|Source: "Enemies of the (American) People" by Sarah Hoyt at PJ Media.|
Monday, December 31, 2018
Sunday, December 30, 2018
"Creating Chaos? .300 AAC Gorilla 110gr Lehigh Controlled Chaos Gel Test"--AR15.com (6-1/2 min). The Lehigh round did pretty well--good expansion, but slightly too much penetration. Because it is copper bullet, Andrew thought it would be a good hunting round for those areas that ban lead. Down in the comments, someone asked Andrew what .300 Blackout rounds he would recommend over this particular one, and he replied "110gr TAC-TX and V-MAX, Sig 120gr HT."
- "Why We MISS IN FIGHTS but Not on the Range"--Warrior Poet Society. The author, in particular, is addressing the issue of shooting too low. His hypothesis is formed by watching video of his students' performance in a shoot-house. He writes:
I have a theory on why we miss in fights but not on the range.
When we are afraid and are presented with a threat, we REFUSE TO ALLOW anything to block our view of that threat. This means, your fear response refuses to allow your sights and gun to block any part of your view.
I see students do this whether they are shooting iron sights, red dot sights, or even point shooting. The result is the same. Oftentimes, people are simply not using their sights because they do not want sights blocking any part of their field of view.
His recommendation? "The better response is to find out this nasty trick that fear plays on us and begin trying to combat this. Engage frequently in force-on-force and force-on-target training. Be accountable for your accuracy. Train with reputable instructors who know what to look for. Video everything and review your response." The author also has a video on this topic which is embedded in the article at the link.
- "When Misses Hit- A Look at Real World Backstop Issues"--Active Response Training. Greg Ellifritz notes that police are getting better in their shooting: the average hit rate has gone up to 35%. Nevertheless, that still leaves 65% of rounds fired going somewhere else, possibly an innocent bystander or fellow officer. The issue is how concerned a responder (or concealed carrier) should be concerned about this. That is, is it worth the time and effort to maneuver until you can find a safe backstop? Ellifritz argues that if you are being shot at, or if the gunman is shooting others, you don't have the time to try and find a safe shot because each time the gunman pulls a trigger, you risk being hit or having another bystander shot. Read the article and see what you think.
- The Tactical Wire reports that Speer will begin to sell ammunition and reloading components online, including its Gold Dot line of ammunition. This means that you should have better access to calibers that are generally not available in your local gun store or online retailers.
- Rolling your own: "Airsoft pistol combined with .22lr conversion kit"--Impro Guns. The author reports:
The body of the weapon including the frame (receiver) and trigger mechanism is that of a common gas powered replica Colt 1911 6mm airsoft / .177 BB pistol which is manufactured in Taiwan. The ‘F’ within a pentagon mark present on the frame indicates a muzzle energy not exceeding 7.5 J (5.5 ft⋅lbf) usually added in accordance with German law. This appears to have been combined with a conventional .22lr slide which is branded with a Blue Line Solutions logo and made in Germany, likely by GSG (German Sports Guns). All parts required in this case are available as conversions kits from the likes of GSG and others which usually include the slide, barrel and magazine, ready to drop onto an unmodified full-bore 1911 pistol frame assembly to allow the use of smaller .22lr cartridges.
- "Beyond Fight or Flight"--Schafer's Self-Defense Corner. The author notes that the idea that a person (or animal, for that matter) reacts to a threat by fight or flight is hogwash (his term). "There are actually 3 different responses an animal can give and a human is capable of at least 5. An animal will instinctively fight, run away, or freeze in fear and be killed. A human will either fight, run away, freeze, surrender, or comply." Fight and flight is well know, so the author discusses the remaining three responses. For instance, as to freeze, he writes:
When a person gets attacked it is usually by surprise and they simply don’t know what to do. While those trained in self-protection will have a plan for when an attack occurs and will have rehearsed their response numerous times in a controlled environment, the average person will not have a clue of how to respond. First their mind will try to wrap itself around the situation; they will think things like: is this really happening? Am I really being attacked? Maybe this is a joke? Maybe there are cameras around and that Ashton Kutcher guy will jump out? Next their thoughts will progress to accepting the situation is happening but not knowing if they are in real danger; they will think thoughts like: is he really going to hurt me? Things like this don’t happen to me, they happen to people you see on the news. What is he going to do to do me? He can’t kill me because I have to give that presentation to the PTO next week. After that they will try to think of appropriate responses and debate with themselves whether they should resist.
While they do all of this the attacker will have a frozen victim to do with what they see fit. Often an attacker will rob a victim and flee before their victim fully realizes what just happened. A criminal knows that if he attacks correctly his victim will most likely freeze rather than resist and that is what most criminals count on.
Read the whole thing.
- "What Lewis & Clark Took With Them on the Expedition"--Modern Survival Blog. Weapons for everyone, plenty of ammunition (powder and lead), parts for repairing their firearms. Also, a substantial quantity of goods to use for trading with Indian tribes. Interesting list, so check the whole thing out.
- "5 Great .357 Magnum Lever Action Rifles"--The Truth About Guns. If you are looking for a home defense carbine or rifle, but can't have a semi-auto, the author recommends a lever action in .357 Magnum. He lists 5 from the top lever-action manufacturers. I would also suggest taking a look at the Rossi 92 models which are based on the Winchester 1892 model. They may be a little rough, but are easy to work on and aftermarket parts are available to make them a bit better. If you get the round barreled versions, they are also tapped for attaching a scope mount (or red dot)--the tapped holes are underneath the rear sight. If you want a back up sight, you can get a peep sight that replaces the rear safety. Check out Steve's Gunz. Also, although the author of the article indicates that these rifles generally don't have sling mounts, you can purchase slings that are designed to attach without using sling mounts.
- Do you remember that scene in Aliens where the space marines are shooting wildly and you can see the ammunition counter counting down to zero? Well, now you can have the same experience. A company called RADETEC now offers several different models of magazine counters for certain models of handguns and rifles.
- "The Evolution Of The Rifle With Ballistic Performance Comparisons"--Ammo and Gun Collector. The author has an interesting infographic showing the evolution of military arms from flintlock up to modern examples, also listing the maximum rate of fire and the effective range. Some of the comments are critical of the effective range, but we have to keep in mind that "effective range" generally denotes "the distance that a typically trained soldier using an issue rifle and standard ammunition has a 50% hit probability on a man torso target."
"That Time a Guy Tried to Build a Utopia for Mice and it all Went to Hell"--Today I Found Out (8 min.). I remember learning about this experiment back when I was kid, and it was used to demonstrate how population density can lead to a break down in society. However, that appears to have been the wrong conclusion. First, as the video explains, the mice never reached a population density that was as great as the "arcology" could support, and there were no restrictions on food and the habitat was kept clean. Second, what appeared to have broken down over time was a social breakdown. Interestingly, the video explains that the researcher performed later experiments where the mice were given more meaning to their lives, which seemed to extend the time for the colony. What happened, however, was with the peace and plenty, the mouse society collapsed with mice refusing to reproduce (even as their population declined), and split into classes or groups which didn't associate with others, and some seeking to isolate themselves where they could concentrate on activities such as grooming. It has some interesting implications for today.
- Some good advice on living a happier life: "What does your ideal day look like? Probably Rosie O’Donnell-Free?"--Wilder Wealthy and Wise. Key point:
However, if you live a life of Now, you realize something pretty cool – in almost every moment of your life, the past three seconds were okay, and the next three seconds are okay. While you don’t have the ability to change your past, you have the ability to choose how you feel about today.
Read the whole thing.
- "More illnesses tied to police raid in the Falls: SHERIFF: Number of agents, officers who fell ill after Dec. 14 warrant execution climbs to 21"--Lockport Union-Sun & Journal. (H/t Anonymous Conservative). Per the article:
The vast majority of those who became indisposed were federal agents, Voutour said. One local individual, a sheriff's deputy, was hospitalized and released earlier this week. It appears the individuals who exhibited symptoms are those that had direct contact with the suspect or the apartment, the sheriff said.
Yeah, I've been in houses like that. I had to stop visiting a family in one of our wards (congregations) because I would get sick after every visit. I also have an in-law's house that I avoid for the same reason.
- Anonymous Conservative had been wondering if the "mysterious polio like illness" was linked to illegals crossing the border to influence key elections, and now he has data that supports his hypothesis. He linked to this article the other day from the New York Post, "Researchers fear mysterious polio-like illness may spread in US." Key part from the article:
Since the CDC first began researching the affliction in 2014, AFM has flared up in waves — infecting far more people in 2016 and 2018 than in 2015 and 2017.
Some researchers are now worried the disease could return with force in 2020, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Coincidence? I don't know, but just something to keep in the back of your mind.
- Some inconvenient truths: "Curry’s sea-level rise study disputes climate-disaster predictions – In many cases, ‘half of the sea-level rise is really from land sinking’"--Watts Up With That. From the article:
For years, climate prognosticators have warned that human-caused global warming is fueling catastrophic sea-level rise, but now climatologist Judith Curry is rocking their boat.
In her latest paper, Ms. Curry found that the current rising sea levels are not abnormal, nor can they be pinned on human-caused climate change, arguing that the oceans have been on a “slow creep” for the last 150 years — before the post-1950 climb in carbon-dioxide emissions.
Curry also points out that sea-levels had been higher in some regions five to seven thousand years ago during the Holocene Climate Optimum. And while she agrees that some of the "rising" sea levels is human caused, its not due to CO2, but building on wetlands, resulting in the ground sinking. "If you look at Galveston and New Orleans, much more than half is caused by sinking. And this comes from geologic processes, it comes from landfills on wetlands.” She also cited groundwater withdrawal in the Chesapeake Bay area as a cause for sinking in that area.
- Signs of the times: "UK: Clergy Members Warn Anti-Christian Hate Crime on Rise"--Breitbart. From the article:
“Anti-Christian sentiment” is on the rise in Britain, Church of England priests told a survey which has revealed that more than two thirds of members of the clergy have been verbally abused in the past two years.
During the same period, one in ten CoE priests suffered physical violence, with the same proportion reporting they had noticed an increase in anti-Christian hate crime, according to the study commissioned by National Churchwatch.
- "The Strange and Twisted Tale of the Poco Handheld Computer"--IEEE Spectrum. There is an old poem about a housewife having to substitute one ingredient after another because she didn't have the ingredients called for in a recipe ... and then wondering why the recipe didn't turn out. This story is sort of like that. The developer started with the concept of building an HD video camera about the size of a credit card. But with different suppliers discontinuing products or going out of business all together, he had to substitute first one component and then another, and the video camera became a hand-held computer kit that can emulate old video game consoles or to teach simple programing.
- Good: "Bacteria found in ancient Irish soil halts growth of superbugs—new hope for tackling antibiotic resistance"--Phys.org.
- "Nazi Commando Otto Skorzeny Continued His Life of Intrigue After the War"--War is Boring. Skorzeny is the German commando that led the mission to rescue Mussolini. This article is about his post-War intrigues, primarily his plans and attempts to get support for a plan to rebuild a German army to fight the Soviets.
- "Speaking of Manners"--Taki's Magazine. The author laments the lack of simple good manners. An excerpt discussing the coarsening of speech:
And another thing: Lack of talent breeds four-letter words. Show me a writer of a TV series with great talent and his show will have the minimum of four-letter words. In fact, people with talent do not need to use them. Lack of talent, however, guarantees nonstop filth. Expletives are also part of the culture of triumphant ignorance—the belief that to behave like a slob or a gangster is an indication of manly virility. To a certain sort of half-wit, obscenities are testosterone turned into the spoken word. I fear that it is a sign of the times.
The fact is, obscenities have become smart—the symbol of a generation that disregards majority opinion, but thinks it clever. Yet not so long ago, I remember going to Yankee Stadium as a teenager and not hearing a single swear word in the crowded bleachers, and certainly none by the players. (Today no pro athlete is worth his salt unless he uses the f-word as an adverb, adjective, and verb.) Ditto for celebrities. They consider themselves cutting-edge when being boorish and using profanity. Yet no one from the mainstream media or those ghastly late-night-show hosts has had the courage to point out that those who use profanity nonstop display a woeful lack of imagination. F—ing this and f—ing that and using F as a verb and noun in the same sentence is the equivalent of a caveman’s grunt, nothing else. ...
By Docent at December 30, 2018
Friday, December 28, 2018
"South Africa: Black South Africans Unleash Campaign of Savagery and Predation on Local Whites"--Vesti News (16 min.). This is an in-depth news segment similar to what you would see on "60 Minutes". It is in Russian but includes subtitles in English. By the way, there is an older woman interviewed in the piece that shows off her revolver which she carries in a military style holster set up for cross-draw (at the 3:36 mark)--to borrow a phrase from Greg Ellifritz, I don't dig the rig.
- TGIF: This week's Weekend Knowledge Dump from Active Response Training. An outstanding selection of articles and videos this week. As always, I try to pick out one or two to highlight, which, in this case, was difficult. I finally settled on two, which are "Legal Guidance: What to Do As NJ Police Come for Your Gun Magazines" from Ammo Land and "The Telling Geography of American Gun Violence" from Gun Culture 2.0. The former is self-explanatory, while the latter discusses and provides links to a tool that can show you the number of firearm related injuries or deaths in your town or city since 2014.
- Jon Low at Defensive Pistol Craft has posted his monthly roundup of articles, quotes, and his commentary.
- You can't stop the signal (or something like that): "Guns Flow Into UK Despite Strict Laws; US Crime at Historic Lows as Civilian Gun Ownership Soars"--The Truth About Guns. Dan Zimmerman takes note of an article from The Guardian reporting that police in the UK are seeing an increased number of guns being smuggled into the country; and, concurrent with that, are seeing more "new" firearms rather than the same firearms being used again and again as they are rented out.
- "FBI: Record number of illegal immigrants barred from guns"--Washington Examiner. Or, in other words, more illegal aliens are trying to buy guns.
- "Even Sen. Feinstein Knows the Trump Bump Stock Ban is on Thin Legal Ice"--The Truth About Guns. She wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post preparing her acolytes for the possible rescission of the ban by the President, or the rule being overturned by a court.
- Herschel at The Captain's Journal warns about the increasing number of coyote sightings and, even, attacks in urban areas.
- "Not a prepper, but want to be? There's an app for that"--Daily Herald. The app discussed in the article is Prepify.
- Sheriff Jim Wilson, writing in Shooting Illustrated, discusses "Personal-Defense Planning: Always Have an Exit Strategy." Key point:
Our awareness plan should go something like this: When we enter a public place, we first scan it for any obvious trouble. Next, even though we have not seen anything alarming, we look around for objects that would be handy to use for cover. Third, we locate the various exits and try to position ourselves close to one of them. In time, these things become a natural part of our defensive observation and can be accomplished rather quickly.
- Related: "Self-Defense for Women: Being All Ears"--NRA Family. The author, Wendy LaFever, observes that "many people find that it's easier to concentrate and process visual information when auditory distractions are reduced." So get those earbuds out and pay attention to your surroundings.
- "Owl Eyes: A core awareness skill"--Wilderness Awareness School. A technique for maximizing your peripheral vision. From the article:
Imagine that you are an owl. Look straight ahead and imagine that your eyeballs are stuck in your eye sockets and cannot move.
Now, look straight ahead toward wherever your body is facing. Pick a spot directly across from you that you can train your eyes on without moving. Hold that spot in the center of your vision as your focal point. If your eyes wander off, bring them back to your focal point again. Always return to that one spot.
While staring at that spot and without moving your eyeballs, notice that you can also see part of the ground or floor between you and that spot. And without moving your eyeballs you can see part of the sky or ceiling between you and that spot. You can see the ground, the sky, and that spot all at the same time using your peripheral vision. This is owl eyes.
Build on this peripheral vision now by adding to your awareness the farthest thing you can see to the left and the farthest thing you can see to the right, all without moving your eyeballs. You can see these five things at once: your focal point, the ground, the sky, the extreme left, and the extreme right.
I can't remember where I heard or read this, but another tip (especially useful for self-defense purposes such as entering a building from the bright outdoors) is to lower your eyes slightly so that your peripheral vision can catch what is going on in front of you without you necessarily "staring" at someone.
- "Research: Would cops notice a gun on the dashboard during a traffic stop?"--Police One. The impact of inattentional blindness on police officers. According to the article, "[a]cross those conditions, 58% of recruit officers and 33% of the veteran officers failed to notice the weapon at any point during the simulated vehicle stop." Also:
[The officers] expected that such threats would automatically capture their attention.
Instead, they experienced “inattentional blindness” – when people focus on a task that demands their attention, they often fail to notice unexpected objects or events that occur in plain view. In other words, officers who do not “expect” to see a weapon on the dashboard will often fail to notice it, especially if they are focusing attention on something else, such as the driver.
The author suggests that the primary issue is that the officer is so focused on the driver and his interaction with that driver, that he misses other details; and that the solution may be to have a second officer approach from the other side whose focus should primarily be checking out the interior of the vehicle.
- "Thug Burglars: Tunnel Vision and Stress"--Personal Self-Defense. This article discusses inattentional blindness in the more familiar context of "tunnel-vision" when faced with a threat. The author notes research showing that not only does our focus of vision narrow, but we also lose auditory acuity. The author also includes stills from a video of a home invasion showing this tunnel vision effect in action. In the video, three burglars entered a home and apparently woke the owner that came out to investigate. She sees two of the burglars (and they see her) and opens fire. Her targets scramble to get out. The third burglar, in a different part of the house, also scrambles to get out, even bumping into the woman and pointing his firearm at her, yet there is nothing in the video to indicate that the woman ever saw the third burglar or that the he saw her.
- For more reading on the topic, you might want to check out this 2001 article, "Sights unseen: Research on a phenomenon known as inattentional blindness suggests that unless we pay close attention, we can miss even the most conspicuous events" published by The American Psychological Association. It discusses both "change blindness"--the failure "to detect change in their visual field, as long as the change occurs during an eye movement or when people's view is otherwise interrupted"--and inattentional blindness. It, of course, mentions the famous "gorilla suit" experiment:
In a particularly dramatic demonstration of the inattentional blindness effect, half of the observers failed to notice a person wearing a gorilla suit who walked into the middle of the basketball game, stopped to face the camera, thumped its chest and walked off the screen--spending a total of nine seconds on screen.
- And a 2012 article from Industrial Safety & Hygiene News entitled "Are Your Workers Blind To Safety?" This article explains:
The major cause of inattention blindness is not how much sensory information the employee is trying to process; it is due to the cognitive workload. The deeper an employee is concentrating on something, the less likely he or she is to notice incoming hazards. The one factor that seems to make a difference is a sensory gradient. If the incoming hazard looks very different from everything else in the visual field, it stands out more and has a better chance of being noticed. But most safety hazards are more likely to resemble the background and won’t pop out enough to be noticed.
Although discussing training to overcome inattentional blindness in drivers and the industrial setting, the article noted that the more realistic the training the better it was for training out inattentional blindness.
"Malema: 'The whites cannot leave South Africa'"--Loving Life (8-1/2 min.)
The author of this video begins with commentary, but the key part is at 4:37 mark which is where I set the video to begin playing. The video is part of a speech given recently by Julius Malema, the president of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party in South Africa. The EFF is the third largest party in South Africa and, although much smaller and harder left than the African National Congress (ANC), it seems to be gaining in popularity and driving the political discourse further to the left. We saw Malema earlier because he gave an interview where he said that he wasn't calling for the death of whites ... yet. The first few seconds of his speech here are the most interesting to me. Malema is obviously cognizant of what happened in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) when blacks took power and the white farmers fled the country--the economy tanked and agricultural production collapsed. Thus, in this speech, Malema is telling his followers that whites cannot be allowed to leave South Africa because, he proclaims, they will poison the land. I'm sure that Malema doesn't believe it, but that is what he is telling his followers is that if land is apportioned to blacks and the blacks can't successfully farm the land, it is because the white farmers "poisoned" the land. Just another take on the "magic dirt" theory.
- "Illegal immigrant from Jamaica, 18, is charged with murdering 12-year-old boy in Connecticut drive-by shooting a week before Christmas"--Daily Mail. The murderer, Tajay Chambers, had already been arrested for an assault on another teen in October 2018. Apparently the victim's older brother had shot at Chambers car with a BB gun, and Chambers returned with some accomplices with the intent of killing the older brother. However, Chambers wasn't a very good shot and instead struck and killed the 12-year old boy. He is being charged with murder, among other crimes. Although the article doesn't discuss this, this is another example of transfered intent: Chambers didn't intend to kill the boy but the boy's brother. However, per the doctrine, that intent was transfered to the victim, and instead of manslaughter, Chambers is facing a murder charge.
- Dreamers gotta dream: "MS-13 allegedly used a 13-year-old girl to lure murder victim to Queens bird sanctuary"--New York Post. According to the article, "Police have arrested four people in the gruesome killing, including an unidentified 13-year-old girl and 15-year-old boy." The other two "youths" involved in the killing were 22 and 18 years old, respectively. The article indicates that police believe that the 4 used the same tactic to kill another Hispanic youth on December 18.
- "The Marxism That Must Not Be Named"--William S. Lind at Traditional Right. Lind addresses a New York Times op-ed that essentially says that "Cultural Marxism" and the Frankfort School is an illusory bogyman invented by the right. Lind writes:
My answer to the professor (of history no less) is “Read some history.” The literature on the Frankfurt School is immense and most of it is written by scholars on the Left. The definitive work is Rolf Wiggershaus’s The Frankfurt School. Martin Jay is the principal American scholar of the Frankfurt School, and his book The Dialectical Imagination is also quite good, although it ends in 1950 and thus misses most of Herbert Marcuse’s influence. Lorenz Jager’s recent biography of Theodor Adorno, simply titled Adorno, is excellent. No open-minded person can read these books and not find in the Frankfurt School’s work the origins of what we now know as political correctness.
Lind adds: "The easiest way to tell you are dealing with cultural Marxist is if he denies the existence of cultural Marxism." If you don't want to read books written by leftists, you can read up in Michael Walsh's book, The Devil's Pleasure Palace, or Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism.
- Cultural Marxism in action: "Fewer NYC high school students identify as heterosexual than ever before"--New York Post. The article reports that "[n]early one in four teens, 23.6 percent, now identify in categories other than straight — the highest level ever recorded, the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey has found."
- China's new colonialism: "China's African debt-trap: Beijing prepares to seize Kenya's port of Mombasa"--Taiwan News. From the article:
African media reports that Kenya may soon be forced to relinquish control of its largest and most lucrative port in Mombasa to Chinese control.
Other assets related to the inland shipment of goods from the port, including the Inland Container Depot in Nairobi, and the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), may also be compromised in the event of a Chinese port takeover.
This is coming just as African nations implement the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which is intended to make the continent tariff free.
- The wages of
sinsocialism: "Special Report: Oil output goes AWOL in Venezuela as soldiers run PDVSA"--Reuters. The Venezuelan national oil company is seeing it production continue to decline even after the military took control of those companies. The article recounts:
Soldiers with AK-47s, under orders to prevent cheating on manifests, now board tankers to accompany cargo inspectors, rattling foreign captains and crews.
Workers who make mistakes operating increasingly dilapidated PDVSA equipment now face the risk of arrest and charges of sabotage or corruption. Military chieftains, moonlighting in the private sector, are elbowing past other contractors for lucrative service and supply business with PDVSA.
In a little-noted reversal of the Socialist government’s two-decade drive to nationalize the industry, the lack of expertise among military managers is leading PDVSA to hire outsiders to keep afloat even basic operations, like drilling and pumping oil. To the dismay of many familiar with Venezuela’s oil industry, some of the contracts are going to small, little-known firms with no experience in the sector.
Things may turn around--at least as to oil production. Russia is going to help Venezuela financially in exchange for taking at least partial control over Venezuela's oil industry.
- "Rare phenomenon caused the shocking blue glow over NYC’s skies". The New York Post reports that "[a] faulty piece of equipment charged with 138,000 volts of electricity erupted into an 'electrical arc flash' that cast an eerie blue glow over the skies of New York, Con Edison officials said Friday morning." That's the official story, but we all know it was time-traveling Terminators.
- "The First War on Christmas"--The American Conservative. "Three days after Christmas, the Catholic Church observes the feast of the Holy Innocents, or Childermas. It memorializes a massacre of infants [by King Herod]. That also is part of the Christmas story." Read the whole thing.
- A reminder that we live in the 21st Century: "New Horizons: Ultima Thule is Dead Ahead"--Sky & Telescope. On January 1, 2019, the New Horizons probe will pass by 2014 MU69 (nicknamed Ultima Thule), a large Kuiper belt object past Pluto, which is currently about 4 billion miles (6.4 billion km) from the Earth. There is a bit of a mystery with Thule: its "light curve" should change as the object rotates, but current measurements are not showing a light curve--there is no change in brightness. This suggests that New Horizons may be approaching the object along its axis of rotation (unlikely) or that the object is surrounded by a cloud of gas or debris masking its light signature. In 2017, scientists did detect variations in brightness, which led them to believe that Ultima Thule might have a small moon orbiting it.
By Docent at December 28, 2018
Thursday, December 27, 2018
A few days ago, a gunman opened fire on a restaurant in Brussels. No one was injured or killed, and so the story quickly dropped from the headlines. In fact, the only really notable point about the whole incident was that the gunman used a Kalashnikov rifle. Now, you might wonder how someone in Brussels happened to own an AK. The reporter that penned the Breitbart article apparently wondered the same thing because she noted that "[d]espite Belgium and France having strict personal gun ownership laws, both have been plagued by shootings with Kalashnikov and other machine-gun type weapons." And after noting several incidents of police discovering stockpiles of military arms, she concluded: "The weapon is readily available to jihadists and gangsters on the black market, coming from stockpiles in Russia and former Soviet bloc nations in eastern Europe."
It reminded me of a 2012 article from Reason magazine entitled "Gun Restrictions Have Always Bred Defiance, Black Markets." The author of that piece went through the process of legally purchasing a handgun in New York City, including obtaining all the necessary permits. It was a long, tedious and expensive process. He also purchased an AK style rifle--a weapon completely illegal in New York City--for a lot less money and effort on the black market. With that, the author segued into the more general topic of gun restrictions and black markets. And he found some interesting statistics. I won't bore you with the statistics (you can go to the article to get the particulars), but those studying the phenomena believe that the number of illegal firearms in cities and countries that restrict or ban them, far outnumber those that are legally held. Moreover, when new restrictions and bans take affect, people mostly ignore them. For instance, one researcher calculated that compliance with Australia’s 1996 ban on self-loading rifles and pump-action shotguns was only 20 percent. And that is actually a fairly high level of compliance. The author concluded that "no matter where you are in the world, when governments impose gun laws that are widely disliked by the people to whom they apply, people disobey those laws. And disobedience isn't just the stubborn reaction of a few holdouts or a sizeable minority—it seems, invariably—to be the policy favored by most of the people subject to the objectionable statute."
It is not just an academic issue in the United States. After the Sandy Hook shooting, both New York and Connecticut passed laws requiring owners of "assault weapons" to register those weapons. Forbes reported in 2015 that of the estimated 300,000 owners of such weapons in Connecticut, the state only received 41,347 applications (i.e., about 14%). It was estimated that New York had approximately 1,000,000 residents that would need to register weapons under the state's SAFE Act. Actual registrations were 44,485 (4.4%).
New Jersey recently enacted a law banning magazines of more than 10-rounds, violation of which was a felony. According to one article on the subject, "[t]he 180-day period expired on December 11, and not a single magazine has been turned in to any local law-enforcement agencies[.]" That is an estimated million people that decided that they would rather be considered felons than comply with a stupid law. Colorado has also banned “assault weapons,” “high-capacity” magazines, and “bump stocks” with little affect. The same article reports:
[L]aw-abiding citizens living in Boulder owned approximately 150,000 now-offending firearms. They needed to be “certified” under the law’s grandfather clause by December 27 or fines and jail time would be applied to those newly minted miscreants. As of December 1, the Boulder Police Department had certified just 85 of them.The Guardian decided to take a look at the effectiveness of Colorado's and Washington's prohibition of private transfers of firearms (i.e., requiring that all firearms transfers undergo a background check, effectively requiring transferors to go through a licensed firearms dealer). It found:
More than three years later, researchers have concluded that the new laws had little measurable effect, probably because citizens simply decided not to comply and there was a lack of enforcement by authorities.
The results of the new study, conducted by some of America’s most well-respected gun violence researchers, is a setback for a growing gun control movement that has centered its national strategy on precisely the kind of state laws passed in Colorado and Washington. A third, smaller state, Delaware, passed a background check law around the same time and did see increases in the number of background checks conducted, the study found. But a similar background-check law in Nevada passed in 2016 has also run into political hurdles and has never been enforced.And now we have the bump-stock ban, in which the ATF has waved its magic wand and decided that bump-stocks are machine gun parts even though they don't meet the definition in the federal statutes. The ATF estimates that some 600,000 have been sold since 2010. Possession of a bump-stock after the March 21, 2019, deadline to turn them in or destroy them makes the possessor a felon, risking up to 10-years imprisonment. While you may think that bump stocks were silly accessories of no practical use (which was one of the reasons why I never purchased one), the ban comes across for that very reason as yet another in "a long train of abuses and usurpations."
I've seen some debate on whether owners of bump-stocks should comply with the ban or not. If history is our guide, less than 20% of those owning bump-stocks will comply. And there will be at least 480,000 new felons.
These types of bans don't work and have never worked. What they do, however, is create a class of people that are suddenly felons because of a law (a regulation, in this case) that is, from their viewpoint, petty, stupid and mercurial. And if violators can ignore one law, especially one with serious consequences, it makes it easier to ignore other laws. The law is no longer seen as something that safeguards rights, but an arbitrary and capricious danger, like a blind serpent that strikes randomly at things around it. And this breeds contempt for the law and the government.
This brings to mind the article I cited the other day on "How drug prohibition created the fentanyl crisis" by Trevor Burrus. In that article, Burrus cited the "iron law of prohibition," which "posits that as law enforcement becomes more intense, the potency of prohibited substances increases." Would this apply to firearms? Maybe. I see a lot of articles reporting on the seizure of improvised submachine guns in other countries, such as Brazil and Australia (although, to be honest, this may simply be because open bolt submachine guns are one of the simplest firearms to build, as England demonstrated in World War II with the Sten). Or applying the reversal of the law, will prohibitions make weapon owners more likely to seek more "potent" weapons? That seemed to be the case in the Reason article I cited at the beginning. The author, there, purchased a black market AK-style rifle in his frustration with the New York City regulations.
Bans don't work because people ignore the laws, and there may well be an unintended consequence of creating a class of gun owners that are no longer intimidated by anti-gun laws. That will probably be the result of the ban on bump-stocks at the federal level.
"Reconsidering the 4 Rules of Firearms Safety"--Tier 1 Citizen (5 min.)
The author of this video is not calling for the revocation of the 4 rules, but he thinks that many people take the 4 rules too far. For example, he gets complaints from people if he points the firearm at the camera (!) because "muzzling."
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
"Buckshot for Hunting and Home Defense"--Paul Herrell (36 min.)
Herrell looks at the performance of different types of buckshot at various ranges, including when using a couple different chokes (open cylinder and full). The basic takeaway, as we've seen in other videos on the same topic, is that you shouldn't be using buckshot of less than #1 in size in order to have adequate penetration.
I hope all of you had a good and happy Christmas. On to the round-up of news and topics:
- First and foremost, if you haven't already gotten around to it, Ol' Remus has a new Woodpile Report for this week. One of the links that caught my attention was one to this post, "Reaction 101: Priests and Warriors," at Jim's Blog. Remus quoted the following bit:
From the time we defeated the Mongol hordes in Hungary in 1241, to our defeat in Afghanistan in 1840, the west was uniformly victorious for six centuries. Since then, since 1841 we have been suffering defeats by ever weaker enemies.. The writing on the wall is that the west is ripe for conquest, like a wealthy elderly widow in a neighborhood that has turned bad. Not so much conquest by a major power like China, but rather a dark age collapse, when ever changing minor actors engage in mobile banditry – closer to the New Year rape festival in Cologne than D Day. Since our current State religion is headed towards suicide and mass murder, we are going to need a replacement, assuming we survive at all.
Note well that the dark age collapse of Rome was the quintessential example of the collapse of a society due to over complexity in Tainter's The Collapse of Complex Societies.
- Related: Speaking of the decline of empire: "Hawaii Says LEOSA Doesn’t Apply in the State, Bans Carry by Out-of-State Cops"--The Truth About Guns. The Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act (LEOSA) is a federal law that allows currently sworn or retired law enforcement officers to carry nationwide even if the a particular state or territory would otherwise not allow it. Apparently, Hawaii is asserting that you are not a LEO unless you are acting in performance of your duties. The point of contention seems to be a portion of the definition of LEO which requires that the officer "is authorized by law to engage in or supervise the prevention, detection, investigation, or prosecution of, or the incarceration of any person for, any violation of law, and has statutory powers of arrest or apprehension under section 807(b) of title 10, United States Code (article 7(b) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice)" 18 U.S.C. § 926B(c)(1).
- "Gunshot Residue and Personal Carry Ammunition"--Sensible Self Defense. The author discusses a case in which gunshot residue was key evidence in obtaining a conviction, and notes that the defendant was not permitted to present evidence of what residue would be produced (or not produced) from his ammunition because it was hand-loaded rather than factory-loaded. The author explained:
However, ballistics testing on the ammunition Lise Bias’s wounds could not be run because the ammunition in the pistol that killed Lise Bias was ammunition that Daniel Bias had reloaded. As a result, there was no way of knowing if the cartridges were all the same reloads or not and therefore they could not be relied upon for gunshot residue (GSR) testing.
* * *
With reloaded ammunition, the forensic examiner cannot verify distances because there is no un-biased sample to measure it against. The accused has literally manufactured the evidence; therefore, judge is unlikely to admit the reloaded ammunition as an exhibit in the trial.
The author goes on to discuss powder residue at different distances, as well as photographs of exemplars. He then returns to the original subject of his post and recommends:
What can we learn from this? GSR distance testing is often done with exemplar ammunition or ammunition that is identical to what was in your pistol. This is the primary reason to carry factory ammunition for personal defense. When you purchase this ammunition, try to buy several boxes from the same lot. Write the date you entered the ammunition into service on the box. Load all of your carry magazines with the same ammunition from the same box—do not mix ammunition lots or brands in your carry magazines.
After you load your magazines for carry, save at least five rounds in the box. If you find yourself in a short range defensive situation, the forensics examiner can use the ammunition sample from the lot that you have saved to verify distances with powder testing. If the prosecution objects to this, your attorney can request an independent sample from the manufacturer. Large ammunition makers keep samples for each lot for exemplar testing for 10 years. This is why keeping the box intact with the lot numbers is important.
- "Preppers How Much Food is Enough? (Estimates Based on Historical Events)"--M.D. Creekmore (h/t Woodpile Report). The author notes:
Most periods of food shortage since the year 1900 lasted only 1-2 years while some of them lasted 3-4 years. Not very many of them lasted five years or more, but there were a few times in the last century when a food shortage crisis lasted a full decade.
In Russia, there were several factors which caused a prolonged period of food shortages which killed millions of people. One of those factors was war, both WWI (1914) and the Russian Revolution (1918-1920). During Russia’s civil war, opposing groups lived off the land while also stealing food from the farmers who grew it.
That food was distributed among allied friends and denied to enemy neighbors. A drought in 1921 only made food more scarce for everyone, including farmers who would often consume seed grain rather than plant it.
Despite relief efforts, the famine was still widespread in 1923. Overall, the people were desperate (to various degrees) for food for almost an entire decade. This famine is considered to be one of the worst in Russian history.
The worst period of famine in Cambodia occurred between 1970-1979, also a full decade. Civil war, brutal policies of the Khmer Rouge regime, and invasion by Vietnam all contributed to prolonging this time of food shortage which killed upwards of two million people.
Also in the last century, the world saw a period of food scarcity during the Great Depression which began in 1929. High unemployment with a poor national economy kept many citizens in a rut of financial depression, especially those who lived in the southern U.S. “Dust Bowl” states.
Food of various quantities and qualities was still available, but many couldn’t afford it and millions starved to death. Some regions recovered more quickly than others, but overall this economic depression lasted a full decade. So far as American history is concerned, the Great Depression is considered to be one of the darkest moments of the last 100 years.
He then discusses the types of food available to you at different points (assuming you had enough food storage to last you) and makes some suggestions. The basic point, however, is that you will probably have gone through all your canned goods within the first year or two, and will have to fall back on long term items such as beans, rice, or wheat. I would note that it is important to supplement your food with fresh items, and so you might want to consider using sprouts.
- "Concealed Carry Corner: Pros & Cons of Consistent Open Carry"--The Firearm Blog. The author specifically mentions items such as if you open carry, you automatically become a "firearms ambassador," and people will judge firearms owners based on what they observe or you. The author also notes that you will come across those that object to your carrying and may even contact authorities--be prepared to deal with law enforcement. He raises the point that you need to be aware that there will be people that want to touch your gun, or even see if they can get it from you. Finally, the author suggests that an openly carried gun is not as protected from the elements as a concealed carry gun, so you may need to clean it more often.
Herschel Smith, at The Captain's Journal, and others are big proponents of open carry. While I believe that people in all states should have the right to open carry, and be able to exercise the right without harassment from law enforcement, I also believe that it is a poor practice from a defensive point of view. The author of the foregoing piece touched upon a few of those problems: people wanting to touch or even take your firearm, people "freaking out" and calling police, and so on. As I've discussed before, the biggest issue I see with open carry is that you will almost automatically be drawn into any criminal event around you even if you didn't want to become involved.
- "Knowing What Gunfire Sounds Like"--LDS Gunsite.
From the author:
Even if you have fired a weapon many times, you should recognize that guns fired indoors sound different than guns fired outside. Go visit an indoor shooting range. The muffled sounds that you can hear from outside (or from the front room outside the range) are most similar to the sounds of gunfire inside a building. Learn to recognize them. You don’t have to even shoot but listen. You will need hearing protection but remove it for a few shots. Make sure you are not right next to the gun that is firing because you don’t want to damage your hearing. But to hear real shots fired in a building is important to experience.
Update (Dec. 27, 2018): I've been informed that the LDS Gunsite author quoted the passage set out above from an article by Greg Ellifritz, but without attribution. Ellifritz's article is "Recognizing the Sound of Gunfire" and I would recommend that readers go to Ellifritz's article to learn more on this topic. Writing is hard work and can take a long time. Even the quick summaries I put together take a not-insignificant amount of time. So I appreciate the effort that Greg must put into the articles he publishes each week.
To my LDS readers, the Church has provided directions on the use of copyrighted materials. See, e.g., "Copyright Guidelines" and "A Conversation about Using Copyrighted Materials at Home and Church."
- The color of crime: "Sadiq Khan calls for overhaul of Scotland Yard's gang matrix as 4 in 5 names on it are shown to be black"--Evening Standard. Per the article, "City Hall found that of the 3,200 names listed on the database, three quarters are under the age of 25 and four-in-five are black." The problem, according to the article, was that it was alienating minority communities.
"The Tragedy of Cultural Relativism"--Paul Joseph Watson (7 min.)
Not all cultures are equal, and, certainly, not all cultures have the same reverence for human life.
- "Turkey masses tanks on the Syrian border as Erdogan 'prepares to move against the Kurds' after the US leaves - while outgoing Secretary of Defense James Mattis thanks troops for their service"--Daily Mail.
- "Mattis Marks End of the Global War on Terror"--Peter Van Buren at The American Conservative. He observes: "Jim Mattis’s resignation as defense secretary (and on Sunday, Brett McGurk, as special envoy to the coalition fighting ISIS) and Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria and Afghanistan are indeed significant. But that’s because they mark the beginning of the end of the Global War on Terror (GWOT), the singular, tragic, bloody driver of American foreign policy for almost two decades."
- "Iraq officially makes Christmas Day a national holiday"--CNN. This notwithstanding that the number of Christians in the country fell from an estimated 1.4 million before the U.S. led invasion to around 300,000 today.
- This is nice: "Trump takes NORAD calls from children who want to find Santa Claus." Melania Trump also took calls.
- More winning: "China’s legislature takes up law to ban forced tech transfer"--Seattle Times. Per the article:
China’s legislature is considering a law to ban local governments from forcing foreign companies to hand over technology, an issue that helped to spark Washington’s tariff war with Beijing.
Beijing rejects complaints companies are required to trade technology for market access. But officials including Premier Li Keqiang promised this year to crack down as tensions with Washington heated up.
A proposed foreign investment law taken up Sunday by the legislature would make clear officials cannot “force the transfer of technology” as a condition of ventures, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
Probably too little, too late, but at least this Administration is trying to address the issue of "Chinese innovation" unlike the last several presidents.
- Anonymous Conservative cites a couple of articles indicating that Pres. Trump has authorized construction of 115 miles of wall in Texas and a contract for an additional 30 miles has been awarded to a company in California.
- "Dan Hannan: Falling IQ scores may explain why politics has turned so nasty"--Washington Examiner. Hannan notes that in the 1980's, only 15% of the population "hated" the opposing political party. Now it is close to 50%. He posits that the change was caused by declining I.Q. Writes Hannan: "The fall in IQ scores in the West is perhaps the most under-reported story of our era. For most of the twentieth century, IQ rose by around three points per decade globally, probably because of better nutrition. But that trend has recently gone into reverse in developed countries." Hannan briefly mentions some theories as to the reversal, but concludes that it must be environmental and suggests that it is because of the rise of popularity of electronic media.
Hannan must also be suffering from too much screen time as his hypothesis has holes large enough to accommodate a semi-tractor. The first is that he offers only the loosest correlation between increasing hatred and declining I.Q., and absolutely no evidence of causation. At a minimum, if his hypothesis was true, we should see more antagonism the further back we look in history. For instance, the antagonism between the two political parties should have been greater in the 1940s than in the 1950s, and greater in the 1950s than in the 1960s. But that isn't the case.
And, while he at least mentions various hypotheses as to why average I.Q. would be declining, he makes no such effort as to the political divide. It couldn't have anything to do with the fact that the Left has moved so far Left that a moderate position from even a decade ago, such as on issues of border security or gay marriage, would now be considered tantamount to being a Nazi, could it?
I also have my doubts about his "screen time" hypothesis because, if true, we should have seen the decline begin with the wide adoption of television. If average IQs are declining, I suspect that Vox Day has correctly identified at least one factor: "given the way in which the most intelligent women are disinclined to reproduce, it should be obvious that intelligence is no more intrinsically advantageous to survival than size." In fact, this trend of intelligent women forgoing family formation is so widespread across the globe that it even has its own term: waithood. In essence, "people, especially women, are pursuing educational opportunities around the world and delaying marriage and parenting in a kind of intentional pattern." If you have seen the beginning of the movie Idiocracy, you will be familiar with the concept. It doesn't help that the modern, liberated woman has more sympathy and attraction for a rapist or murderer than an incel.
- Do you want to know why the elites are so opposed to controlling immigration? "Billionaire Class Enjoys 15X the Wage Growth of American Working Class"--Breitbart. For more on this, see my review of Peter Turchin's book, Ages of Discord.
- "Terrifying moment Mexican hitmen film themselves ambushing and shooting dead FOUR police officers with machine guns"--The Daily Mail. Actually, assault rifles (mostly AKs). I don't think that they got those from American gun stores.
- True. "Pot Addicts Are Okay But Legitimate Chronic Pain Sufferers In Need of Opioids? Not So Much."--Intellectual Conservative. The author writes:
The reality, according to the National Pain Report, is “America’s so-called ‘opioid epidemic’ is caused by street drugs (some of them diverted prescription drugs) rather than by prescriptions made by doctors to chronic pain patients.” More people die from illegal opioids than prescription opioids. Opioid prescriptions were already decreasing before the crackdown started. In Arizona, prescriptions decreasedevery year since 2013, a 10 percent decrease total.
And just because a few doctors overprescribed opioids does not mean everyone should be treated like a dangerous addict at risk of overdosing. One size does not fit all. Someone who has been taking a higher dosage of prescription opioids for years without incident should be allowed to continue.
Over 11 percent of the population suffersfrom chronic pain. It is cruel and bad medical science to prevent this segment from the population from getting the only relief that works for many of them. The laws need to be changed to allow those legitimately suffering to access adequate amounts of prescription opioids, without risk to their doctor or pharmacist. It makes no sense as we’re relaxing the laws prohibiting marijuana.
- "Trevor Burrus column: How drug prohibition created the fentanyl crisis"--Richmond Times-Dispatch. From the article:
Everyone knows that prohibition means drugs will often be adulterated, but prohibition also makes drugs stronger. Before alcohol Prohibition, beer and wine were the most popular drinks. After Prohibition, however, the cost of beer increased by more than 700 percent while the cost of high-potency spirits increased by only 270 percent. Smugglers and bootleggers preferred high-potency spirits because they are easier to transport illicitly. Consequently, distilled alcohol and fortified wines became almost 90 percent of alcohol consumption after Prohibition, compared to 40 percent before.
This is known as the iron law of prohibition. When drug traffickers fear getting caught, they prefer the highest potency version of a drug. During alcohol Prohibition, speakeasies were essentially bars that only served Everclear, but that didn’t mean Everclear was actually the most in demand. And, sure enough, after Prohibition ended, people quickly returned to low-potency beer and wine.
The introduction of fentanyl to our drug markets demonstrates the iron law of prohibition at its most dangerous. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin, and it’s significantly more dangerous than traditional poisons like arsenic. A lethal dose of fentanyl is between 2 and 3 milligrams, compared to 100-300 milligrams for arsenic. There are 300-500 lethal doses in just one gram of fentanyl.
That potency is useful for drug smugglers but dangerous to users. Fentanyl’s potency means hundreds of doses can be smuggled in the tiniest crevices of envelopes, packages, and shipping containers, and neither sufficient manpower nor adequate technology exists to stop it. As can be seen in the NVSS report, fentanyl began flooding the drug market in about 2014. In 2011, oxycodone was the No. 1 killer with 5,587 deaths. Fentanyl was 10th with 1,662. Then the government started cracking down on prescription opioids, and people started dying of fentanyl overdoses in shockingly large numbers. By 2014, fentanyl killed 4,223, which moved it into fifth place, but just two years later it was No. 1, with an astounding 18,335 deaths in 2016. In 2017, there were 28,466 deaths from fentanyl or similar synthetic opioids.
The "iron law" applies today. When colleges began to crack down on drinking and prohibiting alcohol on campus, students switched from drinking beer during the week, to bing drinking hard liquor on the weekends.
- Speaking of government incompetence, this article from City Journal reports that Seattle spends more than $1 billion fighting homelessness each year, or nearly $100,000 per homeless person in Seattle. The money quote:
When I spoke with Eleanor Owen, one of the original cofounders of DESC [the Downtown Emergency Service Center], she explained that the organization’s mission has shifted over the years from helping the homeless to securing government contracts, maintaining a $112 million real-estate portfolio, and paying a staff of nearly 900. “It’s disgraceful,” she said. “When we started, we kept our costs low and helped people get back on their feet. Now the question is: How can I collect another city contract? How can I collect more Medicaid dollars? How can I collect more federal matching funds? It’s more important to keep the staff paid than to actually help the poor become self-sufficient.”
The author refers to DESC and other homelessness organizations as "the city’s homeless-industrial complex."
- "The Long March of Socialism – Do Not Keep Faith"--The Declination. The author discusses Leftists and socialism in the context of game theory. First, he explains, "In the first round, you ought to Keep Faith, in the hopes that your opponent will do likewise, and you may both benefit. If this fails, you should Betray in the next round, to teach the other a lesson, and to avoid being a sucker." But:
Socialists reset the game with each transaction, however. The moral trick of the political Left is to consider every action in a moral vacuum. Keep Faith this time, the Leftist says. And when the betrayal happens, ignore it and reset the game. Keep Faith again, and again, and again… until they march into your headquarters and finally tell it to you straight: “There is no question of your transferring power. Your power has crumbled. You cannot give up what you do not have.”
By doing this, Socialists will win any moral argument. If, for instance, they provide a picture of a poor Syrian child, and say “how could you possibly turn away this poor innocent child,” hordes of people will lose their resolve and agree to allowing millions of migrants to go wherever they please without resistance. The Syrian child doesn’t exist in a moral vacuum. You’ve been betrayed, and the Left reset the game again. Same with illegal immigration in the United States. In debates with Leftists, I have seen them refer to the conditions illegals in our custody live in as worse than Nazi concentration camps. Who believes this? And yet they will defend the point with a thousand rationalizations, and then demand we Keep Faith again because clearly we’re horrible, and the poor innocent kids need us to keep the faith.
If we do, another few million will cross the border. They hit Betray, just as they did to Reagan after amnesty. Again and again.
Betrayal is the natural default for the Left, in any event, because they are r-selected.
- "‘Evidence’ Supports Story of Wise Men Who Visited Baby Jesus, Scholar Says"--Breitbart. From the article:
Longenecker has even advanced a theory as to the identity of the visitors known as the “wise men.”
“I believe they were diplomats from the court of Herod the Great’s neighbor, the Nabatean King Aretas IV,” he told Breitbart. “As stargazing counselors to the king they ascertained that a new King of the Jews was born and they concluded that it must be a grandson or great grandson of Herod the Great.”
Aretas “had every motivation to send a retinue to travel to Jerusalem to honor the new heir to the aging Herod’s throne,” he said, and “it makes perfect sense for these magi to have completed their journey in such a way that Matthew’s account is simple, factual and historical.”
By Docent at December 26, 2018
Tuesday, December 25, 2018
Sunday, December 23, 2018
"Gun Fighting Mobility | How to get up in a gunfight"--Tactical Rifleman (6 min.)
There are a lot of ways that you could end up falling on your butt during a gunfight. This video demonstrates a couple methods of getting back up on your feet while still being able to use your handgun.
- "Indonesia tsunami kills hundreds after Krakatau eruption"--BBC. The Krakatau volcano had been erupting this last week, and it apparently set off an undersea landslide that precipitated the tsunami. The article indicates that at least 222 people have died and 843 have been injured. The volcano continues to erupt, raising fears of another tsunami. Because the tsunami was caused by displacement, "[s]ea water did not recede as it would with an earthquake tsunami[.]"
- "Earthquake That Wrecked Tennessee in 1811 Will Happen Again, Expert Says"--Tennessee Star. Tennessee emergency officials warn that an earthquake comparable to the 1811-1812 New Madrid earthquakes will again happen. "If the big one hits then Tennessee residents, Flener went on to say, need to plan for getting cut off from the rest of the world. That means having five to 10 days’ worth of food and water, backup generators for cell phones, cash on hand, and an emergency supply of medicine, among other things." (H/t Instapundit).
- "GAO: Solar storm ‘blackout’ of electric grid could last 3 days to 2 years, impact 40 million"--Washington Examiner. From the article:
On the short side, it quoted the North American Electric Reliability Corporation which said, “blackouts that originate in the transmission grid in the absence of substantial equipment damage are generally restored within three days and often much sooner.”
On the longer end, it quoted an insurance industry report that warned of a blackout “lasting between 16 days and two years” and impacting “20 million to 40 million people.”
- "Calibers for Beginners: The Legendary .30-06"--The Truth About Guns. The author raises a good point:
... in the next 100 years, do you, in your heart, think that there will still be rifles made in .30-06 or 6.5 Creedmoor? .300 WSM? 6mm Creedmoor? .224 Valkyrie? I dare say that the .45-70 will outlast them all save the .30-06. Why is that?
The answer is simple in that the .30-06 works as well as it did on day one, with day one being 1906 (earlier, if you count the .30-03, the first version of the cartridge). The beginner has something special with the .30-06 in that it’s an extremely well-rounded and versatile cartridge that allows one to experience the entire world of riflecraft without ever having to look elsewhere.
It’s a jack-of-all-trades…and master of all, unlike so many pretenders.
- Related: "Should You Buy a .338 Lapua Rifle?"--The Truth About Guns. As you probably know, the .338 Lapua was specifically developed for long range military sniper. Its advantages? "[M]ost gaming rounds like 6.5mm and 6mm Creedmoor are put to shame by the .338, but have advantages in terms of recoil and cost. A competitor with money to burn would outclass most others by using the .338 Lapua." Barrel life is supposed to be much higher than the 6.5 and 6 mm Creedmore. The disadvantages are cost (both for the hardware and for ammunition) and recoil. The author is blunt, however, that most civilians will never take advantage of the long range capabilities of the caliber. He concludes: "The .338 Lapua rifle is a status symbol for many and is usually a safe queen as a result. I have seen what it can do as compared to smaller calibers, but I fail to see what it does better for the price given that you could afford both a long range gaming caliber rifle like 6mm Creedmoor and a .300 Win Mag for hunting for substantially less cost than one .338 Lapua rifle."
- I haven't come across one of these for years. Mr. Completely gives a review of the Jennings J-22 pocket pistol. He writes:
I was unable to get more that two or three rounds to fire without some sort of a failure. Failure to eject, failure to feed, failure to fire the round, every second or third shot something didn't work.
The accuracy is probably on a par with a blunderbuss, but not likely that it's any better than that. By looking at the targets, it was obvious that at ten yards the bullets were often tumbling end over end. Not conducive to accuracy! Sometimes, however, the shot went exactly as aimed, but often as much as six inches off, even from the bench rest. If you ever have to fire a Jennings for self-defense, I would recommend having the muzzle in direct contact with what you are shooting at!
However, one of his readers took umbrage at this, having had better experience with the pistol. These are the type of handgun that fall squarely in the definition of a "Saturday Night Special"--it is cheap and cheaply made (in this case, from a zinc alloy).
- "Where To Get Medical Supplies"--American Partisan. Some tips on finding certain supplies for SHTF: where to get antibiotics, IV kits, inexpensive sources for self-adhering bandages (Co-Flex). He also has some advice on whether to put together your own kits versus buying pre-made kits, and using coupons to buy items at discount.
- "BulkAmmo.com .308 Win Ammo Review"--Armory Blog. The author accuracy tests some different bulk ammo from BulkAmmo.com in his SCAR 17. Best performance (i.e., tightest groups) was from the American Eagle (FMJBT 150-grain). Surprisingly, Tula steel case also did very well. Remember that this is with one rifle and performance can vary between different rifles.
- "Guns For Beginners: How to Zero Your Rifle in One Shot (Or Almost)"--The Truth About Guns. The author is constantly putting optics on loaner rifles and describes his method for quickly zeroing a rifle at 100 yards, which is to literally bore-sight the rifle: remove the bolt, look through the bore and get it lined up with your 100 yard target, then adjust the cross-hairs on the scope to match. Fire a shot and adjust. The main point is that you must be able to keep the rifle in place while you adjust your telescopic sight, which will require some sort of steady rest like a lead sled.
- "What Do I Say After a Shooting?"--Active Response Training. There is so much debate about this and everyone has an opinion. Greg Ellifritz is a police officer, so his opinion is worth more than most. And like all actual experts, his answer is, essentially, it depends:
The police questioning process is a balancing act. You don’t want to provide statements that may later turn out to be incorrect. You also don’t want to provide evidence against yourself. But your case would be strengthened if you could point out evidence that is in your favor and if you could provide a description of your attacker so that we can arrest him. You are on the tightrope.
Most people err in providing TOO MUCH information to the police. That’s why there are so many experts instructing armed citizens to “say nothing” to responding police officers. Saying nothing is BETTER than saying too much but it may not be the BEST course of action.
He cites Mas Ayoob's advice on the topic and summarizes:
Saying something like “Officer, this man attacked me and I had to shoot him. I would like to file charges against him.” is probably a good start. Follow Ayoob’s checklist by pointing out evidence, witnesses and suspects. In particular, be sure to document any injury you have (however minor). That evidence will be extremely useful in proving your position if you get charged.
After you do that, SHUT UP! The officer will continue asking questions. That’s his job. You don’t have to answer. Not incriminating yourself is your job.
- "Sprouts: Prep For Fresh Food All Year"--Beans, Bullets, Bandages & You. An excerpt:
Sprouts are not just a hippie fad food, good people. They really are bursting with nutrition. You see, the plant’s intent was to supply it’s little offspring with everything they would need to make a start in the world by packing it all into those little seeds. There’s more minerals per ounce in plant seed than any other food I know.
Then, once the plant embryo is awakened by the water and starts to grow, the first thing it does is manufacture itself a load of vitamins and other essential nutrients. There’s very few calories in sprouts, but there’s a whole boatload of micronutrients.
There’s also green, and a bit of crunch, and a fresh taste. Your mileage may vary, but many people find those very welcome after a bit on a ‘prepper food’ diet.
The author goes on to discuss how to sprout sprouts.
"Birth Date of Jesus is Written Precisely in the Holy Bible!"--Alan Tat (15 min.)
You have probably seen discussions of what was the star that marked the Lord's birth and trying to use it to calculate the year that He was born. This is a different take that relies on a conjunction of Jupiter and Venus in the constellation of Virgo the Virgin in August of 1 B.C. He justifies his selection using various scriptures (albeit, a couple of them are from Revelation). If this is a topic that interests you, however, it's worth your time.
- Authorities still don't know who was piloting the drones that shut down the airport: "U.K. police release two people arrested in Gatwick Airport drone scare that delayed flights"--NBC News.
- Orwell as an optimist: "DOCUMENTS REVEAL MORE DETAILS ABOUT MASSIVE FEDERAL TELEPHONE SURVEILLANCE PROGRAM"--Blacklisted News. The article quotes the Electronic Frontier Foundation about the AT&T Hemisphere program: "The database has records concerning local, long distance, cellular, and international calls. Official government presentations estimate 4 billion call detail records populate the Hemisphere database on a daily basis. That includes records dating as far back as 1987, which is much further back than the records most telcos store."
- Related: "Amazon's Creepy Facial Recognition Doorbell Will Surveil Entire Neighborhood From People's Front Doors"--Zero Hedge. "According to a new report, the patent application, made available in late November, would pair facial surveillance such as Rekognition, the product that Amazon is aggressively marketing to law enforcement, with Ring – a doorbell camera company that Amazon acquired in 2018."
- The wages of
sinsocialism: "Desperate women fleeing Venezuela sell hair, breast milk, sex to get by"--Fox News. Key point: "Without passports or work permits, the Venezuelans – many with university degrees or decent jobs in what was once the wealthiest nation in Latin America – are now resorting to whatever it takes to survive."
- "Loud and proud complementarians: No more taboos."--Dalrock. He writes: "Rachel Gilson at The Gospel Coalition is preparing a space for loud and proud gays in the conservative church. The first step of course is to give gays trusted access to our children[.]" The bulk of the article discusses Gilson's argument that Christians need to overcome the "taboo" and "shame" associated with homosexuality. Dalrock notes: "The unspoken assumption in all of this is that taboos are unChristian, and if we destroy them nothing bad will happen. As Larry Kummer says, social justice warriors are like monkeys at the controls of a nuclear power plant, furiously spinning the dials with little understanding of the machinery."
- Related: "Gay SF pastor arrested on child porn charges"--Bay Area Reporter. "A gay San Francisco pastor, who has historically fought for gay rights in the Lutheran Church, was arrested on charges of possession of child pornography, according to the San Francisco Police Department."
- Did you really think that gay rights activists would tolerate any dissent? "Two Female Christian Artists Could Be JAILED For Not Creating Art For Same-Sex Weddings"--The Daily Wire. The article reports:
- Shoot on sight: "License-to-Kill Policing to Get a Trial Run in Rio de Janeiro"--Bloomberg. From the article: "As many as 120 sharpshooters will accompany police incursions into the slums of Brazil’s postcard city to exterminate gun-toting criminals, according to Flavio Pacca, a longtime associate of Witzel who the governor-elect’s press office said will join the administration. The shooters will work in pairs -- one to pull the trigger, one to monitor conditions and videotape deaths."
- "'The SBS told us to kill the lights and then they stormed aboard': Ship's crew describe the moment 12 elite special forces soldiers took down hijacker stowaways from Nigeria"--Daily Mail. From the article:
Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski , who own Brush & Nib Studio, make custom artwork using painting, calligraphy and handlettering. They filed suit against the city of Phoenix, as a Phoenix city ordinance threatens them with up to six months and/or a fine of $2,500 each day they refuse to make the artwork. First the women filed in state court to overturn the ordinance, but lost in a court of appeals, prompting them to appeal to the state’s Supreme Court, which said on November 20 it would hear the case.
Four migrants had attempted to take over the Italian ship off the Kent coast, demanding the vessel be moved nearer the shore so they could swim to Britain.
Around 25 members from X Squadron of the Special Boat Service (SBS) - sister regiment to the SAS - were then deployed and stormed the ship as it sailed in the Thames Estuary.
- "Princeton student groups: Menstruation isn’t just a women’s issue"--The College Fix. Rectal bleeding is not "menstruation."
- "CHECKMATE – Saudi Crown Prince MbS Sends Replacement Troops To Defend Kurds in Syria…"--Last Refuge. I noted the other day that one of the reasons for the U.S. withdrawing from Syria is that Trump had received commitments from other regional players that they would finish off ISIS and stymie Iranian ambitions. One of the concerns with the decision is whether Turkey would take the opportunity to attack the Kurds. But the author of this piece thinks not: "[R]emember Turkish President Recep Erdogan was the antagonist in the Kashoggi matter and Erdogan orchestrated the blame toward Saudi Crown Prince MbS. There is no better motivated mid-east ally to protect the Kurds against any military action by Turkey other than MbS. No doubt MbS and UAE will send their best forces"
- Related: "Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia join forces against Iran in Syria"--Cleveland Jewish News. Key point: "According to the terms of the understanding, Russia will continue to give Israel the freedom to strike Hezbollah and Iranian targets and weaponry that threaten the “balance of power” in Syria. According to the Jordanian official, it was these understandings between Trump and Putin that paved the way for the U.S. decision to pull its forces from Syria."
- Related: "Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria came after he stumped Bolton with one question"--The National Sentinel. From the article:
However, the president went off-script during the call, agreeing with Erdogan when he asked POTUS, “Why are you still there?” since the Islamic State (ISIS) had been 99 percent decimated. Erdogan said his military could easily take care of the remaining 1 percent remnant of ISIS.
At that point, POTUS stumped Bolton, who was “forced to admit” Erdogan’s point.
- Unintended consequences? Or inevitable? "As doctors taper or end opioid prescriptions, many patients driven to despair, suicide"--Fox News. From the article:
“We have a terrible problem. We have people committing suicide for no other reason than being forced to stop opioids, pain medication, for chronic pain,” said Thomas Kline, a North Carolina family doctor and former Harvard Medical School program administrator.
“It’s mass hysteria, a witch hunt. It’s one of the worst health care crises in our history,” said Kline, who has 26,000 Twitter followers, and a website where he publishes the names of those who he said committed suicide after having their opioids cut back or eliminated. “There are five to seven million people being tortured on purpose.”
The CDC doesn’t have numbers of those who commit suicide after having their pain medications cut. But most of the doctors who spoke to Fox News said they knew of between one and six patients who took their life after losing access to opioid treatment, and being turned away from other doctors who now see prescription painkillers as a hassle.
Several prominent doctors and pain patient advocacy organizations said they have heard from hundreds who say they have been left in debilitating pain and are considering suicide. The issue earlier this year came to the attention of Human Rights Watch, which launched an investigation.
The increase in suicides will, of course, be attributed to "gun violence."
By Docent at December 23, 2018
Last Tuesday I wrote about the developing crisis around the Chinese real estate development and investment firm, Evergrande , and the risk i...