"Squirrel launching"--SJ Schultz (2-1/2 min.)
- TGIF: Active Response Training's Weekend Knowledge Dump for this week.
- Reminder: "Survival Database Downloads"--Modern Survival Online. A library of downloadable material on various survival and prepping topics.
- It's not all about canned food and guns: "Best Indoor Composting Toilets for Off-Grid and Sustainable Living"--Primal Survivor. The author recommends:
Right now, there are only two composting toilets that I’d recommend: Nature’s Head and Separett Villa. These are two-chamber urine-diverting composting toilets. They require no water to use and can be installed in a home, cabin, RV, or outhouse. They have vents with fans for keeping the compost dry, aerated, and odor-free.
The only difference is that you have to rotate the chamber on the Nature’s Head model (with an external crank). The Separett rotates the chamber automatically, but requires electricity to do so.
If you have absolutely no off-grid power source (solar, generator, etc.), then go with the Nature’s Head composting toilet. If you do have off-grid power, then the Separett is the easier solution and only costs slightly more.
- "Feed Your Garand What It Wants: Adjustable Gas Plug Install and Test"--Guns America Blog. One of the issues with the M-1 Garand is that you cannot use high-pressure hunting loads in them because it can damage the operating rod ... unless you replace the gas plug. The examples I have seen before were gas plugs with a small hole to allow gas to escape, but were not adjustable. In this review, the author tests an adjustable gas plug from Schuster, as well as including instructions on how to swap out the gas plugs and make the adjustments. He also includes a video that shows how the gas system on the Garand works.
- Related: ".30-06 Springfield Part 2 - Service Rifle Loads"--Proven Reloads and Handloads. For the handloader wanting to make safe loads for his M-1 Garand. Load data for different bullet weights, as well as recommendations as to primers.
- Related: "Tips On How To Duplicate 1950s-Era .30-06 M72 Match Load"--Shooting Sports USA. The standard .30-06 round used in World War II, the M2 Ball, used a 150 grain projectile (although the armor piercing rounds, using a slightly heavier projectile, was probably the most widely used in the latter half of the War). The M72 Match Load, however, used a 173 grain projectile. The author found that the M72 loading can be very closely matched using Sierra’s 175-grain MatchKing bullets over 46.5 grains of IMR 4895 powder.
- "Moly Coated Bullets- A Warning"--Sniper Country. "Moly destroys your barrel by attracting and trapping water in the barrel causing severe pitting." The author also notes that it is extremely hard to get out of the barrel.
- "The Secrets of Gunpowder"--NRA Family. Explaining some terms you might hear in relation to gunpowders. Relevant part:
There are three main types of smokeless powder:
The main ingredient in single-base smokeless powder is nitrocellulose. Examples include most IMR stick powders. Single-base propellants are a popular choice for many non-magnum rifle and handgun loads.
The nitrocellulose base is enhanced by the addition of 2 to 39 percent nitroglycerin. Examples include ball powders and Bullseye flake powder. Double-base propellants are a popular choice for many handgun and shotgun loads, as well as most rimfire ammunition.
Nitroguanidine is added to double-base powder to increase the energy content even more. Examples include propellants for tank guns and artillery. This type of propellant is not often used in small-arms ammunition.
In addition to nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin, smokeless powder has several other ingredients, including: solvents, stabilizers, flash inhibitors, deterrent surface coatings, anti-static surface coatings and inert identity markers. Perhaps the most important of the above are the deterrent coatings that serve to help control the deflagration (or burning) rate along with the shape and size of the powder granules.
- Related: "Mysteries And Misconceptions Of The All-Important Primer"--Shooting Times. An excerpt:
Most primer makers offer a standard and a Magnum primer in each size and application. The Magnum primer offers more power for challenging ignition scenarios. A large-capacity case, a heavily deterred propellant, or extremely cold weather (less than 20 degrees Fahrenheit) typically makes the Magnum primer desirable.
There are two ways to make a Magnum primer — either use more of the standard chemical mix to provide a longer-burning flame or change the mix to one with more aggressive burn characteristics. Prior to 1989, CCI used the first option in Magnum Rifle primers. After that, we switched to a mix optimized for spherical propellants that produced a 24-percent increase in flame temperature and a 16-percent boost in gas volume.
Literature from some propellant manufactures often says that their products do not require Magnum primers. This is perceived as a good thing because Magnum primers are made in smaller quantities and require more chemicals; therefore, they are more expensive. However, I had to take a different view, one based on real-world issues.
We tested loads at both maximum normal pressures and at the starting loads (some labs calculate start loads — we shot them). Standard primers caused no ignition issues at the max load but posted higher extreme variations in pressure and velocity in the lower pressure regimes of the start loads. In extreme cases, the start loads produced short delayed firings — probably in the range of 20 to 40 milliseconds but detectible to an experienced ballistician. Switching that propellant to a Magnum primer smoothed out the performance across the useful range of charge weights and completely eliminated the delays.
If I've recommended a Magnum primer in reloading data I've developed, it's because my lab results show it's needed.
- "SWAT Raid or Home Invasion?"--Active Response Training. Some home invaders gain access to homes by pretending to by police; or use it as a disguise to foreclose resistance by their victims. In this article, Greg Ellifritz offers some advice on how to tell the real thing from the fake, including looking for
plain clothesuniformed officers or marked patrol cars on the perimeter, whether the "plain clothes officers" have their duty belts, whether there are officers behind the building, and so on.
- Of course, this doesn't help you if the police are the criminals: "Forensic Experts Find 'No Evidence' That Houston Narcs Who Killed Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas Encountered Gunfire As They Entered the House"--Reason.com.
The Houston narcotics officers who invaded a middle-aged couple's home on January 28, serving a no-knock drug warrant based on a fraudulent affidavit, claimed they killed Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas in self-defense. A recent forensic inspection of the house, commissioned by the couple's relatives, casts doubt on that account and reinforces the suspicion that at least some of the four officers who suffered bullet wounds were shot by their colleagues.
According to the cops who served the warrant, which was based on a "controlled buy" of heroin that apparently never happened and authorized a search that found no evidence of drug dealing, Tuttle began shooting at them with a .357 Magnum revolver immediately after the first officer through the door used a shotgun to kill a dog that confronted him as he entered the house. They say the officer with the shotgun collapsed on a couch after a round from Tuttle's gun struck him, at which point Nicholas moved to disarm him, prompting the cops to shoot her twice. Tuttle continued firing, we are told, until he died in a hail of bullets that struck him at least eight times.
* * *
But there is physical evidence at the house, which seems inconsistent with the story told by the narcotics officers. Houston Chronicle reporters Keri Blakinger and St. John Barned-Smith say a forensics team that the Tuttle and Nicholas families hired, headed by Mike Maloney, a retired supervisory special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, "found no indication that any of the guns Tuttle owned were fired toward the front of the house at incoming police."
While Maloney has not completed his analysis yet, "the initial bullet trajectories appear to be somewhat contradictory," Chuck Bourque, an attorney representing Nicholas' family, told the Chronicle. "We see no evidence that anybody inside the house was firing toward the door."
Blakinger and Barned-Smith report that "some of the bullet holes outside the house appeared at least a foot from the door." That suggests one or more of the officers who fired at Tuttle and Nicholas did so blindly. "You can't see into the house from there," Mike Doyle, another attorney hired by Nicholas' relatives, told the Chronicle. "You're firing into the house through a wall."
- I likey: "Quick Look: New Interordnance Bullpup Shotgun"--Range 365.
- "After a Defensive Shooting: What to Do"--NRA Family. Mostly advice on dealing with police. Not just what to say (or when you should stop talking and consult with an attorney), but information to give in the initial call to the police and how to avoid getting shot by responding officers (which pretty much is not to have a firearm in your hands and cooperate). On this latter point, the author suggests:
We teach defensive students to only reholster their guns when peace has been restored to their immediate area. However, there may be times when the shooting has stopped but you still don't feel very safe—the attacker may have friends or relatives nearby. In this case it is best to get away from the scene. You don't necessarily have to go far. You may just create some distance and get behind good cover to await the arrival of law enforcement. Just do your best not to have the gun in your hand when they arrive.
The only issue I see with this is that you need to be aware of evidence and witnesses, and if you step away from the scene because the attacker has friends, you might not be able to see if they remove or alter evidence.
- "Don’t Get Cocky: Why All Defensive Revolvers Should be Double Action Only"--Lucky Gunner. "[W]when I take into account the potential safety concerns involved with introducing an uncommonly light, short trigger pull into a situation of extreme stress, I think the wiser path is to avoid the use of the single action capability of defensive revolvers entirely."
- "Single and Available: New Techniques Revive Single-Action Revolvers"--SWAT Magazine.
The lead instructor for the course, Larry Mudgett, explained that many individuals are involved in Cowboy Action Shooting, expending thousands of rounds in practice and matches each year. Additionally, many people hunt/practice with single-action revolvers.
Using the old thumb-cocker with such regularity, it may make more sense for them to go with a gun that they are intimately familiar with in a self-defense situation as opposed to a handgun they only fire a few times a year. As the final outcome of most self-defense situations can be attributed more to the operator than to the tool used, that makes sense.
There are, at least to me, a surprising number of articles on using a single-action revolver for self-defense (see, e.g., Personal Defense World; Shooting Illustrated; Ammo Land; American Handgunner; American Rifleman; Guns.com; Tinker Talks Guns). There are a couple of points that come up again and again. First, the general recommendation is for a modern design over the old-time Single Action Army (SAA), such as the Ruger Blackhawk and Vaquero lines of revolvers (the latter, in a 3-inch barrel, seemed to be preferred for concealed carry). The second is, for quick reloads, to carry or have two revolvers available. A writer at Marksmanship Matters writes about using single-action revolvers and some of the testing he has done:
I used a pair of Ruger Blackhawk .357 Magnum revolvers with 4 5/8-inch barrels. I transitioned to my second revolver when semi-automatic pistol shooters would conduct a mandatory speed reload. I found that it took approximately the same amount of time to transition from one single action revolver to another as to eject one magazine from the semi-automatic pistol and insert a replacement magazine. I had the best score in the class on the “Class Drills” and the “El Presidente,” completing the latter in the par time of 10 seconds with all center hits. I achieved split times of .24 seconds on the Hammer (Accelerated pairs) drill. I did well on the indoor and outdoor simulators. By using the “load what you shoot” system of tactical reloading I always kept the Rugers topped off and ready.
And another take on single-action revolvers, also found at Marksmanship Matters, discusses the several groups of people that may want to seriously consider a single-action revolver for self-defense. Not just cowboy action shooters, but those in jurisdictions where semi-auto and double action revolvers may be more regulated.
- I suspect that this is a feature, not a bug: "School shooter drills terrorize our kids pointlessly"--New York Post. Karol Markowicz has some criticism of the New York schools' shooter drills:
It would be one thing to prepare teachers and school staff for this kind of rare emergency. But having children hide in a closet and practice being quiet is at best a waste of time and at worst a way to emotionally scar the children we’re trying to shield. Holding these drills four times per year is ludicrous.
But what better way to make them compliant of authorities and afraid of guns?
- "Utah will test hidden technology that tries to find weapons among crowds at schools, stadiums and churches"--Salt Lake Tribune. The test is of the misnamed Liberty System's HEXWAVE system. Although Liberty System describes their product as a "radar" system, the wavelengths required to detect the small materials they describe are far shorter than used in radar. These are most likely a type of millimeter wave system, similar to those used by the TSA in airports. The differences appear to be that there is no "box" that the person must stand in while a scan is conducted, and it uses artificial intelligence to evaluate the scans and detect weapons. Because it is an AI system that evaluates the scans, Liberty System claims that it preserves privacy. In other words, it is private merely because a human does not do the looking. Because developers use "deep learning" to teach the AI's, I suspect that this is less of a test, and more to provide a real-world learning environment for the AI system. That means that the system will need to make mistakes, in order to learn from them.
- Related: "The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI"--MIT Technology Review. That being that no one, even the programmers that develop an AI system, really knows how the most advanced algorithms work. From the article:
Deep learning is responsible for today’s explosion of AI. It has given computers extraordinary powers, like the ability to recognize spoken words almost as well as a person could, a skill too complex to code into the machine by hand. Deep learning has transformed computer vision and dramatically improved machine translation. It is now being used to guide all sorts of key decisions in medicine, finance, manufacturing—and beyond.
The workings of any machine-learning technology are inherently more opaque, even to computer scientists, than a hand-coded system. This is not to say that all future AI techniques will be equally unknowable. But by its nature, deep learning is a particularly dark black box.
You can’t just look inside a deep neural network to see how it works. A network’s reasoning is embedded in the behavior of thousands of simulated neurons, arranged into dozens or even hundreds of intricately interconnected layers. The neurons in the first layer each receive an input, like the intensity of a pixel in an image, and then perform a calculation before outputting a new signal. These outputs are fed, in a complex web, to the neurons in the next layer, and so on, until an overall output is produced. Plus, there is a process known as back-propagation that tweaks the calculations of individual neurons in a way that lets the network learn to produce a desired output.
- "The 9 Triggers That Make Us Angry, According To Science"--Tech Times. The article discusses neurobiologist R. Douglas Fields' book, “Why We Snap: Understanding the Rage Circuit in Your Brain.” According to Fields, there are nine triggers in the brain that cause outbursts of sometimes uncontrollable anger, which you can remember by this handy mnemonic "LIFEMORTS".
The nine triggers, as identified by Fields, are the following:
L - Life or Limb / Survival
I - Insult
F - Family / Maternal Aggression
E - Environment / Territorialism
M - Mate
O - Organization
R - Resources / Lack of Resources
T - Tribe / “Us and Them” Mentality
S - Stop – Being Trapped, Restrained or Cornered
- Lest you think that only humans are needlessly violent: "Vicious Animals That Kill Just for Fun"--Ranker. "It's often said that man is the only animal who kills for fun, but that's actually not true. Animals that thrill kill are actually pretty common; scientists call it 'surplus killing.' Animals that kill for no reason range from mammals to reptiles, and even insects in some rare cases. "
- Related: "Do Animals Murder Each Other?"--Live Science. From the article:
Given that there were nearly 16,000 human murders in the United States alone in 2015, according to FBI data, and a plethora of motivations people have for committing murder — from jealousy, to squabbles about money, to hatred toward those who are different — it'd be easy to think that Homo sapiens sapiens would be the species most likely to kill its own kind.
But humans didn't even rank in the top 30, though other animals commonly thought to kill each other — wolves, lions and nonhuman primates, including various monkeys and lemurs — did.
The research also revealed that a number of seemingly peaceful species are surprisingly murderous. Long-tailed chinchillas, ground squirrels and several ungulate species — including wild horses, gazelle and deer — all ranked in the top 50.
The most murderous mammal species? Meerkats — around 20 percent of meerkats meet their end at the hands (and teeth) of other meerkats.
I can attest that ground squirrels will kill and cannibalize their own. It was summer where there was a population boom of ground squirrels, including in one of my shooting areas. Occasionally, I would take pot shots at the ground squirrels, and noticed on many occassions that wounded ones would be set upon by their comrades. One incident, in particular, stands out in my mind. I had been practicing with a 9 mm pistol (I had a Taurus PT92 at the time), and decided to shoot one of the squirrels that kept running across the area where I had my target. I hit it low across the belly, and it took off running, dragging some of its entrails behind it. Before I could get a second shot off, several other ground squirrels had already latched onto the fleeing one, trying to kill it. A second shot killed the wounded animal and sent the others scurrying off. Ugh.
"Dandelions and Civilization"--The History Guy (12 min.)
For most of history, dandelions were valued for a food source and its medicinal properties.
- Secret Combinations: "Cardinal Pell & The Mafia"--Rod Dreher at The American Conservative. Dreher discusses the Vatican Bank, the ‘Ndrangheta (Calabrian mafia), and Cardinal George Pell of Australia. First, some background. The Vatican Bank (called the Institute for Religious Works, or IOR) was created in 1942 and has been troubled by corruption ever since. But the 1980s was a special time, when the world (by which, I mean the public) began to become aware of the growing international trafficking of drugs and the money laundering that it involved. Much of this was revealed by investigations into banks that made a lot of money from laundering funds for drug cartels, terrorists and/or dictators. Most famous was the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), nicknamed the "Bank of Crooks and Criminals International" by investigators. (Of course, banks--particularly European Banks--continue to be plagued by scandals involving large scale money laundering). But one of the banks that came under scrutiny, and which still seems to be involved with large scale money laundering, is the IOR.
One of the characters most closely associated with IOR corruption was American Archbishop Paul Marcinkus. The Pheonix News Time sums up Marcinkus' career thusly:
Archbishop Paul Marcinkus was president of the Vatican Bank from 1971 to 1989. As such, he held the purse strings for the international church. He was constantly seen accompanying Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul I and Pope John Paul II, and he was considered by many to be the second most powerful man in the church.
He arguably held the most power in the Catholic Church of any American in the history of the church.
But by the early 1980s, Marcinkus was increasingly being implicated in massive financial scandals, scandals that spent months on the front pages of newspapers and magazines throughout Europe. His dealings were also the subject of several books published in the 1980s.
In the mid-'80s, Italian authorities tried to arrest Marcinkus in connection with a stunning array of crimes, including assassination financing, arms smuggling, and trafficking in stolen gold, counterfeit currencies and radioactive materials.
Italian authorities also wanted to talk to Marcinkus regarding what he knew about numerous murders. Through the late 1970s and early 1980s, most every key player involved in schemes with Marcinkus ended up dead. A journalist investigating Marcinkus, the Vatican Bank and their ties to the mob also was murdered at the time.
But Marcinkus was never interviewed or arrested. Pope John Paul II sheltered Marcinkus in the Vatican, protecting him for seven years with Vatican City's sovereign immunity, an immunity granted to the Vatican in 1929 by Benito Mussolini.
Then Marcinkus was shipped off to Chicago, his home. Then, soon after, he moved, or was moved by the church, to Sun City.
But Marcinkus' removal did not mark a stop in corruption allegations. In 2010, the IOR was accused of laundering $200 million through the accounts of Italy’s UniCredit Bank, one of the world's largest financial institutions. At that time, the London Telegraph reported that the IORwas the eighth most popular destination for laundered money, ostensibly because you cannot trace any movement of cash within the bank.
Things began to come to a head in late June of 2013, when an IOR official, Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, together with a former intelligence officer, Giovanni Mario Zito, and a finance broker, Giovanni Carinzo, were arrested on charges of money laundering, corruption and fraud. Scarano had until only a month earlier been head of the accounting department at the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, the treasury of the Vatican. Pope Francis, only two days before, had announced an investigation into the IOR which would be personally overseen by himself. This was to be only one of several reforms. The Financial Times, in December 2013, reported:
The reforms now under way at the Vatican have come about in part because of the pressure brought to bear by banks such as Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan and UniCredit, all of which found themselves in the sights of regulators because of their business relationships with the Holy See. About three dozen banks, including some of the world’s biggest financial institutions, were for years “correspondent” banks to the Vatican, providing services when the pope’s business went beyond the boundaries of Vatican City. As with other institutional clients, the banks gave the Vatican access to foreign financial markets. Correspondent banks moved as much as €2bn a year from the Vatican’s bank to other accounts across the globe, according to a Vatican spokesman. It was the bankers’ fear of being tarnished by their links with the Vatican bank after the credit crisis – and fears of fines from emboldened regulators – that led them to take steps that forced it to clean up its act.
But even that wasn't enough, and in 2015, the Council of Europe’s financial-evaluation arm, Moneyval, told the IOR that it would need to start prosecuting cases.
Two years later, thousands of accounts [had] been closed or frozen, but Moneyval still [wasn't] happy. According to its 209-page December 2017 progress report, the Vatican [got] good marks for not funding terrorism and for flagging potential illegal behavior. But the holy bank fails once again to actually hold anyone accountable for what are clearly crimes such as “fraud, including serious tax evasion, misappropriation and corruption,” according to the report.
Relevant for the sake of Dreher's article is that one of the Vatican officials tasked with investigating the IOR was the Vatican’s prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy, Cardinal George Pell. Dreher writes:
In 2014, Pell was given by Pope Francis responsibility for cleaning up the infamously corrupt Vatican Bank. When that news broke, I thought, “They’ll find some way to take him out. They won’t let him do it.” When the child abuse charges were brought against Pell in 2017, I thought, “So that’s how they did it.” But I didn’t go further, because how would I prove that Pell was set up? It was just a hunch.
Pell had been returned to Australia because of the charges, and apparently found guilty of child abuse charges, although the proceedings were not made public. Pell's appeal, on the other hand, according to Dreher, have been open to the media and shown that the charges against Pell rested on a shaky factual foundation.
Dreher notes that Senior Calabrian Mafia investigator, Nicola Gratteri, had noted that plans to reform the IOR could prove a problem for the ’Ndrangheta, Italy’s most powerful Mafia. Dreher continues:
... In 2014, Pell said his team found nearly two billion euros hidden away in various Vatican accounts, off the balance sheets. In November 2015, with the Pope’s approval, Pell issued new guidelines for running all Vatican offices, to bring them up to international standards for financial transparency.
In April 2016, without consulting Pell, the Vatican Secretary of State suspends an external audit of Vatican finances. The National Catholic Register quotes an unnamed source as saying that officials are afraid of what the audit will find, and want to get rid of Pell. A year later, Pell was charged in Melbourne with sexual abuse. And that was the end of the Pell threat to the Vatican Bank insiders.
This mafia thing, it could all be a coincidence, and in any case, there are other factors in play in the persecution of George Pell, who was widely hated by Australian anti-clericalists. But it’s curious all the same. George Pell was the No. 1 enemy of the ‘Ndrangheta in the Vatican, and he showed early on in his tenure, when he uncovered all the hidden euros, that he meant business. Now George Pell sits in solitary confinement in a prison cell in Melbourne, convicted on pathetically shabby charges. The old guard in the Vatican won. The world is as it always was.
- Hmm. "Man, 23, killed in shootout while plowing across border had two Chinese men hidden in pickup"--San Diego Union-Tribune (via MSN). The identities of the two Chinese nationals was not released. From the article:
A U.S. citizen killed while shooting his way across the border in San Ysidro earlier this week was trying to smuggle two Chinese men into the country, a federal agency said Wednesday.
The two people were found “secreted” inside the man’s pickup, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said in a statement. The two were identified as Chinese men, ages 18 and 27, who did not have legal status to enter the United States.
San Diego police homicide Lt. Matt Dobbs identified the driver as Travis James Eckstein, 23, of Beaumont in Riverside County, although he recently may have moved to the San Diego area.
- "500 African Migrants Apprehended Since May 30 in Single Border Patrol Sector"--Breitbart. That's 500 over a 6-day period.
- True colors. The Daily Mail reports that numerous celebrities have criticized a Straight Pride Parade being organized by a group called Super Happy Fun America as being "homophobic" with the group Smash Mouth simply telling the organizers to "F*** off." According to the group, it is not anti-LGBT, but merely working "on behalf of the straight community in order to foster respect and awareness with people from all walks of life," and to "fight for the right of straights everywhere to express pride in themselves without fear of judgement [sic] and hate."
- No. "Are Sex Differences in Preferences for Physical Attractiveness and Good Earning Capacity in Potential Mates Smaller in Countries With Greater Gender Equality?"--Evolutionary Psychology. The researchers were attempting to replicate earlier research indicating that these preferences were "social constructs" of male-dominated societies, but did not reach the same conclusions. They reported: "Although women preferred mates with good earning capacity more than men did and men preferred physically attractive mates more than women did, we found little evidence that these sex differences were smaller in countries with greater gender equality."
- "Female educators caught having sex with students more frequently, experts say"--Akron Beacon Journal. An excerpt:
Some have downplayed or even laughed off the seriousness of female educators having sex with teenage students, playing into the trope of hormone-driven boys lusting after the women at the front of the class.
But many prosecutors and people who work with the abused say female teachers having sex with male students are doing just as much harm as their male counterparts who prey on girls.
Nationwide, about 10 percent of all students experience sexual misconduct by a school employee sometime between kindergarten and the time they graduate from high school, according to a 2017 study funded by the U.S. Justice Department.
Male abusers outnumber female, the study said. But the number of reports of female educators charged with sex abuse of students is rising — not necessarily because there are more women abusing children, but because they’re getting caught, some experts say.
- "It’s Time to Promote Good Social Science on Same-Sex Parenting"--Public Discourse. I've discussed and linked to articles in the past about the replication crises in the social and psychological sciences. This article suggests that some of the bad science is simply the result of researchers attempting to push their political agendas. From the article:
In our day, the alleged personal liberation of the sexual revolution is becoming progressively socialized in institutions and norms. As a result, we have moved beyond the cultural condition in which scientific research into the related social behaviors (hormonal contraceptive use, premarital sex, abortion, homosexual relations, gender transformation) is deployed for political ends, into a state in which the process of deciding scientific truth has itself become irretrievably politicized. In this new situation, the end does not merely justify the means, it becomes the means. What advances the desired political agenda becomes the new criterion of truth.
Thus, social scientists who present evidence that the behaviors of sexual liberation are not harmful—in same-sex parenting research, this is couched as “no differences” from heterosexual parents in child well-being—do not merely claim that their conclusions are strong while contrary findings are weak. Instead, they claim that their conclusions are the only permissible ones, while contrary findings are necessarily unscientific. In their minds, contrary evidence either does not exist, or it must reflect pseudo-scientific bias.
In his meticulously researched new book, Same-Sex Parenting Research: A Critical Assessment, Walter Schumm, Professor of Family Studies at Kansas State University, turns this scenario on its head. In research on the politically charged question of the well-being of children in the care of same-sex parents, social scientists and their associations have emphatically asserted unqualified and universal support for the finding of “no differences.” Research that does not find this conclusion, they assert, simply cannot be credible or methodologically sound. Some deny the contrary research even exists. “It has not been unusual,” Schumm writes, “for at least some scholars in this area to make statements such as, ‘Not a single study has ever found any results that indicated children of same-sex parents to be any different from children of heterosexual parents in any way.’” These “absolute claims were made in an attempt to impress courts with the utter harmlessness (no ‘difference’ = no harm) of gay and lesbian parenting in order to promote the legalization of same-sex marriage.”
And yet, as Schumm proceeds to show, by the traditional canons of scientific reason and inference, such claims are manifestly false.
- More bad think: "Computer science skills across China, India, Russia, and the United States"--Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. From the abstract:
We assess and compare computer science skills among final-year computer science undergraduates (seniors) in four major economic and political powers that produce approximately half of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics graduates in the world. We find that seniors in the United States substantially outperform seniors in China, India, and Russia by 0.76–0.88 SDs and score comparably with seniors in elite institutions in these countries. Seniors in elite institutions in the United States further outperform seniors in elite institutions in China, India, and Russia by ∼0.85 SDs. The skills advantage of the United States is not because it has a large proportion of high-scoring international students.
In other words, United States students are much better than their foreign counterparts, completely undermining the tech companies' argument that they need H1B visas to get the best and the brightest. The primary purpose of the H1B visa program is to keep down wages and salaries. This research confirms the anecdotes that I have frequently read from programmers about how they will be laid off in favor of lower-wage Indians, then rehired as consultants or contract workers to clean up the mess.
- Sad. "Bode Miller's wife says her 'heart breaks' for Granger Smith after the country star's son, three, drowns in their Texas swimming pool, a year after her daughter died in a similar fashion"--Daily Mail. As I've written before, swimming pools are 117 times more likely to kill a child than a firearm. You would think that the Left would be falling all over themselves to ban swimming pools, but they don't care.
- "Steven Mosher: After Tiananmen Massacre, China ‘Emptied Out the Hospitals’ of ‘Dead and Wounded’ to ‘Destroy the Evidence’"--Breitbart. From the article:
“Communist parties, when they come to power … will kill ten to 15 percent of the population,” stated Mosher. “They’re kill off the counterrevolutionaries, the people who resist their rule. In China, the total is much more than that, because you’ve got the tens of millions who died in the purges of the ’50s, the ’60s’ Cultural Revolution victims, the victims of all the purges and persecutions since, the 400 million who were killed in the one-child policy, for example, pre-born and born, killed after birth by Red Army doctors. So you've got a total number of casualties here of about 500 million, that’s about 30 percent of the Chinese population, that’s why I call it the biggest killing machine in history.”
Lots more, so read the whole thing.
- Speaking of killing unborn children: "Is Sexual Autonomy Worth The Cost To Human Lives?"--The Federalist.
- "The Religion of Feeling: A Warning to Conservatives"--American Thinker. The author notes that when leftist refer to themselves, they use terms like “humane,” “tolerant,” and “nice.” "They don’t even use the word 'good' because that lexicon is fraught with the implication of a moral code that does not pay homage to the new religion of feeling." She continues:
“Nice” is fitting in, doing what they want, not really hurting anyone (as long as we don’t count the infirm, who need to be euthanized, and the unwanted unborn, who need to be aborted), and most important of all the progressive sacraments, never judging anyone else unless he’s a white male.
How they feel is the cup of the progressive communion. They do not vote their beliefs as much as they vote their emotions. They feel better about themselves by calling themselves Democrats and socialists, conveniently forgetting that the Nazis called themselves the same thing. They care about lonely, lost children on the border, once again forgetting that the vast majority of border violators are not children or women or aged, but lone young men. They care about bullied transsexuals, again forgetting the littlest victim of all -- the unborn.
The irony, not lost on anyone who has been keeping up with left-wing intersectionality, deplatforming, and censorship on campus, is that what they call “nice” is only delusionally so. They’re as nice as Bolsheviks were benign.
But, as she describes, the Republicans can't seem to accept that they have to fight emotional arguments with other emotional arguments--that the Left is blind to facts and reason.
- Here is a headline I would never have expected from The Washington Post: "UFOs exist and everyone needs to adjust to that fact." Daniel W. Drezner writes: "What appears to be happening is that official organs of the state are now acknowledging that UFOs exist, even if they are not literally using the term. They are doing so because enough pilots are reporting UFOs and near-air collisions so as to warrant better record-keeping. They are not saying that these UFOs are extraterrestrials, but they are trying to destigmatize the reporting of a UFO."
- Related: "Navy Pilots Were Seeing UFOs on an Almost Daily Basis in 2014 and 2015: Report"--New York Magazine.
- Related: "The Pentagon finally admits it investigates UFOs"--New York Post.