Friday, June 14, 2019

June 14, 2019 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

"Emergency Lock Pick Kit for Preppers"--Bosnianbill (16 min.)
The producer of this video has put together a selection of tools that he thinks would be of use for a prepper (i.e., someone who wants to be able to bypass common locks but not wanting to make lockpicking a new hobby). He focuses on tools and techniques that are quick and easy to learn, and also demonstrates each.

       On the latter point, I remember reading a lengthy forum string on what was the best survival rifle that had people literally talking past each other because they had such different interpretations of "survival." For some, it was a post-Apocalypse, Mad-Max style "survival" where they envisioned fighting off the ravaging hordes. For others, it was post-Apocalypse, but having to scavenge for ammunition. For others, it was what if I got lost or stranded in the wilderness, and focused on the lightest rifle that they could carry in a backpack.And for others it was a question of what was the best general purpose rifle for hunting the widest possible range of game. 
      But back to the issue of whether you have enough gun. My personal belief is that you first need to be honest with yourself. For instance, some people may be drawn to a particular firearm or loadout because of what is essentially a tactical fantasy. I'm not just talking about the probability of being caught up in a certain event, but how you will respond to it. I know the mall ninja trope is way overused, but it does provide a nice example. So, even if you are in a mall when it is attacked by terrorists (which, if you consider "mob of black youths" as a subset of "terrorists," is not as uncommon as you might think), are you really going to try and engage them, or are you going to try to get out safely?  Because you are going to need a lot more gun for one than the other.
  • More: "Enough Gun?"--Active Response Training. Greg Ellifritz also addressed the question of "what is enough gun" and why the answer is "it depend." 
  • "Revolver vs. Semiautomatic Pistol: A Ballistic Oddity"--Shooting Times. The author's testing revealed an oddity: 9 mm and .45 ACP shot out of a shorter barrel revolver had a higher velocity than out of the longer barrel semi-auto. The author's theory is that it has to do with free-bore: essentially, because the bullet shot from the revolver has a longer distance to travel before it engages the grooves of the rifling, it is able to accelerate to a higher speed.
  • "Why We MISS IN FIGHTS but Not on the Range"--Warrior Poet Society. The author has noted in his force-on-force force-on-target training that students will consistently shoot low. His theory?
       When we are afraid and are presented with a threat, we REFUSE TO ALLOW anything to block our view of that threat. This means, your fear response refuses to allow your sights and gun to block any part of your view.
          I see students do this whether they are shooting iron sights, red dot sights, or even point shooting. The result is the same. Oftentimes, people are simply not using their sights because they do not want sights blocking any part of their field of view.
    • "The Untold History of the NRA – Part 1"--The Truth About Guns. This article traces the history of the NRA's positions vis-a-vis gun control up through the 1968 Gun Control Act. Most of you probably already know most of this, but it not, it should be revealing. One thing that the author doesn't quite capture, though, is how the senior NRA officials attempted to separate their statements in favor of gun control as being "personal" opinions rather than an official stance of the NRA. Thus, they got the benefit of being an expert backed by the NRA, but the NRA had plausible deniability when it came to explaining itself to its membership. I'm looking forward to the second part and the NRA's tepid response to the grass roots efforts to expand concealed carry rights in the early 1990s.
    • "Some Airgun Options For The Survivalist"--Mason Dixon Tactical. The author explains: "Years ago I had decided that there are two reasons why I would have airguns in my inventory and those were training, and hunting small game." Although some might consider this part of the "hunting small game," I would add "pest control." You may not care to eat the small birds that are eating the fruit on your fruit tree, but you may still need to shoot them.
    • 'Cause its not all about storing food or stockpiling ammunition: "Dealing with Liquid Waste While Bugging Out"--Apartment Prepper. The author notes that bugging out might leave you stuck for hours in a traffic jam; and, even after you hit open road, you might not want to stop for potty breaks. This article deals specifically with ideas for when you have to urinate but don't want to stop, including some specific options for women. The first issue, however, is one of health--don't try holding it in because it can damage your bladder or lead to a urinary tract infection. Men, obviously, have an advantage because we can easily pee into a bottle or jug. For women, the author recommends:
    For women, the Go Girl or a similar portable funnel device plus a container would work.  Great care must be taken to avoid spilling.  On the plus side, one of these would come in handy anytime you need to use a public restroom or porta potty and don’t wish to sit on the toilet seat.
    The author also notes the possibility of "adult diapers" like depends. I've read that these are popular with truck drivers in France.
    • "Through a Lens, Clearly"--Blue Collar Prepping. A reminder of the importance of keeping a backup for your glasses or contact lenses. The author mentions a couple methods: (a) if your prescription hasn't changed much, keep hold of your older pairs of glasses; or, alternatively, (b) get a written prescription from your eye doctor and then purchase a couple pairs (or a less expensive back up pair) from one of the many inexpensive online sources for eyeglasses. 
    • "TFB Review: The Primary Arms 1-8×24 Rifle Scope With ACSS Reticle"--The Firearm Blog. It seemed to work well for the author, except that the eye relief is very short on the high power. 
    • "FORCE MULTIPLIERS: THE DAKOTA ALERT MOTION DETECTOR FOR PATROLS AND RURAL SECURITY"--American Partisan. There is more to this article than just a review of the motion detectors. The author discusses the basics of how to securely set up a temporary camp. But, in addition to the location and use of manpower, he notes:
    [I]t’s a good idea to have as many early warning devices out as possible. There’s a lot of ways to do this- trip wire flares, smoke, noise makers, etc. Those are fine but they each alert the enemy to your presence. It may very well be that they don’t know you’re there, but once those devices are set off, you’ve been made. This is where that Dakota Alert shines. Most folks use these as driveway alarms and with a few simple modifications, they can make excellent force multipliers for a small unit.
    He goes on to explain:
    They are set to one of the five MURS channels to relay their signal, sending out a message of ALERT ZONE 1-5 based on which channel you’ve set it to. In other words, if it’s set to channel 1 (151.820 mHz) it will state ALERT ZONE ONE when tripped. An easy way to plan this out is to emplace it for OP 1, and then have OP 1 have a radio set to 151.82mHz (MURS 1) to monitor it. This will provide the OP with an early warning if the detector is tripped, along with the leader’s element. Speaking of, the Leader or roving guard should have a radio programmed to scan only the MURS channels when pulling security- that way even if the OP falls asleep, the alert message will get to someone.
      He also makes a couple modifications. First, he paints them in an actual camouflage pattern with Krylon spray paint. Second, he removes the stock antenna and replaces it with a purpose built wire antenna that disappears into its background. Because of the I.R. emitter used by the device, he recommends positioning them at ground level so they can't be spied by someone using night vision equipment.
        But the biggest advantage the Mini has is that its not an AR; still, after all these years, it doesn’t carry the signature high profile that an AR-15 does. While that AR is far more commonplace today, a Mini has that certain plausible deniability that you won’t get with its contemporaries. That might not matter to you, but you never know. It’s not intimidating, its just Papa’s plinking rifle, until it ain’t. And for that reason the Mini is still obtainable in many states that ban other weapons in its category. Its reliable. You can get it in stainless steel which is great for salt water environments. And its a heck of a lot of fun to shoot on those why-so-serious? range sessions.
        • "Accuracy Evaluation of a COLT HBAR Barrel"--New Rifleman. The article is actually most interesting not because of its conclusion, but the author's method of testing accuracy and why he uses 10-round groups. But, nevertheless, here is his conclusion:
          Ultimately, the COLT HBAR is capable of any purpose you could imagine of it. Even with the “OKAY” FGMM, you would be able to reach out and touch any reasonable target to 600-700 yards out of a meek little HBAR. Out of pocket cost? $160 bucks. Want more? How much time and money you got?
          • "7 Life-threating Mistakes To Avoid Upon Your Introduction To Gun Ownership"--The Weapon Blog. The mistakes: (1) failing to check that the firearm's condition (e.g., whether the chamber is empty or loaded, whether the safety is engaged) every time you pick one up or have one handed to you; (2) not being careful where you point the gun (even if you think the gun is unloaded); (3) touching the trigger before you are ready to discharge the weapon; (4) failing to identify your target before shooting; (5) not keeping the firearm in a secure location; (6) not learning the essentials of shooting a firearm; and (7) not educating yourself or your family on firearm use and safety.
          • "What We Can Learn from the Two Hikers Lost in the Mountains of Hawaii"--Outdoor Life. One died and the other was found alive. From the article:
            In an interview with the media, Amanda Eller’s mother said that the reason Amanda survived so long in the jungle was because of her training. Eller and her friends had all received extensive survival training. She knew how to find safe water to drink, which wild plants were safe to eat, how to find shelter (she used an abandoned boar’s den) and many other vital skills. 
                    Anti-gunners amongst you might say this is a small price to keep us safe, but the simple fact is there is no evidence to show strict firearms legislation keeps you safer, in many cases it may actually have the opposite effect. After the UK handgun ban, handgun crime and homicide doubled and has never reached zero. The rare spree killings in the UK were the result of police forces failing to enforce the law at the time. There have been periods when the UK has had very little gun control and we never had issues with gun violence. Violence in the UK appears to have increased despite tougher regulations for people that obey laws.
                     Gun violence, violent crime and terrorism have their root causes in other areas, areas that are not tackled by politicians because they are difficult and instead exploit public fear and ignorance and go after legal gun owners to be seen to be doing something about crime.
                • "Ultimate .300 Blackout Ammo Test"--Shooting Illustrated. A look at a variety of factory loads, both supersonic and subsonic.
                • If you only read one article from this list, make it this: "ON CIVILIAN TRAINING CONSIDERATIONS"--Accentus Ludus. Marcus Wynne provides some thoughts on how to take your self-defense/firearm skills to the next level, describing some recommendations he made for a client. Here is an excerpt:
                       So what’s the flow, or the big pieces that add up to at least one definition of a good education in gun-fighting?
                    Soft skills. The stuff that’s not sexy (or maybe it is, if you’re a neuroscience geek like me) like learning pre-violence indicators and predator behavior, tweaking your own cognition and neurology so you learn faster, retain more of what you learn, and can apply what you learn under life and death stress; manipulating your environment (including those around you) so as to enable you to move safely through chaotic situations/circumstances and events; what to do if you’re captured or a victim (including some escapeology); stress management pre-fight in-fight and post-fight, mindfulness/meditation/visualization technique to support all of the above. Generating and maintaining an attitude of humility and gratitude and service to others.
                      Unarmed skills. ... Basic skills to consider – me, I’m a big fan of basic military combatives like the evolution of the WW2 stuff made famous by Fairbairn and Sykes. Simple, robust, easy to retain, serves in 80-90% of the circumstances you’ll run into. Boxing is great, but any vigorous martial art is better than nothing. SPEND TIME EXPLORING HOW TO INTEGRATE THOSE SKILLS INTO ARMED SKILLS. For that I highly recommend the Filipino systems as the concept of fluidity and flow translate well to armed combat with knives as well as guns, in my experience.
                        Intermediate armed skills: Contact type weapons including pepper spray, knives, sticks, and improvised weapons, including environmental evaluation and use (walls, door handles, doors, bar rails, chairs, etc.)
                          Firearms skills: Basic safety and manipulation of handguns. Progress rapidly from that into a solid defensive oriented handgun course that addresses concealment and realistic application of the handgun. ...
                            A necessary skill set is the application of the extreme close range gunfight which includes grappling, striking and clearing a fouled weapon. ...
                              The legal piece gets way overlooked. Training with Massad Ayoob is a must while he’s still around. There is no one better. Period. There are good books, and a good lawyer is a must.
                                Scenario training: a must have. You must test your skills force on force under the supervision of a SKILLED instructor who knows how to set up scenarios and run them properly. ...
                                Like I said, read the whole thing. 

                                In this video, the author first destroys some myths and misconceptions about the .300 Blackout, and then gets into the specifics on speed and muzzle energy from different weight loads and different length barrels. One of the primary points he makes, initially, is that .300 Blackout is not "optimized" for 9 inches (give or take), so you can gain a lot from using a longer barrel. Having handloaded .300 Blackout, what I can tell you is that the author is sort of right and sort of wrong. .300 Blackout loads published in reloading manuals (which I presume is similar to what manufacturers use) make use of faster burning pistol propellants. So, when the developers of the cartridge say that it is "optimized" for the 9 or 10-inch barrel, what they are talking about is that you achieve full powder burn at about that length. Of course, the expansion of gases lags behind that, so that you will see increased performance from longer 14 or 16 inch barrels because you still have gas expansion. But, on the other hand, what you see is from even 9 or 10-inches is rifle performance from the light-weight loads. Oh, and you won't see the huge flash that you would get from a 5.56 shot from a similar length. I was gratified that the author of the video had settled on 110-grain and 125-grain loads for self-defense, since that is where my research led me. I currently use a 110-grain VMAX bullet.

                                      Public records show that Webber was arrested five times, for driving violations and on charges that included possession of drug paraphernalia and marijuana.
                                       Shortly before he was shot on Wednesday, Webber posted a live video on Facebook that showed him in a car, rapping and apparently smoking a marijuana cigarette. In the video, he looked out the window and said he saw police. 
                                         With a laugh, he looked directly into the camera and said the officers would 'have to kill me.' The video appeared to have been removed from his Facebook page late Thursday morning. 
                                           The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations said officers went to his home at about 7pm to look for Webber who had outstanding warrants, including the violent felony offense that occurred on June 3.
                                             Officers said they saw Webber get into a vehicle and that he then proceeded to ram task force vehicles several times before exiting with a weapon. Marshals then opened fire on Webber. He died at the scene, according to officers. 
                                        Locals became angry and tried to stone the Marshals, and police with riot gear had to come quell the uprising. According to the article, "[a]t least two dozen police officers and two journalists were injured during the confrontation. Six officers were taken to hospital suffering mostly minor injuries."
                                              Webber had been wanted in a June 3 shooting that happened during a car theft about 25 miles south of Memphis in Hernando, Mississippi. 
                                                Brandon Webber, 20, was fatally shot by officers in Memphis, Tennessee on Wednesday as they tried to arrest him for outstanding felony warrants outside his home +10
                                                  Brandon Webber, 20, was fatally shot by officers in Memphis, Tennessee on Wednesday as they tried to arrest him for outstanding felony warrants outside his home
                                                    He shot his victim five times at point blank range after Webber took the car on a test drive and then drove off in the stolen vehicle, according to DeSoto County, Mississippi, District Attorney John Champion.
                                              Yet the first article reports that a long time acquaintance or friend, Diamond Butler, described Webber as a "loving and a very sweet kind person." The second article quotes Webber's father as saying: "He wasn't a bad guy." These people are either delusional or have a value system completely incompatible with that of civilized peoples. 
                                                       Daniel Silverberg, then-House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer’s national security adviser, coordinated “work on Russia dossier materials provided by Christopher Steele” with Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Special Envoy for Libya Jonathan Winer, according to newly released documents made public June 12 by Judicial Watch.
                                                         A series of emails between Sept. 26, 2016, and Dec. 10, 2016, demonstrate that Winer shared “Russia-related information” he obtained from Steele—whom he described as his “old O friend”—with Nuland, who then shared it with Silverberg.
                                                          Winer delayed a previously scheduled meeting with the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) in order to share the information with Nuland, according to Judicial Watch.
                                                            Multiple references in the emails to additional telephone calls and other contacts with unnamed or redacted parties, as well as discussion of “a possible working group meeting,” suggest an active response by Silverberg to the Steele dossier information he was provided by Nuland and Winer.
                                                      • Only the government can be trusted with firearms: "ATF agents searching for thousands of guns stolen from their facility before they could be destroyed"--Journal Sentinel. The article reports that "[a]ll of the weapons had been sent to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' National Firearms and Ammunition Destruction Branch in Martinsburg, West Virginia, to be shredded," but a guard at the facility, Christopher Yates, was stealing over 4,000 weapons and/or parts since 2016, and selling them. Including at least 4 automatic weapons.
                                                              China's true pace of economic growth is always hard to decipher, but the country's lagging diesel demand could be a sign that the world's second-largest economy is in a much more dire state than official numbers indicate.
                                                                Diesel demand in China fell 14% and 19% in March and April, respectively, reaching levels not seen in a decade, according to data compiled by Wells Fargo. Monthly demand has also been falling every month since December 2017, the data shows.
                                                          • Related: "Tariffs are forcing Big Tech to move production out of China"--Engadget. Google and Nintendo are looking at moving production from mainland China, and Apple's partner, Foxconn indicates that it will be able to move the U.S. i-phone production from China. This production is not returning to the United States, unfortunately, but it does reduce China's leverage over the U.S. economy.
                                                                  If you need to know one thing about rare earth metals, it’s that they’re crucial to modern technology, helping power everything from MRI machines and satellites to headphones and nuclear reactors. If you need to know two things, it’s that despite their name, they’re not at all rare.
                                                                    This second fact is important when putting recent headlines about these 17 oddly named elements in proper context. Last week, many publications covered the news that a Japanese team of scientists had found a huge trove of rare earth elements off the coast of the country’s Minamitori Island. Some 16 million tons were estimated to be lurking in the deep-sea mud, enough to meet global demand on a “semi-infinite basis,” said the researchers.
                                                                      This news was presented as having great geopolitical significance. China currently produces more than 90 percent of the world’s supply of rare earth materials (the exact figure tends to fluctuate year-by-year), and in the event of a conflict, said reports, it could jack up prices for the West and its allies, or even shut them out altogether. In this eventuality, the Minamitori hoard would be a lifeline. “It is important to secure our own source of resources, given how China controls the prices,” Professor Yutaro Takaya Waseda, who led the Japanese research team, told The Wall Street Journal.
                                                                        But experts say this narrative is wrong. Despite appearances, the Minamitori find is not as significant as headlines have implied. And although China seems to wield great power over this critical global supply chain, the truth is that the country can’t just bring the West to its knees by limiting exports of rare earth elements. We know this pretty conclusively because it tried this in 2010, and it didn’t work out. In both cases, the overlooked factor is just how difficult it is to produce rare earth elements, compared to how easy it is to find them.
                                                                  • Immigration: 
                                                                  • "Is Saving Thousands of Migrants from Drowning at Sea Virtue or Cruelty?"--Richard Fernandez at PJ Media. Well, as Fernandez points out, Italy closing its ports to NGO ships engaged in human trafficking assisting migrants has reduced the number of migrants attempting to get to Europe by boat in the first place. And, by extension, has saved lives because it has reduced the number of deaths by drowning. 
                                                                          The children of illegal aliens, after being granted birthright citizenship, are able to anchor their illegal alien and non-citizen parents in the U.S. and eventually are allowed to bring an unlimited number of foreign relatives to the country through the legal immigration process known as “chain migration.”
                                                                           Today, there are at least 4.5 million anchor babies in the U.S., exceeding the annual roughly four million American babies born every year and costing American taxpayers about $2.4 billion every year to subsidize hospital costs.
                                                                      • "Told You So"--Raconteur Report. Discussing that cases of Ebola have now turned up in Uganda. Why include this under the topic of immigration? Because it is our inability (or unwillingness) to control our borders that will allow this, or some other pandemic, to enter our country.
                                                                               So here we sit, say 50 people in our lifeboat. To be generous, let us assume it has room for 10 more, making a total capacity of 60. Suppose the 50 of us in the lifeboat see 100 others swimming in the water outside, begging for admission to our boat or for handouts. We have several options: we may be tempted to try to live by the Christian ideal of being "our brother's keeper," or by the Marxist ideal of "to each according to his needs." Since the needs of all in the water are the same, and since they can all be seen as "our brothers," we could take them all into our boat, making a total of 150 in a boat designed for 60. The boat swamps, everyone drowns. Complete justice, complete catastrophe.
                                                                                Since the boat has an unused excess capacity of 10 more passengers, we could admit just 10 more to it. But which 10 do we let in? How do we choose? Do we pick the best 10, "first come, first served"? And what do we say to the 90 we exclude? If we do let an extra 10 into our lifeboat, we will have lost our "safety factor," an engineering principle of critical importance. ...
                                                                                 Suppose we decide to preserve our small safety factor and admit no more to the lifeboat. Our survival is then possible although we shall have to be constantly on guard against boarding parties.
                                                                            • The Balkanization of America: "The Strange Disappearance of Cooperation in America" by Peter Turchin (the author of Ages of Discord). Turchin begins by discussing Robert Putnam's research on the declining social capital in the United States. Most of you are probably aware of Putnam's research, and his somewhat hushed findings relating the loss of social capital to increased ethnic diversity. But Turchin believes that there is another possible factor to consider: income inequality. He notes that measures of social cooperation increased during the 1940s and peaked in the 1960s or early 1970s, when it reversed and began to fall. Why? Turchin observes:
                                                                                    One important factor, closely related to social cooperation, is the degree of economic inequality. Both general theories of social evolution and empirical studies suggest that inequality is corrosive of cooperation. As Emmanuel Saez, Thomas Piketty, and coworkers have demonstrated using sophisticated analyses of income tax returns, income inequality declined during most of the twentieth century, but it turned a corner in the 1970s and has been increasing ever since[.]
                                                                                       Furthermore, as I have shown in my own research, such cycles in economic inequality are actually recurrent features in the history of complex societies. More details are available in my Aeon article and in The Double Helix of Inequality and Well-Being.
                                                                                       In these articles I argue that general well-being (and high levels of social cooperation) tends to move in the opposite direction from inequality.  During the ‘disintegrative phases’ inequality is high while well-being and cooperation are low. During the ‘integrative phases’ inequality is low, while well-being and cooperation are high. This antagonistic association produces a characteristic ‘double helix’ pattern in the data on well-being and inequality[.]
                                                                                         “The Case for Reparations” author Ta-Nehisi Coates and actor Danny Glover are reportedly set to testify before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and the hearing’s stated purpose will be “to examine, through open and constructive discourse, the legacy of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, its continuing impact on the community and the path to restorative justice,” according to a Thursday Associated Press report.
                                                                                          The June 19 hearing also “coincides with Juneteenth, a cultural holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved blacks in America.”
                                                                                        According to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), who sits on the sub-committee, whites have not sufficiently atoned for the sins of their ancestors. 
                                                                                              Between 1894 and 1924, the number of Christians in Asia Minor fell from some 3-4 million to just tens of thousands—from 20% of the area’s population to under 2%. Turkey has long attributed this decline to wars and the general chaos of the period, which claimed many Muslim lives as well. But the descendants of Turkey’s Christians, many of them dispersed around the world since the 1920s, maintain that the Turks murdered about half of their forebears and expelled the rest.
                                                                                                The Christians are correct. Our research verifies their claims: Turkey’s Armenian, Greek and Assyrian (or Syriac) communities disappeared as a result of a staggered campaign of genocide beginning in 1894, perpetrated against them by their Muslim neighbors. By 1924, the Christian communities of Turkey and its adjacent territories had been destroyed.
                                                                                                 Over the past decade, we have sifted through the Turkish, U.S., British and French archives, as well as some Greek materials and the papers of the German and Austro-Hungarian foreign ministries. This research has made it possible to document a strikingly consistent pattern of ethno-religious atrocity over three decades, perpetrated by the Turkish government, army, police and populace.
                                                                                                   The concentrated slaughter of Turkey’s Armenians in 1915-16, commonly known as the Armenian genocide, is well documented and acknowledged (outside of Turkey, which still bitterly objects to the charge). But the Armenian genocide was only a part, albeit the centerpiece, of a larger span of elimination that lasted some 30 years. Our work provides the first detailed description and analysis of the 1894-96 massacres and the destruction of the region’s Greek and remaining Armenian communities in 1919-24 by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish republic.
                                                                                                      The bloodshed was importantly fueled throughout by religious animus. Muslim Turks—aided by fellow Muslims, including Kurds, Circassians, Chechens and Arabs—murdered about two million Christians in bouts of slaughter immediately before, during and after World War I. These massacres were organized by three successive governments, those of the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II, the Young Turks and, finally, Atatürk. These governments also expelled between 1.5 and 2 million Christians, mostly to Greece.
                                                                                                What is the Jewish concept of the satan? Well, we agree with the Christians that he is a mal’ach, conventionally translated “angel,” but there’s nothing “fallen” about him. He works for the same Divine Boss as all the other mal’achim. Think of the satan (the word means “adversary”) as the proctor of an exam. The proctor isn’t actively rooting for you to fail the test; to the contrary, he wants you to pass. But he administers a tough test, to be certain that it tests all your capabilities and that you’ve mastered the material, i.e. the life lessons available from one’s parents and other mentors. If you manage to pass the test, no one is happier than the satan.
                                                                                                However, Zarmi does not appear to be giving a complete picture. In the article, "Do Jews Believe in Satan?" at My Jewish Learning, while the few references to Satan (or satan) in the Torah or Jewish Bible support the "adversary" interpretation given above, the Talmud portrays Satan as being more evil, and considers Satan to be the angel of death. The article continues:
                                                                                                        The Jewish mystical tradition has much to say about Satan. Indeed, kabbalistic texts offer a rich description not merely of Satan, but of an entire realm of evil populated by demons and spirits that exists in parallel to the realm of the holy. Satan is known in Kabbalah as Sama’el (rendered in some sources as the Great Demon), and the demonic realm generally as the Sitra Achra — literally “the other side.” The consort of Sama’el (who is mentioned in pre-kabbalistic Jewish literature as well) is Lilith, a mythic figure in Jewish tradition more commonly known as the rebellious first wife of Adam.
                                                                                                          The kabbalistic sources portray the demonic as a separate and oppositional realm in conflict with God. Kabbalah even offers explanations of the origins of the demonic realm, the most common of which is that this realm emerges when the attribute of God associated with femininity and judgment, is dissociated from the attribute of God associated with grace and masculinity, and becomes unconstrained. Evil, in this reading, results from an excess of judgment.
                                                                                                           Many of these ideas would later find expression in Jewish folk beliefs and in the works of the Hasidic masters. Rabbi Yaakov Yosef of Poloniye, one of the chief disciples of Hasidism’s founder, the Baal Shem Tov, wrote in his Toldos Yaakov Yosef that God would eventually slaughter the angel of death during the messianic age — a belief that clearly echoes the Christian view of a final showdown between God and Satan at the End of Days. Hasidic folk tales are replete with descriptions of demonic forces, among them a famous story in which the Baal Shem Tov defends a group of children from a werewolf. Even today some  Hasidic Jews will seek out protections from such forces in the form of amulets or incantations. Some Jewish communities, particularly in the Sephardic world, also prize amulets as protection from evil spirits and maintain a number of customs and rituals aimed at keeping those spirits at bay. Jewish sources dating back to biblical times including formulas for exorcisms to free the possessed of an evil spirit, known as a dybbuk.
                                                                                                      • A reminder that we live in the 21st Century: "Newly Released Amazon Patent Shows Just How Much Creepier Alexa Can Get"--Science Alert.  "A newly revealed patent application filed by Amazon is raising privacy concerns over an envisaged upgrade to the company's smart speaker systems. This change would mean that, by default, the devices end up listening to and recording everything you say in their presence." The purpose is to avoid having to first use a wake word ("Alexa") before stating a command. Instead, you could say: "Play some music, Alexa" and it would still recognized and process the command. But for that to work, it needs to record what comes before the wake word, which means that it has to record everything. 


                                                                                                      1. The Mrs. is reading Ages of Discord right now. She bought it to help with my Civil War monthly report. She's used a LOT of highlighter already.

                                                                                                        1. What he has to say about immigration is important. By the way, congratulations on making the blog list at Western Rifle Shooters.

                                                                                                        2. Thank you! I was a bit surprised, since he's another one of my daily reads.

                                                                                                          So, it may go down in history that my contribution to Western Civilization is developing a technique to make economics interesting to college age boys.