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30 November 2010

Problems

I sat down once and thought hard about where some philosophies ultimately lead.

I got some surprising answers, but I never really put them up for debate.

It occurred to me that feudalism is a logical conclusion to libertarianism.  Feudalism is all about property ownership and the rights of property owners.  Even if it's not where it will ultimately end, there's nothing inherent in it to violate a libertarian's sensibilities.  In practice, it is much less libertarian, but it's not too hard to see a functional feudal-libertarian society.

Slavery is also A-OK with libertarians; provided that the slave sold himself willingly or as a punishment for a crime.

Interestingly, the nation-state system is a good way to point out some of the flaws about getting a libertarian society going.  I'll try to find some simple examples and post them later.  Actually, what Germany was up to in 1939 is a fairly decent example.  Germany absorbed, attacked and conquered several nations with little to no interference from nations not attacked.  What does libertarianism do to solve the, "it's not in my interest at all to honor the contract with x, especially since x will not exist tomorrow," problem?  The treaty (contract) is with Poland, and there's a German answering at their number now...

I don't like having to pick on libertarianism.  It's sure a spiffy utopia; but it's got some blind spots you could hide Jupiter in.  For a philosophy to attain functionality it has to be practical in everyday use.  Libertarianism doesn't have an effect defense against a group opting out and ganging up on the neighbors one at a time.  They come pre-divided for conquer.  There is no mechanism for enforcing contracts beyond shunning the contract breaker; all you have to do is watch mutual friends after a messy break-up to see how this doesn't work and there's almost nothing of import at stake there.

28 November 2010

Instructions:
Copy this into your Blog. Bold those books you've read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read an excerpt.  Remove my (comments) and add (yours).

1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen    
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien  
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling (all)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee 
6 The Bible   

7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell    

9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman  
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens    
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott  
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller  
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare    
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier    
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien  
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger 
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch – George Eliot    
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald 
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens  

24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy  (I will not re-read this even on pain of death!)
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams  
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh  
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky  
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll 
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
    

31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy  
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens  
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis  
34 Emma – Jane Austen    
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen    
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis    (Part of the Chronicles of Narnia!)
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Berniere  
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell 

42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown  
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins  
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding 
   

50 Atonement – Ian McEwan  
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen    
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon  
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens 
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley    

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon  
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez  
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck  
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov  
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt  
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold  
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas  
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac    

67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding  
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville  
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker    

73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett  
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath  
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome  
78 Germinal – Emile Zola  
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray  
80 Possession – AS Byatt    
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens    
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell  
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro  
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert    
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White   
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle    
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad    
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery  
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks  
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams  
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas 
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare    (Part of The Complete Works of Shakespeare!)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl 
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo 



A fair number of these I read because someone had made a movie out of it.

Lost Revenue.

When talking about intellectual property something comes up time and again.

How much money the owners are losing due to lost sales.  Also known as "lost revenue".

It is certain that there are people who would have bought and paid for the content if it had not been available on the black market for free.  What is wrong about the assumptions here is that everyone who obtained the content for free would have paid for it if that had been the only way to get it.

I think that is the majority of the "purchasers" and counting people who would have gone without rather than pay as lost sales is inflating the impact of illegal file sharing.

Let us also consider lost sales from other means.  Recently Apple finally got to add The Beatles music catalog to iTunes.  CNET's Buzz Report had a humorous mention of it.  While they were wrangling about the right to SELL the catalog online, people were just ripping their CDs.  People who would have happily paid $1.29 a song on iTunes but couldn't because it wasn't being offered for sale.  This is a genuine lost sale.  Even the original mp3 sharing haters, Metallica, have their tunes on iTunes.

How about "out of print"?  There have been many songs I have wanted to purchase but could not because it was not available from iTunes nor from the local music store on CD.  Oftentimes I am forced to make a longish drive to the used music store to see if they happen to have what I want.  OK MPAA, who benefits from this if the used store doesn't have it?  I don't have the song I want and nobody is getting paid.  I want to pay, I spent money on electricity and connectivity to check iTunes and ebay, I spent money on gas and time to physically run to the local brick and mortar stores.  Florida Power got paid.  Verizon got paid.  Shell got paid.  The people selling music didn't get paid.  The artist didn't get paid.

Tell me, MPAA, how is finding this song online from a pirate costing you money?  You are refusing to sell it.  I would like to point out that finding it at Vinyl Fever doesn't send any money your way either since it's used.  Who's cutting whose throat here?  What percentage of online piracy falls into this category?

As the copyright holder, it is your right to decide not to sell it.  What I am attempting to point out to is that you are ignoring a market demand for a product you can sell!  Digitize all the "out of print" songs in your vast libraries of music and sell them on your very own web sites for 50¢ a song.  That's $0.50 more per song than you are making now. How much are you spending on lawyers to win judgements for sums you will never be paid?  General Pyrrhus is calling on line two...

The big-huge neutronium simian in the room, movie and recording industries, is that your business model is broken.  You are failing to adapt to changing conditions and it is killing you.  What I think is happening is you can see that the successful music/movie model is much, much less lucrative (but still profitable) than the old one and you desperately don't want that to happen.  What you need to accept is that it has already happened.

I have an IP example for you.  Third Wire makes a combat flight sim I enjoy called "Strike Fighters 2".  It's a series of six $20 installments.  You get it via download at their web site.  They do not put any form of copy protection or DRM on the files.  I could pay once and make dozens of copies and send them to my friends on CD's for Holy Robaunakka without any difficulty.  I don't because I am honest.  What about others?  The Strike Fighters series is conspicuous in its absence on torrent sites.  Buh wah?  How can that be?

I think it really boils down to a good product at a fair price.  There's no anger about being "ripped off" to dissipate.  Without the DRM there's no challenging puzzle to break for the hackers.  Don't fool yourselves IP owners, that shiny puzzle is the entire reason some of these titles are out there.  The DRM free pirate download is their proof they succeeded in solving the puzzle.  People getting the product for free is a side effect, not a goal of the hacking.

Fix your model and business will follow.

27 November 2010

Violation of copyrights constitute a danger to homeland security?

WHAT?

I'll grant that what these web pages were doing is illegal, but is DHS the correct agency to be doing this?  Immigration and Customs is mentioned here, but when did they get authority over strictly domestic commerce (or crime)?  Isn't this an FBI thing?  Like the message we all ignore while getting snacks says?  It's literally an FBI warning, not a Immigration and Customs Enforcement Division of the Department of Homeland Security Warning.  Update: I gather that this article explains how DHS Div ICE has the authority to be enforcing copyright law.  I notice the beginning of the article states "strong bipartisan support".

What leap of logic makes pirating a DVD something DHS should take action on and millions of illegal intruders from Mexico isn't?

If I watch a pirated movie, the terrorists win?

If I listen to a ripped CD, Osama Bin Laden declares victory?

This has got to the fastest I have ever seen mission creep assert itself.  It took 60 years for the ATF to add explosives to their name and less than ten for DHS to assert that interstate is the same as international.  International commerce, the stuff we have customs for.

This is the small thing that makes we worry that the next thing will be customs stations at state borders.

And here is my little fight back proposal.  Choke this at the source.

Stop buying music and movies.  Do not go to the theater.  Do not attend concerts larger than a small bar. Do not buy CD's.  Do not purchase DVD's.  Don't download pirated stuff either, that encourages at least one person to keep buying.  Consume nothing the MPAA or RIAA has hold of.  Starve them.  You can't tell me they don't deserve it.

This also has the side effect of starving the crazy celebrities who constantly use their status to tell us how we're living our lives wrong.

Perhaps once starved the MPAA and RIAA will adopt a business strategy that will sell the product for a price people are willing to pay.

UPDATE: More on the story.
American Thinker on the general story.
Examiner on S.3804

Nigel Farage: 'Who the Hell do You Think You Are: The Euro Game Is Up!'


Wow! I think we could do with a bit of this insulting honesty in our legislative chambers.

26 November 2010

Organic and sustainable...

There's an old racist joke; "What do you call ten black guys sitting in a field?"  "Abandoned farm equipment."

I was watching "Cadillac Records" last night and it had a couple of scenes showing how Muddy Waters was discovered and that showed how sharecropping was done in 1941.  Lots of people with hand tools in the fields doing what a tractor and some chemicals does today.

Slavery was GREEN!

So was the Peasant/Serf deal.

Bear in mind that this is the logical conclusion of "organic" agriculture.  To get everyone back in the fields labor has to be cheap enough that prices of the crops are not affected.  Think about how little our farm equipment must be paid.  It rapidly gets to the point where just feeding them is all a land-owner can afford.

Even without slavery or feudalism, manual farming is a low profit venture.  The romanticized family farm for centuries was mostly a sustenance level business with very little going to sale.  Access to market was a large part of it.  Why grow more than you can eat if what you have to sell is going to rot before you can get it to the buyer?  This is also why grain is so much more common a crop than, say tomatoes.  Grain is a lot easier to render to a form that can be stored until, at least, next season.  This means a wagon of it will last until it can be horse drawn to the market for sale.

Do some reading about the medieval diet.  Cereals and legumes dominate.  Then some fruits and root vegetables and finally a wee bit of meat.  Things that were not cereal tended to be grown at home in a garden.

When was the last time you were confronted with a organically sustainable cattle drive?

Where did all this rustic, sustainable, Gaia friendly agriculture go?

It was mechanized.

Even back during the Civil War slavery was doomed.  A cotton gin was simply cheaper than keeping slaves from a purely economic perspective.  The moral argument falls pretty squarely on the gin's side too.

Then there are trains.  Trains allowed the crops to be delivered to distant locations before they could spoil.  They allowed animals to be carried to the slaughterhouse in much healthier condition, giving the rancher more profits.

Then there are plows, discs, planters, combines, pickers, seeders, sprayers...  All manner of handy machines developed to make farming faster and less labor intensive.  Those increased yields means more food, more food means less famine.

Then we have chemicals.  Fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.  More food survives to be harvested, more money for the farmer, more food-less famine.  These chemicals are what makes our current methods of farming sustainable.  They replenish the chemicals in the soils and just the chemicals that were depleted without dropping a large percentage of material that's hazardous to life while growing and clings to the crop all the way to market.  Look up why pottage had to be boiled for three hours to be safe to eat some time; it has nothing to do with flavor or texture preferences.

Then there are genetically altered crops.  Which is something I always giggle about.  Our distant ancestors have been genetically altering our (their) food since before we stopped hunter-gathering.  Just ten thousand years ago, that boutique toy chihuahua's ancestor was a wolf.  Mr yip dog is the product of genetic alteration via selective breeding.

Wheat was, centuries ago, just a kind of wild grass.  The same sort of husbandry was used to create better yielding crops.

Modern gene altering really just eliminates some random chance and speeds up the process.  The output is not really any different, in fact that's a goal.  To make the plant more resistant to hazard X without lowering yields or changing quality.  Quality means things like flavor and safety.

So just remember, when some environmentalist starts talking about "sustainable" agriculture, it's talking about slavery and famine.

24 November 2010

Ranges

The range I frequent most often is indoor.  The lighting sucks.  At the firing line there are no lights.  The space behind the line is well lit and the range itself is lit fairly well.

What this gives is the rear sight of my AR is lit from behind and the front sight is in shadow.

It's surely affecting my accuracy.

There's a nice outdoor type range that's a pain to get to and has hours that don't mesh well with mine.  I will definitely have to see if I get different results up there.

Something about this doesn't make sense...

“The technological limitations of 9-1-1 can have tragic, real-world consequences,” the release said. “During the 2007 Virginia Tech campus shooting, students and witnesses desperately tried to send texts to 9-1-1 that local dispatchers never received. If these messages had gone through, first responders may have arrived on the scene faster with firsthand intelligence about the life-threatening situation that was unfolding.”

Um, isn't that thing you are using to send a text also a phone?  Don't try to say you didn't have minutes since every cell phone is required to be able to talk to 911 even if it's got no service connected to it.

Truly, it is the little things.

I change my own oil.

On one hand it's a tedious chore.  On the other it's a moment of zen.

It's absolutely dirt simple.  Get the ramps out.  Drive the car up on them.  Get the tools out.  Crawl under the car with the drain pan.  Take out the drain plug and drop the filter.  Crawl out from underneath.  Get the new filter ready.  Crawl back under.  Replace the drain plug.  Install the new filter.  Crawl out from under, bringing the tools and pan.  Pop the hood.  Put in the proper amount of the correct oil.  Check the oil level. Close the hood.  Drive down off the ramps.  Put the ramps away.  Sweep and clean up.  Put car away.

Do you know how many people cannot do that even if provided with tools?

Do you know how many people can do that, but don't own the tools?

This is something everyone should know how to do and have the tools to do it.  Even if you take it to Jiffy Lube, you should be able to do it on your own.

23 November 2010

Hmmmmm?

Since I have dipped my toe into product testing; I would be more than happy to give one of these a spin should one magically appear on my door-step.

+3 mag extension and bayonet lug for Remington 870.


Hecho en Canada.

I agree, can we give them directions too?

Read the whole thing.

Realizing that you are losing your grip on the public schools, that the youth that propelled the boy-king to victory have abandoned you, that the bitter, blue collar white workers are now Tea Party grandmas and grandpas, that you have lost control of the federal checkbook and the legislative calendar, 

now you want to petition for peace?

now you cry out for civility and consensus?

I have a message for you:

Go. To. Hell.
Yeah, that says it nicely.

22 November 2010

Rate of Fire

In my ammo test below, despite having an NFA registered deadlysemiautomaticassaultweapon I didn't manage much for a rate of fire.

I fired 90 rounds in about 40 minutes.

I had only brought the one twenty round evilhighcapacityfeeddeviceclipmagazinethingthatgoesup.

My cyclic rate of fire is 2.25 rounds per minute.  A musket can do that!

For shame.  For shame.

Expansion on "Giving Up?"

The undertone I keep getting from the quitters is that nothing will change where we are headed, except bloody revolution.

I wonder why they are so dead set against peaceable means.

Ultimately these efforts may prove to have been futile; but only in hindsight can we be certain they are.

Besides, if you drop me in the middle of the Pacific it is very likely I will drown.  That does not mean I will stop treading water because the outcome is preordained.  There's a very slim chance of a ship finding me.  I will take that chance.

Ammunition review

Ammo For Sale has a marketing rep who read my Live Journal and is apparently reading this blog as well.

She contacted me and asked if I would be willing to give them and some ammunition a review.

I agreed.

Two days later I had two 20-round boxes of Sellier And Bellot 5.56x45mm 55gr M193.

I cannot complain about the speed of the shipping for free ammo; but if I had paid for it I would be thrilled at how fast it got here!  Yes, FCC, it was provided for free by Ammo for Sale so that I would review it.  The boxes were well packed in their shipping box and were undamaged in shipping.

Another disclaimer I should put out there is that I was already a fan of Sellier and Bellot because they are one of the few companies who loads 6.8x43mm SPC.

I brought along some PPU M193 and Black Hills blue box 68gr Heavy Match HP for comparison.  Previously, Sabrina has really "liked" the Black Hills ammo.



To the range!


All shots were fired from the lovely Sabrina resting on a block.  Sabrina has an 11.5" 1:9 chrome-lined target-crowned 4150 barrel with a faux-moderator on it.  She is a registered short-barrel rifle.  I run an M16 bolt carrier and an H type buffer.

I would like to point out that I am not an elite sniper tacticool marksman or anything.  I consider myself a fair to middlin shot, and you can see that here.

First I fired 10 rounds of the S&B M193 at 25m to check my zero.

Then 10 rounds at 50 yards.

Then 20 rounds at 100 yards.  I should not that I can't see these half sized silhouettes very well at this distance on Shoot-Straight Tampa's indoor range very well.  The key-holes on the side are caused by the ventilation system curling the target round and not a lack of stabilization in the ammo.

Next I fired 10 rounds of the PPU at 50 yards.

Then 20 rounds of Black Hills at 50 yards.

And finally 20 rounds of Black Hills at 100 yards.

I think that the S&B is comparing favorably to the Black Hills at 50 yards, but has just a bit more spread at 100.  It's a LOT cheaper too.  The PPU was marked as Yugo surplus when I bought it and it was about the same price that Ammo for Sale is charging for S&B.

There was a more noticeable flash from the muzzle than with the Black Hills ammo, but nothing dazzling.  The spent casings were coming out in the 3-4:30 arc.

All in all I am very happy with the performance of this ammo; especially since it's cheaper and groups tighter than the surplus fodder I had been using for plinking.  When I get some money ahead I fully intend to buy some!

21 November 2010

The Smallest Minority: Engineer Joke

The Smallest Minority: Engineer Joke: "This came out of a seminar at work today on the importance of specifications. Supposedly it's a true story from a few years ago. (And if I..."

19 November 2010

Giving up?

I am getting mighty sick of reading otherwise intelligent bloggers who are looking at the enormity of the problem before us and packing it in.

Or at least they are saying that we're doomed and nothing we do will change that.

Now that you've said it, shut up and go away.  Go in peace and let prosperity forget you were ever our kinsmen.  We have no need of defeatism.  I think I shall start commenting next time you get mad about something to remind you that we're doomed and getting mad about it won't change anything.

The problem is huge.  However, the problem was created by man, therefore it's curable by the same means.  The solution is not going to drop in our laps all at once.  It is going to take years of effort to reverse the juggernaut.  Avalanches start with pebbles as it were.

The most positive thing I can point to is a great many people are finally rediscovering liberty.  What you are doing with your "we can never win, so we should give up" posts is attempting to insure that your dire predictions come true by discouraging this rediscovery.

Fuck that!  I say!

Pointing out the abuses our liberties are suffering is good, we should keep an accounting of them.  We can recover our lost liberty, but it will be one thing at a time.  Perhaps the best example of this is guns.

Remember how doomed our gun rights were in 1994?

In 1994 it was illegal to make new semiautomatic rifles that had more than a few cosmetic features, today the AR-15 is the most popular rifle in the country.

In 1994 there were 12 states that flat banned concealed carry.  In 1994 there were 17 states that might issue a carry permit, but likely would not.  in 1994 there were just 20 states that were "shall issue".  In 1994 only Vermont had true Constitutional Carry.  Today?  Today there are only two states that ban CCW.  Today there are only 8 states are "may issue".  Today 37 states are "shall issue" (I am counting Iowa as shall issue even though their law doesn't take effect until 1/1/11).  Today three states have Constitutional Carry.

In 1994 the talk was "What shall we ban next?"  Today the talk is about unlicensed open carry!  Today there is talk of removing short barrel rifles and sound suppressors from the National Firearms Act.  Today there is a thin, but real, chance of getting the Hughes Amendment repealed.

But if we'd rolled over and given up in 1994 we would not have made what progress we have today!


Where there is life there is hope; I am not dead yet.  Are you?

18 November 2010

My Grail Guns

This is not quite the same as the previous senseless gun wants.  These are guns I expect to someday actually own (and be proud of).  They are mostly guns I used to own too.  The ones that got away.

A Brazilian M-1908 in 7x57mm that's as nice as the one I had to sell to eat.

A Remington-Rand M1911A1.  Condition has to be either nearly new like the one Dad gave me (and I sold) or moderately banged up like the one I was issued.

Colt Mustang.  The SIG P238 is a near clone, but the original has the Kool-Aid.

Colt M-1917.  It just fits my hand better than the S&W M-1917.

Colt Anaconda 4" barrel in .45 Colt.  Another one that got away.  I have one with a 6" barrel in .45, it needs a friend.  I had a .44 Magnum 4" and sold it.  It wasn't the same.  I think that I would also like a 6" in .44; but the desire is not near as strong.

Marlin 1894 Cowboy in .45 Colt.  I love the lines and the appeal of a lever gun that's chambered in the same round as my revolver is strong.  This isn't really a grail gun since it's still in production, but it seems to be hard to find one.  This rifle would need a companion revolver for cowboy action shooting, a Ruger Vaquero or S&W Model 3 clone would do; but I could live with just having the Marlin for quite a while.

That will do me for now.  Other guns get added to this list and fade away while these remain constants.

Hey, I have one of those!

Jay G has posted his list of grail guns.


Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless, .32 ACP.  Made in 1913.  It's lacking an original magazine, but it's in damn fine shape all things considered.

Considering that gun and pawn shops down here are practically awash with both these and it's bigger brother the Modeel 1908 Pocket Hammerless, .380 ACP I was surprised to hear Jay call them rare.  The Army issued guns (parkerized with walnut stocks) are rare, but not the blued.

I have a 1908 too:

It's not in as pristine shape, but that's OK.  It's got character.  Please note the original magazine!  Those are not very easy to find.  This is one of my favorite pistols.  It's old enough to have charm, beat up enough that I don't think twice about carrying it, and it's a damn fine shooting gun considering that it was made in 1926.  I damn sure know I will not be in this good of shape when I am 84.

17 November 2010

Did you know?

That not a single living winner of the Medal of Honor has ever deserved it?

Not one.

If you don't believe me, just ask the recipients.

Here's an example:

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7054225n

"Think about how good the great soldiers are." SSG S. Giunta; after describing himself as a "mediocre" soldier.

Of .45 ACP and Luger

I was forwarded this article about the sole surviving .45 Luger left over from the competition that led to the M-1911.

It got the juices flowing.

I understand why guns like Lugers, Broom Handle Mausers, and Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless' are no longer made.  Labor costs.  They are very complex and require expert machinists to make them.  Not to mention intricate small parts that need a true expert's hand getting things like heat-treating correct.

Most modern guns have have "rationalized" designs, meaning they are designed with the tooling to be used in mind.  This makes them much cheaper to manufacture than the turn of the century designs.  Not to mention the old designs are nearly 100% tool steel.  Relatively expensive and something of a pain to work.

Because of the expenses, it's hard to see new-made versions of these guns being profitable.

That doesn't mean I wouldn't want to try.  A goodly hunk of the machinist's skill can be taken up with an appropriate (and God-Aweful Expensive) multi-tool/multi-axis CNC milling machine.  A very expensive item all by itself.

I'd like to see a Luger M-1911.  I'd like to see new Broomhandles in .45.  I'd love to see a locking breech version of the M1908 hammerless in 9x19mm (and an upscaled .45 in this elegant shape).

Hell, we could even make clones of the originals too, but some designs will not be good sellers since the market is still absorbing the original production runs from 60 years ago.

15 November 2010

13 November 2010

Gaming problem.

I'm working on a one-shot SEAL's "adventure" for my next trip to Iowa.

An important characterization is weapon preference.  Men would become attached to "their" weapon and retain it even if it had been officially replaced.

It's appropriate for the characters to have an opinion that one or another variation are superior to the others.  The difficulty is expressing to the players why they should have such opinions.

Some would abandon the old gun and grab the latest and greatest (sometimes regretting it when it proved to be an unreliable experiment.)

A problem I have is that in late '67 a SEAL platoon would have their choice of five versions of the M16; The green-stocked AR-15 R601, black-stocked AR-15 R602, XM16E1, M16A1 or an M16A1 equipped with an HEL Mk 4 suppressor.  Except for the silenced version, they're identical in game terms.

In real terms there are many minor differences that would matter to the user.  The R601 and R602 do not have captive front take-down pins.  That means it could be lost.

The XM16E1 and M16A1 introduced the forward assist.  There are strong opinions to this day about the need and utility of this device.  Some regarded it as, at best, a needless complication, some even considered it an accident waiting to happen.

11 November 2010

That Volohk Conspiracy Post

The comments thread brings up the question of whether armed Jews could have actually stopped the Nazis and changed things.

The Warsaw ghetto is often shown as an example of yes, but that uprising didn't change the ultimate outcome; the Nazis took Warsaw and killed those jews.  I say it's not a good example.  It's a good case study for showing that any gun is useful to resistance.

The example I think makes our point is the Bielski's.  They even made a movie about it.  They armed themselves, remained armed and lived to the end.  Success!

Quote of the Day

"Capabilities, not intentions.
If you deny a government, however benign, the capability to perform an action you no longer have to worry about its intentions changing.
Given that gun registration in practice doesn’t appear to have actually achieved any proposed compelling government interest in public safety what then is the reason for allowing a registry which has the capability of being misused?
The burden of justifying the thing is on the proponant of a registry not the critic. Not “what harm” but rather “what good”?"

Matthew Carberry in comments to Volohk.

Veteran's Day!

Say thanks!  Buy a drink.  Pick up the tab for dinner.

It was an honor to have served and I thank my fellow veterans.

10 November 2010

Minor Irritation

Sometimes comments remind me of people who, in a conversation, are just waiting for their turn to talk.

Some commenters never seem to comment on the topic of the post, rather they comment on something that's only tangentially related to the topic.

At times, this can lead to interesting side discussions.

Most of the time it's just the commenter saying, "I want to talk about this and I am using your post as an excuse to bring it up."  Gee, you think that if I wanted to have that discussion here I might have brought it up myself in a post about that topic?  Oh, wait, I didn't... So maybe I wanted to talk about the topic at hand instead?

Kthnxbye.

Senseless Gun Wants

Thanks to Jay.

He's made a list of guns he calls guilty pleasures.

Here's mine:

Stoner 63: It's fragile, it's obscure, it's rare, it's NFA.  It was Gene Stoner's attempt at making a universal gun for general issue.  The SEAL teams loved the LMG variation, to the point of having Reed Knight reengineer them to use the belts from the M249 rather than just adopting the M249.

BAR: And not the Browning hunting version either.  It can be had in semi-auto too; essentially giving you an M1A for triple the cost and twice the mass!

Virtually any semi-auto version of something belt fed: It's pure geekno lust.  Such devices are utterly useless as anything but smile generation.  Smile generation alone might make it worth it.

A 40mm grenade launcher: The real lust is for an XM148 CGL-4.  I don't think that a single one is in civilian hands.  Barring that an M203 would do; but the retro lust cries for the M79.  Never mind that reloading the training ammo is around $15 a shot and actual explosive rounds have a $200 per round NFA tax on them on top of being $300 each already...  Oh, there's a buck-shot round that's every bit as effective as a 20ga #4 buck load for just $30 per round too!

Baby Browning: Anything in .25 ACP fascinates me.

FIE Titan: Part of the .25 ACP fascination.  I had one once and have misplaced nostalgia for one in stainless with rosewood stocks.  It was not a good gun at all, but it is the first gun I ever conceal carried.

FN49: The parent to the FAL.  My preference is for the 8mm Egyptian model, but a Belgian in .30-06 would be fine too.  Of course a 7x57mm Venezuelan is OK as well.  Who am I kidding, I'd take any or all of them.

09 November 2010

6.8 SPC

What is it about 6.5 Grendel owners that cannot accept that it is no longer 2002?

I hear it repeatedly, "6.8 is just 7.62x39 for an AR."  Um, no.  Especially since it was specifically designed to out reach 7.62x39.  At 400 yards the drop from an AK is about 54"; the 6.8 is about 35".  To put that in perspective, with an AK I'd have to aim nearly an entire person above the target to hit center mass.  The 6.8's drop is comparable to the 77gr Mk 262 at this range.  Gee, is Mk 262 just a ultra-light 7.62x39mm round for the AR?  Even more fun is some 6.8 loadings are carrying 50% more mass at the same velocity as the Mk 262 at 400 yards.

Some numbers:

AKM firing a standard 123gr 7.62x39mm round has 2,300 fps (1,444.6 ft/lbs) at the muzzle and 1,324 fps (478.7 ft/lbs) at 400 yards.

16" barrel 6.8 AR firing a 115gr Sierra Match King has 2,650 fps (1,792.9 ft/lbs) at the muzzle and 2,143 fps (1,172.5 ft/lbs) at 400 yards.

See?  Not 7.62x39mm at all.  More energy at all ranges, less drop at long ranges.

I think it comes from the mediocre loadings from Remington in the way back.  That was also when SAAMI spec chambers and 1:10 rifling were the norm.  The Remington loads were loaded 200-300 feet per second slower than current standard ammunition.

Virtually all 6.8 manufacturers have changed to the Spec 2 chamber and 1:11 rifling.

Another gigantic problem with internet debate on cartridge performance is utter faith in online ballistics calculators and a complete absence of measured data.  If you plug the 6.8's muzzle velocity with a 115gr SMK's numbers you don't get 2,143 fps, you get 1,669 fps (711 ft/lbs) at 400 yards.  That's STILL more energy than a 7.62x39mm though...

Grendel owners, put down the Kool-Aid and do some research before you go off about the limitations of 6.8 as it compares the 7.62x39.  Perhaps it was true against the underloaded Remington ammunition eight years ago; since then a lot has changed.  Refusing to acknowledge that change is making you look foolish (at best).

By the way, if you want to see a real "7.62x39mm for the AR" check some supersonic loads for .300 Whisper or the forthcoming .300 AAC Blackout.

07 November 2010

Barbie Things

AR's accumulate.  Parts for AR's likewise accumulate.

Before long you need, "just one more part" to turn the left over parts into a complete gun.

I'm almost there for a 6.8 upper.  I need a muzzle device, gas tube, bolt carrier group and a forward assist.

A problem with this is that the YHM lightweight 4-rail doesn't suit me.  It's in the parts bin because I put a LaRue 4-rail on Dottie.

The Barrel is a Kotonics/Cardinal that got replaced with one from Bison because I didn't like how the Troy Medieval muzzle brake looked on it.

The flat-top upper is left over from my experiment at making Kaylee into an M4 clone.

I have two choices for the gas block, a YHM railed block or a conventional front sight base without a bayonet lug.  I don't like either, to be honest.

Whats to do, whats to do.

05 November 2010

Shame!

Florida has a population of around 18.5 million people.  About 12 million are registered to vote.

5,344,493 people voted for a gubernatorial candidate.

2,611,968 voted for the winner.

44.5% of the voting population voted.  21.8% voted for the new governor.

That's not a massive percentage.

6.5 million people aren't registered to vote.  I assume many are ineligible for one reason or another.

It's the nearly 6.7 million people who are registered and didn't bother who should be ashamed!

It's entirely possible that these voters are people who've been registered by our motor voter law and never intended to vote.  But that's sure a whole lot of people.

Social Justice

Putting everyone in the water and destroying the boat because at one time the owner of the boat made someone else row it without paying them.

Wouldn't it be better if everyone had a boat?

04 November 2010

Boo Hoo!

WHINE We didn't get veto proof majorities in the house and senate and the morons infesting the places where morons are most prevalent prevailed.

Whine.  Whine.  Whine.

It's all over, we can't win.

Whine.  Whine.  Whine.

How about you shut the fuck up?  Pour a big glass of it.

This was a win.  A huge one.

There is no such thing as a final victory in this arena.

I know from reading your posts that you know that this is a process.  Try to remember it.

It took how many years to fuck things up this bad?  It cannot be hand waved away, and you knew that on Monday.  We're in elephant eating territory.  One.  Bite.  At.  A.  Time.

If you give up because we didn't achieve Complete Victory™ then you may as well forget about politics because you're never going to see that.

What we have now is an awakened electorate.  You've got to keep them awake and engaged.  You have to show them that it's the right thing to stay engaged and to keep the new Republicans focused on why they were elected.

My little 35 hits a day blog isn't enough, some of you doomsayers are getting thousands of hits a day.  STOP IT!  Don't whine that the victory was not enough.  Cheer, consolidate and prepare for the next battle.

03 November 2010

Kudos!

Ms. Sink!

Thank you for conceding the election even though the margins were very narrow.  Frankly I had expected several rounds of recounts and at least one legal challenge to go to the courts.

Perhaps other Democrats will follow your example in the future *cough* Franken *cough*.

It's been a long time since this happened.

The house changed party and the senate did not.  IIRC it's been like 95 years since that last happened.

01 November 2010

A small thing.

Please take note of the Second Amendment Foundation icon link gizmo over on the right.

They're the guys that got us Heller and MacDonald.

Give if you can.