Wednesday, June 28, 2017

June 28, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

Some firearms history: "Forward Thinking: Lewis 'Assault Phase' Rifle"--TFB TV (10 min.)
Lewis--of "Lewis Machine Gun" fame--also developed a relatively light-weight assault rifle using a detachable box magazine and shooting the .30-06 round. This was offered in competition to the Browning BAR, and well before the Garand. If it wasn't for personal enmity between Army ordinance officers and Lewis, the U.S. could have entered WWII with an actual assault rifle.

  • Finally: "Magpul Shipping AK-74 5.45x39mm PMAG"--The Firearms Blog. These were originally scheduled to have started shipping earlier this spring. I am anxious to try them out.
  • "Should You Choose a Reticle Positioned in the First or Second Focal Plane?"--Tactical Life. Reticles in the first focal plane will not change its size in proportion to a target as the magnification is increased or decreased (in other words, the reticle is also magnified), whereas the reticle is not magnified when in the second focal plane. The advantage of the first focal plane is where you are using a bullet drop compensator (BDC) or other markings for determining range, compensating for wind, etc., the subtensions (the markings) are the same for any magnification; in a second focal plane scope, the subtensions will only be usable for a specified magnification (for instance, I have a 3-9x scope with a BDC, but the BDC is only accurate at the maximum magnification).
  • "Negligent Discharge Of A Gun And How It Happens"--Modern Survival Blog. I'm not going to get into the difference between "negligent" and "accidental." Although the article lists 5 situations where there is an unintended discharge, the first three are variants of the same problem: assuming the firearm is unloaded when it is not--always remove the magazine and then check the chamber. The other two are: letting your finger contact the trigger while manipulating the firearm (e.g., loading, unloading, or even checking to see whether it is loaded or unloaded); and clothing or other material catching the trigger as the weapon is carried or holstered.
  • "Occam Power Solutions Company For the AK Front Sight Tower Win"--The Firearms Blog. This is a block that replaces the rear sight on an AK, with a milled Picatinny rail on the top, and the back edge incorporating a backup iron sight. No information on pricing, release date, or anything else, however.
  • "Czech Parliament Approves Citizens’ Right to Bear Arms"--The Truth About Guns. According to the article, the lower house has overwhelming passed a constitutional amendment that allows citizens to possess and carry firearms for self-protection, subject to legislative restriction. The bill now heads for consideration by the Czech Senate.
  • "Silent Alarm & Area Denial"--Dreaming of Sunsets Over Ochre Dunes. The author has a clever idea for dissuading people from messing with your property (e.g., taking wood from a woodpile or messing with locked up bicycles), which he has used successfully. It requires a strong steel rat trap that can be amounted above the area to be protected. On one side of the trap, where it can be broken or burst open by the trap as it is sprung, place a vial of some extremely vile smelling liquid (the author calls his a stink bomb which he ordered from Germany), and on the other side, a small chem stick light that will also activate when struck by the snapping trap. The chem light will not only notify you when the trap has been activated, but the author found that the timing of the light going dead roughly corresponded to when the smell dissipated. 
  • "Emergency Rations Test #5: SOS Brand"--Blue Collar Prepping. This was a test of the company's individually wrapped “New Millennium” bars and 3600 Calorie packages. Basically, of the emergency bars that he had tested, he thought this the best overall due to quality and packaging and variety, although slightly more expensive than its competitors. 
  • "How To Grow Melons"--Go Garden Club. Advice on planting, fertilizing, and growing melons. The author notes, for instance, when growing direct from seeds:
       Temperatures between 70 and 90ºF are best for melons, but they can be planted when soil temperature is over 65ºF. Planting in cooler temperatures risks root diseases. This can stunt melons that are intolerant to cold. The usual planting date is 7 to 10 days prior to the frost free date. The actual date varies by latitude.
           Plant seeds one half to one inch deep. Plant groups of two or three seeds 18 to 24 inches apart inside the row. Later, keep only the best plant in each group. Leave five to six feet between rows.
    The author indicates that while melons are in the same family as zucchini, summer squash, winter squash, pumpkins and cucumbers, it won't cross-breed. This is not my experience: we have had watermelon planted near squash produce a green fruit that appears to be a watermelon, but fibrous and relatively dry on the inside like a pumpkin. So, my advice is to grow the melons away from the squash and pumpkins.
    • "Micro Production Survivalist"--Le Survivaliste. The author describes he and his wife's efforts to integrate chickens and honey bees into their food production. The bees they use are Carniolans, which the author describes as "a bee little aggressive, hairy and tall with a long tongue that allows him to reach a wider range of nectars." Since this bee is from Slovenia, it is better adapted to cooler climates, such as Montana where the author resides. They have four different breeds of chickens: the Plymouth (the author's favorite), a Rhode Island, a Leg Horn, and a fourth breed which I don't think its name translated correctly. In any event, interesting comments and great photos.
    • "IPCS and Defensive shooting skills"--Modern Survivalist. FerFal discusses the benefits competition can bring to your defensive pistol skills so long as you approach it as training/practice rather than just a sport; e.g., using the firearm you will be carrying instead of a race gun.
    • Not worried enough: "Japan is so worried about North Korea's missiles, there's a waiting list for bomb shelters"--Business Insider. Apparently the sole company in Japan that constructs bomb shelters normally only builds 6 per year, but already has orders for 8.

    Other Stuff:
             A total of 68 stores were looted and several government offices were burned following anti-government protests late Monday and Tuesday in the city of Maracay, west of Venezuela's capital of Caracas.
               Large protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro have been regularly held in Caracas over the last three months, but significant protests have also occurred in provincial cities.
                 The pro-Maduro governor of Aragua state, of which Maracay is the capital, said the looting hit supermarkets, drug stores and small bakeries and liquor stores.
                   Gov. Caryl Bertho said a tax office, a government telephone office and ruling party headquarters were burned late Monday.
                     Some 216 people were arrested.
                       Bertho blamed protesters for the looting, but opposition activists say gangs of men on motorcycles looted without interference from authorities. Such groups are often government supporters.
                         An officer with the nation’s leading law enforcement agency hijacked a helicopter Tuesday afternoon and hurled grenades as it flew over Venezuela’s presidential palace, Foreign Ministry and the Supreme Court building in an episode that President Nicolas Maduro described as a “terrorist attack.”
                           The chopper pilot was identified as Oscar Perez, an official with CICPC, Venezuela’s equivalent of the FBI. The helicopter belonged to the CICPC and was stolen from La Carlota air base in eastern Caracas.
                             Perez also flew a banner from the aircraft that read “350 Liberty,” a reference to a Venezuelan constitutional clause that gives citizens the right to ignore the commands of oppressive governments, a reference to the Maduro administration. The flyover was perhaps the most dramatic demonstration of discontent in a once prosperous nation racked by protests against a government opponents denounce and inept and corrupt.
                               Reclining on bunk beds while sucking on opium pipes, these haunting photos provide a rare glimpse into life in America's 19th century opium dens that prompted the country's first crackdown on drugs.
                                 Established by the Chinese and arriving in the US via ships, the first opium dens sprung up in San Francisco's Chinatown during the 1840s and 1850s, and were soon being used by people from all walks of society. 
                                   The opium rush was at its most prevalent during the 1880s and 1890s, which coincided with the rise of the temperance movement.
                                      Its popularity eventually resulted in a string of legislative measures being introduced to try and stamp out the addictive craze, including the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906 and Smoking Opium Exclusion Act in 1909. 
                                The opium dens eventually spread to all the major cities in the United States, by which time "[o]pium dens were ... increasingly frequented by men and women from the middle and upper classes." According to the article, the dens provided bunks or place to recline, the opium, and, if the user did not have one, an opium pipe.
                                •  "The Old Are Eating the Young"--Bloomberg. The article reports that all around the world, governments are borrowing to provide benefits for current users of welfare and social services, at the expense of future generations that will have to pay back these loans. It explains:
                                  A significant proportion of recent economic growth has relied on borrowed money -- today standing at a dizzying 325 percent of global gross domestic product. Debt allows society to accelerate consumption, as borrowings are used to purchase something today against the promise of future repayment. Unfunded entitlements to social services, health care and pensions increase those liabilities. The bill for these commitments will soon become unsustainable, as demographic changes make it more difficult to meet.
                                    It adds:
                                      In a 2010 research paper, entitled “Ask Not Whether Governments Will Default, But How,” Arnaud Mares of Morgan Stanley analyzed national solvency, or the difference between actual and potential government revenue, on one hand, and existing debt levels and future commitments on the other. The study found that by this measure the net worth of the U.S. was negative 800 percent of its GDP; that is, its future tax revenue was less than committed obligations by an amount equivalent to eight times the value of all goods and services America produces in a year. The net worth of European countries ranged from about negative 250 percent (Italy) to negative 1,800 percent (Greece). For Germany, France and the U.K., the approximate figures were negative 500 percent, negative 600 percent and negative 1,000 percent of GDP. In effect, these states have mortgaged themselves beyond their capacity to easily repay.
                                               ... “The prolonged presence of a warm and engaged father can buffer girls against early, high-risk sex,” Dr. DelPriore said. This doesn’t mean that divorced fathers can’t provide quality care. “A silver lining,” she adds, “is that what dad does seems to matter more than parental separation.” In other words, a divorce may be less harmful for a girl than more years with a bad dad.

                                                 The growing field of evolutionary child psychology adds interesting context to these findings. Biologists find that organisms in unstable environments grow up faster and start reproducing earlier than those in stable ones. Theoretically, in a stable environment you can take more time growing into your reproductive activities, focusing on long-term quality rather than on getting an early start. Conversely, in an unstable situation, it might “pay” (in Darwinian terms) to begin reproducing earlier, since in those girls’ worlds, a good man is hard to find.
                                            Note that the second paragraph is basically stating that engaged fathers have daughters that pursue a K-reproductive strategy, while single motherhood results in daughters that pursue an r-reproductive strategy.
                                            • More black on white crime: "'You're on my f***ing property!' Shocking moment white off-duty cop pins black teen to ground and threatens to kill him for trespassing on his lawn"--Daily Mail. Reading the headline, or even the first half of the article, you would leave with the impression that the off-duty police officer acted inappropriately. However, once you get through the whole thing, the situation was this: a young white kid goes onto the officers porch, bleeding, and claiming he was beat up by a group of black youths. As the officer is talking to the white youth, two black kids (including the one that is the subject of the story) entered the yard, were told by the officer to stop but not leave, and then they attempted to leave, which resulted in the subject being restrained. Also, the officer didn't threaten to kill the youth; he said he could kill the youth. Of course, the black suspect immediately began to scream racism.
                                            • Juxtaposition This: 
                                            • "Starbucks pledges to hire 2,500 refugees in eight markets"--Seattle Times. The article states: "On World Refugee Day, the company said it will hire 2,500 refugees by over five years to work in eight European markets: Great Britain, France, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands."
                                            • "Why We Should Look For Alien Megastructures Around Pulsars"--Gizmodo. Some scientists suggest that an advanced civilization might construct a Dyson sphere around a pulsar rather than their own star, and that we should be able to detect these structures from earth. The advantage is that most of the pulsar's energy is released as a beam which could be intercepted by a belt of energy collectors, and these collectors could be orbited much closer than to an active star, requiring less material. As a side note, it is a misnomer that Dyson suggested that these structures would be a rigid shell around a star. He, instead, envisioned a cloud of objects--habitats, energy collectors, etc.--orbiting a star, which would be more practicable in any event.

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