Friday, August 14, 2015

A Quick Run Around the Web -- August 14, 2015

Full Earth, Full Moon (source)
Some miscellaneous thoughts and readings for today:
  • "View and compare statistics from cities and countries around the world." Kim Komando reviews which compiles data (provided by users) to compare cost of living, property prices, crime, health care, pollution, traffic, quality of life, and travel for different countries or cities. Each of the major categories listed has multiple sub-categories. It appears that you can access it for free, but continued use requires you to sign up as a member of its "community."
  • "Don’t Purchase Bates Footwear" from Loose Rounds. The author found the products to be very comfortable, but fall apart quickly with even just light use. The author recommends Merrell, Danner, and Salomon brand footwear. My eldest son (who does a lot more hiking and camping than I do) is very hard on shoes and boots. However, the Merrell light weight hikers seem to be holding up for him; and I've used Merrells for a long time without trouble. I have a pair that I use for hunting, hiking, and a general outdoor work boot that look beat to death, but are holding up very well with just an annual application of bees wax to treat the leather. 
  • "Imaginary dangers ... paranoia in a Chinese proverb" from Protegor magazine (French--after you are on the page, right click to translate). A warning that being too cautious can harm your life more than any real danger--strike the proper balance.
  • "Reloading 101 – Adjusting Reloading Dies" from The Arms Guide. Even if you think your dies are properly adjusted, it is worthwhile to periodically check them, as I learned recently. About a month ago, I was shooting some 9 mm that I had handloaded and was having feed problems, which was odd because I hadn't had issues in the past with this particular load. In investigating, I discovered that my seating die apparently was not adjusted correctly, so I was seating the bullets slightly deeper than they should have: resulting in a cartridge about 0.1 inches less than the recommended overall cartridge length. Since I was already using a very light 90 gr. bullet (i.e., very short in overall length), that was apparently enough to mess up the feeding, turning my Glock into a single shot. On the plus side, I finally got to use my bullet puller!
  • "Winning Deadly Force Encounters" at Blue Sheep Dog. According to the author, the five keys to winning are:

  1. Proper Mindset – Possess a fundamental belief system to be at peace with taking another human life when necessary
  2. Understanding the Law – Comprehensive knowledge of when the law allows deadly force in self-defense or the defense of others
  3. Firearm Familiarity – Full understanding of the manual of arms for the primary (and back-up) firearm
  4. Mastery of Shooting Fundamentals – Proper draw, solid shooting platform, sight alignment, target identification and beyond, trigger pull and reset, follow-up shots, evaluating shot placement and effectiveness, scanning and breathing, securing the threat after the shooting
  5. Knowledge of Vital Targeting Areas – Cranial vault, upper thoracic cavity (upper chest), pelvic girdle.

          The author discusses each of the points in more detail, including a good discussion of the head shot (and why a direct hit to the Medulla Oblongata is not required). Read the whole thing.


          1. The Data Prepper had some good ideas - like having physical copies of core reading/reference materials. However, he seems to fall into the frequent trap of thinking that a laptop computer and some solar panels will allow him to access digital materials over the long-term.

            I frequently read about people who plan on putting the bulk of their survival/prepping library on an electronic device - laptop computer, tablet computer, or an e-reader like a Kindle. The problem with these devices is that they are not designed with long-life in mind and are rather fragile. They all utilize rechargeable batteries (most likely lithium-ion cells) that will eventually fail (in my experience, typically two to four years for devices used regularly).

            Personally, I don't have a long-term digital survival/prepping library plan because I believe keeping a laptop/tablet/e-reader operational long-term will be challenging. Instead, I will rely on physical books. That said, I regularly back up my collection of digital materials to USB flash drives and external hard drives.

            I think a 2 TB external hard drive is overkill. In contrast, a 32 GB USB flash drive is probably adequate, and they are cheap. I would probably opt for redundancy and duplicate the data on several name-brand flash drives incorporating flash memory chips manufactured by different manufacturers. Further, I think I'd put a core collection of digital materials on CDROMs or DVDs to provide more options for reading the data with an unknown future computer.

            As I ponder long-term access to a computer, I think having the practical skills to cobble together a computer from salvaged computer parts would be a valuable skill to have. (This skill is developed by building, repairing, and upgrading desktop computers. In addition to the hardware skills, develop a working knowledge of how to install popular distributions of Linux on a PC.) I would expect that finding electricity to power a desktop PC will not be a lot more difficult than finding electricity for a laptop computer.

            An alternative long-term computer solution might be the small Raspberry Pi 2 single-board computer - don't be fooled by its diminutive size. It only needs an external 5 VDC power source, a USB keyboard and a TV/monitor with an HDMI input. (The Raspberry Pi 2 also has a composite video output, but I have not tried to hook it up to a composite monitor.) The Raspberry Pi 2 runs a flavor of Linux from a micro-SD card. As an added benefit, Raspberry Pi computers are cheap.

            1. Thank you for the lengthy comments and information.


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