Saturday, December 28, 2002

YOU MEAN THAT THEY REALLY HAVEN'T REVERSE-ENGINEERED ALIEN TECH FROM CRASHED UFO'S?
Computer expert Jack Burton has an interesting post about the state of information technology in government agencies. He also details why it isn't about to change any time soon. The biggest stumbling block? Ignorant middle management (surprise, surprise).

A QUESTION FOR THE AGES
Get out your thinkin' caps, boys and girls, 'cause I've just come across a good ol' fashioned pheel-eye-sofikol question that's sure to piss someone off.

No, it's not something that I came up with. That right smart (and very bloodthirsty) bunny named Anna has asked if America should go on and invade the rest of the world. Or at least the parts that don't like us and reject our values.

Go on over and put your two cents in.

WHITE RUSSIANS, WHITE SLAVERY
So there's a big problem in Russia nowadays with young women who are shipped to China. They are lured by promises of jobs and then raped and forced into sexual slavery. According to Pravda there's no law against slavery in the Russian criminal code (big surprise). Considering that the women are eventually released the charge of "slavery" could be disputed. Anyway, there's no planned action to take care of the problem and there probably won't be for some time to come.

I would think that Russia would want to stamp this out as soon as possible. After all, the Chineses are still Communist but they can come up with enough money to import Russian women.

IF WE FOUGHT IN AFGHANISTAN FOR OIL THEN WE'VE SCREWED UP ROYALLY
I love it when addle-headed Lefties scream that the U.S. war on terror is all about oil. They claim that we invaded Afghanistan just so we can build an oil pipeline and get the black gold out of that backwards and lawless country.

Now Pravda is reporting that China is planning on building it's own Afghanistan pipeline. This wouldn't make sense if the U.S. military, controlled by the iron grip of the petro companies, fought a war and installed a puppet government just so we could suckle at the oil teat. Hey, we wouldn't want China to get any of our oil!

Will this cause any of the loons to shut up? Nope. They already willfully ignore reality. One more example of how wrong they are won't bother them one bit.

GUN CONTROL, NOW RAT POISON CONTROL
Looks like suicide in China is now a big problem. More women than men are killing themselves, which is unusual because it's almost always the other way around.

The favored method is by eating rat poison, which is easy to get because most of the suicides are in rural areas. Now there's suggestions that the suicide rate could be controlled through controlling the sale of rat poison. Pardon me while I clean up the cola I sprayed all over the keyboard after reading that one.

For once Pravda gets something right (I'm so surprised you can knock me over with a shovel). They report that a suicide-prevention agency is going to be formed to try and handle the problem, but nothing will really work until living conditions are improved for people livin' down on the farm.

I DON'T WANT TO SEE THE SWIMSUIT COMPETITION
North Korea has been in the news the last week because they are about to restart some nuclear reactors. By treaty this isn't supposed to happen. Big shock that NK is gonna do it anyway.

Pravda has an interesting spin on the story. They say that NK is kicking up a fuss because they're tired of being ignored by the U.S. Saddam has been in the news lately and NK thinks that they should have the front page of every American newspaper. Sort of like the homely girl no one wants to dance with at the cotillion.

Anyway, the Russkies are blaming the U.S. (as usual).

A MATTER OF JURISDICTION
It would appear that there have been a few strange deaths at a Brit training barracks named Deepcut. A more thorough source for this subject can be found here. So far there's been five deaths, all from gunshot wounds. The Army is trying to say that some of them were suicides, even though one of the victims died from 5 bullet wounds to the chest (self inflicted machine gun suicide?).

There's a few things that jump out at me about this case. For one, this Deepcut Barracks has long been a troubled place. It seems that these killings go back about 7 years. Another thing that I find interesting is that Scotland Yard is investigating. Why not the Royal Military Police? I would think that this would be their problem, not that of a civilian police agency.

Maybe someone is tired of these deaths being labelled as "suicides".

So what's probably going on? Sounds like a theft/smuggling/drug ring to me. Since things have been going on for so long it couldn't be the recruits that are behind it. Has to be some training personnel (if there's a criminal conspiracy in the first place. This is just idle speculation). The fact that the deaths are caused by gunshot is something else that's interesting. Sure, they occurred at an Army training barracks, but the Brit armed forces generally don't let people run around with guns.

DON'T STAND SO CLOSE TO ME
Just came across an article in the New York Times (sorry, registration is required). The article details how the Air Force has jazzed up their unmanned Predator drones with data uplinks and laser designators. This is to aid Army pilots flying AH-64 Apache gunships (plenty of neato pics at the last link). The idea is that the Apache pilots can access the image from the Predator with their own on-board monitors. If they see something they want to blow up they can use the laser designators on the Predators to paint the target, and then fire their Hellfire missiles.

The advantage to this is one of range. The Hellfire has a maximum range of around 8 kilometers, but the laser designator on the Apache's have a maximum effective range of 4.5 kilometers (less is there's smoke, fog, rain or dust). This way an unmanned drone can belly in as close as needed and hard targets can still be attacked without endangering a pilot.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

VACATIONS OVER
The holidays have come to an end. I now have a little more time to myself. I figure I should get back to work and produce some stuff for you guys to read.

MORE STARSHIP TROOPERS
So how do you protect an aircraft carrier? One of the most obvious is to keep some of the carrier's aircraft busy in a Combat Air Patrol (CAP). The U.S. Navy not only does that but also surrounds the carrier with a cloud of protecting ships, called the carrier battlegroup. The Brits have three carriers and can't afford as many ships as the U.S. for protection duty. To make up for the lack they actually equip their carriers with Sea Dart anti aircraft missiles. (A better view of the Brit carrier's anti-aircraft weapons can be seen here.)

One of the impossible dreams of naval weapon design is to have a warship that can carry aircraft yet still be able to fire a big gun. Space considerations have made this problematic. The U.S. Navy thinks that they have a solution.

The new U.S. carriers are supposed to include a rail gun in the design, even though the technology hasn't yet made this possible.

If this works then it would be great. I'm just wary of building ships designed around weapons that haven't been built.

WISHFUL THINKING TRIUMPHS OVER REALITY YET AGAIN
A few days ago I was surprised to see this article. Seems that New Jersey passed a law that makes it illegal to sell any gun except "smart guns". On closer inspection it appears that it will be illegal, as soon as a smart gun is actually possible.

A "smart gun" is a gun that can't be fired by anyone except the owner. It's a holy grail of both law enforcement and gun control advocates. Law enforcement likes the idea because 10% of officers who are shot are attacked with their own duty pistols. Gun control advocates like the idea because they could then claim that all other guns are inherently unsafe and should be banned. (Which would mean that a gun registration scheme would have to be started to make sure that only smart guns are sold.)

The one gun company that has done more than any other to develop "smart gun" tech is Colt. But after spending buckets of their own money (and some tax money given out by the Clinton admin), even Colt had to admit that it was impossible.

Will it be possible in the future? Yeah, sure, eventually. But passing laws to force people to adopt tech that isn't even possible yet seems to be the height of idiocy to me.

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS FROM ACROSS THE POND
Even though there's been record crowds at pro-hunting rallies in England, it would seem that the practice is still going to be mostly outlawed. Nothing like having the PC crowd shove another policy down the public's throat.

I really like what one anti-hunter had to say about proposals to allow limited hunting to continue under a licensing system. "You can no more license hunting with dogs than you can rape, child abuse or torture."

Yeah, that's it! Hunting is just like rape, torture and child abuse. Why haven't I ever figured that out?

Considering how house cats kill more wildlife per day than dogs do in a year, I think I know what's next on the PC crowd's agenda.

MORE BAD NEWS FOR THE ICC
Seems that India has now decided that they won't turn Americans accused of criminal acts over to the International Criminal Court. The U.S. will keep Indian nationals out of the clutches of the ICC as well.

Doesn't look like the whole "trust the ICC and the U.N., because we have everybody's best interests at heart" message is going over too well.

WHAT IS NEEDED HERE IS MORE DRACONIAN GUN CONTROL LAWS
Have you read this news item yet? Seems that some bankrupt businessman in Kyoto took some people hostage in a bank. He used (gasp!) a handgun with 100 rounds to do the deed. The article mentions that hostage taking is on the rise in Japan.

Violence is on the rise in the Land of the Rising Sun. The weapon of choice is a knife, but it looks like there's a few guns leaking through as well.

THE TRIUMPH OF WISHFUL THINKING
According to this news item on the BBC server, Europe is planning on sending manned missions to Mars in less than 20 years.

No wonder these guys worship Jerry Lewis! Consider, for a moment, an item plucked from the European Space Agency's own server. Although the United States has had the GPS system up and fully operational since 1993, the Eurowheenies have decided that they want their own system. Except that they can't get the funding for it. No one has bothered to ask how they're gonna get to Mars if they can't put a few dozen freakin' satellites in Near Earth Orbit.

Examining the original article a little closer, I see that the Eurowheenies are hoping that "...by 2025, the technology will exist to send humans to Mars." In other words, they hope we Americans have already been there and set up regular passenger service.

The article goes further by stating "It is considering two flagship missions to find a suitable landing site for astronauts and to bring back the first sample of Martian soil." Well, I suppose they could buy a souvenir sample in the spaceport gift shop.

PRACTICAL MATTERS
So I'm reading Prof. Reynold's blog when I see that he linked to this post on Samizdata. The post discusses a recent article in The Economist, a British newspaper. The Economist is wondering why so many Leftist causes are Communist even though that particular brand of economic/political theory has been proven time and again to be a really really bad idea. The conclusion? That the people who embrace such tripe are in a sort of religious fervor that ignores reality, since a simple review of the facts would prove that they're wrong wrong wrong.

Hardly earth shaking insights. As for me I've always approached Communism from a practical standpoint: Does it do any good and does it do any harm?

So far as it doing any good, there is one place that an arguement could be made in favor. China was suffering under a Dark Ages style of government before Mao dragged it kicking and screaming into the 20th century. Reforms that should have been enacted centuries ago happened overnight. Slavery was abolished, the warlords were defeated, women were acknowledged as being real human beings and given choices in their lives for the first time. This doesn't excuse the terrible tragedies that the Communists willfully brought about in efforts to retain power. But considering how Chinese culture is based on the almost religious worship of authority, there really wasn't any other way to bootstrap China from the 11th Century into the 20th.

Well, that was then. Time for the old guard to retire and let some democracy leak in. Don't expect it to happen any time soon, though.

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

IT'S ALL A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE
I'm very interested in history, mainly because I find it so fascinating to see how people did things back then. Since I also have a keen interest in firearms ...well, you get the idea.

Swen over at A Coyote at the Dog Show once mentioned that he favored a .44 Magnum revolver. This makes sense considering that he lives out close to the wild places. (Lucky guy!)

Many people today will poo-poo any handgun for big game hunting or protection against same. But they don't consider that large game animals were regularly harvested by our forefathers with guns that didn't have that keen a level of performance.

When Lewis and Clark started their famous expedition they were armed with the most advanced firearm on the planet: the Kentucky long rifle. They had heard of a giant bear in the mountains to the West, a horrible and unstoppable monster. They were unafraid, at least until they met the Grizzly bear in the flesh. These creatures were territorial, aggressive, and almost unkillable. The bears would absorb several hits from a long rifle before finally dropping, sometimes even head shots wouldn't do the job. Rifle enthusiasts today claim that Lewis and Clark were just telling tall tales so people would be impressed with their bravery.

Not so. According to the journals and diaries that I've read from the time, the loads fired from these guns would have about the same performance as a modern .357 Magnum. Impurities in the hand-forged barrels would keep anything greater from being used. The longer barrel would increase the range so it would have similar performance to a modern .357 carbine (although with only single shot capability). Today's black powder enthusiasts would argue the point with me, but they fire modern replicas using stronger steel and with a better grade of black powder.

Today's big game hunters would also say that anyone who went after griz armed only with a big ol' pistol would be a slack-jawed idiot. As metallurgy advances even the cartridges once thought to be potent enough to take down anything, such as the .30-06 cartridge, is now considered a marginal choice at best. Heavy magnum loads such as the .375 H&H Magnum are thought to be the only correct choice.

Well, I'm not saying that I would toss down my rifle to draw my handgun when the bear comes charging through the brush. But I also wouldn't sneer at a .44 if that was the only thing handy. Lewis and Clark had to make do with less, and they managed to get home alright.

GUNNIN' ACROSS THE BORDER
One of my readers Emailed me about this post where I said that I wouldn't go to England with it's high crime rate unless I could take one of my guns along. The very thoughtful question was : Which country allows you to bring a gun? Except for a few lawless hellholes, that is.

Good question. There are many countries that allow licensed hunters to bring their guns, with some restrictions as to type and caliber. Many countries in Africa that make money off of safari hunters will allow personal arms.

I worked for the police in my home town about ten years ago. Some of the police officers that had travelled to England or Canada to collect fugitives complained to me about the hoops they had to jump through to retain their guns. But at least they could still go armed, as long as they were police officers and there was a treaty between the U.S. and the other country. Considering how the extreme and shrill anti-gunners have gained clout in these countries since then I'm not sure if they'd be allowed to keep their guns now.

By the way, thanks to everyone who Emails me. I'm very appreciative of the effort, just as I'm appreciative that you find my humble scribblings to be of interest.

Sunday, December 22, 2002

IF ONLY SHERLOCK AND WATSON WERE AT MY BACK WITH A WEBLEY
So I'm over at Alphecca reading this post, which points me towards an Op-Ed at the OpinionJournal. It's all about how crime has gone sky high in jolly ol' England.

There's been discussion of this article on other blogs before, but I figured that I'd weigh in with a (probably wrong) opinion. I've gotten the impression from at least one British blogger that outlawing guns has caused this explosion of crime. I disagree. I think that other factors have caused the increase. I think that outlawing guns and actually punishing those that defend themselves simply removes the first line of defense against lawlessness. There are other factors that caused the incredible surge in criminal behavior, such as the courts and police refusal to punish those that commit the crimes.

As a last note, I'd surely love to go to London. It's been a dream of mine to visit the British Museum and the Imperial War Museum (which is now housed in the old Bedlam insane asylum). Doesn't look like I'll be able to do it in my lifetime, though. The way things are now the only way I'd set foot in England is if I could take one of my guns along.

MEN DON'T THINK THAT BEING CALLED A PIG IS AN INSULT
Just came across a so-called "sex blog", where the author talks about you-know-what an awful lot. One of them discusses the male fantasy, the impossibility of platonic friendship between men and women, and other subjects that are screamingly obvious to men but make women royally pissed off.

Behold! I give you Men Are Pigs!

I doubt many men would want to read it, since we already know that we have fantasies about nurses (Duh!), fantasies about attractive lesbians (Duh!), and that we wouldn't mind sleeping with our girlfriend's sister/friends/attractive aunts if the opportunity (ahem) arises (Double Duh!). I doubt that any women would want to read it because such a truthful and pitiless glimpse into the mind of a male would shortly send them packing in a seething rage.

THIS DRAGON CAN'T FLY
More from StrategyPage. Looks like the Chinese have a lot of aging aircraft that will soon be going belly up. This means that they'd better get around to invading Taiwan pretty soon or else they'll have to give up those plans.

GETTIN' IN THROUGH THE BACK DOOR
No, this post isn't about pr0n movies. According to StrategyPage.com, the U.S. is trying to build eight diesel-electric subs. The subs aren't for the all-nuclear U.S. submarine fleet, but for Taiwan. For some time Taiwan has been trying to buy the subs from non-U.S. firms but no one will sell.

So what are attack submarines good for? Pretty much intelligence gathering and destroying surface ships. For some reason China has been pressuring everyone that Taiwan has approached about the deal to keep their subs to themselves. Doesn't seem to be working as far as the U.S. is concerned, though.