Friday, November 25, 2016

November 25, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

Let me say, up front, I am not suggesting you need to shoot any wild animal that might wander into your neighborhood. Animals may come to town because they are hungry, thirsty or because they are just young and/or lost. Their mere presence does not automatically constitute a threat. In most cases, a person can merely make a lot of noise and wave their arms in order to scare the animal into leaving. If the animal is not presenting an immediate danger, the local game warden can be called in to capture and relocate the critter.
On the other hand, when a wild animal, especially a predator, loses its natural sense of aloofness and/or its natural fear of people, it is time to get a little worried. This is especially true if the animal, once aware of your presence, begins advancing toward you. Another indication of possible trouble would be encountering animals that are usually nocturnal wandering around in the daylight. All of these may be an indication of impending trouble.
  • "Long Barrel, or Short? The Effectiveness Trade-Off Between 14.5″ and 20″ Barrels"--Nathaniel F. at The Firearms Blog. Assuming a fragmentation threshold of 2500 fps, Nathaniel notes that M855 from a 14.5 inch M4 will fall below this threshold at 125 meters because it starts with a muzzle velocity under 3,000 fps; however, with a 20 inch barrel, the distance it falls below the threshold is pushed out to 190 meters. (This video from Captain Berz also covers this issue). Nathaniel goes on to point out, however, that as a barrel gets shot out, or due to cold weather or even variance in the ammunition, it is very possible for muzzle velocity to be 200 fps less than cited above. That reduces the distance of the fragmentation threshold to only 66 meters from an M4 and 133 meters from a 20 inch barrel. However, the proper response is to design a bullet that will fragment at a lower velocity; e.g., the M855A1, which which has a fragmentation threshold that Nathaniel estimates to be around 1,900 fps. Under normal conditions, then, Nathaniel calculates that the fragmentation threshold for M855A1 is 391 meters and 326 meters, respectively, from 20 inch and 14.5 inch barrels. 
M855A1 is not available to the public, currently. On the other hand, civilians also aren't required to use a full metal jacket type of ammunition. Hunting rounds will generally have an expansion threshold well below that of even the M855A1. Another issue to consider is that the comparison above is between a 20 inch and a 14.5 inch. However, when considering what is available to civilians (absent getting an SBR stamp), there is less difference between a rifle length barrel and a 16 inch barrel than between a 16 inch and a 14 inch barrel. My decision to go with an 18 inch barrel was based more on my desire for a rifle length gas system than an improvement in velocity.
  • "A BMG For The Masses: The Serbu RN-50"--The Firearms Blog. This is a break-action type single shot rifle, with a suggested retail price of $1199. Although the barrel tips up for reloading, it doesn't actually open the action. Rather, the breach block must be unscrewed to load or unload the weapon.
  • The wages of sin socialism: "Hungry Venezuelans Flee in Boats to Escape Economic Collapse"--The New York Times. A story of  refugees fleeing Venezuela’s economic disaster to the Caribbean island of Curaçao. However, the article illustrates a more general problem:
    Venezuela was once one of Latin America’s richest countries, flush with oil wealth that attracted immigrants from places as varied as Europe and the Middle East.

        But after President Hugo Chávez vowed to break the country’s economic elite and redistribute wealth to the poor, the rich and middle class fled to more welcoming countries in droves, creating what demographers describe as Venezuela’s first diaspora.

            Now a second diaspora is underway — much less wealthy and not nearly as welcome.

                Well over 150,000 Venezuelans have fled the country in the last year alone, the highest in more than a decade, according to scholars studying the exodus.
                The article notes that the majority of those fleeing the country have gone across the borders to Brazil or Columbia; fleeing by sea is merely the most visually dramatic efforts to escape the country. The article also describes what awaits these refugees:
                  The exodus is unfolding so quickly that since 2015 about 30,000 Venezuelans have moved to the border region that includes the Brazilian state of Roraima, officials say. Now the Brazilian Army is bolstering patrols along highways and rivers, bracing for even more arrivals.

                      “We’re at the start of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in this part of the Amazon,” said Col. Edvaldo Amaral, the state’s civil defense chief. “We’re already seeing Venezuelan lawyers working as supermarket cashiers, Venezuelan women resorting to prostitution, indigenous Venezuelans begging at traffic intersections.”

                          Some are paying smugglers more than $1,000 a person to reach cities like Manaus and São Paulo, officials say, while others just manage to cross the border into Brazil. In Pacaraima, a small Brazilian border town, hundreds of Venezuelan children are now enrolled in local schools and entire families are sleeping on the streets of town.
                          According to the article, the Caribbean islands are less welcoming: if they catch illegal aliens they detain them and then ship them back to Venezuela. They simply lack the resources to absorb the influx of refugees. 
                          Remember that Venezuelans wanted socialism, and even though they have seen the results first hand, they will be bringing this same political outlook with them where ever they flee.
                            “Oh, white girl got money!” a young black man sitting with a friend commented as the girls travelled on the BX8 bus around 3 p.m. Tuesday after dismissal from St. Catharine’s Academy in the Pelham Gardens section of The Bronx.

                                Before they knew it, the boys called up some female friends, who boarded a few stops away — and the girls said the group punched and kicked them while grabbing clumps of their hair.
                                Conventional wisdom tells us that the electoral college requires that the person who lost the popular vote this year must nonetheless become our president. That view is an insult to our framers. It is compelled by nothing in our Constitution. It should be rejected by anyone with any understanding of our democratic traditions  — most important, the electors themselves.
                                Lessig is either an incompetent or a liar. He knows--or should know--that the Electoral College reflects "the Great Compromise" that resulted in a House of Representatives, to give force to the popular will of the people, and a Senate, to protect less populous states from a tyranny of the more populous state. That is why the number of electoral votes possessed by a state is equal to its representation in Congress, i.e., the sum of the number of its representatives and senators. That a presidential candidate might win the popular vote, yet nevertheless not win the election, merely shows that the Electoral College is working as it was intended. 

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