Wednesday, November 7, 2018

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

"Shooting THROUGH Trees! PUBG in Real Life"--Dustin Ellerman (14 min.)
I've watched other videos about shooting through trees, and it turns out that tree trunks are actually pretty good cover. We see this again in this video, where the author tests .22LR, 9 mm, .357 Mag., 5.56/.223, 7.62x39, .308, .300 Win. Mag., .338 Lapua and .50 BMG to see if the bullets could penetrate the tree and strike a ballistic gel target behind. The tree is pine, but the author didn't measure its size. I'm guessing that it is probably 16 or 18 inches, however. The only bullets to penetrate the tree were from the .50 BMG rifle, and even those lost their jackets in the tree, so only the steel core penetrated all of the way through. Even then, the bullets had been deflected to such a degree that they were not striking the ballistic gel torso behind the tree until the target was actually moved up to be in contact with the tree. Penetration of the gel target was not measured, but even then it didn't look to be very deep. I suspect that even soft body armor would have stopped what remained of the .50 BMG after it had gone through the tree.

       There was an interesting study done in California a while back. It was reported in Michael Ghiglieri’s excellent book titled The Dark Side of Man.  The researcher, David Luckenbill, studied all of the murderers in a California county over a 10-year period and asked them why they killed their victims. You would expect to see a variety of responses. You would be wrong. Every death row inmate interviewed listed one of only two reasons for killing….
    34% said they killed because the victim challenged the killer’s authority
      66% said they killed because the victim insulted them in some way
        Ellifritz lays out some guidelines for dealing with a violent person, which are summarized here:
          (1)  Recognize that the criminal you face will likely not be operating under the same moral or ethical codes you use on a daily basis.
            (2)  Get rid of the false bravado.
              (3)  Don’t be insulting.
                (4)  Be especially cautious during the times when the criminal is under the most stress, which is generally at the beginning of the encounter and at the end of the encounter.
                  (5)  Rehearse your “tape loop”--rehearsed scripts for responding to likely scenarios.
                    As this is happening, ash is being thrust into the air, turning day into night. A thick cloud of it hovers above the volcano for several minutes, sometimes longer. Finally it collapses and careens down the slopes, carrying deadly boulders and fumes, and building speed as it goes. The killer cascade can achieve speeds between 80 and 700 km per hour, so fast it can travel uphill. You cannot outrun it. If you were one kilometre away, the flow would reach you in just five seconds. The ash in the air will scald your lungs and make it almost impossible to breathe. Temperatures in the flow can reach up to 1,000oC, so your flesh would start burning before the cloud even touches you, because it heats the air in front of it. If the cloud smothers you, you’re done for.
                    • "Which Caliber Should I Choose For My First Self Defense Handgun?"--Hell In A Handbasket. The author doesn't mince words: .38 Special or .357 Magnum if you are using a revolver; and .380, 9 mm, or .45 ACP if using an autoloader.
                    • The rural/urban divide: "Washington Passes Strict Gun Control Laws While Some in Seattle Wait Hours for Police To Respond"--The Truth About Guns. All semi-auto rifles are now subject to restrictions such as a minimum age of 21 to purchase, a 10-day waiting period, and enhanced background check. Also, retailers may levy an additional charge of $25 to comply with the enhanced requirements. The measure also adds additional general firearm restrictions including the imposition of criminal liability on anyone that leaves a firearm where a prohibited person could gain access to the firearm. The age for purchasing a handgun is also raised to 21. What is interesting is the map showing how different counties voted, with the large urban centers (the Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia corridor on the west, and Spokane on the east) voting in favor, and the rural counties voting against.
                             For those that are familiar with Wesley Rawles "Rocky Mountain Redoubt", it should be noted that much of the northern panhandle of Idaho is economically dominated by Spokane, and the area is a magnate for retiring Californians. 
                      • "We Used To Build: Crystal Clear"--Sparks31. How to make a simple radio receiver.
                      • "Speedloaders And Other Options For Reloading Your Wheelgun"--Handguns Magazine. The author offers a historical overview of moon-clips, speed-strips, and speed loaders; and then discusses tests of the speed for different devices. As expected, the moon-clip is the fastest (3.2 seconds tested) followed by the speed loaders; but even a speed strip (8.4 seconds tested) is significantly faster than loading using loose rounds (12.6 seconds tested).


                      "Grand Solar Minimum"--Suspicious Observers (7 min.)
                      All indications are that we are headed toward a Grand Solar Minimum such as occurred during the Maunder Minimum. But not yet. Although the next Solar Cycle (Cycle 25: 2019-2030) will be weak, it will not be a "Grand Minimum." I found another article on the topic at, of all places, the Huffington Post
                      • "'Blue wave' turns out to be ordinary election, rather than an extraordinary rebuke to Trump"--The Washington Examiner. The results of yesterdays elections appear to show the Democrats taking control of the House by a relatively slim majority, and Republicans actually picking up seats in the Senate--quite a different story than what we have been hearing for the past couple of months when we were assured that Democrats would retake both the House and the Senate. The bad news is that the Democrats have the House and can stymie any legislation that Trump may suggest. The good news is that with the increased Republican presence in the Senate, Trump has even greater ability to appoint judges and top administration officials. 
                      China Telecom, the large international communications carrier with close ties to the Chinese government, misdirected big chunks of Internet traffic through a roundabout path that threatened the security and integrity of data passing between various providers’ backbones for two and a half years, a security expert said Monday. It remained unclear if the highly circuitous paths were intentional hijackings of the Internet’s Border Gateway Protocol or were caused by accidental mishandling.
                      • What multiculturalism looks like: "Is Bosnia going backwards, into war?"--DW. The article notes that "[t]he Dayton agreement divided Bosnia into two semi-autonomous parts: a Muslim-Croat federation and a Serb-controlled republic, the Republika Srprska (RS).  The fighting stopped, but sectarian politics did not." And the sectarian politics has become more rancorous of late. Interestingly, while the reporter raises the specter of Russian interference, a senior Serb politician, Mladen Ivanic, discounted the theory.
                      • "Citizenship and Choice"--by Angelo Codevilla at American Greatness. Codevilla makes a key point on the immigration issue: successful immigration and assimilation requires that both the immigrant and the country accepting the immigrant chose or elected to allow the immigration. He explains:
                      It is past time we address the question of whom we shall call to join this political enterprise called the United States of America as full members—and why we should be calling them—with the seriousness it deserves. The short answer has to be: that we choose to admit them because they understand, love, and are eager to support what this country is about.
                      (Emphasis in original). Thus, illegal immigration is wrong and doomed to failure because, even if the immigrant wanted to become American, America did not choose to have him. Similarly, the "anchor baby" neither chooses to be American, nor is chosen by America. As Codevilla concludes: "On the table right now, however is merely whether to grant a share of rule to people, some yet unborn, who we don’t know. It is difficult to imagine something quite so inherently stupid."
                      • While I appreciate the sentiment, I think he is wrong: "Like the Sixties, Today’s Tumult Will Pass"--Andrew J. Bacevich at The American Conservative. Bacovich suggests that below the surface of American politics, there is always a “a subterranean river of untapped, ferocious, lonely and romantic desires,” expressing the “concentration of ecstasy and violence which is the dream life of the nation.” 
                      Once more the subterranean river has unleashed the forces of ecstasy and violence. In the 1960s, broadly speaking, those forces emerged from the far Left. In the present moment, broadly speaking, they come from the far Right. Yet as was the case in 1968, the possibility of things spinning out of control now presents itself, as the country lurches from one outrage to the next, with the massacre in the Pittsburgh synagogue offering only the latest example. And as in 1968, little evidence exists to suggest that the nation’s political class has the capacity to comprehend what is occurring, much less the wit and courage needed to address the problem.
                      But if are all good little boys and girls, Bacovich maintains, all will be right:
                               ... The ebb and flow of events in the 1960s should give us confidence that the center will ultimately hold. The market for ecstasy and violence will once more prove to be limited and transitory. Today’s alt-right is no more likely to win the support of ordinary Americans than did the Weather Underground during the infamous Days of Rage.
                                 In due time, an appreciation for reality and a sense of decency will reassert themselves. In the meantime, the responsibility of conservatives is to hew to their principles, which should begin with respect for the Constitution and its promises of Union, Justice, domestic Tranquility, the general Welfare, and the Blessings of Liberty for all Americans.
                          There is a lot wrong with Bacovich's analysis. (1) His perception that problems that bubbled to the surface in the 1960s were resolved in the early 1970s is false: political violence and protests continued well into the 1970s, and the violence only disappeared because the protesters of the 1960s ultimately won, and became the establishment. For instance, Bill Ayers, one of the leading figures in the Weather Underground and a murderer, is not rotting in a federal super-max prison, but is, instead, a retired professor of the University of Illinois. (2) In the 1960s and 70s, there was a political center because the country was, for the most part, ethnically and culturally homogeneous. Our country is increasingly heterogenous, a trend that only promises more conflict because of declining social trust and increasing identity politics. (3) He blames the current tempest on the "Alt-Right" while ignoring actual violence on the left, such as Antifa and Black Lives Matter. (4) He is ignorant of the intellectual shift that has produced the "Alt-Right"--namely, evidence-based politics. 
                                    So, for these young men of working age to get to a welfare state where they won't have to work, they're willing to do whatever it'll take - even attack border police using knives.  It seems they think they're entitled to go there - that somehow, magically, it's their human right.  So much for the kind of law-abiding residents they'll be if they get there!
                                     These are the kind of "refugees" who need to be turned back to the countries from which they came - by force if necessary.  There's no place for them in a civilized society.
                              A: Swimming pools.
                              • "Build Your Own Altair 8800 Personal Computer"--IEEE Spectrum. Some background: "The MITS Altair 8800 was the first commercially successful personal computer. Created by Ed Roberts in 1974, it was purchased by the thousands via mail order, proving there was a huge demand for computers outside universities and large corporations." The author notes that there are kits available that faithfully reproduce the computer, as well as on-line simulations. The kit that is the subject of this article, however, "duplicates the front panel of the Altair in all its LED- and switch-festooned glory while emulating the internal hardware (including some once fantastically expensive peripherals), using an Arduino Due."

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