Tuesday, December 19, 2017

December 19, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

            In a street fight, the shotgun is fired once or twice...perhaps three times, and then it is reloaded with single rounds.  Not as sexy as what Remington suggests, but its the way its done.  The way Remington is marketing this is by comparing the full reload of an empty tube fed 870, to the full reload of a magazine fed 870.  Very clever on their part but absolutely irrelevant.
              Instead, lets compare times to the first shot from empty guns on each side.  My money is on the chamber load of the tube fed weapon, followed by the tube load (and subsequent racking of the action) of the tube fed weapon in speed over the magazine fed model.   Moreover, if we accept that the way shotguns are used in real life is by a "load what you shoot" methodology - in other words, load what you have shot as soon as you have the chance - the tube fed weapon is far easier to keep loaded than the magazine fed weapon.
                Not to mention the carry of additional ammunition is far easier with the tube fed methodology of a belt mounted ammo sleeve, a side saddle, or even a handful of shells in the jacket pocket.
          I'm going to play devil's advocate on this one. Similar arguments were made in favor of single action rifles in the past, and was one of the reasons that the 1903 Springfield had a magazine cut-off allowing it to be used a single shot weapon. However, as faster methods of reloading became available (i.e., clips and detachable magazines), rifles began to be used differently. I suspect that part of the reason that shotguns are used the way they are is because of the limitation imposed by the tube magazine, and they may well wind up being used differently with detachable magazines. 
                    Earlier this year the gun researchers at Harvard and Northeastern broke into the news with a survey of gun owners which showed that a group of what are called “super owners,” representing 15 percent of all gun owners, now own on average at least 17 guns. Meanwhile, the percentage of American homes containing firearms continues to go down. What the survey did not reveal, unfortunately, was the average age of these super owners, but I’m willing to bet that most of them are older rather than younger and have been buying guns for years. This past weekend I went to a gun show and noticed that virtually everyone wandering around looking at guns, gun parts, ammunition, holsters and assorted crap were men in their ’50s and ’60s, a consumer group that can hardly be said to represent future growth for the gun industry, or any industry based on consumer sales.
                       When I was a kid, starting at age 6 or 7, I always wore my Lone Ranger hat and toy gun. Now kids at that age are playing with electronic devices; my 12-year-old grandson just got his first droid. For those folks who have been fighting the GVP battle against what they consider to be overwhelming odds, they might step back for a moment and consider that there’s one factor working in their favor, and that’s something called time. And the gun industry can’t do anything to stop time from moving forward, no matter how deep gun prices are slashed.
                Where to start? Gun shows: Anecdotal evidence is not evidence. But if we are going to rely on anecdotes, I don't go to gun shows anymore because I no longer want to pay $8 per head for prices for firearms, ammunition or accessories that will generally be beat by local stores or by ordering over the Internet. Kids not playing "Lone Ranger": he's got a point--my kids instead play Call of Duty, Halo, and similar. I took one of my sons into a gun store with me recently, and the first thing he spotted and recognized was the Five-Seven pistol because he recognized it from his video games. "Super owners": I probably fall within that category, but I fully intend to pass my firearms on to my children and (if that day should ever come), grandchildren; the gun tradition won't be dying off with me.
                  A change of 0.1% may not sound like much, but the sun deposits a lot of energy on the Earth, approximately 1,361 watts per square meter. Summed over the globe, a 0.1% variation in this quantity exceeds all of our planet’s other energy sources (such as natural radioactivity in Earth’s core) combined. A 2013 report issued by the National Research Council (NRC), “The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth’s Climate,” spells out some of the ways the cyclic change in TSI can affect the chemistry of Earth’s upper atmosphere and possibly alter regional weather patterns, especially in the Pacific.
                    "You know, you see a lot of interesting things," Fravor said. "But to show up on something that's a 40-foot-long white Tic Tac with no wings that can move, really, in any random direction that it wants and go from hovering over the ocean to mirroring us to accelerating to the point where it just disappears — like, poof, then it was gone."
                             Cmdr. David Fravor and Lt. Cmdr. Jim Slaight were on a routine training mission 100 miles out into the Pacific when the radio in each of their F/A-18F Super Hornets crackled: An operations officer aboard the U.S.S. Princeton, a Navy cruiser, wanted to know if they were carrying weapons.

                              “Two CATM-9s,” Commander Fravor replied, referring to dummy missiles that could not be fired. He had not been expecting any hostile exchanges off the coast of San Diego that November afternoon in 2004.

                                Commander Fravor, in a recent interview with The New York Times, recalled what happened next. Some of it is captured in a video made public by officials with a Pentagon program that investigated U.F.O.s.

                               “Well, we’ve got a real-world vector for you,” the radio operator said, according to Commander Fravor. For two weeks, the operator said, the Princeton had been tracking mysterious aircraft. The objects appeared suddenly at 80,000 feet, and then hurtled toward the sea, eventually stopping at 20,000 feet and hovering. Then they either dropped out of radar range or shot straight back up.

                               The radio operator instructed Commander Fravor and Commander Slaight, who has given a similar account, to investigate.

                               The two fighter planes headed toward the objects. The Princeton alerted them as they closed in, but when they arrived at “merge plot” with the object — naval aviation parlance for being so close that the Princeton could not tell which were the objects and which were the fighter jets — neither Commander Fravor nor Commander Slaight could see anything at first. There was nothing on their radars, either.

                              Then, Commander Fravor looked down to the sea. It was calm that day, but the waves were breaking over something that was just below the surface. Whatever it was, it was big enough to cause the sea to churn.

                               Hovering 50 feet above the churn was an aircraft of some kind — whitish — that was around 40 feet long and oval in shape. The craft was jumping around erratically, staying over the wave disturbance but not moving in any specific direction, Commander Fravor said. The disturbance looked like frothy waves and foam, as if the water were boiling.

                              Commander Fravor began a circular descent to get a closer look, but as he got nearer the object began ascending toward him. It was almost as if it were coming to meet him halfway, he said.

                              Commander Fravor abandoned his slow circular descent and headed straight for the object.

                             But then the object peeled away. “It accelerated like nothing I’ve ever seen,” he said in the interview. He was, he said, “pretty weirded out.”

                              The two fighter jets then conferred with the operations officer on the Princeton and were told to head to a rendezvous point 60 miles away, called the cap point, in aviation parlance.

                               They were en route and closing in when the Princeton radioed again. Radar had again picked up the strange aircraft.

                               “Sir, you won’t believe it,” the radio operator said, “but that thing is at your cap point.”

                               “We were at least 40 miles away, and in less than a minute this thing was already at our cap point,” Commander Fravor, who has since retired from the Navy, said in the interview.

                                By the time the two fighter jets arrived at the rendezvous point, the object had disappeared.

                               The fighter jets returned to the Nimitz, where everyone on the ship had learned of Commander Fravor’s encounter and was making fun of him.

                              Commander Fravor’s superiors did not investigate further and he went on with his career, deploying to the Persian Gulf to provide air support to ground troops during the Iraq war. But he does remember what he said that evening to a fellow pilot who asked him what he thought he had seen.

                              “I have no idea what I saw,” Commander Fravor replied to the pilot. “It had no plumes, wings or rotors and outran our F-18s.”

                              But, he added, “I want to fly one.”
                              Children in Venezuela are suffering from and dying of acute malnutrition at a staggering rate, according to a report from The New York Times published Sunday.
                                 The Times spoke to doctors at 21 public hospitals across the country, who say there have been roughly 2,800 cases of child malnutrition and nearly 400 deaths due to the condition in the last year.
                                   The oil-rich South American country has been enveloped in a political and economic crisis for more than a year, resulting in soaring inflation and a shortage of food, medicine and other basic necessities. ...
                            The article also notes that Venezuela's own government data, released earlier this year, "showed infant mortality had increased by 30 percent and maternal mortality by 65 percent."
                                    In light of the above studies, it can be responsibly concluded that the Book of Mormon’s internal claims about its authorship are consistent with the best stylometric evidence currently available. While the Holmes and Jockers studies each reached conclusions inconsistent with the Book of Mormon’s claims of authorship, both were later found to be fundamentally flawed. In contrast the Larsen, Hilton, and Fields studies each produced sound results. Their mutually supporting conclusions should therefore be taken seriously by anyone assessing questions of Book of Mormon authorship.[36]
                                       Stylometry is not a perfect science, but over the years its methods for distinguishing writing styles have become increasingly refined. In fact, it has been demonstrated that stylometric methods are able to detect an author’s word-use patterns even when he or she attempts to write in a different “voice” or to imitate another text’s style.[37] The Book of Mormon’s lengthy texts and complex content would make it especially difficult for its true author(s) to fool the stylometric analysis, whether intentionally or inadvertently.
                                         It should be understood that stylometry cannot prove that the Book of Mormon was written by multiple ancient American prophets. What it can reliably demonstrate, and what valid data from the above studies collectively argue, is that (1) the Book of Mormon was written in multiple, distinct authorship styles, (2) these distinct styles are consistent with the authors designated within the text itself, and (3) none of the proposed 19th century authors—including Joseph Smith himself—have writing styles that are similar to those found in the Book of Mormon.


                                1. RE: Decline in Gun Sales and Gun Shows. I'll add my anecdotal observations to the mix. I attended a gun show last weekend. I saw a broad mix of people of various ages at the show - many younger people including young families with small children, and of course older people. And, at the gun shows, I am seeing firearms for sale that are painted with a "distressed" look to match the appearance of firearms from computer games.

                                  Of course older people are going to be owning and buying more firearms - they have more disposable income.

                                  As to declining gun sales, I think everybody is taking a breather after eight years of Obama and the expected coronation of Hillary - we dodged a bullet with the election of Trump. However, even with the reported decline in gun sales, they are still near historical highs. Using NICS background checks as proxy for gun sales, firearms sales for the first 11 months of 2017 have already exceeded 2014 numbers. And, if 2017 trends continue through December, 2017 firearms sales will exceed 2015 firearms sales. (See https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/nics_firearm_checks_-_month_year.pdf)

                                  1. The "decline" is, I suspect, just wishful thinking on the part of the left. Their amygdala is so lit up right now that they are desperate for any (to them) good news.


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