Friday, December 20, 2019

A Quick Run Around the Web (12/20/2019)

"Magnetic Reversal | Accelerations and Timing"--Suspicious Observers (9 min.)
A look at the weakening of the magnetic field which has accelerated during the last few decades, as well as the swiftly moving magnetic north pole, and so possible scenarios going forward.
      The children were visiting from New Zealand and traveled through the Denver International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport on the same day, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention press officer Scott Pauley told CNN.
          California health officials warn of possible measles exposure at LAX
           California health officials warn of possible measles exposure at LAX
             Travelers who visited the Denver airport's Concourse A, train to baggage claim, west baggage claim and west level 4 passenger pick-up areas between 1:15 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. on December 11 could've been exposed to the virus, Colorado's Tri-County Health Department reported.
               Los Angeles County health officials issued a similar warning for passengers who visited Terminals 4 and 5 between 6:50 a.m. and 12 p.m. on the same day.
                 The CDC is contacting passengers who flew on the same planes as the infected children about potential exposure, Pauley said.
                     During boil water advisories or boil water orders, you should boil or use nano-filtration to filter all water used for human and pet drinking, preparing all food, beverages, ice cubes, washing fruits and vegetables, or brushing teeth. Severely immune-compromised individuals should always boil or use nano-filtration to filter their tap water for these purposes or use a high end filter product that removes bacteria or viruses from the water. Infant formulas should also be prepared using boiled tap water or filtered water, at all times. In the event that boiling is not practical and you do not have a good filter, disinfect the water using household bleach. Keep in mind that it is not necessary to boil tap water used for other home purposes, such as showering, laundry, or bathing. Adults, teens, and older children can wash, bathe, or shower; however, they should avoid swallowing the water. Small children and babies should be sponge-bathed. The issue I have with Boil Water Advisories is they usually come out after you have already drank or prepared food with contaminated water. Better to be on the front foot and always filter your water.
                     If you do not own a Nano-Filtration type of filter or Reverse Osmosis filter use these steps to boil your water.
                  • Fill a pot with unsafe water.
                    • Heat the water until bubbles come from the bottom of the pot to the top (rolling boil).
                      • Once the water reaches a rolling boil, let it boil for at least 1 minute.
                        • Turn off the heat source and let the water cool.
                          • Pour the water into a clean container with a cover for storage.
                          The .38 Smith and Wesson cartridge enjoyed a respectable 100 year service life as it evolved from the weaker black powder pocket pistol cartridge to a more potent military round in its day using heavy bullets and smokeless powder. Other names for the cartridge exist like “.38 Colt New Police”, “.380 Rim”, and “.380-200” depending on the market and manufacturer.
                          After warning of the highly variable quality of the many firearms still floating around in this caliber, and recommending the S&W Victory Model (basically a K-frame .38 Special converted to use the .38 S&W cartridge) made for British service if you want to shoot this caliber, the author goes on to discuss reloading options:
                                   Technically, the .38 S&W bore diameter is slightly larger than that of .38 Special and .357 Magnum but in practice, components intended for the latter will work well enough. Some of these early guns were actually re-chambered for .38 Special after the war, although the practice is no longer considered appropriate and guns with this modification may be less desirable. Because the .38 Special cartridge is longer but not quite as “fat” as the .38 Smith & Wesson, cases fired in these modified chambers tend to show a characteristic bulge in the middle. When reloading for the .38 Smith and Wesson, using a hollow based wad cutter bullet is an excellent place to start because any potential loss in accuracy from bore/bullet dimensions will be mitigated by the swelling of the open bullet base to take up the slack. Also, typical wad cutter bullets are in the same weight range as the 146 grain factory bullets so they can be expected to give similar performance. The one caveat is seating dept; fully seating wad cutters into a short .38 S&W case can cause a number of problems best avoided by duplicating the original cartridge over-all length.
                                    Among reloading manuals, the wad cutter loads described are also accompanied by heavier (158 grain) semi-wad cutter loadings. As with many of these lower powered cartridges, the .38 S&W may not ever achieve enough velocity to reliably expand modern hollow point bullets. As such, it’s often best to improve performance by going the other direction and getting heavier solid projectiles that will at least maximize penetration and possibly increase their effect by tumbling as they lose their in-flight stability on impact with the target. Published loads for the original 175-200 grain military loads are as hard to come by as the bullets; however, I’ve had some success with a 190 grain flat point loaded over a published charge of powder intended for a 200 grain bullet. This particular round sailed directly through tissue simulant without the slightest deflection and could be counted on to be the most effective against larger animals than the round was ever intended. I wouldn’t take it into bear country but a feral dog or hog might be suitably handled with one or more of these if properly placed by the shooter. As was said before, this level of ballistic experimentation should NOT be done with older, weaker, break top or smaller frame guns.
                                The information for reloading was provided because at the time of the article, factory loaded ammunition was not easily found. However, there are several manufacturers that offer ammunition in this caliber, although you may need to purchase online. The local Cabella's in my area seems to have the Winchester loading in stock whenever I've checked. I've relied on cast lead bullets in .357 caliber for reloading, but a company called Matt's Bullets has a selection of .361 caliber bullets that are actually appropriate for these weapons. And if you want some ammo for serious use, Buffalo Bore offers loadings in .38 S&W using lighter weight hard cast bullets to maximize penetration. Note that the Buffalo Bore loads are only intended for use in solid frame revolvers.
                                • "Why I 'Need' an AR-15"--Medium. In this 2016 piece, Jon Stokes lists a few reasons, including the ability to adapt the rifle for different uses:
                                         So cops and civilians “need” an AR-15 because that one gun can be adapted to an infinite variety of sporting, hunting, and use-of-force scenarios by an amateur with a few simple tools. An AR-15 owner doesn’t have to buy and maintain a separate gun for each application, nor does she need a professional gunsmith to make modifications and customizations. In this respect, the AR-15 is basically a giant lego kit for grownups.
                                          Indeed, anyone who tells you that the AR-15 is bad for hunting and home defense has absolutely no idea what they’re talking about, because by definition an AR is a gun that can be exquisitely adapted for those niches and many others.
                                    • "How to Survive an Avalanche"--Backdoor Survival. The author relates that "[t]he best way to survive an avalanche is to avoid areas where one is possible." The article actually goes into some depth on the causes of avalanches and how they form (including a couple videos), explains the additional equipment you might want to have if going into an avalanche prone area, and tips on what to do if you get caught in an avalanche. Worth the read if you like to ski, snowshoe, or snowmobile in the back country.
                                    • "The Directional Figure Eight Knot"--Dreaming of Sunsets Over Ochre Dunes. "The Directional Figure Eight Knot is one of the most overlooked knots in the survival fora, which is funny because most climbers know immediately & exactly what this knot is for and how important it is: It allows you to tie one to several loop(s) into a length of rope, without significantly weakening the rope, and turn it into a rope-ladder." (Emphasis added).
                                    • "Feeding A Community"--Dirt Time. First step:
                                      Make a list of every useful wild and planted tree, shrub, vines, and even weeds that are useful for food or medicine. Make a note of old farmsteads, community gardens, backyard gardens, small and big farms, and such places as golf courses, graveyards, and botanical gardens. Obviously, such a survey requires both a map, and a listing of every plant, and some sort of code or notation so you remember where each plant grew.
                                      • "Fallout Shelters"--Blue Collar Prepping. The author was promoted and put in charge of a facility that had on its premises an old 1950's-60's era fall out shelter. He provides a list of what had originally been stored at the location which was rated for 50 people.
                                      • "Beekeeping basics"--Backwoods Home Magazine.
                                      • "Mobile Open-Source Solar-Powered 3-D Printers for Distributed Manufacturing in Off-Grid Communities"--Appropedia. Links to resources. Many, many links.
                                      • "Make your campsite disaster-proof during bad weather"--Scouting. Although the article has some explanation for each point, the basic points raised by the author are as follows: 1. Know the weather forecast; 2. Set up a rain fly shelter immediately when you get to camp; 3. Always use a waterproof plastic ground cloth inside your tent; 4. Make sure you bring rain gear, especially if there is a change of rain in the forecast; 5. Sew additional stake loops to the body of your tent to help hold it down in a bad storm; 6. Bring tools and supplies to make a rainy-day fire and/or camp stoves for cooking;  and 7. Everyone needs a sitting pad. 
                                      • "Pitfalls to Mounting Pistol Optics"--Guns & Ammo. Some of the issues are matter of training--getting used to a higher sight--but others are the difficulty in adjusting the gun's position to see the dot if it is not visible to you. For this reason, the author recommends having co-witnessed iron sights on a defensive firearm using a red-dot sight.
                                      • "How to Clear Corners With Your Home-Defense Gun"--Shooting Illustrated. The author explains:
                                              Prior to approaching a single corner, attempt to see as much of the area beyond it as possible. Don’t focus only on the unknown space around the corner—actively clear the entire visible area. Danger could be lurking in the wide open.
                                               When you arrive at the corner, slowly “pie” your way around the angle. Keeping your firearm at the high ready, incrementally move around the corner so the unknown area is revealed in little slices. Maintain a balanced stance; don’t lean excessively around the corner. Move only as much of your body as necessary to see the next slice of the space you need to clear, and always look before you move. Your gun should follow your eyes—keep it pointed where you are looking, so you’ll be able to immediately deliver a shot if necessary.
                                                 Don’t crowd the corner. You need space to move, and you can use distance to your advantage. The thing to remember about any corner is whatever you can’t see can’t see you either. While a corner may hide a bad guy, you can also use it to conceal your approach.
                                                   If you have a partner, he or she can cover your six—the area behind you—while you are occupied with the corner. A partner can also watch additional openings or danger areas beyond your front or to your side, such as a doorway across the room. Communicate with your partner before you begin clearing the corner, so he or she understands the roles each of you will undertake in the process.
                                                This is something you can practice with an unloaded firearm at your home, which is the most likely place you would ever need to do it. Yes, I know that you aren't supposed to clear your house yourself, but if you have to get to kids or another family member it may be useful, or if police are too far away, or you can't call for help.
                                                  In retrospect, I had it all wrong. I don’t think you should ever-never rely on an ankle rig to hold your primary gun. Cue hue-and-cry and hang-wringing contingent. As a back-up spot it’s nearly perfect. On the ground fighting? You might be able to reach an ankle. Sitting in the car and getting a surprise handed to you? The handy ankle gun is right at-hand. Primary gun out of ammo, broken, lost or stolen? Ta-Da, all is not lost as you kneel to get your back-up into play. And, people don’t think to look there. Well, most people don’t.
                                                    But it is slow and awkward to access in most instances. Long ago I re-posted an account from a former law enforcement officer who, with a young partner, were tasked to conduct surveillance on a protest. The protesters recognized that they were police and started to gather around them, closely. So close, that his partner, who was carry in an ankle holster, couldn't even bend over to access his firearm.
                                                      The Security-Six was an instant hit because in no small part its price was 16 percent below that of a S&W Model 19 and 25 percent below that of a Colt Trooper. Among those using the Security-Six were the U.S. Border Patrol; the former U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, U.S. Postal police, as well as numerous private security firms. Even the British Royal Ulster Constabulary Police Officers adopted it. Though in production only 16 years, more than 1.5 million copies were produced.
                                                      • For you historians: "The Guns of Port Arthur"--American Rifleman. The siege of Port Arthur was one of the significant battles of the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905. It also provided a preview of the trench fighting of 1914-15.  Both armies were well prepared and stocked with machine guns, and infantrymen were armed with (for then) modern bolt-action rifles: the the Mosin-Nagant M1891 rifle chambered in 7.62x54 mmR in the case of the Russians, and the Arisaka Type 30 rifle or carbine chambered in 6.5x50 mm Arisaka. Having shot both of these rifles and calibers, I can say that the Arisaka was, by far, the better weapon.
                                                      • And for you pre-historians: "Mammoth Pits Shed Insight Into Prehistoric Trapping"--American Hunter. From the article:
                                                             Several wooly mammoth skeletons recently discovered in Tultepec, Mexico, north of Mexico City, provide evidence to suggest that humans were actively trapping the giant mammals some 15,000 years ago.
                                                               Researchers from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History discovered a total of 824 mammoth bones from at least 14 animals, some bearing marks from spear attacks, at the bottom of two pits. It is believed the pits, each roughly 6 feet deep and 25 yards in diameter, were specifically designed to trap the animals, providing evidence of a direct intent by our early ancestors to hunt mammoths, as opposed to the previously held belief that mammoth were hunted passively or seen as a target of opportunity when injured or dying.
                                                                 “There was little evidence before that hunters attacked mammoths. It was thought they frightened them into getting stuck in swamps and then waited for them to die,” Luis C√≥rdova Barradas, the leader of the five-man dig team, told reporters. “This is evidence of direct attacks on mammoths.”
                                                                   Barradas suspects that at the time the traps were built, the region likely held half a dozen mammoth herds. It is thought that early hunters may have used torches or branches to scare mammoths into the traps before using spears to kill them.

                                                              For the love of money.
                                                              • There was a surprising amount of support for Tucker Carlson's video from other conservatives:
                                                                    The point of highlighting the fate of this one town and the role of Singer in its demise isn’t to vilify capitalism or the free market in general, but to point out how the system is engineered to benefit the rich and powerful at the expense of everyone else. As Willis Krumholtz explains nearby in greater detail, the story of Cabela’s and the people of Sidney is an example of “financial engineering that paid a select few off, while the whole suffered.”

                                                                    This critique goes to the heart of what the political right has been grappling with in the age of Trump. What is the proper role of the government and public policy in American society? Whose interests should it serve?

                                                                    Much of what’s behind Trump-era populism, not just in America but across the West, is the dawning realization that the post-Cold War global capitalist system doesn’t necessarily benefit working- and middle-class Americans—or at least that free trade and global capitalism aren’t unmitigated goods. They have costs, and those costs are borne disproportionately by ordinary people, the kind of people who get laid off from Cabela’s for no good reason other than it made Singer a pile of money.
                                                              • "Tucker Vs. Vulture Capitalists"--Rod Dreher at The American Conservative. Dreher provides more background on Singer, including that he has been active in pushing LGBT rights over religious liberty--and suggests that Singer is part of the reason why Republicans haven't done much to push back. In other words, Singer is a Rockefeller/Country Club Republican, not a conservative.
                                                              For the uninitiated, Paul Singer is a New York hedge fund manager who has made billions by purchasing sovereign debt from financially distressed countries. He’d offer struggling foreign governments a lifeline for their debt, then hound them with costly litigation to make a handsome profit on repayment with interest, not unlike a vulture feeding off a carcass—hence, vulture capitalism. Singer’s vulture capitalism isn’t limited to foreign countries, though; his hedge fund, Elliot Management, also racks up quite the profit by “investing” in struggling U.S. companies, often off-shoring good paying American jobs in the process.
                                                              The author also adds:
                                                              He has bankrolled numerous neoconservative foreign policy shops, advocated for more permissive immigration policies, and has been a longtime supporter of pro-LGBT organizations and causes. It’s no surprise that he vehemently opposed President Trump’s ascendance in 2015.
                                                              • "Tucker Carlson Is Right About Wall Street’s Indifference To America"--by Willis L. Krumholz at The Federalist. "Like most other members of the Republican establishment and donor class, Singer supports tax cuts and most types of deregulation, but is socially liberal and pro-mass-migration. He also supports an interventionist foreign policy overseas."
                                                                     A “Mary Sue” is either a female or male (sometimes called a “Gary Stu”) character who embodies the perfect hero/heroine. Often, she is an idealized version of the author herself. Mary Sues are usually beautiful, talented, have few or no flaws, and are loved by everyone.
                                                                       The problem is, all this is bestowed upon them without them having to “earn” it. They are effortlessly beautiful; they have special abilities or prodigy-like skills they don’t have to work to develop; other characters want to be their friends or lovers or lavish them with admiration without them doing anything to deserve it. Not only is this unrealistic, but it serves to irritate the reader and often turn her against the Mary Sue.
                                                                  • "Brexit: MPs back Boris Johnson's plan to leave EU on 31 January"--BBC. "They voted 358 to 234 - a majority of 124 - in favour of the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, which now goes on to further scrutiny in Parliament."
                                                                  • Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, won't be delivering the articles of impeachment to the Senate anytime soon--the House members were sent home for Christmas break--and perhaps never. Some Democrats have said that it was enough to impeach Pres. Trump. So why the sudden change from it being a moral imperative to get Trump out of office to what, as of now, is merely symbolic? The most common explanation is that the Democrats are afraid of what a Senate trial would dig up about high ranking Democrats and Obama era officials. But Glenn Reynolds offers another theory:
                                                                            Of course, if Trump is re-elected but the Dems take the Senate and keep the House (hey, it could happen), they’ll probably try to deliver the papers then. Pretty sure an impeachment vote expires with the Congress that voted it, but I’m sure they can find some lefty lawprofs to argue that it’s still valid. (Though if they’re dumb enough to try that, which until today I would have doubted, they may get Cromwelled, with Trump simply refusing to treat them as legitimate, and might even deserve it; we’ve seen nothing like this wilful pollution of an American institution, even in the worst periods of American political division.)
                                                                                    On December 10, a verbal altercation began in the evening when a teenage boy allegedly “disrespected” a Muslim woman outside the Brooklyn mosque on Fulton Street. The boy did not touch the woman, bystanders say, but did speak to her.
                                                                                     A Muslim Patrol member grabbed the teen by the collar and threw him against the gate of the Masjid Taqwa, a local mosque. While the boy was pressed firmly against the fence, the Muslim Patrol member held him by the neck and lectured him.
                                                                                       “That MCP [Muslim Community Patrol] officer snatched that boy up,” one witness said. “He grabbed him by the collar and threw him up against the gate and held onto him by the neck area.”
                                                                                         After the rebuke, the boy complained to his father, who happens to be a senior member of the local Bloods. The father rallied six other Blood members to join him and went to Masjid Taqwa, where at least one Blood member brandished a weapon.
                                                                                    • Related: "Sweden reports increase in Cryptosporidium, most in Stockholm"--Outbreak News. Per the article, most of the cases have occurred in the Stockholm area. "Swedish health officials, aka Folkhalsomyndigheten have reported an increase in the parasitic infection, cryptosporidiosis in recent weeks, particularly in November." "Cryptosporidiosis is a diarrheal disease caused by a microscopic parasite called Cryptosporidium. The illnesses spread when people come into contact with fecal matter from an infected person or animal. The parasite is able to survive outside the human body for long periods of time and is highly resistant to chlorine." In other words, if it is like the outbreaks that have occurred here in the United States, it comes from foreign peoples that have a difficult time distinguishing between a swimming pool and toilet.
                                                                                             Aftonbladet‘s Lena Mellin now states that it has long been widely known that the suburbs would “go to hell”. The 64-year-old left-wing journalist calls on Swedish politicians to be “ashamed”.
                                                                                              “All parties, with the possible exception of the Left Party and the Sweden Democrats [SD], who hardly affected the reality on this point, should be ashamed,” writes Lena Mellin in a report.
                                                                                               According to her, politicians have “largely neglected the development in some of our suburbs” even though “everyone knew it would end in disaster.”
                                                                                                 However, Lena Mellin’s masterful tone, which is thus directed entirely at the politicians and not at the media, has attracted criticism.
                                                                                                    “Incredible! Lena Mellin, of all journalists one of the foremost advocates for mass immigration and multiculturalism, one of the worst SD-haters, claims that ‘one has known for years’ that it would go to hell,” writes, for example, the former SD summit Ted Ekeroth on Twitter.
                                                                                              • Go woke, go broke: "Mormons pulling 400,000 youths out of struggling Boy Scouts"--AP. The article has some comments from the current BSA (or "Scouts" as they now refer to themselves) on how he "understands why the faith widely known as the Mormon church wants a program it can use worldwide because more than half its members live outside the U.S. and Canada, where the Boy Scouts isn’t available." That wasn't it. It was two-fold. First, there were women in the Church upset by the disparity in what was being spent for Scouts versus what was allocated to activities for young women. But more significantly, as the article notes, "[a]mid declining membership, the Boy Scouts of America opened its arms to openly gay youth members and adult volunteers as well as girls and transgender boys...." And it was not just the LDS Church that left, but many other denominations. I would not be surprised if the Catholic Church began to pull from Scouting as well. 
                                                                                              • Speaking of "go woke, go broke": "Get Woke, Go Broke: Hallmark Limited Edition"--Wilder, Wealthy and Wise. With the usual wit and humor, John explains:
                                                                                                     Needless to say, I have pleasant memories of the Hallmark® channel.  However, in the last week Hallmark® did the craziest thing.  First, a commercial was approved showing two women lip-locking in a commercial about weddings during a family movie where little kids might be watching.  This provoked outrage in the Traditional Religious community, and they complained to Hallmark©.  Following that outrage, Hallmark™ then pulled the commercial, and apologized for showing it.
                                                                                                      All said and done?
                                                                                                        No.  Within about 48 hours of pulling the commercial, Hallmark® then said they’d be fine with showing that commercial, and their earlier statement saying that they made a mistake by saying that they’d made a mistake was a mistake, so they apologized for apologizing earlier.  Then, at great expense, they redid their apology using llamas.
                                                                                                          This was not entirely a surprise:  the CEO of the television portion of Hallmark©, William J. Abbott, said in a November 15 podcast he doesn’t personally view Christmas as a religious holiday.  He probably doesn’t consider churches religious places.  And those T-shaped things that people put on the walls and wear as necklaces?  Just art.
                                                                                                             The system uses microwaves to disable Class One and Class Two drones, ones that are less than 55 pounds and fly at altitudes of 1,200 to 3,500 feet at speeds between 100 and 200 knots. Think RQ-11 Raven at the low end and a ScanEagle as the maximum-sized target.
                                                                                                               There were an estimated 20 drones and cruise missiles used to attack Saudi Arabia, and some of the drones may have been small enough for PHASER to have disabled them. The HPM system is not known to work against cruise missiles, according the Air Force and Raytheon.
                                                                                                                 PHASER is part of a layered approach to defending against unmanned aerial threats. Raytheon and others are developing suicide drones, laser systems, and even nets to down drones of various shapes and sizes. The use of directed energy to face this threat is giving that weapon system and its boosters a long-awaited win. In short, there is finally a threat fit for these weapons.
                                                                                                              The advantage to this weapon is that it's signal covers a physically broad area, meaning that it can take down a drone swarm simultaneously. 
                                                                                                                Ignoring the official optimism of the Chinese government, a growing number of Chinese government and business leaders believe China is headed for the same fate as Japan in the 1990s, when a real estate bubble triggered a violent and continuing halt in economic growth. The Japanese had allowed a huge real estate bubble to develop and, when economic growth stalled for a bit, a lot of the real estate loans became bad debt and that created an economic crisis Japan is still dealing with. Japanese were angry and being a democracy they elected new politicians. China is not a democracy and a banking crisis like the Japanese went through in the 1990s will create a lot of angry Chinese who cannot, as the saying goes, “vote the rascals out (of office)”. In China that degree of public anger means revolution, or at least a lot more disorder. China also has a huge real estate bubble, very inefficient (compared to most Western nations) government spending policies and rapidly escalating labor shortages plus deficits in social spending (like taking care of the impoverished elderly). Chinese problems, in addition to being similar to those of Japan, are also considerably worse because of greater corruption, pollution and political oppression. Japan is a democracy while China is still a communist police state and that means the crises in China will not be handled peacefully as it was in Japan.


                                                                                                                1. Another great set of links - plus two that saved me some research for tomorrow's post!


                                                                                                                The Docent's Memo (8/15/2022)

                                                                                                                  VIDEO: " The M1D Sniper Rifle, the most lethal version of the M1 Garand "--Garand Thumb (22 min.) This was one of the later snip...