a force of his fellow citizens, including their swords (again, a military weapon, not a hunting weapon), to overthrow the usurpers.

        But there are those that believe we should give up our swords, and they have burrowed deep into the Church. The blog, By Common Consent, recently published a post entitled "Rising Generation." The author writes:
The rising generation might just finally sweep away the baby boomers’ morally corrupting mythological fetishization of the Second Amendment. From my observation of this movement, these students for the most part aren’t demanding the repeal of the Second Amendment or confiscation of guns, or anything similar. They are demanding common-sense gun regulations that one could argue in good faith do not violate the Second Amendment[1], even if they would be inconsistent with the NRA-driven fetishization and false arguments about what the Second Amendment supposedly requires. This handy summary list of the common-sense gun regulations being proposed — regulations that would virtually eliminate school shootings and other mass shootings — has seen increased circulation on social media since the Parkland massacre: ...
The author then lists 14 restrictions on the Second Amendment, including prohibitions on private (non-FFL) transfers of firearms, 10-round magazine limits, and others, all but one of which would have had no impact on the school shooting at issue in Florida. The author then goes into a racist and sexist tirade ending thusly:
They [i.e., Europe] have no lack of white males who feel romantically spurned or unfairly fired from a job or in some other way rejected by a society they’ve been socialized to believe they should be dominating as white males. But with common-sense gun regulations, if yet another mentally ill white male has murderous intentions, he will not be able to kill as many people with a knife. Implementing common-sense gun regulations will save many of our children and make our schools safer.
Of course, we are expected to ignore a 2016 knife attack in Japan where the perpetrator killed 19 and injured dozens of others at a mental health facility. And no school attacker would use a bomb (except for the Bath, Mich. attack on an elementary school that killed 44, including 38 children; oh, and that the Columbine shooters had planned their attack as a bomb attack). And we would never have to worry about people being killed with a vehicle, like the Nice, France, attack in 2016, which killed 86 people and injured 458 others. Stuff like that just doesn't happen in modern, advanced countries ... at least that is what the author of the foregoing post would have you believe.

        Let's take a step back and look at the underlying philosophy the author expresses, which is that we can force people to not commit evil acts. That idea sounds familiar, and it should, because that was Satan's plan: to save all souls by taking away free agency.

      Gun control is the same type of evil--the enticing whisper that if we take away free will, we can save everyone. But without free-will, and without weapons, we would not be able to "defend []our families even unto bloodshed," or take up arms in defense of "our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children." Instead, we would be victims to those that would oppress, whether individually (such as a common burglar) or en masse (such as a dictator).

       Let me be clear: those that would support gun control are either stupid, evil, or both. And to the extent that they attempt to justify their teachings based on scripture, they are false prophets.

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

This cartridge did well both in the bare-gel test and the heavy clothing test in both penetration and expansion.

  • "What and Why 5R Rifling?"--Faxon Firearms. Standard rifling uses an even number of lands and grooves, such that the lands and grooves are opposite one another: that is, a groove will have a groove opposite it, and a land will have a land opposite it. 5R uses an odd number, so a groove will have a land opposite, and vice-versa. The advantage (or so it is advertised) is that 5R causes less deformation to the bullet as it is squeezed into the rifling which, in theory, should provide more accuracy down range.
  • "Centerfire Rifle Wounds"--Bev Fitchett's Guns Magazine. A discussion of contact, intermediate and distance wounds. The photographs are gruesome, so this may not be safe for work.
  • "4 Go-To Setups for Any Defensive AR-15"--Shooting Illustrated. One of the difficulties in attempting to present a general review of the AR-15 is that it is no longer a particular model (or even closely related model) of firearm, but a whole class or family of firearms, with widely disparate configurations, calibers, quality of parts, etc. Although the author of this article did not intend to produce a generalized taxonomy of AR rifles and carbines, his classification system can be helpful in that regard. In any event, the author's concern in his article is that "[t]he challenge for the AR-15 owner isn’t whether something exists to enhance your system’s performance, it’s a question of which combination of products best meets your needs." He then offers up four (4) basic configurations which he believes addresses certain common needs of the shooter.
         First is the what he terms the Type 1 AR-15: "a basic and inexpensive, yet functional, carbine." It uses only the iron sights for a sighting system, but will still sport a flashlight and a 2-point sling. As the author writes:
Starting with a Type 1 MSR allows you to field a capable system immediately at the lowest cost possible, while leaving you room to expand into optics and lasers as the resources become available. The other types of carbines we’ll cover are built upon the Type 1. If your finances allow, skip the Type 1 and go straight to the type that best meets your mission needs. 
         The Type 2 is fitted with a red dot or holographic sight of some sort and, optionally, a laser sight if you might be using night vision devices or shooting while wearing a gas mask. The author explains:
While iron sights are serviceable, a red-dot sight enhances your carbine’s capabilities significantly in several ways. First, a red-dot sight eliminates the need to line up three objects in space (the rear sight, front sight and target) while focusing on the one in the middle. While this focus becomes second nature with training, it still takes time to do in real life. If your carbine is intended for defensive use, every millisecond is life or death in a gunfight, and the milliseconds gained by being able to just focus on the target (which your brain wants to do anyway) and put the dot where you want the bullets to go (compensating for offset at close range), could be the margin you need. A red-dot sight also allows for more-precise shots in low-light conditions, reduces the imperative of a perfect cheek weld and makes shooting from unusual positions a more-realistic affair. 
        The Type 3 uses a fixed power, ACOG type sight, and is intended for where the carbine will generally be used a longer distances, in the open (i.e., not CQB).
         The Type 4 uses a variable power 1-4x, 1-6x, or 1-8x, The author writes:
This is the most versatile of all the AR-15 types, giving you the ability to work very close to all the way to the outward edge of the .223 Rem./5.56 NATO ballistic envelope. This versatility, however, comes at a price. Variable-power optics require a significant amount of training effort in order for you to become accustomed to the specific eye-relief, reticle use, power adjustment and range-estimation skills required to get the full use of your particular optic. Having said that, if by some freak accident of law or circumstance I could only have one AR-15, it would be a Type 4 MSR or a Type 2 MSR with a 3X magnifier behind the unmagnified red-dot sight (making a kind of hybrid Type 4).
Abstract: In a dynamical system, even an unamplified input signal induces a response to any feedback. Hitherto, however, the large feedback response to emission temperature has been misattributed to warming from the naturally-occurring, non-condensing greenhouse gases. After correction, the theoretically-derived pre-industrial feedback fraction is demonstrated to cohere with the empirically-derived industrial-era value an order of magnitude below previous estimates, mandating reduction of projected Charney sensitivity from 3.3 +/- 1.2K to 1.2 +/- 0.15K.
         However, the whole matter is complicated by the fact that while the world was warming up in the 20th century the number of sunspots were above their average count. Remember, other things being equal, more spots means warmer earth temperatures.
             When the book was published in hardback in 2015, the author was reluctant to forecast the likely outcome of the current sunspot cycle.
                But what has become more apparent based on more recent research from NASA is that we are now in a period of very few or no sunspots. This has coincided with the brutal winter we are going through now.
                 The question is whether we will enter another grand solar minimum just like the Maunder minimum which if history is a guide would mean a period of much colder weather winters and summers. More than a few experts with whom I speak regularly believe that we shall enter such a grand minimum along with the resulting bone-chilling weather.
                   If that happens, then there will be profound influences on the economy, including possible crop failures and rising energy use for home and workplace heating. Or in other words, expect bigger bills for food and energy. After a period in which the supply of both has been increasingly abundant then this change will likely come as a shock to many people and likely the broader global economy as well.
          • "NOAA Data Tampering Approaching 2.5 Degrees"--The Deplorable Climate Science Blog. The author notes: "NOAA’s US temperature record shows that US was warmest in the 1930’s and has generally cooled as CO2 has increased.  This wrecks greenhouse gas theory, so they 'adjust' the data to make it look like the US is warming." The adjustment upward is especially puzzling because honest adjustments would be downward. The reason is that rural weather stations have gradually disappeared, while urban stations are generally in "heat islands" caused by being surrounded by concrete, asphalt, or being located near heat producing devices such as air conditioners.
          • "Devout Christian Austin bomber, 23, who blew himself up after cops released CCTV of him in disguise sending two packages at a FedEx office in campaign of terror"--Daily Mail. Per the article, the alleged bomber, Mark Anthony Conditt, 23, blew himself up as police tried to arrest him on Wednesday. The article does not list any evidence or justification for the claim in the headline that the bomber was a devout Christian, and there is currently no information on a motive. Using liberal logic, though, I believe that the only correct response would be to boycott FedEx until it agrees that only people 25 years or older can use its services ... after an appropriate background check, of course.
          • "Deputies: Woman and girl dead after man attacks family, sets home on fire"--Fox 13 News. Unlike the prior headline, this one is silent on the religion of the perpetrator, even though he is a member of the Nation of Islam and was screaming "Allah snackbar" or something like that in the background of the 911 call.
          • "Electing a New People"--Vox Popoli. Commenting on a Pew Poll regarding the changing demographics of the political parties (especially the Democrats), Vox Day comments:
            So, what Pew is observing is nothing less than the large-scale transformation of white people from ideology-based politics to identity-based politics in a single generation. As I predicted several years ago, the two major parties will be the White Party and the Not-White Party, regardless of what they are officially called in order to maintain the pretense of a single nation.
                      Grooming gang victims have described how police failed to act as paedophile Shahzad ‘Keith’ Khan raked in money selling their bodies to scores of abusers at a property dubbed ‘The Rape House’.
                         The Pakistani migrant, who died in 2015 aged 61, had targeted girls in the town since 1981, picking up at least one of his victims from under the noses of the authorities outside a police station on a regular basis, the Mirror reports.
                          “He’d pick me up right outside the police station in Wellington and sometimes police cars would drive past us,” she said.
                            “They must have realised something was very badly wrong but they never said a word, nor asked me what I was doing with a much older man.”
                              Accurate face recognition techniques make a series of critical applications possible: policemen could employ it to retrieve criminals’ faces from surveillance video streams; cross boarder travelers could pass a face authentication inspection line without the involvement of officers. Nonetheless, when public security heavily relies on such intelligent systems, the designers should deliberately consider the emerging attacks aiming at misleading those systems employing face recognition.
                                 We propose a kind of brand new attack against face recognition systems, which is realized by illuminating the subject using infrared according to the adversarial examples worked out by our algorithm, thus face recognition systems can be bypassed or misled while simultaneously the infrared perturbations cannot be observed by raw eyes. Through launching this kind of attack, an attacker not only can dodge surveillance cameras. More importantly, he can impersonate his target victim and pass the face authentication system, if only the victim’s photo is acquired by the attacker. Again, the attack is totally unobservable by nearby people, because not only the light is invisible, but also the device we made to launch the attack is small enough. According to our study on a large dataset, attackers have a very high success rate with a over 70% success rate for finding such an adversarial example that can be implemented by infrared. To the best of our knowledge, our work is the first one to shed light on the severity of threat resulted from infrared adversarial examples against face recognition.
                        I've seen similar devices (a cap with a bunch of infrared LEDs) before, but those relied on the LEDs to blind a camera, not an attempt to mislead a facial recognition system using the camera.
                        • Related: "How tech caught a killer: The tech behind catching the Austin serial bomber"--Fox News.  Authorities used surveillance camera footage to help identify the shooter, cross referencing driver's license data; they used requests from Google to check the suspect's search history for suspicious searches; and they used device location and cell-phone triangulation to pinpoint the suspect's location when they decided to arrest him.

                        Tuesday, March 20, 2018

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

                        "Saving California"--Bill Whittle (4 min.)
                        Whittle makes an argument that readers should recognize from the Pride Cycle and/or r/K theory: that California's current liberal mess is the result of life being too good and easy in the past.

                                   For more experienced shooters, there is a wealth of advanced data and techniques laid out in other chapters.  One of my favorite sections deals with shooting over or under obstructions.  This concerns the techniques to use should there be power lines, window sills, bridges, or more commonly in my experience, tree branches in the line of one’s long-range shot.  This could make all the difference between a solid hit or an ineffective hit/miss.  It is a subject I’ve not seen well covered at shooting schools or in other literature.  Once again, Cirincione’s clarity shines through the murky waters on this subject.
                                     Have you ever encountered high angle shots?  On a recent hunt, I was at such an extreme angle that it almost felt like I was going to slide off a cliff. I’ve been shooting at extreme angles for a while and received instruction in such situations. I do believe that the section on high angle shooting in this book is probably one of the simplest and easy to understand outlines of what one needs to take in account to achieve long-range hits at extreme angles.
                                       In his highly acclaimed book on the Left’s Reign of Terror during the French Revolution, Twelve Who Ruled, the late Yale historian Robert Roswell Palmer described the machinations of its demagogues. They were “less concerned to cure poverty than to exploit it,” “breathers of fire” who were “more inclined to love action for its own sake than to speculate on consequences,” and who thought their ideas should be imposed simply because they said so or because “evident truths needed no lengthy discussion.”
                                         The same could be said about today’s gun control advocates who, since the multiple murder at a high school in Florida last month, have been demanding that Americans acquiesce to restrictions on the right to arms without regard for the restrictions’ practical, legal, and constitutional shortcomings.
                                  The author goes on to note why most of the left's favorite gun control propositions will not work as they argue they will, and/or are violative of the Second Amendment.
                                              One thing not discussed in the article that bears some note is the left's use of the term "gun violence" which is a magical term lumping suicides with homicides. The left likes to argue that restricting guns will reduce gun violence, which it can do by making it more difficult for someone with suicidal tendencies to obtain a firearm. But ... and this is the big lie advanced by the left ... it doesn't reduce suicide rates. What happened in Australia is that people wanting to kill themselves simply shifted to other ways to do so. 
                                             "Schools are safer today than they had been in previous decades," says James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology at Northeastern University who has studied the phenomenon of mass murder since the 1980s.
                                               Fox and doctoral student Emma Fridel crunched the numbers, and the results should come as a relief to parents.
                                                 First, while multiple-victim shootings in general are on the rise, that's not the case in schools. There's an average of about one a year — in a country with more than 100,000 schools.
                                                  "There were more back in the '90s than in recent years," says Fox. "For example, in one school year — 1997-98 — there were four multiple-victim shootings in schools."
                                                    Second, the overall number of gunshot victims at schools is also down. According to Fox's numbers, back in the 1992-93 school year, about 0.55 students per million were shot and killed; in 2014-15, that rate was closer to 0.15 per million.
                                                       I’m a Rotherham grooming gang survivor. I call myself a survivor because I’m still alive. I’m part of the UK’s largest ever child sexual abuse investigation.
                                                         As a teenager, I was taken to various houses and flats above takeaways in the north of England, to be beaten, tortured and raped over 100 times. I was called a “white slag” and “white c***” as they beat me.
                                                            They made it clear that because I was a non-Muslim, and not a virgin, and because I didn’t dress “modestly”, that they believed I deserved to be “punished”. They said I had to “obey” or be beaten.
                                                            Fear of being killed, and threats to my parents’ lives, made it impossible for me to escape for about a year. The police didn’t help me.
                                                      Note well that last line: "The police didn't help me." When government is the problem, the solution is never going to include "going to the police."
                                                               The author believes that generalized animosity against Muslims is not justified, and would exacerbate the situation. I'm not so sure. Hostility or distrust toward outsiders is a type of Darwinian defense mechanism to prevent the slow invasion and replacement by an outside group. If there had been a general hostility to Muslims immigrating to the United Kingdom, the victim-author of this piece would not have been subject to a "grooming gang" because the perpetrators would not have been admitted, or would have been too afraid to engage in such activity lest there be a backlash; at the least, the police would have been more than happy to help the victim. It is the acceptance of Muslims--even a "need" to please Muslims--that created the situation where this victim was abused with no hope of succor by her government.
                                                                While some argue that the Lord expects us to welcome the stranger, and that such welcome should be unconditional, I'm again somewhat hesitant to agree. Although the scriptures talk about not oppressing the stranger and we are encouraged to be hospitable to our guests, there is certainly nothing that indicates that we are to welcome a stranger as a permanent resident with full and unconditional acceptance of their customs. In point of fact,  one of the clear messages from Jeremiah and Ezekiel is that Israel and Judah sinned by adopting the beliefs and customs of foreign peoples (the result of welcoming aliens into Israel that began under the reign of Solomon); and, in Ezekiel, God goes further and condemns Judah for having turned over the operation of the temple to foreigners! It is also relevant that the Jews were, in general, not to marry outside the covenant; and, in that vein, it is notable that one of the primary reasons given for the Great Flood was intermarriage with outsiders. (See Genesis 6:2: "the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose"). In short, there is a great spectrum between "do not oppress the stranger" and "admit the stranger unconditionally." 
                                                                 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, buoyed by his army’s capture of a Kurdish stronghold in northwest Syria, threatened to extend the offensive against separatist Kurdish militants to eastern Syria and northern Iraq.
                                                                   Turkey’s military will shift their campaign to several towns under the control of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, including Manbij, Kobani, Tal Abyad, Rasulayn and Qamishli, “until this terror corridor is fully eliminated,” Erdogan said Monday. Turkey’s threat to attack Manbij, where U.S. troops are based, has put Ankara at loggerheads with Washington, and talks between the NATO allies have so far yielded no agreement. The U.S. also has a diplomatic presence in Kobani.
                                                            Erdogan can characterize this as an anti-terror operation all he wants, but this is less about controlling Kurdish separatists fighting against Turkey, and more about gobbling up bits and pieces of Syria. 
                                                              A former Obama campaign official is claiming that Facebook knowingly allowed them to mine massive amounts of Facebook data — more than they would’ve allowed someone else to do — because they were supportive of the campaign.
                                                                It goes on to explain: 
                                                                            That’s because the more than 1 million Obama backers who signed up for the [Facebook-based app] gave the campaign permission to look at their Facebook friend lists. In an instant, the campaign had a way to see the hidden young voters. Roughly 85% of those without a listed phone number could be found in the uploaded friend lists. What’s more, Facebook offered an ideal way to reach them. “People don’t trust campaigns. They don’t even trust media organizations,” says Goff. “Who do they trust? Their friends.”
                                                                              The campaign called this effort targeted sharing. And in those final weeks of the campaign, the team blitzed the supporters who had signed up for the app with requests to share specific online content with specific friends simply by clicking a button. More than 600,000 supporters followed through with more than 5 million contacts, asking their friends to register to vote, give money, vote or look at a video designed to change their mind. A geek squad in Chicago created models from vast data sets to find the best approaches for each potential voter. “We are not just sending you a banner ad,” explains Dan Wagner, the Obama campaign’s 29-year-old head of analytics, who helped oversee the project. “We are giving you relevant information from your friends.”
                                                                      If you want to know how to identify and disable apps that have access to your Facebook account, you can read this article from Quartz Magazine.
                                                                        In at least four investigations last year – cases of murder, sexual battery and even possible arson at the massive downtown fire in March 2017 – Raleigh police used search warrants to demand Google accounts not of specific suspects, but from any mobile devices that veered too close to the scene of a crime, according to a WRAL News review of court records. These warrants often prevent the technology giant for months from disclosing information about the searches not just to potential suspects, but to any users swept up in the search.
                                                                          It goes on to explain:
                                                                                     Most modern phones, tablets and laptops have built-in location tracking that pings some combination of GPS, Wi-Fi and mobile networks to determine the device's position.

                                                                              * * *
                                                                                         Users can switch location tracking off to prevent the device from pinging GPS satellites. But if it's on a cellular network or connected to Wi-Fi, the device is still transmitting its coordinates to third parties, even if they're far less accurate than GPS.
                                                                                           In the past, at least, turning off that technology has been no guarantee of privacy.
                                                                                             Business and technology news site Quartz discovered late last year that Google continued to track devices even when all GPS, Wi-Fi and cell networks were supposedly disabled. The tech giant says it has updated its software to stop the practice.
                                                                                      And, according to this Quartz story, Google can even track your Android phone if the SIM card has never been installed or has been removed.
                                                                                                 Community leaders called for an “all hands on deck” approach Tuesday to an outbreak of HIV and syphilis in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Health Department says more than 120 people, including some high school students, have been affected. 
                                                                                                    Nearly two dozen community leaders packed into a room at Milwaukee City Hall to offer solutions.
                                                                                                       Angela Hagy, director of disease control for the Milwaukee Health Department, broke down the numbers. She said health officials are still tracing the roots of the sexually transmitted infections. But, they’re calling the outbreak a cluster because the patients appear to be connected.
                                                                                                          “We have a social network of 127 individuals that we identified late last year – and that network included 76 people who tested positive for syphilis, HIV or both,” Hagy said.
                                                                                                            Hagy said the number of newly diagnosed HIV and sexually transmitted infection cases has increased nationally, as well as in Milwaukee. Last year, she explained, the city saw 117 cases of HIV and 53 cases of syphilis. She also said that Milwaukee has the highest number of cases of gonorrhea in the nation at more than 4,400.
                                                                                                •  News you probably DON'T want to know: "Signs Of Apocalypse – Jenkem"--Anonymous Conservative. The Collier County Sheriff's Department has issued an bulletin warning of a new street drug called, among other things, "Jenkem." Jemkem is an inhalant gas created by fermenting human waste. I suppose that this means that all of the obnoxious hurdles to purchasing various chemicals supposedly used for huffing must be working. But seriously, how are they going to ban the "precursors" to this!?!

                                                                                                Sunday, March 18, 2018

                                                                                                Video: "Peak Decadence: The WEST & The Fate of EMPIRE"

                                                                                                "Peak Decadence: The WEST & The Fate of EMPIRE"--Black Pigeon Speaks (11 min.)

                                                                                                       This video draws on the essay "The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival" by Sir John Glubb (PDF here). Glubb does not reference Oswald Spengler in the essay, and, because of the age of the article, would not have access to r/K theory as developed by Anonymous Conservative, yet it is interesting to me watching this video and going through his paper how his ideas seem to track both.

                                                                                                       Glubb notes (and he is not the only one) that empires typically achieve a period of greatness lasting about 250 years (after which they decline and disappear, although the decline and dissolution may vary as to the length of time). More importantly for my discussion, however, is that he observed specific stages through which they progress and decline:
                                                                                                1. The Age of Pioneers (outburst)
                                                                                                2. The Age of Conquests
                                                                                                3. The Age of Commerce
                                                                                                4. The Age of Affluence
                                                                                                5. The Age of Intellect
                                                                                                6. The Age of Decadence. 
                                                                                                It is the last stage--Decadence--that is the subject of the video and is of interest to us because it is this stage which precedes the fall. Gibb describes "decadence" of a society as follows:
                                                                                                It is of interest to note that decadence is the disintegration of a system, not of its individual members. The habits of the members of the community have been corrupted by the enjoyment of too much money and too much power for too long a period. The result has been, in the framework of their national life, to make them selfish and idle. A community of selfish and idle people declines, internal quarrels develop in the division of its dwindling wealth, and pessimism follows, which some of them endeavour to drown in sensuality or frivolity. In their own surroundings, they are unable to redirect their thoughts and their energies into new channels. 
                                                                                                He also characterizes "decadence" as:
                                                                                                [A] moral and spiritual disease, resulting from too long a period of wealth and power, producing cynicism, decline of religion, pessimism and frivolity. The citizens of such a nation will no longer make an effort to save themselves, because they are not convinced that anything in life is worth saving. 
                                                                                                It is interesting to compare this against Spengler's ideas and r/K political theory. 

                                                                                                       As I wrote in an earlier post concerning Spengler's theories:
                                                                                                 I suppose if I were to attempt to sum up Spengler's ideas in a single sentence, it would be that once a society cuts its ties with its root culture, it becomes increasingly empty, sclerotic and nihilistic. But while that is the essence of his theory, it lacks the necessary meat or body necessary for understanding. Spengler saw societies developing along the lines of an organism's life. Beginning with a vital culture as its root stock, a society matures into a civilization which, even upon reaching civilization, has in fact begun to die. Although the civilization continues to grow and appears stronger, it, in fact, loses its vitality. In Spengler's mind, this is demonstrated through the decline of art. A civilization may become more technically proficient, from a scientific or engineering standpoint, but its art has reached its apogee and declines into recycled and degenerate forms that are increasingly designed to titillate rather than inspire, appealing to only a declining minority of specialists. Along the way, the sanctity of home and hearth is abandoned. Power and government is concentration in a world city (or cities), feminism appears, birthrates decline, and the highest virtue of the civilization comes to be attacking the culture that forms the root of the civilization. The world cities have not only forgone the native culture but, as Spengler theory states, have lost even their national identities, with little or no interest in the rural population.
                                                                                                I also quoted from another author:
                                                                                                       First, Spengler predicted with uncanny foresight a number of Western developments of the past century, including the rise of world-cities and the money culture, the emergence of a powerful feminism focused on the yearnings of the Ibsen woman, the force of money in politics, declining birthrates and the popular embrace of avant-garde cultural sensibilities, awash in cynicism and cosmopolitanism and bent on destroying the cultural verities of old. 
                                                                                                       Second, Spengler makes a powerful point when he says these are not characteristics and developments found in ascendant civilizations. On the contrary, many are signs of cultural and societal decadence and decline. Although the hallowed Idea of Progress has shrouded this truth from Western society, the reality is clear: the Western cultural decline, as understood and predicted by Spengler, is now complete. ...
                                                                                                       r/K theory similarly predicts that a culture that is vital will be largely dominated by the K-select: those individuals following a competitive reproductive strategy and what we would today term "conservative" values toward family and community. However, as a culture becomes more successful and resources more plentiful, the r-select strategy tends to become more dominant: a strategy that is associated with a distaste for competitiveness, loose morals, low investment parenting, lack of loyalty toward its country and culture (what the left would term being "cosmopolitan") and other characteristics that we would associate with the modern left.
                                                                                                       It is interesting to note that the West began to pass into decadence well over a century ago (France had already begun to depopulate in the late 19th Century), and it cannot be argued but that Western Europe as a whole had passed into a period of nihilism and decadence following the First World War. The United States took longer, but certainly the 1960's saw "free love" jump the Atlantic Ocean to the United States, and today the United States has reached or exceeded the worst excesses of Weimar Germany.

                                                                                                Related Posts:

                                                                                                Saturday, March 17, 2018

                                                                                                Video: How To Shoot Through Bullet Proof Glass

                                                                                                       Some of you may be old enough to remember the Tootsie Pop commercial where the kid asks the wise old owl how many licks it takes to get to the center. This video brought that old commercial to mind.

                                                                                                       This video starts by showing what happens when you shoot through the safety glass on the side window of a vehicle (it shatters, as expected), and through the laminated glass of the windshield. The author is using an AR shooting standard green-tip 5.56. As you know, a standard windshield generally won't stop a bullet, although it may deflect the course of a bullet, or physically damage the bullet (it is not uncommon for a metal jacket, for instance, to be stripped off the core). (See, e.g., this video of an Oklahoma State Trooper shooting through the windshield of his patrol car to stop a fleeing felon).  So, if shooting through the windshield, it would ideal to try and make a hole and keep any follow up shots through the same hole.

                                                                                                        "Bullet proof" glass is typically just thicker laminated glass--that is, more layers of glass laminated together. However, concentrating fire on a specific point can still "drill" through the glass. In this instance, it took 5 or 6 hits to make a hole through the glass. Not too surprising though; I think it is the urban combat manual that has a table that lists the typical number of rounds of ammunition needed to break holes through different types of cover.

                                                                                                        Obviously, if you are the one shooting through the bullet proof windshield, you have to get the rounds concentrated in a small area, which means that you will probably need to stop the vehicle before you start working on shooting through the window, or expend a lot more rounds than shown in this video to weaken and destroy a larger area of the window. If you are inside, you can move away from point of impact so when the bullets finally make a hole, you are not in line with the hole. So, back to the guy shooting through the window, if you can get the vehicle stopped, you might be better to try through the side window because it will be much more difficult for the target to move out of the path of the rounds when they finally penetrate the glass.

                                                                                                        The larger lesson is, once again, a demonstration that a car is not a fortress.

                                                                                                Friday, March 16, 2018

                                                                                                The Major Solar Storm That Wasn't

                                                                                                Earlier this week, major media outlets were loudly proclaiming that Earth would be struck by a strong solar storm that would disrupt communications and electronics. Except there was no such storm. I commented at the time, based on those same articles, that the warnings were an example of the Chicken Little cries of "the sky is falling" because even the articles, when you dug into them, only admitted to an insignificant coronal mass ejection. But even that was incorrect: there simply was no storm. I won't attempt to explain why the media was so spooked over nothing (or, perhaps more correctly, wanted the public spooked over nothing), but I would direct you to these two videos showing how calm our star was at the time:

                                                                                                "NO SOLAR STORM COMING | Nonsense News March.14.2018"--Suspicious Observers (1 min.)

                                                                                                For my LDS readers: Secret Combinations and the Death of Seth Rich

                                                                                                     Retired Admiral James Lyons recently wrote about the Seth Rich murder at The Washington Times. From the article:
                                                                                                       With the clearly unethical and most likely criminal behavior of the upper management levels of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) exposed by Chairman Devin Nunes of the House Intelligence Committee, there are two complementary areas that have been conveniently swept under the rug.
                                                                                                          The first deals with the murder of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich, and the second deals with the alleged hacking of the DNC server by Russia. Both should be of prime interest to special counsel Robert Mueller, but do not hold your breath.
                                                                                                           The facts that we know of in the murder of the DNC staffer, Seth Rich, was that he was gunned down blocks from his home on July 10, 2016. Washington Metro police detectives claim that Mr. Rich was a robbery victim, which is strange since after being shot twice in the back, he was still wearing a $2,000 gold necklace and watch. He still had his wallet, key and phone. Clearly, he was not a victim of robbery.
                                                                                                              This has all the earmarks of a targeted hit job. However, strangely no one has been charged with this horrific crime, and what is more intriguing is that no law enforcement agency is even investigating this murder. According to other open sources, Metro police were told by their “higher ups” that if they spoke about the case, they will be immediately terminated. It has been claimed that this order came down from very high up the “food chain,” well beyond the D.C. mayor’s office. Interesting.
                                                                                                                One more unexplained twist is that on July 10, 2016, the same day Seth Rich was murdered, an FBI agent’s car was burglarized in the same vicinity. Included in the FBI equipment stolen was a 40 caliber Glock 22. D.C. Metro police issued a press release, declaring that the theft of the FBI agent’s car occurred between 5 and 7 a.m. Two weeks later, the FBI changed the time of the theft to between 12 a.m. and 2 a.m. Was the FBI gun used to shoot Seth Rich? Neither the FBI nor the Metro police will discuss.
                                                                                                                  Another aspect that needs to be uncovered is the FBI’s “denial” that its cyber experts who share space with the D.C. Metro police department at Cleveland Avenue in the District, assisted in accessing data on Mr. Rich’s laptop. Not likely. Data on the laptop revealed that Mr. Rich downloaded thousands of DNC emails and was in touch with Wikileaks. The file with evidence of what was on Mr. Rich’s laptop sits with the FBI in a co-shared space with the D.C. police department. According to Ed Butowsky, an acquaintance of the family, in his discussions with Joel and Mary Rich, they confirmed that their son transmitted the DNC emails to Wikileaks.

                                                                                                          Paul Delaroche: "Assassination of Henry I, Duke of Guise"
                                                                                                                History is replete with secret combinations. One of the most famous is the assassination of Julius Caesar by a group of conspirators. The betrayal, arrest and execution of our Lord and Savior was likewise the result of a conspiracy among the Jewish priests, the Sanhedrin, and at least one of Christ's close followers (Judas Iscariot). I suppose in more recent history we could point to various scandals involving the various commercial trusts and interests of the late 19th and early 20th century America (e.g., the Teapot Dome scandal), the deliberate misleading of Congress and the American people over the Gulf of Tonkin incident that catapulted the U.S. into the Vietnam War, the Rotherham scandal where civil authorities in the British government (including law enforcement) covered up the activity of Muslim pedophile gangs, and pedophile rings among the highest levels of the British government, just to name a few. Heck, Carroll Quigley's Tragedy & Hope: A History of the World in Our Time is essentially a history of the behind-the-scenes mechanizations and interactions of powerful interests in government, industry, and finance during the period of roughly 1900 to 1960, which led to the global progressive institutions undergirding the West; and elections and elected representatives play very little role in that history. Even a dictator, such as Hitler, was largely at the mercy of the entrenched bureaucracy of the German state. And, today, we worry about the actions and motives of what many have termed "the Deep State," the "pay to play" of The Clinton Foundation, and, most recently, it has emerged how lucrative contracts have been diverted to a private equity firm run by John Kerry's and Joe Biden's children. For instance, from The New York Post:
                                                                                                                  Over the next seven years, as both Joe Biden and John Kerry negotiated sensitive and high-stakes deals with foreign governments, Rosemont entities secured a series of exclusive deals often with those same foreign governments.

                                                                                                                  Some of the deals they secured may remain hidden. These Rosemont entities are, after all, within a private equity firm and as such are not required to report or disclose their financial dealings publicly.

                                                                                                                  Some of their transactions are nevertheless traceable by investigating world capital markets. A troubling pattern emerges from this research, showing how profitable deals were struck with foreign governments on the heels of crucial diplomatic missions carried out by their powerful fathers. Often those foreign entities gained favorable policy actions from the United States government just as the sons were securing favorable financial deals from those same entities.

                                                                                                                  Nowhere is that more true than in their commercial dealings with Chinese government-backed enterprises.

                                                                                                                  Rosemont Seneca joined forces in doing business in China with another politically connected consultancy called the Thornton Group. The Massachusetts-based firm is headed by James Bulger, the nephew of the notorious mob hitman James “Whitey” Bulger. Whitey was the leader of the Winter Hill Gang, part of the South Boston mafia. Under indictment for 19 murders, he disappeared. He was later arrested, tried, and convicted.

                                                                                                                  James Bulger’s father, Whitey’s younger brother, Billy Bulger, serves on the board of directors of the Thornton Group. He was the longtime leader of the Massachusetts state Senate and, with their long overlap by state and by party, a political ally of Massachusetts Senator John Kerry.

                                                                                                                  Less than a year after opening Rosemont Seneca’s doors, Hunter Biden and Devon Archer were in China, having secured access at the highest levels. Thornton Group’s account of the meeting on their Chinese-language website was telling: Chinese executives “extended their warm welcome” to the “Thornton Group, with its US partner Rosemont Seneca chairman Hunter Biden (second son of the now Vice President Joe Biden).”

                                                                                                                   The purpose of the meetings was to “explore the possibility of commercial cooperation and opportunity.” Curiously, details about the meeting do not appear on their English-language website.

                                                                                                                  Also, according to the Thornton Group, the three Americans met with the largest and most powerful government fund leaders in China — even though Rosemont was both new and small.

                                                                                                                 The timing of this meeting was also curious. It occurred just hours before Hunter Biden’s father, the vice president, met with Chinese President Hu in Washington as part of the Nuclear Security Summit.
                                                                                                               It is no accident, however, that we are learning of these secret combinations now. Keep in mind that The Book of Mormon was written for us and for our time. The stories and lessons contained therein are for our assistance. Thus, for instance, Nephi warned:
                                                                                                          And there are also secret combinations, even as in times of old, according to the combinations of the devil, for he is the founder of ​all these things; yea, the founder of murder, and works of darkness; yea, and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever.
                                                                                                          (2 Nephi 26:22). Although most sin can be described as having been committed "in darkness"--that is, in secret or, at the least, out of public view--secret combinations are more dangerous to the public as a whole because they involve an understanding, agreement, or conspiracy among groups of men and women to engage in and support one another in their acts. The purpose of these secret combinations is to gain power through theft and murder, and for members of such combinations to avoid accountability for their sins and misdeeds. (See Helaman 2:8;  2 Nephi 9:9). Secret combinations have existed from the time of Cain. (Moses 5:51). And we are given examples in The Book of Mormon of how secret combinations can lead to the destruction of government, as they led to the dissolution of a unified Nephite government (3 Nephi 7:6), and civil war among the Jaredite peoples (See, e.g.,Ether 9:1Ether 11:15). Secret combinations are not only corrosive to government, but eventually act to entice the greater body of people to join in sin and corruption, including the persecution of the righteous. (See Helaman 6:382 Nephi 9:9; consider also the media and entertainment industries of today). In the end, the Lord will pour out his judgments "in a day when the blood of saints shall cry unto the Lord, because of secret combinations and the works of darkness." (Mormon 8:27); see also Rev. 6:10 ("And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?").

                                                                                                                 The specifics of the organizations described in The Book of Mormon vary somewhat. For instance, the kingmen were composed of "judges" (something more in line with the Roman idea of magistrate combining both administrative and judicial functions) who wanted power and to overthrow the elected government by supporting a monarchy; and they were quite willing to ally with foreign powers to do so. Later, the Gadianton Robbers started with similar goals, eventually morphing into a guerrilla army and prosecuting an insurgency against the Nephite people. But common to these groups were secret oaths to support one another, including by lying and murdering. That "secret combinations" play such a significant role in the history related therein is a clear indication that we will similarly be faced with such combination in our time, and that they will likewise threaten our nation and way of life.     

                                                                                                          March 16, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around The Web

                                                                                                          "Shotgun or Sidearm" (14-1/2 min.) This is a police training video from 1976 which I believe I posted before. I bring it up because of the articles I linked to recently on ricochets. Started at the 6:40 mark (my links should start at the correct point), the video briefly discusses ricochet and gives a real world demonstration of ricocheting buckshot under a car without any of the pellets striking the underside of the car.

                                                                                                          • Greg Ellifritz has posted this week's Weekend Knowledge Dump. He has links to articles and videos on strength training, the smart way to engage an active shooter, scams common to third world countries, and more. Check it out.
                                                                                                                 Ellifritz's comments on one article particularly struck me because it is something that I've noted before in the context of post-SHTF militia or self-defense groups: the importance of certification over skill. Ellifritz writes:
                                                                                                          A university professor explains how the entire educational system is rigged to value credentials over actual skills and experience.  I see the exact same thing in the firearms training industry.  The “credential” of simply being a police officer  or in the military has more value to prospective students than any “civilian” who has spent thousands of hours studying, training, and perfecting his craft.  You can also see this playing out with some of the crappy NRA “instructors” teaching CCW classes.  They have the “instructor” credential, but they have none of the skills to do the job well.
                                                                                                          • Grant Cunningham offers up some sage advice to those of us that carry weapons for purposes of protecting ourselves and loved ones: "You don’t need to win. You need to survive." He notes that your basic goal is to "get safe and stay safe." He adds:
                                                                                                            Here’s the thing: I don’t need to dominate my opponent to do that. I don’t need to ‘win’; I simply need to do whatever is necessary to get to safety. That might entail doing damage to my attacker, perhaps even lethal damage, in order to get there — and I certainly accept that — but I never lose sight of my goal to get to safety.
                                                                                                              For the past few months, I’ve been starting all of my live fire range sessions with drills that are designed as tests. I make a point of shooting the drill or test cold. I do this to realistically track my performance. As Robert pointed out in a recent article, you don’t get to choose when trouble finds you and you don’t get to wait until your feeling tip top. You may be called upon to use your gun when you’re tired, sick, cold, hungry, angry, or frustrated. No matter how you feel, you have to be prepared to flip the switch and make it happen. That’s why I try to test myself every range session with some sort of metric that I can track.
                                                                                                              • "IFAK- Can You Save Your Own Life?"--AZ Rifleman. As a shooter or hunter, your individual first aid kit needs to be able to stop major bleeding, and should include a tourniquet, hemostatic gauze, gauze pads, a pressure bandage (such as the Israeli bandage), and a chest seal. You can keep bandaids, burn cream, etc., in a larger general purpose first aid kit.
                                                                                                              • "Shotgun Emergency/Port Load"--Priority Performance. As most of you know, if your shotgun runs dry, you can pop a shell into the open port, close the bolt, and fire off another round. This article discusses the basic techniques needed, as well as the pros and cons of finer details such as whether to reach over the top of your shotgun to retrieve and load the shell, or come up from underneath.
                                                                                                              • "How To Concealed Carry In Summer"--Alien Gear Holsters. We are close to that time of year again, and this article has some good advice on the topic. One piece of advice is that you might just need to move to a smaller pistol. While there are many instructors who advocate carrying the same rig and same set up all year round, my opinion (which I've expressed before) is that it will be unrealistic for most people to do so. Anyway, read the article and see what you think.
                                                                                                              • "3V Gear OUTLAW II"--New Rifleman. There is a fairly significant school of thought among long distance shooters and hunters that recommend using a shooting bag over a bipod for steadying a rifle. However, even if you don't ascribe to that thought, you still need something to carry your range gear. The author here reviews a sling bag (i.e., a single padded sling for carrying rather than two as in a standard backpack) that is reasonably priced and has served him well for the last several months.
                                                                                                              • "What no politician wants to admit about gun control"--Vox. The author writes: "Realistically, a gun control plan that has any hope of getting us down to European levels of violence is going to mean taking a huge number of guns away from a huge number of gun owners." Of course, there is no evidence to support even that argument, but it does show us that the liberals final goal is mass confiscation. 
                                                                                                              • "The Population Bomb Has Been Defused"--Bloomberg. The author is only a couple decades behind the times: most nations have fallen to or below replacement level fertility rates. This article does have some updated information on Africa, however, which has lagged behind. However, some sub-Saharan nations are beginning to see fertility rates begin to fall below 5 children per woman. As I noted a few days ago, Africa will soon emerge as the major source of immigration for Europe and North America because of the large number of young men.
                                                                                                              • "Chinese Commandos Deploy with QTS-11 Integrated Combat System"--The Firearm Blog. The system combines the QBZ-03 5.8×42mm assault rifle (a standard layout rifle rather than a bullpup) with a 20mm grenade launcher. The system is not light, however: 15.4 lbs. 
                                                                                                              • Pat Buchanan writes at The American Conservative: "Globalists vs. Nationalists: Who Owns the Future?" Our greatest president, George Washington, observed that for reasons of national security, a nation needed to be able to manufacture or produce all necessary goods. A lesson ignored by those who believe that nations are passe and people are fungible. But Buchanan notes that public support for globalism has waned throughout the West:
                                                                                                              To rising millions in the West, the open borders and free trade globalism they cherish and champion is not a glorious future, but an existential threat to the sovereignty, independence and identity of the countries they love. And they will not go gentle into that good night.
                                                                                                              • Why do progressives hate poor people? "How Trade Deals and Immigration Laws Hurt Workers—Mexican Workers"--The New Republic. The New Republic is a leftist magazine that feigns being conservative, so one would not expect them to be concerned about American workers. However, in this piece, the author notes how open borders and free trade has even hurt Mexican farmers and workers, as well as the financial stability of the country. One example:
                                                                                                                        Even more important is the story of Mexican corn. Maize was first domesticated in what is today Mexico, spreading across the Americas as the core staple crop of thousands of indigenous civilizations. It remains the core food staple of Mexicans. NAFTA flooded the Mexican market with American corn, driving Mexican farmers using pre-industrial methods out of the market. It was cheaper to import the American corn—or at least it was before corn gained other industrial applications.
                                                                                                                          I was in Mexico in January 2007 when formerly cheap American corn became expensive after American agribusiness began using it to make ethanol, high fructose corn syrup, and other industrial products. Tortilla prices tripled in some parts of Mexico in 2006. The average Mexican family consumes one kilogram of tortillas a day. So when prices rose to as high as $1.81 for that kilogram in a nation with a minimum wage of $4.60 a day, the protests in Mexico created a brief but major political crisis. It was not only a crisis of the food supply, but a crisis of national identity. If Mexico could not feed itself on its national crop, what did that mean for the security of the nation and Mexico’s place in the global economy? This is NAFTA’s legacy as much as unemployed steel workers in the United States.  
                                                                                                                  • "Ben Shapiro defends free trade"--Vox Day. Free trade within a nation is a boon. Free trade between nations is much more problematic, not the least of the problems being that most nations cheat. The reason that is important is because free trade is premised on the concept of comparative advantage, which is that a nation (or region) should concentrate on areas of production where it is most efficient, all other things being equal. However, when a country--say, China or Japan--subsidize their industries or refuse to allow imports of goods from other nations, then the market is distorted so it is no longer being driven by comparative advantage. Free trade arguments also ignore labor (because considering it shows up some of the major flaws). In any event, Vox Day discusses some of the flaws to the free trade arguments in the article cited above.
                                                                                                                            ... [D]oes immigration make Americans as opposed to America richer?
                                                                                                                               In 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released the most detailed study on the economics of immigration in America to date. It runs more than 600 pages, and was authored by an interdisciplinary team—it is the “gold standard” of academic papers on the subject.  The report found a number of interesting data. For example, the researchers found that around 100 percent of immigration-driven economic growth accrued to the immigrants themselves—not to American citizens. Immigration grew the economic pie, but did nothing to grow the slices served up to Americans. That answers that, but there’s more.
                                                                                                                                The researchers also found immigration contributes to wage stagnation for American workers.  This point should be obvious to anyone familiar with the law of supply and demand: a relatively bigger labor supply means lower wages, just as a relatively large supply of apples means cheaper apples.  This is consistent with another study conducted by the Center for Immigration Studies, which found that mass immigration is one of the primary reasons wages for black Americans have stagnated over the last few decades.
                                                                                                                                   Most importantly, the Academies’ research found that the economic impact of immigrants follows a non-linear distribution.  A few hyper-productive immigrants generate most of the economic growth, while the majority of immigrants break even, or are actually a net drain on the U.S. economy. Roughly 47 percent of immigrants, in fact, are a net drain on public revenue—they consume more in government services than they contribute in taxes.  The study pegs their net present value cost at $170,000.
                                                                                                                                    But while resistors have been miniaturized with, for example, the development of the surface mount resistor, and capacitors have given way to supercapacitor materials that approach the theoretical limit, the basic design of inductors has remained the same throughout the centuries. Despite being invented way back in 1831, nothing about their basic design has changed in nearly 200 years. They function on the principle of magnetic inductance, where a current, a coil of wire, and a core of magnetizable material are used in tandem.
                                                                                                                                       But there is another approach, in theory, that inductors can take. There's also a phenomenon known as kinetic inductance, where instead of a changing magnetic field inducing an opposing current as in magnetic inductance, it's the inertia of the particles that carry the electric current themselves — such as electrons — that oppose a change in their motion.
                                                                                                                                         If you envision an electric current as a series of charge carriers (like electrons) all moving steadily, in a row, and at a constant speed, you can imagine what it would take to change that current: an additional force of some type. Each of those particles would need a force to act on them, causing them to accelerate or decelerate. The same principle that creates Newton's most famous law of motion, F = ma, tells us that if we want to change the motions of these charged particles, we need to exert a force on them. In this equation, it's their masses, or the m in the equation, that resists that change in motion. That's where kinetic inductance comes from. Functionally, it's indistinguishable from magnetic inductance, it's just that kinetic inductance has only ever been practically large under extreme conditions: either in superconductors or in extremely high-frequency circuits.

                                                                                                                                  * * *

                                                                                                                                           That's where the work of Banerjee's Nanoelectronics Research Lab and their collaborators comes in. By exploiting the phenomenon of kinetic inductance, they were able to, for the first time, demonstrate the effectiveness a fundamentally different kind of inductor that didn't rely on Faraday's magnetic inductance. Instead of using conventional metal inductors, they used graphene — carbon bonded together into an ultra-hard, highly-conductive configuration that also has a large kinetic inductance — to make the highest inductance-density material ever created. In a paper last month published in Nature Electronics, the group demonstrated that if you inserted bromine atoms between various layers of graphene, in a process known as intercalation, you could finally create a material where the kinetic inductance exceeded the theoretical limit of a traditional Faraday inductor.

                                                                                                                                    Tuesday, March 13, 2018

                                                                                                                                    This Was Worth A Good Chuckle

                                                                                                                                              Deutsche Welle reports that "EU promises solidarity with Britain over Russian spy poisoning," and quoted a senior EU official as stating: "We stand with the UK in pursuit of justice in this case and are ready to offer support if necessary." Maybe Germany can offer to supply the UK with some of its "green" jet fighter fuel that gums up engines and lines, or France can offer to let the UK use France's half of their time-share aircraft carrier. 

                                                                                                                                    March 13, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                                                                                    "Electroquake | From Crazy Idea to Settled Science"--Suspicious Observers (7 min.). Even 5 years ago, the idea that there were electromagnetic effects related to earthquakes was "fringe science." Now there have been numerous scientific papers on the subject, and China/Italy have collaborated on a satellite to monitor such effects. 

                                                                                                                                    • Check out Security & Self-Reliance's PDF of the week for this week, which is on using herbs for first aid. As always, go to the S&S homepage and look up at the top left corner.
                                                                                                                                    • Chicken Little alert: "Massive solar storm that will slam Earth TOMORROW could knockout power supplies, damage satellites and trigger stunning auroras"--Daily Mail. There is a CME headed our way, but it is only rated a G1. Things don't get really serious until we have X-class. In any event, it may elevate chances of earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, or health risks for heart attacks or migraines, but it is not the Carrington Event.
                                                                                                                                    • A new Woodpile Report is available.
                                                                                                                                    • "High-Tech Police Cruisers and Why Departments Are Choosing Them"--Tactical Life. The article primarily looks at The Ford Interceptor police line of vehicles which come in an SUV and sedan versions. The SUV is an upgraded Ford Explorer, while the sedan is based on the Ford Taurus. Ford's big selling point is that its has placed NIJ Level IV-rated ballistic panels in the Interceptor doors. I don't know what they have done to the engines on the SUV version, but the Taurus versions use the V-8 engine from the Mustang line of vehicles. I've noticed that most of the newer police vehicles being purchased by the local departments in my area are from the Ford Interceptor line.
                                                                                                                                    • "Ricochet"--The Firearms Blog. This is a primer on the dangers of ricochet in self-defense situations. For instance:
                                                                                                                                            In a typical movie or a video game people hide behind building corners, cars, or other obstacles and they try to be as close as possible to it, just peeking out of it with one eye. That’s where the danger lies. Any shot made by the attacker hitting the wall in front of them (which is much easier to do comparing to hitting a partially hidden silhouette behind a cover) will ricochet into their face.

                                                                                                                                            The solution is simple – stand as far from the cover as you can without compromising your visibility and protection. It will give a greater chance for a ricocheted bullet to fly by without hitting you.
                                                                                                                                    • "UNCOVERED: THE MYTH OF COVER FROM YOUR SQUAD CAR" (PDF) -- Combat Shooting and Tactics. While the prior article seemed to mostly concentrate on ricochet from walls or steel targets, this one looks at the dangers of bullets skipping off a car hood or windshield. The author writes of their testing: "I suggest not crowding cover and allowing the take off angle of the bullet to work in your favor. We found that three good steps to the rear gave enough angle to protect you in the kneeling position."
                                                                                                                                    • "Ricochet Analysis Introduction"--Bev Fitchett's Guns Magazine. This article is more technical, discussing the mathematics and physics involved. However, again, the angle of ricochet was generally much less than the angle of incidence, particularly with lower velocity and soft bullets. 
                                                                                                                                    • "Our Guide To Help Develop Proper Rifle Trigger Technique"--Shooting Sports USA. After discussing some of the mechanical and physiologic elements, the author discusses the mental aspects of shooting:
                                                                                                                                                Even today’s fastest computers would overload if they had to handle the amount of information our brains receive. Yet psychologists tell us the brain can really only consciously process a small stream of information.
                                                                                                                                                 The human nervous system has developed to deal with this constant flow of information, handling the vast majority of it with the autonomic nervous system. You breathe normally without thinking about it, even while you sleep. Digestion, circulation and many other body processes are controlled in the same manner. Through training, the body and mind adapt to the point that it can handle the demands of shooting at the unconscious level.
                                                                                                                                                   The second strategy is focusing on the most important information at the right time. In the final stages of the shot, the shooter should be concentrating on the ring of light between the aiming mark and the front-sight ring. After sufficient training, when that ring of white is right, the shot seems to fire itself. It takes regular and systematic training to develop and refine the distinctions between what is and is not important. The beginner will not recognize the small errors that a more advanced shooter would not accept.
                                                                                                                                                    Another method to help in the data-flow problem is to deal with it sequentially. These three strategies form the basis for the shot plan. This process of firing the shot is a work schedule, in which all the necessary information gets checked off in order. As long as everything is right, each step follows until the shot is fired.
                                                                                                                                                      To deal with the information flow, develop a shot plan. Next time you’re at the range, make a list of all the thoughts and observations that come into your head while you are shooting. Try to list every single item.
                                                                                                                                                        Categorize these thoughts. Underline those directly related to the control of your performance: sight picture, muscle tension, grip, and so forth. Draw a box around thoughts that concern the outcome. Everything left over has nothing to do with shooting and just clogs the pathway. These are the “bad” thoughts.
                                                                                                                                                          Evaluate the categories starting with the first group. Think about what is absolutely necessary, and how much time and effort should be devoted to each thought. Arrange them to make a script for a single shot. This is the starting point for your shot plan. The thoughts in the boxes are next divided into groups: those that are positive or motivating in nature, and those thoughts indicating fear, anger, doubt or other negatives. These thoughts are the reason the trigger sometimes feels so heavy.
                                                                                                                                                            The next step is to censor your thoughts, allowing only those that are positive, motivating and constructive. Whenever you catch yourself having negative thoughts, interrupt them immediately. Some shooters visualize a big “STOP” sign to terminate the unwanted thoughts and replace them with something positive.
                                                                                                                                                              Organize your positive performance thoughts systematically by developing and refining your shot plan or program until it becomes automatic.
                                                                                                                                                      • "The course of American empire"--Spectator USA. The Course of Empire (1833-36) is a series of 5 paintings by the famous painter, Thomas Cole. If you have read my blog for long enough, you will have seen images of these paintings, and they often show up on other news sites and blogs when discussing the future of civilization (or at least the American iteration of it). The five painting show, in turn, the progression from an idealized primitive life to settled village to city to destruction of empire and back to life among the ruins. This article discusses the paintings, offering some insights into some of the subtleties of Cole's work, and also offers some commentary on our day and age.
                                                                                                                                                      • "China’s parliament abolishes presidential term limits"--Breitbart.  Why even bother with the charade--just refer to President Xi Jinping as Emperor. 
                                                                                                                                                      • "Tillerson: China’s ‘Predatory Loan Practices and Corrupt Deals’ Threaten Africa"--Breitbart. "Why China's footprint in Africa worries the US"--CNN. Africans constantly bemoan European colonialism, even as they ignore the stability, peace, and relative prosperity it brought. But they, by and large, threw away the infrastructure that the Europeans left them, and now have gone begging to the Chinese to build new infrastructure. I hope they like their new colonial masters--I'm sure the new masters won't be as nice as the old ones.
                                                                                                                                                      • "Geek Squad Has Been Turning Customer Data Over To The FBI For More Than A Decade"--Huffington Post. From the article:
                                                                                                                                                               Geek Squad employees have been working as FBI informants for more than a decade, newly released documents show, revealing a much closer relationship between the two organizations than formerly reported.
                                                                                                                                                                While we’d previously known some of the Best Buy workers alerted law enforcement whenever they found illegal material like child pornography on customers’ hard drives, the new documents show that the FBI met with the Geek Squad team at least as early as 2008 and apparently viewed some workers as paid informants.
                                                                                                                                                          I'm sure it started because employees were snooping around on computers for financial information, incriminating emails or photographs they could use for blackmail, or for run-of-the-mill "dirty pictures." 
                                                                                                                                                          • Related: "Cancun has a major murder problem"--New York Post.  And, according to the article, local officials are trying to cover it up so it doesn't frighten away the tourists.
                                                                                                                                                          • Related: "Growing violence hits once peaceful BCS"--Mexican News Daily. The article reports that "[b]est known to the rest of the world as home to the Los Cabos beach resorts, Baja California Sur has experienced a surge in violence in the last year. As a February report from Justice in Mexico details, the number of murders in the state leapt to 560 in 2017, a nearly 300% increase over the 192 registered the prior year." The murder rate stands at 78.6 per 100,000. Good thing they have strict gun control so none of this violence happens.
                                                                                                                                                          • Related: "Viagra leader's "capture" causes unleashed violence in Michoacan...he then escapes"--Borderland Beat. According to the article,  authorities had captured Gabino Sierra Santana, the alleged leader of the criminal cartel of Los Viagras in Michoacán. However, "[a]fter [a] violent day of highway blockades and burning of vehicles in at least five municipalities in the Tierra Caliente, Lacustre and Meseta PurĂ©pecha region," Santana escaped. This is what WROL looks like. 
                                                                                                                                                            As noted in media reports and a trending Twitter moment, Alexa seemed to start laughing without being prompted to wake. People on Twitter and Reddit reported that they thought it was an actual person laughing near them, which is certainly scary if you’re home alone. Many responded to the cackling sounds by unplugging their Alexa-enabled devices.
                                                                                                                                                                       Last month, I wrote here about the BBC and ‘grooming gangs’. In particular, I speculated that it was unlikely that having once (after more than a decade) dramatized the mass gang-rape of British girls (and a man from Wales having partly been fired-up by it then ploughing a van into a crowd outside a mosque) that the BBC might not venture into such territory again. As I said, ‘nobody should be surprised if the BBC reverts to ignoring crimes like Rochdale in the future.’
                                                                                                                                                                          As so often the situation is worse than I imagined. ...
                                                                                                                                                                           The front page of yesterday’s Sunday Mirror read ‘Britain’s ‘worst ever’ child grooming scandal exposed: Hundreds of young girls raped, beaten, sold for sex and some even KILLED.’ Like the scandals in Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxfordshire and a growing list of other places, it seems that the victims are, once again, white British girls and the perpetrators men of ‘Asian’ background. Of course while in most other situations the word ‘Asian’ means ‘Asian’, for these purposes ‘Asian’ means ‘men of Muslim background, mainly Pakistani’.
                                                                                                                                                                             The details of the Sunday Mirror’s investigation once again make for exceptionally difficult reading. The paper describes how girls as young as 11 were drugged, beaten and gang-raped in Telford. It describes how:

                                                                                                                                                                              ‘One 14-year-old, groomed and abused after her phone number was sold to paedophiles, said: “I hated what was happening and my abusers made my skin crawl but I was told that if I said a word to anyone they’d come for my little sisters and tell my mum I was a prostitute. 
                                                                                                                                                                              “Night after night, I was forced to have sex with multiple men in disgusting takeaways and filthy houses. 
                                                                                                                                                                               “I must have been getting the morning after pill from a local clinic at least twice a week but no one asked any questions. 
                                                                                                                                                                              “I fell pregnant twice and had two abortions. Hours after my second termination, I was taken by one of my abusers to be raped by more men. 
                                                                                                                                                                              “The worst moment came just after my 16th birthday when 
                                                                                                                                                                              I was drugged and gang raped by five men. 
                                                                                                                                                                              “Days later, the ringleader turned up at my house and told me he’d burn it down if I breathed a word of what had happened.”
                                                                                                                                                                                          We once again learn how, over the course of four decades, every arm of the state –  including council staff, social workers and the police – allowed the mass gang-rape of children to go on in their town. And we learn – once again – how fear of accusations of ‘racism’ meant that the identities of the culprits were hidden and cases were not investigated. 
                                                                                                                                                                                            When the story broke yesterday it was covered across a range of other papers, including in all of the Mirror’s competitors. But the story clearly sent the BBC into a panic. As Ed West pointed out on Twitter, this morning the story was not even on the front page of the BBC’s website.... 
                                                                                                                                                                                              Except that the story was not on the ‘England’ page either. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                 In fact, the mass gang-rape of underage girls in Shropshire didn’t even make it to the homepage of BBC Shropshire. Only after a fair amount of comment about this online did the BBC manage, this afternoon, to squeeze the rape of the area’s kids into their round-up of Shropshire news.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    So now, finally, there is a headline story about the case. ...
                                                                                                                                                                                                     That ‘My Telford’ could have been a really interesting and important video. Or it would have been if every single arm of the state plus the official state broadcaster hadn’t already decided that the children of Telford being gang-raped on an industrial scale (Telford is a town of just 170,000 people) is one big yawn-fest. Or that they basically agree with the very basic Labour MP Naz Shah who last year revealed her own opinions about all this when she re-Tweeted a (satirical) Tweet suggesting that the victims of the Rotherham sex abuse scandal should ‘shut their mouths. For the good of #diversity.’
                                                                                                                                                                                                        For it is now not just abundantly but repeatedly clear that most people in positions of authority in this country never did want stories like Telford, Rochdale or Rotherham to come out. Not just because they want to continue being allowed to negotiate between the facts and the public, rather than just reporting the facts to the public. But because such stories spoil – perhaps more than any other – the pleasant, transient, but for the time-being dominant narrative which a whole generation of people in authority have come to believe in, or at least preach. Don’t forget that, as the case of the MP Sarah Champion showed last year, you can still lose your job in this country if you say this is going on.
                                                                                                                                                                                                         It is easier to keep trying to cover it all over. And that is why there is now such a concerted effort online and in the non-online world to shut down, bar, silence, ban, deport and downgrade not the people who cover for these crimes but rather anyone who speaks out about them, highlights them, campaigns against them or does anything else other than join in the general silence. ‘For the good of diversity’.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  As the saying goes, to learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Related: "Banned in Britain"--American Greatness. The article discusses the arrest and detention at Heathrow Airport of Brittany Pettibone and her partner Martin Sellner for the crime of wanting to speak the truth about immigration "at the famed 'Speaker’s Corner,' a little part of Hyde Park that Parliament had set aside to permit unlimited free speech all the way back in 1872." The article also reports that British authorities detained and banned the Canadian conservative activist Lauren Southern from the country on Sunday. Paul Joseph Watson has a video on this topic here; and here is one from Black Pigeon Speaks.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • You don't have enough ammunition for what is coming; and I'm not even sure that the military does either: "A Tidal Wave of Refugees Is Coming"--David P. Goldman at PJ Media. By 2095, it is estimated that there will be nearly 4 billion people between the ages of 20 and 30, worldwide; 3 billion of these will be from Africa. And as Goldman explains, they will be traveling by boats and planes across the Mediterranean into Europe; or across the Atlantic to Brazil and, from there, head north to the United States. Goldman explains:
                                                                                                                                                                                                          The problems of sub-Saharan Africa (as well as Pakistan and other troubled countries) are physically too large for the West to remedy: The sheer numbers of people in distress soon will exceed the total population of the industrial world.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              That means that there is a point in time at which the most devout pussy-hat wearing, virtue-signaling, politically correct liberal will pretend not to notice millions of starving children dying before his eyes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                               President Trump's reported comments about certain countries as sources of prospective immigrants may sound callous. He simply is ahead of the curve. The hour is already late to put a merit-based immigration system in place with effective enforcement against illegal immigration. Mexico solved its economic and social crisis of the late 1970s and early 1980s by exporting the poorest fifth of its population to the United States. With no prejudice to the Mexicans who chose to migrate, it is understandable why Americans feel put on. But that is tiny compared to what is headed towards us ten, twenty, or thirty years from now.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 The mass of human misery headed towards the industrial countries simply is too great for us to bear. It is hard to see how humanitarian catastrophes of biblical proportions can be avoided. The responsibility of an American president is to make sure that they don't happen to us.