Saturday, December 16, 2017

December 16, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

"Sighting in a Red Dot Using a Flashlight!"-- Ingalls Creek Wilderness Outfitters (~3 min.)
It is hard, at least for me, to see the dot from a laser bore sighter in daylight, let alone at longer ranges. The producer of this video has a neat trick of aligning a flashlight with the laser's dot, then sighting in on the flashlight.

  • This weekend's Weekend Knowledge Dump from Active Response Training--links to lots of good articles and videos, with commentary. One of the articles he links to is by Massad Ayoob discussing whether firearms training should be mandatory. I know a lot of "gun people" that believe it should be for anyone that intends to purchase a firearm. I've stated both in this blog and in private that I don't believe it should be for a couple reasons: (1) although becoming a master at a firearm takes a lot of practice and training is desirable, using a firearm is not actually all that difficult; and (2) it is just another impediment that raises the cost in both time and money to purchasing a firearm--a tool that is already a major investment for most people. Ayoob echoes this in his article, in which he interjects a couple of examples of people with little or no skill using firearms successfully defending themselves with one. Ayoob concludes:
Do I recommend training? Of course: for decades, teaching the gun has been my primary livelihood.  There are few people who would reap more financial rewards than I would if mandatory training for firearms ownership became the law.  But I can’t support mandatory training, because Life and Reality have taught me that the good people who need firearms for defense of themselves and their families often can’t afford professional training, and security and self-defense should never become the sole province of the rich and privileged.
  • While you are there, check out Greg's article on "Do Dogs Deter Criminals?" Although there is some evidence that suggests that dogs can deter burglars, he notes that there has been no studies on whether dogs deter other types of criminals, such as muggers or rapists. In his book The Truth About Self-Protection, Mass Ayoob discusses dogs for self-protection, so if this is something that interests you, I recommend buying or borrowing a copy of Ayoob's book. In my opinion, for what it is worth, a dog is not a self-defense "tool" unless it has been trained. To expect a dog to do what you want it to, when you want it to, without training is just wishful thinking. A dog may be a great companion, and some are great "watch dogs," alerting to the presence of strangers or intruders, but that is the most I would expect out of an untrained dog.
  • "Installing Our Renogy 200 Watt Solar Panel Kit"--Security & Self-Reliance. The author describes how he mounted the solar panels (he constructed his own mounting system rather than purchasing one) and has them connected to a single deep cycle battery. Right now, the system is only set up to either run a security system or as a recharging station for electronic devices. It doesn't quite have the juice for the former job--at least for a full day--but works well in the latter chore.
  • "Overwhelming Success! Bulletproof Jackets are a HUGE Hit on IndieGoGo"--The Firearms Blog. The manufacturer's campaign was to finance production of a line of outerwear (jackets, vests, coats) that look like everyday outwear, but conceal Kevlar body armor rated at III+. Current prices are at around $300 for the more casual pieces of clothing, and $400 for the woman's top coat and men's overcoat. If the photographs are representative of the actual product, they look pretty nice.
  • Should be an act of war, but I doubt the German government will do anything: "Intelligence Leaks Reveal Erdogan Regime Arming Criminal Turkish Gangs in Germany"--PJ Media. From the article:
German-language outlet ZDF reported that German intelligence wiretaps revealed AKP Party officials transferring money to leaders of the "Osmanen Germania" (Ottoman Germany) biker gang. The money was for purchasing weapons and directing attacks on critics of Erdogan's increasingly tyrannical regime in Turkey among Germany's sizable Turkish population.
           This chart is messy, I know, and there are no labels, but the point is to see that there are lots of “down” trends in 2016 and 2017. And by the way, that highest line that declined a lot… that’s Utah.
               It’s even happening to the Mormons.
                  Western states have had the steepest decline, New England states the slowest decline. This is largely because western states had the highest initial fertility, New England states the lowest. We’re seeing some extent of convergence in general fertility rates. And indeed, the standard deviation of state GFRs has fallen by 18% since 2007.
            The author then compares the United States to other developed countries that have experienced sharp declines in fertility, and notes that no other country has ever boosted their fertility but for short periods of time. The author concludes that "[t]o boost fertility, we need creative and large policies, alongside significant social and cultural change." Although the author does not go into this topic, as I've noted before on this blog, there is a very strong correlation between religiosity (particular, conservative faiths) and fertility rate. That is, in the modern world, having children is an act of faith. There is no program that governments can enact that will increase religious faith, so any attempts by United States governments (whether states or the federal government) are doomed to failure ... just as has happened in other countries. 
            • Emberlit has finally started selling a couple of heavily anticipated products (at least among the wilderness survival community): the Cabuya Handline, a handle and casting tool for fishing (replacing a cumbersome fishing pole and reel in your backpack); and their Sprongs, a polymer spoon and fork set that snap together to make a set of tongs for camping and survival.
            • "Trump Orders Revival of US Manned Space Exploration Program"--Global Security. He wants to get us back to the moon. Unfortunately, the earliest that a man mission would occur is between 2030 and 2035, which is too long in my opinion. Not only because I believe that we need to push into the final frontier as a matter of the nation's life blood, but for national defense purposes: space represents the ultimate high-ground. Our signing the “Outer Space Treaty” (the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies for the pedantic) crippled our space program, and will go down in history as one of the biggest diplomatic blunders of all time.
            • "Male Role Models Are Not Necessary, Says Professor"--Anonymous Conservative. Not backed up by any evidence. To the contrary, as Anonymous Conservative points out, "research shows single moms routinely have higher rates of criminality among offspring." (For more information, see my article on the worth of fathers). Anonymous Conservative gets to the heart of this professor's patently ridiculous statement:
            Notice how this is kind of like competing without competing. He is imploring others to do things which will render them failures. Feminists do the same things, when they tell pretty young girls to eschew makeup, engage in promiscuity, and reject commitment to family. This is a competitive strategy for losers who are trolling with bad ideas to defeat those who are too stupid to ignore them.
            With all the talk of hell and damnation, Jesus is not shy in telling us he can be a harsh judge. He came into the world to judge and is eager (eager!) to cast fire upon the earth. His father leaves it to his son to execute judgment. Jesus is clear his judgment doesn’t turn out well for the great majority.
            * * *
            ... His Good News is really good because it overcomes really, really bad news. The former is mere sentimentality without the latter. The latter is hopelessly cruel without the former.
            Read the whole thing.

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