31 July 2007

Oh Boy

I have been reading a blogger who claims he doesn't like Science Fiction.

Says that the benefits of his classical education granted him access to better plots, characters, dialog, etc ad nauseum.

I read his long explanation. I understand now. He's a snob.

He had a classical education and teachers that would explain the impenetrable classics. I imagine that some of those stories are quite good once they had been explained!

Especially fun is his explanation that several works of science fiction aren't science fiction at all. His classical education didn't do a good job and he creates new categories to put sci-fi he does like into. He thinks that sci-fi is ONLY fiction written to demonstrate a novel change in technology, and if there is no such change then it isn't sci-fi. He also states that such fiction is written merely to showcase the nifty tech.

He totally missed the point, I think. Many times the novel tech is inserted to lend a higher contrast to a social or moral position. Sci-Fi is "what-if?" What if there was a time machine and white supremacists gave thousands of AKMs to the Army of Virginia? The novel tech is a time machine, but the story I refer to doesn't center around that device or the people who own it.

Science Fiction is making a change and following the effects of that change to their logical conclusion.

He whines about how all his friends read Heinlein and he had to read it because they did.

My favorite part is where he goes on a tear about the government in "Starship Troopers" isn't any better than ours. It might not be. The only difference between that government and mine seems to be how the voters are selected. There are characters in the book that state that the only reason to continue using this form of government is that it seems to be working.

He then states that the government in Starship Troopers is "unconstitutional". OK, that's as valid as stating that the second amendment is a violation of British law. Again, when confronted with commentary about Starship Troopers I ask, "Did you really read the thing?" A new government was established after the collapse of global civilization after the end of a world war! A new constitution was drafted for the new government with no regard to its legality in states that no longer existed.

Happy News

The Lovely Harvey has won Parthenon. That's a major internal award at her company. She's also been named the best at what she does in the region she works.

This gets her an all expense paid trip to San Antonio, TX for the award ceremony!

Three cheers for the girl!

30 July 2007

A Question Of Rank (Updated 01Aug14)

A thought occurred to me reading about civilian control of the military. I remember Bill Clinton as being the first president in a long time who hadn't served. That got me to thinking about what rank the various presidents attained in the Military.

Note that the "reserve" does not mean "not active duty". The military has long divided the officers into regular and reserve.

I am showing election to election unless there's a death or resignation for the dates.

2008-2016 Barack Obama -- No military service.
2000-2008 George W Bush -- 1st Lieutenant (O-2) -- Air Force -- No combat
1992-2000 Bill Clinton -- No military service.
1988-1992 George H W Bush -- Lieutenant (O-3) -- Navy Reserve -- WW2 Combat
1980-1988 Ronald Reagan -- Capitan (O-3) -- Army Reserve -- No Combat
1976-1980 Jimmy Carter -- Lieutenant (O-3) -- Navy -- No Combat
1974-1976 Gerald Ford -- Lieutenant (O-3) -- Navy Reserve -- WW2 Combat
1968-1974 Richard Nixon -- Commander (O-5) -- Navy Reserve -- WW2 Combat
1963-1968 Lyndon Johnson -- Commander (O-5) -- Navy Reserve -- WW2 Combat
1960-1963 John Kennedy -- Lieutenant (O-3) -- Navy Reserve -- WW2 Combat
1952-1960 Dwight Eisenhower -- General of the Army (O-11) -- Army -- WW1 and WW2 Combat
1945-1952 Harry Truman -- Colonel (O-6) -- Army -- WW1 Combat
1932-1945 Franklin Roosevelt -- No military service.
1928-1932 Herbert Hoover -- No military service.
1923-1928 Calvin Coolidge -- No military service.
1920-1923 Warren Harding -- No military service.
1912-1920 Woodrow Wilson -- No military service.
1908-1912 William Taft -- No military service.
1900-1908 Teddy Roosevelt -- Colonel (O-6) -- Army -- Spanish/American War Combat
1896-1900 William McKinley -- Brevet Major (O-5) -- Army -- Civil War
1892-1896 Grover Cleveland -- No military service. Drafted for Civil War and paid his way out of service.
1888-1892 Benjamin Harrison -- Brevet Brigadier General (O-7) -- Army -- Civil War
1884-1888 Grover Cleveland -- Same guy as 1892-1896
1881-1884 Chester Arthur -- Quartermaster General (O-7) -- New York Militia -- No Combat
1880-1881 James Garfield -- Major General of Volunteers (O-8) -- Army -- Civil War
1876-1880 Rutherford Hayes -- Brevet Major General of Volunteers (O-8) -- Army -- Civil War
1868-1876 Ulysses Grant -- General of the Army (O-10) -- Army -- Civil War
1865-1868 Andrew Johnson -- Brigadier General of Volunteers (O-7) -- Army -- No Combat
1860-1865 Abraham Lincoln -- Capitan (O-3) -- Illinois Militia -- No Combat
1856-1860 James Buchanan -- Private (E-1) -- Army -- War of 1812 -- Only enlisted president!
1852-1856 Franklin Pierce -- Brigadier General of Volunteers (O-7) -- Army -- Mexican/American War
1850-1852 Millard Fillmore -- Major (O-5) -- Army -- No Combat
1848-1850 Zachary Taylor -- Major General (O-8) -- Army -- War of 1812, Blackhawk War, Second Seminole War and Mexican/American War
1844-1848 James Polk -- Colonel (O-6) -- Tennessee Militia -- No Combat
1841-1844 John Tyler -- Capitan (O-3) -- Virginia Militia -- War of 1812
1840-1841 William Harrison -- Major General (O-8) -- Army -- Northwest Indian War and War of 1812
1836-1840 Martin Van Buren -- No military service.
1828-1836 Andrew Jackson -- Major General (O-8) -- Continental Army and Army -- Revolutionary War, Creek War, War of 1812 and First Seminole War
1824-1828 John Quincy Adams -- No military service.
1816-1824 James Monroe -- Major (O-5) -- Continental Army and Virginia State Troops -- Revolutionary War
1808-1816 James Madison -- Colonel (O-6) -- Orange County Virginia Militia -- No Combat
1800-1808 Thomas Jefferson -- Colonel (O-6) -- Virginia Militia -- No Combat
1796-1800 John Adams -- No military service.
1788-1796 George Washington -- General of the Armies of the United States (O-12?) -- Continental Army, Armies of the United States, Virginia Militia -- French and Indian War and Revolutionary War.

29 July 2007

Realizations

Continued from here.

"Geff?" I ask, "Geff's dead. His asthma got him when that," I point over my shoulder at the traitor curled in a fetal ball in agony, "said he was going to get medicine and betrayed us to New America."

Piper and fuzzy, I get where my imagination is going now.

Oh crap! While I was talking, he got his hand on the thing he was reaching for...
So my counterpart is dead. I guess that shouldn't surprise me; my human body did need things you can't just whomp up in a kitchen. I don't think he's processing what I'm saying; that was an awfully mild reaction to hearing a stranger claim to be your dead friend you're in the process of avenging. I need to keep it simple.
I unclip the ring and hold it out. "See the chain hanging from this? Try to grab it. You should be able to, right? I say you can't, that your hand will pass right through it. That chain is magic; I took it from a ghost. Go on, try to touch it."
If he was James Randi, this would get me a million dollars.
"OK, if you really are Geff, then why don't you seem the least bit concerned that a whacko has stabbed your brother in the gut with a knife and is insisting that you let him die a slow agonizing death while holding you at gun-point?"
"That's not my brother. Maybe his counterpart from another history, but not mine. Appearances aside, there's no way in hell you're strong enough to put a mundane knife through the clothes he always wears these days. As for the gun, panic is guaranteed not to help and I get wierder things than you free with my breakfast cereal. OK, they don't make cereal anymore, but that quote was too good to pass up. Seriously, though, I kill monsters for a living now. Undead and demons, mostly, because I have a talent for finding them. Once you've seen somebody cut in half, only to have the lower half grow a mouth and then both halves keep trying to kill you, plain old bullets just aren't quite so scary anymore."
"Also, if I can talk you down, that stab wound can be healed. And maybe he really is that traitor from your timeline; if so, you can have him. I hate fucking Illinois Nazis. On that point, can you think of any physical changes from after the point of divergence? Does your 'New America' tattoo its members or something?"
"OK, if it's my Chris, he's got a scar on his right forearm from when I rolled the car in Kentucky."

"You know, somehow the dead coming back to life seems more comfortable than what plain old humans do to each other."

Slinging the rifle, I pry Chris' arm away from his belly and check for the scar. And there it is.

"Look!" I say, "It's the prick I say it is."

"I never saw any such scar before, so that's a big point in your favor. It's a good start, but his failure to flee still has me worried. I don't know anything about paratime besides what I've read in science fiction, and as far as I know, those authors were making it up. If you're wrong, my not stopping you means I share in the guilt; I need to be literally stab-somebody-in-the-gut sure about this. Let's see if there's anything on him that doesn't fit. Does his driver's license show a renewal date after the nuclear war? Is he carrying money that wouldn't spend? Is there anything fishy here, anything at all?"
Wow. I never participated in a murder before.
"Oh, about the dead coming back? If that was all it was, I wouldn't rekill them just for being what they are. The nicest ones just devour your flesh. Less cuddly are those that make you their slave for all eternity. And there is no way in hell I'm taking any chance of raising a revenant. I destroy undead for a living, and I freely and publicly admit that I am terrified of revenants. If this Chris dies, there are some funereal rites I will perform. As your undead hunter, I strongly advise you to participate."
"He probably didn't run because he didn't recognize me. Hell, I noticed a long time ago that the wanted posters stopped looking like me a long time ago. Being a guerrilla is more than a little stressful and the food sucks. I had hair last time he saw me too."

Not that anyone could see that I was shiny head bald under the bandanna and boonie hat.

"I would guess that 'this' has a New America ID with his tier number on it. Anything above a 20 is a citizen, anything above 30 is master race. You don't flip off the master race," I hold up my left hand so Felix the Cat can see that the middle finger is gone.

"You wanna check him for ID, go right ahead, I am convinced I got the right one. And I am not entirely certain that I don't want to off every single Chris in every conceivable dimension. It might be cathartic. It might also knock me off the edge, I mean I am talking to comic book character."
"Ouch. The good news is, you can get that regrown if we can get back to town."
There's no way around it. I have to pick a dying man's pocket. For bonus points, he looks just like my brother.
"Here it is. Tier 26, citizen." I hold the card up for everyone to see. Then I drop it and wipe the blood off my hands.
"Okay, he's yours. Let me know when he croaks; we really need to keep him dead. Once that's taken care of, I recommend figuring out where and when we are."



Chevy Rev It Up



That's where I was yesterday.

It's a promotional fair that Chevy is putting on to push the SS versions of their cars.

The big hook is an autocross where you have a chance to win a '08 Corvette. But since they let pro drivers enter, what do you think the odds are of a normal schlep winning? Me too.

It is, however, a lot of fun. They have little skills clinics for driving autocrosses. Some displays showing Chevy's products, now and future.

And you get to beat the snot out of a couple of models.

There's a zero to fast as you can get to zero timed straight line course where you can drive either an '08 Impala SS or an '08 Trailblazer SS.

There's a short autocross where you can take either an '07 Cobalt SS coupe with an automatic or an '07 Cobalt SS Supercharged coupe with a manual. I drove the auto twice, Marv did one each. When I went to try the manual (at close to 9pm) they weren't running, out of gas.

Next event is an easy short autocross in an '07 Corvette. They limited you to two runs for the day. I really want a 'Vette now. WOW.

Last event is for the prize, a long, technically difficult autocross in an '08 Cobalt SS automatic coupe. My time was 42.665, indexed against their designated pro's time that gave me a score of 405 on my first run and 396 (42.845) on my second. The pro runs before each group to establish a base of 1000. Then you compare to his and that gives you your score. Marv got a 588 on his first and 571 on his second.

The top 25 of the prize event run the same course in a Corvette and the top driver goes to the national Rev It Up to compete against the other six top drivers for the '08 Corvette. For a few minutes, 588 was in the top 25. Marv was so close!

Top score of the day was 801. My 405 was about average.

The real thing to take notice of for the "American cars just don't have the quality that Japanese cars have" people. The only work done to the cars all day was TIRES. All them were beat on by people who were trying to get a high score in a race. Not a single car was down all day. There were prolly 5000 people there.

26 July 2007

All Linux All The Time

Ubuntu is installed on the desktop now. There was a scary moment when the boot order made the screen fill with repetitions of "GRUB".

Got it sorted out through some very counterintuitive means.

Both the laptop and desktop retain their XP installations. This is really a familiarization with Linux than a full-on conversion.

The desktop, being a much more capable machine is showing me more of the promise of Ubuntu than the laptop is showing of the Xubuntu. For one thing, Open Office works fine on the desktop.

Ubuntu is an odd mix of Mac and XP. I think I like it, but I have only just gotten my toes wet.

Correction On That Laptop

I am now typing a message using it!

Xubuntu and the wired connection are working. Dunno what was wrong last night.

Still dunno about the wireless.

Laptop Depression

Xubuntu is running on the ancient HP N5195's new 80gb hard drive.

I can't figure out how to get Xubuntu to do anything, but it's running. It can see the wireless card, I think, but not connect. It doesn't seem to be connecting via cable either.

And if it can't network, it's kinda useless.

I know it has to be something I have done wrong, JT had it working at his house.

The XP partition is virgin. I had forgotten what that meant. I just don't want to configure it. In fact, the little "you don't have antivirus" icon infuriates me. It makes me angry enough that I don't want to get anti-virus installed.

It holds the bedroom door open quite well though.

23 July 2007

New Grips For The Little Guns!



I know, calling an M1911A1 clone a "little gun" seems a bit off.

The 1911 came with nice wood grips that were too wide and made me hold the gun to high, allowing the hammer to pinch the web of my hand between the thumb and forefinger. I got rid of those almost the day I got the gun because I had a set of brown plastic stocks I liberated from the Army. Those looked pretty good, but were beat all to hell. I would have stayed with brown plastic, but the style I have are the early variation and very expensive, the later variation has the same problem the wood stocks had. So I asked a local gunsmith about my fit problem and he handed me a bag of take-offs from guns he'd put fancy grips on. $5 later and I have a set of black plastic panels that are almost the same profile as the brown ones!

The Junior came with oiled walnut that just wasn't up to Florida's weather, so I got a set of plastic grips from Numrich.


The Junior grips came very warped and needed some fitting to get the left panel on. All in all, though not bad.

Almost Four Decades

(CHORUS) I blame you for the moonlit sky

and the dream that die 
with the eagle's flight 
I blame you for the moonlit nights
when I wonder why
are the seas still dry?
Don't blame this sleeping satellite

Did we fly to the moon too soon?

Did we squander the chance?

In the rush of the race the reason we chase is lost in romance

and still we try

to justify the waste

for a taste of mans greatest adventure.

(CHORUS)

Have we lost what it takes to advance?

Have we peaked too soon?

If the world is so green then why does it scream under a blue moon?

We wonder why

if the earth's sacrificed

for the price of its greatest treasure

(CHORUS)

And when we shoot for the stars

what a giant step

have we got what it takes

to carry the weight of this concept?

Or pass it by

like a shot in the dark

miss the mark with a sense of adventure?

(CHORUS)


Music:Tasmin Archer; "Sleeping Satellite"

22 July 2007

Rashomon



My head hurt.

The room was completely white, like that scene in THX1138, the prison.

"This is just like the Matrix!" someone else exclaimed.

"Where?" I asked, then I saw him.

Fat and smug and looking like he'd just been plucked out of his living room. Smiling like he'd never betrayed us to New America.

I moved.

Too fast for anyone to react.

The knife felt good going into his fat belly. I twisted it.

He fell back, too soon to feel the real pain that was coming as the punctured intestines started to do their thing.

"I told you what I'd do if I ever saw you again," I whispered into his ear, "Did you think I was kidding?"

"Angus?" he gasped, then the real pain started.

Only now did I look around. I saw some faces I recognized, some who had died in '97.

It hit me, this was just like the start of so many games where we'd made ourselves as characters.

Didn't matter, I unslung the rifle and leveled it at the assembled group, "Touch him, you die..."
That was no normal teleport; I summon Wraithscourge and seek. No prey in range.
Okay, WTF? I'm in a very white room, along with several other people I almost recognize.
"This is just like the Matrix!" I know that voice. From where? Though I was thinking more 'If this is a consular ship, where is the ambassador?'
"Where?" I know that voice, too. And the face. It's on the tip of my tongue; I know it is.
The decision to kill needs no introduction. How did a human find prey I missed? I still can't see it, can't seek it. What is wrong with me? No time for that; let him show me.
He strikes! Wait, his target looks human, too. I seek again, still nothing. That can't be, not this close! Besides, what do you kill with a knife to the gut? Even people can survive that, if a healer gets there in time.
He speaks. Well, whispers, "... did you think I was kidding?"
Gut Wound chokes out "Angus", and he's right! That is Angus' face, Angus'voice. No, wrong tense. That was Angus, back when we were human. Ha! I disbelieve!It doesn't work. 20th century Angus is still there, now pointing a rifle in my general direction. "Touch him, you die."Yet another seek fails to reveal anything. Could that really be Angus? If it is, what did that guy do to deserve such a horrible death? If it isn't, why aren't we all dead? And the bonus round: if that's literally 20th century Angus, is seeing his first bipedal talking cat enough of a shock to make him pull the trigger?
If this gets me shot, it was a bad plan, but the only other choice is killing somebody who could very well be my friend. I dismiss my weapon, hold out my hands and ask "Why?"

"Why?"

OK, if I am seeing a character from Gallacci's stuff, the entirely too white room is probably from me eating moldy rye bread.

On the off chance that what I am seeing is just masking a person, I answered;

"When you betray your brother and your friends to fuckers that make the nazis seem tame you had better expect a knife to the gut when your friends find you. Do you have any idea how long it takes to die from a gut wound if you treat for shock? He's gonna know!"
"Okay, that tracks. Well, almost. Sure, the Angus I know would do that. The problem is, he never mentioned such an enemy. You look just like he did ... no, you're older. Got it! Paratime! What year is it, your timeline? When did magic come back, or did it? Do you even recognize me?"
Recognize WHO?

Fighting the urge to shoulder the M14, I reply.

"ParaWHAT? It's 2007. The Russians nuked us for Thanksgiving in 1997 because the Germans reunited while they Sov's were fightin' the Chinks. Ain't no magic. And no, I. Do. Not. Recognize you."

OK, I've lost it. I am now talking to the acid trip. I sure hope I wake up.
Finally, things are starting to make sense. On the down side, he's getting ready to crack, and .308 will probably go through my armor twice.
"Paratime: from the book of that name, by H. Beam Piper. The idea that history can happen in different ways in different universes. Maybe you remember the Mirror Mirror episode of Star Trek? Anyway, I think that's what happened here. In my history, the war you describe didn't happen. Sounds like our Chinese were smarter than yours. Magic started working on March 15, 2001, and all sorts of things changed then. Some were good; I really like this new body. Some were bad; I can now critique Dawn of the Dead as a documentary. That kind of undead needs its bones and muscles, so shattering the pelvis really slows them down ... but that can wait, sorry."
"This is going to be a shock. I don't know how to prepare you for it, so I'll just spit it out. You do know me -- I'm Geff. Yes, I really look like this now."
"To answer the obvious question, no, I don't expect you to believe me. Let me show you some evidence. It's right here on my belt."
Not shot yet, good. Now for the really dangerous part. Slowly, I move my left hand toward my trophy ring. Watch the rifle, make sure to freeze if anything happens.


Lyrics Corner

People Who Died

Teddy sniffing glue he was 12 years old
Fell from the roof on East Two-nine
Cathy was 11 when she pulled the plug
On 26 reds and a bottle of wine
Bobby got leukemia, 14 years old
He looked like 65 when he died
He was a friend of mine

(Chorus:)
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

G-berg and Georgie let their gimmicks go rotten
So they died of hepatitis in upper Manhattan
Sly in Vietnam took a bullet in the head
Bobby OD'd on Drano on the night that he was wed
They were two more friends of mine
Two more friends that died / I miss 'em--they died

(Chorus)

Mary took a dry dive from a hotel room
Bobby hung himself from a cell in the tombs
Judy jumped in front of a subway train
Eddie got slit in the jugular vein
And Eddie, I miss you more than all the others,
And I salute you brother/ This song is for you my brother

(Chorus)

Herbie pushed Tony from the Boys' Club roof
Tony thought that his rage was just some goof
But Herbie sure gave Tony some bitchen proof
"Hey," Herbie said, "Tony, can you fly?"
But Tony couldn't fly . . . Tony died

(Chorus)

Brian got busted on a narco rap
He beat the rap by rattin' on some bikers
He said, hey, I know it's dangerous,
but it sure beats Riker's
But the next day he got offed
by the very same bikers

(Chorus)

Teddy sniffing glue he was 12 years old
Fell from the roof on East Two-nine
Cathy was 11 when she pulled the plug
On 26 reds and a bottle of wine
Bobby got leukemia, 14 years old
He looked like 65 when he died
He was a friend of mine

(Chorus)

G-berg and Georgie let their gimmicks go rotten
So they died of hepatitis in upper Manhattan
Sly in Vietnam took a bullet in the head
Bobby OD'd on Drano on the night that he was wed
They were two more friends of mine
Two more friends that died / I miss 'em--they died

(Chorus)

Mary took a dry dive from a hotel room
Bobby hung himself from a cell in the tombs
Judy jumped in front of a subway train
Eddie got slit in the jugular vein
And Eddie, I miss you more than all the others,
And I salute you brother/ This song is for you my brother

(Chorus)

"People Who Died" Jim Carrol

20 July 2007

Thag's Rule For Voting

More of a rule of thumb than rules, but...

No politicians from New York.
No politicians from Massachusetts.
No politicians from Illinois.
No politicians from California.
No Democrats from South of the Mason-Dixon line.
No Republicans from New England.

No anti-gun.
No pro-emissions testing.
No greenies.
No truthers.
No pro-lifers.
No racists (from either side).
No spending increasers.
No raise taxers.

Yes, I know I have just said, "I'm not voting."

19 July 2007

I Am Now Officially A Ricer

Mom's Civic is now in my name and registered in Florida!

Woot!

16 July 2007

McSister What A Wonderful Person

To make a beneficiary claim, I need an original death certificate for each claim. That's four for you scoring at home.

As the executor, it's a short trip and $40 to the court-house for McSister. For me it's $30 to Iowa to get a copy of my birth certificate to prove my relationship to Mom to spend $10 each plus $26 handling and however long it takes to find said records.

Looks like she's gonna make this a war. Looks like I am spending $96 so she doesn't have to spend $40 and some time.

14 July 2007

On Colt

There's a raging debate, several actually, going on at AR15.com about what makes Colt ARs better than everyone else.

More reliable. Anecdotal testimony that they fail less than anyone else during tactical training courses like Gunsite. Few of these anecdotes include what broke on the "lesser" AR.

Chrome-Vanadium steel (CVS) barrel instead of 4150 steel. This one is a tough call since Colt is using a proprietary steel whose properties are not published. It could very well be better than 4150, it could be the same as 4150 but easier to make/machine. The information we need to make the call is not available, but I tend to let Colt have this one, especially since some makers are using 4140 steel!

Colts are Mil-Spec. Whether this is good or not depends greatly on circumstances. Both a Hummer and a Stryker are mil-spec. If someone is shooting small arms at me, I want the Stryker. If I get a fixed amount of fuel to get as far as I can, I want the Hummer. Mil-spec is simply the specifications drawn by the military defining what it is they will be purchasing. Since the color of both the parkerizing and anodizing is called out on the Mil-Spec, it's obvious that one can deviate from it without affecting quality. Materials are specified in some cases, sometimes better, more expensive, materials are available. Minimum performance criteria are specified, this is the hard one.  Mil-Spec calls for chrome lined bores and chambers, while this improves durability it is known to have an adverse effect on accuracy, which is better to have?

I got curious and have ordered a copy of:

MIL-C-70599A (Army) Carbine, 5.56-MM, M4
MIL-C-71186 (Army) Carbine, 5.56-MM, M4A1
MIL-R-63997B (Army) RIFLE, 5.56-MM: M16A2
MIL-R-71135 (Army) RIFLE, 5.56-MM: M16A2E3


Let's just see what they say in about a week, shall we?

Government Profile Barrel. A bit of history is required here. Eugene Stoner had two main goals in his design; first that the recoil forces would all act in one direction, down the axis of the bore and second that it be as light as possible. In pursuit of this goal, he removed as much of the barrel as he could, it starts at 1.000" near the chamber for about 1.500" then tapers to 0.841" over the next 0.750" and then tapers to 0.625" near the front sight base. The M16 and M16A1 continue with 0.625" to the muzzle threads. The M16A2 is 0.750" from the front sight base to the muzzle threads, but is identical under the handguards. One Colt Kool-Aid Drinker (CKAD) has made claims that this profile is specially designed for maximum strength under the stresses of heat and firing and bayoneting, and that he has done Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to prove it. Remember when I mentioned that Colt has not published the properties of their CVS? Without that information it is impossible to do an accurate FEA! Another glaring hole in his position is Mr Stoner didn't have FEA for his design, he had to calculate it manually, with a slide rule, it was the fifties after all.

The M16A2 barrel is thicker from the front sight base to the muzzle because of bone-head soldiers using their rifles as pry-bars, not to improve accuracy or reliability.

The M4 and M4A1 barrels have places where the barrel is cut down to 0.625" diameter to allow the mounting of an M203 grenade launcher, the rebated section is not tapered in, but ninety degrees, that would be a serious stress riser is Mr CKAD is correct about the profiles.

Non-Government Profile Barrels.  Most rifles on the market today have an HBAR (Heavy BARrel) profile.  That starts as 1.000" at the chamber for about 2", then tapers to 0.750" over the next 2" and then stays 0.750" to the muzzle threads.  Lightweight barrels are the same, but taper to 0.625".  There is more meat on an aftermarket barrel; and they are heavier.

Colt makes HBAR barrels too, so we don't really know what CKAD's point is.

Colt uses the Technical Data Package (TDP).  This is an internal Colt document that simply specifies how Colt will achieve the Mil-Spec.  It's their standards and practices.  Things like how threads will be let into the material are called out.  Time and temp to get the correct thickness on the anodizing.  Having and following the TDP would certainly make it easier to duplicate an M16, it's merely one path to the goal.  One example would be rifling, Colt may use broach cut rifling where an aftermarket vendor uses hammer-forged blanks.  After chroming, there is little difference.

Believe it or not, this is just scratching the surface!

13 July 2007

On Rifles...

I am trying to decide why I like my XM177E3 so much and why it's better than the guns that preceded it.

The Mini-14 (5.56x45mm 1:10), after accessorizing, was 9.2 lbs. loaded and poorly balanced. The zero wandered and the accuracy was 6" at 50 yards. Aftermarket support was fair, but OEM support was poor. Bill Ruger was another good reason to not own a Ruger product, traitor.

The Poly Tech M14S (7.62x51mm) was an M14/M1A clone. I replaced the stock with a heavy walnut target model, put a USGI flash-hider on it and replaced the bolt with a USGI one. It shot good, but it never really seemed to fit me and it was really heavy at 11.3 lbs.

The Enterprise Arms home-build of an L1A1 (7.62x51mm) clone fit me and was tack-driving accurate. It weighed 12 lbs. including the 4x SUIT scope loaded but didn't feel like it was heavier than the M14S. I really like the FAL! I parted ways with this one because I got poor. Selling it paid the rent for three months! Unfortunately, something got busted on it sometime after I sold it and the person I sold it to sold it to another friend. I feel bad about that, and am as baffled as the current owner as to why it no longer shoots semi-auto.

The Daewoo DR-200 (5.56x45mm 1:12) was a fine rifle. Good balance, not too heavy at 7.8 lbs. loaded, and it fit OK after I changed from the thumb-hole stock to an ACE Ltd fixed tubular. As far as I know, ACE Ltd is the sole aftermarket vendor for the DR-200. While Daewoo is still in business, the importer, Kimber of Klackamas, OR, tanked. Nothing worse than being afraid to fire your rifle because if something breaks, it's broken forever.

The XM177E3 (5.56x45mm 1:9) fit me right out of assembly. The A1 grip and now the MIAD have just made it better. Gotta hand it to Mr Stoner, he got the ergonomics correct. The faster twist lets me use NATO spec ammunition and aftermarket rounds up to 70gr in weight, the 1:12 on the Daewoo limited me to 55gr. Plus, at 7.3 lbs. loaded, it's the lightest semi-auto I've ever owned!

Updated Modernity

I changed the back strap on my MIAD to see how I liked it. I like the fuller swell at the top. I can sure tell I will be playing with the different combinations for a long time before I settle on the one I like best.
Now, without finger swell. This seems even better, I was grabbing wrong and repositioning with the swell in place.


With finger swell.

Then.


12 July 2007

A Nod To Modernity

Is modernity even a word?  Must be because the spell checker didn't flag it.

I got me a Magpul MIAD grip for my XM177E3 because I liked The Lovely Harvey's so well!

I selected a different back strap and kept the stock trigger guard.





For reference, this is the M16A1 grip it replaces.  I think it will be recycled into an M16A1clone that I want to make for my father in law.




And the original M16A2 grip that I really don't care for.  The serrations in the back are too sharp and the finger swell forces my hand into an uncomfortable position.


Awwwwwwwwwww

It is important to note that I didn't post him like this, this is how I found him.


I guess this means that the window AC is doing a good job, huh?

11 July 2007

Quote Of The Random Interval



One of the serious problems in planning the fight against American doctrine, is that the Americans do not read their manuals, nor do they feel any obligation to follow their doctrine.

10 July 2007

Live Blogging Colonoscopy Prep


July 9, 2007
2:03 PM
I have completed stage one. I had my last solid food at about 7:30 last night. Took two generic Dulcolax tabs and went to bed. Since I got up at 5:30 this morn, I have been blasting liquid into the toilet every hour or so.
I have just taken the first of 16 eight ounce glasses of NuLytely. This is supposed to be super colon blow stuff. Make the shit-chute all photogenic and stuff. It came with "flavor" packets. I chose lemon-lime, and it makes it smell like lemon-lime. There is a faint salty flavor and it's just a bit on the gelatinous side; about halfway between egg-white and water. It is not the horrid nastiness I had been led to expect, but who knows if it gets worse from here.
2:22 PM
Glass two! Much rumbling from downstairs.
A sip of Gatorade blue Berry flavor after the glass seems to help a lot.
2:43 PM
Third one is down, I am getting full. Bleah, I wonder if I can process this shit fast enough to drink a whole gallon in five hours.


3:11 PM
#4 is down! And I got the mail.
Got some dark red-brown bowl filler from it.
3:34 PM
FIVE!
3:46 PM
Six! Six glasses of uberlaxitive! Bwah ha ha ha!
I think I am getting accustomed to this stuff already, it's just wet now.
4:01 PM
That's seven!
Got dark yellow, clear this trip. Not even half finished with the stuff and I am getting near end-game results.
And, yes, I really am going to give a TMI play by play.
4:21 PM
That's eight. The last movement resembled nothing more than that green tea that Lipton sells pre-brewed.
Nummers!
4:53 PM
Nine!  Green BM!  Like Surge!  Like Lime Jell-O.
5:04 PM
SIGH Ten.  This is getting strange.  The fluid emanating from my rectum now resembles nothing less than Windex!

5:31 PM
This is where 11 should be.  I am slowing down in taking the NuLytely as I spend more time in the shitter.
The Windex color is very freaky.

5:53 PM
Much gurgling as I finish 11.  This is beginning to resemble an endurance test.
I am wondering if the whole gallon is really necessary.  This stuff comes in one size.  That means it's enough for the worst case and way too much for the best case.
I posted here with my experiences, but nothing has shown yet.  I am not having near the problems some of the posters there are having.
6:14 PM
I have now drank twelve 8 ounce glasses of this crap. I am getting sick of it.
The gastro had better sing praises about clean and happy my colon is.
6:35 PM
Thirteen ends the suffering.
7:17 PM
The effects are ongoing. The latest BM was back to lime Jell-O green; lots of volume.
7:30 PM
Collapse. Pooping this much exhausting!
July 10, 2007
12:45 AM
Sprayed Windex.
3:30 AM
I am finally empty with one last derisive spurt of Windex like liquid.
6:18 AM
I am parched. I was not allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight, since I was sleeping since 7:30 I missed my chance.
1:52 PM Final Entry
Huh huh huh, he said entry...
Got in. Can we say worst waiting room arrangement ever? You are required to bring someone who can drive you home, so everyone there will be in a pair. The whole place is set up like everyone is going to be talking to everyone else. Nobody seemed very talkative...
The lady taking my insurance and personal information thought The Lovely Harvey and I were a riot. We were joking a lot to take the edge off. Made a lot of fun about the, "Not responsible for lost or stolen items," sign. I can trust them with my life, but not my watch!
Got taken into the prep room, got my gown, slippers and poofy hat. I refused to put it on, but did not fight the nurse when she insisted and placed it on my head. Got my IV done by the actual anesthesiologist! The nurses couldn't find a vein, he had it located and inserted in less than a minute. ICE COLD IV! My whole arm was freezing.
After soaking up some saline for a bit, they wheeled me into the endoscope room. Wired me for vitals monitoring and gave me the good stuff. I asked, "Am I on the good stuff?" "Yup," she replied. "Prolly going not going to feel anything and then THUD, out!" I said.
DISCONTINUITY
"It's all over sir."
Doc says that the lump I found that started this whole mess was just scar tissue from my anal fissures. He found no polyps or masses. My prostate seems normal. I have severe hemorrhoids, that will prolly need surgery someday, but not today. I also have an unusually long colon, prolly genetic.
Got another appointment on the 25th to get the final word.

06 July 2007

ARRRRRRRGH

McSister is a moron.

I need a copy of the death certificate, not a photocopy.  I need an original!

05 July 2007

Well I Tried Anyway

Ubuntu won't install on the laptop. XP will not do what XP does on every other machine I have ever installed XP on.

What a waste of $59 on the hard drive.

I am about an inch away from never touching a computer again as long as I live.

03 July 2007

News Flash!

I am a sympathy seeking jerk with an excuse for everything!

At least according to McSister, I am.

Seems my mom held not a thing said between us in confidence. I had thought better of her.

It seems that because I am, "not a man" and "don't stand up to my wife" I cannot attend the memorial. Wow! I had no idea! I thought it was because I didn't have the money and there is literally nobody to take care of The Boy. How clear things must be from 1,900 miles away.

And why don't I have the money? Because I spent all our discretionary cash on doing the right thing and going to Colorado to say goodbye to Mom. I am sure McSister thinks I only came out because Mom gave me her car. And McSister didn't honor the deal Mom made with me about coming to get the car either, that puts us even shorter financially.

And the date you chose is still the worst day all summer for me to have this. If you had bothered to call and ask before you booked the site, I could have told you that.

I guess it's more comfortable living with your preconceived notions than asking me, huh?

I called the firm managing her IRA find out what forms I need to get them to do the beneficiary thing. They had no record of Mom being deceased! Gee, McSister, isn't that something that the executor should have taken care of right away? The firm indicated that all I need is their forms and a copy of the death cert to claim my benefits. Colorado has an online form for getting a death certificate.

She pulled the martyr card about her sacrifices she made to take care of Mom. Bully for her. I expressed my gratitude for that. I told Mom to give you a larger share of the inheritance because you were the one doing all the work. I appreciate you did that, you deserved more than half. It's not my fault Mom didn't listen to me and give you a larger share. She made you the executor, who has the power to take "reasonable" fees to cover expenses, perhaps this was her way of making sure you got your extra portion.

I guess it's reasonable that you regard me with suspicion, you take after Mom. Every conversation with Mom was a trial for me. Every action I took was judged, harshly. I learned to be very evasive in answering questions, lest I be judged and be found wanting. This makes me seem very shifty and devious. I never chose the path that Mom thought I should have taken, I did not arrive at the destination she felt I should have arrived at. Every action and step I took was wrong. Because I was wrong, I attempted to say what I thought would get me the least amount of "told you so". More than once in my life, I told my mother where to go, and how to get there. There were several times we didn't speak for years.

McSister, now that I know I can get my promised inheritance without you, you will only re-enter my life on my terms. Tough shit if you don't care for them, I don't really care now.

02 July 2007

Selfishness

The Lovely Harvey has a friend, Pam. She is the embodiment of the flaming liberal.

She thinks I am selfish because I really think that a person should fund their own life.

The health care thing really gets her worked up.

She doesn't see that medicine will have to be paid for by someone, all she sees it that she doesn't have to pay directly. She completely misses that what she wants will be paid for, and it will have to be paid for through taxes.

I am selfish because I think that I am responsible for my own care, and thus feel I should pay for the services I use. I am selfish because I think that everyone else should too.

Thus ends the theory portion of todays discussion.

Remember, I am the selfish one.

Pam's grandmother, Sharon, got cancer a few years ago. Sharon was reasonably wealthy. Half million dollar house, stocks, bonds, retired at 45, all heavily tax sheltered. Sharon could have easily afforded health insurance. She chose to go without it. Rather than sell assets to pay for her treatment, she transferred them into Pam's name and went on Medicaid/care. Because she was unemployed and owned nothing, all her nearly million dollar medical bills were covered by the government. As soon as she went into remission, Pam transferred the assets back into Sharon's name.

I am selfish because I think that you should have to pay your own way, Sharon could have afforded to, chose poorly, and because I am forced to be generous via taxation, she pissed almost a million bucks without dropping a dime herself.

By way of comparison, my mom racked up almost the same hospital bills, she didn't cost the taxpayer a penny until she went into hospice. Hospice's total bill was $12,000 paid by medicaid. A far cry from nearly a million.

By the way, Mom paid a lot more than $12,000 in taxes over her lifetime. Sharon managed to pay hardly any taxes because of the way she manipulated the system.

But I am the selfish one.

From here: http://janegalt.net/cgi-bin/MT/mt-tb.cgi/8590 Poke holes if you can.



Matthew Yglesias snarks at CNN:
CNN's SiCKO analysis concludes:

As Americans continue to spend $2 trillion a year on health care, everyone agrees on one point: Things need to change, and it will take more than a movie to figure out how to get there.
Yes, it will. We could, for example, read the earlier sections of the article. For example:
The United States spends more than 15 percent of its GDP on health care -- no other nation even comes close to that number. France spends about 11 percent, and Canadians spend 10 percent.
France . . . Canada . . . cheap . . . but does their health care suck? Well:

Like Moore, we also found that more money does not equal better care. Both the French and Canadian systems rank in the Top 10 of the world's best health-care systems, according to the World Health Organization. The United States comes in at No. 37. The rankings are based on general health of the population, access, patient satisfaction and how the care's paid for.
So, okay, it's not that hard to figure out. France and Canada both have two difference systems of health care delivery both of which are cheaper than the US system and both of which are more effective. What's more, these aren't obscure countries. Lots of people have heard of France. Lots of people have heard of Canada. How hard is it for them to just write the words "Michael Moore is right; American health care would be improved if we adopted French methods instead"?

Forget, for the nonce, the pro's and con's of doing this; don't ask whether longevity statistics might be affected by factors other than the healthcare system. (Many of which, to be fair, Mr Yglesias probably also wants to change; but then you have to ask whether we shouldn't focus on doing those things, rather than mucking around with health care financing.) Just look at our spending patterns.

In the United States, government at its various levels now accounts for roughly 45% of health care spending. (And by "now", I mean 2004, the latest year for which OECD data are available. In 2004, of course, the government provided little prescription drug coverage. Remember that fact; it will become important later.) The United States spends about 15.3% of total GDP on healthcare. That means, for those following along at home, that government spending on health care consumes about 7.7% of GDP.

Canada spends 9.9% of GDP on healthcare. France spends 10.5% of GDP. What is the magic route by which we are going to cover all the people not currently covered by government insurance for 2.2-2.8% of GDP?

  • Even as we walk through the fairyland of perfectly executed policy programmes, there are some magical byways that the Ogres of Reality have blocked off:
  • We will not save massive amounts of money on prescription drugs--because in 2004, the year from which those figures date, the government didn't spend that much money on prescription drugs. So cutting the prescription drug bill will not help you reduce that 7.7% very much--which still leaves you with a paltry 2.5% of GDP to spend on the remaining 2/3rds of the population that currently enjoys health insurance.
  • We will not "save money" by adding younger, healthier people to the government's insurance pool. We may lower the average cost of caring for them, but sticking the nation's 18 year olds onto the Medicare rolls will not lower one iota the amount it costs to replace Grandma's hip. Putting 18-year-olds into the insurance pool is a slightly nicer way of slapping them with a gigantic tax on their earnings in order to cover the old and six; it does not actually make the care any cheaper.
  • We will not get huge savings from preventative care. Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA already have whatever incentives they are going to have to provide preventative care. They are still costing us 7.7% of GDP.
  • We will not garner immense cost-reductions from administrative costs. Medicare, Medicaid and the VA already have European-style administrative costs.
  • We will not realize fantastic cost benefits from bulk-buying. If you want French-style health care (this being the current favourite model of most progressives I talk to), that means that hospitals and doctors are private entities; they do most non-pharmaceutical purchases in healthcare. The centralized model enjoyed by Britain and Canada does provide such cost advantages, but it has severe drawbacks, which is why most progressives I talk to say "that's not what we want". Moreover, I find it exceptionally politicallyunlikely that any American system would ever operate along British/Canadian lines.

Now, I can think of several ways to reduce that spending. But they all have one of two problems: either they could (and should) be done right now; or they are not currently being done because they are politically inconceivable. For example, I could mandate electronic medical records at doctors offices. That might save money. (Might not, of course, but why not try?) But Medicare could do this right now, by the simple expedient of demanding that doctors keep records for Medicare patients using a system that complies with some sort of information standard. If you think that we could save money this way, don't wait for single-payer--go out there and do this right now! Then you can show everyone how awesome government payments systems are.

Aside from that, however, most of my ideas are simple, elegant, and doomed to die an agonising death in committee--like bringing back open wards, slashing the salaries of doctors and nurses, or denying expensive treatments to the elderly, disabled, and other severely ill people. If Matt has better ones for trimming down that 7.7% to a level where we might feasibly cover 200 million other people with what remains from France's spending, I am very interested to hear it.

Otherwise, it seems fair to say that, well, we still need to figure out how to get there.