Friday, October 19, 2018

October 19, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

"The Ghost ESCAPE is UNSTOPPABLE!!!"--Teach Me Grappling (13 min.)

  • TGIF: This week's Active Response Training "Weekend Knowledge Dump".
  • "The Great Caliber Debate: .380 ACP vs 9mm"--The Truth About Guns. An article comparing .380 ACP (aka 9mm Short or 9mm Kurtz or 9x17mm) with 9 mm Parabellum (aka 9x19mm, 9 mm Luger). The gist of the article is that commercial .380 rounds designed for self-defense generally won't meet the FBI standards when tested in bare ballistic gel or the heavy clothing test, while most 9 mm will do so handedly. Is the FBI test the end-all of tests? No, but it does give you an idea where you might have problems. I have also seen some "meat tests" of .380, and am satisfied that certain defensive offerings offer sufficient penetration against a torso. However, I don't believe that .380 hollowpoint offers good barrier penetration or will have the penetration needed for quartering shots, such as through an arm and into the torso. On the other hand, FMJ can offer that type of penetration, but without expansion, of course. My opinion is that the .380 can be adequate for self-defense, but offers less reliable penetration and expansion than what you would obtain from a 9x19mm. 
  • "Armed looters targeting homes and businesses in county ravaged by Hurricane Michael"--CBS. The article reports that "Deputies in Bay County, Florida, who are working in Hurricane Michael's shattering aftermath, have arrested about 10 suspected looters each night since the storm made landfall a week ago, according to authorities."
  • "'It's Not Crazy': Colorado Woman Hopes to Re-Brand Doomsday Preparation Movement"--Emergency Management. The article discusses how the new owner of the Self-Reliance Expo in Denver is trying to shift the emphasis and public perception from preparing for the apocalypse and more toward simple living. From the article:
        Bandilla recognizes that the self-reliance industry is still driven by fear of the worst. But the survivalist methods and mindset can be applied to any of the small crises people experience every day, such as losing power or preparing to evacuate for a wildfire.
           “Survival sounds so ominous, but it’s more about thriving,” she said.
              While much of her community is comprised of baby boomers, Bandilla has seen a rising number of millennials join the cause as they shirk consumerism and attempt to live simpler lives.
        The entire cave is a mile and a half long, but only the first 5,000 square feet have been turned into living space. A back door leads to the unaltered caverns, which include tunnels and a two-story waterfall. “It’s more grand and epic than you could ever even imagine,” Davidson said. “Pictures just do not do it justice.”
          Nevertheless, there are a lot of pictures at the link. Also:
                    Electricity comes from a hydroelectric system, while the cave’s internal freshwater spring provides a water source. A reverse osmosis system makes the water safe to drink and a geothermal heating system dehumidifies the interiors, which stay at about 65 degrees year round.
                     A septic tank and septic field on the 257-acre lot treat the wastewater. 
                I don't know how many of you have read The Survivalist series of novels by Jerry Ahern, but the ultimate survival retreat owned by the main character is suspiciously similar to what is described here.
                  Cost isn’t wrong about this, but he misses much about our present situation. He argues against a narrowly defined conception of civil war: when people fret over the possibility of violence they’re not usually talking about states formally seceding. It is difficult to imagine a real scenario where state governments bloated on federal money issue mini-declarations of independence. It is not at all difficult to imagine small IRA-style groups carrying out acts of domestic terrorism. A nutjob tried to assassinate Congressman Steve Scalise while shouting “This is for health care!” A sweaty weirdo ran over a left-wing protester in Charlottesville. The Republican gubernatorial candidate in Pennsylvania compared beating his opponent electorally to stomping on his face with golf spikes. In 2016, a Black Lives Matter-inspired shooter slaughtered five Dallas police officers.
                  • Related: "'Red Guards of Austin' Place Severed Pig Heads in Front of Campaign Offices"--PJ Media. The article reports: "As Far Left Watch reports, the Red Guards of Austin escalated its war against 'imperialism' last week by placing severed pig heads at 'polling places and campaign offices' in and around the Austin, Texas, area." Also: "The group is calling for revolutionary violence rather than participation in the 'bourgeois elections.' Red Guards LA shared the grotesque photos on Twitter." Can we sic PETA on this Red Guard?
                    Lessons learned:
                      1. Be prepared with basic tools (like knives).
                        2. Something like 90% of people are passive observers in an emergency, only a few will take action without being told directly, and tiny number are so incredibly stupid their mere presence can threaten the survival of the entire group.
                          3. The best way to deal with that tiny percentage is with the real threat of violence, complete with the full intention of following it up if necessary.

                          "Why Next Generation Rockets are Using Methane"--Scott Manley (9-1/2 min.)

                                 “One way or another, we will pass,” they chanted, climbing atop U.S.-donated military jeeps parked at the scene. Young men tugged on the fence, finally tearing it down, prompting the huge crowd of men, women and children to rush past and over the bridge.
                                  Edwin Santos of San Pedro Sula was one of the first to race by, clutching the hands of his father and wife.
                                   “We are going to the United States!” he shouted. “Nobody is going to stop us!”
                              Time to close our southern border. 
                                         The caravan of Honduran migrants making their way to the US stormed through a border gate in Guatemala on Friday morning to run over a bridge to Mexico where they were met with tear gas from riot police before being allowed into the country and continue their march towards America. 
                                          The group of around 4,000 migrants overpowered police first in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, to make their way over the short bridge into Ciudad Hidalgo in Mexican's southernmost state of Chiapas.  
                                            They had been forced to retreat and reorganize earlier in the day after being met with strong resistance. 
                                              After crossing the bridge, they were confronted by a daunting force of armed Mexican officers who threw tear gas in their direction and stood in lines, lifting up children who ran towards them and standing firm behind their shields. 
                                                After a standoff, they agreed they would let some of the migrants through and started asking that they form lines. 
                                                  In one of the biggest migrations in the world today, more than 1.9 million people have fled poverty, hunger, crime and hyperinflation in Venezuela since 2015 — rivaling the flow of Middle Eastern and African refugees to Europe. President Nicolas Maduro denies any mass migration, calling it a media campaign against the government, even while his countrymen fill public parks and shelters throughout South America.
                                                   The toll of the Venezuelan migration has been largely invisible, with few keeping track of the dead and missing. United Nations figures show just two dozen migrant deaths or disappearances along routes Venezuelans frequent. But data collected by AP from various agencies in three countries found that deaths and disappearances could reach a few thousand, depending on how they are counted.
                                                     At least 235 Venezuelans were reported missing in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador over the last two years. Some 334 in Colombia were killed in homicides and accidents, and an unknown number are believed to have drowned aboard shoddy boats in the Caribbean. Another 2,841 died in Colombia from illnesses on the rise in Venezuela, like malaria and malnutrition. Although it's difficult to know exactly what role migration played, Carlos Valdes, the head of Colombia's forensic services office, said many arrive weakened by the exodus.
                                                       "They can't withstand a trip that hard, because the journey is very long," he said. "They don't eat and they die."
                                                          As South Africa’s passionate debate over land redistribution grows, one city outside Johannesburg is preparing what the mayor calls a “test case” for the nation — the seizure of hundreds of acres of land from private owners, without paying for it, to build low-cost housing.
                                                           Like other South African cities, Ekurhuleni faces a dire housing crunch, with some 600,000 of its nearly 4 million people living in “informal settlements” and a shortage of land to build homes.
                                                             Last month, Ekurhuleni’s city council voted in favor of forging ahead with “expropriation without compensation,” a legal tool that the ruling African National Congress says is necessary to correct the historic injustices of apartheid and distribute land more equitably.
                                                              I wouldn't be too upset about it: "The Ugly Terror Truth About Jamal Khashoggi"--Sultan Knish. Good friends with Osama bin Laden, even after bin Laden became a terrorist, and had close ties to former Saudi intel boss, Prince Turki bin Faisal, who also is alleged to have had links to Al Qaeda. Money quote: "That’s the real Khashoggi, a cynical and manipulative apologist for Islamic terrorism, not the mythical martyred dissident whose disappearance the media has spent the worst part of a week raving about." 
                                                                 Consider two Latin American countries. The first is one of the region’s oldest and strongest democracies. It boasts a stronger social safety net than any of its neighbors and is making progress on its promise to deliver free health care and higher education to all its citizens. It is a model of social mobility and a magnet for immigrants from across Latin America and Europe. The press is free, and the political system is open; opposing parties compete fiercely in elections and regularly alternate power peacefully. It sidestepped the wave of military juntas that mired some Latin American countries in dictatorship. Thanks to a long political alliance and deep trade and investment ties with the United States, it serves as the Latin American headquarters for a slew of multinational corporations. It has the best infrastructure in South America. It is still unmistakably a developing country, with its share of corruption, injustice, and dysfunction, but it is well ahead of other poor countries by almost any measure.
                                                                  The second country is one of Latin America’s most impoverished nations and its newest dictatorship. Its schools lie half deserted. The health system has been devastated by decades of underinvestment, corruption, and neglect; long-vanquished diseases, such as malaria and measles, have returned. Only a tiny elite can afford enough to eat. An epidemic of violence has made it one of the most murderous countries in the world. It is the source of Latin America’s largest refugee migration in a generation, with millions of citizens fleeing in the last few years alone. Hardly anyone (aside from other autocratic governments) recognizes its sham elections, and the small portion of the media not under direct state control still follows the official line for fear of reprisals. By the end of 2018, its economy will have shrunk by about half in the last five years. It is a major cocaine-trafficking hub, and key power brokers in its political elite have been indicted in the United States on drug charges. Prices double every 25 days. The main airport is largely deserted, used by just a handful of holdout airlines bringing few passengers to and from the outside world. 
                                                                      These two countries are in fact the same country, Venezuela, at two different times: the early 1970s and today. The transformation Venezuela has undergone is so radical, so complete, and so total that it is hard to believe it took place without a war. What happened to Venezuela? How did things go so wrong? 
                                                                      The short answer is Chavismo. Under the leadership of Hugo Chávez and his successor, Nicolás Maduro, the country has experienced a toxic mix of wantonly destructive policy, escalating authoritarianism, and kleptocracy, all under a level of Cuban influence that often resembles an occupation. Any one of these features would have created huge problems on its own. All of them together hatched a catastrophe. Today, Venezuela is a poor country and a failed and criminalized state run by an autocrat beholden to a foreign power. The remaining options for reversing this situation are slim; the risk now is that hopelessness will push Venezuelans to consider supporting dangerous measures, such as a U.S.-led military invasion, that could make a bad situation worse.
                                                              The absolutely worst thing we can do is to militarily intervene in Venezuela. Latinos are already paranoid about the United States, and any military intervention would be like pouring gasoline on a fire. There would be dozens of Marxist guerrilla groups and terrorists gunning for our soldiers within days of their arrival, and it would just get worse. 
                                                                      Nixie tubes still enjoy a following among enthusiasts of retro technology. I’ve sometimes been tempted to build a Nixie-tube clock, but the difficulties and expense always put me off. It’s hard even to purchase Nixie tubes at this point—especially larger ones—and they require high-voltage driver circuits, which are inherently dangerous. So I was delighted when I stumbled on something designed to mimic the appearance of Nixie tubes without the complications—something its designer calls a “Lixie display.”
                                                                        Lixies contain WS2812B smart LEDs at one end, which can change colors on demand. The light from the LEDs is funneled into a stack of acrylic sheets. Such “edge-lit” displays use a phenomenon called total internal reflection, which keeps the light inside the acrylic except where it has been etched. (This form of display has become popular for exit signs, for example.) Each sheet is laser etched with one numeral, and typically only one sheet is illuminated at a time.

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