Monday, February 19, 2018

QOTD - Gun Design

This has been around for a while, but I just ran across it for the first time in a while.

The designer of the gun had clearly not been instructed to beat about the bush. 'Make it evil,' he'd been told. 'Make it totally clear that this gun has a right end and a wrong end. Make it totally clear to anyone standing at the wrong end that things are going badly for them. If that means sticking all sort of spikes and prongs and blackened bits all over it then so be it. This is not a gun for hanging over the fireplace or sticking in the umbrella stand, it is a gun for going out and making people miserable with.'

-- Douglas Adams
Clearly Eugene Stoner had a grasp of this philosophy and applied it to the AR. Especially the part about the blackened bits. Subsequent designers added the perforated muzzle guard AKA the tactical Christmas tree.

Taking A Stand - All Of Them

Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fl) has demonstrated abilities above and beyond those of ordinary pols by getting in front of a camera and simultaneously taking every position I've heard so far on the Florida school shooting. Here's the money quote however:
But something — some freedoms are going to have to be given up to make sure that unstable people don’t have access to those weapons.
 Which brings to mind this one:
“Those who give up liberty for security deserve neither.”
 This seems to be a misquote of something B. Franklin said. The misquote is better than the original.
 But click the link and see how many different positions Rooney takes in only one interview. The good news for him at least is that he got some nice face time on MSNBC. I suppose it will help him stay in office.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Hardening The Target

Scott Adams has addressed the issue that pops up every time there's a high body count shooting, that the left instantly pulls out copies of the gun laws they failed to get passed the last time, and accuses the right of being complicit for not passing them. After a week of blood dancing, they grudgingly admit that none of their proposals would not have materially affected the outcome, and we all hunker down and hope it doesn't happen again. Which it will.

A few years back it was proposed that concealed carry be banned on all state educational campuses. But wait, there's this:
A fairly substantial drop, eh? Consider that in Colo, you have to be 21 to get a permit, which means that pretty much only Seniors will have one. At the same time only about 7% of eligible people actually go to the trouble of getting one. So on campus, only 25% of the students are eligible to get a permit, and only some 7% of those actually might. Meaning that less than 2 of every 100 seniors might be carrying. Consider as well that on average, men are more likely that women to do this so a campus rapist is looking at a risk factor of somewhere around 1% that his intended victim will be able to defend herself. Now look at the answer to the question "Do you feel lucky, punk?" and note that the answer seems to be "No!"

It has been suggested that some effort be expended to encourage educators to get training to allow them to conceal and carry. Most educators tend to be Democrats or some other form of lefty which implies that most of them are at best severely hoplophobic. At worst it should be noted that most mass shooters are themselves some sort of lefties, but that's the pool we have to work from.

Additionally, consider the case of banks, where the contents must be carefully guarded, or businesses where admission to the facilities must be carefully controlled. The businesses use RFID cards currently, although soon facial recognition may replace them. The banks train their employees to recognize threats and give all of them a button to push should such a threat materialize.

These steps would make an assault on a school much more difficult and risky for someone looking to run up a new high score. Would it eliminate the problem? Not completely, but it would certainly help.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Gun Fun - New IDPA 5X5 Qualifier

It's a problem with indoor ranges like the Arvada Rifle and Pistol Club that when setting up an IDPA stage, the usual 180 degree rule necessarily becomes the 15 degree rule due to a distinct lack of width. As luck would have it, the IDPA has come up with a classifier that fits into one half of the available space:

For the benefit of anyone who isn't familiar with the scoring procedure used here, each string is timed separately and points are added to your elapsed times at the rate of zero for hits in the two circular areas, one second per hit in the areas just outside the circles, 3 seconds for hits in the zone outside the one second area on the body, and 5 seconds for a complete miss.  Note also that makeup shots are not allowed here. You will fire 25 shots only, and there should be 25 holes in the target, hopefully in the zero zone.

I did a quick calculation to see how much margin was allowed in each division, and added one more rank on the bottom, ST. This stands for Storm Trooper. This is for sure the division in which you fall if you either need some VERY basic instruction or if you have gotten that instruction you should perhaps consider a different hobby. 

Of course you might not be completely hopeless. If you scored in the 50's with zero points down, all you need is some practice to improve your speed. If you finish in the 50's with 30 points down, simply switch to Billlls pistol accuratizing fluid (decaff coffee) before the match and see if that doesn't help.



Whiners

An article on Samizdata today links to an article in the guardian
in which the author justifies his position by citing a poet whom I've never heard of who goes on: ---------------

While there are still humanitarian crises such as that in Syria, nobody can justify vast spending on rocketry experiments. That point was made plain in 1970 by the poet Gil Scott-Heron, on his record Whitey On the Moon, which criticized the US for spending millions to send men on a pointless moon adventure while the country’s inner cities languished:

I can’t pay no doctor bills
But whitey’s on the moon
Ten years from now I’ll be payin’ still
While whitey’s on the moon.
------------------
Somewhere in my collection of memorabilia is a job application for the position of cargo specialist on the space shuttle. The education part starts off by asking where the applicant got his or her FIRST bachelors degree, and extends to asking about any post doctoral work. When whitey was walking on the moon there were a whole bunch of us less educated crackers cheering him on from back down here. If this blues singer is bummed that he didn’t get to go, all he had to do was go back to school, major in engineering, learn to fly a plane, preferably jets, and work his way up the hierarchy of test pilots to the position of astronaut. It’s easy and I guarantee you don’t have to be white.
To paraphrase a man who shall remain nameless, “There are those who go to space, and there are those who pay doctor bills. You pay.”

Friday, February 9, 2018

Flu Season

I broke down and went in for a flu shot yesterday. It seems there are 3 vaccines out there, a 3-virus version which is considered a bare minimum, a 4-virus version which is considered better, and an extra strength version which is recommended for old geezers which category I, alas, qualify. There is, as you might expect, a problem. Seems those last 2 are not currently available. I got the "better than nothing" shot as that was available. I have doubts it will do me much good should the actual need arise, but hey, I could get lucky.

All this was covered by Medicare, which made me imagine a scene at the pharmacy:

Patient: I'd like a flu shot please.
Pharma: Certainly, may I see your insurance card. Oh, Medicare. (scans into computer) According to our records, you're dead.
Patient: What? But I'm standing right here!
Pharma: Got to trust the records, they're in the computer after all, now how long have you been deceased?
Patient: But I tell you I'm not dead!
Pharma: Don't rock the boat. You know there's a 25% discount if you've been dead for 3 months? Now how long have you been deceased?
Patient: (pensive silence) 6 months!
Pharma: Even better! You qualify for a 30% discount! Now which arm?

There's a new shingles vaccine out that, unlike the old one, actually works. Naturally it's even more expensive than the old one and the old one was north of $200. I was advised to wait a bit as Medicare might soon be picking up some or all of the cost of the new one, as soon as a ruling from the bureaucracy in charge of such things gets around to making a decision. This, I'm told should happen in the next 2-6 months. It's worth noting that they never did approve the old vaccine although with the rather dismal record it has for actually working, I can't say I'm real surprised. Hopefully I won't die of shingles in the next 6 months.

Be sure to tell your Millenial friends, who will be voting for the first time in the upcoming elections, that the blue modules in Tide and Cascade cleansers have an antibiotic function. When ingested by themselves, that can cure most STDs, but it takes 3 of the blue modules to work successfully.

O.K. that last bit isn't true, but imagine the twitter comments and you tube videos, not to mention the candidates they'll elect.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Convention Of States

Now here's a topic some find downright scary, a convention of the states to consider amendments to the constitution. First, here's some background:


The current proposal is to word the petitions in the various legislatures to call for a convention to address 3 specific issues which might limit the thing to the 3 issues mentioned; Term limits, some sort of fiscal discipline, and a reduction in the size and scope of the federal government. That last one relates to the fed.gov taking on responsibilities they have no business getting in to in the first place.

More on the COS movement here.

Future Of Transportation - Space

First this:

Then this:

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

What We Already Knew

A careful and no doubt expensive study has revealed

Electric shock to the brain boosts memory '15 per cent'

As any of several less reputable police and internal security departments worldwide could have told you, electric shocks can markedly improve memory function in most people, and pretty much independently of where they're administered.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Weather Modification

Since it's au courant these days to blame everything on the Russians, I might as well get on the bus.

Back in the 50's and probably long before that, the Russians were going through an extended period of poor agricultural output. They also publicly mentioned that they were working on weather modification technology in an effort to fix this problem. This led a few people here in the U.S. to begin blaming every years weather and any noteworthy incident on blowby from Russian weather modification experiments.

People who knew better (farmers) nodded sagely to hear the news of falling skies and comment that the Russians seemed to be the victims of the longest stretch of "bad weather" anyone could remember. Our own experience seemed to suggest that the harder the government tried to assist the agricultural sector, the worse the weather seemed to get.

So let us assume that Putin has allowed the Russian "weather modification" department to continue its operations for a moment. Couple this with a radio report I heard today that said that Moscow had set an all time record for one days snowfall at about 18". This represents about half of what they expect in a month over there and the infrastructure is severely strained.

When my family first moved to Colorado, 1960, over the Christmas break, We got hit with 24" of snow and temps of -28F. I had to go to school*. The next day about half the roads has been cleared and the temp was up to a balmy -26F. The superintendent was able to get to a phone and cancel school. So we went sledding.
Wimps! Note as well the name on that front loader.

*Walking of course. Uphill, both ways, barefoot, with barb wire wrapped around my feet for traction, etc, etc.

Market Movements

The market declined today by the largest number of points in its history, for a one day move.

Big Whoop.

Bills Law of Election Year* Rhetoric states that if someone is citing raw numbers to you, the real story or lack of same is in the percentages, and vice versa. Here's a handy chart showing some of the more memorable market drops:
Today the Dow lost 1175 points, the biggest one day drop in history. But wait, that's a drop of 4.6% which is hardly noticeable.  For comparison, look at numbers 2, 4, and 5. Total drop was 90.42 points but add the percentages and you see a 34.47% drop. Now we're talking. OK that isn't entirely fair since each percentage is from the previously reduced total, still...

I had just gotten in to stock investing when the 1987 crash hit. That one rates #1 on the chart and it was sobering to see that much of my money disappear for no real apparent reason. The panic was great enough that the phone line to my broker was jammed and I couldn't get through to join the lemmings jumping off the cliff. Just as well as the market rebounded shortly thereafter. So while in physics, what goes up at less than escape velocity, must come down, In the market it's what goes down for no reason, eventually comes back up again. This applies generally to the market as a whole. The exception to this is individual stocks which can certainly go down and vanish in a cloud of paper.

The bright side of this is that most stocks are now on sale at 4.5-5% off. Hmmmm. 5% off. Would you go to a store selling anything for a 5% off sale? OTOH if you call your broker and buy one of the market index funds, there's a good chance you'll pick up 5% over the next 6 months or so which is way better than you'll do on a CD from your bank.

*Pretty much every year seems to be an election year or a run up to one any more.

Friday, February 2, 2018

3 Popes?

It would appear that the Catholic Church now has 3 officially recognized popes.

Pope #1: Francis, located in Rome.

Pope #2: Theodoros II, located in Cairo

Pope #3: Xi Jinpeng, located in Beijing

Pope #3 ascended to his throne when Francis officially recognized the several Bishops he had appointed and withdrew his previous excommunication of them. When it comes time to select a new pope to replace Francis, one wonders how many Cardinals Pope Xi will send to Rome for the voting.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Writing For Conservatives

Kurt Schlichter has a column on writing techniques for aspiring conservative writers. Interesting, and I know the left has its version of a style book that they work from as well so I'll consider the most recent non-story about a train wreck in Virginia. First off consider that there must be several hundred songs written about this sort of thing, especially in Appalachia where trains run one every 20 minutes and crossing gates are apparently unheard of. Cue the banjos:

First the Democratic version:
Right Wing Terrorists Use Train To Attack Working Class Recycling Hero
Several dozen right wing terrorists today used a train to ram a truck carrying recyclables to the recycling center in an effort to discredit the green movement. This is suspected to be an extension of their efforts to dismantle the EPA and Make the Atmosphere Smog Again (MASA). The ultimate end is thought to be a partnership between the President and a coalition of Russian hookers to convert money losing Trump hotels into upscale branches of the U.S. prison system.

And the Republican Version
Left Wing Terrorists Use Truck Bomb In Mass Assassination Attempt
Apparently disappointed with James Hodgkinsons abilities as a marksman last June, leftist terrorists attempted today to assassinate multiple members of the Republican congressional delegation who were on their way to a retreat to discuss even greater tax and regulatory relief for the working citizens of America. So far Nancy Pelosi has not responded to questions as to why the truck failed to explode. Her staff has denied her involvement in the incident and denounced a previously unheard of memo on the topic as being a"a complete fabrication" setting off a rush to try to find this memo even though no one had ever heard of it.

To my mind, what makes the thing memorable was that the train in question was carrying passengers instead of coal.

Fun With Headlines - Unexpectedly

If you have a talent for keen observation and clear note taking, you might be qualified to be a scientist. If you don't have the money or inclination to get a PhD, your talents would be useful in the role of say police detective.

If you think this kind of work sounds like fun, but you have no talent for it, take heart: there's always journalism. Case in point would be this gem, found today on Drudge:
Jobless claims unexpectedly fall as job market strengthens...

Or maybe I'm missing something here. It's possible that being unemployed has become so attractive and lucrative that once you get there, you never want to go back. I've met people like that.




Or, as they say on Insty, Fox Butterfield, please call your office.