Around The Blogs 2014-03-02

Lots of interesting stuff around the blogosphere this week.

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Courtesy of Beloit Ballistics’ blog, we learn that all the concern about CERN’s Large Hadron Collider nuclear accelerator perhaps producing black holes that would swallow up the earth may, indeed, have had some foundation in fact.  There’s even video evidence at the link.

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Looks like plenty of bloggers are suffering from the same crud that Miss D. and I have been fighting for the past month.  El Capitan shares his experiences over at Baboon Pirates.  Bourbon is involved.

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For the technically sophisticated among us, Borepatch brings us the ‘Top 10 NSA pickup lines in bars‘.  Personally, I’d think (hope?) that any self-respecting lady would regard the NSA as a bug, not a feature . . .

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Greylocke brings us a series of visual impressions of computer problems.  My favorite:

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Chris Byrne points out the dangers of ‘purity tests’ in politics.  They can be entirely counter-productive.  I support neither major political party in the USA, and regard both of them as equally dangerous to the constitutional form of government bequeathed to us by the Founding Fathers;  but he has a point, no matter what your side of the political aisle may be.

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Earthbound Misfit points out that Russia has the USA by the short and curlies when it comes to Ukraine, because we’re dependent on supplying our forces in Afghanistan through Russian territory.  True, that.  Realpolitik is a bitch sometimes . . .

(On the same topic, although not a blog article, Slate makes an interesting point about Russian intervention in the Crimea:

After independence, Ukraine welcomed back the Crimean Tatars. Some 300,000 have returned from exile and their numbers are growing, with continued migration and birth rates higher than either Russians or Ukrainians. They strongly oppose any separatism, and they will not go peacefully into a Russian-controlled, authoritarian “Yanukistan” along the lines of Transdnistria. Not only are they extremely well organized, they are Muslims with friends. Representatives from Russia’s Tatarstan region are already supporting them. Turkey, which controlled the Crimea for much longer than Russia ever did and has close ties with the Crimean Tatars, is watching. So are Chechen rebels.

If Slate’s article is right, Russia may have caught a tiger by the tail in Crimea . . . )

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The Bangswitch, a military arms blog, brings us (with some incredulity, which I fully share) a video of an absolutely idiotic, misconceived, dumbass firearms training technique that’s so screwed up (from a safety perspective) that I find it hard to believe its presenters are serious – but they are.  Go see the video for yourself.

After watching the video, I was so astonished that I tried to learn more about the outfit presenting it, ‘American Defense Enterprises‘.  I found their Web site to be filled with every buzz-word and hyped-up saying in the industry, and completely unconvincing.  Worst of all was their so-called ‘American Warriors Test‘, a much-hyped seven-hour course of fire designed to test your skills according to their more than esoteric criteria.  They boast that ‘Only 7 people have ever reached 93% and made the American Warrior level. Only 8 people have ever reached 87% and made the American Operator level.’

Big. Fat. Hairy. Deal.

Anyone with sufficient training and experience can design and administer a firearms competency test that only one in a thousand will pass – but does that make it practical?  Does that mean it’s relevant to real-world operations?  Like hell it does!  The company also boasts proudly on the front page of its Web site that “The Department of Homeland Security rated us the number one trainers in the world!”  Not only do I find that impossible to believe on the basis of the evidence of that video clip:  I can only suggest that if DHS did, indeed, rate them as such, it says more about DHS’s (lack of) competence and effectiveness than it does about ADE.

Speaking as a veteran of 18 years in military and civilian conflict areas, with more than a little hard-won personal experience during that time (and the scars to prove it), plus years of experience as an instructor, I wouldn’t touch these guys’ training with a ten-foot disinfected bargepole.  There are many, many proven, effective firearms training establishments and instructors out there that I’d recommend ahead of them.  YMMV, of course.

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Stephen reminds us to count our blessings, give thanks, and be grateful for all the good in life, rather than allow ourselves to be ground down by the problems we encounter.  Good and eternally valuable advice.  Thanks, Stephen!

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Wirecutter’s put up a graphic that’s politically incorrect, not safe for work, and rudely sexist – but I still laughed out loud!  (You have been warned.)

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Pascal Fervor is offering a $200 reward for anyone who can provide a copy of a Ronald Reagan speech from the early 1980’s.  He provides an excerpt from memory.  I must admit, after reading what he recalled of it, I’d like to read the original as well.  Can anyone help him?  $200 is a useful incentive to dig around in your old papers . . .

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CenTexTim brings us an interesting history of chili in Texas.  I didn’t know much of the background information he provides – including that chili was popularized by its ubiquity in Texas prisons!  Speaking as a former prison chaplain, that explains a lot about the hardiness of convicts from the Texas penal system . . .

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Randall Collins brings a sociologist’s perspective to the study of Alexander the Great, and asks what made him so effective a leader.  It’s very long and involved, but extremely interesting for history and military buffs.  Highly recommended reading when you have some time to spare.

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Finally, Francis Porretto warns of the ‘nice guy trap‘ and the fallacy of trying to compromise with those who share nothing of one’s values or priorities.  As he memorably points out:

If you pour a cup of wine into a barrel of sewage, it remains a barrel of sewage, but if you pour a cup of sewage into a barrel of wine, it becomes a barrel of sewage.


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That’s all for this week.  More soon!



  1. Mr. Porretto's simile is far more eloquent than mine was, but I decided several years ago that I would no longer even be polite with the enemies of freedom. If one is willing to contemplate compromising you position, it is merely a talking point, not a principle.

  2. Thank you Peter for increasing the number of eyes on my offer. I've been going through the list of speeches provided by the Reagan library at their site.

    I have had no luck so far. I may be that I have overlooked it, but it is also possible that it's been buried. There are simply too many Establicans who don't like this extension of "A Time for Choosing" because it implies their treachery.

    I'm pleased you like what I was able to recreate from memory. I guarantee you the actual speech is much better.

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