Saturday, May 31, 2014

Ammo Shortage

Last month I noted that the scalper at the gun show table next to mine was cutting his asking price for 550 ct Remington .22 from $65 to $50. This marks the first time in a while I've seen .22 at under $.10/rd.

This weekend I visited a gun store who shall remain nameless and note that he had the same boxes on his shelf marked at $119/box.

Folks, when your asking price is double the gun show price, you need to cut your prices or plan on seeing those boxes for a good long time.

Unemployment - What's Wrong

Power Line Blog has an article complete with graphics that describes the ongoing fiasco fairly well. Here's one:
In a normal economy, the graph would be inverted with the younger workers being added to the work force and us older geezers dropping out. In Obamas world, the older workers don't need employer provided healthcare once they go on Social Security and even at the higher rates they command, are cheaper than the younger ones.

Add to this the economic certainty that the older workers are going to be on average wealthier than the younger ones if only by virtue of having socked away some of their earnings over the years. Thus the (relatively) rich get richer while the poor get poorer. Good thing the administration opposes that sort of thing.

The other down side is that we older workers frequently have the younger unemployed living in our basements.

Updated: Forgot to include the link.

Gun Law - California

So it isn't law yet, and given the way this is written I'd say it's unlikely to become law, even in California, but the fact that it's being proposed tells you something about the mindset of the grabbers:

This proposal would allow anyone, anywhere to request the courts to issue a restraining order against anyone in the state on the grounds that the possession of firearms by the targeted person makes the complaintent feel "threatened". Toss in a judge who, as the speaker says, doesn't want to be the one who "allowed" the next mass shooter to proceed, and in one swell foop, you've lost your first, second, and fourth amendment rights.

Not to be giving anyone ideas, but I'm sure Rep. Fields would be happy to carry this bill here in Colorado knowing that reading or understanding any of it would not be required, although it would stir up such a firestorm here that it would be unlikely to make it out of the first committee, as much as the Dems would like to pass such a thing.

Global Warming - Where Do They Get The Numbers?

It seems they make them up as required. How many polar bears are there? No one actually knows, polar bears being notoriously hostile to census takers, but if a number is needed, one can be produced:
Researchers with the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) recently admitted to experienced zoologist and polar bear specialist Susan Crockford that the estimate given for the total number of polar bars in the Arctic was “simply a qualified guess given to satisfy public demand.”
Even a "qualified guess seems to have a lot of potential variation to it. They admit that their guesstimate seems to have been low by a factor of 30-50%.

Last "guesstimate" I saw was that polar bears have rebounded to over 50,000 and the Eskimos up in northern Canada are complaining of an overabundance of them, all hungry.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Choke Point - Hiding Behind Morality

Noting here an abbreviated list of the targets of Operation Choke Point:
Justice Department targets include industries as diverse as ammunition sales, coin dealers, payday loans, “racist materials,” etc. And, again, these are all legal businesses that haven’t been charged with breaking any laws — the Justice Department just doesn’t like them.
 Isn't any criticism of the president being defined as "racist"?

Can't wait to see how this one plays out, possibly as a substitute for IRS audits of dissenting citizens.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Gun Fun - June E-Postal

Jumping the gun is the June E-Postal match over at mausers and muffins. I like this one as there are opportunities to add to your score over and above simply punching the paper. It's summer, so let's have fun!
Yep, just add some gears and call it steampunk. 10 round limit, so you should be able to try this multiple times, 10 extra points for distributing your shots over all 4 gears, and possibly some extra points for using an appropriately punked-out gun.

One more weekend to shoot the May match as well so you can get a twofer at the range next weekend while contributing to the national shortage of .22.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Rules Are For Little People

And Republicans. In Michigan Democrat John Conyers can get back on the ballot even though about half the signatures collected to put him there have been ruled invalid. The judge ruled that Conyers people meant well by doing the signature collection as they did, so notwithstanding the statute violations, Conyers will be on the ballot.

Compare and contrast this to an earlier election
In 2012, another Michigan congressman, Republican Thad McCotter of suburban Detroit, didn't make the ballot because a staff member turned in phony signatures or ones from old petitions. McCotter announced he would mount a write-in campaign but later dropped the effort.
 No slack for Republicans.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Medical PSA

Here's an interesting find. It seems the pee-on-the-stick pregnancy test that will fairly reliably disclose a pregnancy in women, does so by looking for a hormone that is released as well by testicular cancer in men.

Sounds a bit silly, but I understand that by the time testicular cancer becomes noticeable otherwise, it's too late.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Gun Law - Wisconsin

In Wisconsin the police no longer need a warrant to come for you and your guns:

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that it is not a violation of constitutional rights if police break down a citizen’s door, search the home, and confiscate firearms, so long that they believe it is in the citizen’s best interest.

 Only the assertion of a shrink that you "might be suicidal". I guess if you off yourself there would be a noticeable loss of revenue to the local government who must then take whatever action they feel is warranted to prevent this.

This fits well enough with the ruling in Pennsylvania that the cops don't need a warrant to search your car in an otherwise routine traffic stop. This might actually work out better for the citizens since demanding the police get a warrant used to result in the driver sitting by the roadside in handcuffs for an hour or two while the warrant was obtained. Now they can sit in the comfort of the squad car while the officer on the spot tosses their car. No waiting.

Communism Works?

You have got to be kidding me although in this case the dementia is fairly well documented:
“Let me give you an example, the kind of money we’ve poured in,” he said. “So the most dangerous — sorry, the safest city in America is El Paso, Texas. It happens to be across the border from the most dangerous city in the Americas, which is Juarez. Right?”

“And two of the safest cities in America, two of them are on the border with Mexico,” Garcia continued. “And of course, the reason is we’ve proved that Communism works. If you give everybody a good government job, there’s no crime.”
 It's my inability to follow this kind of logic that condemns me to never holding high political office

May E-Postal

So I'm late. So sue me. Here's the target, but don't use this image;
It's from Smallest Conservative. Go to his site to get the link to the pdf of the target. Note that the largest targets, melons, are worth 100 pts. The catch is that you have to hit each one 5 times to get the points.

The pineapples are worth 25 pts, but require 2 hits each.

Lemons are 10 pts and require only one hit.

20 shot limit, so the max would be 3 melons, 2 pineapples, and one lemon for a total of 360.

Oh yes, and the hand grenades are -15 pts. Try to avoid them.

Shot this today at my new indoor club range. Funny but no one was shooting at 11 AM on a Wednesday. Had all 10 lanes to my self. Gotta love it.

Testing, 1. 2. 3.

Here's a link to a target:

It should show the Venn Diagram target I used last year.

Film at 11.

Update: Seems to work. In case you want to go out shooting, the numbers are the number of hits you need to put into each area, and also the points you get for placing your shots there. 12 shot limit, 24 point maximum score. Shoot at 25-30 ft with a pistol, or 25 yards with a rifle.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Ultimate I.D.

Imagine an electronic I.D. that you would use for everything. This would be so good that it would work for your bank account, your internet access, your drivers license on-line purchases, and probably as I.D. to use with your credit card, everything.

Imagine never doing (almost) anything anywhere ever again without leaving an electronic record. Not to worry, this "password" would be encrypted in a chip either on your cell phone or maybe embedded into a card, which of course you would never lose.

Safe? Certainly! You have the NSA's assurance that the encryption on the card is their very latest, and that no "backdoors" will ever be included. Your browsing history, your comments, and your posts would be safely tied to your own personal I.D. You would never be a nameless, faceless drone ever again but rather a fully recognized member of society.

I can imagine only a couple of exceptions to this. High government officials would of course need to keep certain sensitive actions confidential, and of course this I.D. would never be demanded as a condition of voting.

The Future Of Transportation - Government Motors

GM has instructed its engineers that there are certain words which, while certainly descriptive, should probably not be used in presentations:
Can't argue with their logic here but when your engineering department is using words like that it's probably a clue that the product needs a bit more development.

Unless of course, this describes the intended function of the product in which case it's raises and promotions all around. After all it's the governments position that we should all drive less and this sort of thing certainly advances the agenda.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Modern Medicine

Last trip to the dentist revealed a minor issue where I had an implant put in. The implant required a bone graft as a result of a bone-eating bacteria I somehow acquired. Not fun, but successful.

So I go in tody for some "minor touch-up" work to clean out a small man cave forming under the implant.

You know the initial estimate was off a bit when you have 5 dentists looming over you, looking at what the laid open gum reveals and all saying "Oh Wow!"

So now my head feels like someone clopped it right smartly with a ball bat and my diet is limited to scrambled eggs or yoghurt for a bit. No corn chips for a while.

White Privilege

I think I've figured this one out. It's a result of the Humpty-Dumpty* approach to the English language in which when people begin to see that whatever you're selling is snake oil, you fix the problem by renaming the oil and adding a new list of benefits to be had from using it.

In the case of White Privilege, what they are saying is "Hey, slow down, you're making the rest of us look bad!" Back when I worked in a union shop, I'd get this from the day shift guy who resented being compared to me by the foreman. The solution to looking better than him was to slow down and make myself look worse. Right.

In the case of the WP folks, if I work hard and become successful, I need to be penalized so as to make someone else's outcome look less bad. Right.

* When I use a word, it means exactly what I want it to mean. Nothing more, nothing less. Who is to be the master, you or the word?

More Gun Law, Less Something

In England you need to register your shotguns and rifles including the $100,000+ models you keep in the gun room and have the butler clean between safaris.
Shooting is an expensive hobby, even without so extravagant a weapon. But licensing a gun is cheap. Owners pay only £50 to register for five years, a fee that has not risen since 2001 (some trout fishers, by contrast, must cough up £360 over the same period). Police chiefs say the cash they collect covers barely a quarter of what it costs them to run the licensing scheme, and that they are spending more than £17m a year to cover the shortfall.
But look on the positive side: As a result of generating a registry of every Purdy shotgun and H&H double rifle in England, the police are able to almost instantly solve every gang-related shooting in Manchester simply by dropping by the registered gun owners manors, and politely asking if any of their firearms have been recently fired.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

More Guns, Less Boko

I guess this is how it works. In Nigeria where it is illegal for the citizens to own firearms, some 3 villages banded together and formed a vigilante group to defend against attacks by the evangelical Islamic group Boko Harum. When word arrived of an approaching convoy, the villagers set up an ambush. Some of them must have "found" some old war souvenirs that still worked and the score is variously described as either "scores" or "over 200" which would be 10 score dead Bokos and even 10 prisoners.

The low prisoner count makes me suspect that the international rules of warfare may not have been scrupulously followed. I also suspect that with a large number of Bokos no longer needing them, a few more working weapons may have found their was into the hands of the locals.

Don't tell the Nigerian government.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Medical Advances

Mike Shedlock has a piece describing some amateur-build prostheses, constructed using the 3D printer. He points out that the amateur-build devices are out-performing the commercial ones and are priced at pennies on the dollar.

The difference is that the 3D printed devices and the commercial ones is that the former were designed and built by amateurs and the commercial ones are approved by the FDA, whose charter is to insure that NOTHING ever gets to market. Hobbyists are permitted to tinker pretty much to their hearts content as long as they don't try to actually sell their product.

Give a little girl a prosthetic arm today and tomorrow she becomes Doc Octopus out hunting down Spiderman.

Putin Schools Obama

It's the Chicago way writ large. In Chicago where the dead have an active political life, when a few hundred extra votes are needed to help an alderman keep his seat, they can be "found" at the last minute. In Ukrane, which is much larger, they don't believe in taking chances.
Ukrainian military forces stopped and seized a vehicle carrying three armed men transporting guns, ammunition, and an estimated 100,000 ballots for a May 11 referendum already marked “yes” for the eastern city of Donetsk to break away and form an independent state, Kyiv Post reports.
I would think that the pre-printed "X" in the box would have raised a red (!) flag but as Stalin said "Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything."

Gun Lubrication

Here's a fairly comprehensive study by a fellow in Wisconsin under the nom de plume of Rancid Crabtree. He compares some 46 lubricants, most of which you may have heard of, and some you haven't for lubricity, odor, and rust prevention. There were both expected and unexpected results at both ends of the results tables.

Check it out.  And check out the comments as well.

Frog Lube is going to be hard to find in the immediate future. Hornaday One-Shot looks like the alternative.

Springtime In The Rockies

When the switch between Winter and Summer gets banged up and down a couple of times to keep everybody on their toes.

TODAY: Winter Storm Warning for Denver metro area: 3 to 8 inches possible by Monday morning. Periods of rain and snow through the day. The daytime highs happened early in the morning, and will linger in the 30s through late afternoon.
TONIGHT: A complete change-over to snow after 9 pm lasting through Monday morning. Overnight lows will plummet to 26 to 31 degrees.
MONDAY: Scattered snow showers for the morning drive. Mostly cloudy and blustery with some afternoon clearing. Morning lows from 28 to 35 degrees, afternoon highs from 48 to 56 degrees.
3-8 inches of heavy, wet, limb-breaking global warming indeed. By Wednesday however, I expect to be riding the motorcycle in to work.


The editorial staff at the National Review have some observations about Harry Reid who is now blaming Global Warming on the Koch brothers.
While we can only guess at the exact nature of the psychiatric or neurological trauma the Senate majority leader has suffered, we assume that it is severe, judging by his symptoms, the most prominent of which is his new habit of taking to the Senate floor to deliver speeches that sound like they ought to be coming from a man wearing a bathrobe in front of a liquor store in Cleveland.
Why term limits are a good idea, and since the targets get to vote on them, why we're never going to see them.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Exercise - The Dangers

We are hearing now that the upsurge in childhood asthma may be a result of children living in too sterile an environment. Indeed, when I was a kid it was not unusual at all to see a toddler playing outside, eating the dirt it was sitting in. Asthma was virtually unheard of. Catching measles was looked forward to as it meant you had passed another milestone in the process of growing up. DDT was routinely sprayed throughout the neighborhood. Did we breathe it? Sure, there was no avoiding it. According to Rachael Carson, by now I should be laying thin-shelled eggs or be dead.

Most of your body operates on a use-it-or-lose-it basis so you exercise to preserve your musculature, lungs or whatever, eat spicy foods to stimulate your digestive system, drink red wine (in moderation) to lengthen your life (no one is sure how this works, but the evidence suggests it so why take chances?)

Women who have children seem to have a reduced risk of reproductive tract cancers as well.

Now make sure that everyone in your family understands the necessity of exercising all the organs in whatever manner. Don't get caught like fellow trying to explain to his wife that the woman he was in bed with was there to mitigate his risk of testicular cancer. While he did avoid the testicular cancer, he was reported to have did of lead poisoning.

Outlaw Bicycle Club

I belong to an outlaw bicycle club. We're called the Bothersome Pests. We're the terror of every yoghurt place in Denver and possibly one ot two in the outlying 'burbs. This is my chopper:

Lovingly hand built about 25 years ago and ridden to death ever since, the odometer is showing some 1800 miles which is what I put on it since I replaced the speedo a couple years back.

The Cateye speedometer works great except that it was designed to be mounted on conventional handlebars, i.e. perpendicular to the direction of travel. My bars are mounted under the seat, so this is impractical. I mounted the thing on the frame backbone using a kluged up mount which got kicked apart at the Maker Faire. 

Cateye may well make a mount for recumbents, but where's the challenge in buying someone elss ready-made solution? This one:

is simple, secure, and works fine. If it gets kicked, it rotates around the frame and is easily rotated back where it belongs. 

Yes, the paint is badly scuffed up. The bike gets a lot of use and when I can't ride it, it's too cold to be painting in the garage. If there's any interest, and I learn how to use the Google store-pictures-here-for-public-access thingie, I'll put up drawings of the parts.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Science Marches Onward

A new study says that people who avoid the sun are twice as likely to die as those who don't. And here I'd always thought that people with a pronounced aversion to the sun were likely already dead.
Researchers followed 30,000 women for 20 years and found that those who avoided the sunshine were twice as likely to die.
 Their feet must be really sore by now. Makes you wonder if they even tried to introduce themselves.

The big problem with this study is that historically everyone who has been exposed to sunlight has eventually died anyway. Admittedly those who were never exposed to sunlight usually died at a very young age although in this case cause and effect are reversible.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Evryone Talks About the Weather

But no one actually does anything about it. Some promise to fix it, which is right up there with promising to revise the tide tables, but no one has any hard data showing the "safety or efficacy" of their solutions.

From "the impending ice age" through "Global Warming" to Climate change to Climate Disruption, they all have the same solution: A hefty tax increase and a cabinet-level lifetime sinecure for the lead proponent.

Maker Faire - Teardown

Made it through the Maker Faire and I'm pretty sure that I'll recover sometime in the near future. Meantime here are some highlights.
First off you've often heard it said that if you buy a kid a big enough toy, the box will be played with more often. To prove this the sponsors put out a huge field of knocked down boxes and a supply of packing tape.

the result was a huge collection of houses, forts, and denizens


of the place. Some regular industrial folks were there including Epilog Laser and Colorado Water Jet. Need something cut out? One of these folks can probably do it.
Semi-industrial is the Concoctory
3D printers, Arduinos and related stuff.
Now if your doggie needs a knee brace as badly as you do:
Here you go. Or if you don't need one yet and were looking for a fun way to get there there's this
A recumbent racing bike, 500 Honda powered. There's no steering head as such, but the assorted links and ball joints fill in. Lots of artists of various stripes, a complete set of demo boards showing how the old classic pinball machines worked and of course the Denver Mad Scientists Club featuring a demo of fighting robots, various touchy-feely electrical toys, (the Van de Graff is always popular), a 3D scanner which produced a nice 3D printed bust of yours truly, and the kids favorite, the Pedal Air gun:
What kid wouldn't want one of these in the back yard? For you musically inclined, there's the PVC drum/organ:
And more other stuff that I probably missed while working the exhibit. It was great. You should have been there.

World Ends - Film At 11

As we all know by now, the world ended April 20, 1024 AD. So why are we all still here? Because the paperwork is still in process. As soon as the last PDF-007 form is signed off, it's curtains for the lot of us.

Fortunately the paperwork seems to be in the competent hands of the NYPD Department of Loose Ends so we may well have a bit more time to get the lawn mowed or to get done whatever we had on our various bucket lists.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Maker Faire - Setup

Went up today to the stockyards Colosseum and unloaded 3 or 4 truckloads of assorted mayhem to entertain all the budding young Mad Scientists in town. Interesting place that. Not sure what goes on there on a daily basis but there are a lot of Stetson hats and no small number of folks sporting spurs.

I had the Pedal Air Gun in the back of the truck, looking like a fugitive from Libya and drew a number of curious looks from the ranchers passing by. Talked to a couple of ladies who thought the thing would be better than a swing set for the grand kids. I agree.

Lots of stuff will be on display. Talked to a couple fellows from the Community College who invited me over to try their virtual welder. Put on helmet and pretend to weld. The machine will tell you if you got it right.

Just Ask About Guns

The Brady Campaign to prevent gun ownership has a new shtick that encourages people to ask their neighbors if they have guns. It's to insure the safety of the children of course. More on that including a copy of the video at No Lawyers - Only Guns And Money.

Sure, ask your neighbors if they have guns. For some reason they're reluctant to tell us.