Tuesday, June 18, 2019

June 18, 2019 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

"GEAR: Fight Lite Part 2"--Max Velocity (10 min.)
Max continues his discussion of when you might forego wearing body armor, looking a bit more at some other equipment.

       The other question is who is paying for these migrants to move around? Ol' Remus notes the following question from a reader: "Who paid for the DRC illegal immigrants to get from Africa to San Antonio? Why is Catholic Charities helping move these possible disease vectors around the US?" The why should be obvious. The Catholic Church has been infiltrated by Leftists, as we see with the so-called "gay mafia" that has been covering up its members crimes while, at the same time, assisting in promoting its members within the Church. The same groups that make a mockery of the Catholic religion by protecting sexually active homosexual priests will support using Catholic resources to undermine the West by importing the barbarians that they hope will destroy the country. It is inherent in the r-select psychology.
  • Some solar news: For those of you that have been following the Suspicious Observers Youtube Channel or subscribe to the electric universe theory, the following science-news articles will merely be additional confirmation. For others, this might be new to you.
      The study takes a deep look at a phenomenon that scientists call the solar "dynamo," essentially a concentration of the star's magnetic energy. This dynamo is formed by the spinning and twisting of the hot gases inside the sun and can have big impacts—an especially active solar dynamo can generate large numbers of sunspots and solar flares, or globs of energy that blast out from the surface. 
* * * 
     ...When the researchers ran their simulation, they first found that the solar dynamo formed to the north and south of the sun's equator. Following a regular cycle, that dynamo moved toward the equator and stopped, then reset in close agreement with actual observations of the sun.
          But that regular churn wasn't the whole picture. Roughly twice every 100 years, the simulated sun did something different.
            In those strange cases, the solar dynamo didn't follow that same cycle but, instead, clustered in one hemisphere over the other.
             "That additional dynamo cycle would kind of wander," Matilsky said. "It would stay in one hemisphere over a few cycles, then move into the other one. Eventually, the solar dynamo would return to its original state."
                That pattern could be a fluke of the model, Matilsky said, but it might also point to real, and previously unknown, behavior of the solar dynamo. He added that astronomers have, on rare occasions, seen sun spots congregating in one hemisphere of the sun more than the other, an observation that matches the CU Boulder team's findings.
               Astronomers monitoring data from thousands of distant stars have come to an unnerving conclusion: every 2000 to 3000 years, ones just like the sun can produce superflares 100 or more times larger than anything ever recorded in human history.
                 Such an event, if it were to occur today, would produce a blast of radiation that would destroy satellites, disrupt electronics, knock out communications, and devastate power grids worldwide. 
                   “Our study shows that superflares are rare events,” says Yuta Notsu, a visiting researcher at the University of Colorado, Boulder, US, “but there is some possibility that we could experience such an event in the next 100 years or so.”
                One of the big questions in solar physics is why the sun's activity follows a regular cycle of 11 years. Researchers from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), an independent German research institute, now present new findings, indicating that the tidal forces of Venus, Earth and Jupiter influence the solar magnetic field, thus governing the solar cycle.
                  I live in the Gulf South, where 90 percent humidity and 90-degree temperatures are as common as Ford F-150s and fried shrimp for about seven months a year. This means T-shirts, shorts and flip flops as the uniform of the common man– and that’s when people get dressy. Beach towns are even worse. This means either wearing more clothes than the common man and being both uncomfortable and out of place or decreasing the EDC to match the wardrobe at the crawfish boil, fireworks show or fishing tournament. That’s where the 642 is gold and gets to come out of the safe. Tucked in a slim IWB holster, printing is not an issue and you aren’t going to find it without either a magnetometer or an inappropriately intimate pat-down. Light enough to carry all day, it is there if you need it without bugging you when you don’t.
                  • Related: "Snubnose Revolvers: Still Meeting Defensive Needs"--Shooting Illustrated. Sheriff Jim Wilson regales the reader with a brief history of the development of the snub nose revolver, before moving on to some of the advantages they offer for concealed carry. But he also warns:
                  While the snubbie may be easy to learn to shoot, however, it is a difficult gun to shoot well. The long, double-action trigger pull makes it tough to shoot accurately, and the defensive shooter might consider having a gunsmith perform an action job on this revolver. With an action job and some practice, the defensive shooter will have little trouble making effective hits on target.
                  From my own personal experience, if you own a J-frame snubby, probably the best thing you can do to aid in shooting it accurately and managing recoil is to install one of the Delta-Grips made by Ergo. There is a bit of learning curve, but once you get used to it, you will be able to drive the gun better than you ever could with standard grips.
                    Most people over-magnify their rifles. Sure, if the purpose of your range life is to print the smallest groups possible at a few hundred yards, magnification is a good thing as it removes the optical error associated with precise aiming. However, if your purpose is to get quick shots on target at rational ranges, then you may enjoy far less magnification. That optical precision that helps you shoot ½-inch groups comes at a price. Let’s look at a few pros and cons.
                      The issue is the field of view. He notes that on his particular 1-4x scope, the field of view is over 100 feet at 100 yards, while on 4x, it shrinks to about 27 feet. Higher powers can even be worse: his 5-25x scope has a field of view of just 4.3 feet at 100 yards. 
                        The brutal assaults pictured in this video are the sole fault of the feral creatures who perpetrated them, but they are also representative of missed opportunities for self-protection and threat mitigation. Despite the standard victim description of assailants “coming out of nowhere without warning”, imagine the noise a quartet of teens made sprinting up a quiet street. Imagine now our victims not only hearing the sound but attending to it as a potential threat indicator and responding in ways to address that threat.
                        • "The Still Useful MIL-DOT"--Loose Rounds. Some tips on extending the range of your hold-overs when using a Mil-Dot reticle. Basically, the author suggests that rather than use the intersection of the cross-hairs mark for your 200 yard zero, use the uppermost Mil-Dot. This, he contends, should allow you to use the other dots to range out to 1,000 yards or more, with each substension representing the point of aim at some multiple of 100 yards. I'm not sure that this would necessarily work [Update: ... at extended ranges]. As I understand it, the purpose of the Mil-Dot system is to allow you to estimate range and compensate for wind or drop, but is not a true bullet-drop compensator. As the bullet speed declines, the bullet drop from one distance to the next will necessarily increase at greater distances (i.e., to bullet does not follow a uniform arc over its entire distance of travel), and you can see this when you look at a BDC reticle where the distance between substensions increases at the longer ranges. It looks like it could work for ranges out to 500 or 600 yards, according to the drop information in this article, depending on the caliber. But if you look at .308, as an example, at 1,000 yards, the drop is approximately 460 inches, but 1 Mil at 1,000 yards is only 36 inches. The [illustration used by the] Loose Rounds author indicates that you should go down 9 Mils for your holdover at 1,000 yards, looking at his illustration, but that only gives you a holdover of 324 inches. That is 136 inches too low. Thus, the bullet would impact the ground well short of the target. [Update: I want to clarify that I think the overall concept--putting your 200 yard zero high to give you more useful drop--is good, as long as you keep in mind that the hold-over is not going to be one dot per 100 yards past a certain point, but may be, for instance, an additional 1-1/2 mils or 2 mils, etc., past a certain range. The specific hold-over will have to vary according to the ballistics of your particular round and loading].
                        • "How to Practice Shooting Your Rifle For a Hunt"--Range 365. The main lesson the author offers is to go to the shooting range more often, but shoot less at each shooting. He recommends no more than 5 to 10 rounds per session. This is primarily to avoid developing bad habits due to flinching. Besides, "[k]nowing how you shoot after 30 hard-kicking rounds isn't going to help you much as a hunter."
                        • Interesting: "Genesis Arms Gen-12 12 Gauge Upper for AR-10 Lowers"--Ammo Land. This upper transforms your AR-10 into a shotgun. Rounds feed through the magazine well in the lower. Expensive though: $2,230.
                        • "Bullet Expansion: How & Why"--Guns America Digest. From the article:
                                While it’s true that the expanded bullet makes a larger-diameter hole, that’s actually only a secondary effect to its most useful function: The act of deforming the bullet uses up a large amount of its energy.
                                 Respected trainer Chuck Haggard points out that his department used the 124-grain +P Gold Dot hollow-points and that for years, in shooting after shooting, the spent projectile would be found — fully expanded — in one of three places: just under the skin on the far side of the bad guy, stopped in the clothing on the far side of the bad guy or on the ground about 10 feet past the bad guy.
                                   You literally cannot ask for anything more than that out of a pistol bullet. When moving at pistol velocities, a projectile’s only real wounding mechanism is penetration. There’s no magic shockwave or hydrostatic voodoo or anything like that happening at 1,200 feet per second, let alone 800 or 900. As Tom Givens puts it, these little popguns we carry concealed are nothing but remote-control drills: They put little .355- to .451-inch-wide holes in whatever they hit. How deep those holes end up being has far more bearing on their ability to stop an attacker than any 1/10th-inch difference in diameter.
                                       Every day, at 5pm, the gentle melody of the children’s song Yuyake Koyake chimes across the Minato area of Tokyo from a loudspeaker – one of hundreds dotted across schools and parks throughout this megacity of 37 million people.
                                        The daily jingle does more than signify the arrival of evening. It is a test for the system that is designed to save Tokyoites from what would be one of the worst natural disasters in recorded human history: an earthquake striking the centre of the most populous city on Earth.
                                          The last great quake to hit Tokyo was in 1923. Experts estimate the next one is due roughly a century on, with an estimated 70% chance of a magnitude-7 quake hitting Tokyo before 2050. It is no longer a question of if but when the big one will come.
                                           The impact would be devastating. According to an official estimate, a magnitude-7.3 quake striking northern Tokyo Bay could kill 9,700 people and injure almost 150,000. There would be an expected peak of 3.39 million evacuees the day after the disaster, with a further 5.2 million stranded, while more than 300,000 buildings could be destroyed by the earthquake itself or the ensuing fires.
                                        The remainder of the article briefly describes the last major quake to hit Tokyo, further discusses the dangers, and then delves into what the government has done to protect the public, including special parks designed to be converted to refugee centers. 
                                          Meanwhile, more than 50 sites across Tokyo have been designated as disaster prevention parks. In normal times, they’re used for picnics and other leisure activities, and resemble standard parks in every way except for a grid of manholes in a fenced-off area. After a disaster, the manhole covers are removed and special seats and privacy tents are placed over them, turning them into emergency toilets. The park benches, meanwhile, can be converted into cooking stoves. Emergency response would be coordinated from the Tokyo Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park, a 13.2 hectare site to the north-west of Tokyo Bay.
                                          • "THE RETURN OF SEA PEOPLES"--American Partisan. No, this is not about the collapse of Bronze Age civilizations, but, instead, discusses some prepping ideas making use of a boat for blue-water sailing and, primarily, some ideas about caching items at sea so you can later find and recover the cache. 
                                          • Delusional: "Rep. Eric Swalwell rolls out gun control plan"--The Washington Examiner. Lots to hate here. His plan includes a prohibition and buy-back program for "assault weapons," requiring special liability insurance for owners of firearms (thus forcing everyone but the wealthy to give up their firearms), a national firearms registration, prohibiting online sales of ammunition, prohibit keeping more than 200 rounds per caliber or gauge ("hoarding" in his words), etc.
                                                   How did the accused Darwin gunman, parolee Ben Hoffmann, get his hands on a shotgun and allegedly kill four people? 
                                                     Likely with relative ease — according to the public health professor behind the world’s largest catalogue of evidence on gun violence, firearm law and gun control. 
                                                      The 12-gauge pump action shotgun was seized at the time of Hoffman’s arrest, and police later confirmed its serial number matched a weapon stolen in 1997. 
                                                         That scenario — a long-armed illicit firearm being used in violent crime — fits the profile of gun violence in Australia, according to Associate Professor Philip Alpers from the University of Sydney’s GunPolicy.org.
                                                      Australia apparently also has a fairly robust market for manufacturing clandestine submachine guns.

                                                    "The Mystery of the Lunar Transient Phenomena"--John Michael Godier (11 min.)
                                                    Weird flashes and mysterious clouds have been spotted on or above the Moon's surface. This video discusses some of the more carefully documented cases, and discusses theories on what might be the cause. 

                                                           Last year I had an interesting conversation with someone I’ll call the Washington Insider. She asked me why my structural-demographic model predicted rising instability in the USA, probably peaking with a major outbreak of political violence in the 2020s. I started giving the explanation based on the three main forces: popular immiseration, intra-elite competition, and state fragility. But I didn’t get far because she asked me, what immiseration? What are you talking about? We’ve never lived better than today. Global poverty is declining, child mortality is declining, violence is declining. We have access to the level of technology that is miraculous compared to what previous generations had. Just look at the massive data gathered together by Max Rosen, or read Steven Pinker’s books to be impressed with how good things are.
                                                              There are three biases that help sustain this rosy view. First, the focus on global issues. But the decrease of poverty in China (which is what drives declining global poverty, because Chinese population is so huge), or the drop in child mortality in Africa, is irrelevant to the working America. People everywhere compare themselves not to some distant places, but to the standard of living they experienced in their parents home. And the majority of American population sees that in many important ways they are worse off than their parents (as we will see below).
                                                               Second, the Washington Insider talks to other members of the 1 percent, and to some in the top 10 percent. The top-income segments of the American population have done fabulously in the last decades, thank you very much.
                                                                Third, many economic statistics have to be taken with a grain of salt. Government agencies are often under substantial political pressure to put a positive spin on the statistics they publish. Many economists work hard to please the economic elites and other powers-that-be, because that’s how you get ahead in that profession. Fortunately, there are enough “heterodox” economists who provide us with alternative views. This all doesn’t mean that statistics are worse than “damn lies”; on the contrary, one cannot make sense about where we are headed without statistics. The point here is that one needs to understand why different statistics may give us different answers.
                                                             Read the whole thing.
                                                            • "Why Are the Western Middle Classes So Angry?"--Victor Davis Hanson. Because of lax immigration policies and enforcement, globalization and the off-shoring of jobs, the increased power of unelected bureaucrats, the shift of journalism from reporting news to indoctrination, the politicization of education, and Utopian social planning.
                                                                   One common gripe framed all these diverse issues: The wealthy had the means and influence not to be bothered by higher taxes and fees or to avoid them altogether. Not so much the middle classes, who lacked the clout of the virtue-signaling rich and the romance of the distant poor.
                                                                     In other words, elites never suffered the firsthand consequences of their own ideological fiats.
                                                                In our own time and place, criminal laws have grown so exuberantly and come to cover so much previously innocent conduct that almost anyone can be arrested for something. If the state could use these laws not for their intended purposes but to silence those who voice unpopular ideas, little would be left of our First Amendment liberties, and little would separate us from the tyrannies of the past or the malignant fiefdoms of our own age.
                                                                • And since we are on the topic of the elite's disdain for the American middle-class, check out this 2018 article by Reihan Salam at The Atlantic: "The Utility of White-Bashing." The key part:
                                                                       The people I’ve heard archly denounce whites have for the most part been upwardly-mobile people who’ve proven pretty adept at navigating elite, predominantly white spaces. A lot of them have been whites who pride themselves on their diverse social circles and their enlightened views, and who indulge in their own half-ironic white-bashing to underscore that it is their achieved identity as intelligent, worldly people that counts most, not their ascribed identity as being of recognizably European descent.
                                                                         ... It is almost as though we’re living through a strange sort of ethnogenesis, in which those who see themselves as (for lack of a better term) upper-whites are doing everything they can to disaffiliate themselves from those they’ve deemed lower-whites. Note that to be “upper” or “lower” isn’t just about class status, though of course that’s always hovering in the background. Rather, it is about the supposed nobility that flows from racial self-flagellation.  
                                                                    * * *
                                                                         In some instances, white-bashing can actually serve as a means of ascent, especially for Asian Americans. Embracing the culture of upper-white self-flagellation can spur avowedly enlightened whites to eagerly cheer on their Asian American comrades who show (abstract, faceless, numberless) lower-white people what for. 
                                                                    The author goes on to discuss the role that the Ivy League schools play in this, by making "social progressivism" a prerequisite for admission.
                                                                         Think about what it takes to claw your way into America’s elite strata. Unless you were born into the upper-middle class, your surest route is to pursue an elite education. To do that, it pays to be exquisitely sensitive to the beliefs and prejudices of the people who hold the power to grant you access to the social and cultural capital you badly want. By setting the standards for what counts as praiseworthy, elite universities have a powerful effect on youthful go-getters. Their admissions decisions represent powerful “nudges” towards certain attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, and I’ve known many first- and second-generation kids—I was one of them—who intuit this early on. 

                                                                    * * * 
                                                                          ... As the senior assistant director of admissions at Yale recently observed, “for those students who come to Yale, we expect them to be versed in issues of social justice. We encourage them to be vocal when they see an opportunity for change in our institution and in the world.” Picture yourself as an eager high schooler reading these words, and then jotting down notes. You absorb, assuming you hadn’t already, what it takes to make your way in contemporary elite America. And as you grow older, you lean into the rhetorical gambits that served you so well in the past. You might even build a worldview out of them.
                                                                    David French, commenting at the National Review about Salam's article, adds:
                                                                            [T]he liberal desire for racial justice is embedded within a larger world view that is antithetical on other grounds to white conservatives, and embedded within manners, mores, and habits of life that are substantially different from the manners, mores, and habits of life of more rural and exurban America. Urban America and heartland #Murica are two very, very different places.
                                                                              Thus, conservative white Americans look at urban multicultural liberalism and notice an important fact: Its white elite remains, and continues to enjoy staggering amounts of power and privilege. So when that same white elite applauds the decline of “white America,” what conservatives often hear isn’t a cheer for racial justice but another salvo in our ongoing cultural grudge match, with the victors seeking to elevate black and brown voices while remaining on top themselves.
                                                                        There are multiple gangs in Columbia Heights, and they are all exclusively black or Latino, [police captain] McLean said. In Washington, D.C., gangs are usually composed of a group or association of neighbors, and they are all “ethnospecific.”
                                                                        Victims of shootings so far this year have mostly been black. One Latino woman was also shot, according to McLean, who added that an innocent bystander was shot and killed in a separate incident.
                                                                        • "THE TIPPING POINT" by Angelo M. Codevilla at The Claremont Review of Books. Codevilla addresses two books that explore the tipping point in American foreign policy, when we went from a nation country that won wars, to a nation country that indulged in wars that it had no intent to win. An excerpt:
                                                                             ... MacArthur, the option of victory having been denied, asked, “Is the present objective of United States political policy to maintain a military position in Korea—indefinitely, for a limited time, or to minimize losses by evacuation as soon as it can be accomplished?” Brands writes, “Dean Acheson read MacArthur’s letter with astonishment,” saying afterwards that MacArthur was “incurably recalcitrant and basically disloyal to the purposes of his commander in chief.” But what were these purposes, and how did they translate into how and why American draftees were dying?

                                                                              Truman, on advice of his counselors, had resisted bipartisan calls for a declaration of war. Such a request would have forced his administration to define and submit its objectives to a vote by both Houses of Congress. But by creating the fiction that the war was by, of, and for the United Nations, Truman et al. believed they were gaining flexibility, which is of great strategic value—but only to leaders who know what they’re doing. But Truman and his advisors did not, so their flexibility and disunity acted like a sail in the winds of events.

                                                                             Truman, after convening the National Security Council, also chose not to answer MacArthur’s request for orders. “This present telegram is not to be taken in any sense as a directive. Its purpose is to give you something of what is in our minds.” U.S. troops’ successful resistance would demonstrate that aggression does not pay and would encourage others to believe in America’s pledges of assistance. “We recognize, of course, that continued resistance might not be militarily possible with the limited forces with which you are being called upon to meet large Chinese armies…if we must withdraw from Korea, it [must] be clear to the world that that course is forced upon us by military necessity.” Translated from bureaucratese, the message was: hold on with the forces and restrictions you’ve got, regardless of how many American lives it costs.

                                                                             And cost it did. Some three fourths of the Americans killed in Korea died after the U.S. government stopped trying to win the war. Since Truman’s decision taught the world that no-win wars were now the American ruling class’s modus operandi, the cost of three later generations’ wars, including the incalculable toll of domestic decay resulting from Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, should also be added in.
                                                                        • Related: "Why America Needs a New Way of War"--Chris Dougherty for the Center for a New American Security. The gist of this article is that, while the United States has been concentrating on fighting goat herders in the mountains of Afghanistan, the Russians and Chinese have been figuring out how to defeat (or at least fight to a standstill) the United States. The author argues that "[t]he American way of war that emerged following the Cold War will not work in an era of great-power competition" against powers that have significant military and non-military resources. He also warns that "[t]he possibility of U.S. military defeat, or even the perception that defeat is plausible, could begin to unravel the United States’ constellation of alliances and partnerships as allies and partners begin to hedge their bets on U.S. security guarantees." Dougherty notes the basic strategy for Russia or China:
                                                                        By setting conditions slowly over time, moving rapidly to seize key objectives before the United States or its allies and partners can respond, then offering to negotiate (while threatening to escalate), China and Russia could see a path to effectively using military force to harm vital U.S. national interests. Both China and Russia are pursuing such fait accompli strategies and developing supporting capabilities designed to offset the aggregate military superiority and “way of war” of the United States and its constellation of allies and partners.
                                                                        In other words, the months long buildup of arms and men that allowed us to so handedly defeat Iraq--twice--won't be allowed us by the Russians or Chinese. This is exacerbated by the trend of pulling U.S. forces from forward areas. The author recommends that the United States adopt a strategy incorporating a risk posture that, rather than reducing or eliminating the risk to U.S. forces, instead concentrates on increasing the risk to a potential enemy. While the author eschews a "silver bullet" solution, the command of space actually represents such a solution. The ability to blind a near-pear opponent is of no small consequence, nor is the ability to strike from platforms beyond the reach of defensive weapons.
                                                                        • "ABORTION RHETORIC FOR NORMIES"--Setting the Record Straight. The author lists some common arguments raised by the baby-killing left to justify abortion, and recommended responses. My favorite: "Why do I have to be forced to carry to term and give birth if I don’t want to? As a man, I’m legally forced to care for a child I didn’t choose to have for eighteen full years. You can’t do nine months?"
                                                                        • An inconvenient truth: "Sorry, banning plastic bags won’t save our planet"--The Globe and Mail.
                                                                               A 2018 study by the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food looked not just at plastic waste, but also at climate-change damage, ozone depletion, human toxicity and other indicators. It found you must reuse an organic cotton shopping bag 20,000 times before it will have less environmental damage than a plastic bag.
                                                                                 If we use the same shopping bag every single time we go to the store, twice every week, it will still take 191 years before the overall environmental effect of using the cotton bag is less than if we had just used plastic.
                                                                                   Even a simple paper bag requires 43 reuses to be better for the environment – far beyond the point at which the bag will be fit for the purpose.
                                                                                     The study clearly shows that a simple plastic bag, reused as a trash bag, has the smallest environmental impact of any of the choices.
                                                                                • "Three explosions in migrant-rich Malmö in 24 hours"--Voice of Europe.  "Thus far this year, multicultural Malmö has seen several bombings and explosions – most of which have gone unreported by the mainstream media as it goes against their ‘diversity is a strength’ narrative."
                                                                                       Reports of Hezbollah activity in North America are not new, though such reporting tends to focus on the group’s fundraising, money laundering, procurement, or other logistical activities from Vancouver to Miami. But last month, the criminal prosecution and conviction in New York of the Hezbollah operative Ali Kourani revealed disturbing new information about the extent of Hezbollah’s operations and activities in the United States and Canada.
                                                                                          Taken together, the arrests in 2017 of Kourani and another Hezbollah operative, Samer el-Debek, led the U.S. intelligence community to revisit its longstanding assessment that Hezbollah would be unlikely to attack the U.S. homeland unless the group perceived Washington to be taking action threatening its existence or that of its patron—Iran. Following Kourani and Debek’s arrests, the director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center said in October 2017, “It’s our assessment that Hezbollah is determined to give itself a potential homeland option as a critical component of its terrorism playbook.”
                                                                                             At the time, little of the underlying information leading to this new assessment had been made public, but on May 16, a New York jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts in the indictment against Kourani, including terrorist charges related to his surveillance of FBI and U.S. Secret Service offices, as well as a U.S. Army armory, all in New York City. (Debek has yet to stand trial.)
                                                                                             Kourani carried out other operational activities as a long-term sleeper agent, acting on behalf of Hezbollah’s external attack-planning component, the Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO), such as identifying Israelis in New York who could be targeted by Hezbollah and finding people from whom he could procure arms that Hezbollah could stockpile in the area.
                                                                                               Most of his activities occurred in the United States, but Hezbollah also sent Kourani to China, where the group had previously procured chemicals used to make bombs of the kind the group built in Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Thailand. The 2012 bombing in Burgas, Bulgaria, left seven people dead including the bomber and 32 wounded, and bomb-making chemicals of the same type were found in Thailand in 2012 and in Cyprus in 2012 and 2015, when plots were thwarted there. Hezbollah also sent Kourani on operational assignments to Canada. Kourani described himself in interviews with FBI agents as being part of a “sleeper cell.”
                                                                                            Keep in mind that the Hezbollah organization is controlled by Iran.
                                                                                              The Germans were said to have a two year headstart on us at the time the Manhattan Project began in the US.  The German project, though, was broken into three facilities, Berlin (B), Gottow (G), and Leipzig (L), and was plagued by "fierce competition over finite resources, bitter interpersonal rivalries, and ineffectual scientific management", according to Koeth.
                                                                                                This rivalry and splitting of resources, along with the lack of deuterium, ultimately doom the German nuclear efforts. However, their store of processed Uranium--small 5-lbs cubes--was scattered to the wind. There is an effort to track down these cubes, 10 of which have been located in the United States, including one at Harvard University that is given to students to pass around so the students have an opportunity to feel and heft uranium. It is believed that after the cubes were seized after the end of the war, many may have been given out as souvenirs. 
                                                                                                • "Nearly 400 medical procedures found to be ineffective"--Behind the Black. "A new review of the science literature has found almost 400 studies showing the ineffectiveness of the medical procedure or device they were studying." Treatments, medications, and preventative care related to cardiovascular care made up the largest percentage (20%) of the reversals. (More here).
                                                                                                • "World’s population is projected to nearly stop growing by the end of the century"--Pew Research. Most regions of the world will have topped out or started to decline by mid-Century. But "[b]etween 2020 and 2100, Africa’s population is expected to increase from 1.3 billion to 4.3 billion," with most of this growth occurring in sub-Saharan Africa. I find it unlikely that Africa will continue to grow at the same pace as it is now. We've seen fertility collapse quickly in other nations and countries that previously had high birth rates, including in the Middle-East and Latin America, so it seems reasonable that we will see the same in Africa. Most other estimates I've seen predict that world population will level off in the 2050 time frame.
                                                                                                        Three of the most commonly used indicators are the general fertility rate (GFR), completed fertility, and the total fertility rate (TFR). All three reflect fertility behavior in slightly different ways – respectively, in terms of the annual rate at which women are presently having kids; the number of kids they ultimately have; or the hypothetical number they would likely have based on present fertility patterns.
                                                                                                         None of these indicators is “right” or “wrong,” but for years each measure told a different story about when fertility bottomed out. For the first time in decades, two of the three measures – the GFR and the TFR – now align, indicating that fertility hit a record low in 2018. Meanwhile, data for 2018 completed fertility is not yet available, but 2016 data indicates that it has been ticking up, not down, in recent years.
                                                                                                      Do you ever see these kinds of shenanigans coming from the Democrats: people supposedly ‘on their side’ sabotaging their candidate or their president with leaks? No, we see people ‘on their side’ lying under oath to protect their candidate, we see them smashing phones to hide evidence, deleting emails after they were subpoenaed, or even using the government surveillance apparatus in the service of ‘their’ side. Maybe the internal saboteurs aren’t really on our side? It’s worth a thought.
                                                                                                        The difference is probably because people who leak things about top Democrats end up committing suicide or having fatal accidents. More seriously, though, I think its because no-matter how deranged they are, Leftists are fighting for principles. The Republican party has been too long without grounding principles other than boosting the value of the stock market. And that is not the type of principle that inspires loyalty.
                                                                                                              University of Colorado Boulder researchers have developed nanobio-hybrid organisms capable of using airborne carbon dioxide and nitrogen to produce a variety of plastics and fuels, a promising first step toward low-cost carbon sequestration and eco-friendly manufacturing for chemicals.
                                                                                                               By using light-activated quantum dots to fire particular enzymes within microbial cells, the researchers were able to create “living factories” that eat harmful CO2 and convert it into useful products such as biodegradable plastic, gasoline, ammonia and biodiesel.
                                                                                                          • A reminder that we live in the 21st Century: "İFALCON FACE CONTROL™ MOBILE: The worlds’ first autonomous mobile face recognition with AR smart glasses."
                                                                                                          • "EMBARRASSING LIBERALS"--Powerline. A couple liberal authors are so embarrassing that even the New York Times is questioning their credibility. One of these authors is Jared Diamond, the ornithologist-cum-anthropologist that has become famous on the Left for his arguments that Western civilization was the result of pure chance (Guns, Germs, and Steel) and that we are headed to ecological disaster (Collapse).  His latest book, Upheaval, is catching flak from the Times. And probably justly so since Diamond is, in my mind, not a scholar, but just another anti-Western hack.
                                                                                                                 I initially was exposed to Jared Diamond's work via a three-part documentary from National Geographic (Parts 1, 2 and 3). Since then, I've read countless articles and even had some deep discussions with people concerning Diamond's thesis, before actually picking up his book. And, to my amazement, I discovered that the National Geographic documentary, the articles, and the people I've talked to have all mentioned Diamond's thesis, but have universally failed to discuss, let alone acknowledge, what he has excluded.
                                                                                                                   If you are unaware of Diamond's thesis, there is a short video (3-1/2 min.) that summarizes it. Essentially, however, Diamond's thesis is that environmental and technological advantages led some tribes and peoples to succeed--that is, to become materially prosperous and dominate other peoples and cultures--and which, in the case of Europeans, he summarizes in the title of his work: guns, germs and steel.

                                                                                                                   Diamond begins his book by articulating his question:
                                                                                                            We all know that history has proceeded very differently for peoples from different parts of the globe. In the 13,000 years since the end of the last Ice Age, some parts of the world developed literate industrial societies with metal tools, other parts developed only nonliterate farming societies, and still others retained societies of hunter-gatherers with stone tools. Those historical inequalities have cast long shadows on the modern word, because the literate societies with metal tools have conquered or exterminated the other societies. While those differences constitute the most basic fact of world history, the reasons for them remain uncertain and controversial. (p. 13).
                                                                                                            Not only does Diamond have to explain why, after 10,000 B.C., certain regions pull ahead of others in developing civilization and technologies, but also why, after 1500 A.D., Europeans suddenly leapfrogged other established civilizations.

                                                                                                                    There are several theories advanced to explain the discrepancy. One that has waxed and waned in popularity is that the difference is due to differing levels of intelligence. This he dismisses because, based on his personal experience with native New Guineans, he believes they are more intelligent than most Americans or Europeans, and to conclude otherwise is, in his words, racist. (pp. 19-22). Although the reason for the discrepancies are debated, it is almost universally acknowledged certain races score higher or lower on standardized IQ tests; thus, it seems to me that Diamond should have at least devoted some space to the topic. Yet, he raises the point only long enough to assert that his book is intended to refute this theory, not by addressing it, but offering an alternative explanation.

                                                                                                                   The second theory is, in essence, an application of r/K theory--that is, difficult or harsh environments stimulated development of civilizations; an idea advanced by Arnold J. Toynbee. Diamond dismisses this theory because, while it may appear to work as to earlier civilizations, it is, in his opinion, demonstrably incorrect when applied to Western or Northern Europe. That is, the theory does not explain why Northern or Western Europe, in his view, contributed nothing significant prior to 1000 A.D. (p. 22).

                                                                                                                   A third theory--the  hydraulic theory--postulates that civilizations arose because of their proximity to large rivers and drainages in dry river valleys; that is, as groups developed greater and more complicated irrigation systems, it required every higher degrees of cooperation and social complexity, giving rise to civilization. However, he notes, recent work in this area shows that irrigation systems did not drive the development of complex social structures, but, rather, the complex social structures arose first. (pp. 22-23). And, in fact--although not mentioned by Diamond--we see in the structures at Göbekli Tepe that, at least in that location, civilization (or a proto-civilization capable of building complex structures and art) preceded even agriculture: in other words, civilization may have beget agriculture and not the other way around.

                                                                                                                   Finally, he notes a hypothesis that contends that Europeans came to dominate because of their guns, deadlier diseases, better steel, and manufactured products. He believes this theory is on the right track, but only offers an immediate explanation. Says he, "[i]t invites a search for ultimate causes: why were Europeans, rather than Africans or Native Americans, the ones to end up with the guns, the nastiest germs, and steel?" (p. 23).  And hovering in the background is ever the question of why sub-Saharan Africa failed to develop any civilization or culture of note. He continues:
                                                                                                            We keep seeing all those glaring, persistent differences in peoples' status. We're assured that the seemingly transparent biological explanation for the world's inequalities as of A.D. 1500 is wrong, but we're not told what the correct explanation is. Until we have some convincing, detailed, agreed-upon explanation for the broad pattern of history, most people will suspect that the racist biological explanation is correct after all. That seems to me the strongest argument for writing this book. (p. 25).
                                                                                                            Thus, without any analysis or consideration of the vast literature on I.Q. or other genetic differences, or considerations of different cultures and the importance they place on competitiveness or cooperation, intellectual pursuits, work ethics, reliance on slavery versus reliance on technology, experimentation and risk, trust, or the unique history that gave rise to Europe, Diamond rushes in to develop an argument for a purely environmental explanation for Europeans colonizing, conquering, or subjugating 50% of the globe between 1500 and 1900 A.D. His conclusion was not the result of an open-ended inquiry, but the result of his presupposing his conclusion, and then finding facts that supported it.

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