Saturday, May 30, 2015

Concealed Carry on Campus Coming To Texas

From May 30, 2015 Reuters:

The Republican-controlled Texas Senate voted on Saturday to allow the licensed carrying of concealed handguns in most state university buildings.

The measure includes a caveat that lets college presidents designate "gun-free zones" on their campuses.

Passage by the Republican-dominated House of Representatives is expected on Sunday and would send it on to Republican Governor Greg Abbott to be signed into law.

As I pointed out a couple months ago in Shotgun News, pocket carry is a bit foolish.  

I Don't Think Anyone Wants To Hear The Answer

From May 28, 2015 Washington Post:

Report: Women are more likely to have serious mental health problems than men

 As I pointed out in comments:
No surprise: women are 3x more likely to be sexually abused than men. Of course that would require us to ask the questions liberals hate: Why are homosexuals so much more likely to be sexually abused as children? Might this be a cause of homosexuality and the serious depression problems in that community?

Shooting Unarmed Tresspassers Is Not Generally Wise..

But it appears that there was uncertainty about whether they were armed.  From Yahoo:

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Accused of murder for confronting two unarmed trespassers with a deadly barrage of gunfire, Wayne Burgarello walked out of a Nevada courthouse a free man after the jury found him not guilty of all charges in the latest of a series of cases nationally testing the boundaries of stand-your-ground self-defense laws.

"It's going to be OK," he said as he laughed with family members outside the courtroom after hugging his lawyer after the clerk's reading of the verdicts Friday night.

Burgarello, 74, a retired Sparks school teacher, insisted he was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed Cody Devine and seriously wounded Janai Wilson in a vacant, rundown duplex he owns in February 2014....

Wilson testified during the two-week trial that she stayed at the duplex off and on for three years. She said Burgarello opened fire without provocation while she and Devine were sleeping in a makeshift bed on the floor.

Neither trespasser had a firearm, but Burgarello told police Devine's arm "came up like a gun."
Ristenpart said he might have mistaken a black flashlight found at the scene for a gun and had only a split second to respond. She said it was Devine and Wilson, not Burgarello, who "created the dangerous, threatening situation, trespassing, getting high on meth and being where they shouldn't be, where they had no right to be."

Meth-head squatters, why am I not sympathetic?

New Paper

Clayton E. Cramer

College of Western Idaho

Joseph Olson

Hamline University - School of Law

April 1, 2015


This Article seeks to answer what may seem a silly question: How widespread were private party transfers (both sales and lending) and commercial sales of firearms in the Bill of Rights and Fourteenth Amendment periods of American history. In U.S. v. Hosford (D.Md. 2015), the decision held: “Neither party has attempted to provide comprehensive evidence of the state of the law at the time of ratification concerning the commercial sale of firearms.” This paper provides such evidence. There was a thriving trade in arms of all types, especially firearms, no restrictions on the general (commercial and private) transfer of arms, and few on the transfer of particular items (e.g., bowie knives) or to particular persons (e.g., negros).

This is still a draft, so suggestions, corrections, gratefully accepted.

Planning a Hunt Overseas?

Over the last few years, a charleyfoxtrot by the various executive departments created a situation where those travelling overseas to hunt with firearms could be unintentionally violating firearms export laws.
Exporting firearms and ammunition from the U.S. normally requires a license--from the State Department for rifles, handguns, and rifle or handgun ammunition, and from the Commerce Department for shotguns and shotshells.  But for many years, the State Department’s International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR) have allowed Americans to temporarily export up to three non-automatic firearms and up to 1,000 rounds of ammunition without a permit, as long as the firearms were declared and presented to a Customs officer.  This was done by bringing the firearms to a Customs office at some point before the trip and completing Customs Form 4457--a form that can be completed for any personal property and that is normally used to prove that the traveler owned the property before going abroad, thus protecting the traveler from paying import duties on items already owned.  The traveler would retain the form and present it upon reentry if needed.
But a 2012 State Department rule change added an important new requirement that the traveler declare rifles or handguns “upon each departure” by presenting documentation generated through the Commerce Department’s “Automated Export System” (AES)--an online reporting tool designed for use by businesses.  (Non-“combat” shotguns are not regulated by the State Department, so the AES requirement does not apply to temporary shotgun exports.)  The rule change was buried in a Federal Register notice aimed at authorizing the temporary export of gas masks by government employees and contractors.

Fortunately, the change was never enforced—until now.  In postings on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website and in internal ICE documents obtained by NRA-ILA, ICE makes clear that it has begun enforcing the rule change.  Form 4457 may no longer be used for firearms, and electronic declarations will be the norm.

The solution turned out to be gun registration:
To establish such proof, a bill of sale, receipt, copy of ATF Form 4473, household effects inventory, packing list, or registration on Customs Forms 4457 or 4455 may be used, if the registration form is completed prior to departure from the U.S. 

This means if you leave the country with a gun and do not have it when you return (because the gun  was lost, or you returned it by some other method than bringing it with you), you may well find yourself charged with unauthorized export of arms.   Furthermore, this registration may violate a provision of the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986:
(a) The Attorney General may prescribe only such rules and regulations as are necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter, including— 
(1) regulations providing that a person licensed under this chapter, when dealing with another person so licensed, shall provide such other licensed person a certified copy of this license; 
(2) regulations providing for the issuance, at a reasonable cost, to a person licensed under this chapter, of certified copies of his license for use as provided under regulations issued under paragraph (1) of this subsection; and 
(3) regulations providing for effective receipt and secure storage of firearms relinquished by or seized from persons described in subsection (d)(8) or (g)(8) of section 922. No such rule or regulation prescribed after the date of the enactment of the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act may require that records required to be maintained under this chapter or any portion of the contents of such records, be recorded at or transferred to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any State or any political subdivision thereof, nor that any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or dispositions be established. Nothing in this section expands or restricts the Secretary’s  [1] authority to inquire into the disposition of any firearm in the course of a criminal investigation. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

More Evidence That Money Can't Buy Happiness

From the May 28, 2015 New YorkPost:
An investment banker jumped to his death from the window of his million-dollar apartment in the Financial District on Thursday, sources and authorities said.

The 29-year-old man plunged from the 24th floor of the luxury Ocean apartment building at 1 West St. at about 10:40 a.m. and landed on a guardrail near the northbound Battery Park Underpass, narrowly missing a black SUV.

The man’s body was mangled by the impact, leaving one of the vehicle’s passengers horrified, witnesses said.

“I went outside, and the woman in the car was screaming, ‘I didn’t know where he came from!’ ” said Hans Peler, 48, a manager at the building’s parking garage.

“It happened right in front of our guy who waves cars in with the flag. He was so shaken up, I told him to go home.”

D.C. Now Pretends That Refusing to Issue Concealed Weapon Permits Was A Mistake

See here.  Of course, this is only after Alan Gura got a preliminary injuction against DCPD using its "may-iisue" policy.

Bionic Blogger

Along with the horse aortic valve, I now wear a cardiac monitoring system,.primarily to see if I am suffering aortic fibrillation.  They didn't see any while I was in the hospital, but they would like to know.  The details: there are two patches for ripping out chest hair (of which I have a chimp-like level), and cords running to a box on my belt.  When it detects abnormal heart beavior, or if I press a button, it records 30 seconds of EKG and then relays it to a service center via cell phone.

The Real War on Women

Democrats last year were characterizing not requiring employers to pay for birth control as a War on Women, and here in Idaho, Democrats regularly call Republicans Teaiban (combining Tea Party and Taliban) but here is the real War on Women, and most leftists are looking for ways to ignore it.  From the May 24, 2015 Independent:
Zainab Bangura, the U.N.'s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, recently conducted a tour of refugee camps in the shadow of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, war-ravaged countries where the Islamic State commands swaths of territory. She heard a host of horror stories from victims and their families and recounted them in an interview earlier this week with the Middle East Eye, an independent regional news site.

"They are institutionalizing sexual violence," Bangura said of the Islamic State. "The brutalization of women and girls is central to their ideology."

Bangura detailed the processes by which "pretty virgins" captured by the jihadists were bought and sold at auctions.

Here's a chilling excerpt: "After attacking a village, [the Islamic State] splits women from men and executes boys and men aged 14 and over. The women and mothers are separated; girls are stripped naked, tested for virginity and examined for breast size and prettiness. The youngest, and those considered the prettiest virgins fetch higher prices and are sent to Raqqa, the IS stronghold.

There is a hierarchy: sheikhs get first choice, then emirs, then fighters. They often take three or four girls each and keep them for a month or so, until they grow tired of a girl, when she goes back to market. At slave auctions, buyers haggle fiercely, driving down prices by disparaging girls as flat-chested or unattractive.
I keep think9ing of the war crimes committed by the Japanese in China in the 1930s, and in Germany, and why those weren't our problems.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Reading Between The Lines on Hastert Indictment

May 28, 2015 Washingon Post reports on indictment of former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert:
J. Dennis Hastert, the longest serving Republican speaker in the U.S. House, was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on charges that he violated banking laws in a bid to pay $3.5 million because of “past misconduct” against an unnamed individual from their hometown west of Chicago.

Hastert, 73, who has been a high-paid lobbyist in Washington since his 2007 retirement, schemed to mask more than $950,000 in withdrawals from various accounts that violated federal banking laws that require disclosure of large cash transactions, according to a seven-page indictment delivered by a grand jury in Chicago.

The indictment did not spell out the exact nature of the “prior misconduct” by Hastert against the individual from his hometown, Yorkville, but noted that before entering politics in 1981, Hastert spent more than a decade as a teacher and wrestling coach at the local high school. The unnamed individual has known Hastert for most of that person’s life, the indictment states.
 What in the world could he have done that was worth $3.5 million to cover up?  Hastert was a teacher and wrestling coach.  Did he ever coach at Penn State?  I have pointed out in the past that there is a lot of evidence that homosexuals were disproportionately sexually abused as children and I do not doubt that many of the abusers were pretending to be respectable sorts.

The /New York Times mentions:
In 2006, he faced criticism that he and top aides failed to respond to warnings about the behavior of Representative Mark Foley of Florida, whose sexually explicit electronic messages to former Congressional pages sparked a scandal that contributed to the Republicans’ losing their House majority. Mr. Hastert chose not to seek re-election in 2008.
 Gee, I wonder why?  Afraid to come out of the closet?

Sure enough.  From May 29, 2015 Los Angeles Times:
Indicted former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was paying a former student from Yorkville, Ill., to conceal his alleged sexual abuse of the youth that took place while Hastert was a teacher and wrestling coach at a high school there, federal law enforcement officials said Friday.

A top official, who would not be identified speaking about the federal charges in Chicago, said investigators also spoke with a second person who raised similar allegations that corroborated what the student said

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

When The Novel Starts To Write Itself

Two of the subplots just started making out, and suggesting where to go next!  I still have to apply my creativity to the details, and my fingers to the keyboard, but this is the point where the novel comes to life.

Complaints That History Is Too Accessible

From May 27, 2015 Inside Higher Ed:
The University of Oklahoma raised some eyebrows last year when it announced it was partnering with the History Channel to offer a new U.S. history survey course. The thrust of the initial interest was the university’s decision to pair up with a relatively old-school medium -- cable television -- to offer distance learning in the midst of a digital platform boom. But after a successful first run of the course, another story has yet to be told: that of history faculty members’ lingering distaste at what they call being left out of the process and, more generally, at the university partnering with a commercial entity now perhaps better known for reality TV shows such as Ice Road Truckers and Swamp People than college-level history. Proponents of the partnership, meanwhile, tout the channel’s top-rate archives and audiovisual capabilities, as well as its mission to make historical study more accessible.

My reaction:
I understand the concern about the pop nature of many of History Channel's offerings. I spent the weekend in the hospital, and tuning into HC gave me Sons of Liberty (which wasn't bad) and Ancient Aliens (which would lower the IQ of Joe "I remember when FDR went on television at the start of the Depression" Biden). But the solution to Ancient Aliens and Pawn Stars is to produce popular history of high standards that will interest the masses. The Master's Whip: Homoerotic Sadomasochism And The Maintenance of Herrenvolk Democracy is not going to cut it. (Those who have already switched over to to see if there is an illustrated edition, sorry.)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Oscar Winner 1945

With The Marines At Tarawa A leftover from an era when Americans were united against barbarians, unlike today when much of the left is making excuses for ISIS.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Social Science Fraud

But it comes to politically correct conclusions! SO WHAT IF THERE WAS NO ACTUAL SURVEY DATA?  From May 22, 2015 New Yorker:
Last December, Science published a provocative paper about political persuasion. Persuasion is famously difficult: study after study—not to mention much of world history—has shown that, when it comes to controversial subjects, people rarely change their minds, especially if those subjects are important to them. You may think that you’ve made a convincing argument about gun control, but your crabby uncle isn’t likely to switch sides in the debate. Beliefs are sticky, and hardly any approach, no matter how logical it may be, can change that.

The Science study, “When contact changes minds: An experiment on transmission of support for gay equality,” seemed to offer a method that could work. The authors—Donald Green, a tenured professor of political science at Columbia University, and Michael LaCour, a graduate student in the poli-sci department at U.C.L.A.—enlisted a group of canvassers from the Los Angeles L.G.B.T. Center to venture into the L.A. neighborhoods where voters had supported Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage. The canvassers followed standardized scripts meant to convince those voters to change their minds through non-confrontational, one-on-one contact. Over the following nine months, the voters were surveyed at various intervals to see what those conversations had achieved. The survey highlighted a surprising distinction. When canvassers didn’t talk about their own sexual orientations, voters’ shifts in opinion were unlikely to last. But if canvassers were openly gay—if they talked about their sexual orientations with voters—the voters’ shifts in opinion were still in evidence in the survey nine months later....

David Broockman and Joshua Kalla, the Berkeley grad students, were impressed by LaCour and Green’s findings. They decided to devote their own resources to pushing the research further. Broockman and Kalla prepared the online surveys, taking the initial steps towards a pilot study on May 6th. Nine days later, they noticed that their response rates were much lower than LaCour and Green’s. Hoping to match the earlier study’s rates, they looked for more information. They enlisted Peter Aronow, a professor at Yale, and the three began to examine the nuances of the data set. When they began to encounter a number of statistical quirks, Green contacted LaCour’s dissertation adviser, Lynn Vavreck. On Monday, Vavreck met with LaCour to demand the raw survey data. After some delay, LaCour told her that he had accidentally deleted it. Later, when the head of U.C.L.A.’s political-science department called Qualtrics, the online survey platform used for the study, they said that they could find no evidence of a deletion: whatever data was collected in the account LaCour claimed to have used was, presumably, still there. (LaCour was also unable to provide the contact information for any of the respondents.) At Green’s behest, Vavreck had also looked further into the study’s financing. It turned out to be nonexistent. “He didn’t have any grants coming to him. He had a small one that he didn’t accept,” Green said. “There was no data, and no plausible way of getting the data.”

Call of Duty Publicizing Idaho Gun Companies

From May 19, 2015 KIVI-TV, where my son works:
It’s one of the largest video game franchises in history.

The Call of Duty series has sold over 175 million copies with millions of players competing against each other 24 hours a day across the planet.

The video game series has evolved over the last 10 years into a refined and respected multi-player online franchise that has spawned spin-offs, card games and action figures.

The game strives to be realistic and that is where SRM Arms based in Meridian, Idaho, comes into play. SRM Arms reinvented the shotgun that gun nuts across the country have highlighted in YouTube videos, online reviews and blog posts.

The SRM 1216 is a 16 round 12-gauge shotgun that met the needs of law enforcement agencies across the country and eventually the military.

The SRM 1216 is a semi-automatic shotgun that can fire quickly and has a reduced recoil for the user.

headed home

The doctors were unable to determine why I had two recent small strokes, one of which was asymptomatic, but they narrowed it down to:

1. There seems to be a small growth on the end of the aortic valve which is either a clot or growth that causes clots (it looks like a guitar pick from the side, but I don't eat guitar picks, so...).  This was determined with a procedure that makes colonoscopy seem pleasant.

2. I have a heart defect called a PFO which is a small opening between left and right atria.  After birth blood goes from right ventricle to right atrium, then to the lungs then back to left atrium, then to left ventricle then to body.  Before birth, the heart doesn't bother sending blood through the lungs, so the PFO is an efficiency gain.  About 30% of Americans fail to have the PFO close after birth, and blood (and clots) from elsewhere in the body can pass through the PFO causing strokes.  (The lungs filter out clots if you don't have a PFO.)  Coughing and straining on the toilet can increase the amount of blood passing the the PFO. My PFO is small enough not to justify surgery, and might explain why only small clots are going to my brain.

3.  It is possible that I have an irregular heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation (also quite common) which throws clots to the brain.

As I said earlier, not as neat as an episode of House in terms of puzzle solving.  But the solution to all these is warfarin, a blood clot preventer, and less coughing and straining.


not quite as satisfying as an episode of House

 my cardiologist says that they are not sure exactly what is causing the clots that are causing the strokes, because it could be atrial fibrillation, or a clot from somewhere else in my body gets loose, but the solution no matter what the cause is warfarin.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

things that make you look forward to a colonoscopy

Trans esophageal ultrasound.  my doctors can see two recent strokes in my MRI.  since I am not in a high-risk category they need  to figure out what are causing these.  My horse aortic valve has a growth that looks like a guitar pick (although I don't ordinarily eat those). It might be infection which means antibiotics or a clot which means drugs that dissolve clots or it might be atrial fibrillation causing the clots.

Trans esophageal ultrasound starts with three lidocaine gargle then a 2 inch tube down your throat  into  your esophagus  so they can ultrasound your heart.  It is as unpleasant as it sounds.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

back in the hospital

 I had another stroke. Not very severe, but it caused slurring of my speech and sagging on the right side of my face.  The E/R doctor  doesn't  see any reason  for another stroke so they are holding me over for to look for a cause.

A Startling Film

After (2012).  I don't know how to describe it.  At first it seems like sci-fi, then it becomes a psychological horror film like many Twilight Zone episodes, then a love story.  Well worth watching on NetFlix.  A reminder that you can make as astonishing film with limited resources ($650,000 est. budget) and a great script.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Long Drive to Vale, Oregon Today

Time to renew my Oregon Handgun License.  I do hope the bill curretly under consideration to recognize out of state licenses passes.

North Korean Magic

May 14, 2015 Washington Post reports on the weirdness of North Korea:

It's been another weird week in news from the Hermit Kingdom. Outside observers were titillated by reports of the supposed punishment meted out on the North Korean defense chief, who was accused of treason, in part for napping during a high-level meeting, and reportedly executed in public with an anti-aircraft gun....

Pyongyang's leadership, which presides over the world's most closed and oppressed society, "invites such treatment," writes Korea scholar Andrei Lankov. We see North Korea as a monstrous, absurdist spectacle, an image reinforced by journalists' inability to do real reporting in the country.

Moreover, writes Lankov, "the government produces tons of comically inept propaganda (visit any North Korean official website to enjoy the style), and it is very repressive. There is little doubt that the regime is brutal and often acts in a peculiar way."

For a snapshot of the country's comically inept propaganda see a news bulletin published this week by the Korean Central News Agency, Pyongyang's official mouthpiece. It's reproduced here in full:
Korea Boasts of Long History in Magic
Pyongyang, May 11 (KCNA) -- Korea has a long history in performing traditional magic.
It was well evidenced by an old album published by a neighboring country 1 500 years ago.
According to historical data, the magic developed to a higher level in the period of Koryo Kingdom (918-1392), the first unified state of the Korean nation.
Typical of the magic pieces were the magic with fire and the one with knife.
Today magic has made a big stride forward in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
It reminds me of the nonsense progressives do and say in the enclaves that it controls, like most prestige universities in the U.S., magnified by ten.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Democrats Arguing For Inading Iraq

A lot of Democrats like to believe their party opposed the Iraq war:

Another Second Amendment Victory

Wrenn v. D.C. (D.C.Dist. 2015) is another victory for Alan Gura.  The District of Criminals passed a comcealed weapon permit law in 2014 in response to another of Alan's victories, which required good cause for issuing a concealed weapon permit.  This preliminary injunction essentially says that the District is unlikely to prevail in court and therefore the good cause language won't be used to deny permits.  I have always been a bit less than than enthusiastic about Second Amendment Foundation, but they keep funding efforts like this, and winning.

As Usual, The Losers From Riots Are Civilized Blacks

From May 18, 2015 WJZ-TV:
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — City crime spike. A dramatic increase in violence in Baltimore. Dozens of shooting and murders in the last few weeks following the riots last month.

Christie Ileto reports some are concerned police are hesitant to crack down after six officers were charged in the death of Freddie Gray.

No parent should ever have to bury a child, but it’s Vel Hick’s reality.

“He took my baby away from me. That’s my baby,” she said.

Her 33-year-old son Louis is now one of 96 homicides in Baltimore this year–an undercurrent of violence that’s up almost one-third from this time last year.
Even if police officers did wrong in Freddie Gray's death, the harsh reality is that poor blacks need a strong police presence to control the savages in their midst.  The alternative is worse.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Myth of the Great War: A New Military History of World War I

By John Mosier.
My wife has a pretty astonishing collection of books about World War I, partly because she specialized in World War I poetry.  This book presets what was t the time a pretty radical set of ideas:

1. The Germans fought with not only greater technical skills than the French or British (because of their superiority in machine guns, poison gas, artillery, flamethrowers), but were much more careful in their use of lives, often losing 1/3 of the men that the Allies lost.

2. The German military was also more competent in planning battles, and a a result won nearly every battle against the French and British; hence, lower death rates.

3.  Many of the advances associated with blitzkrieg during World War II were descendants of tactical advantages developed during World War I.

4. The British and French generals consistently lied to the civilian governments because they lied to themselves about how the war was going.  They were convinced Germany was almost out of men, and would shortly need to negotiate a peace as early as 1915.

5.  The Americans really won the war because not only were our troops fresh, but our generals had superior tactics and superior intelligence services.

This is an impressive collection of primary sources, very well-wriiten.  There is a mass of technical information here about guns, artillery, and tactics, especially considering Mosier is a professor of literature.


I had heard negative reviews of Noah when it came out, so only boredom thisevening andd insomnia drove me to watch it on Netflix.  What a tremendous waste of talent.  It is visually stunning, but it is so far removed from the Biblical story as to be fraudulent to title it Noah.  Where the Old Testament story is about how man degrades into violence and sin, and God vows to destroy mankind because of it, this movie's sin is...industrialism.  Mankind has built an industrial civilization that looks more like Industrial Revolution Britain as imagined by someone with no knowledge of the period. 

Vegetarianism?  Check.  Noah lives in harmony with Mother Earth in a way that is never suggested by Genesis.  At least he doesn't have recycling bins.  The Watchers look like the stone creatures in Galaxy Quest (which was at least intentionally funny) and are again completely unrelated to the Noah story in the Bible.

What a complete waste of special effects, Russell Crowe, and Jennifer Connelly, all doing their best to take this crap seriously. Clearly, Hollywood isn't short of capital to waste.

First Chapter of my First Novel

Isn’t it odd how real a dream can seem when it’s of a place that you’ve never been?  I awoke from a dream that I have had before: a dream of wind softly swaying tall green grass, while puffy white clouds drift across a blue sky.  I have never walked through grass.  I have never felt wind – real wind ­– across my face.  I have never walked under a blue sky, or looked up at a cloud.  
I know from the videos in the library that my dream is of Earth – a place that I have never visited, and that I never will.  I know what green grass feels like because I have felt it in the seed labs.  I can guess what wind feels like on my face, because the air blowing out of the ventilation shafts must be quite similar – it is just air moving across my skin.  I can guess what sunlight on my face would feel like, because we use sunlamps to keep our vitamin D levels up.  Perhaps my sleeping mind takes all these experiences and molds them into a false memory of what it would be like to walk through a grassy field on the planet that our species calls home.  But why does this dream make me feel both so peaceful and full of longing at the same time?  It is enough to make me believe the legends of the Old Believers.
   But I have only a few minutes to muse.  The alarm rang at 0600.  I am scheduled at the gym at 0610, and in the classroom at 0730.  I climb out of my bunk, and head to the showers.  Below my bunk is Sharee; above is Benjeel; both are part of my shift, although neither shares my work assignments.  I know little of what either does.  There are thousands of us aboard, and we are assigned to sleeping shifts based on our sleep patterns.  Some of us require seven hours of sleep for optimal performance; some require eight hours; some require nine.  We are assigned to our sleep shifts by the doctors, who periodically evaluate our needs.
  Sharee is a bit younger than me, in her early thirties, muscular, curvy, with dark hair and olive skin; she is my occasional partner in Lounge C.  While we talk little there – and never anywhere else – she thinks that she may be of Italian ancestry.  I have looked at the videos in the library, and I try to imagine what to be “Italian” might be like back on Old Earth.  It all seems so absurdly remote, as if I were trying to imagine our hominid ancestors, when they first left the trees.
     Benjeel is about my age; nonetheless, he is beginning to turn to fat, as though he does not make the best use of his gym time.  He is dark – almost chocolate brown.  From my readings I believe that his ancestors, at least some of them, came from the place called Africa.  Benjeel and I have never discussed it. I have seen the videos of this strange land of giraffes and elephants – creatures that seem absurdly impossible.  But the lions in those videos do not seem so odd.  
    Every century or so, we unfreeze a few domestic animal embryos, grow them to adulthood, and let them breed, so that we have fresh, undamaged embryos to put in the repository.  When I was young, it was the time for domestic cats.  For a few years, we had dozens of these curious creatures wandering the ship – and I can see the lion in those cats.
    Everyone is assigned sixty minutes of gym time.  Even with artificial gravity, we must work out, or we turn to flab.  I know that it was not always so; on Earth, humans worked very hard, and only r arely was someone ever fat.  The oldest videos in the library show how firm and muscular most humans were, and yet they seldom seem to use exercise equipment.  I have analyzed several centuries of videos; exercise was a tiny part of the lives of these astonishingly fit people. 
   Some of us work out harder than others; I keep myself muscular and conditioned, as all of us are supposed to do, but Benjeel is not alone in coming up short.  Some like to believe that it is the artificial nature of where we live that makes gym time necessary, but I know better.  It is not our unnatural world that makes us so, but the jobs that we do.  It is hard to imagine that there was a time when our species survived “by the sweat of your brow.”  Where does that come from?  I have seen in the oldest books and videos, but none of them identify the source; perhaps I will search for it today.
Gym time is over; I am covered in sweat, and I am hungry.  The showerhead turns on as I walk under it and the timer starts counting down three minutes.  I try to imagine living on a planet where water goes to the sea, turns to puffy white clouds, and falls as pure, clear water – and no one worries about how long you spend in the shower.  But all I can do is imagine it.  The chances to go native are rare; the burdens and risks are huge; I am not sure that I am willing to take them up.
   Time’s up!  As I walk out towards the locker room, I pass Sharee and Benjeel, who have just come from the gym, and are stripping down to shower.  I smile at Sharee and Benjeel.  Sharee’s smiles back.  Benjeel gives me a rather non-committal gesture with his left hand, more an acknowledgement that he sees me than a friendly sign.
    In the locker room I dress for the day, and head to the mess hall one level up.  There are hundreds of others already there, picking food from the dispensers.  I grab a tray of scrambled eggs and another of biscuits and gravy.  In truth, I have no idea what these foods really are.  I am sure that no bird of any sort had anything to do with those eggs.  I know that “biscuits and gravy” is a very old delicacy of a particularly elite population on Earth; biscuits seem to be a form of bread, but gravy is something that I recognize without understanding.  Perhaps this is a topic I will assign to the tenth tier to research.  
   We eat standing up in the mess hall.  It saves time, of course, but there are days that I wish that I could sit, talk to a friend, and enjoy my meal.  But the ship is crowded.  Room is for those who go native; space is for those who don’t need space.  
   Breakfast is done; it’s time to teach.  I grab a cup of coffee as I leave the mess hall.  (Why is it a “mess hall”?  It isn’t particularly messy.  Another interesting question to research, perhaps for the eighth tier.) 

Jaguar XF Speed Limiter Not Quite As Advertised?

The Jaguar sales brochure claims the XF won't exceed 121 mph. But this discussion on the Jaguar forum suggests that the limiters are a bit more flexible. Not that I have much reason for it. Well, maybe this:

An Experiment in Human Suggestibility?

I have long suspected that British crop circles were a psychological experiment to see how suggestible humans are: but where are the published papers?  The May 16, 2015 Daily Mail reports on dozens of YouTube videos purporting to record strange sounds coming from the sky.  So have any of you have first hand experience of this phenomonon?

This guy explains it, but many comments come from people who say they have heard it.

Saturday, May 16, 2015


Have any of you used it to  recoat a zinc gun?  An American Arms PX-22.

What A Shocker: New York State Government Riddled With Corruption

From Associated Press:

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- They were Albany's most powerful men: the governor, the Senate leader and the Assembly speaker. Together, they negotiated billion-dollar budgets and decided which bills passed and which ones didn't.

Now two face federal corruption charges, and the third - Gov. Andrew Cuomo - appears eager to focus on other issues even as he faces questions about his ties to a major real estate firm at the center of the newest scandal to rock the state Capitol....

"If the charges are correct, it's deeply disturbing," is what Cuomo said following the arrest of Senate Leader Dean Skelos on charges that he extorted payments for his son from the developer and another business. The Long Island Republican resigned his leadership post Monday.

Skelos' arrest comes after Manhattan Democrat Sheldon Silver stepped down as Assembly speaker in January after he was charged with taking nearly $4 million in payoffs. Both men say they are innocent and are keeping their legislative seats.

In the political language of Albany, the governor, the speaker and the Senate leader are known collectively as the "three men in a room," a nod to the longstanding practice of negotiating the budget and other key pieces of legislation behind closed doors. Silver's arrest came the day after Cuomo referred to Skelos, Silver and himself as the "three amigos" during his budget presentation, which contained a depiction of the three men wearing sombreros.

Millions of dollars in contributions by New York City real estate interests, mainly funneled through LLCs, have been cited in the cases against Silver and Skelos, who received large contributions from Glenwood Management, a New York City real estate firm headed by Leonard Litwin, Cuomo's top donor.

Title Suggestions?

I am contemplating writing a law review article or perhaps a book showing that contrary to what many libertarians and liberals want to believe, the Foundinf Fathers were actually social conservatives: passing laws that criminalized adultery, honosexuality, and gambling.  I have no shortage of such laws passed in the Revolutionary period.  What would be a good title?  Social Conservatism in an Age of Revolution is what comes to mind.

Civil Forfeiture

May 11, 2015 Washington Post reports on DEA seizing $16,000 from a young man who was moving to Los Angeles under civil forfeiture.  They did not charge him  with any crime.  The burden of proof is on him to prove that he had no criminal intent in order to get his money back.
Joseph Rivers was hoping to hit it big. According to the Albuquerque Journal, the aspiring businessman from just outside of Detroit had pulled together $16,000 in seed money to fulfill a lifetime dream of starting a music video company. Last month, Rivers took the first step in that voyage, saying goodbye to the family and friends who had supported him at home and boarding an Amtrak train headed for Los Angeles.

He never made it. From the Albuquerque Journal:
A DEA agent boarded the train at the Albuquerque Amtrak station and began asking various passengers, including Rivers, where they were going and why. When Rivers replied that he was headed to LA to make a music video, the agent asked to search his bags. Rivers complied.
The agent found Rivers's cash, still in a bank envelope. He explained why he had it: He was starting a business in California, and he'd had trouble in the past withdrawing large sums of money from out-of-state banks.

The agents didn't believe him, according to the article. They said they thought the money was involved in some sort of drug activity. Rivers let them call his mother back home to corroborate the story. They didn't believe her, either.
 Didn't A-G Holder promise to do something about civil forfeiture a while back?
The practice has proven to be controversial. Earlier this year, then-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced measures restricting the use of some types of civil asset forfeiture. But as the Institute for Justice noted in a February report, these changes only affect a small percentage of forfeitures initiated by local law enforcement agencies, not federal ones like the DEA. About 90 percent of Justice Department seizures won't be affected at all.
Add your signature to a petition to the White House to end civil forfeiture.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Those White Spots on Ceres Appear To Be Ice

according to this Washington Post story.  Okay that's where the first Ceres station goes.  Ice means drinking water; hydrogen for fuel; and oxygen to breathe.

Lose Money On Each Transaction; Make It Up In Volume

Ars Technica reports on a company following in Righthaven's footsteps, although not yet bankrupt:
Question: Can copyright trolling be profitable without suing over porn?
Answer: Probably not.
At least that's what the example of Rightscorp seems to be teaching. The company is the most recent effort to build a business being an online copyright cop, but financial data made public yesterday shows that Rightscorp, which has never been profitable, is losing money faster than ever.
The RIAA's giant lawsuit campaign lost loads of cash, and Righthaven (remember them?) dried up and blew away after legal setbacks interrupted its collections of four- and five-figure settlements from mom-and-pop bloggers.
The latest incarnation of the business model comes in the form of Rightscorp, which tries to compel Internet users to pay up to $20 per song when its clients' copyrighted works are downloaded over BitTorrent networks. The publicly traded company reported its quarterly financial results yesterday, and they're an unmitigated disaster—although company executives somehow managed to put a happy face on.

Gun Blogger Rendevous

I guess I qualify as a gun blogger.

China Prohibiting Discrimination Based on Religion

Sort of.  Rather the same way that progressives are protecting homosexuals.  The May 5, 2015 Washington Post reports:
Chinese authorities have ordered Muslim shopkeepers and restaurant owners in a village in its troubled Xinjiang region to sell alcohol and cigarettes, and promote them in “eye-catching displays,” in an attempt to undermine Islam’s hold on local residents, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported. Establishments that failed to comply were threatened with closure and their owners with prosecution.
Instapundit points out that this is roughly the progressive model for destroying religious liberty in America.

How Did This Get Into The Washington Post?

April 25, 2014:
So yes, war is hell — but have you considered the alternatives? When looking upon the long run of history, it becomes clear that through 10,000 years of conflict, humanity has created larger, more organized societies that have greatly reduced the risk that their members will die violently. These better organized societies also have created the conditions for higher living standards and economic growth. War has not only made us safer, but richer, too.

Startling The Books Still In Print

I mentioned a few weeks back a fascinating book published in 1875: The Pistol as a Weapon of Defence in the House and on the Road.  A friend showed me a reprint copy available on

Black Frame Removal?

I filmed a truly impressive lightning storm last night, and now I would like to drop all the black frames from the video, using Corel VideoStudio Pro X6.  I don't see such a filter.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Amazing Books That Appear

when you search for "Newton space unchangeable" in

Ther Short Version of this Article: Don't Be Stupid

From May 14, 2015 CBS Detroit:
CALEDONIA TWP. (WWJ/AP) – Michigan State Police say a Saginaw County man is facing multiple charges for allegedly kidnapping a woman he met through Craigslist.

Lt. David Kaiser said troopers pulled over the 41-year-old Chesaning man around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday in Shiawassee County for suspicion of drunken driving, when they heard a woman calling for help as they approached his car.

According to Kaiser, troopers found a 22-year-old Okemos woman in the back seat with a bag over her head, tape over her mouth and hands tied behind her back. She wasn’t seriously injured.
Kaiser said the man posted an ad on Craigslist expressing his interest in finding a submissive partner, luring the victim with a phony profile.
It makes me all the more confident that meeting my wife at a Bible study was a superior strategy.