Wednesday, March 7, 2018

March 7, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

A derelict manor house in Estonia. Source: "Frozen in time: Explorers reveal abandoned fairy-tale mansions and a sunken Soviet prison in Estonia among other Nordic images"--Daily Mail.

  • I dub myself "the Docent" because my primary job--as I see it--is to direct your attention to, and point out, useful or interesting information. But there are other sites where the authors have gone to great pains to collect libraries of information for your use. Just a few examples:
  • Speaking of the foregoing, here is an article that I found via the Prepperology site, which is entitled "Gardening Tips for Beginners" Notwithstanding the title, it probably is worth a glance by even an experienced gardener. It contains an overview of topics such as where to locate your garden (including orientation), soil preparation, garden structure (basically, how you are going to till or structure the soil), what to plant (or not plant), and some ideas on seeds. 
  • "How to Make Homemade Ketchup"--Modern Survival Online. If you don't think ketchup is a survival food, you must not have children. Actually, it is important to make food palatable, and a time-honored means is to use spices, herbs, and condiments to add to food. 
  • "Door Security Bar Review & What I Like Most About It"--Modern Survival Blog. The author reviews this product and likes it. If you haven't seen these before, they are a long aluminum tube with another tube in it, that can be adjusted for length. One end of the tube has a rubber padded foot that rests on the floor, and the other end has a yoke that is designed to fit up under a door knob. There is a handle that just slightly lengthens or shortens the devise so you can apply tension after you fit it into place. 
        I have used one of these devices before and would recommend them to people--especially those who cannot (for one reason or another) make security modifications to their doors. My wife and I first bought one way back in the day when we were in college and living in student housing. One day, my wife discovered that a workman had let himself into our apartment while she was showering. Nothing was taken, but nonetheless, it made us very uncomfortable. And we weren't the only ones--we had neighbors who had discovered that workmen had entered their apartments without permission or notice. This device allowed us to secure the door even if the intruder had keys to the locks. As we moved around to other apartments, we continued to use the same device. 
         There are a couple of points to keep in mind about this device. First, it relies on friction between the bottom foot and the door floor. It works great on carpet or rough tile. However, we have noted that other surfaces (wood flooring or linoleum) may be too slick for the bar to work. In one case, we put down a mat with a rubberized backing that seemed to grip the floor enough for the device to work, but on another occasion, even putting a mat between the floor and the foot was not enough--it still would slide out when pushing against the door from the outside. 
          Second, it also applies pressure to the underside of the neck between the door knob and the door. We noticed that, over time, because it is pushing up on the door knob, it can cause the screws to loosen slightly on the door knob or push the door knob mechanism slightly askew. So check your door knob to see if it is getting wobbly--you may need to tighten some screws.
          I would also note that there is a related product for securing sliding glass doors. However, instead of a yoke on one end, there is a second foot. You place the rod between the frame on one side and the edge of the sliding door on the other, and lock it into place. We also used one of those until we moved into a house without sliding doors (we gave it to our neighbor).
  • "Keeping Your Family Alive and (Reasonably) Happy During a SHTF Winter"--Survival Cache. While this has pointers on what to do if your power goes our or your furnace stops working, it has has advice for just surviving being cooped up during the winter months. As the author notes, "Under normal everyday circumstances, winter sucks for most people once the thrill of Christmas and the winter holidays has passed. Even with the modern conveniences of running furnaces, humming pellet stoves, and hot water generally any time one wants, winter still isn’t much fun if you’re not a winter sports (skiing/snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, etc) person. If you have blood circulation issues (such as Reynaud’s Disease) or other health problems, weather can be downright dreadful and flat-out miserable, if not deadly."
         The author discusses how to stay warm in a SHTF situation during winter--both methods of keeping your home warm and your person warm; and he discusses the importance of good hygiene, keeping yourself dry, and keeping you and your kin sane (i.e., safe from cabin fever).
  • Interesting, if true: "Plague ‘hiding in plain sight’, warn scientists "--The Telegraph. The general theory is that plague bacteria circulate and percolate within certain rodent populations. However, the researchers of which this article is about claim that it actually subsists and lies dormant within the soil. In the case of the particular tests the researchers tried out, the plague bacterium were consumed by amoeba in the soil, and survived within those amoeba.
  • AT&T is pushing for an Internet bill of rights. The statement indicates that "AT&T is committed to an open internet. We don’t block websites. We don’t censor online content. And we don’t throttle, discriminate, or degrade network performance based on content. Period." And it urges Congress to require the same of other providers. 
  • "Think the Bosnia Conflict Was a Civil War? Think again"--War Is Boring. From the article:
             A more nuanced consideration might conclude that the conflict, although an international one, was more of a proxy war fought in Bosnia between Yugoslavia, Croatia, several Muslim countries and NATO, all of whom competed to further their interests in a fragile, emerging state. All the actors listed became directly involved in the conflict, contributing troops and material to the war to achieve their respective goals, without directly coming into conflict with each other.
              Perhaps the most convincing analysis, however, comes from Mary Kaldor of the London School of Economics, who suggested that the war in Bosnia should be considered as a “new war.” Although localised, such conflicts involve ‘a myriad of transnational connections’ which blur the distinction between internal and external, aggression and repression, local and global and state and non-state.
                 Viewed through this lens, the war in Bosnia can be seen to have been one of the first of a new type of conflict in the globalized post-Cold War era, in which both state and non-state parties to a conflict operate globally, and borders signify little more than a potential casus belli that can be utilized when advantageous.
        The article goes on to note the foreign support of Bosnian Muslims:
                 The predominantly Muslim Bosnian government did not have a neighbor to sponsor its war effort or march to its aid, but it did receive assistance from an unlikely grouping of predominantly Muslim states – Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia, with the tacit collusion of the United States. Iran and Saudi Arabia smuggled weapons into the country unhindered throughout the war, and Pakistan’s notorious ISI is said to have provided intelligence and logistical support to the Bosnian government forces.

                 A report by the Dutch into the genocide at Srebrenica made no reservations about noting “black flights” of C-130s dropping off weapons and supplies in Tuzla Air Base, and it later emerged that the Pentagon orchestrated arms shipments for the Bosnian Muslims utilizing their contacts among the Afghan mujahidin.

                Indeed, a few thousand Islamic fighters are known to have made their way to Bosnia from across the Muslim world to form “El Mujahid” detachments that were deployed as shock troops. Further external support was offered in August 1995, when NATO began Operation Deliberate Force, a bombing campaign which would see more than 1,000 bombs dropped exclusively on Bosnian Serb targets in support of the offensive of the Croatian army into Bosnia.
                The article also notes that a U.S. military contractor, Military Professional Resources Incorporated, provided training to Croatian troops that later invaded Serbia. 
                Essentially, the RS-25 engine is an updated version of the engine that was originally used in order to propel a NASA space shuttle into space. The Space Launch System is actually designed for missions that extend beyond low-Earth orbit, and can theoretically transport crew and cargo to the Moon or beyond. With a weight capacity of more than 45 metric tons, the NASA Space Launch System can shift a huge amount of weight and transport a large payload to distant destinations. Each Space Launch System configuration is powered by four models of the RS-25 engine, and these new configurations should add a good amount of power to the existing setup.

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