Friday, January 10, 2020

A Quick Run Around the Web (1/10/2020)

"Plasma Climate Forcing | Vortex and Jet Streams"--Suspicious Observers (6 min.)


"Plasma Climate Forcing | The Sun & The Oceans"--Suspicious Observers (8 min.)

  • It can be: "Concealed Carry Corner: Is An EDC Knife A Secondary Weapon?"--The Firearm Blog. The author relates that "[i]n the Detroit area recently, there was someone who was pinned on the ground and unable to draw his weapon. He ended up pulling his pocket knife and stabbed the attacker to get enough distance to pull his weapon." Which describes perfectly why you may want to take the possibility of self-defense when you select an EDC knife. Greg Ellifritz has written on this topic and recommends carrying a fixed blade knife, even if just a small slashing knife--and, in fact, designed the Ka-Bar TDI Last Ditch Knife for these situations. (See also his article on "The Reality of the Knife Attack" and "DEFENSIVE KNIFE CONSIDERATIONS FOR CONCEALED CARRIERS" from CCW Safe). One thing to consider, particular if you are limited in blade length, is the shape of the blade. Ellifritz recently linked to an article, "The Key to Cutting Deep," that examined the cutting effectiveness of different blade shapes, and recommended the Wharncliffe ("reverse-Tanto") design. If you elect to use a folding knife, make sure that you have one that can be opened with one hand (if your jurisdiction allows). I like the thumb hole in the blade for opening, such as on Spyderco knives, but try different knives to see what works for you. And whether you are using a fixed or folding blade, I think it is important you get a knife that allows you to firmly grasp it so your hand doesn't slide over the blade if you hit some resistance. In the absence of guards, I look for a deep finger groove behind the blade, and jimping on the spine of the blade.
  • "Superglue for Repairs"--Blue Collar Prepping. The particular issue here is whether items repaired with superglue are food safe. The answer is that as long as it has dried, it is safe to use for eating. And this makes sense since superglue can be safely used to close wounds (even deep wounds). Just don't huff it.
  • "WHAT DO CIVILIAN GUN OWNERS REALLY NEED TO KNOW? PART 1: HANDGUN READY POSITIONS…"--Civilian Gunfighter. A look at some of the different handgun ready positions and when or why you might want to use them. Useful article; read the whole thing.
  • "Skills Check: Ankle-Carry Drill"--Shooting Illustrated. A discussion of the pros and cons of ankle carry, some tips, and, finally, a drill to test your new skills. From the article:
If you’re right-handed, you will want to position the ankle holster on the inside of the left leg; left-handed requires placing the gun on the right leg. Presenting the pistol to the target requires a large step or lunge forward with the leg holding the pistol while dropping to a single knee (speed-kneeling) position. Next, grasp the trousers with both hands and pull the trouser leg up to clear the gun, grip the pistol, pull it loose from the holster and come to a two-handed shooting position. 
  • "Training With A Handgun | Start With The Basics"--Modern Survival Blog. One of the points, which I whole-heartily agree with, is to start at close ranges; the author recommends 5 yards, but I've started even closer (shooting at a paper target, of course) when teaching children. The reason is to build confidence in the new shooter. Then move back when that distance is too easy. While the author appears to suggest mixing drawing and shooting from the get-go, I think it is best to concentrate on firearm safety and shooting (including stance, trigger control, finding the best hold on the firearm, etc.) before adding the additional action of drawing--especially because you want to make sure they have learned to keep the finger off the trigger when drawing!
  • "Off-Season Rifle Drills: Keep Your Skills Sharp"--Shooting Illustrated. The author suggests that hunters practice shooting at targets at an unknown distance. Since the author envisions taking a buddy with you to place the targets at variable distances, it also has the advantage that you can get someone else to lug around the targets!
  • "2019 Year in Review"--Tin Can Bandit. If you haven't visited the Bandit's blog before, he primarily writes about various gunsmithing projects; typically some old gun that he has rescued and restores to its glory. This article is a summary (with links) to the projects he has worked on over the past year.
  • ".30-30 Win. vs .300 BLK"--Rifle Shooter Magazine. Sort of an apples to oranges comparison in my mind, but there it is. Not surprisingly, the conclusion is that the .30-30 has more power and makes for a better hunting rifle overall. Unless, of course, you want to use a silencer.
  • France has chosen the Gen 5 Glock 17 as their new service pistol.
  • "How to Build an AR Rifle at Home"--Range 365. Articles and videos looking at three different build projects: a 5.56 AR-15, an AR-10, and a .450 Bushmaster.
  • "Speer to Introduce Nine New Products at the 2020 SHOT Show"--Ammo Land. Includes their Gold Dot Carry Gun line of cartridges optimized for shorter barrel handguns, available in 9mm Luger 135-grain, 40 S&W 165-grain and 45 Auto +P 200-grain.
  • "GunBroker.com Announces Top Selling Firearms for 2019"--American Hunter. These are broken down by category and gives a hint at what was most popular. I suspect that gun buyers that buy from Internet dealers are a bit different demographic than those that buy directly from retailers. 
  • "World's biggest measles outbreak in DR Congo kills thousands"--DW. The death toll from the Democratic Republic of Congo's measles epidemic has surpassed 6,000--far more than have been killed by Ebola. The WHO blames lack of funding (of course) and poor rates of vaccination. 
  • "Bullet Resistance of Compressed Earth"--Natural Building Blog
    Test results using 50 caliber bullets on an unprotected 8 month old wall that received 10” of rain:
      – 5-1/2” – 7” penetration
        – 10” penetration with two 50 caliber rounds fired into the same hole
          – 5 shots in 6” circle without full penetration on 18” thick walls
            – little to no cracking
                    Imagine Russia launched a blitzkrieg-style attack on Poland and the Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia, or Lithuania. Russia quickly conquers all four countries before NATO can effectively muster a response. While NATO assembles a reaction force, Russia explodes a small, low-yield nuclear weapon at the Polish border. The detonation would serve warning that Russia was now prepared to use nuclear weapons to defend its conquest, forcing NATO to choose between standing down or using nukes of its own.
                     The Pentagon thinks that having small, low-yield nuclear missiles like the W-76-2 would allow NATO to match Russia’s first use of a low-yield device, meeting Moscow small nuke for small nuke. The current lack of a smaller, missile-launched nuclear weapon means that the alliance would be forced to consider using a larger nuke to retaliate, escalating the crisis.


                • Virginia's Democrats want a civil war: 
                        Analysis conducted by the Center for Immigration Studies revealed in 2018 that about 300,000 U.S.-born children of illegal aliens are born every year. These children, often referred to as “anchor babies,” immediately obtain American citizenship and anchor their illegal or foreign parents in the country.
                          In addition, about 72,000 anchor babies are born to foreign tourists, foreign visa workers, and foreign students every year — all of whom obtain immediate American citizenship simply for being born within the parameters of the country.
                          “60 Minutes” later revealed that federal prison protocols were not followed in response to Epstein’s death because they took his dead body to the emergency room rather than leave him where he was.
                            “Bureau of Prisons protocol mandates a suicide scene should be treated with the ‘same level of protection as any crime scene in which a death has occurred,'” “60 Minutes” said. “60 Minutes reviewed hundreds of graphic photographs from the autopsy of Jeffrey Epstein and inside his cell. There are two nooses, a bit of orange sheet tied to the grate of a window. On the top bunk, bottles and medicines stand upright. Below it, another piece of fabric is tied through a hole on the bed about four feet from the ground.”
                            In June of this year the China Tribunal delivered its Final Judgement and Summary Report. An independent committee composed of lawyers, human rights experts, and a transplant surgeon, the Tribunal was established to investigate forced organ harvesting on the Chinese mainland. These rumours have haunted the country for years—lurid tales of the fate suffered by members of the banned Falun Gong religion after being taken into police custody. Their organs, so the rumours go, are cut from their bodies while they are still alive, and then transplanted into waiting patients.
                             The Tribunal examined these claims, extending the group of victims to include Uyghur Muslims (among others), and its findings were unambiguous. “On the basis of all direct and indirect evidence, the Tribunal concludes with certainty that forced organ harvesting has happened in multiple places in the PRC [People’s Republic of China] and on multiple occasions for a period of at least twenty years and continues to this day.” Further to this, “the PRC and its leaders actively incited the persecution, the imprisonment, murder, torture, and the humiliation of Falun Gong practitioners with the sole purpose of eliminating the practice of, and belief in, the value of Falun Gong.” The Tribunal was also able to conclude, “with certainty,” that the Communist Party has been responsible for acts of torture inflicted on Uyghurs. These acts were found to constitute crimes against humanity.
                                It’s over sixty years since Ghana became independent from Britain. The world celebrated as the sun began to set on the imperial era. “African Nationalism,” in the form of Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, entered the stage, and the world celebrated the breaking of a golden dawn bringing bright light to the “Dark Continent,” as the colonial shackles were broken and “liberation” belatedly arrived.
                                  Since then, some 200 coups or attempted coups have taken place, 25 heads of state have been assassinated, and roughly fifty wars have been fought. Despite multiple interventions, Africa remains the most corrupt continent by far. Transparency International reports that illicit transfers out of Africa far exceed the total value of all foreign aid to the continent (currently estimated at over $50 billion a year). With Britain being one of the most generous providers, over $1 trillion in aid has been pumped into the most resource-rich continent on the planet, but it remains by far the poorest. Sadly, it’s getting messier because of rank bad governance and the virtual absence of the rule of law, leaving human and property rights open to routine violation.
                            New research in Social Psychological and Personality Science provides evidence that women strategically dampen signals of sexual permissiveness and desirability to avoid provoking intersexual aggression. In other words, the study suggests that women “dress defensively” by wearing less revealing outfits when encountering other women.
                                   A total of twelve Germans in the town of Amberg were brutally beaten by a mob of asylum seekers from Syria, Iran and Afghanistan in what has been described as an “orgy” of violence.
                                     The attacks occurred on Saturday with German media initially reporting that nine people had been injured by the asylum seekers but new reports indicate that at least twelve people were beaten by the group of four young men aged 17 to 19-years-old, German tabloid Bild reports.
                                       Reports claim that the group of asylum seekers had spent hours, starting in the evening at around 6:30 pm, roaming around the centre of the town and beating random people who passed by them.
                                          Since the self-proclaimed Islamic State swept through large swaths of northwestern Iraq and eastern Syria in the summer of 2014, the origins of its sectarian and ultraextremist ideology have been debated in the region and beyond. The enslavement of hundreds of Yazidi women in Sinjar, the slaughter of at least 1,500 Shia soldiers in Tikrit and hundreds of Sunni tribesmen in Syria and Iraq, and the beheading of Western hostages and Syrian and Iraqi civilians triggered a collective soul-searching that soon turned into a religious and political blame game. A Saudi commentator typified the debate when he said on Twitter that the Islamic State’s “actions are but an epitome of what we have studied in our school curriculum. If the curriculum is sound, then [the Islamic State] is right, and if it is wrong, then who bears responsibility?”
                                            Understanding the ideological appeal of the Islamic State is crucial to defeating it. Top U.S. military commanders have repeatedly emphasized the importance of ideology in fighting the group. As Major General Michael Nagata, a former commander of the U.S. special operations forces in the Middle East, has noted, “We do not understand the movement, and until we do, we are not going to defeat it.” Field commanders battling the Islamic State in Syria have likewise reported that ideology impedes efforts to mobilize forces against the group. Muslim fighters often refuse to take up arms against the Islamic State on religious grounds, even if they would not join the group themselves. This is especially the case for efforts backed by Western powers. Ideology can therefore have practical implications in the fight against the Islamic State.
                                      While the article makes interesting points, it also over-emphasizes the importance of understanding the other side, as if there is some compromise that can be reached. There is no compromise possible: Islam intends to convert the world by force if necessary, and it is evident simply by examining its history. If there were some moderating religious or philosophical movement within Islam, it might be a different story, but there is not. To defeat Islam will require us to defeat the god of Islam--and that would require either the destruction of Mecca and/or the conversion of Muslims to Christianity. 
                                               Savagery is part of Isis’s ideological DNA. The danger of the group lies in its effort to transform the concept of jihad not through individual fatwas, as al-Qaida does to justify suicide bombing in civilian areas, but through a fully fledged ideology. To do so, Isis uses stories from Islamic history and modern jihadi texts to change the paradigm of how to understand and conduct jihad.
                                                One of the most prominent of those jihadi texts is a book called Idarat al-Tawahush, or Management of Savagery, by an anonymous jihadi ideologue who calls himself Abu Bakr Naji. The book, translated by William McCants of the US Brookings Institution in 2006, has been widely distributed on jihadist online forums. But for the first time, Isis members have confirmed that the book is part of the organisation’s curriculum. As part of research for a book I co-wrote, one Isis-affiliated cleric said that Naji’s book is widely read among provisional commanders and some rank-and-file fighters as a way to justify beheadings as not only religiously permissible but recommended by God and Muhammad. Another member gave a list of books and ideologues that influence Isis, including Naji’s book.
                                                  The Management of Savagery’s greatest contribution lies in its differentiation between the meaning of jihad and other religious tenets. The author argues that the way jihad is taught “on paper” makes it harder for young mujahideen and Muslims to grasp the true meaning of the concept. “One who previously engaged in jihad knows that it is naught but violence, crudeness, terrorism, [deterrence] and massacring,” Naji writes, as translated by McCants. “I am talking about jihad and fighting, not about Islam and one should not confuse them. He cannot continue to fight and move from one stage to another unless the beginning state contains a stage of massacring the enemy and deterring him.”
                                                    The concept Isis used to justify the massacre of hundreds of Shaitat tribesmen in Deir Ezzor, Syria, in August was tashreed, a word that can be translated as “deterrence”, as mentioned in the quoted text. “That is the true jihad,” said Abu Moussa, an Isis-affiliated religious cleric, echoing Naji’s text. “The layman who learned some of his religion from [mainstream] clerics think of jihad as a fanciful act, conducted far away from him. In reality, jihad is a heavy responsibility and requires toughness.”
                                                      Naji’s book offers practical tips on how to fill the power vacuum left by what he calls the retreating armies of the west and its regional agent regimes, as a result of gradual violence applied by the mujahideen. He says that the defeat of the crusaders in the past was not a result of decisive battles between the Muslim and Christian armies, but was a process of exhaustion and depletion. He argues that the Muslim victory in the 12th-century Battle of Hattin, when crusaders led by the king of Jerusalem, Guy of Lusignan, were defeated by the Muslim army, led by Saladin, was possible only because of previous small-scale skirmishes in a variety of locations. Such small acts, Naji writes, include “hitting a crusader with a stick on his head”, a statement echoed by Isis’s spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani in the wake of the air strikes in Syria.
                                                        Naji says that people think of Muslims at the time of the crusaders as one state, led by Saladin al-Ayubi and Nouradin Zinki, but “the fact is they were small families controlling citadels and fighting jihad against crusaders on a low level, in a hard hitting way. What Zinki and Ayubi did was to bring together those small blocs into one big organisation but the largest role was played by those small blocs.” According to Isis, violence has to be steady and escalatory to continue to shock and deter. Random acts of violence are not enough in this context. Brutality has to be ever more savage, creative and shocking. So if the immolation of the pilot is more savage than previous murders, Isis will undoubtedly be searching for an even more savage method to carry out its violent punishments. It is important to emphasise that Isis increases the level of its savagery at critical moments, rather than ad hoc.
                                                          Ever since 9/11, it has been a central tenet of America’s national security establishment that the threat of jihadist terrorism and the proper way of contending with that danger have nothing to do with Islam – except to the extent al Qaeda (or, more recently, the Islamic State) “perverts” or “hijacks” that religion.
                                                            But what if this characterization of the problem we continue to face fifteen years on is simply and utterly wrong? What if there actually is a direct tie between the totalitarian doctrine that the authorities of Islam call “sharia” and the jihad (or holy war) it demands of adherents, some of which is manifested as terrifying violence?
                                                              What if, in addition, jihadists engage in pre-violent – and, in some ways, far more insidious – efforts to accomplish the same goal: the supremacy of sharia worldwide under a caliph?
                                                                Cultures spring from religions; ultimately the vital force which maintains any culture is its philosophy, its attitude toward the universe; the decay of a religion involves the decay of the culture corresponding to it – we see that most clearly in the breakdown of Christendom today. The bad work begun at the Reformation is bearing its final fruit in the dissolution of our ancestral doctrines – the very structure of our society is dissolving.
                                                                  In the place of the old Christian enthusiasms of Europe there came, for a time, the enthusiasm for nationality, the religion of patriotism. But self-worship is not enough, and the forces which are making for the destruction of our culture, notably the Jewish Communist propaganda from Moscow, have a likelier future before them than our old-fashioned patriotism.
                                                                    In Islam there has been no such dissolution of ancestral doctrine – or, at any rate, nothing corresponding to the universal break-up of religion in Europe. The whole spiritual strength of Islam is still present in the masses of Syria and Anatolia, of the East Asian mountains, of Arabia, Egypt and North Africa.
                                                                     The final fruit of this tenacity, the second period of Islamic power, may be delayed: – but I doubt whether it can be permanently postponed.
                                                                        There is nothing in the Mohammedan civilization itself which is hostile to the development of scientific knowledge or of mechanical aptitude. I have seen some good artillery work in the hands of Mohammedan students of that arm; I have seen some of the best driving and maintenance of mechanical road transport conducted by Mohammedans. There is nothing inherent to Mohammedanism to make it incapable of modern science and modern war.
                                                                  • Color me shocked: "Bank Of England Admits High Frequency Traders Hacked Its Press Briefings"--Zero Hedge. Allowed the traders to get information before the public, and thus be ahead of the markets. 
                                                                  • "Why Mormons Make Great FBI Recruits"--Atlas Obscura. Basically, it comes down to the ease of an applicant passing a background check because of the Church's prohibitions on use of illicit drugs or alcohol, and the foreign language skills picked up while serving a proselyting mission. The CIA also likes to recruit there, and I had an adjunct math professor that was headed to a job with the NSA once he obtained his Ph.D.
                                                                  • "New Semiconductor Technologies Driving Down Cost Of Electric Vehicle Batteries"--Forbes. Looking at using Gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC) technology. According to the article, "[t]he newer chemistries allow for smaller, more efficient semiconductors that can operate at higher voltages than traditional silicon wafers."
                                                                  • "10 Tantalizing Tech Milestones to Look for in 2020"--IEEE Spectrum. Breakthrough technologies that the article mentions are mind-controlled bionics (to be tested out by an injured Vet in the Boston Marathon), artificial diamonds (DeBeers is opening a manufacturing facility in Oregon to produce large--up to 1 carat--diamonds), and fusion power (Lockheed Martin will be testing a prototype reactor in 2020 to see if it can withstand the heat necessary for fusion).
                                                                  • Related: "Your Next Salad Could Be Grown by a Robot"--IEEE Spectrum. California startup FarmWise is testing robots that can travel up and down through crops and physically remove weeds rather than using herbicides. 

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