Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Virtue Of Joining The Mob

Article here questions the virtue of joining an angry mob. It's at WSJ so may be behind a paywall.

So Weinstein turns out to be everything the media was hoping Don Trump might be. His problem was not what he did, but that he got outed by the part of the press that is somehow still practicing journalism. Worse, it turns out that enough people follow that part of the media that the other half was forced to acknowledge it. A perfect example of the Alinsky rule about demanding the other side live up to their stated doctrines.


Is there no virtue in joining an angry mob? In theory, miscreants are dealt with by the justice system which investigates, arrests, tries, and punishes wrongdoers. As everyone knows however, sometimes the system gets corrupted. Blind eyes are turned, friends are let off with a warning, trials end with wrist slaps or dropped charges, and business resumes as usual.  At some point though, that part of the public who are not members of the good 'ol boys club, see an injustice as being beyond what reasonable people should be expected to tolerate and someone winds up decorating a lamp post. This is frequently enough to cause the rest of the chain to get to a reasonable degree, more in step with the community mores.

Is this virtuous behavior? Maybe. Maybe not. But sometimes it's necessary.

Disaster Relief

It seems the recent weather in Florida and Texas is impacting my lifestyle all the way up here in Colorado! I like to make my breakfast pancakes with some Hominy added to the batter. It improves the flavor and the protein content. Just the other day, I used the last of the supply here. Today D'wife tells me that King Soopers is out of the stuff on account of the suppliers down south being temporarily shut down due to weather.

Outrageous! Where's FEMA when you need them?

Oh well, I hear things are getting back to normal or what passes for that in Dixie, so I expect to see my favorite pancake stuffing back on the shelves shortly.

Endorsement

Things you learn as you go along:

If you take an ordinary car and fit it with headers and a less restrictive exhaust system, like the previous owner did to my Camaro, the sensors in that system will report slightly different data to the computer, which causes the computer to panic and demand that you take the car in for therapy. Turns out this is a well known problem and the solution is a professional mental adjustment to the computer. Resist the temptation to do this yourself with a ball pien hammer, and take your car to a reputable speed shop.

I took mine to J&S Performance and Tuning and the folks there knew exactly what to do. Download the software in the ECU, revise a couple of numbers, and load it back in. The car now runs smooth as glass and the dashboard remains free of "service engine soon" lights. For a significantly larger fee they could also get me about 10% more horsepower, but considering where I'm starting from we both agreed it probably wasn't worth it. OTOH, if you drive a GM car and are frustrated that it's producing less than a respectable 450 hp, these folks can help. I looked over some of the cars in their shop and believe me, 450 hp is strictly for the economy cars.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Gun Control - What We Do Instead Of Something

3 years in to Colorado's strict new gun control laws and the crime rate hasn't moved much at all except pretty much in concert with the national averages.

Another election coming up. What do you bet the refrain will be that "We'll make it work THIS time!"

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Reloading Tool

I shoot a .40 Glock. This used to mean that the brass it ejected showed a bit of a bulge near the base. It also meant that the decapping/sizing die didn't always resize the brass completely, leaving a bit of the bulge behind. I have replaced my barrel with one from Lone Wolf, which works a treat. I recommend them. Go buy a barrel. Their barrels are made to somewhat more exacting specs than the factory barrels, which means that the cases must be sized all the way down to seat smoothly. Brass shot from the LW barrel is better supported, and doesn't show the bulge but other peoples brass, found at the range frequently needs a bit of help.

The method is to push the brass completely through the final sizing/crimp die before anything else. The problem is that some of those cases DO NOT want to go through that die, so I give them some help. First decap and preliminary size. Then drop the case into a final sizing die, mounted in a centrifugal press:
The die slides to the left for loading. The rubber band pulls it into position, and the pusher above, pushes it through. The pusher is connected to a crankshaft which is engaged to a flywheel when the trigger is pressed.
It's quiet, running on a 1/10 hp motor, and the now properly sized brass is ejected out the bottom into the paper box. This press is rated at 1 ton so it's not working very hard here. The flywheel is turning at about 150 rpm when it's running.



Maker Faire

Went to the Maker Faire
The builders and bots were there
We filled the room and made things go boom
you really shoulda been there.

The above essay should remove any doubts anyone has as to my abilities as a poet. Still, it was a fun event. One group had a B-25 front fuselage, made by their students complete with a honkin big sound system that simulated the sound of the engines and the firing of the machine guns. The rest of us could have done with less of the sound effects.
 The turret on top swiveled. I explained that if I were in charge, this would be the coachwork on a nice pickup frame so I could drive it around town from the cockpit.
An outfit with steampunk lighting fixtures was there. St Vrain Metal Works makes fixtures from plumbing pipe and polished brass, most come with a dimmer disguised as a water valve. This one featured an artificial horizon and propeller.
The bulbs are from another outfit that makes them especially for the Steampunk market.
Lots of 3-D printers making various stuff:
Transportation issues were displayed with this Chinese electric 3-wheeler

I have no idea what the badge says.
Jeffco Open School, where I sometimes help had several of their robots including Chad Pi
looking very jaunty in my sunglasses. He runs on a Rasberry Pi processor, and has several motions including jaw and eyeball movement, nodding head, motion, and a set of snappy lines he delivers at random. Next year he should be able to repeat back text which would be cut-and-paste entered. I figure all he needs then would be a dignified wig with a bit of gray on the temples and the local news reader will be out of a job. Change to an Afro or a long blonde wig during commercial breaks and the entire news, weather, and sports staff is out of work. The stations will save a fortune.

There were autonomous vehicle races outdoors which I managed to miss while I was manning the table inside.

These things are fun, even more so if you bring the kids. I brought the golf caddy trike (scroll down, it's on here somewhere.) and let the kids take it for a spin. It's entertaining to watch a kid get on the thing, get focused on the throttle knob, and drive into a wall after forgetting what I told them about how to stop. First turn the throttle OFF!, then use the front brake lever. The rear brake lever DOES NOT WORK! In one ear and out the other.





Thursday, October 12, 2017

Things I Learned Today

1. To remove and replace the plastic front bumper cover on an '02 Camaro requires the removal and replacement of 37 fasteners. Nearly all of them are accessed while lying on your back.

2. Air passing through the grille on this car serves no useful purpose. Cooling air and intake air is drawn from under the nose.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Gun Law - Slip Of The Tongue

Sen Chris Murphy, in an interview with CNN, seems to have let a bit more of the cat out of the bag than he probably intended. He came right out and said that universal background checks were the next big thing for the Democrat party, then ran this line through:
What we know is that states that have tougher gun laws, that keep criminals from getting guns that keep those dangerous weapons like ar-15s out of the hands of civilians have dramatically lower rates of gun violence.
So it's not out of the hands of Democrats Muslims people who shouldn't have them, it's out of the hands of civilians entirely.  Someone should ask him if he had in mind all semi-auto center fire weapons.

The Camels Nose

Our old buddy Diane Feinstein has introduced S 1916, the Automatic gunfire prevention act. It currently shows 38 cosponsors, is as poorly written as you'd expect and includes this gem:
(v)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), on and after the date that is 180 days after the date of enactment of this subsection, it shall be unlawful for any person to import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, a trigger crank, a bump-fire device, or any part, combination of parts, component, device, attachment, or accessory that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semi- automatic rifle but not convert the semiautomatic rifle into a machinegun.
This covers everything from your finger to your shoelaces and belt loops. In theory at least you could be arrested and charged for wearing lace-up shoes. I don't expect this to get much traction, but with the NRA suggesting its willingness to sell us out in exchange for a promise to consider other legislation next Tuesday*, I would suggest you let your representatives know that this steaming pile of legislative legerdemain is NOT ACCEPTABLE.

To that end, the AzCDL has a site that will send a letter, partly written by them but with a big section you can personalize, to both of your Senators and your representative, regardless of where you live. I just used it, took out a big chunk of the personalized section and added a line about why no one really needs a Prius as they have a lifetime carbon footprint larger than a Hummer, and support slave labor in the Chinese Lithium mines. Feel free to edit that section to your own taste.

And don't forget to ask that the ATF be abolished.

*Reference to a request for funds to buy a hamburger.

Seasonal Entertainment - Punkin Chunkin

Season change here is when Mother Nature grabs the switch from Summer to Winter and bangs it up and down several times just to keep everyone on their toes. Last night the first snow hit, projected to be 2-5 inches of heavy wet stuff that melts on contact with the streets and sticks to all the foliage. Since none of the trees here have lost any leaves yet, I'd say that the next week or two will be a busy one for the tree people or anyone with a chainsaw. The power just came back on, so here's a post.

Last weekend was the official Punkin Chunkin contest as the Delaware site remains tied up in a lawsuit. I've been helping the Jefferson County Open School with their entry, the Dead Ent Resurrection as they hoped to better last years toss of 430 feet and second place in their class.
Here they are, putting some between shot repair work in. Seems the improvements put a bit more strain on the arm and some of the structure. Their practice of taking the machine apart and stacking it outdoors uncovered probably didn't help either, but they made 493 feet this year and reportedly took first place in their division, so yay us!

Other friends of mine included the local SCA chapter with a historically correct machine


 Complete with decorative young ladies and armored knights
Also there was a centrifugal machine, Inertia II, which had some issues with its release timing

In this pic the tapered arm is spinning at a pretty good clip. the whistle of the air is impressive. Motive power is from a 454 cu in Chevy engine. In the foreground is Sonic Pumpkin, a compressed air gun.
Big 10 Inch is a perennial contender. The air guns were able to consistently get out beyond 4000 feet although I did not hear of any reaching the elusive goal of 5280 ft this year. The Kamikazi is the redecorated effort of Mike B who added 22 ft of barrel to get into the 4000+ club this year.
Looks like the condensate might be building up in his tank. Building these things is always a problem as most of us live in the 'burbs and no matter how friendly the neighborhood, there's always some curmudgeon complaining about artistic endeavors like these, especially if it's being done out where it can be seen.
In the foreground is a linear catapult of the sort the Navy favors for launching planes. The big one behind it features a huge collection of garage door springs and is called "Not In My Driveway" which was named by the builders wife.

The red and white machine is called Pluto and features 2 articulated arms plus a sling. This one has broken into the 2000 ft club and was built just down the road from me. I think there's more cement in its counterweight than in my driveway.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Art Of The Deal - Bump Stocks

Swapping bump stocks for reciprocity or anything else may not be as easy as all that. If the stocks suddenly become illegal or heavily regulated, what do we do about the zillion or so already out there? A six month amnesty is about all I can think of and I'm also guessing that the compliance rate won't be any too high.

If fitting a bump stock makes an otherwise legal gun an illegal machine gun, again, what do we do about the ones already out there. Does turning in a bump stock provide proof of ownership of an illegal machine gun? If so does the 5th amendment excuse anyone from turning one in?

The bump stock was originally approved as an aid to the handicapped to assist them in shooting.* Banning the stocks would then be a violation of the Americans With Disabilities act. Now what?

*Whoever suggested this deserves the Brass Balls Award for extreme chutzpah. Whoever bought off on that argument needs professional looking after. I understand it went down in the O'Bummer administration.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Live By The Pen And The Phone...

...Die by the pen and the phone .

The Clean Power Plan would have had us dependent on windmills, solar panels, dried cow chips, and unicorn farts to power the entire U.S. economy. In return for this, the overall average global temperature would rise .02 deg C less than it would if we lived like Americans.

Gun Law - The Art Of The Deal

You offer to trade something you have no particular use for for something you actually want. Case in point is the NRA weighing in on the post-Vegas panic and offering to not object if the ATF puts a ban on bump stocks if the congress will get off its collective dead ass and give us CCW reciprocity.

A nice trade if we can get it.

The problem here is that the ATF can polish their apple with nothing but a rule-making memo, but the congress can't agree on the color of the sky given only 6 months to debate it.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

New Word For The Dictionary - Twitzkrieg

Ex: “the months-long twitzkrieg between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump.”

Found in a Post by Eugene Volokh

What They Think Of You

"They" being the general public, and "you" being you, a representative of the general public.

Here's a graphic from a Cato institute survey of peoples attitudes on the topic of financial regulation.
The message here is that the left has no faith in their fellow man, but an overwhelming urge to help him out. To my observation, the lack of faith is abundantly justified, I just find my sympathy quotient dropping rapidly in proportion to the degree to which my fellow mans problems are self-inflicted.

The article is well worth reading and I note that a lot of mistaken ideas are laid at the feet of inadequate economic education. With a minimal exposure to the basics of economics, a lot of the "crises" would be eliminated before they even had a chance to get started. OTOH, the education system, being primarily controlled by Marxists, would be in a position to fail us horribly by teaching  that when properly run, socialism works.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Good Government

Yeah, I know it's kind of an oxymoron. Sometimes though you have to envy the tinpot dictator who, upon identifying a problem, can call in his head of internal security and hand him a short list of names, maybe only one or two, and send him off knowing that the problem children on the list will not be bothering him tomorrow. Next item will be sending out notifications to a couple of trustworthy and competent underlings of their promotions, effective tomorrow.

The IRS, for example, seems to be in need of some shaking up. I mean, would you select Equifax to manage taxpayer IDs? Just be careful next year when you're doing your taxes. The real addresses to which you send the checks have not changed. Do not send anything to an IRS collection center in Nigeria, Indonesia, or North Korea.

Pundit Proposes Jim Crow Gun Control

Steven Miller, writing (where else) at the Wa Po is calling for more gun control in the form of an approval process last seen in the late 1800's in the deep south. He even imagines strong support for this among Republicans:
Since 1972, a majority of Republicans have supported a law that would require a police permit for a gun purchase.
The original version of this required police permission to acquire a pistol with qualifications including "good reason" and "good character." These laws lingered on the books into the 1960s and were widely understood to mean that people of color would NOT get any kind of permit at all, as they were commonly thought to be lacking in the character department, and their idea of good cause would result in creating a hostile work environment for the boys in the white sheets.

 My favorite charts are the ones showing "Simulated probability of support" against political orientation. It is widely known that a good Power Point presentation with lots of charts and graphs is the definition of irrefutable evidence so I guess that's settled, at least in the WaPo building.

As an afterthought, I'm hearing that the Vegas shooter also owned 2 airplanes. Think what he could have done by putting a couple of small bombs in the back seats of a Cessna 172 and crashing it into the crowd.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Las Vegas - Can't Catch A Break

Looks like the left can't catch a break even when things look like they're finally going their way. Big mass shooting? Check. Shooter a white guy (finally)? Check. Shooter used a fully automatic weapon? Check.

Now things start to fall apart. ISIS is claiming he's a Muslim, but no confirmation yet. If he is, the story begins to fall apart since you can't criticize a Muslim for practicing his religion. Ban automatic weapons? Mostly already done what with Federally required paperwork and extensive background checks required. He either got the gun legally, which means the system flatly doesn't work, or he got it illegally, which means the same thing.

The concert venue was a gun-free zone, but with the shooter several hundred yards away, that would be of no import.

Hillary is screaming that a silencer would have covered the gunshots completely but the video I saw featured the crack of supersonic bullets echoing off the surrounding buildings which would have been clearly audible anyway.

Nothing known about the shooter yet, but historically the way to bet is that he's some sort of lefty.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

QOTD - Puerto Rico

From Raconteur Report w/ H/T to Peter Grant:

Calling it an island of lazy dumbasses run by a Democrat kleptocracy isn't racial profiling, it's predictive modeling based on decades of experience.

The main thing Puerto Rico brings to the table is the ability to make the District of Columbia, or Venezuela, look like well-run entities by contrast.
Click the links and read the articles.