Wednesday, July 29, 2020

A Quick Run Around the Web (7/29/2020)

"Stop Buying Different Guns"--Warrior Poet Society (5 min.)
If you are buying weapons for self-defense, the author suggests that you focus on those few you need and stop buying superfluous firearms. If you have something that just doesn't work for you, the author is not saying to correct it, even if that means buying another gun, nor trying to discourage collectors from collecting. Flashlights, on the other hand....

  • Related to the topic discussed in the video above: "TX2GUNS: PUTTING THE FIGHT BEFORE THE TOOL"--American Partisan. Key part: "As responsible CO’s we have to be careful not to become more TOOL focused than FIGHT focused. The entire mentality of WINNING THE FIGHT, lies not in the tool itself. As Jeff Cooper famously said,  'Any GUN will do, if you will do'; or to say it another way, 'Any TOOL will do, if you will do!' It lies in having the mindset of 'I am going to survive this day, no matter what it takes.'"
  • Having just mentioned a video warning against buying lots of different firearms: "Walther’s New PPK: What Is Old Is New Again"--Guns America. I think it has been nearly 2 years since Walther started saying that it was going to release an American made PPK. But, for some inexplicable reason, Walther decided to concentrate on producing a new PPK/S (a hybrid using the larger PP frame and the PPK slide and barrel, originally intended to get around the "sporting purpose" import requirement of the 1968 Gun Control Act). I take it from this article that Walther is finally starting to release the smaller framed PPK. Now if only they'd make it in .32 ACP so it can be the true Bond gun!
  • Grant Cunningham has a new Hump Day Reading List up. Topics this week are a look at what defensive skills you really need, the fantasy versus the reality of a defensive shooting, and a look at the practice of everyday carry.
  • "Selco: 'Here Are Some of the WORST Pieces of Prepping Advice I’ve Heard'"--Organic Prepper. I have to admit that I haven't heard some of the advice articulated by preppers (but I also don't hang around on AR15 or other boards). For instance, the last one on his list has to do with recommending skate boards for post-SHTF transportation. The first one he mentions is pretty important: "Handle everything with violence." I don't know anyone that has seriously suggested that; and, obviously, it is nothing to which I subscribe. I suppose even if unsaid, it could be inferred from how much a person's preps or advice have to do with armed conflict: beware the prepper who only stockpiles arms and ammunition. On the other hand, people tend to pontificate about what interests them and/or about which they are knowledgeable. And let's face it, no matter how important you believe food storage to be, discussing the merits of dial gauge versus pressure gauge canners will never be as interesting as the perennial issue of what is the best defensive caliber: 9 mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP. And, to be honest, if you have to deal with violent people, such as Selco often describes in his experiences from the Balkan wars, you will have more leverage if you are able to deal violence in return.
  • "“Don’t Run in a Straight Line” and other Bad Advice"--Active Response Training. Greg Ellifritz used his students to test whether running in a zig-zag motion or in a crouched position to get to cover was actually better than just running in a straight line. The basic answer is "no." He found that a zig-zag motion was better for avoiding getting shot in the head or center of mass, but that your change of getting shot was about the same between all three, with running in a crouched position as the worst of the three. He writes:
Surprisingly for me, there wasn’t much difference in hit rates between any of the running methods.  No matter which method the runner employed, he or she got shot 52%-55% of the time.  Despite the “experts'” recommendations against it, the straight line run resulted in the smallest percentage of hits.  But even more importantly, it also resulted in the fewest number of SHOTS FIRED.  The runners were moving so fast that in three of the test runs (25%), the shooters were unable to fire a second round.  Even if hit percentages are similar between the three methods, anything we can do to reduce the total number of rounds a shooter will fire is likely to improve our chances of a safe escape.
  • "Fighting Leather: The Cross Draw"--Revolver Guy. The author in this article gives a detailed history of the cross draw holsters starting with cavalry holsters in the 19th Century, but with a primary focus on the police holsters that were used up into the 1970s. Interesting article for those interested in firearms fighting history. While the author focuses on the influence of cavalry on the adoption and use of cross-draw holsters in the United States, there was actually another, more practical reason that most militaries and police worse holsters on the left (weak hand) side: back when people actually used to wear belts around their waists (instead of the hips as today), the firearm was too high on the body to be drawn from the same side. (You can actually infer this from watching older Westerns where the gunfighting belts hung much lower than the pants belt). I think Lindybeige on YouTube has done a video on this (which I could not locate) as well as Bloke on the Range
       I'm currently evaluating a cross draw holster I received from Craft Holsters, so I thought this article was serendipitous. I haven't used cross-draw before to the best of my memory. And unlike the video, I have positioned it in front of the hip bone. This makes it easier to reach and more comfortable sitting down. I was surprised at how well it conceals underneath a loose shirt. Anyway, I'll have a review up shortly. 
  • And another important type of fighting leather: "Best of the Best Survival Gloves"--The Survivalist Blog. Even if you have heavily calloused hands, barbs, splinters, power tools, and hot (or very cold) objects don't play well. The author of this article has split his picks up as to the type or purpose of the gloves--e.g., work gloves, mechanic's gloves, cold weather gloves, etc.--and then listing brands/models that he likes. Since I shop at Costco, a tend to get Head brand gloves for cool or cold weather. My favorite pair for general wear is the light weight synthetic "running" gloves that allow the use of touch screens (here they are at Walmart). These generally do a good job of keeping my hands warm if I have taken the trouble to otherwise dress warmly (including a good hat--i.e., the old saying of "if you feet are cold, put on a hat" applies to hands as well). They also work well also for shooting (because they are tight to the skin) and light or medium duty labor (because they are actually quite durable). The problem is that they don't work well when wet.
  • You can't block the signal: "The FGC-9 Fulfills The Promise Of 3D Printed Guns"--En Bloc Press. The full set of files, plans, and instructions essentially allow you to build a 9 mm handgun using a 3-D printer and parts that you can easily find and purchase even in areas with significant gun control. They even tell you how to use electrical etching techniques to rifle a barrel. Impro Guns has a nice photograph of a fully completed, nicely finished version
  • Storing fats and oils--some articles I've found:
The common thread through all of these is that it is difficult to store oils and fats for a long time without them going rancid--particularly cooking oils. There are some easy things to do: keep the oil in a cool, dark place and away from oxygen (this means that you are better off to have several small bottles over having a single large bottle). Some oils or fats can be stored long term in refrigerator or frozen (for instance, butter does very well frozen). Some oils (specifically, coconut oil) will store longer than typical vegetable oils. And, of course, from a nutritional standpoint, you can store canned, fatty meats. 
  • In a similar vein, some articles on storage of sources of protein:
  • "The Ultimate Guide to Survival Lighting in Emergency Situations"--Alpha Survivalist. This is a good overview of lighting from EDC flashlights to different types of home emergency lighting (candles, kerosene lanterns, etc.). My only complaint is that the author skipped over propane lanterns. While flashlights and electric lanterns are fine for a short power outage, my wife and I have relied on propane lanterns for longer outages (as well as camping). They are clean and provide good light. Ever since Greg Ellifritz started discussing using a rechargable flashlight for his EDC light, I've been taking a closer look at those, particularly for high output lights. One advantage I see for the prepper is that they can be recharged using a power pack, which can, in turn, be charged from your car or a solar panel.
  • "How to Help a Cop During a Life-Threatening Struggle"--Active Response Training. Like a doctor, the first rule is to do no harm. Don't make matters worse. So, keep your gun concealed as you approach; identify yourself to the officer and ask him if he needs assistance; and if you do have to fire your weapon, holster it immediately afterward so other officers showing up on the scene don't shoot you! Needless to say, read the whole thing.
  • "Century Arms C308 Sporter" a review by Pat Cascio at The Survival Blog. A low cost option for a 7.62 NATO battle rifle. Cascio's only real complaint was that it was difficult to pull back the charging handle, which seemed to correct itself with polishing the face of the hammer (over which the bolt carrier and bolt rode) and use. Unfortunately, he doesn't describe the problem except to say that it took a lot of force. My first rifle build projects was a CETME Model C (the rifle on which the HK G3 is based), and I had intermittent problems with cocking the rifle. As some background, the way the CETME and the G3 work is that when the cocking handle, which normally is folded down to keep it out of the way, is pulled out, it pushes back on the bolt carrier and forces the locking rollers on the bolt to pop loose so you can draw back the bolt. Occasionally, on mine however, rather than unlocking the rollers, it simply pushed the bolt back a slight bit and then the still locked rollers would pull the bolt back into it forward position. The reason, I determined, was because the head spacing was slightly off--just enough that sometimes the rollers would not unlock. The solution (and this is how to fix head-spacing issues on the rifle) is to install different sized rollers (in my case, I needed larger rollers). It's not a difficult job, so I purchased new rollers (the rollers are interchangeable between the CETME and the G3), switched them out, and that solved the problem.
  • "Purdue and US Army Develop Explosive for Nontoxic Ammo"--The Firearm Blog. The military is attempting to develop a lead-free priming explosive. Since ammunition manufacturers have already done so, I'm not sure what is the point.
  • "Chinese Scientists 3D Print Gunpowder Substitute"--The Firearm Blog. Essentially they have 3-D printed a disk shaped structure with cells and an explosive (RDX--the precursor to plastic explosives like C-4) is placed into the cells. The disks can be stacked to adjust the amount of propellant.
  • "What's the Best 38 Special Ammo for Self-Defense?"--Shooting Illustrated. For defense against criminal attacks, the author believes that Speer 135-grain Gold Dot Short Barrel is the best overall cartridge.
  • ".38 S&W Variants and History"--Shooting Times. Another look at a cartridge that was once one of the most popular defensive cartridges with millions of firearms in circulation, but faded almost into extinction, and its mild come-back (at least enough so that there are actually commercial loads available in most larger retailers). From the article:
          Former British possessions were given surplus Enfield .380 revolvers after the United Kingdom adopted the 9mm Luger cartridge. Our overseas distributor reported one such country had issued a “tender” for a very large quantity of newly manufactured .380 Mk IIz ammunition. No new .380 Mk IIz ammo had been made in years—and no one was bidding.
            We also thought “no bid” until an engineering manager said, “Not so fast.” Through our contracts department, they had developed and supplied CCI Blazer .38 S&W unprimed cases for a client who made grenade launcher training cartridges powered by a .38 S&W blank. That meant we had tooling for cases, the hardest and most time-consuming component to develop.
               We said we were interested if they would accept a modernized version with new component designs and U.S. pressure standards. They were ecstatic to get any interest and said, “Send samples!” All they asked was that we work up the loads to produce 640 to 660 fps from an Enfield No. 2 revolver. That set a lot of things in motion.
                Our purchasing staff located surplus Enfields for testing, ranging from “average” to “unissued” condition. We had our very adaptable Speer TMJ series, so it did not take long for us to create a 178-grain, 0.359-inch Speer TMJ profiled to match the original Mk IIz design.
                   We had several propellant candidates, and the finalists made 660 fps within SAAMI pressure standards from the test Enfields. We also tested it in worn Enfields to check for “old-revolver” issues. Everything performed without a hitch. The ammo even shot very close to point of aim at 25 meters.
                     The clients were ecstatic with the samples but had an odd request: reduce the velocity. Their old ammo, stored in horrible tropical conditions, had lost some of its oomph, and testers complained about the new ammo having more recoil. They said if we loaded to 600 to 620 fps, they should be able to order.
                      Then the deal fell through. The country had another department, clueless about the .380 Mk IIz project, that negotiated the purchase of used 9mm Luger Browning Hi-Powers from another country. All Enfields were pulled from service.
                         A waste of time? Absolutely not! We had young engineers for whom this was a priceless exercise in manufacturing flexibility and reaction time. It went on to pay for itself many times over in subsequent ammo projects where short turnarounds were critical.
                  • "How to Zero Your Rifle for Maximum Point-Blank Range"--American Hunter. Sighting in a rifle for hunting is generally not just to make sure that the scope is dialed in at a particular range, but to adjust the scope so that you maximize the ranges at which you can hit a game animal in the vitals without having to adjust your scope or hold over the target. A typical example is to sight the rifle in so you are shooting 2-inches high at 100 yards. This should allow you, when using a .30-06 or .308, to strike a deer in the vitals out to 300 yards without having to make any holdover. The author explains:
                           A rifle’s MPBR is the total distance over which its bullet will travel without flying above or below the vital zone when you aim for its center. For all game the size of pronghorn and larger, most modern, popular “deer” cartridges can be set up for a 300-yard MPBR. Faster rounds extend MPBR as far as 400 yards. If that doesn’t accommodate more than 90 percent of your shooting opportunities, you aren’t trying.
                             An easy way to understand this is to imagine shooting right down the middle of a 400-yard-long pipe the diameter of your target's vital zone. So long as your bullet doesn’t strike the top of the pipe, it remains in the kill zone until it hits the bottom of the pipe far downrange, your maximum point-blank range. Here’s how to set up your rifle for its MPBR.
                              First, determine the vital zone diameter of your game. Eight inches is a safe bet that covers the heart and lungs of pronghorns, whitetails, sheep and anything larger that is standing broadside. It leaves a couple of inches of “fudge factor” too.
                                Next, from a solid shooting rest, zero your rifle to strike 3 inches high at 100 yards. Then fire two or three shots on paper at both 150 yards and 180 yards. That’s the peak trajectory distance (maximum ordinate) for most cartridges. If those land more than 4 inches high, re-zero 23/4 inches high at 100 yards and try again. When you’re hitting no higher than 4 inches at 150 to 180, shoot paper at 200 yards, 250 and 300 yards. When bullets drop 4 inches below POA, you’ve reached your MPBR.
                                  As easier way to start this process is with an online ballistics calculator. Play with the numbers and zero ranges until you find the perfect MPBR. Then double-check it with the field-testing described above.
                                    The reason this works is because you’ve angled your barrel up enough that, like a center fielder throwing toward home plate, you’re throwing your bullet high to compensate for the long-range drop. As long as you don’t throw too high at midrange, your bullet will stay in that 8-inch vital zone.
                              • "Handloading Blackpowder Rifle Cartridges"--Shooting Times. A look at some data from testing blackpowder cartridges and how reloading these cartridges differs from smokeless powder. The most significant is that the powder charge needs to be compressed before the bullet is loaded, and at pressures exceeding what could be done by simply using the bullet to compress the load (at least without deforming the bullet). "This was something Olin applied to the tests he conducted. He built a compression die to let a steel punch do the compressing while the case body was supported to prevent its swelling under the force. This seems to be one key to better burning and uniform performance."
                              • "Building Tribe: Someone’s Gotta Be In Charge"--Lizard Farmer. He envisions a community resorting to the use of a tribal council.
                              So we have each family designate one adult to represent them.  And among those adults they elect a primary “Chief/Mayor/Spokesman” (don’t get hung up on gender here) or whatever you want to call it.  Now among this group we also need some representatives for critical aspects of tribal life.  So we designate one person to be in charge of those areas like Medical (got Doc/Vet/PA/LPN/RN?), Security (former LEO/.mil?), Communications (Ham guru?), hell even Education (if you have wee ones).  These aren’t the inclusive areas – I’m sure folks will come up with others but let’s keep it simple for now.  So for the sake of argument let’s say we ended up with ten adults representing the ten families with four of those members representing critical areas – Security, Medical, Communications, and Education.  Don’t sweat it for now – I’ll be touching on processes in a later entry.

                              Old school methods for setting up a shooting position to make sure you can still effectively use your weapon with little or no light.
                                       In what is a widely underreported event, protesters from the Black Lives Matter group of Los Angeles purposely met in the oldest Jewish neighborhood in the region to destroy Jewish businesses, schools and synagogues. In all, they managed to loot a large number of stores, three Jewish schools and five synagogues. The next day, locals woke up to scrawled graffitied images reading an obscene message attacking Jews, “Free Palestine,” and, perhaps scariest of all, “Kill the Jews!”
                                         On the night of May 30, while the rioters looted and burned without the intervention of the local police, they chanted an obscene message attacking the police and saying “kill the Jews.”
                                    On the other side, we have the NAACP beginning to wonder why "whites" (i.e., Antifa) have co-opted what were supposed to be protests over the death of George Floyd and the larger issue (a fantasy, to be sure, but nevertheless an issue) of police violence against blacks.
                                             The author of the Santa Barbara News-Press article wisely compared the BLM attacks on Jewish property to pogroms under the 19th Century Czar rather than to the Nazis or later Soviet persecution because it otherwise raises a troubling issue--something we saw play out badly in pre-WWII Germany: the conflict between the international socialists (communists or Marxists) and the national socialists (e.g., "NAZIs" and Italian fascists). While BLM is definitely a Marxist organization that is part of the international socialists, I doubt that most black protesters would agree. To them, the current protests (and the whole reason behind the slogan "black lives matter") is to focus on the needs of black people (i.e., the black nation), not on the broader communist agenda. In other words, your average black protester is a national socialist. On the other hand, like it or not, Jews have always been closely tied to the international socialist movement. They have historically made up a disproportionate share of Marxists/communists and many (perhaps even a majority) of the Marxist thinkers, particularly the Frankfurt school which is the primary source of the current Marxist movement in the United States and Europe. 
                                               What we are seeing here is a potential rift between Antifa and BLM supporters, that could develop into a more violent rift such as Germany experienced which resulted in street fights between communists and NAZIs. We'll see where this goes, but I could see the large donors currently backing the BLM taking the view that attacks on Jews is a type of "biting the hand that feeds you."
                                        • Related: The hand: "George Soros directs $220 million toward efforts to achieve racial equality"--The Hill. "Some of the organizations receiving the grants are fighting for expanding voting rights, while others are fighting for police reform. Recipients of this set of investments include Black Voters Matter, Circle for Justice Innovations, Repairers of the Breach and the Equal Justice Initiative, according to Open Society Foundations."
                                        • How to lose friends and influence enemies: "Race Hate Comes Down On A Toddler’s Neck"--The American Conservative. An op-ed from Rod Dreher about the black man who posted an image of his kneeling on the neck of a white toddler with the message "BLM NOW MF---". 
                                        • Related: "DeKalb County Teacher Resigns After Disturbing Social Media Post"--Patch. His post was to tell the guy kneeling on the toddler's neck that he was doing it wrong: "Again! You're doing it wrong! One knee on center of the back one on the neck and lean into it until death! You saw the video! Get it right or stop F*****G around." I wonder how many white children this special education teacher has abused?
                                              Americans are fleeing urban areas in huge numbers. Big cities are just too mismanaged, they’re too dangerous. Unless you’re very rich or very poor, you’re getting out. New York City lost 53,000 people in 2019 – they will lose far more than that this year. Most of these refugees have relocated to the suburbs, where they imagine they are safe from the effects of disastrous urban policy. But they’re not. Democrats want to abolish the suburbs. They are too clean and nice, therefore by definition, they are racist. The Biden campaign has highly specific plans on how to do this.
                                               It’s called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, it’s a HUD regulation, it was written during the Obama Administration. Biden’s advisor’s plan to enforce it. It will cut off critical federal funds from municipalities unless those municipalities submit to federal control of urban planning. Towns will be ordered to abolish zoning for single-family housing – because single-family homes, needless to say, are racist. Low-income, federally subsidized apartments will go up in the suburbs. It’s a good bet you won’t see any of this, you won’t see projects being built in Aspen or Martha’s Vineyard or anywhere else Eric Holder vacations. But in your neighborhood? Oh yeah.
                                            The article discusses the AFFH program in more detail and how it will bring the inner-city to where you live. Read the whole thing.
                                                    Viral video out of Seattle shows a mob of African immigrants assaulting a white man in the street while screaming racial epithets and proudly flying the flag of the terrorist separatist group the Oromo Liberation Front.
                                                      The mob is seen swarming the man -- outnumbering him around 7 to 1 -- and punching him repeatedly and kicking him while he's on the ground as shocked onlookers scream in horror.
                                                • More news of the peaceful demonstrations:
                                                • "1619 Project Creator Admits 'It Is Not A History' But a Fight 'to Control the National Narrative'"--Legal Insurrection. A reminder that SJW's always lie.
                                                • The Left wants you disenfranchised: "New Trump Policy Would Restore Voting To Its Rightful Owners — Citizens"--The Federalist. It isn't just the Chamber of Commerce that is upset about Trump restricting immigration and cracking down on the fruits of illegal immigration. Trump has proposed not counting illegal aliens for purposes of calculating the number of representatives (and electoral votes) to which a state is entitled, and it is vociferously opposed by Democrats. Why? "According to the White House, a single state [ed: California, no doubt] includes 2.2 million illegal aliens, more than 6 percent of that state’s population. Counting this population would result in allocating two-to-three more congressional seats to the state than it would have otherwise received." Also, "[s]imilarly, a December 2019 Center for Immigration Studies analysis estimated that by counting illegal aliens in the 2020 census, the federal government would be redistributing three seats, one each from Ohio, Alabama, and Minnesota to California, New York, and Texas."
                                                • Ditto: "Top Black Lives Matter Activist: ‘We Will Incite Riots Everywhere if Trump Wins’"--Burning Platform. This is just a way of intimidating voters into not voting for Trump. This is a conspiracy to deprive people of their civil rights, and should be investigated and prosecuted as such.
                                                At a Black Lives Matter demonstration in London on Sunday, a speaker who is a self-described mixed-race member of the LGBT community declared that "there is one common enemy: the white man," and "once we've realized that we're all fighting the same fight, it just strengthens the army," before finally saying, "all of these groups of people, the issues they face, it all comes from the same people: white men — so we need to get rid of them."

                                                The slug is the A.R.M. Gatekeeper slug--a solid copper slug that reliably expands to 40 mm (about 1.6 inches).
                                                      Online porn viewing in Washington, dormant since most offices closed in March, has started to spike as more workers have returned to their cubicles in the federal city.
                                                        According to one popular website, Stripchat, weekly users have gone from about 3,000 in Washington during the coronavirus shutdown to about 55,000.
                                                          In data shared with Secrets, the “highest daily marks in traffic” beginning on July 8 were during office hours, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
                                                      A sign of weak amygdala and, hence, liberalism. I suspect that firing the offenders would do more to clean out the Deep State than most anything else that could be done.
                                                      • Related: "Chicago mayor mounts police raid on church's Sunday service"--Disrn. This story was published on May 25, 2020, but is still illustrative of the Left using COVID-19 as an excuse to clamp down on Christianity. "Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state," as a famous national socialist (and former communist) once asserted.
                                                               Let’s start with what the left thinks they are doing: 
                                                                 They think they’re bringing about their utopia, their heaven on Earth. 
                                                                   They have been programmed – indoctrinated, really – from birth via the media, education, entertainment, and – heaven have mercy – even churches and synagogues into believing what amounts to a heretical Christian sect.
                                                                     There are many variations of the Communist mythos, mostly Marx, but with its roots firmly in Rosseau. They range from racial ones (one to each race) to feminist ones. There are probably others I haven’t even heard about.
                                                                       The myth goes like this: in the beginning, there was no capitalism (the cult’s quaint name for any free buying and selling or trade. (This is why they call monarchies capitalism or private property.) This was the dawn of man, the perfect state of humanity. Because there was no property there was no envy and no crime. Man (and particularly woman) lived in a time of innocence. In this perfect utopia – feminist version – women ruled, sex was free, babies were brought up communally, and every woman could do as she pleased. In the racial version, the poor now-oppressed race were the rulers, and therefore there was no property, etc., etc. No crime.
                                                                          But then the serpent evil white race showed up. Or males rebelled. Whatever. Because, you know they didn’t like paradise. And they instituted private property and “capitalism” and since then there’s been this great struggle by the good to overturn the evil. In the end, the good prevails, they confiscate and redistribute all private property and reeducate the people maimed by living under the unjust capitalist system and we go back to living in a utopia.
                                                                            The liniments of the story should sound familiar if you come from a Judeo-Christian background. It’s the story of creation, fall, and eventual world-redemption, only stripped of a creator, any power superior to the Kommissars and the idea of personal redemption. In fact, in this heresy the individual doesn’t matter at all, only the group he belongs to. 
                                                                             I doubt any Marxist has been told this story as such, but I promise you it is in the background of a lot of their books, from “non-fiction” to novels. The idea, bonkers as it is and as easy to dismantle as it is, is in the background of their thoughts.
                                                                      • Related: "Marxist Revolution's 'Satanic Mendacity'"--The Pipeline. The author explains that "unemployed, but over-educated, young people, having been indoctrinated into the nihilistic belief that there are neither heroes nor principles, and that reason is merely a tool of oppression -- have given themselves over to iconoclasm, howling at anyone who disagrees with them on any point. You would feel bad for them if they weren't attempting to obliterate the memory of better men than themselves."

                                                                      With the military (specifically, the Navy) admitting that it still studies UFOs and that it might have recovered material or debris not made on this world, it looks like 2020 is shaping up to be an unusual year in many ways.

                                                                      • This should be the story of the year, but hasn't gotten near as much attention as I would have thought: "Pentagon's UFO hunting department was NOT disbanded in 2012 as stated and could now give public reports every six months amid claims it found 'vehicles not made on this earth'"--Daily Mail. The story broke via the New York Times, but the Times article is behind a paywall. The first part of the article is about Congress demanding reports and briefings about the findings of the Navy's Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force, but then there is this: "The new calls for greater transparency come as officials who previously worked with the unit reveal some of the objects discovered in their investigations were items humans 'couldn’t make ourselves' and 'vehicles not made on this earth'." I would like to know who is the source and why he thinks the items could not be from Earth. Just because the materials may represent alloys we cannot currently make does not necessitate an extra-terrestrial origin. For most of recorded history there have been small groups or an industry which had proprietary metal smithing technology or alloying that most other peoples did not possess. Heck, it was only about 25 or 30 years ago that the secret to making the true "Damascus" steel (a high-carbon yet non-brittle steel alloy) developed in ancient India was rediscovered (the process had to do with a controlled slow cooling of the alloy to essentially make a steel supersaturated with carbon but cooled so slowly that the carbon didn't precipitate out of the solution). 
                                                                             The Mediterranean Sea was 3.6°F (2°C) hotter during the Roman Empire than other average temperatures at the time, a new study claims. 
                                                                              The Empire coincided with a 500-year period, from AD 1 to AD 500, that was the warmest period of the last 2,000 years in the almost completely land-locked sea.  
                                                                                The climate later progressed towards colder and arid conditions that coincided with the historical fall of the Empire, scientists claim. 
                                                                            Notice that warmer temperatures are related to better outcome, and cooling temperatures are related to collapse and chaos.
                                                                            In Wednesday’s issue of the journal Nature, scientists reported on artifacts found in a mountain cave in the state of Zacatecas in north-central Mexico. Ciprian Ardelean of the Autonomous University of Zacatecas and others say they found stone tools and debris from tool-making that they dated back as far as 26,500 years ago. There’s some indication that some artifacts go back beyond 30,000 years, but so far the evidence isn’t strong enough to make a firm claim, Ardelean said.
                                                                                   The tools belongs to a type of material culture never before seen in the Americas, with no evident similarities to any other cultural complexes. Importantly, more than 200 specimens were found below an archaeological layer that corresponds to the peak of the last Ice Age. (Archaeologists call this peak the Last Glacial Maximum.)
                                                                                      During this time, between 26,000 and 19,000 years ago, ice sheets were at their greatest extent. Evidence from Chiquihuite Cave, therefore, strongly suggests that humans were present in North America well before Clovis.

                                                                                  * * *

                                                                                           The analysis showed there were humans in North America before, during and immediately after the peak of the last Ice Age. However, it was not until much later that populations expanded significantly across the continent.
                                                                                            This occurred during a period of climate warming at the end of the Ice Age called Greenland Interstadial 1. The warming began suddenly with a pulse of increased global temperature around 14,700 years ago.
                                                                                              We also observed that the three major stone tool traditions in the wider region started around the same time. This coincides with an increase in archaeological sites and radiocarbon dates from those sites, as well as genetic data pointing to marked population growth.
                                                                                                 This significant expansion of humans during a warmer period seems to have played a role in the dramatic demise of large megafauna, including types of camels, horses and mammoths. We plotted the dates of the last appearance of the megafauna and found they largely disappeared within this, and a following, colder period.
                                                                                                   However, the contribution of climate change in faunal extinctions, represented by abrupt warming and cooling, cannot be fully excluded.
                                                                                            • "DNA study reveals how the slave trade’s dark history of rape, disease and deadly working conditions shaped the modern-day genetics of black people in America"--Daily Mail. The real story here is that North America/United States accounted for a very small portion of the slave trade: some 400,000 versus the 4.9 million just to South America. In fact, almost all of the slave trade went to Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. The study also shows which parts of Africa were most likely to sell their fellow Africans into slavery (at least, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, as the study doesn't touch on the vast slave trade into Muslim lands).
                                                                                            • "The Uncertain Future of Ham Radio"--Spectrum IEEE. Not about certain states (California) charging the operators of repeaters stations to use public land, but the lack of growth in the hobby because it doesn't have the appeal to younger people. (No discussion on the impact of licensing requirements or costs, however). It also notes that the future of Ham may be the analog-to-digital systems that essentially allow people to use Ham as an alternate to other forms of digital communications, including software defined radios (SDRs).
                                                                                            • "‘After a 20-year relationship, I’m giving up on Mexico’"--Mexican News Daily. An expatriate explains how corruption and the lack of the rule of law finally convinced him to leave Mexico. Essentially, his story (and others) is one of having land stolen out from under him, but no real recourse under the law to get it back. 
                                                                                            • A reminder that we live in the 21st Century: "A New Map Shows the Inescapable Creep of Surveillance"--Wired
                                                                                                     OVER 1,300 PARTNERSHIPS with Ring. Hundreds of facial recognition systems. Dozens of cell-site simulator devices. The surveillance apparatus in the United States takes all kinds of forms in all kinds of places—a huge number of which populate a new map called the Atlas of Surveillance.
                                                                                                      A collaboration between the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the University of Nevada, Reno, Reynolds School of Journalism, the Atlas of Surveillance offers an omnibus look not only at what technologies law enforcement agencies deploy, but where they do it. From automated license plate readers to body cameras to the so-called fusion centers that centrally process scores of surveillance data, the project drives home just how common these sophisticated tools have become. In fact, despite offering 5,300 data points from 3,000 police departments, it’s still only a sample of surveillance’s true sweep.
                                                                                                         “We’re never going to be comprehensive,” says Dave Maass, a senior investigative researcher at EFF who helped lead the project as a visiting professor at the Reynolds School. “If our goal is to keep neck and neck with the growth of the surveillance state, we’d lose.”
                                                                                                           Which reinforces the point. The map is unsettling enough in its current configuration. It’s almost impossible to imagine how crowded it would be if it included all of the 18,000 federal, state, county, and local agencies that comprise US law enforcement, by the Bureau of Justice Statistics' count.
                                                                                                      Here is the link to the website of the group creating the map.


                                                                                                      1. Alright, Docent, that's a list! Every time I had a comment to make, another story took its place.

                                                                                                        I'll just throw in that Marxism isn't dead - but in the West it's a disease of affluence.

                                                                                                        1. My theory is that socialism appeals to the affluent because it is the only religion that says it is okay to worship oneself.

                                                                                                      2. Yeah, that was a heck of a long list of good reads. I certainly appreciate it Docent. It saves me a lot of time since I don't have to hunt down the links myself.


                                                                                                      Ukraine War Update (May 13, 2022)

                                                                                                       You may have already read this since the Institute for the Study of War seems to be one of the major go-to sites for information on the war...