Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Quick Run Around the Web--January 19, 2016



If true, this would be a revolution: the Saudi succession has gone from one septuagenarian to the next in a ritualized pattern for decades. Putting a young and vigorous 30-year-old in the top spot would change the way the country works and, potentially, would make the new king one of the most powerful people in the world.
    U.S. officials are clearly hoping this doesn’t happen. The defense minister has been associated with the recent line of Saudi policy that has been shaking up the region, and it is predicated on a belief that, with the U.S. no longer a reliable ally, the Saudis have to take their destiny in their own hands.
    • A couples stories about evolution in action:
    1. "Woman, 21, freezes to death after storming out of house party in -6F temperatures in Wisconsin 'without a coat and wearing shorts'"--Daily Mail.
    2. "Cheating American Woman Living Eat Pray Love Lifestyle Murdered By Her African Lover"--Return of the Kings.
    Liberals and conservatives exhibit different cognitive styles and converging lines of evidence suggest that biology influences differences in their political attitudes and beliefs. In particular, a recent study of young adults suggests that liberals and conservatives have significantly different brain structure, with liberals showing increased gray matter volume in the anterior cingulate cortex, and conservatives showing increased gray matter volume in the in the amygdala. Here, we explore differences in brain function in liberals and conservatives by matching publicly-available voter records to 82 subjects who performed a risk-taking task during functional imaging. Although the risk-taking behavior of Democrats (liberals) and Republicans (conservatives) did not differ, their brain activity did. Democrats showed significantly greater activity in the left insula, while Republicans showed significantly greater activity in the right amygdala. In fact, a two parameter model of partisanship based on amygdala and insula activations yields a better fitting model of partisanship than a well-established model based on parental socialization of party identification long thought to be one of the core findings of political science. These results suggest that liberals and conservatives engage different cognitive processes when they think about risk, and they support recent evidence that conservatives show greater sensitivity to threatening stimuli.
    • Related: "Americans are world's most charitable, top 1% provide 1/3rd of all donations"--Washington Examiner. Anyone with half a brain know that Americans are more charitable: that is why all these countries that hate us still suck up to us for money. In any event, while the story focuses on the sum total of donations (i.e., the greatest sum come from the most wealthy), the accompanying graphs actually paint a much different picture. First, and no surprise here, is that Republicans donate more to charity than Independents or Democrats. In fact, Democrats are pretty downright uncharitable, likely due to their r-selected nature. According to the information from the article, only 52% of Democrats donated to charity, and of those, the vast majority (67%) gave less than $100. Only 50% of Republicans donated to charity, but those that did donated significantly more: only 38% donated less than $100, while 24% of those donating anything donated amounts in the highest category--more than $5,000 per year. It was also interesting to note that when looking at giving as a percentage of income, there was an inverse relationship between giving and income: that is, the poor gave the largest percentage of their incomes to charity, and the amounts decreased as the income rose. 
    • SHOT SHOW News. There is a lot of coverage of new items from Shot Show--too much for anyone to follow. But here are a few things that caught my eye:
    • Kimber has entered the revolver market with their K6S revolver, which attempts to put 6 rounds in a concealable revolver (reminding me of the Colt Detective Special). (Video of the new revolver). It is a nice looking revolver, and they have made it easy to swap out the sights--the front is pinned into place, and the rear is mounted via a dovetail. Although the comments to the stories focus on the technical aspects of the revolver, or compare it against other revolvers, the question for me was: Why is Kimber entering the revolver market? After all, I hear or read frequently that the revolver is dead, passe, outdated, and obsolete. Yet Kimber obviously feels that there is a market for high end alternatives to Smith & Wesson. And, interestingly, their foray into the market is one designed for concealed carry. 
    • The Firearms Blog also has a video of "The M9A3 Pistol (SHOT Show 2016)." This is the pistol that Beretta should have introduced 10 years ago. It shows what happens when a company becomes complacent because of large government contracts.
    • Finally, there is "[SHOT 2016] Honor Defense Sub Compact Pistols." What caught my attention here is not the pistol (although apparently well-designed, it is yet another polymer striker fired weapon), but the photograph of the one mounting the company's FIST (Firearm with Integrated STandoff)--a device attached to the front of the frame and extending out what appears to be about a half inch past the muzzle that "allows you to press the frame against the target without fear of the gun going out of battery."  

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