Friday, January 31, 2020

Article: "Flooding Preparedness: A Guide to Flood Survival"

I had noted recently that signs are pointing to potential flooding along the upper Mississippi and Red Rivers because of higher than normal precipitation this winter. Storms have also brought and continue to bring higher than normal snowfall in the Pacific Northwest and Rockies. Accordingly, you may want to brush up on what to do in the event of a flood. has a good article on the topic that covers not just physical preparations but also insurance issues.

     Although it is not as "sexy" as buying bullets and freeze-dried meals, insurance is actually an important part of preparation. As the article mentions, however, most standard home-owner's policies do not include coverage for natural flooding events. A typical exclusion for flood and similar water damage might read:

We do not insure for loss caused directly or indirectly by any of the following. Such loss is excluded regardless of any other cause or event contributing concurrently or in any sequence to the loss.

* * *
Water Damage, meaning:

(1) Flood, surface water, waves, tidal water, overflow of a body of water, or spray from any of these, whether or not driven by wind;

(2) Water which backs up through sewers and or drains or which overflows from a sump; or

(3) Water below the surface of the ground, including water which exerts pressure on or seeps or leaks through a building, sidewalk, driveway, foundation, swimming pool or other structure.

Direct loss by fire, explosion or theft resulting from water damage is covered.
Note: this is an example and your policy may read differently. However, flood insurance may be available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) if your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. You can read up on the FEMA flood insurance program here or discuss it with your insurance agent. And here is another article discussing flood insurance. And this link is to a tool allowing you to search by your address to determine if you are in a flood zone. The last page of this PDF gives definitions of the different flood zones.

Paper: "Nowcasting and forecasting the potential domestic and international spread of the 2019-nCoV outbreak originating in Wuhan, China: a modelling study"

A study published in The Lancet attempting to calculate a more correct current size of the outbreak and the future of the outbreak within China's major cities. Money quote: "We estimated that 75 815 individuals (95% CrI 37 304–130 330) individuals had been infected in Greater Wuhan as of Jan 25, 2020." They also expect the epidemic to peak, in China, in April 2020. Lots of assumptions made in the calculations, though, so read the whole thing.

Video: "Exploring an Abandoned Chinese Ghost City"

"Exploring an Abandoned Chinese Ghost City"--The Proper People (35 min.)
Not a "city" per se, but a huge development that essentially would have been a city within a city. The size of the structures is amazing.

Electricity Costs Increasing Due to Solar and Wind Power

In the article "Electricity: It’s Wonderfully Affordable, But it’s No Longer Getting Any Cheaper" at IEEE Spectrum, the author noted that, when adjusting for inflation, costs of electricity fell throughout the 20th Century at the same time electronic devices became more efficient. This decline in costs has started to reverse in recent years, and it is all due to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. The author writes:
       A naive observer, reading the reports of falling prices for photovoltaic cells and wind turbines, might conclude that the rising shares of solar and wind power will bring a new era of falling electricity prices. Just the opposite has been true.

      Before the year 2000, when Germany embarked on its large-scale and expensive Energiewende (energy transition), that country’s residential electricity prices were low and declining, bottoming at less than €0.14/kWh ($.13/kWh, using the prevailing exchange rate) in 2000.

      By 2015, Germany’s combined solar and wind capacity of nearly 84 gigawatts had surpassed the total installed in fossil-fueled plants, and by March 2019 more than 20 percent of all electricity came from the new renewables. However, over an 18-year period (2000 to 2018) electricity prices more than doubled, to €0.31/ kWh. The E.U.’s largest economy thus has the continent’s highest electricity prices, followed by heavily wind-dependent Denmark, at €0.3/kWh.

      A similar contrast can be seen in the United States. In California, where the new renewables have taken an increasing share, electricity prices have been rising five times as fast as the national mean and are now nearly 60 percent higher than the countrywide average.

Today's Coronavirus News...

... from CNN. (See also here). Key info: "At least 213 people are dead and more than 9,709 cases have been confirmed in mainland China, as the virus spreads globally," with an additional 140 cases confirmed outside of China. So, still well below what a normal outbreak of flu would cause. But, as Glenn Reynolds like to say about global warming, "I'll take it seriously when they act like its serious." And that is the puzzling thing about this: the outbreak is mild compared to the annual flu outbreaks, but the experts are treating it very seriously. Also, more articles mentioning that China may be secretly disposing of the dead. (See also here).

    Perhaps the real lesson from all of this is how little the world's leaders and peoples trust China.

New "Weekend Knowledge Dump"...

... from Active Response Training. Some of the topics covered are: reaction times in shootings and even if you don't shoot first you'd better do something; learning an efficient concealed carry draw; an overview of protective masks; information on the polygraph and countermeasures; essential drills for the defensive shotgun; pros and cons of the low power variable optic; and a lot more. Also, Greg Ellifritz mentions in his post that he is trying to gauge interest in a CCW snubnose revolver class to be held in Millersberg, OH, area on June 27. If you are interested in attending, he has the probable price and contact information at the bottom of his post.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

A Quick Run Around the Web (1/30/020)

  • Wuhan coronavirus news:
  • "13 Japanese show symptoms after evacuation from virus-hit Wuhan"--The Mainichi. The article relates that "[t]wo Japanese men were diagnosed with pneumonia Wednesday while 11 others are showing symptoms including a fever and cough after they were evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the center of a deadly virus outbreak, authorities said."
  • One of the things that you may notice if you see graphs of the number of deaths versus the number of infected is that the number of dead has barely crept up. There may be a nefarious reason for this: Zero Hedge reports that Chinese authorities have been covering up the number of dead. Although some deaths have probably been misdiagnosed as having occurred due to other causes, Zero Hedge indicates that "The East Asia Correspondent for DW cited reports in a tweet claiming that health officials have been secretly moving some bodies directly from the hospital to the crematorium" without the dead being identified or included in official tallies.
  • Some other disasters in the news:
           The worst outbreak of desert locusts in Kenya in 70 years has seen hundreds of millions of the bugs swarm into the East African nation from Somalia and Ethiopia. Those two countries have not had an infestation like this in a quarter-century, destroying farmland and threatening an already vulnerable region with devastating hunger.
           “Even cows are wondering what is happening,” said Ndunda Makanga, who spent hours Friday trying to chase the locusts from his farm. “Corn, sorghum, cowpeas, they have eaten everything.”
             When rains arrive in March and bring new vegetation across much of the region, the numbers of the fast-breeding locusts could grow 500 times before drier weather in June curbs their spread, the United Nations says.
          A map in this article shows the progress of the swarm and it looks like they came from Oman and Yemen over to East Africa. (See also this Al Jazeera article and this article from Zero Hedge).
                  Authorities in the Kazakh capital declared a state of emergency after a winter storm pummeled the city with strong winds and heavy snowfall. Transportation links to and from Nur-Sultan were cut on January 27, while all schools in the capital were closed.
                   A spokesman for Nur-Sultan International Airport, Zhenis Akhmetzhanov, told reporters that all flights had been postponed on January 27 for safety reasons.
                      Dozens of highways across the Central Asian country were closed due to winter storms.
                      Last Wednesday, there were flash floods in Melbourne, while just 125 miles (200km) away, brutal fires tore through remote communities.

                      The next day rain came to Sydney – the first significant rainfall the city and its scorched surrounds have seen all summer. ...
                * * *
                     Bushfire ash and sludge was washed into rivers and waterways and is estimated to have killed hundreds of thousands of native fish. The fires had stripped the land of brush and undergrowth, meaning that when the rain fell it led to flash flooding. At one animal park north of Sydney the floods swelled the alligator enclosure to such a degree that zookeepers had to fight alligators off the banks, pushing them back into the water with brooms.

                      And, just when people had recovered from the whiplash of the rain, came the next thing: mighty dust storms that charged across the flat, brown horizons of drought-stricken land in western New South Wales.

                      That same day, in Melbourne, the hail arrived; huge chunks of ice, the size of golf balls, pounded the land. When the hailstorms reached Canberra the next day, the ice shredded trees, shattered windscreens and tragically – adding to the biodiversity loss – killed hundreds of bats. In the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, where 80% of the world heritage forest has been destroyed by fire this season, there were storms that led to two people being hospitalised after they were injured by lightning.

                       On Thursday, people awoke to find the Yarra River, which snakes through the centre of Melbourne, had turned brown. Brown rain fell across the city, filling bird baths and swimming pools with dirty sludge, a result of the rain collecting dust from the dust storms.

                      As the week closes out, fires still rage across the east of the country. People continue to choke on suffocating particle-laden air. A heatwave building in Western Australia looks likely to spread to the burning east coast from next week causing concerns that conditions will worsen.

                     The devastating, unthinkable summer continues, and the end is not yet in sight.
                See also these articles from Al Jazeera and ABC News.
                • I've actually been disappointed with Shot Show news this year, but here are some products that look interesting:
                • "Serbu Firearms DIABOLUS Rifle"--The Firearm Blog. This is an improved version of the AR-18 system designed to use aluminum cast upper and lower receivers.
                • For shooters that might have hand problems or be missing fingers: "Blackwater’s Iron Horse Thumb-Triggered AR Pattern Rifles"--The Truth About Guns. The thumb is used to actuate a trigger button at the back of the pistol grip. Of course, this requires different internals and a different lower than your standard AR.
                • "Armaspec – Rifter Linear Muzzle Brake"--The Firearm Blog. The purpose of the linear brakes are to direct sound forward of the firearm. This one uses some milled channels to redirect gases thus reducing recoil and reducing the noise perceived by the shooter or those to the sides of the shooter.
                Moose are generally wimps. For most hunters in the Lower 48 traveling to hunt moose, their go-to deer rifle is a fine choice. Yes, moose are enormous, powerful animals—but they also have large and powerful circulatory and respiratory systems. A well-placed bullet through these vitals will kill a moose quickly. So, I tend to go with a rifle that is comfortable to shoot and very accurate. There may not be a lot of flash to this list, but I doubt there's a collection of cartridges that has put more moose meat in the freezer than this one.
                With that in mind, the list includes not only the magnum rounds, but also .30-06, .308 Win., .270 Win., 6.5 Creedmoor, and .243 Win., and he notes one hunter he knew that had taken multiple moose with .30-30.
                • "A Guide to Precision-Rifle Shooting on a Budget"--American Rifleman. The author notes the expense of rifles and glass for precision writing, but notes that "we can all agree that none of us learned to drive in a Lamborghini, right?" By budget, he means both scope and rifle costing under $1,000 (although you may have to buy used).

                "Astros to Cosmos | Space Scales"--Suspicious Observers (5 min.)
                An overview of terminology to assist with an upcoming series of videos.

                • The rapists behind the Rotherham sex trafficking of underage white girls were Pakistani so, of course, the Muslims try to recast themselves as the victims: "Rotherham Muslims launch ‘guardian’ group after far-right threats"--Guardian. Per the article, "Members of the Muslim community in Rotherham are launching a neighbourhood protection group with more than 100 volunteers after three mosques were targeted by the far-right." How were these Mosques "targeted" you ask. Well, it was truly horrible and you may be scarred for life by the account:
                The far-right group Britain First has carried out what it described as a “major operation” in the South Yorkshire town over the past week, distributing leaflets and visiting mosques, taxi ranks and hotels to warn about grooming of young girls for sex.
                Anonymous Conservative is right when he describes migrants as r-selected rabbits.
                        Nigel Farage was cut off as he delivered his final speech in the European Parliament this afternoon because he and his Brexit Party MEPs started to wave Union flags.
                         Parliament vice-president Mairead McGuinness switched off Mr Farage's microphone as he was finishing his address as she told the party's MEPs to 'put your flags away, you are leaving'. 
                           The cheering Brexit Party contingent then proceeded to get up and walk out of the chamber.
                             The stormy clash took place as MEPs rubberstamped the Brexit divorce deal - the final hurdle which needed to be cleared for the UK to leave the EU at 11pm on January 31. 
                                Senior Member of European Parliament Guy Verhofstadt has made the extraordinary assessment that the lessons to be learnt from Brexit is for Brussels to push for ‘More Europe’ and to take away even more democracy from nation-states.
                                  Speaking ahead of the European Parliament’s vote on the UK-EU withdrawal deal on Wednesday, Mr Verhofstadt rejected the notion that the lesson to be learnt from Brexit is to devolve power back to the nation-state but to give more power to Brussels.
                                   The former Belgian prime minister said: “This lesson, dear colleagues, is not to undo the union, as some are arguing. The lesson is to deeply reform the union. To make a real union in the coming years.
                                     “That means a union without opt-ins, opt-outs, rebates, exceptions, and above all without unanimity rules and veto rights.”

                                Wednesday, January 29, 2020

                                New Humpday Reading List...

                                ... from Grant Cunningham. The three topics this week are: (1) using a walking cane as a weapon; (2) using visualization techniques to improve your ability to defend yourself (e.g., "wargaming" or going through plausible "what if" scenarios); and (3) the benefits of wool.

                                    The second topic reminds me of this quote from General James Mattis: "be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet."

                                Warnings of Possible Flooding Along Upper Mississippi and Red River

                                First up, an article from Wisconsin Public Radio, "Mississippi River Communities Face Early Flood Risk Due To Unusual Weather," which reports:
                                      The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said ice jams forming on the river have increased the chance of localized flooding for cities from Trempeauleau County to Grant County.

                                       Instead of river ice forming a single thick sheet, Dan Fasching, water manager for the Corps' St. Paul District, said temperature swings this winter have caused thin ice to form, break into small pieces and eventually accumulate into a kind of dam.

                                      Fasching said the unfavorable ice conditions come as a historic amount of water continues to flow through the Mississippi River.

                                      Last year, the Corps reported around 25.4 trillion gallons of water passed through Lock and Dam 10 in Guttenberg, Iowa, shattering the previous record high. High water has continued into January, when water is typically at the lowest level. Fasching said the current flow rate is at a level typically seen in May during spring flooding.

                                       "This is unprecedented really. It's created a situation where these ice jams or ice dams are starting to build up water behind them and they’re effectively stealing (water level) control from our locks and dams," Fasching said.
                                An article from the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald similarly warns of increased flood potential along the Red River due to greater than normal precipitation:
                                       Grand Forks communications specialist John Bernstrom said that spring 2019 Red River water levels were the eighth highest on record in Grand Forks, and, with the record-breaking wet fall and winter, the upcoming season is expected to meet or surpass those levels.

                                       Amanda Lee, a service hydrologist for the National Weather Service Grand Forks Station, said that water content in the snowpack is 3.7 inches as of Jan. 27 ⁠— meaning that there is about that much water contained in the 14 inches of snow currently on the ground.

                                      Those levels are on par with the values they tend to see at the end of March, when flooding begins, Lee said.

                                       "So we've already kind of gotten to that point," Lee said. "And we still have February and March to go. So that's not good news."

                                Liberals: "Segregation Now, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever"

                                Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, held an event on Martin Luther King Junior Day under the title: “How to Embrace Your Inner Racist: A Session for White People” And they were serious about it just being for white people:
                                “This session is for White people only,” the event description said, adding that "while we won’t stop people of color from attending, they should know that their presence in the room is likely to interfere with the effectiveness of the session.”
                                According to the description of the event, the session was going to employ “Acceptance and Commitment Training (or ‘ACT’),” (also known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) which employs psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy in order to inspire behavioral change. Again, according to the description, the session was intended to make attendees “recognize and acknowledge that there is a nasty little racist inside them, and to do so without becoming angry or defensive[.]"

                                     The presenter was Dr. Ahmed Afzaal, an associate professor who apparently teaches religion and social activism.

                                Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others

                                In this case, the malefactors are Republicans (in name only) in the Florida legislature. Per an article from The Truth About Guns, Florida’s Republican-controlled House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice voted and passed HB 183 (Prohibited Places for Weapons and Firearms) on Tuesday. "HB 183 would state lawmakers and other elected officials an exemption from the ban on carrying firearms in government meetings. The House bill was introduced by Rep. Mel Ponder (R) and there’s a companion bill in the Senate, SB 1524, which was introduced by Sen. George Gainer (R)."

                                The Coronavirus Today

                                Some humor (source)
                                Still a lot of news coming out about the virus. First of all, it appears to have spread to every continent now other than Antarctica. Futurism reported on Jan. 27 that "REPORTS OF CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK HIT EVERY INHABITED CONTINENT," stating:
                                      On Saturday, officials in Australia confirmed the continent’s first case of 2019-nCoV, the pneumonia-like virus that emerged from Wuhan, China last month.

                                      By Monday, Australia had confirmed five cases, according to The Straits Times. That means the viral pandemic has now definitively spread to yet another continent, the latest after making its way to the U.S. and France last week. And more could soon be confirmed: There are suspected but yet-unconfirmed coronavirus cases in both Brazil, The Epoch Times reports, and the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, according to BBC News — meaning it would have spread to every inhabited continent.
                                It continues to spread, with recent reports of a confirmed case in Finland and four in the United Arab Emirates. Also, Sudan and Equatorial Guinea have quarantined six patients presenting with symptoms. According to the latter article, "World Health Organization chiefs today said they are 'concerned' about any cases in Africa because the continent does not 'have the capacity' to handle the virus." And turning to Japan, we read:
                                      The government confirmed three more cases in Japan of the new coronavirus on Tuesday, including a tour bus driver who has never been to the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak of the deadly virus began in a seafood and poultry market.

                                     The bus driver in his 60s became the first Japanese to be infected with the virus in Japan, the health ministry said. He drove two groups of Chinese tourists from Wuhan earlier this month.

                                     The findings bring the total number of confirmed infections in Japan to seven.
                                Meanwhile, to the north of us, "more than 1,000 people on three flights from China walked into Canada without medical screening." This too may soon end, however, as "major airlines pull plug on services to Hong Kong and mainland as US considers stopping all flights" according to the South China Morning Post. British Airways is stopping all direct flights from Shanghai or Beijing to London.

                                      As for those being evacuated from Wuhan to the United States, they have been rerouted to a California military base: March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County. The Daily Mail reports: "Officials in hazmat suits meet evacuation flight after it arrives at California air base from coronavirus epicenter Wuhan as all 201 passengers prepare for final health screenings and 72-hour quarantine." Interestingly, a photograph from the latter article shows the cockpit windows, and the pilots of the aircraft are also in hazmat suits.

                                      It also appears that we are still not being told the truth about the virus. Last night a friend sent me a link to a news release from WHO on the subject of "WHO, China leaders discuss next steps in battle against coronavirus outbreak." Most of the document is about China agreeing to share data and biological material with international experts and being more transparent. But buried in the statement was this little gem: "The source of the outbreak and the extent to which it has spread in China are not yet known." And yet official after official and news story after news story has been telling us it came from an open-air butchers market. Something not right here.

                                     One thing we do know is that Wuhan officials delayed reacting to the virus, meaning that millions of people had already left Wuhan before any travel restrictions were put into place. According to the Daily Mail, "China launches search for tens of thousands of passengers who shared public transport with coronavirus sufferers as footage emerges of one of the buses they're hunting." The article reports:
                                       The Chinese authorities have launched an urgent search for tens of thousands of passengers who shared public transport with citizens who were later found to carry coronavirus. 

                                      Officials in various cities are now trying to hunt down people who travelled on at least 20 trains, eight flights and one bus to find out if they have been struck down with the deadly disease.
                                It continues:
                                      The new coronavirus ravaging Asia is far more contagious than previously thought and someone who is infected can spread it with just a simple cough or a sneeze. 

                                      Chinese officials revealed on Sunday that the disease can spread between humans even before the symptoms begin to show.  

                                      One 57-year-old male passenger in Jilin city - 2,252 kilometres (1,399 miles) from the epicentre Wuhan - was found to be sickened after his train stopped in the coronavirus-stricken city 'for just a few minutes', the Jilin Health Commission said on Monday.
                                 And Sky News reports that Thailand, with 14 confirmed cases, and a top foreign holiday destination for tourists from Wuhan, admits (via its Health Minister) that it cannot contain the epidemic. Again, one of the issues raised is that the virus is contagious during the incubation period before symptoms begin to present.

                                     News from inside China is harder to come by, but it appears that the Chinese are building a second coronavirus hospital in Wuhan. "Japanese citizens evacuated from Wuhan have described the fear and confusion in the Chinese city with shops running out of food and everyone wearing masks to protect themselves from the deadly coronavirus." The Daily Mail also reports that "Coronavirus infected are trying to spread the disease by deliberately SPITTING at health care workers in Wuhan, claims South African teacher trapped in the city." And Chinese peasant villages continue to take matters into their own hands to keep out "the Golden Horde" of people fleeing Wuhan: "Chinese villagers dig up roads and arm themselves with spears to prevent Wuhan residents from escaping into their communities." And, speaking of the fear of infection from their co-nationalists, I also came across an article reporting on an incident from yesterday in which:
                                      A group of air passengers from Shanghai have refused to board the same plane with tourists from Wuhan after allegedly noticing them secretly taking anti-fever medicine in the airport, according to reports.   

                                      The drama reportedly took place yesterday in Japan as the two rivalling groups were ready to go home from Chubu Centrair International Airport near the city of Nagoya. 

                                      It is said the protesting Shanghai travellers, around 70 of them, demanded the airline bar 16 Wuhan residents, fearing that they might spread the coronavirus to the others. The stand-off led to a five-hour delay to the two-hour flight. 
                                      The Epoch Times has also reported on the infection rate of the virus. From that article:
                                      “I would say there is a very high pandemic risk,” said Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist at Harvard University, citing conclusions in the Chinese CDC report.
                                        He said the risk was exacerbated as a result of asymptomatic patients spreading the virus unknowingly.
                                          China’s health minister, Ma Xiaowei, told reporters on Jan. 26 that the coronavirus, unlike SARS, is infectious during its incubation period, which can last up to 14 days—meaning it can be transmitted even when the infected person exhibits no symptoms.
                                           A Jan. 24 study in The Lancet identified a coronavirus patient, aged 10, who didn’t exhibit any symptoms prior to a medical inspection. Two other patients in the same study didn’t have signs of fever.
                                             Such findings have raised fears that current screening measures, which check body temperature, are not effective in detecting the disease.
                                                Recently, two patients from Wuhan passed screening checks in France and didn’t show signs of infection until one and five days later, respectively.
                                                  Feigl-Ding said this trait of the coronavirus “makes containment much more difficult” than in the case of SARS, which was not infectious during incubation.
                                                    He also suggested that a lot of the official figures on the infections and deaths are based on data that is not up-to-date, due to there likely being an administrative “backlog.”
                                                      Between Jan. 25 and 26, the reported number of patients jumped by 50 percent, from around 2,000 to roughly 3,000. There have been a number of occasions where the deaths were not reported until at least a day later, making it difficult for those on the outside to gauge the true situation, he said.
                                                 Read the whole thing.

                                                     Anonymous Conservative linked to some Twitter comments by Dr. Feigl-Ding which are somewhat more ominous. Referring to research on the genome of the virus, Dr. Feigl-Ding notes that the virus has not been determined to come from bats:
                                                      “A BLAST  search of 2019-nCoV middle fragment revealed no considerable similarity with any of the previously characterized corona viruses (figure 2)” —> it’s a sequence entirely new to any known #coronavirus. What does this mean? We don’t know yet.
                                                      “Notably,  the  new  coronavirus  provides  a  new  lineage  for  almost  half  of  its  genome,  with  no  close  genetic  relationships  to  other  viruses  within  the  subgenus  of  sarbecovirus.” —> basically it’s saying it’s completely brand new to #coronavirus subgenus.
                                                      Very strange: So what is in this new mystery middle segment that has no #coronavirus history? The study authors continue: “This genomic part comprises also half of the spike region encoding a multifunctional protein responsible also  for virus entry into host cells[30,31]”.🤔
                                                 * * *
                                                      BOTTOMLINE: 1) Seafood market not the source. 2) This RNA #coronavirus mutates really fast. 3) 🧬 has unusual middle segment never seen before in any coronavirus. 4) Not from recent mixing. 5) That mystery middle segment encodes protein responsible for entry into host cells.
                                                He ends by stating that he is not saying that the virus was bioengineered, but that we need to study it further to reach a conclusion.

                                                Tuesday, January 28, 2020

                                                7.7 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Caribbean

                                                The earthquake struck a location 80 miles northeast of George Town in the Cayman Islands and 6 miles deep. There have been at least two aftershocks of 4.7 and 6.3 magnitude, respectively. The earthquake also impacted Cuba and Jamaica, and buildings shook as far north as Miami. A tsunami warning had been issued for the Caymans, Jamaica and Cuba, but has since been lifted.

                                                Sources: Cayman Compass, Independent, The Guardian.

                                                A Quick Run Around the Web (1/28/2020)

                                                "THE SUN | Plasma Climate Forcing Finale"--Suspicious Observers (18 min.)

                                                Coronavirus isn't Ebola or the Black Plague, it's this year's flavor of the flu. Before this strain appeared, the CDC says  from October 1, 2019 to mid-January of this year there have been 8,200 to 20,000 flu deaths in the US. The average per year is about 36,000. Coronavirus won't be all that special until we see numbers substantially above these.
                                                        I'm going to write a longer article on the disease, but here's the short version. nCoV is about as transmissible as the 'flu. Transmissibility is measured by a number R0, which is basically an estimate of the number of people who will be infected in the future from each current case. This is computed using a model that fits to the number of cases.
                                                         The first estimates gave nCoV an R0 estimate of 3.6 to 3.8, but that was quickly revised downward to around 2.6.
                                                           Now, even 2.6 isn't great. You want a number less than one — that means it's going to die out on its own. But, by comparison, influenza is somewhere between 2 and 5, and measles between 12 and 18.
                                                             When it was first identified, all 41 patients were already sick enough to be admitted to hospital, and of those, 13 went into the ICU and six died.
                                                               Genetically, 2019-nCoV is most similar to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and also similar to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Both of them caused severe respiratory distress in some patients, and MERS-CoV in particular was fatal in about a third of diagnosed cases. All three are similar to coronaviruses in wild bats in China and the middle east.
                                                                 Now it's time for a short interlude on interpreting numbers. MERS was fatal a third of the time among diagnosed patients. But SARS, MERS, and now nCoV are often either asymptomatic or cause mild cold-like symptoms. Right now, mortality in nCoV is running around 5 percent among diagnosed patients. Neither number reflects what it would be if we included all the people who "had a cold" and never had the virus tested.
                                                            • Coronavirus News:
                                                                  Germany, Japan, and Taiwan have all reported the first cases of a new SARS-like virus in people who haven’t recently visited China. The announcements, made on Tuesday, come as the number of confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV worldwide reached 4,587 and the death toll hit 106.
                                                                 The first person to contract the virus in Germany reportedly got it from a “Chinese colleague” while the two were attending a work training session in the state of Bavaria one week ago, according to German state media outlet DW. The 33-year-old patient, who’s from the town of Starnberg, roughly 18 miles from Munich, was infected by a woman who had been in Wuhan recently to visit her parents. The man, an employee of car parts supplier Webasto, is in a “medically good state,” reports DW.
                                                                 In Japan, a man in his 60s has also contracted the new coronavirus, according to Japanese news outlet NHK. The unnamed man has not recently traveled to China, but reportedly works as a tour bus driver and came in contact with tourists from Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus outbreak, at least twice this month.
                                                                 The Japanese patient lives in Nara prefecture in western Japan and first developed symptoms on January 14 and was hospitalized on January 25, according to the Strait Times. The man’s condition has not been released.
                                                                 Taiwan, which has eight confirmed cases of the virus, also reported its first case of human-to-human transmission outside of China. The patient is a man in his 50s was infected by his wife who had recently been working in China. The man is in stable condition, according to a new report from Reuters. Taiwan has placed restrictions on people traveling from China and now bans the export of facemasks as it tries to control the spread of the new virus.
                                                                      The paper, written by a large group of Chinese researchers from several institutions, offers details about the first 41 hospitalized patients who had confirmed infections with what has been dubbed 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). In the earliest case, the patient became ill on 1 December 2019 and had no reported link to the seafood market, the authors report. “No epidemiological link was found between the first patient and later cases,” they state. Their data also show that, in total, 13 of the 41 cases had no link to the marketplace. “That’s a big number, 13, with no link,” says Daniel Lucey, an infectious disease specialist at Georgetown University.
                                                                      One key finding: It’s not only people with other health conditions that are getting sick, the researchers reported. Some of the fatal cases caused by the virus have been among people with underlying diseases like diabetes, liver disease, and hypertension, but the majority of the first 41 patients infected with the disease in Wuhan were healthy. The researchers noted that SARS infections similarly did not only affect people with other conditions.
                                                                             China's National Health Commission Minister Ma Xiaowei said the incubation period for the virus can range from one to 14 days, during which infection can occur, which was not the case with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
                                                                               SARS was a coronavirus that originated in China and killed nearly 800 people globally in 2002 and 2003.
                                                                                 "According to recent clinical information, the virus' ability to spread seems to be getting somewhat stronger," Ma told reporters.
                                                                            Similar to the 2003 SARS outbreak in China, most patients who came down with the Wuhan coronavirus were healthy, without any chronic underlying health issues. And symptoms also resembled those of SARS, said Chinese researchers led by Bin Cao, from the China-Japan Friendship Hospital and Capital Medical University, both in Beijing.
                                                                            • "Ivory Coast tests first person in Africa for coronavirus"--CNN. According to the article, the unnamed student is believed to have pneumonia and not coronavirus (although coronavirus makes its victims susceptible to pneumonia). The student was coughing, sneezing and experienced difficulty breathing when she disembarked from her flight from China (meaning that everyone on the flight was potentially exposed).
                                                                                  Toner, an M.D. and researcher at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, took part in a simulation, undertaken in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, that posited such a disease could kill 65 million people within 18 months under the right circumstances.
                                                                                   Coronaviruses, with SARS and MERS among that group, are infections of the respiratory tract that can lead to illnesses like pneumonia or the common cold.
                                                                                     Toner told Business insider during an interview that he hasn’t completed research on the current strain of the Wuhan coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV, but said that the death toll could run in the millions if the influenza were resistant to modern vaccines and was as easy to catch as the common flu.
                                                                                        One ominous sign, said a U.S. official, is the that false rumors since the outbreak began several weeks ago have begun circulating on the Chinese Internet claiming the virus is part of a U.S. conspiracy to spread germ weapons.
                                                                                         That could indicate China is preparing propaganda outlets to counter future charges the new virus escaped from one of Wuhan’s civilian or defense research laboratories.
                                                                                    • Related: "Writing Off Gun-Owners"--Don Surber. "If you write off 43% of the voters, you had better be sure the other 57% are in your corner because math says you need 89% of them."
                                                                                    • Related: "Negroes With Guns: The Untold History of Black NRA Gun Clubs and the Civil Rights Movement" "It’s not that black gun ownership is 'good' per se or deserves to be lauded any more than white or Hispanic or Asian gun ownership. The point is that people who are in danger, or at least feel that they are, will often reach out to firearms to protect themselves – especially if state actors seem reluctant or incapable of enforcing the law and protecting them and their families. In this sense, the desire for weapons for self-defense isn’t just a universal impulse, it’s also a basic democratic right."
                                                                                            Attorneys general in 20 states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging a federal regulation that could allow blueprints for making guns on 3D printers to be posted on the internet.
                                                                                             New York Attorney General Tish James, who helped lead the coalition of state attorneys general, argued that posting the blueprints would allow anyone to go online and use the downloadable files to create unregistered and untraceable assault-style weapons that could be difficult to detect.
                                                                                               The lawsuit, joined by California, Washington and 17 other states, was filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle. It is likely to reignite a fierce debate over the use of 3D-printed firearms and is the latest in a series of attempts by state law enforcement officials to block the Trump administration from easing the accessibility of the blueprints.
                                                                                            Notice the forum shopping: a district court in Washington state and within the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, rather than bringing the case in the District Court for the District of Columbia.
                                                                                                  I recalled reading another article a few years ago about a financial writer showing up on the Tonight Show™ with Johnny Carson, so I looked for the interview and found it – a whopping 200 people had watched it, even though it had a glimpse of Susan Sarandon while she was still cute and before her eyes popped out of her head like they were trying to escape.  The writer that Johnny was interviewing was Andrew Tobias.  Johnny said in passing:  “I like how you said that if you had $1000, you should invest in tuna.”
                                                                                                  Tobias responded:  “If you want to make 40% tax free on $1000 you can . . . if you buy tuna fish . . . and shaving cream on sale, and get a case discount.”  The audience didn’t laugh – they were living in pretty uncertain times and the advice was serious.
                                                                                            Read the whole thing.
                                                                                            How the sight works is very curious.  I say it is a reflex-type optic because although it is used like a reflex sight, it does not have a glass “screen” upon which the reticle image is projected.  Instead it uses a very small magnifying lens to focus the user’s eye on a tiny neon green edge glow polycarbonate element with the reticle printed on it. This magnifying lens is cut in half so that the reticle is seen through the bottom half of the lens, and the target is seen over the top. The eye sees both the target and the reticle in the same plane and the sight is free from noticeable parallax.  It is classified as an “iron” sight because it does not use electronics nor magnify the target image. It is fully adjustable for elevation and windage and comes with small allen head wrench.
                                                                                            Overall, the sight worked well, according to the review, and is a very compact sight. The primary issue with the sight is one that is similar to that of reflex sights that automatically adjustment to light level: it is not possible to see the reticle when shooting from inside a dim area at a target in a bright area because there isn't enough ambient light to illuminate the reticle. The author paired it with an ACOG on an offset mount, which interests me because I also have an optic on an AR that has a short eye-relief that makes it impossible to mount standard backup sights because I need to have the optic so far back on the rail.
                                                                                                    The CCP M2 .380 is a soft shooting gun…a crazy soft shooting gun. The CCP in 9mm was already a soft shooting, easy racking gun. The CCP M2 .380 takes that ease to a whole new level.
                                                                                                     The gun barely moves. The soft coil system from Walther has been a widespread success for reducing recoil. This system reduces recoil and makes shooting a small gun quite pleasant. Take a system designed for 9mm and shrink into a .380 ACP gun and you get one of the softest shooting centerfire subcompact handguns on the market.
                                                                                                The reality of the situation is that most cops won’t become competent fighters unless they train on their own time in a contact-based martial art.  Only five to ten percent of officers choose to do that.  That means 90-95% of the cops out patrolling the streets can’t fight any better than the average untrained citizen.
                                                                                                • From Saturday--Puerto Rico continues to get hit with earthquakes: "Puerto Rico hit by a 5.0 quake amid ongoing seismic activity"--NBC News. From the article, "A 5.0 magnitude earthquake hit southern Puerto Rico on Saturday at a shallow depth, raising concerns about unstable infrastructure in a region that has been hit by quakes every day for nearly a month." 
                                                                                                • Good thing that the British allowed themselves to be disarmed so there would no longer be violent crime: "Record High Knife Crime Recorded in Britain"--American Greatness. The article reports: "Police-recorded offenses involving a knife or sharp instrument rose to 44,771, figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show. There were 617 homicides last year in England and Wales, with 40 per cent of those murders being committed with a knife or sharp object, Breitbart reports."
                                                                                                • "AGAINST ALL ODDS: A Tale of Two Bivvies"--SWAT Magazine. A review of the SOL Escape Lite Bivvy and the Escape Pro Bivvy. The Escape Lite is 5.5 ounces and made of a fabric that allows moisture to escape while protecting you from the elements, but also reflects about 70% of your body heat. The Escape Pro is claimed to retain 90% of your body heat, and is larger (coming in at 6 ounces). Because of the waterproof nature of the fabric used in the Escape Pro, the author decided to make his serve double-duty as a liner for his pack. The author continues:
                                                                                                        ... The idea of having a waterproof top and bottom bivvy that remains breathable for about two ounces more was very intriguing to me.
                                                                                                           I don’t own a sleeping bag. I made my own backpacker’s quilt or blanket, which is like a sleeping bag sewn up to calf level and turned sideways like a blanket. It also doesn’t have a zipper and only goes up to my chin. This eliminates the weight of a full bag with heavy zipper, yet allows me to use my existing clothing to cover my head for warmth. Being inside a bivvy traps all the heat in, especially when the bivvy is a mummy style.
                                                                                                            This is a common ultralight hiker’s sleep system for thru-hikers doing the long trails for weeks or months at a time.
                                                                                                            A 4-year-old Indiana boy who was accidentally shot in the head while play-wrestling with his father has died, authorities said.
                                                                                                              Tripp Shaw died Thursday morning as a result of his injuries, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office said.
                                                                                                                Tripp and his 36-year-old father were play-wrestling in their home in Bloomington on January 19 when the man's concealed handgun slipped from his back and went off, the sheriff's office said.
                                                                                                                  The shot struck both of them in the head. The father is expected to recover, according to the sheriff's office.
                                                                                                            The New York Post has a few more details
                                                                                                            Tripp Shaw was injured Sunday night when a Glock semi-automatic handgun that his dad had tucked in the small of his back discharged while they played wrestled on a bed in their Bloomington home....
                                                                                                            According to USA Today, the elder Shaw had the handgun "tucked into his pants" when the incident occurred. The Glock is not a gun you can just shove into your pants.

                                                                                                            It's difficult to address injustice, however, if you're unwilling to say injustice exists. Politicians and pundits, Republican and Democratic alike, have been unwilling to reprimand voters or hold them accountable. But voters are not well-intentioned innocents who are helplessly manipulated by malevolent leaders. They make important decisions as constitutional actors, for which they have moral responsibility. Racist voting isn't an accident. It's a choice that may violate the principles of our Constitution and our legal system. We should say so, and then we should find ways to reduce the harm it causes.
                                                                                                            Along the way he describes different methods to make sure that elections come out the way liberals want. And, of course, there is no mention of how minorities--particularly blacks--overwhelmingly vote by race.
                                                                                                                    This is how the game works. It’s not a contest of ideas, it’s a competition for jobs. As leftists take over human resources offices, reduce the number of conservatives on the faculty to less than 3 percent, make appointments to political office contingent upon compliance with political correctness, and exile troublemakers and nonconformists such as James Woods and Charles Murray, the game as conservatives used to understand it is over. Conservatives lost the war of positions long ago. Woods is a great actor, but so what? Murray is one of the great social scientists of our time, but no academic department would have him.
                                                                                                                     For the Left, outcomes trump procedure just as politics eclipses intelligence, conscientiousness, and competence. One thing I saw in more than 30 years in academia was that while leftists on the faculty were not always the brightest bulbs in the room, they often managed to populate university and department committees where policies were created and passed. While we were teaching and researching; they were reshaping the institution. We were getting on with our work, pushing our individual careers, getting our names in print, and believing we were advancing the field and the school. They were taking over. Put it this way: We were clueless, they were canny.
                                                                                                                       Donald Trump understands this. That’s one reason the Left despises him. He typically doesn’t bother to debate ideas and ideals, but this is not anti-intellectualism, as the liberal says. It is, instead, his awareness that politics is now, first and foremost, a battle of persons, not ideologies or tax rates or trade.
                                                                                                                          The plot was simple. The Obama administration, in 2016 and before, wanted to preordain the 2016 electoral outcome. What better way to do this than to spy on the rival presidential campaign? Since spying is illegal, a pretense was needed.
                                                                                                                            That’s where the Steele Dossier came in. The DNC, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and top Obama administration officials colluded with multiple foreign governments to fabricate opposition research on the Trump campaign alleging treasonous activities. This allowed the FBI to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign advisor Carter Page, and likely others as well.

                                                                                                                              The Obama administration colluded with foreign governments to influence an election. How ironic that this is exactly what President Trump was impeached for, and why he is a “dictator” and an “existential threat to democracy”. Can you say projection?
                                                                                                                        The tapestry is not unraveling, but only a small bit of one corner is frayed. 
                                                                                                                                So we’re finding that deceased top FBI Special Agent Sal Cincinelli (alleged public suicide) was a member of a team that was investigating the Clinton Foundation and had witnessed and investigated the fact that large amounts of money were being moved by Hillary Clinton through the Clinton Foundation, coming in coming out, that trace back to the State Dept. during the time that she was Secretary of State.
                                                                                                                                 This is the first time or the first proof that anybody has that she was actually taking money from public money from the State Dept. while she was Secretary of State and moving it around to her cronies linked to the Clinton Foundation, the Clinton cartel and Cincinelli was part of the FBI who was looking into this.
                                                                                                                            • "The Grubby Corruption of Our Power Elite"--American Greatness. Money quote: "'What makes so many people angry at Washington,' Schweizer writes, 'is the fact that those with political power get to operate by a different set of rules than the rest of us.'" And some get fabulously wealthy doing so. Que Joe Biden:
                                                                                                                                    The image Joe Biden has always cultivated is of a man of humble origins and working-class sympathies. But the reality is that he sits like a spider at the center of a web of financial interests that his two brothers, Frank and James, his sister, and his son Hunter and daughter oversee and profit from. They did quite well during the more than three decades that Biden was a U.S. senator.
                                                                                                                                     But as Schweizer dryly notes, when Barack Obama picked Biden as his running mate in 2008, “it boosted the Biden family fortunes to another level. Now suddenly there were opportunities on a global scale. The executive branch offered an abundance of power to leverage, and the value of the Biden family’s commercial deals, especially those of Hunter, James, and Frank, would skyrocket.”
                                                                                                                                        There is no country with these people. This is a hostile external force occupying real America. Also interesting is the Luciferian themes around the system. Lucifer felt the people could not be trusted and wanted an angel assigned to each human to watch them, and control them, so they couldn’t sin, in a sort of supernatural surveillance state, which he claimed he wanted for good. But the force of good stops him, so he tries to rule now on his own, through covert exertion of influence and the application of temptation to the weak (think of Cabal and Epstein, Weinstein, etc). Those lured in with the promise of their dreams being fulfilled, think they are getting the deal of a lifetime, but once under Lucifer’s thumb, it isn’t so great, which makes me think of Amy Robach, who probably thought she hit gold when offered the deal and the money and the fame, but then ended up having to stop to compose herself as she teared up after she heard Epstein was killed, because she knew she could just as easily be next if she didn’t do what was demanded of her. Of course you can’t do all that openly, so you have to hide, and trick the populace into thinking you don’t exist, because if what you are up to gets out, the people will immediately unite and set about destroying you, because on the whole the people are good. You offer deals to the lesser individuals to get them to serve your mission too, and they will trade their own fate and personal destiny for some immediate personal benefit, but you lie to them as well. It is really uncanny. And I will say, there is a strange, almost religious quality to Cabal’s ground operatives, who seem like their allegiance is almost religious in its loyalty. I get the feel with them it is more than just blackmail or bribery. And finally, you are known as a trickster and the father of lies. Over the last few years I have realized just about everything I believe in was a lie. It was all illusions and deceptions. It is how they work. And of course the motives are similarly murky. Lucifer claims he is doing it for good, and it just happens to amass power for him, and give him the manpower to fight his opposition. Likewise, they make the same case in the infrastructure, and probably with the same underlying, real motivations.
                                                                                                                                          Q has implied that one, we may find technology has rendered the spiritual somewhat more materially characterizable, and that more material spiritual world may play a much bigger role in what is going on than we would think. If so, it would be entirely unsurprising to find Lucifer was at the top of the hierarchy in the domestic intelligence world these days, perhaps in a very real, far more material sense than we would think possible in the old paradigm. Clearly the game plan of Cabal, the global domestic intelligence infrastructure, is drawn almost directly from his playbook. Just interesting given we keep hearing about satanic cults ruling the world, and see the symbolism everywhere. It is not just rumors and symbolism, but the actual structure of the machine is remarkably metaphoric as well, to the point it really could be a real, material outgrowth of it.

                                                                                                                                    Docent's Memo (May 16, 2022)

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