Wednesday, July 15, 2020

A Quick Run Around the Web (7/15/2020)

"Another Sign in the Sky, Mystery Space Rings, Cali Max Quake | S0 News Jul.12.2020"--Suspicious Observers (6 min.)--the interesting part is that another nearby star (16 ly distant) has suffered a massive flare/micro-nova event, again suggesting a reaction to the galactic current sheet. I've set the video to start at that part.
      The parameters affecting the potential to ricochet are so diverse, however, that it is difficult to lay down any firm and fast rules as to ricochet potential. Empirical studies should, therefore, be carried out for each individual case.
         There are, however, a few generalizations which can be applied.
           1. In most cases of bullets ricocheting from a hard surface, the angle of ricochet is considerably less than the angle of incidence (Tables 4.3 and 4.4).
      * * *

              2. The critical angle for a soft or hollow-point bullet is lower than that for an equivalent fully jacketed bullet. In this instance, it would appear that the collapsing hollow-point bullet nose increases the incidence angle, thus increasing the propensity for ricochet.
               3. The critical angle for a given bullet type/target medium is not velocity dependent. This effect is illustrated by Table 4.5.
                 4. Bullets will invariably lose their gyroscopic stability and tumble after ricocheting. This tumbling gives rise to a distinctive whine or whirring noise as the tumbling bullet passes through the air.
                   5. Bullets which have ricocheted from glass, steel, concrete or wood have a very distinctive flat spot which is characteristic of the material where the contact has been made. This contact point will often have paint, wood fibres or concrete adhering to it for easy identification. If the material was glass or polished steel, the mirror-like surface is quite distinctive.
                     This is not, however, the case with a bullet which has ricocheted from water. Even with hollow-point bullets, it is unlikely that it will be possible to differentiate between a bullet which has ricocheted from water and one which has not.
                       6. Wounds produced by bullets ricocheting from hard surfaces will generally be easy to identify due to the bullet's tumbling action. If the bullet does happen to strike point first, the misshapen bullet will leave a distinctive entry hole generally with ragged edges. Once it enters the body, the bullet will, due to its inherent unstable condition, tumble end over end, leaving a large irregular wound channel. Jacketed bullets tend to break up on ricocheting, peppering the skin with jacket and lead core fragments.
                         7. High-velocity bullets with a thin jacket, for example, 0.223" or 0.220" Swift, will invariably break up before ricocheting. This applies even to water.
                            Even if a nuclear winter destroyed trillions of trees, mushrooms could feed on that dead matter, creating a regenerative food source that could potentially feed everyone on the planet for about three years, according to Denkenberger's estimates.
                             Since mushrooms don't rely on photosynthesis, they can survive without much light. The same goes for seaweed.
                               "Seaweed is a really good food source in a scenario like this because it can tolerate a low light levels," Denkenberger said. "It's also very fast-growing. In a nuclear winter, the land will cool down faster than the oceans, so the oceans will remain a little bit warmer. Seaweed can handle relatively low temperatures."
                                 To feed everyone on the planet, Denkenberger estimates that the world would need around 1.6 billion tons of dry food per year. Humans could potentially grow that amount of seaweed, he said, in three to six months.
                                   But in order consume the proper nutrients to ward off disease, humans can't rely on a single food source (or two). So Denkenberger put together a chart of what a typical 2,100-calorie diet might look like in a post-doomsday scenario.
                              (David Denkenberger and Joshua M. Pearce)
                                The diet involves a mixture of meat, eggs, sugar, and mushrooms. It also includes dandelions and tea made from tree needles, which contain Vitamin C. Naturally growing bacteria would serve as a source of Vitamin E, which is important for brain function.
                                • "How to Store Flour For The Long Term"--Primal Survivor. As anyone that has kept flour around, it doesn't store well over the long term. This is why most preppers will stock up on wheat (which stores well for long periods) and plan on grinding flour when it is needed. However, that doesn't mean that it is impossible to store flour. For instance, as this article notes, just keeping the flour in an air-tight container can increase the shelf-life to 6 - 10 months; freezing flour will keep it almost indefinitely (as long as you can keep it frozen); and using buckets or jars with oxygen absorbers can extend shelf life out to 5 years. Read the whole thing.
                                • No. "Bubonic Plague Case has been Confirmed in China – Should We be Worried?"--Apartment Prepper. News is that the 15 year old boy that contracted plague from eating marmot meat in China has died. The article explains what are the different types of plague and whether we should be worried. As long time readers know, I have a special interest in the "Black Death" in Europe. The plague that was ravaging Europe seems to have been pneumonic plague which infects the respiratory system and airway, and is passed directly from person-to-person. That is apparently not the case here. Moreover, plague can be treated with antibiotics. And, in fact, as the article notes, following an outbreak of plague in the United States in the early 20th Century, plague has been endemic among certain rodent populations, including ground squirrels, and there are generally a handful of cases in the United States each year. What would be dangerous would be the spread of a pneumonic version of the plague that killed fairly rapidly, but not so rapidly that infected people could not travel some distance by aircraft or train.
                                • "Building the 'Okay, Boomer' Rifle"--New Rifleman. Some suggestions on a rifle build oriented toward older men and women, including being lightweight and using an optic for those with vision problems.
                                       A problem affecting many more shooters than cross dominance, regardless of the shooter’s age, is difficulty focusing on the front sight. Expert instructors will emphasize that for accurate shooting with iron sights, it is important to focus on the front sight and let the rear sight and the target appear blurry. If the shooter’s vision is particularly poor, the rear sight and target may seem to disappear, making aiming impossible. There are solutions though.

                                          Everyone is familiar with bifocal eyeglasses. The main portion of the eyeglass lens allows the wearer to see clearly at long or intermediate distances, while a smaller portion of the lens corrects near vision so the wearer can read. The same principle can be used for shooting glasses.
                                            Instead of making the near-vision part of the lens for reading, the focal point – or distance at which objects are in focus – can be set at the distance in front of the eye that the front sight will be. And that part of the lens can be set at the upper part of the glasses instead of the lower part. You may have to search for an eye doctor who will work with you to solve the problem, but even if you can’t bring your gun to the doctor’s office so he can determine the right focal length, you can measure it yourself at home so the doctor can mathematically determine the right prescription. That distance might be different for a handgun and a long gun, but you also might be surprised at how little that difference is. So if the distance is set for one, it still might work for the other.
                                             The only other thing you will need to do if you can’t bring the gun to the doctor’s office is figure out where in your eyeglass lens the near vision portion should be located. Often it is set at the top of the lens so that when the gun is brought up to eye level to aim, the shooter slightly tilts his head down to view the sights. This placement is not that unusual. Eyeglass makers often do this for tradesmen like electricians or auto mechanics who need to view objects overhead.
                                        • "Issues with Weapon Mounted Lights"--Active Response Training. Short version: "The weapon mounted light should ONLY be used for target confirmation and sight alignment but NEVER for searching." Ellifritz also notes that while a weapon mounted light may be well and good on a home-defense handgun, he doesn't use them on his carry weapons because it is very rare for a crime to happen in complete darkness.
                                        • "Scene safety and responding to civil unrest"--EMS1 (h/t KA9OFF). Recommendations for EMS and fire personnel. The author relates:
                                               In the last few weeks, we have seen that response delayed or denied and worse, caregivers attacked for just being present during episodes of civil unrest. In Virginia Beach, Virginia, EMS responders trying to save a motorcycle crash victim were pushed and kicked by members of a crowd who jumped on their EMS vehicles. In Oakland CA, large July 4th crowds surrounded and climbed on a fire truck conducting a first response to a medical call. The inevitable video that is now a contemporaneous feature of any gathering shows the fire truck being surrounded and individuals climbing up to the top of the apparatus. Columbia, Missouri, made the EMS news recently as an investigation is underway to examine if care was delayed as crews conducted that accepted practice of staging for the call as the scene was secured. This is a long-accepted protocol that ensures scene safety for EMS personnel as law enforcement creates the environment for prehospital treatment.
                                                 Sadly, responding to belligerent individuals, unruly crowds, angry mobs and – let us face it – the raw emotional state of those encountered at the scene of a shooting is in fact nothing new to fire and EMS providers across the nation. We embrace the training we have been given and relish the protection of the law enforcement team that usually surround us. That said, it is worth dusting off the general principles that should already contribute to any organization’s culture of safety.
                                               Recently, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) and the National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA) Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) worked together to compile best practices to assist agencies and individuals as they respond to civil unrest incidents in the community. The document represents a checklist of areas and issues to considered and should be read in full. ...
                                                  Every night for the past six weeks in Portland, Oregon, antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters, looters and vandals have turned what used to be a nice neighborhood in downtown into a war zone. Portlanders are sick of it.
                                                    The police commissioner/mayor and the new BLM-approved police chief have done little about it. The Portland Police Officers Association held a scathing news conference, issuing a no-confidence throwdown to City Hall and begging elected officials to stop defending antifa.
                                                      But next to nothing has been done by local Portland police.
                                                At the time the article was published, the person using the firearm had not been identified and police had not responded to the reports.
                                                • "THIS is why you need a gun at present when driving!"--Bayou Renaissance Man. Grant warns that leftist rioters are training how to use glass breakers/seat-belt cutters in order to drag drivers out of their cars. 
                                                • "BADLANDS FIELDCRAFT: JUNK ON THE BUNK AND READER EMAIL: WHAT PACK AND GEAR?"--American Partisan. The author has upgraded from an Alice pack to a Karrimor SF Predator 45. He also discusses his current set up for web gear. Finally, he discusses why he prefers using a full-sized pickup.
                                                • I wonder how many "bigfoot" sightings are actually people in ghillie suits? "Junk on the Bunk: Building a viper hood and cape"--Badlands Fieldcraft. Similar to a ghillie suit, but made to be more modular so he doesn't have to wear all of it if it's not necessary. Pay especial attention to how he gets it to match his local environment. He has links for purchasing supplies and finishes with photographs of his testing the gear.
                                                • "Rural Defense Comms: TTPs Part III"--Lizard Farmer.  Using Prowords and basic encryption/ciphers for communication security over open comms. 
                                                • An interesting resource: AntifaWatch. As the site describes itself: "AntifaWatch exists to log and track members and associates of Antifa."
                                                • "The Reprieve Is Over"--Mason Dixon Tactical. The author reminds readers that he had said that the election of Trump only granted us a reprieve from the Communist insurgency, but that Trump would not be able to turn the course of the ship of state. That reprieve is over in the author's opinion:
                                                         ... I believe the next election, if it takes place, will be an event surrounded by an unprecedented level of violence. Considering some of the videos I’ve seen of late involving groups expressing their intent to commit violence towards White Citizens, or the taking and annexing of American soil for their new “Black Nation”, I don’t see how an event culminating with a fight along a number of fractured lines, doesn’t happen.
                                                          Although the though of that event taking place fills me with dread, I believe it has to take place before anything can even have a glimmer of hope to get better. One of the reasons I dread that taking place, is thinking about the safety of my family members. Although my oldest two Children are adults, my youngest Son is eight months old and unable to even try to defend himself. But alas, the line, “Wars are not just fought by childless men.” from the movie, “The Patriot” comes to mind. But here’s the deal, my priorities are God, Family, Country, and in that order. Even before my Country, my first priority and responsibility is towards protecting my Family.
                                                     * * *
                                                          If we don’t end up in a shooting war before President Trump’s 2020 election win (see what I did there) we probably will be as soon as that win is announced. I believe when groups like Antifa, BLM and NFAC (Not Fucking Around Coalition-No, I’m not kidding, they are that crass and full of ignorance) to name a few, blow their wad and open the “Pandora’s Box” of their hatred of America and White people specifically, it will be “Weapons Free” for those who have been patient and tolerated their abuse. At that point, I believe they will get their asses handed to them.
                                                    I fully agree that November has a high probability of marking extreme political violence whether or not Trump wins re-election. It is time to get your things in order and bump up your commitment and worship of God and his Son, Jesus Christ. "If we bank solely on electoral politics, we will lose, especially as the demographic ring closes. The winners will show no quarter." Nevertheless, as Peter Grant observes, this is not a time to not vote--things will be easier for us if Trump wins the election even if the Left goes ballistic because it will, at a minimum, mean that the Left cannot bring the full weight of the government to bear. 
                                                    • Related: "The Logic Of Political Violence"--Z Man. Their violence is pure and good, while the viewpoints of their opponents is dangerous and cannot be permitted. He warns that "[o]nce the partisan has power, though, the only logical response is fight. Once they gain power, they are not just defending themselves, but now they imagine they are defending society as a whole." Also:
                                                    It is important to note that the Russians never saw Stalin coming either. Some suspected what he was, but most did not. The political violence of Stalin crept up on his fellow partisans on little cat feet. Before they could understand what was happening, he was having them packed off to gulags. The ultra-violence of the French Revolution similarly crept up on the radicals. The great blood sacrifice of radical political ideology is always the destination no one sees coming until it is too late.
                                                          We might say that, given the civil unrest, the cultural revolution and Far Left political insurgency, and a growing legitimacy crisis for the federal government, 'the emerging United States is likely to lack the clarity and stability of the previous period, and to be a more jungle-like world of multiple dangers, hidden traps, unpleasant surprises and moral ambiguities.'
                                                            There's some uncertainty over how permanent this period of social unrest will be. Some have predicted that there's no going back from here. Others say the anger, like the country experienced in 1968, will eventually subside and give way to a more peaceful era. There's little reason to believe that civil unrest will magically disappear after the November election, even if domestic conditions do simmer down through the summer.
                                                             Former Secretary of State John Kerry recently warned of a potential revolution if President Trump is reelected. Far Left activists have promoted protests and violence if Joe Biden wins because Biden has expressed support for law enforcement and police organizations. And there's the potential for accelerationist violence regardless of who wins.
                                                               Frankly, the biggest risk we face is a constitutional crisis stemming from disrupted November elections -- perhaps a failed or contested presidential election -- which could mark a point of no return for the United States.

                                                          "So Apparently 'Toads Found In Rocks' Is A Thing" -- Answers With Joe (16 min.)

                                                                   I fear our economy may be slipping into scarcity.  Not next week, not next month.  But as we see increased tensions, the possibility of prolonged outages of things we take for granted are likely.  Higher rates of unemployment are likely, too.
                                                                    There is a sign that the government attempting to prop up the economy is starting to create disastrous distortions.  From today’s news, this story (LINK) describes how the Federal Reserve’s® pumping of trillions of dollars into the system is having the effect of blowing bubbles in the economy.  Color me surprised.
                                                                      Abundance of the “one income for a family” type is gone for many professions, if not most.  If the Fed™ decides that it wants to keep blowing bubbles with trillions of dollars just made up on the spot, the result will be inevitable:  a currency reset.
                                                                        People will blame this on capitalism.  I won’t.  The condition we find ourselves in is the result of decades of currency manipulation.  You can’t print money forever without an impact.  What we will be left with is a contracting economy.  What system works best in an economy that’s getting smaller, not larger?
                                                                          I know what will be sold – communism.  The reason people keep falling for this one is in times of difficulty is that they believe that it will solve their problems.  The reality, every single time, is that communism will end in murder, scarcity, and hunger – it’s like a game of Russian roulette, but in this game a few hundred million die.  But, hey, maybe this time?
                                                                    Read the whole thing.
                                                                          Virtue signalers are, essentially, phonies and showoffs—folks who adopt opinions and postures solely to garner praise and sympathy or whose good deeds are tainted by their need for everyone to see just how good they are. Combined with a culture that says only victimhood confers a right to comment on certain issues, it's a big factor in online pile-ons and one that certainly contributes to social media platforms being such a bummer sometimes.
                                                                            So: Here's some fun new research looking at "the consequences and predictors of emitting signals of victimhood and virtue," published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The paper—from University of British Columbia researchers Ekin Ok, Yi Qian, Brendan Strejcek, and Karl Aquino—details multiple studies the authors conducted on the subject.
                                                                             Their conclusion? Psychopathic, manipulative, and narcissistic people are more frequent signalers of "virtuous victimhood."
                                                                               The so-called "dark triad" personality traits—Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy—lead to characteristics like "self-promotion, emotional callousness, duplicity, and tendency to take advantage of others," the paper explains.
                                                                                 And "treated as a composite, the Dark Triad traits were significant predictors of virtuous victim signaling."
                                                                                   This held true "even when controlling for factors that may make people vulnerable to being mistreated or disadvantaged in society (i.e., demographic and socioeconomic characteristics) as well as the importance they place on being a virtuous individual as part of their self-concept," the researchers note.
                                                                                     They point out that virtue signaling is defined as "the conspicuous expression of moral values, done primarily with the intent of enhancing one's standing within a social group."
                                                                                       Meanwhile, victim signaling "may be used as a social influence tactic that can motivate recipients of the signal to voluntarily transfer resources to the signaler," they explain.
                                                                                  • Related: "Why Do So Many White Women Hate Themselves?"--The Federalist. The author observes that "[t]he woke white woman seems to come from the ranks of both the conflicted and the narcissistic. Even a woman without these problems, however, can be seduced into the wokeness cult mindset."
                                                                                  • Related: "White Women Are in an Abusive Relationship with the Left"--American Renaissance. "The Left heaps scorn on white women, even though they are increasingly the Left’s most devoted foot soldiers. Compared to 2014, 38 percent more white women think police killings are part of a broader problem rather than isolated incidents. This explains why most whites have a favorable view of Black Lives Matter. White women are common at many BLM protests. White women with college degrees favor Joe Biden over Donald Trump by 39 percent. Younger white women hold more liberal views on race, immigration, and social issues than young white men."
                                                                                          Several Catholic churches were burned or vandalized over the weekend, as religious people across the country face crossfire in a war over the public use of Christian symbols.
                                                                                           In two cases, authorities found two statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary mutilated outside Catholic parishes. 
                                                                                               Many white Americans probably think they need guns to fight this war. We also thought we needed guns — and tanks and helicopters and fighter planes. Because of boycotts, we couldn’t buy all the weapons we wanted, but we developed the best artillery in the world. Our G5 and G6 cannons could strike at distances of 120 km, and could fire tactical nuclear warheads. However, in the end, we were conquered without a single cannon shot. Naturally, there was violence: bloodshed, terrorism and so on. We fought the Russians and the Cubans in Angola, but there was never an actual war on South African soil. The real battle was non-military, psychological, and ideological.
                                                                                                There are remarkable similarities between Black Lives Matter and the former Anti-Apartheid Movement that laid South Africa low. In fact, one could draw a line from the Anti-Vietnam War movement to Anti-Apartheid and then to Black Lives Matter. Many of the same people, institutions and media have been involved in all three.
                                                                                          • "Our De Facto Antiwhite Apartheid"--Taki's Magazine (h/t WRSA). As the author points out, the term "anti-racist" being bandied about by the Left is just an alternative way of saying "anti-white" or discriminating against white people. 
                                                                                            Guggenheim and Harvard Fellow Ibram X. Kendi, favored race expert of our House Ways and Means Committee, could not be more open about what he and his comrades are accomplishing. In his current New York Times best-seller How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi (with whom I’ve tussled in the past) lays it all out:

                                                                                              The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.
                                                                                                He continues:
                                                                                                         Racial discrimination is antiracist. Inequality is equality. When whites react angrily to their current treatment by claiming “it’s unfair” or “it’s discriminatory,” they’re refusing to acknowledge (or maybe they just can’t bring themselves to acknowledge) that the definitions have shifted to the extent that black radicals and their allies don’t dispute that point. Yes, it’s discriminatory. Yes, it’s unfair. For only through unfairness and discrimination will we achieve fairness and nondiscrimination.
                                                                                                         American whites are having a difficult time wrapping their brains around this reality. And indeed, the new apartheid is an odd beast because, unlike previous segregationist systems, unlike Jim Crow, unlike South Africa’s apartheid or Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg Laws, this new American apartheid is de facto. It’s off the books. It’s built to breathe and function comfortably within the confines of our Constitution.
                                                                                                             As he notes, our "public square" has become social media, where it is perfectly legal to discriminate on the basis of content; researchers are "free" to withdraw their research under pressure; and although a Company can't technically fire you for being white they can fire you for most any other reason, including if your speaking your mind threatens them with a boycott. And while in theory blacks and whites can both protest and riot, the actuality is that politicians (and the police doing their bidding) look the other way when blacks and antifa riot and loot, but as we've seen from the few times whites have protested or tried to defend themselves against rioting mobs, the prosecutors and police will come down on them like a hammer. That is why, the author explains, Soros has spent so much money backing election campaigns for key district attorneys and prosecutors. Most egregious in the author's mind is that we are not even allowed to call "anti-racism" what it is--anti-white--because we aren't allowed to say "white" or describe whites as the new persecuted class.
                                                                                                               I've discussed before the general rule that to win in war you have to destroy the enemy's will to fight. There is more than one way to do that. As the author describes:
                                                                                                                American Indians were not just felled by disease and Hotchkiss guns. They were broken psychologically in the wake of smallpox and in the face of demographic displacement. Adrian Heidenreich, professor of Native American Studies at Montana State University-Billings, is one of the few historians to write about the “malaise” that gripped the once-proud tribes of the plains. Native Americans “became demoralized; they lost heart.” Joseph McGeshick, Native American Studies professor at Fort Peck Community College, echoes that sentiment: “When you see your whole population being wiped out, you’re not going to have much faith in your system anymore.”
                                                                                                                  Losing faith in the system. McGeshick believes it was this loss of faith in old institutions that led to not just the “pacification” of the natives, but the willingness of many to jettison their traditional beliefs and embrace Christianity and booze.
                                                                                                                    According to McGeshick and Heidenreich, the epidemics that wiped out so many Indians physically wiped out the rest psychologically.
                                                                                                                      Will COVID be remembered as the disease that ushered in the final stage of white pacification? Will it be remembered as the white man’s “Injun epidemic”? To be clear, it’s not even remotely as deadly as the smallpox that killed millions of Indians. But I do think it’s a catalyst. I think COVID pulled the trigger on an acceleration of antiwhiteness, buoyed by a newfound confidence on the part of authorities that white America can, by and large, be pushed around to no end. Whites can be locked down at home while hordes of nonwhites are allowed to literally mock them from the sidewalks.
                                                                                                                        Disease and demoralization…the Indians didn’t survive it. They didn’t all die, they just eventually resigned themselves to their fate.
                                                                                                                         Too many whites today—not all, to be sure, but many—seem resigned to their apartheid fate. Trump’s failures have almost certainly been another significant psychological blow. Mike Cernovich is optimistic: He claims that from Trump’s ashes will rise a new, energized “true right wing candidate.”
                                                                                                                            I don’t see that happening. But one thing’s for certain—this is the pivotal moment when white Americans either fight back or go the way of the Indians. If the surge of violent crime, police defunding, and hate propaganda doesn’t motivate them, nothing will.
                                                                                                                              At the very least, if there is any hope of rejuvenation and resistance, it’ll have to be brought about by a people with a stark and sober grasp of their dire predicament.
                                                                                                                                A people willing to stare into the abyss, no matter how dark.
                                                                                                                                 And man, is it dark.
                                                                                                                                    Joe Biden’s radical proposal for the Democrat Party platform for 2020 seeks to put an end to America’s suburban communities by forcing low-income housing into every neighborhood and flooding every community with immigrants, legal or otherwise.
                                                                                                                                     The proposal, known as the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations, would provide instant amnesty and a pathway to U.S. citizenship for the 22 million illegal aliens now living in the nation. Astoundingly, it would also give legal status to all the world’s refugees regardless of the legitimacy of their claim to the status.
                                                                                                                                        But on top of all that, Biden and Sanders are proposing that Barack Obama’s so-called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rules will be put into full force.
                                                                                                                                          The endowment is one of the main instruments by which the United States subverts and undermines foreign governments. In a less Orwellian world, it might be called the “National Endowment for Attacking Democracy.” Cutting the budget would signal that we are re-thinking our policy of relentlessly interfering in the politics of other countries.
                                                                                                                                            That kind of interference is the National Endowment’s mission. Whenever the government of another country challenges or defies the United States, questions the value of unrestrained capitalism, limits the rights of foreign corporations, or adopts policies that we consider socialist, the Endowment swings into action. It pours over $170 million each year into labor unions, political factions, student clubs, civic groups, and other organizations dedicated to protecting or installing pro-American regimes. From Central America to Central Asia, it is a vivid and familiar face of US intervention.
                                                                                                                                              President Ronald Reagan established the program in 1983, following years of scandals that tarnished the Central Intelligence Agency. Soon it took over many of the tasks that the CIA used to perform. When the United States wanted to interfere in the Italian election of 1948, for example, the CIA did the job. Decades later, when Washington sought to push its favored candidate into the presidency of Nicaragua, our instrument was the National Endowment for Democracy. More recently, it has sought to influence elections in Mongolia, Albania, Bulgaria, and Slovakia. “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA,” one of the organization’s founders explained during the 1990s.
                                                                                                                                               By its own account, the Endowment is “on the leading edge of democratic struggles everywhere,” donating money to “groups abroad who are working for democratic goals.” Its central principle is that the only proper way to run a country is the American way. Governments that disagree become its targets.
                                                                                                                                                   While Coca-Cola pounds the Black Lives Matter pulpit, it’s got a present-day slavery problem.
                                                                                                                                                    The Congressional-Executive Commission on China had released a report in March on China's forced labor practices. The CECC is a bipartisan group that includes a wide range of national politicians from Senator Tom Cotton and Senator Marco Rubio to Senator Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Marcy Kaptur.
                                                                                                                                                      That report led to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act which, among others, named Coca Cola and Nike. Why did the media bury the story? Because it had bad things to say about its advertisers.
                                                                                                                                                        The CECC report and the accompanying legislation noted that Coca-Cola, Adidas, Calvin Klein, the Campbell Soup Company, Costco, Esprit, H&M, Tommy Hilfiger, Patagonia, and Nike were among those companies suspected of complicity in China's forced labor camps.
                                                                                                                                                          Coke and some of the other companies involved denied everything, but  a Wall Street Journal article noted that COFCO Tunhe supplies sugar to Coca-Cola and tomatoes to Heinz and Campbell. The Chinese state-owned company is the country’s largest food processor, the world’s second largest tomato processor, and one of the largest sugar processors in the world, with vast networks of plantations.
                                                                                                                                                            The corporations that decry racism in America allegedly benefit from the new Communist plantations.
                                                                                                                                                              “All the international brands trust us and buy our tomato purée: Heinz, Kraft, Unilever, Nestlé," Cofco Tunhe Vice-President Yu Tianchi had once boasted.
                                                                                                                                                                 Unilever, the British-Dutch conglomerate whose brands include Dove and Breyers, has been a loud voice in the social justice movement, and has joined the boycott to force Facebook to censor conservatives.
                                                                                                                                                                   “We have a responsibility for racial justice,” Unilever declared.
                                                                                                                                                                     But does that racial justice include the slaves of China’s Communist regime?
                                                                                                                                                                      Kraft-Heinz’s CEO Miguel Patricio had issued a hysterical rant about “systemic racism against African-Americans”.
                                                                                                                                                                        "We at Kraft Heinz say BLACK LIVES MATTER," Patrico declared in a badly spelled and punctuated rant. "This week, we are talking with employees about one of our new Values, We demand diversity."
                                                                                                                                                                          But how exactly will Heinz-Kraft's promise to expand "supplier diversity guidelines" play out in the tomato fields of Xinyang and its slave labor forces? Heinz-Kraft has been steadily cutting American jobs and outsourcing them abroad to reward the greed of big investors like Democrat donor Warren Buffett.
                                                                                                                                                                           Slave labor is the cheapest labor of them all.
                                                                                                                                                                      • Related: "Why We Can’t Trust Anything ‘The Science’ Says Any More"--The Federalist. The article begins by discussing researchers that were bullied into withdrawing a paper that showed that there were no racial bias in lethal shootings by police (I would note that there is other research showing that police are more likely to shoot white suspects). It continues:
                                                                                                                                                                            These researchers are attempting to hide information that doesn’t support policies roving violent mobs are attempting to impose at the blunt ends of bricks, sticks, and guns. This bias and cowardice is only the tip of the iceberg of the scientific corruption we’ve been seeing increase since, perhaps, the scientific method became accepted as a valid way to perceive reality.

                                                                                                                                                                            Another pervasive recent example is, of course, the use of “science” as a shield for politicians to make largely arbitrary, ill-informed, and oftentimes abusive decisions about how to handle COVID-19. In recent months, we’ve been told that “science says” so many contradictory and even flat-out false things, it’s hard to even keep track of them all.

                                                                                                                                                                             Science says don’t wear a mask. Except that you absolutely should wear a mask. Even though it isn’t recommended by medical scientists using data from other respiratory disease outbreaks. But it’s still helpful. Or actually it’s not really, according to the Centers for Disease Control in 2017. Yet you should still wear a mask, or else. Who knows?

                                                                                                                                                                             Science says gathering in groups will spread coronavirus. Except if those groups are thousands of anti-America protesters crowding together on hot streets. Oh, wait, yes, that actually does spread the disease. And so does attending church. But not going to the grocery store. While going to the beach is dangerous. Except being outside is actually about the safest place you can be.

                                                                                                                                                                             Except that there are second waves of transmission in hot, summery places where lots of people outside. The science said summer would slow the virus. Except now it’s not, and you need to stay inside. Except when you’re going outside. But don’t you dare plant your garden when you’re out there, or go to your cabin. But other people from other states can go to their cabins in your state. Because science!

                                                                                                                                                                            Plenty of public leaders are insisting “science says” kids shouldn’t go back to school, even though medical organizations point out that not going to school is more dangerous to kids than going, and so is the flu, over which we never close schools. The Centers for Disease Control also never recommended closing schools, yet still schools are closing and only partially reopening and acting like teachers should get special employment privileges that nurses and grocery store workers don’t.

                                                                                                                                                                             Even when science lines up on one side of an issue like this, it’s discarded in favor of politics. It’s as obvious as the swaddled noses on our faces that science is now just a weapon to be used against people who disagree with the left, or simply want to be able to retain the classic American freedom to run their own lives and families as they see fit.
                                                                                                                                                                      The article then goes on to discuss the replication crises in social and health sciences.
                                                                                                                                                                               Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth and Yale universities say the nation saw over 87,000 more deaths than the average for March and April. The report finds COVID-19 is directly responsible for only 65 percent of those fatalities. In 14 states, including California and Texas, more than half of the excess deaths were tied to a cause other than coronavirus.
                                                                                                                                                                                Lead author Steven Woolf says some of these deaths may reflect medical officials under-reporting COVID-19 cases. Adding data can take time to get all the information to the public.
                                                                                                                                                                                  “Some cases might involve patients with COVID-19 who died from related complications, such as heart disease, and those complications may have been listed as the cause of death rather than COVID-19,” Woolf adds in a university statement.
                                                                                                                                                                                    Woolf believes there could be another reason for the dramatic rise in non-coronavirus deaths: the pandemic’s impact on society has been just as devastating.
                                                                                                                                                                                     “A third possibility, the one we’re quite concerned about, is indirect mortality — deaths caused by the response to the pandemic,” explains Woolf, the director emeritus of VCU’s Center on Society and Health. “People who never had the virus may have died from other causes because of the spillover effects of the pandemic, such as delayed medical care, economic hardship or emotional distress.”
                                                                                                                                                                                The health care system is collapsing, but not from being overwhelmed, but from being underwhelmed. That is, large numbers of medical staff have been laid off and some hospitals and clinics are going under because hospitals put "elective" medical procedures on hold, and medical clinics were not seeing as many patients. 
                                                                                                                                                                                        The new ICE guideline stipulates that international students who are outside the United States won’t be permitted to enter the country if the schools they plan to attend offer only online classes. International students who are already stateside will either have to transfer to another school that offers some in-person classes or leave the country. The guideline also requires that for schools that offer a hybrid model, an international student must be physically on campus and can’t take only online classes.
                                                                                                                                                                                          Schools will have to choose between reopening and holding in-person classes or staying online while losing lucrative international students. Many universities insist reopening their campuses and offering in-person classes is too risky given the ongoing pandemic.
                                                                                                                                                                                      However, one correction should be noted: the ICE regulations are not "new". They were the same under the Obama Administration, for instance
                                                                                                                                                                                              In a genetic study of 6,589 people from five Latin American countries, about a quarter displayed traces of what may be Sephardic Jewish ancestry.
                                                                                                                                                                                                Geneticist Juan-Camilo Chacón-Duque and his colleagues published their findings last week in Nature Communications magazine, in an article titled “Latin Americans show wide-spread Converso ancestry and imprint of local Native ancestry on physical appearance.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                 Converso is the Spanish-language word for people who converted from Judaism to Christianity during the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal. Many conversos, or anusim in Hebrew, fled to Latin America.
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Overall, converso genes account for only a small part of the ancestries of the study populations from each country, ranging from 1 percent in Brazil to 4 percent in Chile. The researches used a set of DNA variations, or haplotypes, observed to be common among Jews with roots in the Iberian Peninsula.
                                                                                                                                                                                                The article notes that the sampling may have been biased, so the research shouldn't be taken as meaning that 25% of the whole population in Latin America has Jewish ancestry. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                • "Fertility rate: 'Jaw-dropping' global crash in children being born"--BBC News. Researchers at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation showed the global fertility rate nearly halved to 2.4 in 2017, and project that it will fall below 1.7 by 2100. Anything less than 2.1 indicates a shrinking population. Of course, some countries will be impacted differently. Thus, "23 nations - including Spain and Japan - are expected to see their populations halve by 2100." I would note that according to the researchers' projections, China and India will see their populations fall by 2100, but Nigeria's population will shoot up making it the second most populous country in the world after India. They project that countries will actually be competing for migrants in order to maintain their tax bases. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                China's population is aging at a rate and scale that is historically unprecedented. That nation is expected to lose 400 million working age persons this century, and the number is already falling. There is an 18 percent gender imbalance in the country's population. China's birth rate never recovered from its multi-decade "one child" policy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                Besides population issues, China is facing declining exports, and is not positioned very well geographically to project its power. Read the whole thing. I would warn that the more China feels that it is being pushed into a corner, the more that it may try to strike out.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Dark times befell upon the Mediterranean around the time of Julius Caesar’s assassination in 44 BCE. Written accounts describe the region as severely impacted by unusual cooling, failed harvests, famine and disease, all of which combined to contribute to the fall of the Roman Republic and Ptolemaic Kingdom. While researchers long suspected that a volcanic eruption was to blame, they were unable to pinpoint exactly where and when such an eruption might have occurred.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          The brightness of the sun was darkened, the disc was pale for a year and the sun did not rise with its usual brilliance and force. It gave but slight heat. For this reason, the crops brought forth were so poor and immature that they rotted in the cold air.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Now, an international team, including researchers from the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute, the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada and the University of Bern has analysed volcanic ash in Greenlandic ice core samples, which together with historical accounts, can be linked to an inexplicable cooling event in the Mediterranean region during this crux in the history of Western civilization.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              The ash comes from the remote Okmok volcano in Alaska’s Aleutian Island Chain. According to the ice core tests, the volcano experienced a two-year megaeruption that began in early 43 BCE, one that filled Earth’s atmosphere with enough smoke and ash to significantly impact climate.
                                                                                                                                                                                                               “The eruption is regarded as one of the largest volcanic eruptions of the past 2,500 years. Using the ice core samples, climate models and historical records, we are quite certain that the eruption is linked to the violent climatic changes noted around the Mediterranean and in Rome,” says Jørgen Peder Steffensen, professor of ice, climate and geophysics at the Niels Bohr Institute and one of the researchers behind the discovery.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ... The title of the worst year in history is easily held by the year 536 AD.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Medieval historian, Michael McCormick has stated that “it was the beginning of one of the worst periods to be alive, if not the worst year.” (Interview with Science Magazine, article by Ann Gibbons, 2018). The year began with an inexplicable, dense fog that stretched across the world which plunged Europe, the Middle East and parts of Asia into darkness 24 hours a day, for nearly 2 years.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Consequently, global temperatures plummeted which resulted in the coldest decade in over 2,000 years. Famine was rampant and crops failed all across Europe, Africa and Asia. Unfortunately, 536 AD seemed to only be a prelude to further misery. This period of extreme cold and starvation caused economic disaster in Europe and in 541 A.D. an outbreak of bubonic plague further led to the death of nearly 100 million people and almost half of the Byzantine Empire.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         This part of the sixth century has a widely been referred to as the Dark Ages, but the true source of this darkness had previously been unknown to scholars. Recently, researchers led by McCormick and glaciologist Paul Mayewski, have discovered that a volcanic eruption in Iceland in early 536 led to incredibly large quantities of ash being spread across much of the globe, creating the fog that cast the world into darkness. This eruption was so immense that it altered the global climate and adversely affected weather patterns and crop cultivation for years to come (Antiquity).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         “The problem with making lithium batteries now is that it’s device manufacturing, like semiconductors,” Horie said in an interview. “Our goal is to make it more like steel production.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The making of a cell, the basic unit within every battery, is a complicated process requiring “cleanroom” conditions — with airlocks to control moisture, constant air filtering and exacting precision to prevent contamination of highly reactive materials. The setup can be so expensive that just a handful of top players, like South Korea’s LG Chem Ltd., China’s CATL and Japan’s Panasonic Corp., can spend billions of dollars building a suitable factory.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Horie’s innovation is to replace the battery’s basic components, which are metal-lined electrodes and liquid electrolytes, with a resin construction. He says this approach dramatically simplifies and speeds up manufacturing, making it as easy as “buttering toast.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               The modification allows for 10-meter-long battery sheets to be stacked on top of each other “like seat cushions” to increase capacity, he said. Importantly, the resin-based batteries are also resistant to catching fire when punctured.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 In March, APB raised ¥8 billion ($74 million), which is tiny by the wider industry’s standards but will be enough to fully equip one factory for mass production slated to start next year. Horie estimates the funds will get his plant in central Japan to 1 gigawatt-hour capacity by 2023.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Lithium-ion batteries have come a long way since they were first commercialized almost three decades ago. They last longer, pack more power and cost 85 percent less than they did 10 years ago, serving as the quiet workhorse driving the growth of smartphones and tablets with ever more powerful internals. But safety remains an issue and batteries have been the cause of fires in everything from Tesla Inc.’s cars to Boeing Co.’s Dreamliner jets and Samsung Electronics Co.’s smartphones.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   "Just from the standpoint of physics, the lithium-ion battery is the best heater humanity has ever created,” Horie said.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     In a traditional battery, a puncture can create a surge measuring hundreds of amperes — several times the current of electricity delivered to an average home. Temperatures can then shoot up to 700 degrees Celsius.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       APB’s battery avoids such cataclysmic conditions by using a so-called bipolar design, doing away with present-day power bottlenecks and allowing the entire surface of the battery to absorb surges.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The trade off, according to another engineer interviewed in the article, is that the resin based battery may not be able to achieve as high of power density. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4 comments:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I too have studied the Black Plague my history classes in college. Most people no longer worry about Plague as they have learned that it is treatable using modern antibiotics. The caveat is that, especially in the case of pneumonic plague it must be caught and treated early...within a 24 hour window of opportunity to be on the safe side. What concerns me is that I am less than impressed with the slow mobilization and the chaos I saw with the response to Covid-19 earlier this year. If there is an outbreak of Plague, could our "authorities" provide enough antibiotic stockpiles and a rapid delivery system to get them to the patients than need them? I'm not confident. BTW Docent I'm of 100% European descent. IDK genetics, but is there any chance at all that I inherited any immunity from my distant European ancestors who survived through the Black Plague?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ReplyDelete
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. That's a good question and not one for which there is a definitive answer. Plus, I'm just a lay person on this topic. In her book, "Plague: The Mysterious Past and Terrifying Future of the World's Most Dangerous Disease," Wendy Orent not only discussed the Black Death, but plague outbreaks before and after. Europe suffered repetitive plague outbreaks over the decades following the initial spread of the Black Death, and then periodic outbreaks over the following few centuries. But each of the plague outbreaks were successively less deadly than the one before which suggested that there was some resistance that had built up even if not total immunity (although improved sewage systems and hygiene probably also played a role).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      However, Orent is one of those who believes that the particular strain of plague is important: i.e., the rat borne plague is less communicable and deadly than the marmot strain, the latter of which she argued (actually, Soviet scientists had argued) was more likely to lead to the deadlier pneumonic plague. Under that theory, the Black Death was actually the pneumonic plague which spread directly person-to-person, and not the flea-borne rat strain of the post-14th Century outbreaks. Evidence for this comes from descriptions of the buboes forming on the upper torso, neck and head which is indicative of pneumonic plague, the sometimes rapid spread and onset from contemporary chroniclers, and the absence of any records of large die-offs of rats which should have occurred if rats and rat-borne fleas were the primary vector. Western scientists, however, generally don't believe that there is any significant differences between the strains and believe that rats are and have generally been the primary vector for plague.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What we have seen, however, is that outbreaks in the 20th Century were significantly slower to spread and much less deadly than during the Middle-Ages, even those before the discovery and adoption of antibiotics or vaccines. The 1900-1904 outbreak in California (which apparently was how plague was introduced to ground squirrel populations in the United States) was deadly in the sense that most confirmed cases resulted in death, but it spread to very few people. Japanese attempts to spread plague in China in World War II did spread plague and kill a bunch of people, but was nowhere as devastating as they probably hoped. Notwithstanding the large number of U.S. troops stationed in the country, a plague outbreak in South Vietnam in 1965-66 resulted in only a little more than a handful of American soldiers coming down with the disease.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Delete
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I've often wondered if Plague somehow made it to North American shores and wiped out the sophisticated Missippian Cultures in the Eastern United States. This would have been right around 1400-1500 B.P. The Native American tribes encountered by the first European explorers and settlers were primitive and culturally poor in comparison to the well developed Mound Builder (Adena, Hopewell, Fort Ancient) cultures preceding them. Nor the Ancestral Puebloans farther West. Something seems to have happened to wipe out these relatively advanced societies. Since these cultures were well-connected by trade networks over great distances, a disease could travel fairly fast...even in those days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Delete
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. My understanding is that the Mississippian Culture survived right up to the time of contact with Spanish explorers in the 16th Century. But there was a decline and abandonment of some sites in the 14th and 15th Centuries that is often linked to environmental factors: the onset of the Little Ice Age leading to reduced farm outputs, overfarming, etc. But rarely is there one cause, and disease generally follows on the heals of cooling climate. So I would not be surprised at all if disease played a role. There is also evidence that the Basque fishermen were taking advantage of prime fishing grounds near North America and trading with native populations before Columbus's voyage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Delete