Saturday, February 29, 2020

A Quick Run Around the Web (2/29/2020)

"Ongoing Magnetic Excursion Triggered by the Sun | S0 News Feb.25.2020"--Suspicious Observers (7 min.). I've linked it to begin at the relevant portion which is at the 2:13 mark where the host begins discussing evidence of an ongoing Sun-driven magnetic incursion on Mars. Obvious implications for Earth as well.

       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 IranThe 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.
    "Younger Dryas - Evolution of a hypothesis"--Antonio Zamora (13 min.)
    In this video, Zamora summarizes the history and evidence of an impact event at the time of the beginning of the Younger Dryas (a brief ice-age that occurred after the Earth was entering the current interglacial). 

    • 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.

          "Niagara Escarpment"--Antonio Zamora (8 min.)
          In this video, Zamora takes a more in-depth look at the evidence suggesting a Younger Dryas impact may have occurred in the Saginaw Bay region of Michigan. 

          • 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, 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.
                               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."
                                          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.
                                                       No more.
                                                         “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.
                                                              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.
                                                                  “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.
                                                                        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.

                                                                      Wednesday, February 26, 2020

                                                                      Coronavirus Worsens in Italy

                                                                      Italy's cases have jumped to 400 cases, a 25% increase over the last 24 hours. Oh, and here is what a researcher that looked into the issue and performed computer modeling said about the effectiveness of airport screening: "We estimate that on average, screening will miss about two thirds of infected travellers."

                                                                      The Way Things Work

                                                                      When I wrote my post on a Library for the End of Civilization a couple weeks ago, I cited a 1972, 2-volume publication called How Things Work: The Universal Encyclopedia of Machines, and noted that Simon & Schuster published the first volume under the name The Way Things Work. I was wrong: Simon & Schuster had published both volumes, and they are available to download free of charge from the Internet Archive.

                                                                      Looking for a Book to Read?

                                                                      Well, look no further. I've reviewed books from Marcus Wynne before, and noted that they are good action stories written by someone that has been there, done that, and understands guns and the use of force. Wynne has just released a new novel, SALT: Book 1 of The Revengers, available for Kindle at Amazon. And if you haven't read his books before, one of his earlier novels, No Other Option, is currently available for Kindle for free until Friday.

                                                                      Coronavirus Update (2/26/2020)

                                                                      Latest numbers are 81,273 confirmed cases worldwide, including 2,771 fatalities. According to the WHO, more new cases arose outside China than inside: 427 new cases were recorded outside China yesterday versus 411 inside China.

                                                                            Remember the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Japan? Of the 813 released from the ship after testing negative for the virus, 45 are now showing symptoms of infection.

                                                                            Turning to Europe, North Macedonia and Greece today became the latest countries to confirm cases, while Italy reported 50 more cases bringing its total cases to 370 (with 12 fatalities). France has also announced a second fatality from the virus. News reports from inside the quarantined "red zone" indicate that food stocks at groceries are running low, and even reported a fight between a couple of shoppers.

                                                                            Brazil is finishing up its Carnival celebrations today, but a Brazilian man who traveled to Lombardy in Italy and returned to Brazil on February 21 (the date Carnival started) has tested positive for the virus. So, we may yet see more cases in Brazil.

                                                                           Finally, an American soldier based in South Korea has been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

                                                                      Tuesday, February 25, 2020

                                                                      Dry-firing a Rimfire: Yes or No?

                                                                      An article from The Firearm Blog on the topic of dry-firing a rimfire, by which I assume dry fire practice. The most significant part of the article is the information they obtained from different manufacturers:

                                                                      ■ Anschutz does not recommend dry-firing its rimfires. It says frequent dry-firers should install its special firing pin. The company also notes that on most guns other parts, like springs, usually wear out before firing pins; the majority of its guns returned for damage from dry-firing come via Chinese and Japanese competitors, as these countries are known for dry-firing because places to actually fire a gun there are rare.

                                                                      ■ Ruger says dry-firing the company’s 10/22 rifle will not damage it. This makes sense as I mentioned above, without the last round bolt hold-open device you will inevitably dry fire on an empty chamber once you run out of ammo.

                                                                      ■ Henry Repeating Arms says shooters can dry-fire its guns all they want.

                                                                      ■ Smith & Wesson says dry-firing can damage rimfires.

                                                                      ■ Browning confirms dry-firing won’t damage firing pins or chambers of its newer guns.

                                                                      Feb. 25, 2020 Coronavirus Update

                                                                      To me the most significant news story is from The Atlantic, which reports that Harvard epidemiology professor Marc Lipsitch "predicts that, within the coming year, some 40 to 70 percent of people around the world will be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. But, he clarifies emphatically, this does not mean that all will have severe illnesses. 'It’s likely that many will have mild disease, or may be asymptomatic,' he said. As with influenza, which is often life-threatening to people with chronic health conditions and of older age, most cases pass without medical care." The article goes on to relate that "[t]he emerging consensus among epidemiologists is that the most likely outcome of this outbreak is a new seasonal disease—a fifth 'endemic' coronavirus."

                                                                             The article states that the lethality rate of the coronavirus is less than 2%. However, the estimates vary considerably. The world's population is estimated to be 7.8 billion. (See also the Daily Mail article, "Is the killer coronavirus now disease X? World Health Organization expert warns the infection is 'rapidly' fitting category for the mysterious pathogen scientists fear will kill 80 million"). Taking the low end of Lipsitch's estimate of a 40% infection rate, that means that 3.12 billion will become infected. Assuming a 2% mortality, that is still 62.4 million dead. On the high end of 70% infection, we are looking at 5.46 billion infected. Again, using a 2% mortality rate, that is a bit over 109 million dead.

                                                                            But a 2% mortality may be low; Anonymous Conservative notes that Iran has 95 cases and another 250 in quarantine, but 50 dead. Exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui claims that the coronavirus has infected as many as 5 million people in China, with the death toll crossing 200,000.

                                                                           In other news, the coronavirus has spread to southern Italy, and the Daily Mail reports that panic-buyers stripping supermarket shelves bare in Palermo and there are 59 new cases nationwide, bringing the total to 288. Meanwhile, the virus continues its spread across the continent with Switzerland, Austria, Croatia and mainland Spain now all reporting cases. And turning to the Middle-East, "Kuwait, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Oman, and Iraq reported their first coronavirus cases on Monday, all involving people who had been in Iran."  Iran's deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, has tested positive for the virus and is now under quarantine.

                                                                      Monday, February 24, 2020

                                                                      Failing to Follow Farnam's Rules

                                                                      John Farnam has set out simple rules for personal safety:
                                                                      • Don't go to stupid places.
                                                                      • Don't do stupid things.
                                                                      • Don't hang out with stupid people.
                                                                      • Be in bed by 10 PM.  Your own bed.
                                                                      • Don't look like a freak.
                                                                      • Don't fail the attitude test.
                                                                      I thought of these today as I read the following piece: "Three American sisters on vacation raped by Afghan Muslim men on New Years Eve."  So, how did they violate the rules? According to the article:
                                                                             The three women from Ohio, ages 19, 20, and 23, met the men in a pub on December 31, according to reports from local media outlet La OpiniĆ³n de Murcia. One of the sisters left with one of the men to go to his house. The other two stayed in the bar until leaving with the remaining two men, headed to the apartment in which the women were staying and planning on continuing their New Year’s celebrations. In both cases, the women reported having been raped by the men, who, according to sources from the central government delegation in Murcia, are of Afghan origin.
                                                                            The Spanish authorities examined security camera footage and interviewed witnesses in order to identify the three men, who were located together in a property. The men offered no resistance to arrest and, according to sources from the investigation, appeared surprised when the police arrived. The three are facing charges for sexual assault, threats and battery.
                                                                      So, let's count the violations: (1) went to stupid place (the apartment of the three men and, arguably, the pub); (2) did something stupid (accompanied Afghan men home from bar); (3) hung out with stupid people (this is presumed because of the women's young age); and (4) not in bed by ten, but instead accompanied Afghan men to the men's beds. Four out of six rules broken.

                                                                      The Plagues of China


                                                                           The WHO has stated that the coronavirus outbreak has peaked in China, but warns that it may still result in a global pandemic. "WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom said the peak in China occurred between January 23 and February 2 and the number of new cases there 'has been declining steadily since then'." While that would be good news, if true, Adhanom is a toady of the Chinese regime (as discussed in great detail in the China Uncensored video, above) and is no more trustworthy than official Chinese sources. Even Wuhan's city government does not appear to have decided whether the epidemic is easing or not.

                                                                             Part of the concern I have is that the date when the virus began to spread keeps being pushed further back in time. "Earlier reports by Chinese health authorities and the World Health Organisation said that the first known patient showed symptoms on December 8, and that most of the subsequent cases had links to the seafood market, which was closed on January 1," notes the South China Morning Post. But even Chinese scientists have discounted this, with the most recent publicly released research saying "that based on the genome data it was possible that the virus began spreading from person to person in early December or even as early as late November."

                                                                            The official statistics also seem to be at odds with the unofficial information coming out of China. Rod Dreher at the American Conservative has shared communications from a doctor whose wife has family in Wuhan, and his latest is very concerning. He quotes from the doctor's missive:
                                                                      Her [his wife's] mother remains under in home quarantine in her apartment in a small city on the Western frontier. She seems to be fully recovered. She is eating rice that she has had piled up in her apartment for just such a reason – and refuses to eat any food that is brought to her door. This city is in the middle of a vast agricultural area. Hogs, cows and chickens are a staple of their economy. My mother-in-law has told us that the “death stench” has permeated her city the past week or so and getting worse daily. She cannot even open her windows. Why? No one is going to work – and no one is taking care of the livestock. No shipments of grain are coming in for the animals — and throughout the land the animals are starving in the pastures. The bodies by the hundreds of thousands are just laying in the sun and rotting. All this while the industrialized part of China is beginning to have severe food shortages. Something in my doctor brain is telling me that having millions of people so close to rotting animals cannot be good. What could possibly go wrong?
                                                                      He also notes that 20% of the workers in my brother-in-law’s city were ordered back to work a few days ago, but the order was apparently ignored. And the following prophecy from an ancient monk is making the rounds among the elites: "The year 2020 – The year all of China will weep. The omens will be so bad that the New Year will not be celebrated. Then the plague will come. It will come with a fury – the tigers and the wolves will hide in the mountains. The plague will encompass all the land – and will eventually spread to the whole world. Very soon – rice will become so expensive that no one can eat."

                                                                           On top of all of this, China is the latest victim to the spreading locust plagues. That same prophecy, noted above, also states that "[t]here will be no harvest of late season rice, beans, wheat, and oats because vast clouds of locusts will lay waste to the entire countryside." And that is a real concern. The doctor goes on:
                                                                      And about the locusts. This is becoming an ever more important part of my wife’s Mandarin news feed every day. Vast clouds of locusts made it to Xinjiang (the furthest west Chinese province) last week. The videos are amazing. The Mandarin news is showing the government deployment of these gigantic fire throwers that lay waste to not only the locusts but all the land in the path of the fire. Huge bursts of fire blow out from them and they truly look like something that would be appropriate to accompany the Four Horsemen. Today we learned that the locusts have now arrived very close to the western border of Gansu province. Gansu is part of the ancient Chinese homeland and is a huge producer of wheat and rice. If this swarm gets started up, it will be a huge blow to China and their psyche. The CCP has now ordered that every live chicken in China is to be immediately dispatched to the western border, where they will be released to eat the locusts. To everyone who thinks this is not a huge problem — think about the decision being made. Take away eggs and meat for the people who are already angry — to stop the locusts. The CCP must have data that this locust swarm is going to become a disaster unless stopped immediately, no matter what the cost.
                                                                      I doubt that China is going to have its own miracle of the seagulls as did the Saints that arrived in Utah.

                                                                           There is the old saying that actions speak louder than words. I'm half a century old and been an avid consumer of news since before I was even a teen, and I've never seen countries react this way to other disease outbreaks. Even the Ebola scare a few years ago did not result in anything like what we are seeing. People at the top are very concerned.

                                                                          But even if the coronavirus does not become an epidemic in the United States, there will still be consequences due to China, unfortunately, being the "factory to the world." Even if the products are manufactured elsewhere, they often rely on materials or parts produced in China. Consequently, we see articles warning that "[t]he vast majority of key ingredients for drugs that many Americans rely on are manufactured abroad, mostly in China," and "[a]bout 150 prescription drugs — including antibiotics, generics and some branded drugs without alternatives — are at risk of shortage." Moreover, "[a]lthough current inventories are strong at most of the nation’s big-box retailers, analysts from Wells Fargo warn that shoppers could start seeing empty store shelves as early as mid-April." And Procter and Gamble has similarly warned that 17,600 of its products could be affected by interruptions in China:
                                                                      “We access 387 suppliers in China that ship to us globally more than 9,000 different materials, impacting approximately 17,600 different finished product items,” Jon Moeller, Procter & Gamble’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer, said Thursday at a conference in New York. “Each of these suppliers faces their own challenges in resuming operations.” 
                                                                      One of the more stark measures of the impact is the decline in shipping traffic. The International Business Times reports:
                                                                            Sea freight transport, the lifeblood of trade and a bellwether of the global economy, has been blown off course by the new coronavirus, sparking general alarm.

                                                                            As analysts pore over charts to gauge just how badly Chinese mega-factories have been hit, figures provided by cargo ship traffic paint a gloomy picture.

                                                                            The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) reflects the daily price of moving goods such as coal, rice and wheat along routes deemed representative of the global market.

                                                                            Some call it the canary in the coal mine for the economic world.

                                                                            The BDI has now reached lows last seen in early 2016, when the shipping sector was suffering a supply and demand imbalance in the wake of the 2008-09 global economic crisis.
                                                                      For more discussion of the economic impacts, check out "Corona Virus, with a Slice of Recession?" from Wilder, Wealthy and Wise, which discusses how our modern technology and standard of living is dependent on global trade,  and how a "slowdown of imports from China could also have an immediate effect because of what we import." (Italics in original).

                                                                      Saturday, February 22, 2020

                                                                      A Quick Run Around the Web (2/22/2020)

                                                                      Includes some good survival advice, particularly about water and food.

                                                                      • First off, be sure to check out Greg Ellifritz's Weekend Knowledge Dump for this week. Links to articles and videos on the best types of pepper spray, body language and pre-assault behavior, responding to airway obstructions, different ways to reload an AK, and more.
                                                                      • Also, Grant Cunningham had a new Hump Day Reading List this past Wednesday.
                                                                      • "JWT: The Guns I Used in Combat in Afghanistan"--The Truth About Guns. The author discusses the weapons he carried or used in combat and his thoughts about each. One of the interesting points he makes is that because he was constantly armed and carried an M4 and/or Beretta M9 as he performed many different tasks, he didn't actually associate them with combat. In fact, he notes, most of the actual combat was done by the people armed with machine guns (his favorite being the M2 Browning .50), not rifles. He continues:
                                                                      They [the M4 and M9] weren’t even my most important tool. After spending some time in actual combat, I learned that my radio was a far more useful, and far more deadly tool than my individual weapons. In fact, many of the guys I worked with eventually dropped a magazine or two so that they could carry more batteries for their radio.
                                                                      He also had no complaints or concerns regarding the reliability of his M4.
                                                                      • "Concealed Carry Corner: Watching For Bullet Setback"--The Firearm Blog. Bullet setback refers to a bullet being pushed back into the case further than it is normally seated. It can happen suddenly, such as when you have a failure to feed; or slowly over time if you are constantly ejecting a cartridge and then re-chambering it such as unloading and loading a concealed carry weapon. The problem is that if the bullet is seated too far into the case, it raises the pressure in the cartridge, possibly to dangerous levels. I've had (and seen others have) instances where a bullet is pushed so far in that it is essentially sitting loose in the casing. And I've seen instances where people will just pull the bullet out until its tight and just shoot it. Don't do that! Just dispose of the cartridge. 
                                                                      As far as the cycling issue, I think the easiest way to deal with the issue is to simply not cycle the ammo repeatedly. That means, leaving your concealed carry weapon loaded at night rather than unloading each night and reloading it each morning. If that is not an option, when reloading the weapon, consider manually putting a round in the chamber with the slide locked back so the cartridge is already aligned properly, let the slide slam shut, engage the safety/decock the weapon if needed, put in your magazine, and be on your way. And, as the author notes, be sure to replace your carry ammo with new ammo every few months or so.
                                                                             There seems to be some disagreement as to the source of the coronavirus, although the open-air seafood market is increasingly being ruled out. Reported outbreaks in Chinese prisons has led to speculation that the epidemic may "have started from the cramped prison system, possibly at internment facilities in Xinjiang." The Global Times reports that "[a] new study by Chinese researchers indicates the novel coronavirus may have begun human-to-human transmission in late November from a place other than the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan." That means that the virus had been circulating for far longer than previously believed. This seems consistent with warnings from a Chinese provincial government that the virus may have up to a 27 day incubation period. But, increasingly, the evidence is mounting that the virus actually did originate in a Chinese bio-warfare laboratory in Wuhan. From the New York Post:
                                                                            At an emergency meeting in Beijing held last Friday, Chinese leader Xi Jinping spoke about the need to contain the coronavirus and set up a system to prevent similar epidemics in the future.
                                                                             A national system to control biosecurity risks must be put in place “to protect the people’s health,” Xi said, because lab safety is a “national security” issue.
                                                                               Xi didn’t actually admit that the coronavirus now devastating large swathes of China had escaped from one of the country’s bioresearch labs. But the very next day, evidence emerged suggesting that this is exactly what happened, as the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology released a new directive entitled: “Instructions on strengthening biosecurity management in microbiology labs that handle advanced viruses like the novel coronavirus.”
                                                                                   Read that again. It sure sounds like China has a problem keeping dangerous pathogens in test tubes where they belong, doesn’t it? And just how many “microbiology labs” are there in China that handle “advanced viruses like the novel coronavirus”?
                                                                                   It turns out that in all of China there is only one. And this one is located in the Chinese city of Wuhan that just happens to be . . . the epicenter of the epidemic.
                                                                                     That’s right. China’s only Level 4 microbiology lab that is equipped to handle deadly coronaviruses, called the National Biosafety Laboratory, is part of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
                                                                                  The article also notes that "the People’s Liberation Army’s top expert in biological warfare, a Maj. Gen. Chen Wei, was dispatched to Wuhan at the end of January to help with the effort to contain the outbreak." But, perhaps most damnably, it has been learned that "[s]ome Chinese researchers are in the habit of selling their laboratory animals to street vendors after they have finished experimenting on them." 
                                                                                          Instead of properly disposing of infected animals by cremation, as the law requires, they sell them on the side to make a little extra cash. Or, in some cases, a lot of extra cash. One Beijing researcher, now in jail, made a million dollars selling his monkeys and rats on the live animal market, where they eventually wound up in someone’s stomach.
                                                                                           Also fueling suspicions about SARS-CoV-2’s origins is the series of increasingly lame excuses offered by the Chinese authorities as people began to sicken and die.
                                                                                             They first blamed a seafood market not far from the Institute of Virology, even though the first documented cases of Covid-19 (the illness caused by SARS-CoV-2) involved people who had never set foot there. Then they pointed to snakes, bats and even a cute little scaly anteater called a pangolin as the source of the virus.
                                                                                                I don’t buy any of this. It turns out that snakes don’t carry coronaviruses and that bats aren’t sold at a seafood market. Neither are pangolins, for that matter, an endangered species valued for their scales as much as for their meat.
                                                                                                 The evidence points to SARS-CoV-2 research being carried out at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. 

                                                                                            Short take: for the .32 ACP, just pick a quality FMJ round.

                                                                                                   The Washington Times reported that 28.3 million checks were run on the FBI’s National Instant Check System last year. That included over 2.9 million in December, the month House Democrats voted to impeach the president on a party-line vote.
                                                                                                    According to FBI data on NICS checks, the previous record for a year was 27.5 million in 2016.
                                                                                                      “Corporate profits have been declining as employers increase wages to hire scarce blue-collar workers … corporate profits could soon drop to historic lows, which could reduce business investment and GDP growth,” says the editorial board’s complaint, titled “America’s Disappearing Workers.”
                                                                                                         “Maybe the only short-term fix is to increase legal immigration—unless Americans want to see their living standards decline and more jobs exported,” the editorial concluded.
                                                                                                    Yet there is no historical precedent for the WSJ's argument. The first half of the 19th Century, and the period from the 1940s through the 1960s saw tight restrictions against immigration and higher relative wages, with resulting social stability and prosperity. Conversely, open immigration such as in the latter 19th Century and early 20th Century, and after 1970, resulted in stagnant or falling wages and standards of living, social unrest, and a relative lack of innovation given the inroads that the Japanese and, later, the Chinese made into manufacturing and technology markets.
                                                                                                             President Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy at the United States-Mexico border is ensuring pregnant migrants are not using their court dates in the U.S. to then deliver their children on American soil, thus securing them birthright citizenship.
                                                                                                              Currently, Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy has made sure that southern border crossers claiming asylum are returned to Mexico or their native Central American country while they await their asylum hearings in the U.S. The policy has prevented mass fraud where illegal aliens are released into the interior of the U.S. only to never show up for their asylum hearings and never leave the country.
                                                                                                                This proposal forms part of a series of reforms aimed to modernise the first stage of the Classics degree, known as Moderations (Mods), which take place during Hilary term of second year for all students taking Classics courses across the university.
                                                                                                                  The Mods course, which is assessed by a set of ten exams at the end of Hilary, has been increasingly criticised in recent years, due to the attainment gaps found between male and female candidates, as well as between candidates who have studied Latin and/or Greek to A-Level (Course I) and those who have not (Course II).
                                                                                                                    The removal of Virgil and Homer papers, which take up two out of the ten Mods papers, have been marketed as a move that will reduce the attainment gaps and thus improve access to the subject.
                                                                                                                “I had a perfectly healthy child a year ago, and that perfectly healthy child has been altered and destroyed for absolutely no good reason,” Rob said in an exclusive interview. “She can never go back to being a girl in the healthy body that she should have had. She’s going to forever have a lower voice. She’ll forever have to shave because of facial hair. She won’t be able to have children…”

                                                                                                                Wednesday, February 19, 2020

                                                                                                                That's Not Funny: "American comedian broke quarantine while he was stuck on the Westerdam coronavirus cruise ship in Cambodia and got a flight home"

                                                                                                                It doesn't appear that he was infected, but there is increasing evidence that the COVID-19 virus can be spread by people without symptoms, according to this Philadelphia Enquirer article. According to that article:

                                                                                                                      Testing of throat swabs from two people with no symptoms of coronavirus illness revealed that they were nonetheless infected with the virus, according to a report from Germany published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

                                                                                                                      The finding, though previously suspected, would make the job of containing the virus significantly more difficult.

                                                                                                                      “We discovered that shedding of potentially infectious virus may occur in persons who have no fever and no signs or only minor signs of infection,” concluded the paper, authored by 20 scientists, physicians, and public health officials in Frankfurt.

                                                                                                                The Collapse of Complex Societies: An Eastern Oregon Group Wants to Secede and Join Idaho

                                                                                                                The Daily Mail reports that "Oregon and California conservatives outraged by liberal policies that 'threaten their livelihoods, gun rights and values' want to redraw state borders to join Trump-loving IDAHO." From the article:

                                                                                                                      Conservatives in Oregon and California have launched a campaign to redraw state borders so that they can join Idaho, where they believe legislators will more effectively represent their values and interests.  

                                                                                                                      The campaign, known as Greater Idaho, hopes to expand the borders of Idaho westward in order to encompass large swathes of rural Oregon and parts of Northern California.  

                                                                                                                      'Rural counties have become increasingly outraged by laws coming out of the Oregon Legislature that threaten our livelihoods, our industries, our wallet, our gun rights, and our values,'  Greater Idaho proponent Mike McCarter  told USA Today on Tuesday. 

                                                                                                                       'We tried voting those legislators out, but rural Oregon is outnumbered and our voices are now ignored. This is our last resort.' 

                                                                                                                Tuesday, February 18, 2020

                                                                                                                Article: "First coronavirus patient had NO connection to Wuhan seafood market"

                                                                                                                Interesting. The Daily Mail is reporting:

                                                                                                                      According to public notices released by Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, the first coronavirus patient appeared on December 8 and most of the initial patients were linked to the seafood market.

                                                                                                                      But BBC reported that the very first sufferer, also known as the 'patient zero', was a pensioner in his 70s who was bed-bound due to a stroke and suffered from dementia. 

                                                                                                                     The unnamed man fell ill on December 1 - a week earlier than officials' claims - and had not been to the seafood market prior to falling ill, a doctor told BBC.

                                                                                                                     Prof Wu Wenjuan, a director at intensive care units of Wuhan's Jinyintan Hospital, told the news outlet yesterday that the pensioner had had to stay at home due to his health condition and had no connection with Huanan.

                                                                                                                Article: "10 Plagues That Are Hitting Our Planet Simultaneously"

                                                                                                                An article from the End of the American Dream.

                                                                                                                Locust Plague Reaches China

                                                                                                                I've linked to articles about the locust plague in Asia and Africa. Most of the news articles focus on its impact in East Africa, but the plague originated in the Middle-East and has also spread eastward into Iran, Afghanistan and, the latest, China. From the Daily Star: "... footage has now surfaced showing thousands of the locusts seemingly reaching the border of China, adding yet more problems to a country struggling to contain the deadly coronavirus." Also: "The clip is believed to have been taken on the Xinjiang border in the west of the country on February 15."

                                                                                                                Wuhan Coronavirus Update (2/18/2020)


                                                                                                                      A statistical analysis of China’s coronavirus casualty data shows a near-perfect prediction model that data analysts say isn’t likely to naturally occur, casting doubt over the reliability of the numbers being reported to the World Health Organization. ...
                                                                                                                * * *
                                                                                                                      In terms of the virus data, the number of cumulative deaths reported is described by a simple mathematical formula to a very high accuracy, according to a quantitative-finance specialist who ran a regression of the data for Barron’s. A near-perfect 99.99% of variance is explained by the equation, this person said.
                                                                                                                       Put in an investing context, that variance, or so-called r-squared value, would mean that an investor could predict tomorrow’s stock price with almost perfect accuracy. In this case, the high r-squared means there is essentially zero unexpected variability in reported cases day after day.
                                                                                                                         Barron’s re-created the regression analysis of total deaths caused by the virus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of last year, and found similarly high variance. We ran it by Melody Goodman, associate professor of biostatistics at New York University’s School of Global Public Health.
                                                                                                                           “I have never in my years seen an r-squared of 0.99,” Goodman says. “As a statistician, it makes me question the data.”
                                                                                                                             Real human data are never perfectly predictive when it comes to something like an epidemic, Goodman says, since there are countless ways that a person could come into contact with the virus.
                                                                                                                               For context, Goodman says a “really good” r-squared, in terms of public health data, would be a 0.7. “Anything like 0.99,” she said, “would make me think that someone is simulating data. It would mean you already know what is going to happen.”
                                                                                                                                  ... Chang’s death was not the first in his family—the Chinese media reported that Chang’s father and mother were infected and died one after the other. Chang and his sister, who looked after their parents at home, were both infected with the virus as a result. His sister died just hours later. Chang’s wife is also infected, still alive, and is still battling the virus in an intensive care unit.
                                                                                                                                   A note written by Chang, said to be his last words, has gone viral on the Chinese Internet. Chang wrote that his father succumbed to the illness on the first day of the Lunar New Year (January 25). “My father had a fever, cough and trouble breathing. [We] tried to send him to the hospital but none of the hospitals we visited took him, because they had no more beds,” he wrote.
                                                                                                                                     Instead, Chang brought his father home where ha died a few days later, having passed on the virus to the other family members. Chang’s note said that he and his wife were denied the opportunity to be treated early. ...
                                                                                                                                       UP to 58 million people have been forced into indefinite lockdown in China’s Hubei province - the region at the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.
                                                                                                                                         New lockdown measures- introduced on Sunday - dictate that only one family member can leave the house once every three days to buy supermarket essentials.
                                                                                                                                           The province’s 200,000 rural communities - home to 24 million people - will also be sealed shut, accessible for community residents and vehicles via only one guarded entrance.
                                                                                                                                             Similar restrictions are set to take effect on urban residential compounds.
                                                                                                                                                American factories in China are warning that they do not have enough staff to get their production lines fully back online as plants re-open after the extended coronavirus shutdown.
                                                                                                                                                  Nearly 80 percent of U.S. businesses in the Shanghai area say they lack the manpower to run at full speed, according to the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai. Forty-one percent said their biggest challenge in the next two to four weeks will be a lack of workers. Thirty percent said logistics issues will be their biggest concern.
                                                                                                                                                   The lack of staff raising the prospects of disruptions to global supply chains. The economic fallout from the coronavirus could include hits to production in regions, including the U.S., where the virus itself has been scarce but which are dependent on Chinese inputs for goods. China is one of the top three suppliers, alongside Canada and Mexico, of intermediate goods that go into final products produced in the U.S. It is likely the largest supplier of intermediate goods to the U.S. economy counting its exports to third countries that produce final goods sold in the U.S.
                                                                                                                                                     Apple said Monday it does not expect to make its quarterly revenue forecast due to lower iPhone supply globally and lower Chinese demand as a result of the coronavirus. Apple previously forecast revenue of $63 billion to $67 billion in its fiscal second quarter but did not give new guidance. Manufacturing facilities in China that produce Apple’s iPhone have reopened but are ramping up more slowly than expected, Apple said.
                                                                                                                                                        Apple suppliers and partners are in the eye of the COVID-19 storm, said Bank of America.
                                                                                                                                                         “This will have a ripple effect of increased uncertainty and guide-downs across the semiconductor supply chain since Apple’s warning suggests a weak demand environment in China which impacts other smartphone vendors and their respective supply chains also,” analyst Vivek Arya said in a note to clients Tuesday. “So the impact is greater than just Apple itself.”

                                                                                                                                                    Monday, February 17, 2020

                                                                                                                                                    A Quick Run Around the Web (2/17/2020)


                                                                                                                                                           Aim at a point on the target, not at the area of the target. If you can't see the point, visualize the point, imagine the point. Believe the point exists and aim at it. 
                                                                                                                                                             The target that gives the highest probability of a hit is the navel, because it is the center of mass of the body.
                                                                                                                                                               The target that gives you the highest probability of an instant stop, is the brain.  The only way to get a pistol bullet into the brain is through a pre-existing hole in the skull. That would be the cranio-ocular cavity (eye sockets and nose) or the external auditory meatus (ear holes).  Since there is no hole in the back of the head, the target would be the spinal column at the base of the skull.
                                                                                                                                                                 The target that gives the second highest probability of a stop is the high thoracic cavity, defined by the triangle formed by the notch at the top of the sternum and the nipples (as viewed from the front).  Because the heart and lungs are behind this area. From the side, the target would be the arm pit.  From the back, the target would be between the shoulder blades, as the scapula are difficult to penetrate with pistol ammunition. 
                                                                                                                                                            • "A Million Gallons of Water"--Random Thoughts: A Mindful Miscellany. The author, Marcus Wynne, relates experiences that taught him the necessity of not trusting other claims of what constitutes clean water, and always purifying water when overseas. He also urges the reader to keep this in mind when considering water security after a disaster. He adds:
                                                                                                                                                              Here are some points to consider if you were to examine your water security:
                                                                                                                                                                ⁃Where is your closest source of open fresh water? It is a pond, river, stream, lake, reservoir, containment facility of some kind? Do you have a well or spring on your property or nearby?
                                                                                                                                                                  ⁃How far away is it? If you could get there, would you have access to the water?
                                                                                                                                                                    ⁃If you did have access to the water, how would you transport sufficient quantities back to your home or shelter? You need a minimum of one to two gallons of clean water a day, per person, for drinking purposes. That doesn’t include any used for food preparation, washing, irrigation, bathing or other purposes. A gallon of water weighs around 8.3 pounds. Do you have containers sturdy enough to carry enough water out of your source and back to where you needed to take it? A five gallon bucket of water weighs about 41.5 pounds — can you carry that much weight for any distance? Like to your car, a wagon, or up a hill?
                                                                                                                                                                      ⁃Do you have the knowledge and equipment to determine if your water is safe to drink? To determine whether the water is free of bacteria, protozoa, dangerous chemical run off? Is viral infestation an issue and would you know?
                                                                                                                                                                        ⁃Do you know how to purify water? Could you make a fire (and have a container) to boil water, or iodine or chlorine bleach or other chemical purifiers to kill micro-organisms, or a mechanical filter to take the nasty stuff out? Do you have the knowledge to do so and/or the reference materials and a way to read them that will work in the absence of electrical power so you can find out how to do so?
                                                                                                                                                                          ⁃Do you have a way to store purified water and keep it separate from untreated water? Sanitation methods to support and maintain the cleanliness of your water?
                                                                                                                                                                            Despite my limited storage space, I have found space for a couple barrels of water. I have installed a water purification system for my tap water, and we have some smaller water filtration systems for camping or hiking. I still need to get a Berkey filter or some such. I live relatively close to natural water source. For transporting water, I have a lawn roller designed to be filled with water and pushed or pulled (something similar to this) that I think would work for getting water from the natural source to my home. I've written about storing and disinfecting water before, but the best source of information on collecting and cleaning water I've come across is in Cody Lundin's book, When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes. See also this post on pasteurizing water (i.e., killing the bacteria using a lower amount of heat over a longer period of time) and the Modern Survival Blog's article, "Long Term Drinking Water Storage | How-To Recommendations."
                                                                                                                                                                                   A fragile state is usually defined by its inability to protect citizens, to provide basic services and by questions over the legitimacy of its government. After an epidemic and months of poorly handled pro-democracy demonstrations, Hong Kong is ticking most of those boxes. Add in a strained judicial system, and the prognosis for its future as a financial hub looks poor.
                                                                                                                                                                                      A snapshot of the situation first. Hong Kong is not, at least for now, as grim as parts of mainland China, where the outbreak of novel coronavirus has people building barricades, or being followed around by drones. This isn't Wuhan. Yet after 26 confirmed cases and one death, the semi-autonomous territory of more than 7 million people is in lockdown, with schools, universities and museums closed. A $360 billion economy, torn apart by months of anti-government protests, is in tatters. Masks are in such short supply that some clinics have closed, and queues snake daily outside pharmacies. Official declarations, meanwhile, have attracted derision on social media: One senior politician argued in the Legislative Council that disposable masks could be steam-cleaned, ignoring the remonstrations of the city’s Centre for Health Protection.
                                                                                                                                                                                  According to the message forwarded to Taiwan News, “It’s highly possible to get infected a second time. A few people recovered from the first time by their own immune system, but the meds they use are damaging their heart tissue, and when they get it the second time, the antibody doesn’t help but makes it worse, and they die a sudden death from heart failure.”
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Related: "New Study Indicates How Long Coronaviruses Can Survive on a Surface"--Science Alert. Not very helpful because it is only a "study" of the literature rather than from tests of the new Wuhan virus. If it is like SARS and MERS, then it can stay viable on a hard surface for 9 days at room temperature, but the article notes that some of the veterinary coroniviruses (like this is supposed to be) can persist for 28 days or more.
                                                                                                                                                                                  • "FN America Awarded $119 Million Army Contract for M4A1 Carbines"--The Truth About Guns.
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Another example of why you should not use birdshot in a defensive shotgun: "Birdshot To The Chest"--Loose Rounds. Photograph at link. Looks like it hurts, and it will definitely leave scars. But the real danger would be infection.
                                                                                                                                                                                  • And another from Loose Rounds: a review and comparison of the Tailhook, SIG PCB, and SB Tactical Braces.
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Nomenclature: "Bushcraft versus Survival Knife – What is the Difference?"--The Survivalist Blog. No real distinction, according to the author, unless you want to classify the hollow handle design (used to carry a small survival kit) as its own category.
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Last week, a friend was telling me about a debate on AR15.com about whether rice and beans are the best foods for long term food storage and the next day I came across this article: "Rice and Beans, A Survival Combination"--The Modern Survival Blog. According to the author, "[r]ice is rich in starch, and an excellent source of energy. Beans are rich in protein, and contain other minerals. The consumption of the two together provides ALL the essential amino acids ...." Lots more in the article on storing these two commodities. 
                                                                                                                                                                                  • "Shelter Essentials"--Blue Collar Prepping. A list of considerations for shelters including the roofs, floors, walls, and materials. The article is a list/overview intended to get you thinking about the issue. An excellent source of information on temporary and semi-permanent shelters is the classic Bushcraft books from Richard Graves (PDF here). I believe there are better copies available on the Internet if you want to hunt around. I purchased a printed copy back in my high school days which I still have.



                                                                                                                                                                                        According to a new investigation by Swiss media, a cell of jihadists based in Geneva plotted to bomb cisterns full of oil near the city’s airport in a major terror attack.
                                                                                                                                                                                          The plot, which was set to take place last year before being stopped, revolved largely around a man named Daniel D., who also went by the Islamic name Abu Ilias al-Swisri, a convert to Islam who went on to join the Islamic State terror group two years later, Le Temps reports.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Scientists have discovered a new kind of antibiotics that take a unique approach to attacking and killing bacteria.
                                                                                                                                                                                             The newly discovered antibiotic compound, corbomycin, as well as its relative complestatin, interfere with the functionality of the bacterial cell wall -- a previously unknown method of attack.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Before you go, "that's not right," the article goes on to explain: "Antibiotics like penicillin kill bacteria by preventing building of the wall, but the antibiotics that we found actually work by doing the opposite -- they prevent the wall from being broken down. This is critical for cell to divide."

                                                                                                                                                                                        The Collapse of Evergrande?

                                                                                                                                                                                        Last Tuesday I wrote about the developing crisis around the Chinese real estate development and investment firm, Evergrande , and the risk i...