Monday, March 26, 2018

March 26, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

"Plate Shift News | More Detail, Interesting Note"--Suspicious Observers (3 min.)
Researchers released the most recent survey of speed and direction of movement of the tectonic plates, and, interestingly, we see very divergent changes in the velocity vectors from the prior survey, including some 90 degree shifts in certain plates. 

  • "Remington Files for Bankruptcy"--The Truth About Guns. We've been watching Remington heading this direction for a while, but it is now official. This a Chapter 11 bankruptcy seeking reorganization, so Remington's day-to-day operations will probably be unaffected. 
  • "Mossberg 590M vs. Remington 870 DM"--Range 365. A side-by-side comparison of the new detachable box magazine shotguns from Remington and Mossberg, including shooting both firearms. Functionally, the author didn't find anything notable about either firearm--they both functioned without issue. So the difference will probably be whether you want lower capacity, low-cost magazines (Remington), or higher capacity, high-cost magazines (Mossberg).
  • "Head to Head: .22 Nosler vs. .224 Valkyrie"--Shooting Illustrated. Both are cartridges developed to extend the range of the AR15 platform to 1,000 yards or more. The .22 Nosler is a proprietary case with no parent case; it uses a rebated rim so you can use the standard AR15 bolt. The .224 Valkyrie is based off the  6.8 Remington SPC, and uses a larger bolt-face. The author concludes:
         So, both are viable for long-range shooting—again, depending upon your ranges—and both run at very similar velocities, so which gets the nod? I have to give the edge to the .224 Valkyrie, for two reasons. One, the twist rate allows for ridiculously heavy bullets to be used, and makes it a viable deer cartridge. The 90-grain Fusion has been used in the field with very good effect, and I’d say that it truly brings the Valkyrie into the 6mm class.  

         Two, the sheer availability of good Federal ammunition and the possibility of creating your own brass in a pinch are worthy reasons to lean toward the Valkyrie. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Nosler design—I’ve shot it and it functions very well—but the sheer amount of Federal ammunition, especially the American Eagle load selling at less than $14 per box, is going to make a difference. Some folks have cited the Nosler’s rebated rim as being an issue, though I don’t agree with that.
        Saudi missile defences intercepted seven Yemeni missiles on Sunday including over the capital Riyadh, the military has said.
            One Egyptian was killed and two of his countrymen injured when shrapnel fell into the streets of the Saudi capital,  according to authorities.
              Iran-backed Houthi rebels said they fired three missiles at the airport in Riyadh and four others at the southern cities of Khamis Mushait, Jizan and Najran.
                 The campaign, dubbed Project Cassandra, was launched in 2008 after the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed evidence that Hezbollah had transformed itself from a Middle East-focused military and political organization into an international crime syndicate that some investigators believed was collecting $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.
                  Over the next eight years, agents working out of a top-secret DEA facility in Chantilly, Virginia, used wiretaps, undercover operations and informants to map Hezbollah’s illicit networks, with the help of 30 U.S. and foreign security agencies.
                    They followed cocaine shipments, some from Latin America to West Africa and on to Europe and the Middle East, and others through Venezuela and Mexico to the United States. They tracked the river of dirty cash as it was laundered by, among other tactics, buying American used cars and shipping them to Africa. And with the help of some key cooperating witnesses, the agents traced the conspiracy, they believed, to the innermost circle of Hezbollah and its state sponsors in Iran.
                    But as Project Cassandra reached higher into the hierarchy of the conspiracy, Obama administration officials threw an increasingly insurmountable series of roadblocks in its way, according to interviews with dozens of participants who in many cases spoke for the first time about events shrouded in secrecy, and a review of government documents and court records. When Project Cassandra leaders sought approval for some significant investigations, prosecutions, arrests and financial sanctions, officials at the Justice and Treasury departments delayed, hindered or rejected their requests.
            • Vox Popoli has cited to an excellent article by Ugo Bardi entitled "Peak Civilization: The Fall of the Roman Empire." Bardi initially looks at the question of whether people in the midst of a civilizational collapse realize what is happening and whether there is anything that can be done about it. He specifically uses the example of the Roman Empire (which writers knew something had happened, but did not realize the extent of it, and certainly had no ideas on how to make it right). He then applies Joseph Tainter's ideas from The Collapse of Complex Societies and examines it and its application to Rome using a resource depletion model, and then attempts to apply it to modern civilizations (particularly, the United States and the West--which he collectively refers to as the American Empire). This is a long read, but well worth it.
                     As my long time readers know, I had done an extensive review of Tainter's book previously, but here are the links for anyone that is interested:  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6. But, in essence, Tainter's theory is that as societies grow and respond to crises, they add additional layers of complexity (e.g., bureaucracy, laws, etc.) and eventually reach a point of diminishing or even negative returns--that is, the added complexity will begin to exceed in cost/energy any value it provides. At some point, the burden will become too much the society will shed complexity--i.e., it collapses.
                     Bardi makes the interesting observation that if one were alive in the Third Century and were seeking a way to prevent a traumatic collapse of the Western Roman Empire, the answer would be to eliminate much of the Roman bureaucracy and standing military, which sucked up considerable resources just to maintain the status quo, push power and decision making down to local cities, fortify those cities and raise military forces from locals. Oh, and plant trees to deal with erosion in over-farmed areas. And, he points out, this is how you would describe Medieval Europe. The difference is that a sufficiently motivated Roman Empire could have managed the collapse.
                    Obviously, much of the same could be said about the United States and the West. Reduce the size and reach of the Federal government, reduce the United States' overseas military commitments and the overall size of the military. And, to address resource issues, focus greater efforts on developing fusion power and space based industries or mining.
                    Although Bardi only touches on it in one or two sentences, the United States is not the only civilization facing collapse. Numerous others countries and civilizations, including Japan, China and the Middle-East, are moribund. One of the proxies of a dynamic society is the birth rate, and right now, birth rates are falling all over the developed world, and even much of the undeveloped world for that matter. The only bright spot among the developed nations is Israel, which has pretty healthy birth rates among its more conservative Jewish population, and above replacement levels overall. Thus, I see Israel as perhaps forming the core of a new civilization. I suspect that portions of the United States and/or Canada could form core(s) of new civilizations as well. 

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