Category Archives: Uncategorized

Higher Education

For this, some parents are paying $40k a year for seven or nine years….

Screenshot 2014-07-19 00.08.36

You got the mistake, right? Sunday is the anniversary of Lance and Buzz walking on the moon.

Wait, what? Lance?

Hat tip, CBS 2 Chicongo.

Anyway, they never would have gotten there without Yogi Gagarin and Sean Glenn.

Reagan on KAL 007

This is the speech Reagan made, about five days after the shootdown of KAL 007:

Quoth Ronaldus Magnus:

Make no mistake about it: this attack was not just against ourselves and the Republic of Korea, this was the Soviet Union against the world and the moral precepts which guide human relations among people everywhere. It was an act of barbarism, borne of a society which wantonly disregards individual rights, and the value of human life, and seeks constantly to expand and dominate other nations.

They deny the deed, but in their conflicting and misleading protestations, the Soviets reveal that, yes, shooting down a plane with hundreds of innocent men, women, children and babies, is a part of their normal procedure….

Well, of course, back then, it was. Of course this happened soon after a German kid flew a Cessna 172 to Moscow and landed it in Red Square, on the most-ill-advised German peace mission since Rudolf Hess hopped a Bf110 to England. Apparently Matthias Rust was a harder target to track than a 747 at altitude.

But we shouldn’t be surprised by such inhuman brutality. Memories come back of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, the gassing of villages in Afghanistan…. If the massacre, and their subsequent conduct, is intended to intimidate, they have failed in their purpose.

Meanwhile, on the scene of the crash, bodies lie unrecovered 24 hours after the crash, while Russian-sponsored irregulars loot the victims’ bodies and luggage.

Looted luggage from flight MH17

A missile Transporter, Erector, Launcher And Radar unit believed to be the one that fired the fatal shot was hustled across the Russian border into oblivion — the same fate that befell the flight’s data recorders, and suggestive of guilty knowledge in the Kremlin.

murder weapon being hidden - bukThe 2nd missile from the left is missing, and people think they know where it went. We definitely know where the transporter went — deep into Russian territory, hiding from investigators. Compare this rendering (actually a view of the TELAR in transit mode from the right rear quarter, flipped to align with the photo):

SA-11 TEL in transit mode

 

 

Vladimir Vladimirovich has some explaining to do, and so far, all his actions undermine his credibility. He’s much luckier than, say, Brezhnev or Andropov in that he’s facing a much weaker and less able opponent.

This report at the Christian Science Monitor (a Boston-based paper that went web-only some years ago amid declining circulation) quotes several Russian defense experts. The report notes that the Russian media is following Mr Putin’s lead in blaming the Ukraine, but the defense experts are less sanguine.

“The facts will inevitably come in, and if it is shown that Russian-supported rebels did this, the whole conversation about Ukraine will change,” says Alexander Golts, a military expert with the online journal Yezhednevny Zhurnal. “In the eyes of the world there will be no difference between Russia and the rebels. Everyone knows who arms and supports these rebels, and that will be enough for most people to blame Russia.”

Russia could get out in front of this really easily: yank the leash of the rebels.

They did put a choke collar on these guys, before they turned them loose with GRU advisors and modern SAM systems, right? Right?

When the US Committed the Atrocity

Vincennes takes a shot -- in this case, an ASROC, not a Standard, during her sea trials.

Vincennes takes a shot — in this case, an ASROC, not a Standard, during her sea trials.

We have mentioned, and several commenters have gone in-depth into, the US’s shoot-down of a scheduled airliner, Iran Air Flight 655, scheduled service from Bandar Abbas to Dubai, in 1988. While we have more to post on the atrocity in Ukraine, we want to illustrate one of the most horrible atrocities that ever occurred when a military unit engaged an airliner.

Airliners do get shot down from time to time. The Germans shot down a British airliner during the war, which was received in England as “not cricket,” and in Germany as, “what the hell, the passengers were war workers and military officers anyway.” (One of the casualties was actor Leslie Howard). The Russians and their former satellites are the all-time champs; they sometimes thought they were shooting down the American and British spyplanes that regularly flew along (and sometimes, over) Warsaw Pact borders, and sometimes knew the target wasn’t a spyplane, but just didn’t care.

Usually an analysis of an airliner shootdown shows a number of human factors failures, much like any military friendly fire incident. (For example, the US has shot down two of our own helicopters over Iraq, bombed a Canadian unit in Afghanistan, and rained AC-130-delivered death on an SF team and their Afghan troopers, to name just a few we’re familiar with). The Israelis once shot down a Libyan airliner; they assumed it was a terrorist attack, and it was just a pilot failing Navigation 101. The Soviets and Chinese have also scored some “own goals,” in part because they’ve both had very aggressive air defense systems.

If you wonder why the Soviets in the 1950s and 60s built the world’s most comprehensive air defense system (while the US was building a much smaller but more sophisticated air defense system, for which project computer networking was invented), look up the history of the Strategic Air Command. At one point, the US could have put thousands of bombers in the air towards the USSR, all armed with nuclear bombs and many with early cruise missiles. If you knew bombers could come with 10,000 nukes, you’d build radars, missiles, and point-defense interceprors, too. And you’d keep them on high alert, especially in times of international trouble.

USS Vincennes main missile battery -- Standard SM-2 missiles.

USS Vincennes main missile battery — Standard SM-2 missiles.

The Iran Air shootdown took place when an extremely sophisticated (for the day) American warship was put into an environment it wasn’t designed, and moreover, its crew wasn’t trained, for.

Amazing to us today, the way USS Vincennes deconflicted civil aircraft from the bogeys they were tracking on their Aegis radar and UYK-1 computer system was to look up the airline flights in a paper printout they had. That required the lights to be on in the Combat Information Center (the ship’s warfighting nerve center), which they weren’t. Worse, the printout had the flights listed in local time. The problem with that? The Persian Gulf has four different time zones. (Why they didn’t run the printout in Zulu time is anybody’s guess). So the petty officer whose job it was to look up the flights in the printout in the freakin’ dark had to convert times in his head, even as the ship motored around through the various time zones in a running battle with Iranian speedboats.

Well, he missed one. Unfortunately, the ship’s Standard SM-2 missiles didn’t, and 290 absolutely innocent people were killed. There were many more failings than that. This link goes to a .pdf at MIT,  where a couple bright fellows in a Human Factors course, with 15 years’ hindsight and publications on the incident, do a pretty thorough analysis of all the ways the Navy screwed the pooch.

http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/aeronautics-and-astronautics/16-422-human-supervisory-control-of-automated-systems-spring-2004/projects/vincennes.pdf

Here’s an archived case study of the event. It was lifted from a publication (the 1989 Naval Institute’s Proceedings, an important professional magazine, but it also includes a rebuttal letter from a later issue). And it’s very critical of Captain Rogers of Vincennes. 

https://web.archive.org/web/20060527221409/http://dolphin.upenn.edu/~nrotc/ns302/20note.html

It’s also apparently a bad OCR job… “corner” gets printed as “comer” and “Mode III” gets printed as “Mode 111.” (Military, airline and most civil aircraft worldwide carry transponders. These transponders have different modes, but the base Mode III provides an enhanced radar blip, plus altitude information, to air traffic controllers. Military aircraft can squawk Mode III but civil aircraft cannot squawk any of the military transponder modes, which are generally called “IFF” for “Identification, Friend or Foe.” 

You can find other case studies and other notes from the same class by clicking the link at the end of that one.

In Captain Rogers’s rebuttal letter, he recommends this Naval Post Graduate School thesis, a quasi-quantitative analysis of the situation (this is the abstract page. Click the link on that page to get the full text .pdf):

http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA260260

There are a lot of gray areas and a lot of fine points of dispute about the USS Vincennes’s destruction of Iran Air 655. But all those can do is shift the blame here or there within the US Navy and the US joint warfighting environment. Just like Russia owns the destruction of Flight MH17, the USA owns the destruction of Iran Air 655. It was our failure that killed all those people, and we have to admit that.

USS Vincennes CG-49 to scrap 2005

In the end, Rogers’s career was, for all practical purposes, over. His ship, Vincennes, served on for 17 more years; the above picture shows her ready for the breakers in 2005.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

Applying 21st Century Video Tech to 20th Century Guns

We’re waiting for Ian at Forgotten Weapons to get his new video gear up and running. So far the pièce de resistance is a drone with which he can do some cool stuff.

To us, it was most remarkable how the gyro-stabilized drone subs so very well for a Steadicam, but lets you take shots where even the most callous director wouldn’t send a Steadicam operator: downrange, in front of the muzzle. Downside? Yeah, there is one. The drone is noisy, so any sound has to be dubbed (we doubt you could scrub it with an active filter, it’s too broadband and irregular, but we’ve been away from audio engineering for nearly twenty years, so who knows?).

Ian describes the drone as follows:

This is a DJI Phantom Vision 2+, with GPS placeholding and a 3-axis gimbal stabilized camera.

It seems great, but the lack of interchangeable or zoom lenses are a limitation. Of course, the FAA is doing all it can to impeded the development of this technology, for everyone except government surveillance operators, for whom it throws safety out the window. But then, the largest department of FAA has always been the Office of Aviation Inhibition.

The other really big thing Ian is waiting for is an ultra-high-speed camera. It looks like the gang at the Institute of Military Technology beat him to it, and in this extremely cool promo, a uniformed reenactor live-fires an M2HB from an M3 halftrack — shot at 45,000 frames per second. Eat your heart out, Michael Bay:

The IMT is, as we understand it, the non-profit perpetuity spun off from Reid Knight’s collection and private museum, to ensure the collection continues to advance and educate long after that day, one hopes in the distant future, when Mr Knight is no longer here to guide it himself.

We saw the promo at The Gun Wire, (we always check The Gun Wire and The Gun Feed every day for gunny news) and knew immediately we had to share it with you.

Well, after we watched it about nine times. We’ve fired Ma Deuce a lot but never saw it like this.

We’d really like to see a DShK shot like this. A lot is going on with the grand old Dashka, including a fireball some actual flamethrowers would envy.

It really whets our appetite for what Ian will do when he gets his high-speed (or is that high-speed, low-drag?) camera.

OT: Comcast = Customer Service, Soviet Style

The audio file at this report is a pretty typical example of Comcast’s awful, horrible, very bad, worst-in-class customer service. What’s probably not typical is the extreme patience of the abused customer, former Engadget editior Ryan Block. Block only started the recording ten minutes into the call, when it was clear he was getting nowhere with Comcast’s Soviet-style “service” department.

http://www.wtop.com/1374/3662942/Man-records-nightmarish-attempt-to-cancel-cable-Comcast-apologizes

A few high points from Block:

  • “Are you punking us right now?”
  • “You’re doing an incredibly good job at making your company look bad.”

The Comcast agent persists in a brain-dead, perseverating, autistic hard-sell. Block matches him patience for persistence, and finally wins a claim that the account is disconnected, but the truculent service representative refuses to give him a reference number.

WTOP contacted Comcast, and got a non-apology apology from some classically dishonest (and Comcastically brain-dead) PR dolly named Jenni Moyer. “We are investigating this situation and will take quick action,” Moyer promised, emptily. (Four years ago, Moyer was defending Comcast’s worst-in-all-industries customer service with false claims it was getting better: “our internal metrics… indicate we’re on the right track”).  But the rude hard-sell agent has not been fired, because he was actually delivering the dreadful customer service nightmare experience that every Comcast user gets; and other Comcast agents still do the same unpleasant thing.

So, if Comcast is so bad (to steal a line from Block’s bullying interlocutor), why is it Number One? Because, in a lot of places, it’s a monopoly. That’s why it’s the Moskvitch (or maybe, the Trabant) of cable providers.

Newtown roundup

Newtown Window Shot OutIt’s been over 18 months since the Newtown school shootings, which are an ill wind that has blown some Democrat PR dollies like Shannon Watts some good, but produced political winds that have been a disaster for all concerned. Gun owners have lost in many places, but anti-gun politicians have lost in many more, and they fear a reckoning coming in the fall.

Here are a few things that are still percolating into the news from this aging crime. Much of the news comes from the Hartford Courant, which is interested in the case both because it happened inside their circulation area, and because they expected it would help them promote their gun control agenda, which it has done, locally.

Item: June 23: The FBI put the habeus grabass on a sick puppy from Venezuela. Immediately after the shootings, Wilfrido A. Cardenas Hoffman, 30, of El Hatillo, Venezuela, made 96 random calls to Newtown numbers, claiming to be the dead shooter Adam Lanza, and making threats. He used an internet phone system to try to hide his identity, but was tripped up by the FBI’s warrantless access to NSA surveillance. Even after he was identified and indicted in 2013, he might have stayed free forever, except that he ran into the difficulty anyone has getting from one place to another in Latin America: you always have to change planes in Miami. Lanza escaped justice, but the legal system now has Cardenas as whipping boy. Assuming he did it, couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. 

Item: June 23: A commission set up and staffed by anti-gun governor Dannel Malloy is said to be focusing, in secret, on legislative recommendations about “guns, school safety, and mental health” — in that order. Connecticut already had strict laws, including a state version of the 1994 Federal semi-auto ban. The shooter did not obtain his guns lawfully, but by murdering a legal owner, his mother. We’d like to see the law that will deter someone who wants a gun that badly. Most of the story talks about the mental health issues, without ever facing the real, difficult question: how do you separate the sheep (harmless mentally ill) from the goats (potentially violent ones)? No physican has a reliable protocol, or would be willing to stake his license on one of his predictions. It’s a fuzzy, inexact science at this point. About the most practical thing we can do is spend on basic research and hope they find something. Since that, unlike Dannel Malloy’s Two Minutes Hate directed at the Emannuel Goldstein of the NRA, does not promise instant gratification, the politicians will not do it.

Lisa Long, the lady who, back in February 2014, wrote the moving essay I am Adam Lanza’s Mother about her own struggles with her son’s mental illness, describes progress since then: she finally, after 10 or 11 years of illness, has a diagnosis (bipolar disorder), not that that offers any immediate hope for her kid. She thinks that the “national conversation” ought to be about mental illness, and we think she’s on to something. Long:

We cannot ensure that tragic events like Newtown do not happen again. The world isn’t safe. But one thing we can do is provide better and earlier diagnosis of mental illness for children.

In time, we may have the right hammer to hit this nail. Until then, people like Mrs Long and her mentally ill son will suffer. The world isn’t safe, and it also isn’t fair.

Item: June 26: The Newtown massacre may have been a disaster for family members, but it’s been bonanza for state bureaucrats and various “non-profit” empire builders who are elbowing one another at a Federal trough that’s been sluiced with over $7 million — so far. State Office of Victim’s [sic] Services Executive Director Linda Cimino describes the surviving kids of Newtown as, naturally, helpless and ruined victims. Indeed, to hear her tell it, they’re abused, emotionally disturbed, hypervigilant and underachieving drug users. And the answer, of course, is to give her money. A “non-profit” called the Resiliency Center of Newtown, hastily set up to stake a claim to a hunk of the “free” Federal lucre, wants a half-million to provide good jobs at way-better-than-good wages to its Executive Director and his, her or its retinue. The Newtown-Sandy Hook Foundation has already blown through over $12M in private donations, of which only $7.7M went to the victims (surviving and dead) and their families, and the other near-half seems to have been raked off by the insiders, in addition to a large cut taken by the grossly inefficient United Way for its insiders. The Foundation has earmarked a lot of the money to perpetuate itself for at least 15 years, and it’s getting $173k from the Feds — for its Executive Director and his or her office space. You can’t expect selfless non-profiteers to toil away for mere middle-class wages like the common 99%, can you? On the other hand, Newtown Youth and Family Services has seen the demand for mental health outpatient services increase markedly, and that requires them to hire more people — administrative people. And get them a building. The town itself will get $3.1M from the feds, which will go for a lot of new, hungry mouths to feed, like a $165k Community Outreach Leader, and Project Manager and Child Recovery Leaders also drawing over $100k each. One (legitimately) traumatized student is attending a private special needs school at a cost of about $300k a year including transportation and a minder.

Hey, it’s all free money from the Federal Government, only 40% borrowed for those kids to pay back in reduced income and opportunities for their entire life. Funny how “for the children” always seems to actually manifest itself as “for the second sons of the Political Class”.

Item: June 30: While the .gov money seems to be going predominantly to make rich “facilitators” and “coordinators” richer, the Courant reports that more than a quarter of the $28M raised by private charities went to the families, so far, but that half remains to be distributed, raising the possibility that more than half of the amount will go to the people for whom donors intended the money, rather than typically sticky-fingered non-profit managers.

Of course, the same story also mentions a Nashville charity where runners raised $70k for Newtown — and organizers apparently kept on running with it. There were some bright points of light, though: for example, a Newtown couple, Rob and Debra Accomando, raised $1.6M and paid out every penny of it to victims’ families. One for-profit organization apparently raised $29k and distributed it to the Parks and Rec department of the town for engraved benches dedicated to the 26 victims.

The Courant remains an extremely anti-gun newspaper, and its news pages campaign for the re-election of antigun Governor Dannell Malloy. On July 14th they called for further restriction of Connecticut’s highly restrictive gun permit regime, because a connected criminal got a permit, which he then used to fire up the crowd at a night club (one that features gangster rap music).

The New York Reload in the Civil War

This colorized tintype Union trooper may just be clowning with all these weapons, but a lot of cavalrymen on both sides weren't.

This colorized tintype Union trooper may just be clowning with all these weapons, but a lot of cavalrymen on both sides weren’t.

You all know what a “New York Reload” is, right? That’s when you let an empty pistol drop and pull out a second entire spare pistol so that you can continue blazing away. The name, and the practice, was popularized in the 20th Century by Jim Cirillo. Now, you can go down the rabbit hole of YouTube, and find all kinds of videos trying to “prove” that the New York Reload is faster, or slower, than a regular reload. But that’s in 2014, when the most common carry pistols all reload from standard-capacity box magazines. Go back to hundred and 50 years, when the Civil War raged, and reloading was a little more problematical.

In the Civil War, the revolver was primarily a cavalryman’s weapon. Infantrymen often started the war with privately owned pistols, but came to discard or trade them. (Things that are heavy and of little immediate use quickly become surplus to a foot soldier). Whether were various exotic pistols used in small numbers by both sides, and early in the war single shot percussion and even flintlock pistols were issued to some cavalry units, the standard pistol of both sides in the Civil War was the six shot Colt revolver in .36 or .44 caliber. (Fun fact: from that day to this, the vast majority of defensive pistols have fired bullets in that caliber range. Old Sam was on to something).

Reloading a percussion revolver was a great deal more complicated than reloading a semi-automatic pistol. You need several tools and pouches. First, the gun is placed on half-cock to allow the cylinder to spin free. has to be filled with a single measured charge of loose black powder; each ball (there are minie balls for revolvers now, but there weren’t, then) has to be individually placed, the cylinder rotated, and the bullet rammed with the underbarrel ramrod; if not firing immediately, each chamber must be sealed at the muzzle end with wax, tallow, or some kind of lube/sealant (and even if you’re firing immediately, it’s a good idea to do this to prevent flashover aka chain fire). And each chamber must have a percussion cap attached (and the fired one removed, if it’s still there). If you actually do this, you’ll find that a stick or dowel helps in getting the caps fully seated.

Did we mention that you’re supposed to do this on a moving horse? This raises the appeal of anything that would speed reloading. But the most common loading aids available to the Civil War trooper were paper cartridges (that he would make himself during down time) that contained the powder charges, or powder flasks that incorporated a measure. You’re still looking at about three minutes from empty Colt to having six shots at the ready again.

This piratical-looking fellow was probably the real deal.

This piratical-looking fellow is more likely to have been the real deal, rather than a kid who grabbed every prop at hand in the photographer’s studio.

There are also many things that go wrong with a Colt 1851 or 1860 revolver. Misfires are very common, and while a lot of them can be touched off with a second strike to the cap, getting that cap under the hammer means you have to either cycle the gun five times or put it back on half cock and move the cylinder by hand. And apart from misfires, jams are common. Carbon will jam a cap and ball revolver somewhere between 10 and 30 shots fired, although that’s more reloading than you’ll actually do in combat. But even before that, the hammer occasionally pulls off an expended cap and drops it into the revolver’s mechanism, at which point you are the proud possessor of Colonel Colt’s War Club.

Remember, you’re on a horse. With the Rebels (or Yankees if that’s how you roll) blazing away at you. This is not optimal.

Bilby Small Arms at GettysburgThe men of 1860 were as smart as the men of today (maybe, on average, smarter), and they knew this wasn’t optimal, so their idea of “the next six shots” was “Revolver No. 2.” And some of them did not stop there: Joseph Bilby, a scholar of this period, in his Small Arms at Gettysburg: Infantry and Cavalry Weapons in America’s Greatest Battle (p. 220), states flatly that, “Given the chance, any sensible Horsman and hostile territory carried more than one handgun.” Bilby notes that running your revolver dry was not only a hazard if you faced the other side of the Civil War, but could be non-habit-forming if you did it in front of hostile Indians, also.

The all-war champs of revolver toting were probably the irregulars. John Singleton Mosby disparaged the saber as a cavalry weapon, and insisted on his men carrying multiple revolvers. Bilby (pp. 218-219):

Some of the most significant devotees of the sixgun during the Civil War were the irregular warriors of the border states. In contrast to Mosby, whose men were enlisted in a recognized unit and whose partisan operations had a clear military purpose and value, Kentucky, Missouri, And Arkansas guerrillas, whether they professed loyalty to the union or Confederacy, were often little better than bandits — a trade many adopted is a postwar career. Like Mosby, however, the guerrillas found sixguns ideal for ambushes, where a blizzard of bullets rapidly delivered at close range was superior to either an impressive array of massed drawn sabers glinting in the sunlight or the longer-range accuracy advantages of rifle muskets or breech-loading carbines.

Men who depended on the revolver as a primary weapon often carried a number of them. Many of Mosbys troopers holstered two handguns on their belts and another two in their saddles. Private Joseph Edwards of Mosbys Fourth-third [sic, should be 43rd - ed.] Battalion, Virginia Cavalry declined to surrender his weapons at the end of the war and rode home with four .44 caliber model 1860 Colt Armies[sic], a Colt shoulder stock, and a Sharps carbine. Rebel guerrillas in Missouri outdid the Virginia partisans often carried as many as six sixguns.

Bilby goes on to recount many, many period accounts of various cavalry troopers (or maybe, in some cases, land pirates) with four or six revolvers about them, and he examines the common myth — for myth it turns out to be — that cavalrymen carried spare cylinders for reloading. He explains why this was a rare thing, if it existed at all (he can find no proof for it whatsoever). Nope: the cavalryman’s reload was what would come to be called, a century later, a New York Reload.

Bilby’s book Small Arms at Gettysburg is very highly recommended. You can get it at Amazon.com, but why don’t you go through someone’s site that’s an Amazon affiliate, like Forgotten Weapons.com, so that you can support what they are doing? It won’t cost you a penny more and you’ll ensure the survival and success of liberty a website that you enjoy.

NYPD Commissioner Flunks Statistics 101

NYPDCrime is in decline nationwide, but the crime declines more slowly in jurisdictions where the police concentrate on hassling legitimate gun owners and ignore violent gangs. Like New York.

Shootings are up in New York over 9 percent, but the Commissioner, multi-city retread and enthusiastic gun banner Bill Bratton, says that it’s OK, because murders are down.

The number of shootings jumped from 32 to 41 last week, a 28 percent increase from the same period in 2013 and part of a 9.3 jump for the year, the latest statistics show.

The number of shooting victims is up 9.5 percent for the year — while the number of guns recovered dropped 5.8 percent. There have been 11.7 percent fewer gun charges so far, too.

So the cops are seizing fewer guns and charging fewer gun violations. That’s because they’re laying off the professional criminal class.

Still, murders were down 9.5 percent — part of a “continuing overall decline in crime,’’ Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said.

via Shootings keep rising as NYPD turns to high-tech help | New York Post.

How is it possible that murders are down while shootings are up? We have a theory that fits better than Bratton’s self-congratulation: steadily improving Emergency Management Services and Emergency Room procedures. For one thing, the bolances and at least some of the po-po cruisers in NYFC are now running with tourniquets, so they lose fewer patients to exsanguination; the paramedics are using needle decompression for tension pneumothorax, another thing that was a killer of patients with chest GSWs relatively recently.

So, more New Yorkers are getting transected by bullets, but fewer of them are croaking of it. Credit should go where it’s due — and it’s not Bratton’s hands-tied police.

Sunday in Perfect Summer

Our summers are short and sweet; we’ve had a heat wave which had the TV people predictably crying about Global Warming, but thanks to some shifts in the jetstreams we’re going to have really perfect weather for the next few days. Much of yesterday was spent on the repaired Bike-E, checking out our homemade seat clamp to replace the one that broke in the railroad-tie collision. (Lesson learnt, small tires and abandoned railroad tracks make bad traveling companions).  It’s still a bit squirrely to ride, but the seat is fixed.

So far, it’s about a minute a mile slower than our usual round-town ancient Raleigh hybrid (6:20 versus 5:20 a mile, so we’re not burning up the streets, and everybody on a bike overtakes us), it’s a handful at low speed, and it doesn’t care for steep turns… the rear wheel kicks out. But there’s something charming and addictive about it. It’s a good bike for a guy who has a new Glock and an old standby M9 but carries the region’s most beat-up CZ. It’s an attention magnet, even in a town gone blasé about Maserati roadsters and Cobra replicas. It also helps that CPSC hates it.

Today, the mission is…? We’re not entirely sure. We probably will spend some time in a pool, some more time on the Bike-E which probably deserves a name, some time doing research, some time queueing up Monday’s posts (we’ll be at a funeral and possibly an investment meeting on Monday) and plugging in the missing posts from the past week.

What the mission should be involves tearing up the office until some missing documents (like a pilot’s logbook, d’oh! It was supposed to be in the flight bag) are found.

But outdoors sings its siren song;

The day is long, and short the night;

To stay indoors cannot be right;

The summer’s here, but not for long.

See you all on the other side of the weekend.

Dunning-Kruger Media Effect, and “RIP Ammo” hype

OK, there are rounds that can produce guaranteed death. They just don't fit in pistols.

OK, there are rounds that can produce guaranteed death. They just don’t fit in pistols.

Blue Nation Review is a newish website, dedicated to the proposition that the liberal message (including enthusiasm for gun bans, a frequent theme) has no way of reaching a misinformed public. And apart from ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, the Times, the Post, and all the journalistic farm teams populated by eager and callow youths aspiring to those major leagues, they have a point. It came to our attention because they’re spending enormously on ads with Taboola, and the ads kept appearing on major media websites.

But the essence of Dunning-Kruger, as stated in the brilliant paper “Unskilled and Unaware of It,” is a near-Rumsfeldian tautology: “You don’t know what you don’t know.” In the case of BNR, they don’t know a damned thing about firearms or ammunition. So, after listing a bunch of nonfatal accidents from the twitter feed of gun-ban activist David Waldman, and seeing some assclown’s promo video, they be terrorized (warning, site’s privacy-invasive wrt your location):

But if one Georgia company is successful, accidental shootings that injure people may become a thing of the past. That’s because if people start using their bullets, pretty much every person who gets shot will die.

G2 Research’s “Radically Invasive Projectile” (RIP, get it? — because shooting people to death is hilarious) is a copper bullet that explodes when it hits a target (i.e., a human being) sending pieces screaming through vital organs and clearing a path for the bullet’s core to travel deeper through a person.

via New Bullets Mean Certain Death – Blue Nation Review Blue Nation Review.

Except, they’re hyperventilating over hype. As we wrote six months ago, “The claims were so over-the-top, we dismissed the round as snake oil.  But we weren’t going to debunk the claims. Fortunately, someone else did.”

Our conclusions then bear repeating:

Look, there’s no magic ammunition: nothing you can chamber in a barrel is going to do to a bad guy what you’d like to do to him (unless your barrel is 155mm and tows behind an LMTV, which limits your concealment options). Ammo vendors have been making big claims about ammo forever, and in all that time, guys (good and bad) have been surviving hits of “killer” ammo — we personally met two guys who took 12.7 x 108mm rounds and survived, and a friend took a 5.56 point blank through his brain housing group, and he’s still with us. And in all that time, guys (good and bad) have been taking the “golden BB” from a .22 LR or an even-more-anemic .25ACP and they’re now singing in the Choir Invisible.

It was probably predictable that the marketing hot air generated by the RIP ammunition would wind up being used by those who would leave us, disarmed, at the mercy of their fellow liberals, the violent criminals. (We’re not saying the authors of BNR are criminals, we’re saying that they and the criminals share a position that’s soft on crime and hard on self-defense, and we give them the benefit of belief that their motivations and the criminals’ for arriving at the same position are different).

In all of the nonfatal cases the editors of BNR reference, we can assure them that RIP ammo would not be significantly more damaging than common self-defense JHP ammo or even the 19th-Century ball ammo required by military conventions. Indeed, the lower penetration of the RIP fragments and reduced mass (and therefore penetration) of the central penetrator make things easier on the ER docs and surgeons, although it will doubtless be a hassle chasing down all the little copper fragments.

More of our February wisdom:

You can only be sure a threat is negated if the guy is killed, in our opinion. (You can be pretty sure if his condition is, “not dead… yet.” And the only way to put the guy in that state for sure is with hits in the human’s X-ring, the central nervous system. You do your part, and even FMJ will punch the guy’s ticket for him.

And, while we may not agree with the authors of BNR or with the extreme Waldman on much of  anything else, we can find common ground in contempt for most of the people having negligent discharges. Honestly, folks, tighten up your shot group in that area, because you’re giving way too much glee to people who do not have your best interests in mind.

But then, we don’t think there’s a big intersection between the set of readers of this blog, and people committing some of those egregious ND’s. How do you reach people who already know it all? Because those are the guys having the accidents.

In the meantime, most of what the general media, old and new, writes about firearms and ammunition is purest tosh. Case in point.