Sunday, December 18, 2016

December 18, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

"Eerie past of the 'haunted' theme park: Attraction built on an Indian burial ground has been abandoned ever since SIX people died there in a string of accidents"--Daily Mail.

  • "A Closer Look at the SurvivalHax Folding Survival Shovel and E-tool"--Security and Self-Reliance. This is not a folding shovel, such as you might put in a backpack, but appears to be one intended for carrying in a vehicle. Anyway, the author gives the good and bad about the item. Check it out.
  • "6.5 Grendel Review: 18″ Special Purpose Rifle" The author gives an overview of the purpose and characteristics of the 6.5 Grendel, and then discusses handloads for the cartridge. Finally, he tested the various loads out of an 18 inch barrel. Most 6.5 Grendel rifles use a 20 or 24 inch barrel, and the author concludes that one should have the longer 24 inch barrel to get the best velocity from the round.
  • "Avoid Junk Guns with a Passion--When you get ready to buy guns, do your research and buy carefully"--All Outdoor. Some advice on purchasing reliable firearms.
  • "Stalking Mule Deer: See Them First"--Outdoor Life. Some advice on where to look, as well as pointing out that you probably are not going to see the whole deer, so learn to look for parts (an antler, part of the back, and so on).
  • "How To Track Deer: Fresh Tracks In The Big Woods"--Outdoor Life. The author relates his experience in tracking down white tail deer while hunting in New England.
  • Survival Blog recently had a short series of articles on bees and bee-keeping, entitled "Bees: Security Guard or Grocery Store?" (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). My knowledge and experience with bees is rather limited. I learned two things about bees as a young child: not to kick a beehive, and that I am not allergic to bee stings. Other survivalists/preppers, however, have made bees an integral part of their preps. The author of the Survival UK blog has bees, and has posted some of his experiences with bees (see here and here).

Other Stuff: 
     Violence erupted on Friday and Saturday in at least six cities, including Maracaibo, where police put down looting near a bank building, and the south-eastern state of Bolivar, where mobs looted several businesses.

         In Bolivar, people rioted in its capital, Ciudad BolĂ­var, and the mining towns of El Callao, Tumeremo, Santa Elena and Guasipati. A 15-year-old died in El Callao and at least 115 local businesses were looted, reported Correo del CaronĂ­. Governor Rangel Gomez said 135 people had been arrested and the National Guard would be deployed. A curfew was ordered in Ciudad Bolivar.

            Triple-digit inflation has rendered 100-bolivar bill worthless, and the central bank has ordered the printing of new notes from companies abroad. The government promised the new bills would be in circulation by Thursday, but it failed to deliver.
        Any sympathy should be tempered by recognizing that the people of Venezuala brought this on themselves by electing in a socialist dictator that promised them money for nothing. Now they have money that is worth nothing. And if they could, they would move to other countries and bring the same attitudes with them.
               Chinese military leaders “expressed regret” over the incident but slammed American leaders for overreacting to the drone’s capture.

                 “China and the United States have been communicating about this process. It is inappropriate and unhelpful for a resolution that the U.S. has unilaterally hyped up the issue,” said Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Sr. Col. Yang Yujun early Saturday.
            * * *
                Negotiations over the transfer of the drone came as President-elect Trump accused China of stealing the research device.

                  “China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters – rips it out of water and takes it to China in unprecedented act,” he tweeted Saturday morning, only hours before the deal was announced.
              The Chinese leadership is certainly not concerned with whatever sternly worded letter that Obama would send them. Having seen the dramatic change of international attitude toward the United States when Reagan was first elected, I suspect that this is an example of the same phenomena: fear of a strong leader.
                     In the past few days we have been bombarded with colourful reports of events in eastern Aleppo, written or transmitted by people in Beirut (180 miles away and in another country), or even London (2,105 miles away and in another world). There have, we are told, been massacres of women and children, people have been burned alive.

                        The sources for these reports are so-called ‘activists’. Who are they? As far as I know, there was not one single staff reporter for any Western news organisation in eastern Aleppo last week. Not one.

                          This is for the very good reason that they would have been kidnapped and probably murdered. The zone was ruled without mercy by heavily armed Osama Bin Laden sympathisers, who were bombarding the west of the city with powerful artillery (they frequently killed innocent civilians and struck hospitals, since you ask). That is why you never see pictures of armed males in eastern Aleppo, just beautifully composed photographs of handsome young unarmed men lifting wounded children from the rubble, with the light just right.

                           The women are all but invisible, segregated and shrouded in black, just as in the IS areas, as we saw when they let them out.
                      • "ISIS is manufacturing arms on industrial scale, report finds"--Fox News. Technically, they are assembling the arms with parts mostly procured from Turkey.
                      • I've noted before that we have one of the most easily amended Constitutions in the world because it only takes a majority vote in the Supreme Court to do so. It is nice to see the left finally admit it. Kenneth Jost, in an op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times, argues for the elimination of the electoral collage. He acknowledges that this would is unlikely if the formal amendment process of the Constitution were to be followed. Instead, he states: "It’s up to the Supreme Court — and a properly framed lawsuit — to do away with a system that not only never functioned as the framers intended but blatantly violates the court’s ‘one person, one vote’ principle." The "one person, one vote" principle, by the way, is not found in the Constitution: it is a creation of the Supreme Court intended to empower urban areas over rural portions of states. If you have ever wondered why most states have bicameral legislatures, it is because at one time, most states legislatures were selected similarly to the U.S. Congress, with a one chamber elected from districts of roughly equal populations, and a second (generally, upper) chamber elected from individual counties. However, under the "one person, one vote" principle, the Supreme Court made it unlawful for members of the legislature to elected from fixed geographic locations, but all had to be elected from districts with roughly equal populations. The result was to weaken rural counties in favor of cities.
                        Of course, if the electoral collage was done away with based on the "one person, one vote" principle, there is nothing to prevent the abolition of the requirement that each state have an equal number of Senators. 
                               Apple's main concern is now keeping people imprisoned in its walled garden, not luring them in any longer. The "technology giants" are no longer even technology companies, but marketing-distribution systems. So, it's no surprise that their technology and user experience is suffering as a result.

                                 I have an iPad Mini that was required for a game on which I'm working. It's got some nice hardware, but the UI [user interface] is so horrifically awful that I simply don't use it for anything except testing the game. Sadly, Google is going the same way, to the point that I no longer update my Android tablet, phone, or apps.

                                   This tells me we're heading for some serious disruption in the not-too-distant future.
                                Apple has fallen into the same trap as it found itself during the 1980's and 1990's: products intended for people that are too stupid to be trusted with technology, and sales mostly driven by virtue signalling and social preening. 
                                • "How The Left Overreached In Court"--Rod Dreher at The American Conservative. Dreher notes that the Obergefell case may have been a Supreme Court victory too far. He observes:
                                  When liberals say the only reason conservative Christians oppose gay marriage is prejudice, they have to overlook facts like, oh, that a very senior Justice Department lawyer concedes in Supreme Court oral argument that their churches, schools, and charities may be severely penalized for following their religious beliefs. It’s not paranoia when people really are out to get you.
                                  • A reminder that we live in the 21st Century: "Will The Next Battery Breakthroughs Be Capacitors?"--Silicon Graybeard. The author points out some recent breakthroughs in producing super-capacitors composed of millions of nanometer-thick wires coated with shells of two-dimensional materials. The primary advantage is that capacitors can be charged and discharged many more times than a lithium-ion battery: 30,000 times for the super-capacitor described, compared to 1,500 times for the battery. The problem is that, currently, the sheets of material are very small, so it is still a ways off.

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                                  New Weekend Knowledge Dump ...

                                   ... from Greg Ellifritz at  Active Response Training . Plenty of good stuff here, but let me focus on a few.     Greg links to an article f...