Friday, March 8, 2019

March 8, 2019 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

"Earth Catastrophe Cycle | Galactic Superwave"--Suspicious Observers (7 min.)
This is the latest in SO's Earth Catastrophe Cycle, which looks as whether there are waves of particles and/or dust that could cause periodic super flares or micro-novas of our Sun. My question is, however, wouldn't we be seeing this with other stars as the wave approached our solar system?

  • TGIF: This week's Weekend Knowledge Dump from Active Response Training. First, I would like to thank Mr. Ellifritz for his shout-out to this blog for one of the videos to which he links. As always, there are links to a lot of good articles. Just a sample: tips on spotting counterfeit firearms accessories, a couple articles on preparing for the loss of use or injury of your dominant hand, selecting defensive ammo for your pistol, and why Hick's law is junk. 
         Just a bit more on the latter point. Hick's law basically states that increasing the number of choices will increase the decision time logarithmically. The law has been used in the self-defense field to justify not learning from different martial arts, or limiting the number of combat "moves" that you learn or practice. The author of the article to which Ellifritz links states, from experience, that this is wrong--at least as to a sudden confrontation and fight. The takeaway is that you shouldn't be afraid of adding tools to your toolbox when it comes to self-defense. 
        My belief (and experience) is that Hick's law shows up when you have only a shallow understanding of different techniques, and you are trying to remember how to respond. When you have the necessary training and, especially, practice, you won't have to consciously consider and discard potential actions or reactions.
  • Related: "Why does the gunslinger who draws first always get shot?"--National Geographic. From the article: "Andrew Welchman from the University of Birmingham has found that there’s something to [Niels] Bohr’s explanation. People do indeed have a 'reactive advantage', where they execute a movement about 10% more quickly if they’re reacting to an opponent." Welchman considered, tested, and discarded various theories for the advantage, concluding "the reactive advantage stems from our use of different brain networks, when moving proactively or reactively. There’s plenty of evidence for separate pathways already, and Welchman’s idea is that one of these just happens to be slightly faster than the other." Welchman's experiments dealt with pushing a button or combination of buttons, and involved the test subjects both being ready with one initiating his action and the other responding. Thus, this is applicable to the archetypal Western duel rather than someone getting the drop on you. 
A total of nineteen students participated in the experiment.  One hundred fourteen rounds were fired, with thirty-eight rounds fired per phase.  I tracked and compared hit percentages during all three phases, differentiating between hits on the torso and the more peripheral hits on the arms and legs.  The data are as follows:

     PHASE                                   HIT RATE                TORSO HITS
      #1-STANDING                      85%                             51%
        #2- MOVING                         47%                             11%
          #3- USING COVER              26%                             6%
          As you can see, moving and/or using cover makes a huge difference in whether you get shot.
                We must instill movement at the onset of firearms training.  ...  Footwork patterns are begun with a lateral step off the attack line (shuffle step) but must progress through angular movements off line, as well as aggressive turn and move drills while drawing.  Although there is a place for straight line movements such as while moving forward down a hallway, straight back rearward movements are dangerous, especially dynamic backpedaling in a cluttered area, where trips and falls can result.  These movements must be practiced and the skills developed just like any other firearms skills and incorporated into most firearms training.  Even use of cover should incorporate movement.  If the officer is one to two steps away he can draw while moving toward cover and can afford to wait to shoot until he is safely behind it.  If she has to move more than a couple steps, then she should shoot as she moves behind the cover position.
          • "Shooting on the Move"--Vickers Tactical. This article also offers advice both on training and what to do while moving. A couple:
                   1) Make your lower body do it’s job; the most critical aspect to shooting on the move is minimizing vibrations that transfer above the pelvis (belt line) that in turn affect accuracy. You can’t eliminate vibrations, just dramatically reduce them. This is done by laying your feet down in a ‘rolling’ fashion such as heel to toe roll, bringing your feet closer together when walking to mitigate the side-to-side sway many people display, and most importantly make your knees absorb the shock of each step. Frankly, you can half ass the first two principles, and if you do a great job using your knees like torsion suspension you can still effectively shoot on the move. Using a visible laser at home as a training aid walking around your house (to the dismay of your significant other) to practice your movement techiques has value as the laser provides excellent feedback as to what is working and what is not.
                     2) Bend the elbows and stay flexible. Being rigid or tense does not work well in shooting, and never more so than when doing mobile shooting. You have to stay loose and allow your joints to absorb the vibration so as to allow your weapon to almost seem like it is ‘floating’ in front of you. If you are moving and your weapon is doing a lot of sharp ‘dips’ during movement as perceived through the sites, then you're doing something wrong (often times the knees are the culprit; remember don’t just bend your knees, take the shock of each step out with your knees – big difference). Remember to stay loose.
              • As you sensing a theme here? "MOVE"--Tiger McKee at American Handgunner. An excerpt:
                        You can move smoothly and shoot accurately, or you can move fast and not shoot. Moving fast and shooting is not a good idea. Remember, you’re responsible for every shot fired. To shoot accurately while moving, your weight transfer must be smooth. From the hips and up the body must remain stable and indexed on-target, just as if you were standing still and firing. Once you twist the hips it’s difficult to stay on-target. This is especially true with rifle, carbine or shotgun.
                         Your stationary fighting stance should have the feet shoulder width apart, with your strong side foot slightly behind the support foot and your upper body slightly bladed. To move to the right you step with the right foot first. You feel with the toes, ensuring there’s solid ground, then commit the weight and reposition the opposite foot. One step always means moving both feet. After each step you wind up in a fighting stance.
                            To move left step with the left foot first. Movement to the rear starts with the “rear” foot — the strong side foot. To move forward step with the support side foot first. To move multiple steps simply repeat the same footwork again and again. This shuffle type movement maintains the upper body’s index, and if you do feel a hole, curb or obstruction you reposition the foot and continue moving. It also allows you to change direction easily and efficiently.
                    • "SHOOTING DRILL: THE BOX DRILL"--Wide Open Spaces. This drill isn't intended to teach you specific tactics for movement, but rather to introduce you to movement while shooting and "focus[es] on your ability to move while shooting and being able to concentrate so you don't fall and yet still make accurate shots while moving."
                    • Moving (heh) on to other topics: "What Really Happens During a Gunfight: Shooting down the myths of Hollywood gunplay"--Men's Health. The author interviewed a handful of "operators" to discuss what Hollywood gets right and wrong about gun fights, and some general points of what happens. One that you probably have seen or read about before is the disproportionate number of people that get shot in the hand or their firearm:
                      There’s this weird kind of target fixation people inexperienced in combat get. When you have a gun pointed at you, what do you focus on? The gun, not the target. Again, I see these great marksmen, excellent shooters, and they get in a situation, having to clear a room or engage an enemy for the first time, and they shoot the hostile in the hand because that’s where their eyes are.
                      • "Pedersoli Howdah Alaskan Serves as Truck & Bush Gun"--Tactical Life. This is a side-by-side double barrel weapon capable of shooting .45 Colt or .410 shotgun shells. It uses a set of double-triggers so you can easily select which barrel to fire. I think it is an interesting idea for a bush gun, but I don't understand why they didn't chamber it to shoot .454 Casull, which would be far more effective against a bear than .45 Colt or .410, but would still allow you to download to .45 Colt if carrying for defense against 2-legged critters. 
                      • From a March 6 article: "Ebola total tops 900 in DRC, with 7 new cases today"--Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy. The article reports:
                      Today the Democratic Republic of the Congo's (DRC) ministry of health confirmed there are now officially 907 cases of Ebola in an 8-month long outbreak in the country's North Kivu and Ituri provinces, reflecting 10 new cases in 2 days.
                      This is on top of recent attacks that saw two Ebola treatment centers burned by angry locals. Also, the article has this reassuring news:
                              Finally today, the New England Journal of Medicine also published a longitudinal study on Ebola survivors in Liberia, which showed the presence of Ebola RNA in semen for more than 3 years.
                               The study showed that, during 12 months following recovery, 966 survivors reported six symptoms more than controls: urinary frequency (14.7% vs 3.4%), headache (47.6% vs 35.6%), fatigue (18.4% vs 6.3%), muscle pain (23.1% vs 10.1%), memory loss (29.2% vs 4.8%), and joint pain (47.5% vs 17.5%). All but the urinary pain improved within 12 months.
                                 The researchers also found that, among the 252 men who provided more than one semen sample, detection of viral RNA in semen was intermittent in 78 (31%). The time from acute illness to Ebola RNA detection was as long as 1,178 days, or about 39 months. The median was 551 days, or 18 months.
                                  This was the first study to match Ebola survivors with controls who did not contract the virus but shared similar environmental exposures.
                                       More than 80,000 people have been vaccinated, and although hard data is lacking, experts suspect that without the vaccine, the epidemic would have grown much larger.
                                         But efforts to stamp out the disease are failing in some areas because many people still don’t understand Ebola, and also because heavy-handed measures by outside organizations, local police and the military have alienated the communities, officials from aid groups and doctors who have worked in the region said. Fearful of being confined in isolation units, people have avoided testing and treatment. They do not want outside interference in rituals around death and burial.
                                          “Ebola responders are increasingly being seen as the enemy,” Dr. Joanne Liu, president of Doctors Without Borders, said at a news conference in Geneva on Thursday. “In the last month alone, there were more than 30 different incidents and attacks against elements of the response.”
                                  • Related: "Why Doctors Without Borders Is Suspending Work In The Ebola Epicenter In Congo"--NPR. The article relates that "[t]he aid group Doctors without Borders is suspending its work in the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The move comes after two separate attacks on its treatment centers there. The organization says, at best, it will be weeks before it returns."
                                    "When I send my teams I need to be sure that they are going to come back alive," says Emmanuel Massart, the on-the-ground emergency coordinator for Doctors Without Borders in the region. "The attacks were really, really violent."

                                    An interesting story, and an example of why irregular forces can win battles but lose wars. Also, another example of a battle where the defenders literally circled their wagons to create a defensive perimeter.
                                    • None dare call it treason: "House votes in favor of illegal immigrant voting"--Washington Times. "House Democrats voted Friday to defend localities that allow illegal immigrants to vote in their elections, turning back a GOP attempt to discourage the practice." The vote has to do with local or state elections, not federal elections ... yet.
                                    • A small culture war victory for the Right as "Colorado Drops Case Against Christian Baker amid Mounting Evidence of 'Anti-Religious Bias'." You may remember the saga of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado which was set upon by the state's civil rights agency for refusing to bake a cake celebrating a gay wedding. That went up to the United States Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the cakeshop. In revenge, a transgender advocate went to the shop with the intent of setting it up for another lawsuit--this one involving a refusal to make a cake celebrating the advocate's mental illness. Colorado again went after the cake shop. But this time around, it was leaked that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had a bias against Christians. Combined with its previous loss in front of the US Supreme Court, this was enough to make the Commission terminate its investigation. This may not be the end, however, since the tranny that made the complaint could still bring his/her/its own suit against the shop.
                                    • The snowflakes are revolting: "Liberal Methodism Bites Back!"--Rod Dreher at The American Conservative. As you may remember, the United Methodists refused to adopt LGBT doctrine, which has generated a backlash among liberal clergy in that church. Dreher comments:
                                             Here’s what I don’t get about the reaction liberal Christians have to things like this: Do they actually think that theological conservatives enjoy hurting LGBT church members? I think they must. What’s so telling is that they seem to believe that moral and theological truth is to be determined by whether or not someone felt hurt. They seem to believe that what is true = what makes a certain subset of the church feel good.

                                            If this were someone complaining that a doctor’s treatment for a broken bone was bad because it caused pain to the patient, we would say, “Yes, it does cause pain, but the pain is temporary, and necessary for healing.” The same is true in the spiritual world. 
                                    • Related: "THE POST-CHILD DEMOCRATS"--Daniel Greenfield at Frontpage Magazine. Greenfield discusses the new trend to not have children in order to save the planet from global warming.
                                            It was the very same argument about the cruelty of bringing unwanted children into the world that had been used for abortion that was now being deployed for a preemptive national infanticide.
                                              But infanticide, personal or societal, of a child that exists or of all the children that never will, is not about compassion for the child. It is about the perception that the existence of the child is an evil.
                                        He goes on to observe that the top Democratic contenders or possible contenders for the next Presidential race have very few or no children of their own, and suggests that this lack of children shapes their philosophy ... something that others have noted about the European leaders throwing open the doors of Europe to the Muslim hordes.
                                        Having children is an act of faith, in the future and in ourselves. But what if you believe, like Rep. Cortez, that there is no future worth having? That the world is nothing more than the narcissistic carpe diem of the moment in which all that matters is the moment of fame and the instant rush of experience.
                                              ... while Ethiopia is turning into an African powerhouse with the continent’s fastest growing economy, ethnic tensions there are on the rise. Tigrayans comprise just 6 percent of Ethiopia’s population of 100 million people. But they are perceived as a powerful—and unpopular—minority because of their ethnic affinity with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which is blamed for monopolizing power over 27 years in the current ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition government.
                                                        Six years after citizens staged an uprising against Los Caballeros Templarios cartel and other criminal groups in the Tierra Caliente of Michoacán, violent crime in the region and state is even worse.
                                                          Figures for intentional homicides, firearms injuries, kidnappings, threats and drug dealing in Michoacán were all significantly higher last year than in 2013.
                                                           Confrontations between criminal gangs are frequent and the spiraling crime rates – there were 1,060 homicides last year compared to 475 in 2013 – have left many people running scared.
                                                             Among those terrorized are widows of self-defense force members who lost their lives in Tierra Caliente clashes with cartel members.
                                                              Some of the narcos have returned to the towns as members of different criminal gangs and with their husbands’ executioners at close quarters, the women – and other residents – are terrified.
                                                                  The women allegedly said on the recordings that they first plotted to kill their father with alcohol and sleeping pills, but that didn't work, and they allegedly tried to suffocate him with a pillow, according to the sheriff's office.
                                                                   "When that did not work, they stuffed a rag down his throat, pinched his nose, and held his arms down until he stopped breathing and died," according to the sheriff's office.
                                                              But because the father had been in poor health, officials had no problem with signing off on the incident being a matter of death by natural causes. The whole thing was only uncovered when one of the women told her boyfriend about what she had done. I genuinely believe women murder far more often than is believed and it is probably mostly situations like this where they use methods that are less likely to be detected as homicides.
                                                                Q: What did socialists use for light before candles?
                                                                  A:  Electricity.

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