Sunday, July 9, 2017

July 9, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

In this video, the author discusses whether the invasion of "Sea Peoples" were the cause of the Collapse, or if there were other reasons. My own take is that the "Sea Peoples" were both a symptom and a cause. That is, as the northern Bronze Age civilizations weakened (remember that this is only a couple hundred years after the Santorini (Thera) explosion, which would have severely weakened the Mycenaeans), it would have emboldened both enemies and opportunistic raiding by pirates, such as happened as the Roman Empire weakened and disappeared. Although Egypt didn't suffer from the drought that impacted its neighbors to the north, as I've noted before, the Bronze Age collapse appears contemporaneous with the Exodus, meaning that Egypt not only lost a significant portion of its work force, but the core of its military: it's chariot squadrons. Apparently, the next video will discuss systemic complexity and collapse. As to the identity of the "Sea Peoples," my own guess would be pirates or raiders from the Black Sea region and/or early Celts from Spain (i.e., Tarshish).  

  • "Amid Heat Wave, Fire Causes Power Outage for Part of Los Angeles"--New York Times. As you may know, Los Angeles is seeing record temperatures: records that are over 100 years ago (which sort of disproves anthropogenic global warming since, if the theory was correct, records should have been set in or during recent years). In any event, in the midst of this, a fire broke out a receiving station requiring the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to shut off power to 140,000 residents for 12 hours. This Los Angeles Times article provides some additional details, but indicates that the cause of the transformer explosion was unknown. This video from Suspicious Observer notes that the explosion came right after the Earth was struck by a shock wave from a solar flare, and suggests that the explosion and fire flare could have been related.
  • "The Gerber Basic EDC Knife and a custom sheath"--Security and Self-Reliance. This is a fixed-blade knife with a 3.4 inch blade, partially serrated. It is made of 440C stainless steel, and sports plastic scales with TacHide inserts. It has a deep cutout for your front finger, which I've noted before is important with a knife lacking a guard in order to keep your hand from slipping up along the blade if you stab it into something. The author generally likes the knife, but is not a big fan of the sheath. Anyway, check out the review and the photographs at the link.
  • "Was MHS a FAILURE? SIG vs. Glock, an In-Depth Analysis"--Nathaniel Fitch at The Firearms Blog. An in-depth discussion of the Modular Handgun System (MHS) criteria and selection, which resulted in the Army selecting a version of the Sig P320 to replace the venerable Beretta M9. While there has been significant criticism of the choice, Fitch points out that the difference in performance between the Glock and the Sig was probably minimal, while the price difference ($100 million all told) was significant. He also speculates that the decision was made earlier than it might have otherwise have been made (i.e., just prior to Trump's inauguration) to avoid the program being cancelled, and the Army having to retain the Beretta while starting from square one in pistol trials.
  • Still the new normal: "NICS Background Checks Continue High for June, 2017"--The Truth About Guns
  • r/K is everywhere: "THE GENIUS FAMINE: The Death of Religion Will Lead to the Death of Genius and the Death of Civilization"--V Dare. The author of this piece reviews and discusses the book The Genius Famine by anthropologist Edward Dutton (Oulu University, Finland) and psychiatrist Bruce Charlton (Newcastle University, UK). Dutton and Charlton essentially argue that:
       [Creative, ground braking geniuses] are fundamental to the growth and survival of civilization.... They are behind all major innovations. But, frighteningly, levels of genius have been in decline during the twentieth century. Measured from 1455 to 2004, macro-inventions–those that really changed the course of history–peaked in the nineteenth century and are now in on the slide. So, what has happened? Why is genius dying-out?
           The answer these authors provide may surprise you. Genius, they claim, is dying out, in part, because we are less religious.
      Essentially, the authors argue that religiosity has an evolutionary benefit, and that it created a stable, cooperative environment that allowed geniuses to flourish; but that this nurturing of geniuses gave rise to the industrial revolution, which in turn produced significant material prosperity. However, this material prosperity did away with pressures of natural selection:
        [W]here once only the physically fittest, with almost no mutant genes, survived to have children, now almost all of us do, meaning far more mutant genes interfering with brain functioning and thus intelligence. Being religious is predicted by genes and by stress. So, as our stressors were combated and Natural Selection stopped, the percentage of us who believed in God decreased.
        • "POTD: 9x39mm in the US"--The Firearms Blog. As you know, here in the U.S., the .300 Blackout was created to provide better terminal ballistics from an AR style rifle or carbine using subsonic ammunition. The Russians faced the same problem, and their solution was a 9 mm projectile in a case designed for the 7.62x39mm: the 9x39mm. TFB reports that Wolf is planning on not only importing this cartridge to the United States, but also selling AR uppers that will shoot it. 
        • Pizza, anyone? "Major Pedophile Network In Europe Busted"--Anonymous Conservative. Anonymous Conservative quotes a news report indicating that German authorities had shut down a major pedophile ring responsible for "organizing the sexual abuse of children...," which reported that "[a]ccording to police, the arrests include 'high level politicians' as well as entertainers, white-collar professionals, and high-ranking clergy members." But it is just silly to suggest that political elites in Washington, D.C., would have been involved in a similar enterprise.
        • "See you on the dark side of the moon"--Notre Dame Magazine. Discussing the upcoming full solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, and the almost religious experience of seeing a full eclipse:
                 A total solar eclipse is a breathtaking sight. It lasts a few hours as the moon slowly crawls across the face of the sun, obscuring it bit by bit. But the most spectacular part of the eclipse is called totality: the brief period during which the sun is completely concealed by the moon. Totality lasts only a few minutes, but its effects are dramatic. The temperature plummets when the sun disappears, stars and planets become visible in the middle of the day, and on the surface of the Earth, a giant shadow up to 150 miles wide sweeps across the land at speeds approaching 2,000 miles per hour.
                    The effect of the onrushing shadow often fills those who see it with “primitive fear,” according to the psychologist and eclipse chaser Dr. Kate Russo, as a “wall of darkness comes creeping toward you.” In 1878, one observer, who watched the approaching shadow from the top of 14,000 foot Pikes Peak, described that wall of darkness as “pallid and ghastly . . . weird and terrible” as it devoured distant mountain ranges one by one. 
            • "Who Killed the Left?"--Richard Fernandez. The Left won the cultural wars, so why, when it controls every institution of significance in industry, government, and entertainment (even many areas of religion) is it suddenly losing? Fernandez argues that because it been mugged by reality:
              ... Every single country that adopted socialism as an economic system went bankrupt. The Soviet Union collapsed. Now the Western Gramscian project is self-immolating in the fires of its own absurdity. The current political crisis is the collective shudder of mortality passing through "every university, newspaper, TV network, Hollywood studio, publisher, education school and museum in the nation." The left may have "wrapped up the culture war two generations ago," but it is rotting inside the wrapping.
              • Related: "Gramscian damage"--Eric Raymond at Armed and Dangerous. The author writes:
                ... the Soviets, following the lead of Marxist theoreticians like Antonio Gramsci, took very seriously the idea that by blighting the U.S.’s intellectual and esthetic life, they could sap Americans’ will to resist Communist ideology and an eventual Communist takeover. The explicit goal was to erode the confidence of America’s ruling class and create an ideological vacuum to be filled by Marxism-Leninism.
                  Gramsci's name should be familiar to those of you who have read up on the Frankfort School.
                  • Apparently it was a myth that homosexuality was “innate and immutable”: "Ex Gay Is Now Becoming A Thing"--Anonymous Conservative. He explains why there has been a decline in sexual dimorphism and increase in homosexuality:
                    If r/K Theory is correct, then homosexuality is just an over expression of the reversal in sex specific traits and preferences which you see in r-selected species. There, females grow masculine and aggressive to provision and protect the children they raise alone, while males become effete and feminine to facilitate avoiding and fleeing from conflicts with other males. As a result, sexual preferences also shift, with males preferring masculine traits in mates, and females preferring feminine traits, since each form is, respectively, the fittest model of the species in times of r-selection.
                      Thus, he speculates, exposure to K-stimuli could reverse these preferences, reversing homosexuality.  
                                As an aside, this raises some issues facing the LDS Church, as well as many other Christian sects, which is the increased interest in "accepting" homosexuals, as well as women seeking to lead congregations. In the LDS Church and Catholicism, for instance, we see strong movements seeking to open the priesthood to women. After having to sit through such a debate today in Sunday School, I have come to the conclusion that the desire of some women to be admitted into the priesthood has nothing to do with religiosity, but a rejection of the female role and desire to take upon themselves masculine traits. That is, women who desire the priesthood are exhibiting a weaker form of the same physical and psychological changes that can produce a lesbian. 

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