Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Quick Run Around the Web--November 4, 2015

Hendrik Voogd - Italian landscape with Umbrella Pines (1807)

Various Topics:
  • "Air traffic controllers apparently didn't receive any distress calls."
  • "A U.S. military satellite detected a midair heat flash from the Russian airliner before the plane crashed[.]"
  •  The plane suffered damage in 2001 when its tail struck a runway while landing in Cairo in 2001. But according to Kogalymavia's Andrei Averyanov, the plane had been thoroughly checked for cracks in 2013.  

LIKE some people who might rather not admit it, wolves faced with a scarcity of potential sexual partners are not beneath lowering their standards. It was desperation of this sort, biologists reckon, that led dwindling wolf populations in southern Ontario to begin, a century or two ago, breeding widely with dogs and coyotes. The clearance of forests for farming, together with the deliberate persecution which wolves often suffer at the hand of man, had made life tough for the species. That same forest clearance, though, both permitted coyotes to spread from their prairie homeland into areas hitherto exclusively lupine, and brought the dogs that accompanied the farmers into the mix.
    Interbreeding between animal species usually leads to offspring less vigorous than either parent—if they survive at all. But the combination of wolf, coyote and dog DNA that resulted from this reproductive necessity generated an exception. The consequence has been booming numbers of an extraordinarily fit new animal (see picture) spreading through the eastern part of North America. Some call this creature the eastern coyote. Others, though, have dubbed it the “coywolf”. Whatever name it goes by, Roland Kays of North Carolina State University, in Raleigh, reckons it now numbers in the millions.
      * * *
        The DNA from both wolves and dogs (the latter mostly large breeds, like Doberman Pinschers and German Shepherds), brings big advantages, says Dr Kays. At 25kg or more, many coywolves have twice the heft of purebred coyotes. With larger jaws, more muscle and faster legs, individual coywolves can take down small deer. A pack of them can even kill a moose.
          Coyotes dislike hunting in forests. Wolves prefer it. Interbreeding has produced an animal skilled at catching prey in both open terrain and densely wooded areas, says Dr Kays. And even their cries blend those of their ancestors. The first part of a howl resembles a wolf’s (with a deep pitch), but this then turns into a higher-pitched, coyote-like yipping.
            The animal’s range has encompassed America’s entire north-east, urban areas included, for at least a decade, and is continuing to expand in the south-east following coywolves’ arrival there half a century ago. This is astonishing. Purebred coyotes never managed to establish themselves east of the prairies. Wolves were killed off in eastern forests long ago. But by combining their DNA, the two have given rise to an animal that is able to spread into a vast and otherwise uninhabitable territory. Indeed, coywolves are now living even in large cities, like Boston, Washington and New York. According to Chris Nagy of the Gotham Coyote Project, which studies them in New York, the Big Apple already has about 20, and numbers are rising.
              Scientists at Ramallah's Bir Zeit University have made a surprising revelation, discovering this week that the stabbing implement known as the knife can potentially be used to cut food, and perhaps other objects that are not the body of a Jew.
                * * *
                  The results, the article says, were unmistakable: with a little practice, food could be reduced to bite-size pieces, all but eliminating certain choking hazards. "Further study is necessary to determine the scope of innovation that this discovery heralds," write the authors, sounding a note of caution. "This is not to suggest, Allah forbid, that any knives be diverted from their essential purpose of stabbing Jews. However, this study does show that once the Jews are eliminated, any surplus blades can serve other important roles."
                  • "Looking Back At the Turning of the Century"--Richard Fernandez. The article is a review of the events of the last 15 years that would have been unbelievable to someone in 2000. And it sets out the trends for the next several years:
                  Conventional wisdom has had a pretty bad run these last 15 years.  For that reason there is little purpose to trusting it further. Instead it might be better to predict a future based on observable trends rather than scenarios that politicians offer. If those trends continue one would expect to see in 2025:
                  1. The self-destruction of the Muslim Middle East;
                  2. The rise of ethnic and national politics in Europe;
                  3. The widespread resurgence of religion and cultural identity as a consequence of (2);
                  4. Mass expulsions or segregation in large parts of the world to deconflict incompatible communities
                  5. Everyone packing personal weapons like the Wild West
                  6. The collapse of multi-ethnic countries into simplified pacts based around of national defense, with most social law generated by local communities and affinity groups;
                  7. One or more large regional wars with casualties in the tens of millions.
                  8. Several, possibly many WMD attacks on major cities involving radiological weapons, low yield nukes or biological agents.
                  9. The collapse of any realistic expectation of Peace on Earth, with the remaining hope of mankind vested in the new space frontier.

                  • "Concealed Handgun Licensing and Crime in Four States"--Journal of Criminology. Conclusion: "This research suggests that the rate at which CHLs are issued and crime rates are independent of one another—crime does not drive CHLs; CHLs do not drive crime."
                  • "Friday Fundamentals 01 – Establishing Your Baseline"--Tactical Professor. Several weeks ago, the author of Tactical Professor began a series of articles on some fundamentals of defensive shooting, including practice drills. Of course, there is no improvement without testing; but to make testing useful, you have to have a baseline. Thus, the article cited describes what you need to do to establish your baseline for future comparison.
                  • "Speed"--Art of the Rifle. Some thoughts on shooting a rifle more quickly (an almost entirely different skill set from slow fire at a target).
                  • "Episode 009: Mauser C96"--C&Rsenal. The author has been releasing a series of video reviews/histories of various firearms. This one concerns the broom-handle Mauser pistol.
                  • "Israeli Knife Attacks: What Can We Learn?"--Breach Bang Clear. Some self-defense and personal security lessons.
                  • "Our 'Ready-Bag' System for Supply Storage and Easy Evacuation"--Advanced Survival Guide. The author writes: "Being prepared is a challenging task. Being prepared to move your gear and supplies from Point A to Point B quickly and efficiently is even more challenging. We use a system that is not only very mobile but it helps with organization." Read the whole thing.

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