Tuesday, March 31, 2020

New Defensive Pistol Craft Post

The March 31, 2020, Defensive Pistol Craft post of links and commentary. Some commentary on one of the videos to which the author linked:
     I think you should defeat any manual safeties as soon as the pistol is pointed toward the target, because you might have to shoot from a compressed ready (close contact) position.  Waiting to get the sights on target before defeating the safety is a bad idea.  (Actually, he doesn't explicitly say when he has defeated the safety.  I just figured it out from watching the video.)
     I think jacking rounds out onto the ground is a bad idea. Ammunition in combat is extremely valuable.  This may leave a training scar. 
     I think not watching what you're doing when holstering is a bad idea.  Too many things can get stuck in your holster while holstering. If you feel you have to keep your head up and looking around, you should not be holstering your pistol in the first place.
     I have yet to find two instructors who taught the same techniques. That's why it is so important to take classes from different instructors. Otherwise, you may have the misconception that there is no other reasonable way to execute that operation.
 Also, be sure to scroll 2/3 or so down his post where he discusses his recommendations on selecting a holster and selecting a defensive handgun.

Paper: "Effectiveness of surgical masks against influenza bioaerosols"

This was from a paper published in 2013 (abstract here). From the abstract:
      A dummy test head attached to a breathing simulator was used to test the performance of surgical masks against a viral challenge. Several designs of surgical masks commonly used in the UK healthcare sector were evaluated by measuring levels of inert particles and live aerosolised influenza virus in the air, from in front of and behind each mask.

      Live influenza virus was measurable from the air behind all surgical masks tested. The data indicate that a surgical mask will reduce exposure to aerosolised infectious influenza virus; reductions ranged from 1.1- to 55-fold (average 6-fold), depending on the design of the mask.
(H/t "Media And Government Officials Told Americans Not To Wear Masks. They Were Wrong"--The Federalist).

      On the same topic, see "Simple DIY masks could help flatten the curve. We should all wear them in public."--Washington Post. Excerpt:
       There are good reasons to believe DIY masks would help a lot. Look at Hong Kong, Mongolia, South Korea and Taiwan, all of which have covid-19 largely under control. They are all near the original epicenter of the pandemic in mainland China, and they have economic ties to China. Yet none has resorted to a lockdown, such as in China’s Wuhan province. In all of these countries, all of which were hit hard by the SARS respiratory virus outbreak in 2002 and 2003, everyone is wearing masks in public. George Gao, director general of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, stated, “Many people have asymptomatic or presymptomatic infections. If they are wearing face masks, it can prevent droplets that carry the virus from escaping and infecting others.”

       My data-focused research institute, fast.ai, has found 34 scientific papers indicating basic masks can be effective in reducing virus transmission in public — and not a single paper that shows clear evidence that they cannot.
       Studies have documented definitively that in controlled environments like airplanes, people with masks rarely infect others and rarely become infected themselves, while those without masks more easily infect others or become infected themselves.

       Masks don’t have to be complex to be effective. A 2013 paper tested a variety of household materials and found that something as simple as two layers of a cotton T-shirt is highly effective at blocking virus particles of a wide range of sizes. Oxford University found evidence this month for the effectiveness of simple fabric mouth and nose covers to be so compelling they now are officially acceptable for use in a hospital in many situations. Hospitals running short of N95-rated masks are turning to homemade cloth masks themselves; if it’s good enough to use in a hospital, it’s good enough for a walk to the store.

       The reasons the WHO cites for its anti-mask advice are based not on science but on three spurious policy arguments. First, there are not enough masks for hospital workers. Second, masks may themselves become contaminated and pass on an infection to the people wearing them. Third, masks could encourage people to engage in more risky behavior.

Article: "Wuhan Virus Media Coverage Is Too Focused On New York City"

"View of the World from 9th Avenue"
It's because this (see picture above) is how New Yorkers view the rest of the world. Anyway, article here.

We Just Had A Strong Earthquake

Perceptible earthquakes are rare in Idaho, but we just had one that was much stronger than I've experienced since I was a missionary in Japan so many years ago. No damage where I'm at, but my wife was at the store and reported that items were knocked off the shelf. I'm just hearing the first sirens from emergency vehicles.

Update: "6.5 magnitude earthquake rattles Idaho and the Northwest"--KTVB. And I just felt an aftershock.

A Quick Run Around the Web (3/31/2020)

In the past, I haven't used a shoulder holster, but I have one now and should have a review up shortly.
  • "A well-designed, well-fitted shoulder holster works exceedingly well for heavy handguns. In fact, in my opinion, they work better than hip-mounted holsters because they spread the weight of the gun over a larger area of the body."
  • "If you are one who appreciates long-barreled handguns, the shoulder holster may be your only option for concealed carry."
  • "When I took an Executive Protection course with the Tony Scotti School of High-Performance Driving, someone asked what was the best way to carry a handgun while driving. The driving instructor said simply, “A shoulder holster.” Our shooting instructor didn’t like that answer, but it’s true. A shoulder holster is not trapped by the seatbelt and it allows the defensive handgun to be available in a variety of circumstances. Only the counter-alternative ankle holster is as freely available while seated in a vehicle, but it is restricted to much smaller handguns."
  • "With a simple covering garment like a zippered-front hooded sweatshirt, I can use the shoulder holster when I work around machinery without catching the butt of the gun on levers, electrical lines, hydraulic lines, or even chains of various nature."
  • "When working with a rifle from the prone position while wearing a handgun, the shoulder holster versus the traditional hip-mounted holster makes it far easier to roll over or move about when flat on the deck than a hip-mounted holster allows."
  • "Should you have a 'bugout retreat'?"--Grant Cunningham. He discusses one of the problems that I've discussed before (and been documenting from various parts of the country), which is that locals don't really want outsiders showing up in their communities during an emergency. Cunningham writes:
      The concept of the second home as a bugout retreat has been very popular in recent years. The idea is to buy a vacation home and visit it frequently. This allows for maintenance and rotation of the survival supplies kept there, but it also supposedly gets the neighbors used to seeing you. This, the proponents believe, will make you “one of the locals”, and in difficult times ensures that they’ll accept you as one of their own.
         Being a rural dweller myself, I’ve never believed that to be true — any more than I believe locals would welcome people camping in their forests and poaching their deer. As it happens, my skepticism has been validated by the current coronavirus panic.
           Reports are coming in from far away places like Scotland, and chatter from the coastal communities here in my own state of Oregon. People who own vacation homes have been encouraged (or, in some cases, ordered) to leave and go back where they came from. 
             The general feeling in these smaller municipalities is that rural areas — which are the most popular for retreat homes — have very few resources to take care of affected locals, let alone the tourists and  vacation home owners who visit for a few weeks out of the year. When something bad happens, they want those scarce resources to be spent on the people who live there and make the community what it is. 
               When there isn’t enough to go around, rationing will happen, and people tend to want to see rations go to their friends and neighbors first.
                 Despite the predictions of retreat protagonists, the full-time residents of these areas most definitely do not consider part-time residents to be “their own kind”. In fact, the part-timers appear to be about as welcome as carpetbaggers in the postbellum South.
                   Whether you’re new to all of this or an old hand, don’t allow yourself to feel bad because you don’t have a bugout retreat. It’s really not a practical solution to a problem.
              I can definitely attest to what Cunningham is saying. When I was young, my parents moved us into an old farm house that was a rental. We lived there for just over 5 years and still were not accepted as "locals" even in our church congregation. 
              • "“Realistic” De-Escalation"--Force Science Institute. Although the article is directed at law enforcement, I think there are lessons for the rest of us: "... unless you’re using medicine, de-escalation is not something you do 'to' a person. Non-coercive de-escalation is recognizing, creating, and maintaining conditions that allow someone to de-escalate their own emotions. Realistic de-escalation recognizes that not everybody is able or willing to de-escalate." (Footnote omitted). 
                    There is also a part 2 to the article, "Realistic De-Escalation: Balancing Risk." However, the risk considered in the second article is the risk of a riot or protest. As the author writes: "When officers make decisions believing crime reduction or officer safety are their top priorities, they may be shocked when legally justified shootings result in protests, riots, or calls for indictments." But for the private citizen, if there is such a result (or risk of it), I expect that you would be charged even if justified in your use of force because authorities will be looking for scapegoat.
                    By all accounts, there are a whole lot of new gun owners out there, as well as a lot of people that learned some hard lessons about the gun control laws that they voted (by proxy) to enact. Be kind to those that learned the hard lessons, and help those that are now part of the gun owning public. Two resources that I immediately want to highlight are Claude Werner’s efforts at his new Facebook page New Firearms Owner Information Page and John Correia’s new video project at Active Self Protection Extra. Please share these with new gun owners that you encounter. If you know of a new gun owner, offer to take them to the range. You don’t have to be an instructor to share knowledge and demonstrate safe gun handling. This is an unprecedented opportunity to fundamentally change how some view gun ownership. In many respects, we are witnessing the transition to a new normal.
                    If you share nothing else with new gun owners, take the time to explain the four cardinal rules of gun safety. Teach them to load and unload their guns, and impress upon them the importance of safe storage… even if it’s just a simple toolbox with a padlock.
              Just one aside: I don't equate safe storage to locking up a gun: the two may overlap, but they are not the same. When someone is forcing their way into your house, a firearm locked in a safe wasn't very safe, was it? And a loaded and cocked gun bouncing around in a toolbox with other stuff isn't very safe either.
              • "M1 Garand Enbloc Clip Troubleshooting"--Garand Gear. As the author states, "[i]f the shooter is having difficulty loading a clip or other clip related malfunctions are occuring [sic], this article should provide an insight on the cause. This article will cover how to properly insert the enbloc clip and how to diagnose some of the more common problems the new shooter can experience. Most of the corrective actions we'll be discussing come from the Army's TM9-1275 manual."  This is a detailed article, with many photographs, that examines both potential problems with the clip or problems with the firearm. It is always possible on these old rifles that the issue could be worn or broken parts in the magazine or follower, but the more likely reason will probably lie with the clip, which may be bent or distorted, not loaded correctly, or, if relatively unused, might just need some of the Parkerizing sanded down. On the latter issue, the author notes if a new clip is hard to insert:
              New clips that haven't been used before sometimes can be difficult to insert, especially if the parkerizing is coarse on the guide rails. In the image below the rail on the clip is highlighted. If you're having difficulty with a clip try using a very fine stone or abrasive cloth and remove the parkerizing on both of the rails. Be sure to apply some grease to the guides in the receiver that accept the clip. If you're still having problems inserting the clip be sure to following the steps listed below.
              The site also has other articles on cleaning and caring for the Garand, as well as downloadable copies of a couple of the relevant military manuals that you can read online (or you can request electronic copies from the author of the site). 
                Question 2:
                  What is the best fighting rifle?
                            Good lord. The one in your hands at the moment....but seriously, as my generic go-to-war rifle I would prefer a properly built AR15 carbine barring a mission that required a special applications rifle of some kind (see intel above). The caveat here being "properly built". As someone that has taught on a great many ranges over the years I can say that there are far too many cheap/poorly built/poorly maintained AR's out there. The best advice I can give here is seek out some armorer level training.....get to know your rifle inside and out. Learn how to diagnose strange rifle behavior....is your gun over-gassed? maybe under-gassed? Keep a log of how many rounds you have put through the rifle and the individual high-stress parts, such as the barrel, bolt and recoil spring. There are a few items that ALWAYS travel with my carbine:
                        1. Spare bolt w/firing pin (they do break from time to time folks)
                          2. GI steel cleaning rod (ever get a barrel full of mud at the worst possible time?)
                            3. Lube (duh)
                              4. Small ziplock with spare pins/springs
                                5. Sharpie pen (saves your finger when clearing nasty malfunctions)
                                  I may carry much more than this, but never less.
                                  I’ve logged thousands of hours under NVG’s. I’ve driven countless miles. I’ve done more dangerous stuff like slap-up breaching charges and be in actual firefights under NVGs than I can count. I’m going to say that for once, my opinion absolutely weighs more. Get me an Aurora Sport review from someone else that has fallen from 12,500 feet through a dark sky and we can have a rational debate. Until that time, I am going to ask you to trust me on this one.
                                  With that out of the way, he was reviewing the lowest cost product from Aurora, the Sports model that has an MSRP of $400. He continues by noting that it is not a military-grade hardened and is a delicate device, and it only has a 2-hour run time before it needs recharging (or the battery pack swapped out). Also:
                                  Performance-wise, the Sionyx comes with one huge caveat. In very low light conditions, it absolutely SUCKS without an Infrared ( IR) flashlight. I didn’t have a tube goggle to compare too, so I am going off of memory. Being fair, a real PVS-14 isn’t exactly awesome with very little ambient light. A night vision device is more properly called an image intensifier. As it intensifies any natural light ( stars, moon, IR whatever) to create an image. In true “complete darkness”, a PVS-14 wouldn’t work either. But, the Sionyx does a noticeably worse job in very low light conditions. Like moonless in the desert conditions. But, throw out an IR beam, and it is good to 200 meters. With proper support, I would say it allows you to see as well as a PVS-14, or very near it.
                                    But with that caveat, "It is the best cheap night vision I have ever seen," he writes, "and you would be hard-pressed to find a better value for the job. This is one I highly recommend, and soon."
                                    • "BREAKING: Idaho Passes Constitutional Carry For All Americans"--Concealed Nation. Anyone 18 years or older, not just residents if Idaho, can now carry a concealed weapon. Originally, the "Constitutional carry" was limited to state citizens 21 years or older carrying a firearm. In intervening years, it was expanded to any "deadly weapon" and the age was lowered to 18 years. Now it applies to non-residents. The text of the bill (PDF) is here if you are interested.
                                    • "Best 1-4x Scope Guide: Our Recommendations for Affordable Optics that Won’t Break the Bank"--Blue Sheepdog. The article is primarily looking at sub-$500 optics, but also considers "mid-range" and sub-$200 optic. I can't tell from the article if they are listing the scopes in the best-to-worst in each class or not, but here are the first one's listed for each of the three classes, respectively: Burris MTAC 1-4×24, Black Spider Optics 1-4×24, and Primary Arms 1-4×24 SFP. But, on the other hand, they do state that the best scope for the money is the Vortex Crossfire II 1-4x 24 scope.

                                    "Finding Natural Springs for Water collection"--David Canterbury (14 min.)

                                    My parents were preppers before it even had a name beyond “being prudent.”  It’s probably justifiable, especially on Ma Wilder’s part.  She had seen her family make it through the Great Depression okay, but her family had also raised several children whose parents weren’t well off enough to feed them.  I know that sounds crazy in the year 2020, but in the year 1930, sometimes parents couldn’t even figure out where to get enough money to feed a child.
                                            Novartis Chief Executive Vas Narasimhan said his Sandoz generics unit's malaria, lupus and arthritis drug hydroxychloroquine is the company's biggest hope against the coronavirus, Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung reported on Sunday.
                                              Novartis has pledged to donate 130 million doses and is supporting clinical trials needed before the medicine, which U.S. President Donald Trump also has been promoting, can be approved for use against the coronavirus.
                                               Other companies including Bayer and Teva have also agreed to donate hydroxychloroquine or similar drugs, while Gilead Sciences [owned by George Soros, you might remember] is testing its experimental drug remdesivir against coronavirus.
                                                China accounts for 95 percent of U.S. imports of ibuprofen, 91 percent of hydrocortisone, 70 percent of acetaminophen, 40 to 45 percent of penicillin, and 40 percent of heparin, according to Commerce Department data. In all, “80 percent of the U.S. supply of antibiotics are made” in China, warned Senator Chuck Grassley in an August 2019 letter to HHS and FDA officials. Grassley said that inspections on drugs imported from other countries needed to be stepped up.
                                                  “It was a blunder of epic proportions that we allowed the manufacture of penicillin to leave our shores,” said Rosemary Gibson, author of the 2018 book China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine. “Right now, we have virtually no capacity in the United States to make even basic drugs for treating coronavirus, or antibiotics for infections that may come with it, including bronchitis or pneumonia.”
                                                   “I think nations are going to question their dependence on one another through the global supply chain, and I think people are going to rethink whether it’s a good idea to be so reliant on a totalitarian China that blames everyone else in the world for their problems, and is not a responsible stakeholder or honest broker. One outcome of this is that the perception of China as a bad actor is going to be crystallized,” said Kazianis.
                                                     “I wouldn’t be surprised if you see a sort of Cold War-like containment strategy towards China after this. I think that’s where Trump was going with trade before this happened, but I think now you’ll see a lot of other countries rethinking their reliance on China as well,” Kazianis added.
                                                        That’s especially true as the flow of bad news out of China continues unabated. We now know that the majority of rapid test coronavirus test kits supplied by China to Spain and the Czech Republic were faulty, and that if the Chinese government had been honest and supplied reliable data, there could have been 95 percent fewer coronavirus cases around the world. That’s the difference between a viral outbreak and a global pandemic.
                                                         By suppressing critical information about the virus in those early days, then doing very little to contain the virus by permitting public gatherings like the New Years celebration, the government of China has allowed the coronavirus to menace not just its own people but the entire world. Once COVID-19 is contained, they must face a reckoning.
                                                               This uncertainty [caused by China's concealment of the outbreak] has led to greater fear and animosity about the lethality of the Wuhan virus than was necessary. So far the virus seems to impact different populations in different ways. It’s not yet clear exactly what threat profile it presents to America as a whole. But the fact that we don’t know has led us to err on the side of caution and treat this virus like a 1918-level event. The consequence has been a shutdown of the largest economy in the world. 
                                                                 Without putting too fine a point on it, China seems to have taken the position that if they were to suffer the coronavirus, so too was the United States and the rest of the world. What else is to explain the continuation of flights from China to the United States at the rate of some 20,000 passengers a day, until President Trump wisely shut them down? 
                                                                   The Chinese economy was already suffering the consequences of President Trump’s America First policies. Not only had tough trade deals been struck, but serious efforts were underway by the Trump Administration to stop the trillions being stolen in U.S. intellectual property, the CCP’s aggressive industrial espionage, and their sophisticated political influence operations throughout the United States. From the CCP’s point of view, their fundamental business model was under attack. 
                                                                     Given the problems in the Chinese economy that arose as a result of  the ongoing trade war with the United States and Donald Trump, the CCP and Xi Jinping appear to have made the calculation that a crisis caused by the virus would be preferable. A virus-induced crisis would include the added benefit of  slowing down the U.S. economy and might reset American politics as well. However popular President Trump might be, it would be difficult in an election year to handle an economic crisis of this magnitude without suffering some political consequences. That this does not make economic sense for China in the short run is rather beside the point. They are playing a much longer game.
                                                                    To benefit what Xi depicted as charitable actions by China, he demanded that “all G20 members take collective actions” that would benefit the Chinese Communist Party’s economy, such as “cutting tariffs, removing barriers, and facilitating the unfettered flow of trade.”
                                                                      Xi also proposed a “global network of control and treatment,” also led by him, that would grant China full access to all medical data, presumably also including intellectual property related to the manufacture and development of medical technology.
                                                                       “China has set up its online COVID-19 knowledge center that is open to all countries. It is imperative that countries pool their strengths and speed up research and development of drugs, vaccines and testing capabilities in the hope to achieve early breakthrough to the benefit of all,” Xi asserted.
                                                                          Wuhan has a total of eight government-run funeral homes: seven have crematoriums, while the eighth is dedicated to serving Hui Muslims and conducts burials.
                                                                            According to a March 26 report by Chinese financial magazine Caixin, the Hankou funeral home bought 5,000 urns within 24 hours.
                                                                              Staff then took a photo of the facility’s stock room, showing 3,500 urns inside. We can thus assume that the facility distributed 1,500 urns in 24 hours (5,000 minus 3,500 equals 1,500).
                                                                               Assuming that the Hankou funeral home distributed the same number of urns every day from March 23 until the Qingming Festival, there would be at least 18,000 bodies (1,500 multiplied by 12 days) in Hankou. In Wuchang, there would be 6,000 bodies (500 multiplied by 12 days).
                                                                                 The Yushunshan funeral home in Caidian district is about two-thirds the capacity of the Wuchang facility, according to a staff member at Yushunshan. Thus, we could estimate that Caidian burned the remains of two-thirds that of Wuchang, or 4,000 bodies.
                                                                                   The Jiangxia, Huangpi District, Xinzhou District, and Qingshan funeral homes each have a similar capacity, which is about half of Wuchang’s. Then we might estimate that they burned about 12,000 bodies (6,000 divided by 2, then multiplied by 4 equals 12,000).
                                                                                     We can estimate that the total number of urns distributed by all 7 facilities is roughly 40,000 (18,000 + 6,000 + 4,000 + 12,000).
                                                                                       In order to determine the number of deaths from the CCP virus, deaths from other causes must be accounted for. According to the latest statistics released by Hubei authorities, roughly 47,900 died in 2018. That means there was an average of 131 deaths per day.
                                                                                         The time between the city’s lockdown on Jan. 23 to when funeral homes reopened on March 23 is 60 days. Assuming that in a typical year, there are 131 non-virus-related deaths per day, then there were roughly 7,860 non-virus deaths in that period (131 multiplied by 60).
                                                                                           Thus, we can estimate that the death toll due to the virus is at least 32,140 (40,000 minus 7,860).
                                                                                             Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered the country’s 1.3 billion people to remain indoors until April 15, declaring such self-isolation was the only hope to stop the viral pandemic.
                                                                                               But the vast shutdown has triggered a humanitarian crisis, with hundreds of thousands of poor migrant laborers fleeing Delhi and Mumbaieeking and heading to their homes hundreds of miles away in the countryside on foot after losing their jobs.
                                                                                                  Footage from the incident taken in the Hyde Park area shows the group of around 40 revelers refusing to comply with social distancing rules. 
                                                                                                   Law enforcement were forced to call for back up as the crowd became 'agitated', a source said. The LAPD said no arrests were made.
                                                                                                      Federal rules require unemployed H-1B visa workers to leave the United States in 60 days after they lose their jobs. This 60-day rule was not a problem before the coronavirus, partly because fired H-1B workers could simply get new jobs from Indian-run outsourcing companies.
                                                                                                        But the crash has caused so many job losses that many H-1B workers — most of whom are Indian — need more time to find jobs that will keep them in the United States. The job losses are also a crisis for many Indian-run contractors and subcontractors that take huge commissions from the H-1B contracts signed by Fortune 500 companies.
                                                                                                          “We request the government to temporarily extend the 60-Day grace period to 180 days and protect the H1B workers under these difficult times. Thank you!,” says a White House petition signed by almost 20,000 people. ...
                                                                                                            When this virus became a problem that we as a nation could see as an imminent threat, Utah, because of its culture of food storage and preparing for disaster events seemed to “get the memo” first. The week of March 8th grocery sales more than doubled in Utah, up 218%. Many states stayed the same with increases in some. Idaho seemed to “get the memo” about four days later. We were out of water and TP four days after Utah. Then we were out of food staples about four days later. Next was produce following a pattern set by Utah four days earlier.
                                                                                                             The problem for us in Idaho was this. The stores in Utah were emptied out then refilled twice by the warehouses before it hit Idaho. Many of these Utah stores have trucks delivering daily. So when it did hit Idaho the warehouses had been severely taxed. We had a hard time filling our store back up even one time. We missed three scheduled trucks that week alone. Then orders finally came they were first 50% of the order and have dropped to 20%. In normal circumstances we receive 98% of our orders and no canceled trucks. Now three weeks later, the warehouses in the Western United States have all been taxed. In turn, those warehouses have been taxing the food manufacturers. These food companies have emptied their facilities to fill the warehouses of the Western United States. The East Coast hasn’t seemed to “get the memo” yet. When they do what food will be left to fill their warehouses and grocery stores?
                                                                                                          Maybe it's different in other parts of Idaho, but I'm not seeing it here. Yes, shelves have been emptied (especially as the panic first took the country), but most everything has been restocked and its sometimes hard to move down store aisles because there are boxes stacked waiting the stockers to unpack and fill the shelves.
                                                                                                                   Among the social impacts of the coronavirus is its swift dismantling of the cult of celebrity. ... The #guillotine2020 hashtag is jumping. As grocery aisles turn bare, some have suggested that perhaps they ought to eat the rich.
                                                                                                                    So when Pharrell Williams asked his followers to donate to aid frontline responders, they virtually grabbed him by the pants and shook him upside-down, telling him to empty his own deep pockets. Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard have been “outed” as landlords. As Ellen DeGeneres lounged on her sofa, video-chatting with famous friends, the comedian Kevin T. Porter solicited stories from service workers and Hollywood peons who had experienced run-ins with DeGeneres, whom he called “notoriously one of the meanest people alive.”
                                                                                                                      Astronomer Matthijs Burgmeijer said if it becomes as bright as the highest estimates it will be the most spectacular comet since records began.
                                                                                                                        'How bright will it get? the estimates are from a conservative magnitude +2 (visible to the naked eye) to a spectacular magnitude -11 which would make the comet the brightest comet since records began,' he said.
                                                                                                                         'We simply have to wait and see how it will develop over the coming weeks. Comets are notoriously unpredictable. 
                                                                                                                           'Like Comet Ison some years ago that also had promising characteristics but disintegrated before it could give a good show.'

                                                                                                                      Monday, March 30, 2020

                                                                                                                      Matt. 4:7 Alert: "Hundreds of worshippers crowd Florida church..."

                                                                                                                      While many (probably most) churches are trying to work within the strictures of various quarantine or isolation orders, a few are ignoring the orders. For instance, The Daily Mail reports that "Hundreds of worshippers crowd Florida church and ignore social distancing after pastor vowed never to close despite coronavirus pandemic - as authorities investigate them for violating Trump's national guidelines." The article continues:
                                                                                                                            Some churchgoers made an effort to separate their chairs from their fellow worshippers but the majority were not six feet apart like the government's guidelines recommend.  

                                                                                                                           At one point during the service, dozens of worshippers stood shoulder-to-shoulder and some even embraced, as they sang together at the front of the church. 

                                                                                                                           Pastor Howard-Browne walked through the crowded church at various points during his sermon. 

                                                                                                                           'They are trying to beat me up, you know, over having the church operational but we are not non-essential,' he could be heard telling the congregation. 

                                                                                                                           The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is now looking into the church for violating Trump's orders, which are designed to try and keep Americans safe during the pandemic. 
                                                                                                                      Time Magazine similarly reports "Hundreds at Louisiana Church Flout COVID-19 Gatherings Ban." From that article:
                                                                                                                            Across the street, Paul Quinn and other neighbors took pains to stay 6 feet (2 meters) apart from each other as they stood in a driveway and commented on their opposition to the services being held.

                                                                                                                            “Other congregations are using the internet, Skype, and other safe ways to congregate. Why can’t they? What makes them so special?” Quinn asked. “I wish state police would come out and do something. … If they get out of church and go to the grocery store, it’s a serious health hazard. They don’t know how many people they’re affecting, and they don’t seem to care. That’s a problem.”
                                                                                                                      Bloomberg also reported that "Congregants of megachurches in Louisiana, Ohio and Florida attended services in defiance of social distancing orders on Sunday morning, even as politicians and doctors took to weekly news shows to warn of coronavirus’s spread in the U.S."

                                                                                                                           While I understand the concern some have with the state exercising the authority to shut down churches for health or safety reasons, that bird flew coop long before our great-grandparents were twinkles in someone's eyes. But there are biblical reasons for not holding such meetings in contravention to the orders. First, and foremost, is that Christ said: "Thou shalt not tempt [i.e., put to the test] the Lord thy God." Matt. 4:7. If you belong to a congregation that is meeting during the period that a highly infectious disease is spreading, and doing so in contravention of instructions from health officials and governments, you essentially are testing God to see if He will keep you safe notwithstanding your foolishness.

                                                                                                                           Second, large gatherings are not needed for worship. Again, Christ taught: "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matt. 18:20.

                                                                                                                          Third, as Christians, we are supposed to be examples to the world in order to draw men to God. Christ admonished that we are to be "the light of the world." Matt. 5:14. In this vain, Paul taught that servants were to be obedient to masters "[n]ot with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart." Eph. 6:5-7. Paul also taught that we should "live peaceably with all men" but are subject to higher powers (including governmental authorities). Romans 12:18 and 13:1. See also Phil. 4:5. We are poor examples (and poor servants of God) if we meet in violation of the health and safety rules. A public violation--especially one so flagrant as noted above--simply serve to push men away from God and build resentment. As one of the witnesses is quoted above said: "They don’t know how many people they’re affecting, and they don’t seem to care." That is a horrible message to spread as a Christian.

                                                                                                                      Article: "Improve Precision With Sling Assisted Shooting"

                                                                                                                       From over at The Firearm Blog. The author's advice appears to concern what is generally termed a "hasty sling" position, but with some updated points for using with an AR or other modern sporting rifle. However, for the best accuracy, the sling must be attached to your arm. As this article from Shooting Illustrated explains:

                                                                                                                            As Cooper pointed out in his 1997 book, “The Art of the Rifle,” “The function of the shooting sling is to take the weight off the muscles of your support arm, so that when you are in a proper shooting position you can relax all your muscles and the weapon will remain exactly on target.” This allows you to shoot from a relaxed position where your arms are not stressed. In other words, speed-sling techniques let you hold steadier, longer.

                                                                                                                            In that same book, Cooper also wrote, “…proper use of the loop sling will increase your likelihood of hitting by about 30 percent.” Tests I’ve conducted have confirmed this performance enhancement, though an increase in accuracy between 10 and 20 percent is more common. Just as important, however, during rapid-fire engagements, a speed sling can allow you to shoot about 10 percent faster, because the rigidity of the interface between you and the rifle allows faster recovery from recoil.

                                                                                                                      Although there are many articles and videos on using slings to increase accuracy, the best overall source that I found for using shooting slings were articles on the blog, Art of the Rifle. (There is more on precision shooting there, but the subject of slings are how I first found the blog). The author also runs a business, The Riflecraft Store, that sells slings. I've purchased and used the RS-2 "Rifleman's Essential Sling," which is his basic take on the Rhodesian sling, and the RS-3 Cross Body Carry Loop Sling, which resides on my 18-inch AR. The RS-3 is designed to be used as a standard tactical sling to carry around the body so the rifle hangs horizontally across the front of the body, but with a tug on a release, can loosen up so that the sling can then be used for support.

                                                                                                                      Sunday, March 29, 2020

                                                                                                                      A Quick Run Around the Web (3/29/2020)

                                                                                                                      "Polar Wind & Magnetic Reversal, Tornado & Volcano | S0 News Mar.29.2020"--Suspicious Observers. I've set this video at the beginning of a brief discussion of how you could get flash freezing in northern climes during a solar event (e.g., the flash frozen mammoths that have been found)
                                                                                                                      • Evolution in action: "Industrial alcohol coronavirus ‘cure’ kills hundreds of Iranians"--New York Daily News. I could understand this happening a hundred years ago, but there really is no excuse for any mentally competent adult to not know that methanol is poisonous.
                                                                                                                      • More evolution in action: "Coronavirus infections in Africa are rapidly rising. Its weak health systems may buckle"--USA Today. Key part:
                                                                                                                      • After President Donald Trump touted an anti-malaria drug called chloroquine as a possible treatment for coronavirus, thousands of Nigerians started taking the medicine, some of them overdosing in a rush to "prevent" infection.
                                                                                                                      • What we call "states" in the United States ceased to be "states" following the civil war, and merely became provinces or prefectures of the central government. So it is interesting to see states start acting like ones again:
                                                                                                                      • "Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Expands Quarantine to Louisiana Travelers, Installing Checkpoints on Roads"--Breitbart. As you know, because New Orleans went ahead with Mardi Gras celebrations this year, Louisiana was one of the states hardest hit by the Wuhan virus. The article relates: "Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is requiring travelers from Louisiana to self-isolate for 14 days and said the Florida Highway Patrol will install checkpoints on major roads to screen travelers from that area, he announced on Friday."
                                                                                                                            New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo told CNN on Saturday that if President Donald Trump put a quarantine on New York to stop the spread of the coronavirus that it would be a “federal declaration of war” on the state.
                                                                                                                              “Look, if the president was considering this, I guarantee he would have called me. I mean, we talk about relatively trivial matters when it comes to dealing with this situation,” Cuomo said. This is a civil war kind of — this is civil war kind of discussion.”
                                                                                                                                “I don’t believe that he could be serious, that any federal administration could be serious about a physical lockdown of states or parts of states across this country,” Cuomo continued. “I don’t believe it is legal. I think it would be economic chaos. I don’t think the American people would stand for it. It’s just a question of time before you see the numbers growing in hot spots across the nation. So, I think it makes absolutely no sense and I don’t believe any serious governmental personality or professional would support it.”
                                                                                                                                  “I’ve sued the federal government many times by the way over the past few years, we’ve had quite a number of policy decisions,” Cuomo later added. “I do not believe it’s going to come to that on this. Again, I have been speaking to the president. This would be a declaration of war on states, a federal declaration of war, and wouldn’t just be New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, next week it would be Louisiana with New Orleans, and week after that Detroit, Michigan, and it would run across the nation. I don’t think the president is looking to start a lot of wars with states just about now for a lot of reasons.”
                                                                                                                              Trump has made no such quarantine, but a friend notified me that the CDC has issued a domestic travel advisory for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. It leaves the decision to enforce the advisory up to the individual states.
                                                                                                                                      The Hamptons are so over-run with wealthy New Yorkers panic-buying food and stretching medical supplies that local leaders are now asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to issue a travel ban from the city.
                                                                                                                                        The move comes after Dr. Deborah Birx, of the White House coronavirus response team, said at a press conference this week with President Donald Trump that cases of the virus were spreading from New York City with people trying to flee the epicenter of the virus.
                                                                                                                                         Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said, “A new trend is taking place that puts our residents at further risk — people seeking refuge from the metropolitan areas. It is simple math: the more people that come, the greater the spread and the greater the confirmed cases.”
                                                                                                                                            Amid alarming scenes of empty shelves in Hamptons stores and people lining up at 6 a.m. to grab basic supplies as deliveries arrive, he said, “We have a limited number of stores trying to keep their shelves stocked and ration out supplies as best they can. Local residents are finding it difficult to meet even their most basic needs. Unnecessary hoarding and the recent, sudden expansion of the population by those who come are making it far worse.”
                                                                                                                                               I am an ER MD in New Orleans. Class of 98. Every one of my colleagues have now seen several hundred Covid 19 patients and this is what I think I know.
                                                                                                                                                Clinical course is predictable.
                                                                                                                                                   2-11 days after exposure (day 5 on average) flu-like symptoms start. Common are fever, headache, dry cough, myalgias(back pain), nausea without vomiting, abdominal discomfort with some diarrhea, loss of smell, anorexia, fatigue.
                                                                                                                                                    Day 5 of symptoms- increased SOB, and bilateral viral pneumonia from direct viral damage to lung parenchyma.
                                                                                                                                                      Day 10- Cytokine storm leading to acute ARDS and multiorgan failure. You can literally watch it happen in a matter of hours.
                                                                                                                                                        81% mild symptoms, 14% severe symptoms requiring hospitalization, 5% critical.
                                                                                                                                                    He/she goes on to briefly mention some of the other complications, including heart and pericardium issues.
                                                                                                                                                            “This virus is transmitted by droplets and close contact. Droplets play a very important role —you’ve got to wear a mask, because when you speak, there are always droplets coming out of your mouth,” the Chinese Center’s George Gao told the magazine.
                                                                                                                                                              “Many people have asymptomatic or presymptomatic infections. If they are wearing face masks, it can prevent droplets that carry the virus from escaping and infecting others,” he said.
                                                                                                                                                                 KK Cheng, a public health expert at the University of Birmingham in the UK, put it bluntly:
                                                                                                                                                                   “It’s not to protect yourself. It’s to protect people against the droplets coming out of your respiratory tract… I don’t want to frighten you, but when people speak and breathe and sing —you don’t have to sneeze or cough — these droplets are coming out,” he said.
                                                                                                                                                                    In Padua, the autoimmune medicine Tocilizumab has proven effective, but can only be used once it is established that no other viruses or bacteria are present in the patients’ bodies, he said. The hospital where he works has also seen positive results from the antiviral drug Remdesivir, he added.
                                                                                                                                                                      He said medics have been forced to be creative, giving an example from the city of Parma where patients who couldn’t be put on a respirator using a tube were attached to it using a snorkeling mask, with a part that connects it to the machine being printed in a 3D printer.

                                                                                                                                                                  * * *

                                                                                                                                                                          One technique he said had yielded dramatic results was to have patients lie on their stomach instead of on their back while on a ventilator. “Suddenly the oxygen level in the blood jumped by hundreds of percents,” he said.
                                                                                                                                                                    • "1984 COMES TO BRITAIN"--Powerline. The author notes one town that has set up a website to make it easier for residents to turn in their neighbors breaking the quarantine by going for a walk. Another town is using drones to try and catch people on unauthorized walks. Here in Idaho, although the state issued an isolation order, it specifically permits people to leave their house to walk or engage in other outdoor activities, and the governor even encouraged such activities when he held a press conference announcing the order.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Aw: "Senate's $2 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Plan Leaves Out Undocumented And Their Families"--Gothamist
                                                                                                                                                                             Open borders organizations like the George Soros-funded United We Dream, the National Immigrant Justice Center, and the National Immigration Law Center — all of which represent the roughly 11 to 22 million illegal aliens living in the United States — are pleading with the federal government to cut federal checks to illegal aliens who have Individual Tax Identification Number (ITINs).
                                                                                                                                                                              Currently, Trump’s coronavirus relief package includes $1,200 federal checks for American citizens with Social Security Numbers (SSN) or those considered “resident aliens,” like permanent lawful residents in the U.S. on green cards.
                                                                                                                                                                                Illegal aliens, therefore, are excluded from receiving the federal checks, a provision that has outraged the open borders lobby.
                                                                                                                                                                          • Some Diversity + Wuhan Virus News:
                                                                                                                                                                          Cities like New York pay a price for being both dense and cosmopolitan. As a new study from Heartland Forward reveals, the prime determinants of high rates of infection include such things as density, percentage of foreign residents, age, presence of global supply chains, and reliance on tourism and hospitality. Globally, the vast majority of cases occur in places that are both densely populated and connected to the global economy. Half of all COVID-19 cases in Spain, for example, have occurred in Madrid, while the Lombardy region in Italy, which includes the city of Milan, accounts for roughly half of all cases in the country and over 60% of the deaths.
                                                                                                                                                                          (Underline added).
                                                                                                                                                                                  A number of youths in southern Spain attacked a convoy of ambulances carrying elderly patients with coronavirus, throwing rocks at the vehicles.
                                                                                                                                                                                    The attack took place in the city of La Línea de la Concepción, which lies on the Spanish border with the British territory of Gibraltar, and saw the youths prevent the passage of the convoy of medical vehicles that were carrying 28 elderly infected with the Wuhan coronavirus.
                                                                                                                                                                                     Local police arrested two people  — a 25-year-old and a 32-year-old — but said that a total of 50 young people were involved in the incident, which also saw officers attacked with two homemade explosive devices, according to Sud Ouest.
                                                                                                                                                                                        “Several youths gathered at the entrance to the town and threw stones at the ambulances as well as leaving a vehicle across the road to try to prevent it reaching its destination,” a police spokesman confirmed in comments reported by the Daily Mail.
                                                                                                                                                                                          “Officers arrested the two occupants of the vehicle, two men aged 32 and 35. Once the elderly people were taken into the home, police had to establish a security cordon around the residence as around 50 people outside threatened to cause problems,” they added.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Other acts of vandalism occurred later on in the town.
                                                                                                                                                                                        "Youths" is often used as a code-phrase for young (or youngish) Muslim or African criminals and gangs.
                                                                                                                                                                                                In a letter leaked to magazine Le Canard Enchaine, French Secretary of State to the Ministry of the Interior Laurent Nunez advises, “It is not a priority to enforce closings in certain neighborhoods and to stop gatherings.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                  In a separate video conference call, Nunez told other officials that restricting movement and shutting down shops in France’s infamous banlieues risks igniting violent social disorder if enforced too rigorously.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    A regional defense zone prefect who was in on the call agreed that businesses that had been closed down in other areas of France should remain open in poorer neighborhoods in order to help with “social mediation.”

                                                                                                                                                                                              "Rebuttal"--Paul Harrell (66 min.)
                                                                                                                                                                                              Harrell rebuts some critics and, doing so, covers a lot of topics. A couple comments of mine on topics he discusses.  One of the topics he discusses is the accuracy (or lack thereof) of autopsy and police reports. All I can say is that according to a police report of a motor vehicle accident in which I was involved, I died at the age of 18.

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Since we are on the topic of rebuttals and pet peeves, one of mine has to do with the pronunciation of "Garand" as in the M1 Garand. Most people pronounce it /ɡəˈrænd/ (similar to the word "grand"), but there are some in the gun community that are pushing the pronunciation /ˈɡærənd/ (similar to "errand"). I understand that the latter pronunciation is how the inventor John Garand pronounced his name, but the former--sounding like "grand"--is how people (including the members of the military that used the rifles) actually referred to the rifle. And the common pronunciation is what matters and is the correct one when referring to the weapon. As an example, I live in the Boise, Idaho area. Boise as in an "s" sound (boy-see), but for some reason, outsiders generally pronounce it with a "z" sound (boy-zee). Which one is correct? The "s" because that is the historic pronunciation. 
                                                                                                                                                                                              • If you haven't already done so, be sure to check out this past weekend's "Weekend Knowledge Dump" from Active Response Training. Lots of good links and commentary as always, but a couple articles in particular you should check out: one on using a handheld flashlight and handgun at the same time; and an analysis of a family invasion--the Coker Family Incident. As to the latter, Greg Ellifritz comments: 
                                                                                                                                                                                              The more of theses scenarios I read about and experience at work, the more I recognize the value of training to stay calm in absolutely chaotic situations. All the shooting training in the world wouldn’t prepare most people for this event. An attack like this requires adaptability and transcendence of chaos more than any single skill set.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Who knows how bad this could have been had an armed citizen not been around to stop the shooter before she actually hit anyone? Sadly, because she didn’t actually kill or injure anyone, this story isn’t of nearly as much interest to the media as it would be otherwise, and this story will get virtually no national news coverage because there wasn’t enough carnage inflicted. The media would much rather talk about lives lost than lives saved.
                                                                                                                                                                                              • "Concealed Carry Corner: 3 Different Perspectives on Carrying"--The Firearm Blog. The author prefaces his article: "Over the past year, I’ve written all about different ways to carry handguns and the benefits of various setups. I thought it would be interesting to take three different concealed carrier’s gear and look at what they carry on a daily basis. These are various people I have either met at gun ranges or know personally who conceal carry daily."
                                                                                                                                                                                              • "Unique, the Powder That Really Is"--A Tale of Two Thirties. I've long used Unique for most of my loading of handgun cartridges, but didn't know much about the history of it until coming across this article. Apparently the powder dates back to the early years of the 20th Century. For those not familiar with Unique, it is a shotgun and handgun powder that is actually very versatile--I've even read articles and forum posts from people that have used it for rifle ammunition. On this point, the author writes:
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Unique can be used to boost pistol bullets, rifle bullets, or shot charges out the barrel of your chosen boomer. Sound versatile?  Yes, Allliant calls Unique the most versatile of powders, and that is perhaps the ground of its uniqueness.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        That is not to say it is a top performer in all of those applications. I believe most shooters consider it to have greatest applicability for handgun reloading, and I agree.  It is my handgun projects that would suffer most if Unique were to disappear.  It is, however, also very good for 1-1/8 and 1-1/4 oz. loads in the twelve gauge shotgun and it may be used with smaller gauges.  With rifles, it must be confined to light charges with cast bullets.  Such loads often give excellent accuracy for plinking and small game applications.
                                                                                                                                                                                                           It is the moderate burning rate of Unique that gives it great success with handgun cartridges. You can use it to load the .32 S&W, and you can use it to load the .45 Long Colt, and you can use it to load everything in between those case capacity extremes.  Now that is real versatility.  With 3.5 grains you can push a 95-gr bullet at about 1000 fps from a 4-in .32 S&W Long.  Regular and +P loads to 920 fps are possible in the .38 Special and.44 Special.  Use 10 grains to kick a .45 Colt 255 grainer out at 950 fps, maybe a little more from the strong Ruger Bisley or Super Blackhawk.  Eleven grains will give about 1200 fps of scoot with a 240-grainer in the .44 Magnum.  These are all serious, effective loads for hunting or self defense, achieved with modest charge weights.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      The author goes on to further discuss reloading and some of the characteristics of the powder.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Along with learning gun safety principles and procedures, new gunowners should begin to acquire an understanding of the Rules pertinent to defensive use of firearms. Periodically, long time gunowners should also review them. This is especially true for those who have programmed their Orient Phase with platitudes such as “Better tried by 12 than carried by six, I’ll shoot anyone I find in my home, Don’t draw your gun unless you’re going to shoot,” ad nauseum.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Read the whole thing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • "A Critical Look at the New York Reload"--Revolver Guy. The author discusses the great, the good, and the bad about carrying a second handgun, but the biggest reason for the New York Reload is generally the speed of getting back into action if your first gun runs out of ammunition. Remember that this was most popular back when most police used revolvers. In any event, the author tested it out and reports:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ... Out of ten iterations the average was 2.744 seconds. The fastest time was 2.46 seconds, and the slowest was 3.13 (run #6). By comparison let’s look at the numbers from my speedloader comparison article. The average time with a 1911 was 2.13 seconds, and the average time with the fastest speedloader (the S.L. Variant) was 3.684 seconds. The New York Reload comes in somewhere between a good semi-auto reload time and an excellent speedloader reload time.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     So there is some truth to this one. The New York reload can be faster than reloading a revolver. Still, I would have a hard time calling it the “fastest” reload. Keep in mind I was carrying the second revolver in the best possible position. Were I carrying it on an ankle, on my left side, or in a jacket pocket – or had I been sitting – my time would likely have been somewhat slower. ...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     The buffer has an important job. Along with the buffer spring, the buffer provides resistance to the action of the AR as it moves rearward after a shot has been fired. The buffer’s job is to help slow the BCG down so that it doesn’t damage the rifle (in this case, pistol) over time and to help the rifle/pistol feel like a soft shooter.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If the buffer is too light it can travel to quickly and batter the bolt carrier group and the buffer tube. If the buffer is too heavy, it can slow the BCG to the point where it doesn’t move enough to eject the fired round, scoop a new round from the mag, or press the bolt firmly into battery.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You have properly tuned your buffer when you observe the following while shooting the first few rounds of a full magazine:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Your AR15 cycles completely ejecting the spent casing, loading a fresh cartridge and locking fully into battery.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • The spent brass landing between 3:00 and 5:00 if 12:00 is directly downrange.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Your BCG locks to the rear on empty.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The author then goes on to describe the actual process for tuning your buffer. But the basic process is to start heavy and then lighten the buffer. He recommends starting with an H3 buffer and then replace the buffer or the internal weights to lighten it if it doesn't work.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Redundancy, not capacity, is the foremost reason to own at least one coupled magazine set. The additional capacity is just a secondary benefit to coupled magazines. The real benefit is having a spare magazine on the rifle. There is no need to take the time to grab a bag or a chest rig… that spare mag is just there, attached to the first mag, ready to help deal with stoppages.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The likelihood that your average home defender will need to conduct a reload is quite small. I can’t give you statistics but I would say that experiencing a malfunction is more likely than needing to reload. Using a coupled magazine versus something like a drum or quad stack magazine addresses this reality while also providing additional capacity.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The above holds doubly true if you live in rural areas with acreage. Checking out that sound in the barn pulls you away from your home and cuts you off from your supplies. Having a spare magazine that comes with you no matter how hurriedly you run out the door could be clutch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Friday, March 27, 2020

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Article: "The Future of the Church: Preparing the World for the Savior’s Second Coming"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A recent article by President Russell M. Nelson. An excerpt:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Lord will return to the land that He made holy by His mission there in mortality. In triumph, He will come again to Jerusalem. In royal robes of red to symbolize His blood, which oozed from every pore, He shall return to the Holy City (see Doctrine and Covenants 133:46–48). There and elsewhere, “the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” (Isaiah 40:5; see also Doctrine and Covenants 101:23). His “name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  He will govern from two world capitals: one in old Jerusalem (see Zechariah 14) and the other in the New Jerusalem “built upon the American continent” (Articles of Faith 1:10). From these centers He will direct the affairs of His Church and kingdom. Another temple will yet be built in Jerusalem. From that temple He shall reign forever as Lord of Lords. Water will issue from under the temple. Waters of the Dead Sea will be healed. (See Ezekiel 47:1–8.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In that day He will bear new titles and be surrounded by special Saints. He will be known as “Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that [will be] with him [will be those who] are called, and chosen, and faithful” (Revelation 17:14) to their trust here in mortality. Then He “shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The earth will be returned to its paradisiacal state and be made new. There will be a new heaven and a new earth (see Revelation 21:1; Ether 13:9; Doctrine and Covenants 29:23–24).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 It is our charge—it is our privilege—to help prepare the world for that day.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But that time is not yet, although it is undoubtedly close. We are still in the period of the sixth seal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As a side note, President Nelson has proclaimed Sunday, March 29, 2020, to be a day of fasting and prayer for relief from the COVID-19 virus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wuhan Virus Update

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lots of reasons, and not all of them the fault of the government.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, who created the highly-cited Imperial College London coronavirus model, which has been cited by organizations like The New York Times and has been instrumental in governmental policy decision-making, offered a massively downgraded projection of the potential deathtoll on Wednesday.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Ferguson’s model projected 2.2 million dead people in the United States and 500,000 in the U.K. from COVID-19 if no action were taken to slow the virus and blunt its curve. The model predicted far fewer deaths if lockdown measures — measures such as those taken by the British and American governments — were undertaken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 * * *

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ferguson’s change of tune comes days after Oxford epidemiologist Sunetra Gupta criticized the professor’s model.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         “I am surprised that there has been such unqualified acceptance of the Imperial model,” Gupta said, according to the Financial Times.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Professor Gupta led a team of researchers at Oxford in a modeling study which suggests that the virus has been invisibly spreading for at least a month earlier than suspected, concluding that as many as half of the people in the United Kingdom have already been infected by COVID-19.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             If her model is accurate, fewer than one in a thousand who’ve been infected with COVID-19 become sick enough to need hospitalization, leaving the vast majority with mild cases or free of symptoms.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A pair of public health experts from Stanford, Drs. Eran Bendavid and Jay Bhattacharya, warn Americans in a Wall Street Journal editorial that the current estimates about the coronavirus' fatality rate may be too high by "orders of magnitude."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 According to Bendavid and Bhattacharya, both of whom are medical doctors, while they are supportive of social distancing guidelines and efforts to contain the disease, they fear that orders to shut down the entire economy may be based on shoddy research data.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "If it's true that the novel coronavirus would kill millions without shelter-in-place orders and quarantines, then the extraordinary measures being carried out in cities and states around the country are surely justified," they wrote. "But," and what a big one it is, they add, "there's little evidence to confirm that premise — and projections of the death toll could plausibly be orders of magnitude too high."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     The two submit that because the United States and other countries largely focus their testing on symptomatic patients, the number of people who are infected with COVID-19 is likely much larger than the number of confirmed cases being reported by public health agencies throughout the country, which means the virus' mortality rate is likely significantly lower.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Fear of Covid-19 is based on its high estimated case fatality rate — 2% to 4% of people with confirmed Covid-19 have died, according to the World Health Organization and others," wrote Bendavid and Bhattacharya. "So if 100 million Americans ultimately get the disease, 2 million to 4 million could die. We believe that estimate is deeply flawed. The true fatality rate is the portion of those infected who die, not the deaths from identified positive cases."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The two professors argue that the best evidence of the coronavirus death rate being significantly lower than what is being reported may lie in the Italian town of Vò. On March 6, the town's 3,300 residents were tested. Of these, 90 tests came back positive, indicating a prevalence of 2.7% of the population having the virus.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If one were to apply this to the entire province where the town is located, which has a population of 955,000, it would mean there were actually 26,000 infections at the time, and not just the 198 that were officially confirmed. This would be 130 times greater than the number of reported cases. Since Italy's case fatality rate of 8% is estimated using the confirmed cases, Bendavid and Bhattacharya write, "the real fatality rate [of the virus] could in fact be closer to 0.06%."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               In announcing the most far-reaching restrictions on personal freedom in the history of our nation, Boris Johnson resolutely followed the scientific advice that he had been given. The advisers to the government seem calm and collected, with a solid consensus among them. In the face of a new viral threat, with numbers of cases surging daily, I’m not sure that any prime minister would have acted very differently.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But I’d like to raise some perspectives that have hardly been aired in the past weeks, and which point to an interpretation of the figures rather different from that which the government is acting on. I’m a recently-retired Professor of Pathology and NHS consultant pathologist, and have spent most of my adult life in healthcare and science – fields which, all too often, are characterised by doubt rather than certainty. There is room for different interpretations of the current data. If some of these other interpretations are correct, or at least nearer to the truth, then conclusions about the actions required will change correspondingly.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The simplest way to judge whether we have an exceptionally lethal disease is to look at the death rates. Are more people dying than we would expect to die anyway in a given week or month? Statistically, we would expect about 51,000 to die in Britain this month. At the time of writing, 422 deaths are linked to Covid-19 — so 0.8 per cent of that expected total. On a global basis, we’d expect 14 million to die over the first three months of the year. The world’s 18,944 coronavirus deaths represent 0.14 per cent of that total. These figures might shoot up but they are, right now, lower than other infectious diseases that we live with (such as flu). Not figures that would, in and of themselves, cause drastic global reactions.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Initial reported figures from China and Italy suggested a death rate of 5 per cent to 15 per cent, similar to Spanish flu. Given that cases were increasing exponentially, this raised the prospect of death rates that no healthcare system in the world would be able to cope with. The need to avoid this scenario is the justification for measures being implemented: the Spanish flu is believed to have infected about one in four of the world’s population between 1918 and 1920, or roughly 500 million people with 50 million deaths. We developed pandemic emergency plans, ready to snap into action in case this happened again.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      At the time of writing, the UK’s 422 deaths and 8,077 known cases give an apparent death rate of 5 per cent. This is often cited as a cause for concern, contrasted with the mortality rate of seasonal flu, which is estimated at about 0.1 per cent. But we ought to look very carefully at the data. Are these figures really comparable?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Most of the UK testing has been in hospitals, where there is a high concentration of patients susceptible to the effects of any infection. As anyone who has worked with sick people will know, any testing regime that is based only in hospitals will over-estimate the virulence of an infection. Also, we’re only dealing with those Covid-19 cases that have made people sick enough or worried enough to get tested. There will be many more unaware that they have the virus, with either no symptoms, or mild ones.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That’s why, when Britain had 590 diagnosed cases, Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, suggested that the real figure was probably between 5,000 and 10,000 cases, ten to 20 times higher. If he’s right, the headline death rate due to this virus is likely to be ten to 20 times lower, say 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent. That puts the Covid-19 mortality rate in the range associated with infections like flu.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ... Germany and the United States have significantly better coronavirus death rates per capita than Italy, Spain, Iran and France. A lot better. This is why the media avoids per capita measurements for confirmed cases, but conveniently remembered when it wanted to fact check Trump's testing numbers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The media wants you to believe that the coronavirus in the United States is spiraling out of control the way it did in Italy. Fact check: it isn't.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • "Condom shortage looms after coronavirus lockdown shuts world's top producer"--Reuters. The article reports that Malaysia's Karex Bhd makes one in every five condoms globally, but has been shut down for the past week because of a government mandated quarantine. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Never let a good crises go to waste: "Republicans Cave To Pelosi, Unanimously Vote To Give $350 Million To Refugees, Migrants"--Daily Caller
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain: "George Soros & Bill Gates Partner with China on Coronavirus Drug!"--Civilian Intelligence Network. This is an article from early February that Anonymous Conservative had linked to today (March 27). The gist of the article is as follows: Palpatine Soros has ownership interests in Wuxi Pharmaceuticals (located in Wuhan, China) and Gilead Biosciences. Gilead has developed a drug, Remdesivir--a drug that today (March 27) was described as the most promising treatment for COVID-19 (see also here). Although a Chinese company, BrightGene Bio-Medical Technology, will produce the drug and distribute it in China, Gilead will retain the global rights to market the antiviral medication. BrightGene has already undertaken trials of the drug in China. Gilead is also part of a drug purchasing group called UNITAID "whose mandate is to create a 'patent pool' for pharmaceutical companies to share their 'drug patents' with other companies in order to produce generic drugs for distribution to poor African nations."  The royalties from the sales of these generic drugs are then paid to the patent holders. But "UNITAID’s objectives are to exclude high and middle-income countries from 'drug pool' while allowing 'developing' countries to benefit from lower drug prices." Essentially, it is a form of monopoly pricing that allows a company to maximize profit by adjusting the price that different pools of customers pay for a product. That is, those who can and will pay a high price will be charged high prices; but rather than completely cutting out markets that can't afford that pricing, the pricing is lowered for them to get those sales as well. In any event, the consequence is that Soros and China stand to make a lot of money off a disease that just happened to start where both have labs studying that disease, the insinuation being that Soros and China had a hand in starting the outbreak.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Without saying I agree with the premise, I would at least agree that Soros is the type of person that would do such a thing were it possible. Soros has a long history of making money because of panics. (See "Forbes Flashback: How George Soros Broke The British Pound And Why Hedge Funds Probably Can't Crack The Euro"--Forbes; "Here's how George Soros broke the Bank of Thailand"--Business Insider; "How Beijing and Hong Kong sent billionaire George Soros packing the last time he attacked Asian markets"--South China Morning News). And he has no compunction against violating laws. For instance, he apparently partnered with Robert Maxwell--the father of Epstein's paramour, Ghislaine Maxwell--to engage in illegal insider trading regarding a French bank, for which he was convicted. He, by his own admission, does not believe in ultimate truths, which, when taken to its logical conclusion, also suggests that he does not believe in moral absolutes. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wokeness is War

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             I post a lot about the decline of our civilization, including topics about declining morality, the war on fathers and the traditional f...