First up, coronavirus (COVID-19) news. This morning statistics on the coronavirus are 85,995 confirmed cases worldwide, including 2,942 fatalities. The cases in Iran have really started to "explode" according to this article from The Daily Wire. The article cites the BBC for a report of 210 deaths in Iran, and a New York Times reporter that the Iranian government is lying about the actual number of infections and that a more factual number of infected in Iran being 10,000 to 15,000. Notably, one Iran’s vice presidents has tested positive for coronvirus, only yet another of a growing group of senior Iranian officials to become infected. And contra to Saudi Arabia (see below), the Iranian government has refused to impose quarantines and is encouraging people to visit the city of Qom, a holy site, which is the center of the outbreak in Iran. The Daily Mail reports that "US spies will use eavesdropping tools and undercover informants to monitor global spread of coronavirus amid 'serious concerns' it will explode in India and doubts over how Iran will cope with outbreak, source reveals." Elsewhere in the Islamic world, Saudi Arabia halts travel to Mecca and Medina over coronavirus fears. And Qatar has become the latest Middle Eastern country to report its first case of coronavirus.
North Korea was, I believe, the first country to seal its borders with China, and its has continued with a policy of isolation and quarantine, with Kim Jong Un warning of "serious consequences" if the virus spreads to North Korea. It's not clear if this warning was directed internally or a warning that the nation would lash out at its enemies if it felt it was going to be weakened by an outbreak. Conversely, "South Korea reports 813 more coronavirus cases in 24-hours, total 3,150." And China is up to its old tricks: "Leaked Documents Reveal Coronavirus Infections Up to 52 Times Higher Than Reported Figures in China’s Shandong Province" reports the Epoch Times.
Sub-Saharan Africa still seems to be resisting the spread, with Nigeria only just reporting its first case yesterday.
Zooming in on North America, Mexico has reported two cases of coronavirus yesterday according to the AP, both being men who had recently returned from Italy. And California is reporting two cases of community transmission of the virus (i.e., caught within California instead of people being brought back from overseas). (More here). Meanwhile, panic buying in Hawaii has resulted in toilet paper, bottled water, and mask shortages. Money quote: "'Local health officials told us not to panic buy and not to freak out,' Ozawa, 45, communications director for tech firm Hawaii Information Service, said, 'and that was enough to get us to go out and buy everything.'"
Here is an interesting article on some of the legal and civil liberties implications. The author writes:
... the president clearly has the power to declare a national health emergency and start ordering quarantines. This power comes from Congress, and is conferred on the president by the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. As the name suggests, this is the same law that lets the president declare disaster relief emergencies. President Donald Trump invoked this power in late January, when he declared a public health emergency and ordered the quarantine of Americans returning from areas of China where Covid-19 had already spread. Quarantines can also be authorized by the surgeon general, who is specifically given that power by federal law.
Although the author contends that state officials don't have to cooperate with the federal government on this, he acknowledges that in practice they will.
Looking at the economic picture, Quartz Magazine reports on how the impact of China closing its factories has had a ripple effect, now hitting manufacturers in South East Asia where some factories are being idled because of a lack of more basic or raw materials from China, one example being clothing factories shut because of the lack of fabric being shipped from China. And then there is this disgusting bit of news that Vox Day highlighted:
A little known specialized bond created in 2017 by the World Bank may hold the answer as to why U.S. and global health authorities have declined to label the global spread of the novel coronavirus a “pandemic.” Those bonds, now often referred to as “pandemic bonds,” were ostensibly intended to transfer the risk of potential pandemics in low-income nations to financial markets.
Yet, in light of the growing coronavirus outbreak, the investors who purchased those products could lose millions if global health authorities were to use that label in relation to the surge in global coronavirus cases.
For my LDS readers, the Church has released a statement concerning its response to the coronivirus outbreak in the most heavily affected areas, including Japan, South Korea and other East Asian countries. Most has to do with safeguarding missionaries, including pulling missionaries out of affected areas and stating that missionaries returning from these regions will self-quarantine for 14-days upon return. The announcement also states that temples have been closed in some regions and, similarly, Sunday worship sessions have also been suspended in some areas.
While the majority of people panicking over the virus outbreak want government "to do something," which itself is how we gradually lose power to the government, the reality is that simple hygiene and etiquette are the best methods to control the spread of the disease. Unfortunately, the French are screwed should the virus establish itself in that country because of their notoriously bad hygiene: "A third of French people don’t wash their hands after going to the toilet and less than half before eating, while a fifth of Frenchmen change their underwear twice a week at best."
And on the subject of hygiene, The Guardian has a good article discussing some of the myths and misconceptions of the coronavirus. First, and I've been guilty of this myself, it addresses those that downplay the virus as not being worse than the flu. In fact, current statistics indicate that the lethality rate of 1% which is higher than seasonal flu. And for those worried about stocking up on face masks, the article relates:
Wearing a face mask is not an iron clad guarantee that you won’t get sick – viruses can also transmit through the eyes and tiny viral particles, known as aerosols, can still penetrate masks. However, masks are effective at capturing droplets, which is the main transmission route of coronavirus, and some studies have estimated a roughly five-fold protection versus no barrier. If you are likely to be in close contact with someone infected, a mask cuts the chance of the disease being passed on. If you’re just walking around town and not in close contact with others, wearing a mask is unlikely to make any difference.
And for you men intending to wear a mask, the CDC has a nice infographic on the type of facial hair styles that will still allow a good seal. Basically, though, beards are right out. So is stubble--you will have to shave everyday. If you followed the Great War channel on YouTube as it went through World War I, you may have noted that the reason why men's styles changed from the pre-war affection for beards, mustaches and other facial hair (allowed and even encouraged in the military) to going clean shaven was because of the need for gas masks to seal tightly. The soldiers returning from the War brought their grooming habits back with them and it is what we've been stuck with ever since.
Those of you that watched the recent China Uncensored video about how the WHO is under the thumb of China may find this article interesting: "How Australia defied global health authority on coronavirus"--The Sydney Morning Herald. Key part:
Why were the Australians ahead of the world [on invoking travel bans]? For a very simple reason. They don't trust the WHO. The information from multiple international sources is that the WHO is under intense pressure from the Chinese government, and succumbing to it.
- This week's Weekend Knowledge Dump from Active Response Training. Commentary and links to articles on various topics including, this week, including incorporating fitness training into your self-defense training/practice regimen, firearm retention, tips for interacting with your doctor for gun owners (my doctor and I follow a don't ask, don't tell policy), levels of eye contact, and a lot more. On the issue of eye contact, if you don't already know, you should know that direct and sustained eye contact is considered a threat or threat precursor to most people. Simply put: don't stare.
- "RV Living Grows as Latest Consequence of Housing Crisis"--Wall Street Journal. While this article is primarily about citizens in California pushing back against more and more people resorting to living in RVs because of unaffordable housing, the more interesting part is the economics of living in an RV. For instance, "Decades-old RVs and campers, which make up the majority of those seen on city streets, can often be acquired for a few thousand dollars, not much more than two months’ rent in many of the West’s expensive cities."
- "What Should You Keep in the Car?"--National Safety Counsel. Recommendations for a car emergency kit:
- A properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench and tripod jack
- Jumper cables [get the heavy duty cables, or, better yet, a powerpack for jump starting a car]
- Tool kit and/or a multipurpose utility tool
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Reflective triangles and brightly colored cloth to make your vehicle more visible
- Compass [and at least a state highway map]
- First aid kit with gauze, tape, bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, a blanket, nonlatex gloves, scissors, hydrocortisone, thermometer, tweezers and instant cold compress
- Nonperishable, high-energy foods, such as unsalted nuts, dried fruits and hard candy
- Drinking water
- Reflective vest in case you need to walk to get help [or change a tire]
- Car charger for your cell phone
- Fire extinguisher
- Duct tape
- Rain poncho
- Additional items for cold weather include a snow brush, shovel, windshield washer fluid, warm clothing, cat litter [nix this since most cat litters available today soften and dissolve--use sand instead] for traction and blankets
It's also a good idea to keep family and emergency phone numbers, including your auto insurance provider and a towing company, in your phone. [And I would add a glass breaker and seat-belt cutter].
- This looks interesting: "Sako S20 – The Rifle That Is You"--The Firearms Blog. "The core of the stock is the two-piece takedown aluminum chassis with the composite buttstock, grip and forearm attached to it. The ability to detach these main stock components allows configuring the rifle for hunting or target shooting applications. "
- "The Surprisingly Solid Mathematical Case of the Tin Foil Hat Gun Prepper"--Recoil Magazine. The author steps through the math of determining the probability of a flood event during a 30-year mortgage if you are on the 100 year flood plain, and then looks at the chance of a violent revolution in the United States:
Stepping through this, the average year for colony establishment is 1678, which is 340 years ago. Two qualifying events in 340 years is a 0.5882% annual chance of nationwide violent revolution against the ruling government. Do the same math as we did above with the floodplains, in precisely the same way, and we see a 37% chance that any American of average life expectancy will experience at least one nationwide violent revolution.
- "Biden Warns Gun Makers: 'I'm Coming For You. Period.'"--PJ Media.
- I'd be worried about mission creep: "Santa Clara DA approves 'County Gun Team' to remove firearms from 'troubling people'."--Deep Clips. From the article: "The specialized, five-person unit will consist of two crime analysts, two investigators and a dedicated gun violence prosecutor. It will focus on the task of removing guns from dangerous offenders who don't have a legal right to own a firearm."
- "This Is Why Taking Fish Medicine Is Truly a Bad Idea"--Smithsonian. Basically the reasons given the article are: (1) fish antibiotics are completely unregulated so there is no guarantee of their purity; and (2) it encourages people to overtake antibiotics leading to more antibiotic resistant diseases. The first point is certainly valid. While I don't believe that a manufacturer would purposefully make lesser quality antibiotics for the fish market because it is too small to warrant a change in manufacturing, I suspect it more likely that the fish antibiotics could consist of batches that failed some test or otherwise were unfit for the more regulated markets. But that could be anything from a contaminant to using the wrong color for the capsule. As for the second reason, that cat has long been out of the bag in the third-world and I doubt that the few people in the United States taking fish antibiotics could make any difference.
- "The Keefe Report: Colt Addresses Python Problems"--American Rifleman. Of the 2500 hundred guns shipped, only 6 have been returned for warranty issues due to mechanical problems. Four of these were due to light primer strikes, with the result that Colt will install a heavier hammer spring going forward. Although Colt don't specifically identify him in the article, it appears that Hickok45's issue with his test gun not advancing the cylinder after a substantial amount of shooting was because the screws holding the side-plate had loosened. Colt will now be using Lok-Tite or similar on the screws.
- A cool looking semi-auto bullpup shotgun: "New for 2020: Escort BTS Bullpup"--American Rifleman. And the price is even reasonable: MSRP is $589.99.
- "Firetail – Ergonomics Of A Tapeswitch Without The Wires"--The Firearm Blog. The product is a lever that attaches behind a tactical flashlight to actuate the butt cap switch when the lever is being pushed down, instead of you having to push forward on the switch. Maybe a solution in search of a problem, but still interesting.
- "If You’re Only Going To Own One Gun, Make it a Shotgun"--The Truth About Guns. If you are talking about a weapon that can be used for both self-defense and taking game, I agree that the shotgun is probably your best bet if you can only have one weapon.
- "FIRST LOOK: India’s AK – Not Quite an AK-203"--The Firearm Blog. It is in 7.62x39mm, and retains the folding stock, selector lever and gas tube cover from the AK 103, but uses the railed and hinged top cover from the AK 203 as well as the more ergonomic pistol grip.
- I want: "Do You Need a Handheld Minigun? Of Course You Do."--Tribunist.
The XM556 Microgun was designed and engineered around the 5.56mm NATO cartridge. This defensive suppression weapon is significantly smaller and lighter than it’s big brother the M134. It was meant to stand in place of anywhere high suppressive fire wanted without the weight or footprint of the larger M134 electrically driven Gatling gun system. The current XM556 Microgun is smaller and lighter than some current 5.56mm beltfed Squad Automatic Weapons currently on the market, with 4x’s the firepower.
The XM556 is a new platform system that was designed from scratch by the ground up. The parts are not just a smaller imitation of the larger M134, but were designed on its own. An absolutely all new style of bolt was conceived and designed to eliminate current known issues with the M134. The bolts combined with many other improvements have been made to not only extend the life of the gun but reduce wear and reduce or eliminate stoppages.
- "Ballistic model for the prediction of penetration depth and residual velocity in adobe: A new interpretation of the ballistic resistance of earthen masonry"--Defense Technology.
- We're from the government and we're here to help: "The Waco Siege: What Happened When the Feds Laid Siege to the Branch Davidian Compound"--Ammo.com. The anniversary of the siege was yesterday. A lengthy article discussing the events of the stand-off and, eventual, lethal invasion of the compound. One of the reasons for the ATF's heavy-handed approach was money, quoting Henry Ruth, one of three independent reviewers of the Treasury Department's report on Waco:
“With appropriations hearings a week away, a large successful raid for the ATF would've proposed major positive headlines for the agency. It would've helped counter the narrative of the ATF as a rogue agency. And it would've spread fear about radical fringe groups which would put pressure on Congress to increase its budget. Part of their motivation was to use the siege at Waco as a publicity stunt.”
- "Philip Haney: FBI to investigate death of DHS whistleblower, initially thought to be suicide"--The Independent. From the article:
Philip Haney, who spoke out against his own agency during the Obama administration, was found in a park and ride area near Plymouth, California, with what the Amador County Sheriff's Office initially said appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
However, those initial reports have been described as “misinformation” and have been walked back in a statement from the sheriff's office, which also confirmed the FBI will be assisting the investigation.
A forensic autopsy is scheduled to be performed by the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office.
The FBI will assist in examining documents and a laptop found at the scene, as well as phone records. The agency will also help with evidence processing on Mr Haney’s motorhome and the firearm.
Why would anyone want him dead?
In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he alleged that the Obama-era DHS had ordered him to delete hundreds of files about reputed associates of Islamist terrorist groups.
He claimed that several attacks in the US could have been prevented if some of the files had not been deleted.
And, although not mentioned in this article, he was working on a second book that was going to expose more corruption.
- Another person well aware of how the world works: "Somali Activist Who Exposed Ilhan Omar’s Marriage With Her Brother Receives Death Threats – “If Anything Were to Happen to Me Ilhan Omar and Her Team Will Be Responsible”"--Conservative US.
- Hopefully related: "DOJ Creates Unit Dedicated to Stripping Citizenship From Naturalized Terrorists, Other Criminals"--Epoch Times.
- "New York Times Admits Obama Admin Deployed Multiple Spies Against Trump Campaign In 2016"--The Federalist. Why would the NYT do this now? The author speculates that "[t]he leak that fueled the Thursday NYT bombshell was likely placed in anticipation of the formal release of even more damaging information about how U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies potentially abused their authority to punish the government’s political enemies."
- The Milwaukee mass shooter who killed 5 people at MillersCoors facility sure disappeared quickly in the national media, and this might explain why: "Milwaukee Mass Shooter is a Black Elizabeth Warren Supporter"--Summit News.
- Oops: "OFFICER BODY CAMERAS ‘GO DARK’ AS INNOCENT FAMILY BEATEN, BUT THE DASHCAM CAUGHT IT ALL"--Blacklisted News. Article about police being called to a domestic dispute, but that the dispute was over and resolved by the time they arrived. Nevertheless, that didn't stop the officers from smacking people around.
- Immigrants welcome! "Accused serial killer healthcare worker tied to a THOUSAND unexplained deaths of elderly patients is indicted on additional murder charges"--Daily Mail. Nigerian Billy Chemirmir may be the most prolific serial killer in the United States.
- Refugees welcome! "Paris Gare de Lyon: Fire at station amid DR Congo concert protest"--BBC News. One of the problems is that they bring their politics with them:
Police evacuated Paris's Gare de Lyon station after protesters started a fire [sic: multiple large fires] to try to disrupt a concert by a Congolese singer.
Political opponents of the DR Congo government set fire to parked scooters, motorcycles and bins and blocked firefighters from tackling the blaze.
They accuse singer Fally Ipupa of being too close to the Congolese government.
* * *
"The protesters were throwing anything they could at the police and fire brigade who were just trying to do their job. They were just setting fire to anything they could and fighting with each other."
- "Swedish Report: Stockholm Violent Gang Leaders Have Migration Background"--Breitbart. From the article: "A Swedish news outlet has revealed that 17 of 32 gang leaders committing violence in Stockholm were born overseas, with the other 15 born in Sweden but from migration backgrounds."
- Related: "73 Per Cent of Swedish Population Growth Driven By Mass Migration"--Breitbart.
- Turkey must be running short of cash and so they are sending in the refugees: "Report: Greece Sends 50 Naval Vessels To Guard Border After Turkey Opens Gates"--Breitbart. From the article:
Greece has completely shut down its borders Friday, sending dozens of naval vessels to patrol the Greek islands after Turkey announced it would allow all Syrian migrants to head to Europe.
A government representative, who wished to remain anonymous, told German media that Greece has closed its entire land and sea border with Turkey and will allow no one to cross the border at all, German tabloid Bild reports. Citing sources, the newspaper claimed 50 naval ships — likely predominantly patrol vessels — of the Hellenic Navy supported by helicopters were being sent to the European Union’s external border.
The newspaper also cited accounts of Greek authorities setting off tear gas at land border crossing points as migrants attempted to move into Europe.
The Turkish government has not made an official government announcement that the border is open but a source informed news agency Reuters that all border guards, police and Turkish coastguard officers were ordered to stand down.
Turkish journalist Ragip Solyu added that the border would be open for all Syrians wanting to head to Europe for the next 72 hours.
This generally precedes the EU caving and giving billions of Euros to Turkey.
- No, this is not a parody headline: "U. Oklahoma: Anti-racism Protesters Demand Provost Resign and University Bring Popeyes to Campus"--Legal Insurrection. Protesters from the Black Emergency Response Team (BERT) at the University of Oklahoma have made various demands after an professor said the "n-word" while reading from an unnamed historical document in a class. Among their demands, “a semester-long class focused on diversity, and a new multicultural center that will feature meeting spaces for marginalized students, common areas, study rooms and a Popeyes restaurant.”
- Not our best or brightest: "Justice Department: 45% of Blacks at Harvard Admitted Through Illegal Race Preferences"--PJ Media. "Almost half of all blacks and Hispanics who attend Harvard were admitted because of illegal racial preferences in admissions according to a brief just filed by the Department of Justice." And, quoting from the brief: "The school considers race at virtually every step of its admission process. And its officials constantly monitor and continually reshape the racial makeup of each admitted class as it emerges. Those mechanisms confirm that Harvard’s racial balancing is no accident; it is engineered."
- "Crackdown on immigrants who use public benefits takes effect"--AP. From the article:
Pastor Antonio Velasquez says that before the Trump administration announced a crackdown on immigrants using government social services, people lined up before sunrise outside a state office in a largely Latino Phoenix neighborhood to sign up for food stamps and Medicaid.
“You had to arrive at 3 in the morning, and it might take you until the end of the day,” he said, pointing behind the office in the Maryvale neighborhood to show how long the lines got.
But no one lined up one recent weekday morning, and there were just a handful of people inside.
- Smartest president ever, don't ya know: "How Barack Obama's Good 'Intentions' Destroyed Libya"--The National Interest. I don't believe that Obama had good intentions but, nevertheless, from the article:
But there is little doubt that the situations in both Libya and Syria are substantially worse than they were before the United States and its NATO allies began to meddle. Overthrowing Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi produced pervasive chaos that has now culminated in a bloody armed struggle between two rival autocratic governments. The author of a new UN report states that the impact of the country’s 9-year internecine conflicts on civilians “is incalculable,” Washington’s effort to oust Assad not only appears to have failed, but it helped lead to the rise of ISIS. More recently, nasty contests for influence between Turkey and Russia have erupted in Syria and Libya, raising the prospect of a dangerous clash between those two major powers, especially in Syria.
In both arenas, the civil wars have displaced vast numbers of civilians, and the resulting refugee flows have caused severe disruptions and societal tensions in neighboring countries—including Washington’s European allies. Those episodes demonstrate why policies must be judged by their consequences, not their intentions. The observation that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions is especially true with respect to foreign military interventions. It is well past time for the architects of such debacles to accept responsibility for their awful handiwork.
- I liked the wording of this headline from the Washington Free Beacon: "Dem Megadonor, Gun-Control Activist Harvey Weinstein Convicted on Rape Charges."
- Thinking outside the box: "A New Kind of Rocket that’s Lightweight and Easier to Construct: a Rotating Detonating Engine. Unfortunately, it’s Also Completely Unpredictable"--Universe Today. From the article:
“A rotating detonation engine takes a different approach to how it combusts propellant. It’s made of concentric cylinders. Propellant flows in the gap between the cylinders, and, after ignition, the rapid heat release forms a shock wave, a strong pulse of gas with significantly higher pressure and temperature that is moving faster than the speed of sound.
This sets the RDE apart from conventional engines, which require a lot of machinery to direct and control the combustion reaction so that it can be turned into acceleration. But in an RDE, the shock wave generated by the ignitions creates thrust naturally and without the need for additional engine parts.
Unfortunately the actual paper is behind a paywall, but see also here and here for a couple more articles.
- A reminder we live in the 21st Century: "Pentagon Preps Nuclear Moon Rocket"--The Daily Beast. "The military’s goal is to deploy maneuverable satellites into the vast space between the Earth and the moon—'cislunar' space, it’s called—before China gets there with its own spacecraft." The nuclear reactor is used to heat up a propellant, such as hydrogen, according to the article. See also "The Pentagon Is Working on a Nuclear Thermal Rocket" at Popular Mechanics.
- And another reminder: "Two private satellites just docked in space in historic first for orbital servicing"--Space.com. The article explains:
In a historic first for satellite operations, a commercial spacecraft "helper" has docked with a working communications satellite to provide life-extension services.
The companies involved in the meetup — Northrop Grumman and Intelsat — hailed the operation, which took place Tuesday (Feb. 25), as the beginning of a new era that will see robotic spacecraft giving new life to older satellites that are low on fuel or require repairs.
Because launch costs constitute a large part of a satellite's total price tag, the hope is that refurbishing aging satellites will eventually reduce the expense of services that satellites provide, such as telecommunications or weather monitoring.