Saturday, July 7, 2018

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

A couple of expatriates living in China discuss the housing bubble, "ghost cities," and the shoddy workmanship of much of the construction. Basically, while property prices continue to climb in some of the larger areas, values are falling in other markets. Moreover, many of the buildings are literally falling apart. For instance, the condominium complex that they visit in this video was, according to the authors, only built about 3 years ago. 


ATF special agent in charge Bill McMullan said he is seeing an upward trend in gang use of homemade guns. He said, “Criminals are making their own weapons because they aren’t able to buy them legally.”
"When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns" isn't just a nice sounding phrase, but a law of economics.
        Modern Italian gun control laws date from the Fascist period; the Public Safety Act was passed in 1931 as one of a series of measures designed to put an end to leftist violence. Addressing the Italian Senate Benito Mussolini explained:

          “The measures adopted to restore public order are: First of all, the elimination of the so-called subversive elements. … They were elements of disorder and subversion. On the morrow of each conflict I gave the categorical order to confiscate the largest possible number of weapons of every sort and kind. This confiscation, which continues with the utmost energy, has given satisfactory results.”
                Yet after the fall of the Fascist regime, the gun-control law remained and was gradually made even more stringent. In response to Communist terrorism in the 1970’s, a variety of laws were passed to disarm law-abiding people. More recent amendments force those who need the permit to carry firearms to demonstrate a “necessity,” and to give the government extremely personal information, such as medical certificates.
        While many of us are aware of the ASP collapsible baton, many don’t think to purchase or carry one.  Some mistakenly believe they are only military and law enforcement purchasable. ASP is seen everywhere in security and law enforcement, and for good reason.  It is a reliable and effective weapon which can be employed for either non-lethal or lethal defense.  Law enforcement policies prevent the ASP from being employed in its full capacity, but remember that civilians are under no such use-of-force policy.
          The ASP brand is tough and will last a long time if cared for--so they are worth the extra money. I bought one when I was still in college after I found myself trying to chase down someone who had stolen my bicycle with, initially, nothing more than a gun. (I realized this was a bad idea, left the gun behind, but got my vehicle--I got my bike back). I decided after that I needed some less lethal options for protecting me and my property. Today it generally resides in a drawer, but I will carry it when going for evening walks, where I've deployed exactly once when faced with an aggressive dog. Interestingly, just deploying the baton was enough to get the dog to run off, although it had ignored my shouting at it. To get the most out of the weapon (especially without seriously injuring someone) you should have training. If nothing else, ASP also sells videos which, if have a martial arts background, should be fairly straightforward. Also, as a contact weapon, it is possible someone could grab it away from you, so I would recommend that you have some plan for dealing with that contingency, such as really good running shoes or a firearm. 
          • "Preparing for an Emergency When You Have a Chronic Illness"--American Preppers Network. The author discusses certain specific conditions such as lupus, inability to walk, diabetes, or a seizure disorder. Obviously, you could write a book on survival for each of these conditions, so this article is more of things to think about than a definitive guide. 
          • More than just a good idea: "The IFAK"--Blue Collar Prepping. IFAK is an acronym standing for Individual First Aid Kit. The term may be general, but the contents vary according to your needs and mission. For instance, the author lists out the contents of the standard IFAK for the Air Force, Navy, Marines and Army, and they all differ, sometimes substantially. The author also has announced a contest for who can come up with the best IFAK that can be assembled for $30 or less. I can see a simple kit, but some of the items for dealing with serious trauma, such as gunshot wound or stab wound, can reach that for just one item. So I will be interested in what people come up with.
          •  "BREAKING: US Army Cancels Sub Compact Weapon Program!"--The Firearm Blog. No reason given.  Timothy Mullin authored several books where he tested various military arms and attempted to describe how well they worked (or didn't work). In his book on submachine guns, he had a simple criteria for a submachine gun: if it can't do the job any better than the Sten (which cost less than $10 to produce during the height of WWII), it isn't worth it. If they revive the program, I would still like to see Ruger enter its improved Uzi.
          • "JL Billet Kali-Key Bolt Action AR-15 Charging Handle"--The Firearm Blog. The theory here is why bother with California's restrictions on semi-auto rifles, and just convert your rifle to a manually operated weapon. In this case, the conversion is simple: the charging handle here attaches to where the gas key would normally attack to a BCG, and diverts gas out the ejection port without it cycling the action. Instead, with this charging handle, the AR becomes a straight pull bolt-action rifle.
          • "New Optimization Algorithm Exponentially Speeds Computation--Finding the optimal solutions to complex problems can be dramatically faster"--IEEE Spectrum. From the article:
            The new algorithm, developed by Harvard University researchers, solves optimization problems [such as the fastest route from point A to point B] exponentially faster than previous algorithms by cutting the number of steps required. Surprisingly, this approach works “without sacrificing the quality of the resulting solution,” says study senior author Yaron Singer, at Harvard University.

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