Saturday, December 03, 2005

Announcement

Due to some recent changes at the cubicle's domicile I will be blogging much less than normal for an extended period of time, (next three months is what is is looking like). I am going to try to keep in blogging shape by posting one post a week, though if it is like any of my other tries at keeping in shape, I will probably fail.

These changes include, but are not limited to; 4 new large clients at work (large as in our business will probably more than double this year if all clients are kept and brought on); 1 large test for a prospective client at work; Christmas; New Years; MCAD (I am still a little....err...grumpy about that, but it is really the only play I see to: A) set myself apart in the field of non .Net programmers. B) Transition from my current main programming language(s) [Visual Fox Pro and VBA (Visual Basic for Applications)]) to .Net. C) Get a job in my girlfriend's town programming in .Net, having very little professional experience in it.); MCSD (This is really the only play I see to distinguish myself from among all the .Net programmers who have their MCAD); and my early Christmas present Gun Tests, from my sister.

If you would like a personalized email stating when I return blogging full time, please send an email to : c y r u s m c k o r m i c k - a t - h o t m a i l - d o t - c o m

Remove spaces, dashes, replace 'at' with '@' and 'dot' with '.' , and that should produce a usable email.

cube

Friday, December 02, 2005

Did you know?

Did you know surefire (most famous for their flashlights) makes suppressors?

Here is their website. Suppressor Science sounds great.

cube

Thursday, December 01, 2005

A very interesting paper

Via Bradford Plumer I found this paper Underground Gun Markets.

Here is a sample.


Sorry for the picture. My free version of adobe does not allow me to cut and past. Oh well, you can read the sample just fine if you squint.

cube

Trust your instincts

In the past few months there have been two occasions that have reinforced upon me that I should trust my instincts.

Incident One
I was hanging out with my girlfriend for the day and we were going back to her apartment. It was mentioned to me that her roommate would be out of town. As my girlfriend was opening the door to her apartment, I thought I saw a flicker move behind her bedroom window. My instinct was to grab my girlfriend, go in first, with gun drawn.

Several things stopped me from doing this. As I was trying to figure out what I saw, my girlfriend had already entered the apartment. Secondly, I also dismissed what I saw. Fortunately, it was not a MWAP (mutant with a plan), but my girlfriend's roommate, who had not quite left town. She did leave a message on my girlfriends phone, which my girlfriend did not check. The roommate was in my girlfriends room trying to get on the internet.

I am still of two minds if I had time to react. The opening of the door followed very soon after I saw the flicker. I would have had to act very fast to stop my girlfriend form entering her apartment and to get between her and the "threat". I also believe that I would have had dumb questions ask like, "What?" and "Why?", but I can't really do much about that.

In short, I acted slow and refused to believe what my eyes saw.

Incident Two
Last Sunday, I was leaving a friends house and the weather looked nasty. The plan was for me to lead my girlfriend to the interstate, where she would go west and I would go east on interstate 40. I explained to my girlfriend that she should find the weather as soon as she gets into her car. I figured that everything would be ok once we got moving. It was not until I was in my car and driving that I realized the full extent of what I was driving through.

As I was driving, I found out there was a tornado to the southwest of where we were. I also found out that my girlfriend was going to be driving though the storm as it was coming to her. I was able to get her on the phone and tell her to pull over in Conway and wait it out. Well, by the time she go to Conway she was in the middle of a lot of rain. She managed to make it to a hotel (my suggestion because they have TV's in hotels to watch) to wait it out.

In this case, I failed to listen to what the more cautious part of my brain was saying. I also failed to adjust my travel plan based on new information. To allow your instincts to take over you must first have a certain amount of willingness to change plans. I also failed to impart my exact feelings of fear to others. In other words, I did not let my instincts shine.

Both my girlfriend and I made it home safely, we were much luckier than others.

Source:"A motorist was killed Sunday night when the driver of a van drove into a tornado shrouded by darkness and rain. The storm picked up the vehicle and flipped it onto its top in the median of Interstate 40 near Morrilton."

cube

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Get your gun

There is this news reporter in Memphis that created a series on getting your CCW. A how to if you will. A very favorably report to the gun community.

Start here.

The first video, failed to mention that it takes a little while for the entire process. Getting my permit (from the class till it was in my hand) took a couple months or at least one month. It also failed to provide links.

For the second video, I saw some safety violations from the shooter, though it was a good primer for getting a gun. I also heard some phrases I did not understand - "point-on-point vs 3-point sighting". Odd.

Third video, "you must get a safe for when you are not carrying the gun" or so Andy wise says. I don't have a safe. Mainly because I don't have kids and I live by myself. I always either have the gun in my truck , on my body, or on the night stand. I could get a car safe, but I like the idea of quick access regardless of weather I am in my car or not. I guess I could get it stolen, but then again I could also be attacked on the way to my car and need quick access to my gun.

Uhmmmm...stratch the last statement...You have to watch that third video. Wow.

I guess my other response to getting a safe would be, it costs as much as several guns.

Fourth Video, any wise is a better shoot than me...grrrrr. Also, excellent quick review on the use of deadly force. It was quick, but not complete.

via Blake

cube

Surviving Bigfoot

We have covered surviving zombies, werewolves, and vampires; but have never covered Bigfoot that I could find.  For a real life description of the fear that Bigfoot could inflict on you community I would suggest watching the documentary "The Legend of Boggy Creek" (BTW - I watched it during thanksgiving).  This documentary covers how the "Fouke Monster" terrorized Fouke, Arkansas, a small town in the southwest part of the state.

Bigfoot is radically different from the above-mentioned monsters in the sense that he is more of a prowler rather than a predator.  Though the predator instincts are present in Bigfoot, they are mostly connected to small friendly house animals, such as dogs and cats.  He will rip the hides off of your best hunting dogs and scare you cats to death.

Though Bigfoot is stronger and faster than humans, the odds are quickly evened if you have guns and a strong flashlight.  Hunters or young boys typically either sight them alone in the woods or they are heard outside your house when the menfolk are away and only women and children are left at home.  Most encounters with Bigfoot only with a scare, but they also have been known to attack when provoked, as in the "Legend of Boggy Creek".

I see two main methods of defending against Bigfoot: secure castle or owning the night methods.  There are two important things I would like to mention before I begin.  One, these two strategies are independent of each other, but can be used together if you want.  Secondly, strategies for protecting against Bigfoot will also do well in protecting your house and family in many different situations such as riots and other events where society breaks down.

The secure castle strategy, is based on the idea that you cannot fight Bigfoot in it's own environment.  It lives in the woods; has a coat of hair; has better sense of smell, hearing, and sight than you do.   In short, if you attempt to hunt it in the woods you will either not find Bigfoot or you Bigfoot will attack you.  While you most likely will make it out alive, you will still have nothing to show for you pains.  Instead of putting yourself at a disadvantage, let Bigfoot come to you.  Prepare by having plenty of lights, early warning systems (either electronic or animals), and ammo.  When Bigfoot attacks, turn on all the lights.  This will surprise him and take away his biggest advantage, the dark.  If you are lucky, you might even have a trophy to prove Bigfoot exists.

Owning the night would involve filling you property with automated night vision cameras, IR lights, and outfitting all members of you party with generation three night visions.   Once that was done, you can either wait for Bigfoot to attack or go hunting Bigfoot.  Though because you are using fairly new technology to try to even the odds against Bigfoot, this plan is a little riskier.  Though if some elements of this plan were combined with the secure castle plan, you could possibly have a winning strategy with loads of redundancy.

cube

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Safe travels and God's speed

Happy thanksgiving!

cube out

Response to a previous post

Cubicle's last post has created commentary that is far in excess of the actual post. I would like to tackle some of it here. Previously published commentary will be in bold and italics.

1. That is nonsense. For any person of right mind i should be fairly simple to see that the terrorist are bad guys and America are the good guys. As to Iraq, it is fairly simple to see that they are caught up in a vicisous tribal warfare cycle that can only be ended by action from the outside. It worked out for the indians (gambling) and it will work out for the Iraqies if they rid theirselves of the bad guys.

Always assuming that you are righteous and morally correct is a sign of fascism. There should be some sort of standards to apply who is right or wrong. Never assume that America is always the good guy just because they are cutting your checks. Also, Iraq isn't plagued by tribal warfare. That's Afghanistan. We are mostly facing Zaqarwi's forces and former elements of the Baath party along with some foreign insurgents. BTW, American Indians are the most marginalized minority in our country. They used to be the sole inhabitants, but I guess those casinos really make up for it.

2. No, they don't have to the EXACTLy the same. What i am saying is that if their are no good reasons to have troops in Iraq (where the enemny is and fighting) then we have no good reason to be anywhere. If they army is not fighting the enemy, they they are useless and a waste of money.

You are right. We should just start an endless war to justify our military spending. (Oh wait we did). We can't cut our military spending because if we ever get in a position where we maintain standing armies in only half or three quarters of the world or come anywhere close to reducing our spending to the level of the second highest nation people will cry. And as a soldier I can tell you exactly what our purpose is. We stand ready to fight in order to deter war. When deterrence fails, we quickly and decisively defeat the enemies of the United States. This whole World Police kick isn't actually anywhere in our doctrine or policies.

3. you have a choice. You can either fight this war (iraq, afganistain, war on terror) or you can choose not to fight.If you choose not to fight you loose.

You also have a choice on how to fight, and you can choose solutions that ameliorate the situation rather than exacerbate it. How exaclty are we tying Iraq into the war on terror these days? Because they didn't train or harbor terrorists, it would seem logical that the war on terror could have been fought without invading Iraq. Then maybe Afghanistan would be the terrorist magnet, Al Qaeda wouldn't have a propaganda boost, and we could have better focused our efforts elsewhere.

Why is America a target of terrorism? Prosperity? Or a history of supporting tryants like Saddam? Are there any non-military solutions to terrorism (which is admittedly not exactly a military problem)? And if we are all about democracy and choice, then are we willing to deal with democratic countries that don't necessarily agree with us? Would we respect the wishes of the Iraqi people if they asked America to remove its military and corporations after their country stabilizes?

Pushing the nuclear envelope

An example. Nuclear weapons. Can you see how third world countries would see it as unfair that one country stockpiles nuclear arms and then attacks other countries on the suspicion that they may be trying to assemble one? And not all countries, just specific ones. Now if you are Iran or North Korea or any other country put on notice by Bush, what is your only protection against invasion? Make it appear that you may in fact already have nuclear weapons. That's the difference between Iraq and North Korea. North Korea gets a decade of conferences, and with Iraq there was no negotiation. Saddam could not have done anything to deter our invasion. I think he is as big of a bastard as everyone else, but our willingness to launch unilateral, preemptive wars based on supposition sets a dangerous precedent, and you can expect the rest of the world to react accordingly.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Priorities of a Hegemon

Is it more important to pursue peace, or to ensure that United States retains its role as the economic and military leader of the world? Is it more important to make our country even more rich, or to ensure some basic standard of living throughout the world?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Let's start at the beginning

Why pull out of Iraq?   We just got there.  Why don't we take a FIFO (First in, First Out) approach.  Lets pull out all out troops from Europe, because those troops have been there the longest.  We can send half home and half to Iraq.  Next lets pull all troops our of South Korea, we can send half home and half to Iraq.  We can post some subs to keep an nuclear eye on North Korea.  Next lets pull troops out of Vietnam (I don't really think we have very many there, but I am just mentioning it here for completeness.)
 
Once we have removed troops from all the places they were before Iraq and relocated them to Iraq, I would support pulling out of Iraq.
 
cube

Memphis still on top

OVERALL: (369 cities)
Most Dangerous 25:  Number 16, Memphis, TN
CITIES OF 500,000 OR MORE POPULATION: (32 cities)
Most Dangerous 10:  Number 4, Memphis, TN
 
OVERALL (330 METROPOLITAN AREAS):
Most Dangerous 25:  Number 3, Memphis, TN-MS-AR
 
Here's to a better showing next year.  Go out and commit a crime.
 
 
cube
 

Saturday, November 19, 2005

125 down; 9,999.975 left to go

Source: "A raid by federal, state and local authorities at a Wal-Mart Stores construction site in Pennsylvania netted about 125 arrests for alleged immigration violations."
 
While this is something that needs to be done, you still have to close the loop.  This problem has to be worked on from the supply side (the border) and the demand side (the corporations hiring the illegals) to be solved.
 
cube
 

Friday, November 18, 2005

Rearing your children, right.

Source: "Tasha Henderson got tired of her 14-year-old daughter's poor grades, her chronic lateness to class and her talking back to her teachers, so she decided to teach the girl a lesson.

She made Coretha stand at a busy Oklahoma City intersection Nov. 4 with a cardboard sign that read: "I don't do my homework and I act up in school, so my parents are preparing me for my future. Will work for food....""

"...Donald Wertlieb, a professor of child development at the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University, warned that such punishment could do extreme emotional damage. He said rewarding positive behavior is more effective.

"The trick is to catch them being good," he said. "It sounds like this mother has not had a chance to catch her child being good or is so upset over seeing her be bad, that's where the focus is." "

Donald must have thought that puppy training book he read was for children. This method of training works with dogs for two reasons. In puppies, they have a short attention span.  If they poop on the floor and you find it an hour later, they will not remember pooping. In other words, they will not associate the punishment with the crime. Human children are not so simple.

Secondly in older dogs, if they do something bad and you punish them by yelling at them, you are still giving them attention and any attention is better than no attention in their minds. While discouraging the bad behavior is good in dogs, you still need to encourage the good behavior, to get desired results.  Again, human children are not so simple.

If you read the rest of the article, the kid ended up turning around and made mamma happy.

I wonder how Donald's kids turned out. If you are going to take finance advice from a person, you are going to want to know if they practice their own advice. It should be no different in the raising of children.

cube

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Yep, sure would

Source: "But Dorland said shooting the sparrow to ensure the success of the program was an overreaction.

"I think they were awfully fast to pull out a rifle," he said. "If a person started knocking over a few dominoes they wouldn't shoot him would they?""

The bird knocked over some dominos, these were not just any dominos the 23,000 it knocked down were part of a world record attempt. I would pop a cap in the mo-fo that was screwing with my world record attempt in a second.

cube

Death of the Year

As 2005 winds down, we can again expect all kinds of lists for the best and worst and most significant almost anything of the year. So this is mine. Whose death was the world's biggest loss? I pick Hunter S Thompson. I miss him a lot. Especially for a person that I didn't know. I loved the imminent sense of doom in his writing. He always gave me the feeling that the powers of evil and greed were about to crush everything that was decent and right in the world at any moment. It was inspiring and motivational. I haven't ever read anything else that gave me that feeling. Not even Burroughs. And being shot out of a cannon instead of being left to rot in the ground after you die has to be a mark of greatness. Does anyone have any competitors for this year's honor or any special mentions?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

IRS: Please Pay Taxes Electronically

Heh...Heh...no. If you are going to force me to pay taxes through extortion, I am going to force to spend as much of your time and money as I can extracting those taxes. I only respond to market pressures. If you make me pay a fee to do it by paper, I will then send them in electronically (Depending on how I feel that day.)

"Hammond said the electronic payments cost 53 cents less to process than the paper coupons and checks."

Give me my fifty three cents back. I want to be bribed to comply. You catch more with honey than with the stick.

Hammond added that there were fewer errors with electronic payments processing than with paper processing.

So you make a mistake, it costs you more money right? Sucker.

cube

Hybrids

Hybrids still don't save you money.

Source: "Gas-electric hybrids are the most fuel-efficient passenger cars on the road and ecologically there isn't a more viable option. Until something big changes, though, the industry-high efficiency can't economically offset the steep sticker price."

cube

Informal reader's poll

When you read the word torture, what actions come to mind?

I will update this post tomorrow with my thoughts and feelings on the word torture.

cube

Monday, November 14, 2005

France and cars

France has 469 cars per 1,000 people. France also has population of 60,656,178 people. So that means that they have about 28,447,747 million cars.

The average number of cars burned per night during the past two weeks is 488. At this pace, the riots can continue for 163.7 years before France runs out of cars.

Timeline

cube

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Those chicks really dig that tea

Check the history here and here.

For the ladies:

Link to Adagio Homepage
Tea

Link to Black Page
Black Tea

Link to Flavored Page
Flavors Tea

Link to Oolong Page
Oolong Tea

Link to White Page
White Tea

Link to Green Page
Green Tea

Link to Herbal Page
Herbal Tea

Link to Rooibos Page
Rooibos Tea

Link to Decaf Page
Decaf Tea

Link to Teaware Page
Tea Pot

Guys,
In this case the juice is worth the squeeze.

cube

50 cent

Did you know 50 cent has his own video game?

Neither did I. He basically hunts down the people who shot him. Awesome.

cube

Funny headline someone should write

"Seniors running out of time to apply for prescription drug coverage"

cube

Friday, November 11, 2005

Your logic lacks...logic

I am sure I am not the only one to see the giant, inescapable hole in the logic of the teachers who are on strike in Oregon

Source:" In Sandy's 4,200-student Oregon Trail District, where the strike is in its third week, teachers are afraid they will be replaced, transferred or otherwise penalized if they, their students or their schools fail to measure up under the law, which sets stringent new standards for performance. "

You know the best way to fail at something is to not even attempt it. That is what is happening here. They are afraid of the consequences of their actions if they fail. They are guaranteed to fail at teaching the kids, if they don't, you know, teach the kids.

Secondly, there is not jack they can do about NCLB. It is a federal issue, the state can do nothing about it. They may get their other demands, but the schools system will only lose money if it fails to follow the guidelines of NCLB. If the schools system loses federal money, they either have to cut costs or raise local taxes, neither of those are good options for the teachers.

cube

veuillez arrêter frapper français

 or "Please, stop bashing French" (translation provided by babblefish)

Normally, I am all for bashing the French. You know the familiar lines.

Cheese-eating-surrender-monkeys (that one is my favorite).
They smell bad (though I have never been to France to confirm this).
We (USA) will defend our freedom and yours (ok...ok...I just made that one up).

You have heard the old jokes.

Q.How many Frenchmen does it take to defend Paris?
A.Nobody knows, they never tried.

But while I thought that the riots were really funny, I quickly found it in bad taste when after the first few days the jokes, pokes, and jabs did not stop. Seeing someone fall down and laughing at is only ok if the person did not get hurt. It is fairly obvious that France's problems are not temporary and are not going to go away.

Just as it is obvious that their problems are permanent, it is also obvious that their problems are partly caused by their selves. Unfortunately, I think that we have probably permanently damaged the link between us and France to the point that they will not listen to advice from us. Secondly, even if that is not the case, they are too proud to listen to use anyways. Even though, we probably have more experience integrating different people than any other country in the world. Then again, you can offer a hand, but if that hand is not taken, there is not much that can be done.

While the French have not anything to help their selves out, the riots are not entirely their own fault. Just like the victim may share some blame for the crime that was committed against them, the final and ultimate blame rests with the rioters their selves.

I would just like to point out the riots are still going on.

cube

I am part of a social experiment

My company has been doing some weird stuff lately. First, Monday was a causal day. Though, it cost money (a five dollar donation to help a person who has lost a son, niece, and has gotten cancer all within the last year.) Then they announced that Tuesday was also a causal day. After that, they announced that Wednesday was also a causal day and then (you guessed it) they announced that Thursday was also a causal day.

Not that I am complaining, though I have been wearing the same pair of jeans all week. (Note: Monday I forgot it was a causal day, how I am supposed to remember stuff like that over the weekend). My wardrobe is designed around the clothes that I wear most. Work clothes (basic business causal), casual, and work out. I have three pairs of comfortable jeans, that is only enough to wear for six causal days (I normally only wear clothes twice, then I consider them dirty, except white tee shirts those are dirty with one wear.)

Why are they screwing with me? I figure they are attempting to see what happens when they go to a causal setting. Productivity may increase? I doubt it, mainly because I have been trained to wear only causal days on Fridays. If you make another day a casual day (other than Friday), I think everyone is going to respond as they were trained, to do nothing because it is a Friday.

An alternate theory of mine, is that one of the bigwigs wife left him. No wife, no laundry, and casual day for me, though this theory was dismissed by coworkers.

cube

Thursday, November 10, 2005

FedEx Forum

Last night I had the privilege of seeing the Memphis Grizzles absolutely kill the Seattle Sonics in the best basketball stadium in the entire world.  I base that statement on the fact that it is the newest that I know of in America and America is going to have the best basketball stadiums in the world. 
 
I had nice seats, they were comfortable but not all that close to the game.  The seats were much like uncomfortable car seats, which needless to say those seats were more comfortable than regular stadium seats.   I was fairly high in the second tier.  I could have ordered food from my seat. Waitresses came by with wireless ordering devices, to record my order.  I did not, mainly because I wanted to get up and walk around a little bit to look at the stadium.
 
One other thing I noticed was that there was an incredible amount of advertisements.  On each of the two tiers above the floor there was a thin ribbon billboard that wrapped around the entire stadium.  To find the scores from the rest of the NBA games you had to sort through the many different billboards, advertisements associated with the billboards, and the noise to find what you were looking for.  Movement was always happening on the two ribbon advertisements, the center screen, the two screens on each side of the center screen, rotating billboards on the floor, the players, camera men, cheerleaders, etc., etc.
 
Overall, I would rather watch the game on TV.
 
cube

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I ate at a local subway the other day

....and on my way out, I find a flyer for this service (www.backseat-drivers.com).

Basically, it is a low tech way of keeping tabs on your kids driving. Instead of a black box, just just put a bumper sticker on their car and wait for people to report it to the service.

The service costs 4.50 a month. Hmmmm....

Here are some frequently asked questions on their site.

Don't you get false reports filed by pranksters?
Sure, sometimes. But, we have safeguards in place to minimize that occurrence. We require the name and phone number or email address for anyone who submits a report online and use that information to double check reports if they seem suspicious. Our toll-free report line records the phone number from which the person is calling, so we can use that and the information they leave on the report to double check phoned in reports as well. If you want us to do more research on a report, just email us and let us know.

What if I (the parent) am driving the car and someone files a report about me?
Well, we won't say that it has never happened. We have the stickers on our cars too. You could take it as a friendly reminder that all of us can pay a bit more attention on the road sometimes - or you can just delete it and it will be our little secret.

What if our sticker gets damaged during our subscription?
Accidents happen - just send us an email and we will mail you a new one for no fee. If you end up needing many replacement stickers, we will ask you to cover the cost of the sticker and mailing ($5)

The actual size of the bumper sticker is 11 ½" x 3 ¾".  100 stickers would cost 500 dollars and cover 1796.875 square feet, that might be a little extreme.  At a bare min, you should place two stickers on every panel of the car.

cube

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Thought that i would mention

Visited the denisit the other week. Lets just say my teeth are like porn to a dental hygienist, despite only brushing my teeth once a day (four mins in the moring with a first gen sonicare)

Needless to say it was another perfect checkup.

cube

New info about france

Rioting Spreads to 300 Towns in France

I will just pull out the parts i found intresting or noteworthy.

"PARIS - Rioting by French youths spread to 300 towns overnight, and a 61-year-old man hurt in the violence died of his wounds, the first fatality in 11 days of unrest that has shocked the country, police said Monday."

"The victim was identified as Jean-Jacques Le Chenadec, a retired auto industry worker who died after being beaten by an attacker. He was trying to extinguish a trash can fire Friday at his housing project in the northeastern suburb of Stains when an attacker caught him by surprise and beat him into a coma, police said."

"Attacks overnight Sunday to Monday were reported in 274 towns, and police made 395 arrests, Gaudin said.

"This spread, with a sort of shock wave spreading across the country, shows up in the number of towns affected," Gaudin said, noting that the violence appeared to be sliding away from its flash point in the Parisian suburbs and worsening elsewhere."

As urban unrest spread to neighboring Belgium and possibly Germany, the French government faced growing criticism for its inability to stop the violence, despite massive police deployment and continued calls for calm." [emphais mine]

via Rivrdog

cube

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Been doing some research

I have been wanting to get involved in some competition shooting. Nothing fancy and nothing that would require me to purchase additional gear or upgrade my (mostly production) gun. My starting off point was this post by texican tattler. I think it gave a good overview of the different options without me having to read the different rule books.

I then looked at my local options and found out that the local IDPA matches are on Saturday and the local USPSA is on Sundays. That ended up sealing it for me, since Sundays are a day of worship. (Though there are USPSA events on saturday within a reasonable driving range, I don't want to leave town.)

So i read he IDPA rule book. The seem uptight on the rules, though in some cases I agree (safety first), though in other cases, it seemed to limit what the course designer could do with the shooting course.

I must take care of several things before i enter into the world of competition shooting. First, i am going to get some trianing in the basics. I will aquire as much training as i feel neccsary for me to feel mostly comfortable to go shoot in a competition. For me to train, I am going to need some basic gear which i don't have. I will need a better holster and magazine carriers\pouches. It probably will take a few months before i get around to doing these things, because I am going to prepare for the upcoming flu pandemic before I aquire the tools for trianing.

cube

Why France is at a tactical disadvantage

"Residents gathered at the school gate demanded that the army be deployed or suggested that citizens band together to protect their neighborhoods. Mayor Alain Outreman tried to cool tempers.

"We are not going to start militias," he said. "You would have to be everywhere.""

Failure to fight, is how I would sum that up. No, you could not protect everywhere if you started a militia, but you could protect were you are. Secondly, by protecting where you are you will force the riots to occur in other areas where you are not, while that may seem obvious, I am not so sure the French, understand that. Also, you take quite a load off the already overburdened police by protecting your own areas and allowing them to go on the offensive.

From what I have read it is "relativity easy" to get a hold of black powder pistols, you know register with the government, register with your sporting club, then have you license stamped at least twice a month at your sporting club to prove that you actually are a sportsman.

""They are very mobile, in cars or scooters. ... It is quite hard to combat" he said. "Most are young, very young, we have even seen young minors.""

Can they run faster than bullets?

"Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin denied that police were to blame. The director of the Great Mosque of Paris, Dalil Boubakeur, who met Saturday with Villepin, urged the government to choose its words carefully and send a message of peace.

"In such difficult circumstances, every word counts," Boubakeur said. "

Maybe you should stage a rally where everyone talks about how the riots make them feel. I will start. The riots make be feel bad, because they could have been stopped if only the government would take responsibility and stop the violence.


cube

Pirates Attack Cruise Ship

Source:"Pirates fired a rocket-propelled grenade and machine guns Saturday in an attack on a luxury cruise liner off the east African coast, the vessel's owners said......Press Association, the British news agency, said passengers awoke to the sound of gunfire as two 25-foot inflatable boats approached the liner. The injured crew member was reportedly hit by flying debris."

Inflatable boats? So basically they could be taken out with a pellet gun. If you are set upon by pirates on the open sea, i suggest this shotgun (Model 870™ Marine Magnum™). It's motto is look good while you fight pirates.

cube

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Internet video marathon

(because you have to use that bandwidth somehow)

Magic Trick: http://www.wimp.com/window/
Boring, long, and fake looking. Don't waste your time like i did.

BRAVIA Commercial (New LCD TV commerical): http://www.bravia-advert.com/commercial/braviacommhigh.html

Takes a long time to load. It is worth it. It made me feel all warm inside. Most of the time you have to pay money for that sort of thing, but you get it here in this commerical for free.

Javelin: http://www.defensereview.com/javelin.mpeg
Watch a tank get blowed up.

Nut Bra (Because life is to short to spend it sitting on your nuts): http://www.toilette-humor.com/make-personal.html

Ok, it kinda made me smile.

Shoot-out at BlackWater: http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/blackwater/?s=2005_home

This is a must see. You can maximize realplayer and the picture is still good. You will want to see this stuff up close.

More explosions: http://www.compfused.com/directlink/205/

This one is ok, but really loud.

Bruce Lee video (supposely): http://www.bofunk.com/video/1007/bruce_lee_one_inch_punch.html

Toledo Riots: http://thepoliticalteen.net/2005/10/15/holytoledo/

Running Robot: http://www.world.honda.com/HDTV/ASIMO/200412-run/index.html

TactivaPad: http://tactiva.com/tactadrawmoviesmall.html
Looks really cool.

Machine gun breifcase: http://www.santoalt.com/videos/118_Machine_Gun_Briefcase.html

For 10 bucks this guy drinks a cup of water out of the dorm bathroom toilet:http://college.big-boys.com/articles/toiletwater.html

Purse Snatcher gets owned: http://www.wimp.com/purse/

Fify Cal: http://www.alphecca.com/mt_alphecca_archives/001573.html

Reporter down: http://youtube.com/watch.php?v=cZDY9LtyV88&search=reporter


bill Gates gose to college: http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2679657?htv=12
This is worth it. It has Napoleon Dynamite in it.

A seven minute, high resolution, video presentation of Sandbag Shelters viewable on Windows Media Player: http://archnet.org/library/files/one-file.tcl?file_id=1385

food Crash test: http://www.zippyvideos.com/8342840611410236/crashtest/


cube

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Halloween

This year I actually put forth some effort on my costume (I rented one.) I am the guy on the right. I choose this pic, because I had only three faces to blur out and I wanted you to see the guy who dressed up as Jack Sparrow (the dude in the middle).



Here is a guy who made his darth vader costume.



Here is some pirate grog (it had dry ice in it to make it fog.)



NOTE: This was at work, the grog had some rum in it, and my entire group dressed as pirates (not pictured here), and we won best group. While Jack Sparrow won best male.

cube

Jarhead

The trailers I have seen on Jarhead, the new movie with Jake Gyllenhaal, look promising. I have high hopes for this movie, even while having severe fears about the political cheap shots they will take. The movie is based off of a book written by a marine sniper, which is his account of his time in the first Iraq war. BTW Jake was in Moonlight Mile, which I thought was a good movie, though I had never head of it until I rented it. Jarhead also has Peter Sarsgaard, another one of my favorite actors.

I am hoping that they have some good training scenes, war room scenes, and some awesome action. I personally think this movie is going to be better than Blackhawk down, the last, best war movie I can think of. I doubt it will be better than the Band of Brothers series that aired on HBO (but then again, I cannot name one war movie that I thought was better than Band of Brothers).

BTW Sandcastle, Band of bothers is really cool you should buy that and watch it.

cube

I hate falling back

My energy is totally sapped during the winter, I blame in to congress screwing with the time. If daylight savings is so great, why don't we do it all the time. I think I suffer from subsyndromal SAD.

Under the best of circumstances I have some energy but when winter hits, you might as well count me out after 6 pm. I can guarantee that I will be tired, unsocial, and not really care. This winter I am going to try to be more active and eat a healthier diet that last winter, so we will see if that helps. I am also going to open the blinds in my room so that I get some sun in the morning.

I would try some other cures, but I am to tired to put forth the effort.

cube

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Changing your appearance

I dressed as a pirate today. So I will bring tips on changing the color of you beard. I wanted to dye by beard black so that I would look more "piratery". The process is actually fairly simple, though I think it would be a little tough to pull off a beard that would pass close inspection. My beard looks fine from several steps away, but once you get within arms length it starts to look like it was colored. I suspect that under harsh lights it would also not pass muster. My beard was a nice shiny back and stands out under light.

I used Just for Men "Jet Black". Which given my coloration really looks weird (Hint: I am a white boy.) I followed the directions well enough, though I did not wear gloves like they told me to. That was a mistake. I should have, because the tips of my fingers were stained with the bread dye. If you plan on changing your color multiple times over a period of time, invest in some surgical gloves so that you will have them on hand when necessary.

Also cover your work area well. When I was brushing the color in with the brush provided, specks ended up on the sink. I looked for them last night, but I missed them and now my sink has a few small dots that will not come off. Leave no trace is the way to go in this case.

I would start with the hair that will be the hardest to color, either because they will require more dye or because the area is a little thinner. For me it was the top part of the beard, the mustache, and the soul patch. These areas were not the same color as the rest of my beard and were thinner in some cases. Some of the hair actually lacked color. The reason why I would start with these areas is because the longer you leave the dye on, the darker the hair is going to get. Secondly, you want to spend your time on these areas to make sure you don't get the dye on the skin you can see below it.

I would go for a lighter color than your hair because you can always reapply to make darker, instead of trying to make the hair lighter by washing the dye out earlier.

Most importantly, I would like to point out, that for some reason beards, are not all one color. They are a mix of tints. If you are going to do a job that pasts muster on close inspection, you probably should have a range of colors that you either apply selectively to certain areas to provide highlights or actually mix in to lighten a mix for a certain area. I know personally my mustache and soul patch could have used some brownish tints. You might even experiment with applying the color with small paintbrushes to get a better-looking beard.

DO NOT expect to be able to pull of a radical change of the color of your bread in broad daylight with our some sophisticated work on your part.

cube

Update: Spent some time with several friends and they noticed that my beard was much darker than it was last time they saw me, but none of them reached the conclusion that I had dyed my beard until I told them. Even when my beard was many times darker than my actual hair color!! Bottom line: If you need to change the color of your bread for personal reasons and not to evade authorities, just for men work great. Otherwise you will have to put more work in making your bread look natural, in my opinion.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Miers Withdraws - hmmmm

So what was the cause of her withdraw.

Is this a blog victory? Hightened informational awareness by those who care (blog readers and voters)? 24 hour news cycle, to tiring for her? Cancer? What do you think?

cube

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Global Warming Update

A BBC article reports that global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels may, ironically, help oil companies uncover more reserves of fossil fuels. Melting ice in the Arctic is allowing for new exploration for resources in Alaska, Norway, and Russia. Which of course should allow us to be able to burn more, heat the world up more, and eventually find even more fossil fuels. It's a vicious cycle, but a funny one.

Why I disagree with Enemy Combatant Status

Under the Geneva Conventions (which we follow) prisoners of war can only be taken if they are combatants in a war. They are provided certain rights, notably the right to be released at the end of the conflict. The Geneva Convention also clearly defines who can be considered combatants. Uniformed Hostile Forces are always combatants. I don't think many of the people captured as Enemy Combatants meet that criteria. Additionally, non-uniformed actors taking up arms in a conflict can be considered combatants, and taken as prisoners of war. The gray areas here are that people are often apprehended well in advance of this requirement. They are only suspected of conspiring to take up arms or commit acts of violence. Thus, they do not yet qualify as combatants. Everyone could be considered a potential combatant, especially in a war fought in their country. That doesn't qualify them to be captured as prisoners of war. Another shady area is the War of Terror itself. The President cannot declare war. That power is reserved for Congress. Congress has not declared a war on terror, therefore, there isn't one. The reason that Congress has not done this is that a war on terror is similar to a war on drugs. It has no defined hostile forces, and no foreseeable resolution. As long as the potential exists for an individual or group to conduct a kidnapping, hijacking, murder, or bombing the War on Terror will continue. The President is avoiding both US and international law by holding people as prisoners of war in the War on Terror. This is unseemly when it is applied against probable terrorists detained in other wars, but it is frightening when it is applied to US citizens. EPWs do not have any rights under our Constitution, such as right to due process or the right to an attorney. They can be held without charge until the war is concluded. In this case that means indefinitely. US citizens should at a minimum be charged with treason. They should be defended and prosecuted within the legally defined limits of those proceedings. After the President's "You are with us or against us" speech, anyone that doesn't support the Bush Administration could logically be seen as an enemy combatant. The right to dissent and speak out against the government is one of the defining features of our freedom. Anything that threatens this right also threatens our freedom and way of life.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I noticed

Source:"We have moved from the age where military capability depended on air supremacy to an age where the key capability is surveillance supremacy. Only a few -- the Kurzweilians -- seem to have noticed."

Me:"
Some Tactics for fighting the shadows: Shed light on their movements. Control the land, sea, air, and information environments. To succeed in the wars in the shadow, we must shed light on the roaches. Transporting illegal goods must be nearly impossible. Transporting illegal money, must be even harder. We must be able to intercept their communications to find supplies, attack them in their sleep, and disrupt their carefully laid plans. How this can be done in without giving up our rights, I have no idea."

cube

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Survival Threat of the Week: Demonic Possession

Ok, this isn't exactly weekly. But there definitely won't be more than one in the same week. A Vatican supported university in Italy is offering its second course on exorcisms. With only a few exorcisms appearing in major Hollywood films, you might think that demon possession is a small problem in this world. You would be wrong. Bishop Andrea Gemma told the class that he performs "at least for exorcisms a week." The Vatican's leading exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth, claims to have conducted 40,000 exorcisms.

So what can you do to protect yourself? Well, there are always religious accessories to be found. Make sure you always have a good crucifix, some holy water, and bible on your person at all times. Also try humility. St. John Vianney found it to be mankind's ultimate advantage over the devil. However, the best way to protect yourself seems to be distancing yourself from the Catholic Church. Demon possession is most common in Catholics, former Catholics, and people with Catholic families. The number of cases are much lower for Baptists, Mormons, Hindus, Atheists, and pretty much everyone else.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Test Updates

I took some more tests. I will share the results so that you can get to know me (or the me as described by humorous tests) a little better. I am a democrat. I am socially and economically liberal. My personality defect is that I am a robot. I am more rational than intuitive, more introverted than extroverted, more gentle than brutal, and more humble than arrogant. (Or possibly more dishonest than honest.) If I was a character on Lost I would be Boone (great, the dead kid).

It was only a test

Okcupid's Nazi test (see previous posts) was only a fun test, and obviously cannot conclude with certainty whether or not you would have become a Nazi. It does evaluate some of your attitudes, particularly ones that are believed to have facilitated Nazi rule in Germany. It also leaves out certain aspects that would be influential in your personal choice, but I think it is important to realize that it wasn't a yes/no answer for many of the people involved either. No one went door to door asking who would be willing to support an empire that would later be regarded as one of the most evil manifestations of power in the history of the world. The process was gradual, and many of the people that either supported it or got sucked into it held specific political views. Another interesting series of experiments inspired by the second world war were Stanley Miligram's obedience experiments. He wanted to see if Americans were as easily influenced by authority as Germans. They were. In his experiments the subject would be asked or told to give increasingly high voltage electrical shocks to an actor in another room. The subject was lead to believe that the actor was actually receiving shocks and in pain. Miligram described the results as such, "Stark authority was pitted against the subjects' [participants'] strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects' [participants'] ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not."

Where I start to disagree

I generally agree with a log of what the Skeptical Optimist says but I think he fails to recognize many one of the reasons why America has become a great country.

"Bottom line: If the economy grows at least a fast as the debt grows, and inflation is low and under control, our ability to make growing interest payments will increase at least as fast as our obligation to make those interest payments.

If we can sustain those conditions, our grandchildren will have much larger incomes than we do, but will have a debt burden that is no worse than ours. " [boldness added by me]

I understand what he is saying perfectly. Though, I do have an addendum that he failed to add. (He could also feel this way, but since he did not state his opinion on this topic, so for this post's sake I will assume he feels differently.)

Just because the share of our children's debt will be no worse than ours does not take away our responsibility to pay down the debt, if possible (You can't really pay for bonds that are already out there, only sell less. Sell one to two percent less in dollar amount per year adjusted for inflation and indexed to the national income, that should do the trick.). Many Americans work hard to make their children's lives better not "no worse". I am not opposed to national debt. It serves it purposes. Though, I greatly favor less debt (both numerically and as a percentage of GDP). I really don't see the reason why running the countries finances should be any different than running my finances or a large companies finances.

I really don't have a problem with the debt that comes from bonds because new bonds will be sold to pay for the olds ones, but I do have a problem with the debt that comes from budget overruns and similar issues. That is comparable to me racking up spending on my credit card as far as I am concerned.

cube

Friday, October 21, 2005

Miers

Source:"Her meeting with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter this week particularly did not go well. After the meeting, the Pennsylvania Republican told reporters that she had told him that the constitution contains a "right to privacy," which is the foundation for the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion a constitutional right. After the White House was asked for a response, Miss Miers telephoned Mr. Specter and told him that he had misunderstood and that she had said no such thing. "

How long do we have to put up with this less than staller example of a judge. This judge has nothing going for her.

Some conservatives dislike her, most are wary of her, some like her.
The liberals side can't harbor too much love for her because she is bush's pick and his pal (they hate all of his pals)
The media likes her only so they can make fun of her in the news and thereby make bush look bad.

I wonder if those Judges who turned bush down are having second thoughts.

cube

Nazi Test

Okcupid has a test to determine if you would have sat idly by had you been a German in the 1930s. I scored as an Expatriate, a person that would have left the country. I scored high in patriotism, but I was sort of cornered on the answers to some questions seeing as how I am a soldier, and I have gone to war for my country. Take it and see how you score. It will be interesting for Republicans as comparisons between Bush and Hitler continue to appear in international jokes.

The Quick Fix for Global Warming

I recently came across a theory to combat global warming in a marine biology class. Noticing the outbreak of algae and plankton blooms in the ocean caused by nutrient runoff, some scientists started thinking about what it would take to create a large enough plankton bloom to stop the greenhouse effect. Everyone that had fourth grade science knows that plants use carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is also the largest contributing greenhouse gas. While it is impractical to grow enough plants on land to use up carbon dioxide at the rate we are releasing it, plankton in the open ocean could be grown quickly and cheaply. Apparently the most economical way would be to add large amounts of iron to the ocean waters near the north and south poles. Iron seems to be the limiting resource in these areas, and even a little bit added would result in vastly greater amounts of plankton. The cons to this solution are many. The biggest downside is that we don't know exactly how this would impact the rest of the environment.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Immigration Reform

I oppose the president on countless issues, but I support his push for temporary guest workers. Thousands of Mexicans sneak into our country each year, and a large percentage of this could be eliminated if we provided a way for them to enter legally. This would make it easier to patrol our borders, and it would be more likely that border patrol agents could focus on drugs and terrorism. Let's face it, the Mexicans won't be taking away American jobs because they are already doing them. This way we will at least be able to monitor that activity. By separating those seeking work from the smugglers, we would also be reducing other crime. The business of illegally transporting people into our country would be significantly reduced. We would destroy the black market for labor, and could find ways to better manage the workers that are here.

Why Amazon should hire me.

(NOTE: A semi-technical discussion of how I would have programmed something lies ahead)

Recently, I needed a feature on Amazon that they did not have. I have recently read a book that is the first in a three part series. I liked the book and I want to read the other two. I wanted to set up a bot on Amazon that will search for the book every few days or so and send me an email when a book by that author comes out. I was unable to find the feature on the Amazon website. I checked back a few days later and I found it in beta for music only. I checked back today and I could sign up for "Amazon Alerts" on books.

Amazon has the functionality I need, but I think it is implemented poorly. Given the technology that we have today to produce a web service that consumes queries and replies, I don't see the advantage of having the alerts centrally managed.

Ideally, Amazon should have made a personal Amazon tool that you can download and install on your local machine. This personal Amazon would query Amazon based on a schedule you set up. The timing options would limit polling of Amazon's web servers. The personal bot would only work if your computer was on, the Internet connected, and the Internet connection live. Those three conditions, alone would ease the hardware requirements (on Amazon's end) needed for this tool.


Pros of centrally managed alerts system
1) It will be easy for Amazon to know exactly what things are being searched for.
2) It will be easy for Amazon to know the number of alerts sent out daily.
3) It will be easy for Amazon can track the alerts and correlate them with sales of an item (i.e. the accuracy of alerts.)

Note: Some may list the fact that you will be driven to the Amazon website by the email as a pro. The decentralized alert system would do the same thing, so that cannot be counted as a pro.

Cons of a centrally managed alert system
1) Amazon must scale the hardware to produce those alerts.

The hardware cost of handling thousands of alerts is going to be more expensive versus a decentralized alert system.

Explanation: From what I can tell there are three ways of producing an alert in a centralized system.
One, whenever an item that supports alerts is added, a process must be ran which compares the item against all the alerts in that category.

Two, batch jobs are set up to run an alert at regular time intervals.

Each of these methods has their own drawbacks. The first one is CPU intensive. The second one is less CPU intensive, but if the batch job is not ran on a regular basis, the alerts are not going to be timely. I think both methods require more hardware than necessary to do the job.

Three, have a process that alerts the user to the item that they were looking for when they lodging to Amazon. I think this method is not an alert, but an automated search that can be performed when the user logs in. It would be much less resource intensive than the first two, but it does not drive traffic to the Amazon website, so it is fairly useless as far as Amazon is concerned and I would concur with them on that idea.

2) Out of date alerts.
People go to Amazon to buy books, not manage the details of getting the information to buy a book. All that data on alerts does not mean anything if the alerts themselves are old, pointing to wrong email addresses, or being filtered as junk mail.

Pros of a decentralized alert system
1) Lower hardware cost, which translates in to fewer employees, and less software costs.
2) Empower the user. This could create customer loyalty and lock them into only using amazon.

Cons of a decentralized managed alert system
1) Amazon loses some metrics associated with the alerts and some of the ease of compiling that information, though with a properly designed process Amazon would have all the data they needed.


I wonder if Amazon has always made decisions as bad as the alert system. 


cube

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Pot grows brain cells

In encouraging news for college freshmen, a Canadian study found that large, regular doses of marijuana may help to grow more brain cells and repair neurons in the hippocampus. However, low doses were not found to have the same effect. Marijuana can help induce appetite, relieve glaucoma, help with depression, and even grow brain cells. Is there anything this wonder drug can't do? Still no good word on alcohol, but fraternity sponsored scientists continue to search for benefits.

Propaganda and the Free Media

Links to articles about the new Bush propaganda interview were sent in by a friend. You can check some out here, here, or here. There are plenty of others. This is everywhere by now. Apparently Bush was going to interview soldiers in Iraq to show the progress of the war from the people on the front lines. However, the live feed cut in a little bit to early and the whole world saw the soldiers being coached. But Bush doesn't deliberately mislead the public, does he? In other news, a CIA report accuses the Bush administration of ignoring warnings about the civil unrest and insurgency that could plague an occupation of Iraq.

A bird discussion

Effects of the bird flu
Hey, I like the idea of hundreds of millions of people dying and trekking cross-country in the winter to save my family and girlfriend as much as the next guy, but I am not so sure the bird flu is all it is made out to be. So I did a little reading on the Internet.

Source: "The influenza of that season [ed - 1918], however, was far more than a cold. In the two years that this scourge ravaged the earth, a fifth of the world's population was infected. The flu was most deadly for people ages 20 to 40. This pattern of morbidity was unusual for influenza which is usually a killer of the elderly and young children. It infected 28% of all Americans (Tice)."

More...

"The influenza virus had a profound virulence, with a mortality rate at 2.5% compared to the previous influenza epidemics, which were less than 0.1%"

I have read a lot of scary facts about the 1918 Influenza Pandemic or a modern Pandemic, but I have seen very few hard estimates of what the effect would be today. So I will put together some numbers for you, if the infection and death rates of modern pandemic were similar to what they were in 1918.

1. Population of earth: Around 6.47 billion (source)
2. Population of America: 295,734,134 (source)

Calculations
America
295,734,134 x .28 = 82,805,558 infected (rounded up) .
82,805,558 x .025 = 2,070,139 killed (rounded up).

World
6,470,000,000 x .28 = 1,811,600,000 infected
1,811,600,000 x .025 = 45,290,000 killed

NOTE: Please do not add either those four to two numbers together to get totals. One is for just America (to make it personal); the other is just for the world (to scare you.)

So I turns out hundreds of millions of people will NOT die, but millions will.

Chances of it actually happening
Now what is the chance that the current bird flu will actually turn into a deadly pandemic (I.e. Jump from Human to Human instead of from bird to human and then stop)? Source: "It [ed - 1918 flu pandemic] has been cited as the most devastating epidemic in recorded world history."

Basically the 1918 pandemic was a one-time occurrence in the recorded history of the world. Which in retrospect is quite short. In my opinion, it is not very likely that a pandemic will occur. I would say it is less likely than a hurricane or earthquake, but more likely than a major asteroid hit. I personally don't know which one is more likely, suitcase nuke or bird flu pandemic...so I will call it a tie between those two.

I personally have not decided to prepare for this specific threat.... now. By preparing for this specific threat, I mean purchasing those drugs that those crazy survivalist keep mentioning I could change my position on this one, once I look into the cost of those drugs. Though I do plan on make general preparations (supplies of food, water, books, and video games), which will help with this specific threat. I know I for one could use a vacation.

Source:""Quarantine" means restricting the movement of still healthy people who may have been exposed to an infectious disease, in case they're carrying it. It's almost always for a brief time; during SARS, for instance, hospital workers exposed to suspect cases were asked to stay home from work during the respiratory disease's 10-day incubation period."

More info: Men's health article (some actual research was done for this article)


cube

Friday, October 14, 2005

Europeans vs. Bush

When I am not in Iraq I am stationed in Germany. Germans are very polite and don't ask objectionable or personal questions until the feel that they know you a little bit. But by the third or fourth time I meet a new person they almost always ask "Why did people in your country vote for Bush again? Are they really that stupid?" Any responses from the generally conservative minded readers of this blog? In all fairness, not all of them were Germans. It is actually just about everyone from any country besides the US.

Why I carry a gun...

 ...because defending yourself any other way is just messy.

Source: "As Starr was preparing for bed, she heard the doorbell ring. She first thought it was her husband who might have accidentally locked himself out of the house.

As she approached the front door she heard a man say "Boulder County police." As she opened the door, a man with a mask pushed it open and pinned her against the wall.

Starr said he was armed with a gun and carried a flashlight. She reached for a baseball bat that she'd kept by the door for 26 years. The intruder dropped the gun - it turned out to be a plastic water pistol - and the flashlight, and pulled a hunting knife from his satchel.

Starr screamed for help as she used the end of the bat to try to push the man back outside. Mattes ran upstairs from the basement and tackled the intruder. The intruder got on top of Mattes, who tried to push the knife hand away to keep from being stabbed.

Starr repeatedly whacked the intruder on the head and back with a baseball bat. The intruder dropped the knife, and Mattes picked it up. Starr tried to call 911, but heard a commotion and ran back to the door to see that her husband had been pepper-sprayed and was again struggling for control of the knife.

Starr again hit the man with the baseball bat and told her husband, "Don't kill him." Mattes replied, "He's killing me." Starr kept striking the man while Mattes was underneath him, stabbing him from below. The intruder eventually stopped fighting, at which time the couple stopped striking and stabbing him. Starr finished her 911 call while Mattes tried to resuscitate the man. Starr can be heard on the 911 tape saying, "I must have hit him 20 times with the baseball bat!"

Less than five minutes elapsed between the first 911 call from a neighbor and the time that the intruder stopped struggling. [emphasis added]"

 
cube

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Yahoo deals major blow to FBI

Source:"In June, while still in discussions with the attorneys general, Yahoo! removed or barred the posting of about 70,000 user-created chat rooms whose names suggested they facilitated illegal conduct, including promoting sex between adults and minors.

"Millions of people use the Internet every day, and many of those are children," said Bruning. "Because of this agreement Yahoo! chat rooms are a safer place today than ever before, meaning our children are safer online and predators have fewer opportunities to prey on them."

Among the illicit chat rooms removed were those with labels such as "girls 13 & up for much older men," "8-12 yo girls for older men," and "teen girls for older fat men." Many of these were located within the "Schools and Education" and "Teen" chat categories."

How is the FBI supposed to catch the internet perverts if it can't lure them in?

cube

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Pretext vs Reason

In reaction to a discussion I had on the Sago Boulevard blog, I would like to offer this explanation of the difference between a pretext and a reason. Using Webster's definitions, a pretext is "a purpose or motive alleged or an appearance assumed in order to cloak the real intention or state of affairs" A reason is "a statement offered in explanation or justification, a rational ground or motive". So a reason for going to war would be defending your country from an imminent threat, or to destroy stockpile of weapons of mass destruction that could be used in terrorist attacks against you. A pretext would be if you told the public that a country posed an imminent threat and possessed stockpile of weapons of mass destruction even though you had no reason to suspect those things. The case for a pretext would be strengthened if you told the international community that you had conclusive proof, and then failed to deliver that proof or any weapons of mass destruction for over two years after you occupied that nation. The case for a pretext would be even further strengthened if you had publicly announced that Iraq was trying to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger, even though your envoy (Joseph Wilson) had discovered that to be untrue and told you as much in no unclear words. If the Senate Intelligence Committee finds in its next report that pressure was put on intelligence analysts to provide information supporting the views of politicians toward Iraq, then a pretext will have been undeniably established.

This is hurtful to our country in two ways. Directly misleading the public makes a mockery of the idea of a republic. It completely undermines the type of oversight and accountability that separates America from a dictatorship. It is also damaging in our relations with other nations. When we call out for support and trust in an effort such as the war on terror, and then appear untrustworthy and unrepentant, we can't really expect full cooperation in the future. It only strengthens the position of countries that opposed this war in the beginning.

Preparedness - Organizing my bedroom

This weekend I organized my bedroom. I have lived in my apartment for nearly three years and it looks like I just moved in. On the floor lining the wall of my bedroom were sheets and workout clothes. In my closet there were winter camping clothes piled on the top self, everyday clothes on the middle shelf (in neat organized stacks), and winter workout clothes plus bags piled at the bottom of the closet. All these items were present, but where in piles that would be hard to pack from if I had to leave town or (lord forbid) walk out of town in a hurry.

I used two boxes of something like this item from target. Oddly, wal-mart did not have this item and target did, only their version had six cubes instead of 4.

This was my first step to taking an inventory of what I own and creating a list what I need to be prepared (or planning to plan, as I like to call it.).

My next step will be to take an inventory and organize the hobby closet. Which is where my camping supplies, wrapping paper, extra blankets, and sports equipment are piled. I have chosen to use the 16 quart version of this, as my basic component for storing stuff in that closet. Those boxes will be my bug out house boxes. I have choose the 16 quart version for one main reason. A woman or a child could pick it up even if it was fully loaded with heavy gear. The 16 quart version of the boxes are not too large to be hard to move. If I find it hard to organized that closet with those boxes, I will buy larger ones for certain items that are not on the bug out list, but the ones I choose to but out with will stay small and light enough for anyone to move.

cube

Survival Threat of the Week

This may or not become a regular addition to the site, and even if it is it most likely won't be posted on a fixed schedule. That aside, here is the first Survival Threat of the Week.

Recent devastation in Kashmir has earthquakes in the news once again. Earthquakes are devastating because they are often large-scale disasters that can trigger other events, such as tsunamis and landslides. People are often unprepared when they do strike. There is only a minute chance that you will ever be the victim of a major earthquake, and many people use that to rationalize failing to prepare. People living near plate boundaries are at the highest risk, but even people near the center of a plate can fall victim to intraplate earthquakes.

So what can you do? Like all survival threats, just having a plan can greatly increase your chances. The University of Memphis has a list of things that you need to think about. It includes things like ensuring that you and everyone in your home knows how to turn off the gas and electricity. If you are able, the best place to be in an earthquake is the most open area that you can find. The major threat is from objects (or buildings) falling. If that isn't an option, then you want to stand in a doorway or the most stable place that you can find. There is even a site that sells earthquake survival kits. There are two things that you can expect with every survival threat. Just thinking about it and forming a plan greatly increase your chances of making it through the ordeal, and someone else is willing to sell you some stuff.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Kink in the Food Chain


"A 13-foot Burmese python recently burst after it apparently tried to swallow a live, six-foot alligator whole, authorities said."

Monday, October 10, 2005

Fighting the shadows

One thing I have noticed (I am sure this has been pointed out by much smarter people than me.) is that the one thing you can count on from al-Qaida (and other similar groups) is that they will run when confronted. We invade a country they head for the hills; we let them have a town and when we go to take it back, they just float away. When they attack, they attack like horny prison inmates, attacking from behind.

Is it possible to beat a enemy that will not stand up and fight? Is it possible to beat and enemy that will only attack on their terms.? I believe it is possible, but not through a centralized campaign like a war. Though a centralized campaign might be part of the solution, it cannot be the whole solution.

The only war I can compare the war on terror is to the war on drugs. Both wars are wide ranging and not bound within borders. Both wars are fought against groups that live on the edges of society. Terrorist and drug dealers both are decentralized groups with different goals and preferred tactics. In some cases, the groups overlap, with the terrorist making money selling drugs.

There are some main differences. I would think the drug war would be easier to or at least make progress on, because the drug dealers, manufactures, and distributors are just in it for the money. You take away the profit incentive, though controlling the market forces (legalizing drugs for example), and they will find other lines of work. Whereas the terrorist, will keep plugging along, although less effectively. Drug dealers also have a clearer purpose and mission compared to terrorists. Selling drugs compared to blowing anything up. They also have the problem of having to maintain a certain amount of stability to grow, process, and distribute their product, where terrorists only need time to gather supplies to execute their plan.

I do not know how much real progress has been made in the drug war or the war on terror, but we have been fighting the drug war for sometime now. I doubt the war on terror is going to go any better for the foreseeable future.

Some Tactics for fighting the shadows

1) Shed light on their movements. Control the land, sea, air, and information environments. To succeed in the wars in the shadow, we must shed light on the roaches. Transporting illegal goods must be nearly impossible. Transporting illegal money, must be even harder. We must be able to intercept their communications to find supplies, attack them in their sleep, and disrupt their carefully laid plans. How this can be done in without giving up our rights, I have no idea.

2) Take out their leadership. Even as decentralized as their groups are, they have a leader at some level. Those leaders must be found. While some of those leaders will be replaced, they will be replaced with people that are, more than likely, less capable. These men (or women) did not become leaders because they "knew" someone. No, they found their way into leadership rolls because of their loyalty, skills, or dedication. I doubt the groups reward failure very well.

3) Take away their markets and bring market forces to bear. If there is no product to sell, export, or deliver there is no work to do. This applies more to the drug dealers than the terrorists, but even terrorists are not above market forces. If they have to pay more for guns and ammo, they will have less money to spend else were. If there is no one who wants to blow their selves up, the will have to find other less effective was of getting the bombs to their victims.

4) Fight them from dusk till dawn, from their homeland to or doorstep. On checkpoint, can be skipped, tricked, or bought off. A thousand checkpoints cannot be avoided. A decentralized threat needs a decentralized response.

cube

Stacy Campfield

Stacy Campfield who is a Tennessee state representative and blogs here has a article about him on fox news' website.

"But Campfield's membership to the caucus was rejected and the state representative says it's because of the color of his skin."

Heh heh. That is an interesting story that is only going to draw attention to the black caucus at a time when they do not need it.

cube

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Replacing Soldiers with Robots

DARPA recently held a contest to promote the development of unmanned vehicles. This year several actually finished. The Pentagon is hoping to use unmanned vehicles to replace trucks normally driven by soldiers for supplies. Trucks that drive themselves would also have obvious civilian uses. The scary part is that replacing soldiers with machines only better prepares them for their inevitable rebellion against us. The good part is that fewer soldiers will be needed to wage a ground war. That has to give us a great advantage. The strange part is why hasn't anyone ever developed robot trains? It seems like that would have been a hell of a lot easier, and look at how many train accidents are caused by crackheads driving them.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Cooperative Survival

The media have exposed so many dire situations that there is little chance for the average person to ever be able to adequately prepare for them all. How can you protect yourself from riots, terrorists, hurricanes, earthquakes, nuclear fallout, zombies, wild animals, meteors, aliens, rapid climate change, transvestite, pirates, big corporations, spam, and sexually transmitted diseases all at the same time? You probably can't. So what can a survival minded individual do? Form a survival club. Get together with several of your most trustworthy and competent friends. Brainstorm the threats you all fear the most and perceive as the most likely to occur. Then assign different threats to each member. That member is responsible for the survival of your group in that situation. Each member can make plans and take action, and then the whole group can review the effort. One of you can build a fall out shelter. One of you can stockpile arms and canned foods. One of you can become an expert in filtering air and water. Then, you all need to sign a survival charter that documents the specifics of your deal. Can each member bring a partner? What about pets? What will you do if two members get so fat that the shelter is no longer accommodating for the entire group? Review plans and the charter at least every six months, and update based on the latest news. NOTE: Living in different geographic regions may increase your chances of surviving any particular disaster, but will also increase the difficulty of you all making it to any one safe point.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Reparations

Well, my infinite boredom has had me watching the Dave Chappelle Show for hours at a time. I would like to start this off by saying that he made one of the funniest shows of all time, and I have never made it through an entire disc without crying from laughing so hard. On one show he mentioned reparations for blacks. I had heard of this idea, but never in a serious context. He used it as a lead in to a skit, so I dismissed it once again. Then he asked members of the audience what they thought about reparations as the credits roled. Everyone he asked, all black, thought that they should be paid reparations. So I looked it up on the internet and found out that some groups are seriously pursuing this. There is group headed by a Harvard Law Professor, another by a law student suing coroporations that may have profited from slavery practices, and a consortium from Africa that demands 77 trillion dollars from western nations to compensate their continent for damages suffered during colonization and slavery. Here is a good rebuttal. What do you think? Do any of our various readers think there is a good reason for reparations? Personally, if our goverment decided to hand out money to any race or ethnic group without qualification I would move to Canada.

Do it yourself

I am more of a do it yourself type of guy especially when it comes to suicide.

A note to those considering doctor assisted suicide

If you are too weak to kill yourself and are now asking a doctor to do it, your are a procrastinator and should be punished. Why are you putting the responsibility of your death on another, when you should be handling your own business? Why are you wasting the courts time even bringing this up when it should be a private matter in between you and your gun? Why don't you go off into the woods and die like dogs do? I sure as hell don't want my tax money paying for your death, when it is your responsibility.

If I am going to pay to kill you, I want some say in how it is done. I would probably choose the most effective way or most interesting way I know how. What about using you to take out terrorist with tactical suicide bombs. It is kind of like doctor assisted suicide, except your life actually counts for something and it has a more little more sparkle and boom. Or what about using your body to test new cosmetics, make some cash on the way out. Or what about just overdosing on drugs, get high on the way out....Oh wait. You had better not be using my tax dollars to fund you drug habit.

cube