14 Jun 2015

USS Gabrielle Giffords

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GabrielleGiffords

Duffleblog (military equivalent of The Onion) has a real gem today:

MOBILE, Ala. — Seeking to honor a retired congresswoman and 2011 shooting victim in the most considerate and respectful way possible, the Navy today christened the future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10), a first-of-its-kind, gun-free warship.

Designed to hold a core crew of 40 sailors, the Independence-class littoral combat ship has been stripped bare of its Mk 110 57-millimeter gun, all four of its Mk2 .50-cal machine guns, its Evolved SeaRAM 11 cell missile launcher, and its entire cache of small arms, which are typically issued to boarding teams and watch standers.

“Having this mighty warship be 100% gun-free not only helps to honor its heroic namesake, Gabby Giffords, but it also helps the Navy to steer clear of promoting a culture of violence,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, who reportedly lobbied hard to get Congress and the Secretary of Defense on board with leaving the Navy’s newest addition to the fleet completely defenseless.

“Once commissioned and put into service,” Mabus continued, “this vessel will truly embody the Navy’s new motto of Semper Modestis— always considerate.”

The Navy Secretary went on to say that he hopes Giffords sets a new trend Navy-wide, and that it’s merely the first ship of many to go weapons-free.

“We have this whole new generation of millennials joining the Navy and becoming sailors on a daily basis, and most of them don’t even like guns,” he said. “So it’s important we listen to their concerns and do what we can to adapt to them.”

Read the whole thing.

13 Jun 2015

“Always Be One of a Kind”

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13 Jun 2015

“More Deadly Than the Male”

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Carly Fiorina goes after Hillary.

13 Jun 2015

Camp Perry, 1921

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FarrSpringfield
George R. Farr’s Springfield, now in the National Firearms Museum.

A great shooting story from the September 15, 1921 issue of American Rifleman, recommended in our Comments by JimBobElrod:

After the light had already gone bad, but before Adkins had finished his string, a man whose thick silver hair betrayed a life longer than three-score years, walked across the field to the Wimbledon firing line. His khaki shirt and dungarees bore no team insignia. As he carried a modest improvised shooting bag and his rifle to the firing point, he appeared to be only one of the many old fellows whose team mates instinctively christen “Dad.” But the shoulders of his angular body, the glint of his bright blue eyes, surrounded by those tiny wrinkles that are penciled on the faces of outdoors men from gazing overlong at great distances and the firm, smiling mouth under the close-cropped mustache, might have given a hint to anybody who chanced to notice him that he was not the ordinary old-timer who turns up at National Matches now and again, never to finish in the money and seldom to reappear.

The squadding card from which the Range Officer called his name identified him as George R. Farr, of the Seattle Rifle and Revolver Club, and a member of the Washington Civilian Team. His age, of course, was not on the card. Later it was learned he is sixty-two. He had joined the team fresh off the trail in the Olympic Mountains. Many of the throng who had watched Adkins while he ran his record-breaking score had drifted away; the few who remained took little heed of him when he drew five clips of Frankford Arsenal ammunition and lay down at the peg, opening his shooting bag and taking therefrom as meager a shooting outfit as could be imagined—a “Mike,” a pair of steel-rimmed nose glasses—far-sightedness is a characteristic of his vision—and the strangest spotting scope that could be imagined; one barrel of a cylinder field glass that had been cut apart with a hack saw.

The old blue eyes peered down the range from under the brim of a black slouch hat, and Farr knowing nothing of the elevations required by the rifle he was using—he had drawn it that morning to replace another that had “gone bad”—estimated his sight settings from those he had used on the 600-yard range from which he had come. As a matter of cold fact, he sighted in his rifle for 1,000 yards with the two sighters permitted in the Wimbledon conditions.

“Dad” Farr, from the Olympics, fired his first sighter at 4:30 p.m. Through his sawed-off glass, the spotter showed a Three. He perched the steel-rimmed glasses on his nose, took his “Mike” and made an adjustment, removed his glasses and fired. This time the spotter showed stark against the black of the bull, and his first record shot followed it. When five bullets had sped down the range, Farr jammed in another clip with no more concern than if he had been shooting a string of rapid-fire and continued shooting.

Nineteen record shots had found the black when Farr seemed to grow a bit nervous. His later explanation of this circumstance, in the light of what followed, is particularly interesting.

“When that nineteenth shot scored a bull’s-eye,” he said, “I just happened to think that if my next shot got in I’d make a possible. I’d never made a possible at 1,000 yards; not even a 10-shot one, and I just thought I’d be mighty proud to make one at the National Matches. So I was a little bit shaky, but I looked around and nobody seemed to be paying any attention to me, so I fired.”

“Mr. Farr’s twentieth shot for record”—the scorer droned, “a Five.”

Then to the unfeigned surprise of the range officer, “Dad” Farr rose from the firing point and started away.

“Wait a minute; keep on firing,” the Range Officer called.

“What for?” Farr asked.

“Well, you might win something.”

“All right; I reckon I can shoot some more, only I haven’t any cartridges.”

“Here are some,” the Range Officer said, offering two clips.

“I reckon one of them will be enough,” the old man replied as he climbed back into his sling, jammed in another clip and lined his sights again on the target.

From then on, George Farr from Seattle, disregarding every known range custom—firing from the magazine instead of loading singly, moving his elbows from their position, now and again hunching his body into a more comfortable position—continued to hang up bull’s-eyes while an astounded gallery gathered behind him, and the Range Officer was kept busy finding ammunition for him, for Frankford Arsenal issue stuff had not been overly popular with the shooters in this match wherein the 180-grain bullets were permitted.

His group kept growing, creeping across the target from left to right, and sometimes climbing a bit as the keen old eyes fought the darkness.

Although Farr shot as rapidly as he could—the frequency of his shots being remarkable, considering the range—he did not get quick service at the butts. If he had, it is possible that a different story would be told.

Between shots, like Jones during his Wakefield run, Farr frequently rested his head on his arms.

Until he had fired his sixtieth shot, the light was fairly good; then it rapidly began to die away.

After the 65th shot, the light was very bad. On the 66th shot he began holding down on the butts, with added elevation, but this device served him in the fading light, for only four more bulls. His 71st shot was a Four, and the most remarkable of all service-rifle-and-service-sight records was completed. It was 6:10 p.m.

13 Jun 2015

Land of Equal Opportunity

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UnbiasedAmerica

13 Jun 2015

500 Yard Shot

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500YardShot

12 Jun 2015

Mencius Moldbug Booted From Programming Conference

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Moldbug
Curtis Yarvon aka Mencius Moldbug

The true extent of left-wing censorship in American society today can be perceived by the fact that über-nerd Curtis Yarvon had a software presentation cancelled by a programming conference because some attendees objected to the highly eccentric conservative philosophy expressed learnedly, and at astonishing length, on a relatively obscure (and infrequently updated) blog, titled Unqualified Reservations, writing under the pen-name “Mencius Moldbug.”

David Auerbach, at Slate, considers Moldbug’s political philosophy “odious”, but thinks it is not appropriate to boot him out unless he actually says something casually racist.

What does a bizarre project to reinvent software from the ground up have in common with 19th-century reactionary political philosophy? That question has become the unlikely heart of a computing controversy involving this September’s Strange Loop programming conference in St. Louis, Missouri. Founded in 2009, Strange Loop is a yearly three-day conference with talks and workshops on new computer science technologies. The conference had accepted an apolitical presentation on a fairly obscure project by a software engineer named Curtis Yarvin, only to reject it last week after it received complaints about political views Yarvin espoused on his blog.

Yarvin’s canceled presentation centered on Urbit, an idiosyncratic software platform he created, and an associated virtual machine called Nock. I’ve read the specifications, and Yarvin’s project is an intriguing attempt to create an entirely new, universal computation framework based around a virtual machine that is truly distributed from the ground up, so that even tiny amounts of computation can be apportioned across multiple machines. It may, as I suspect, be utterly impractical, but it’s undoubtedly different and a worthy experiment. I would attend a talk on it. But I wouldn’t be able to at Strange Loop now, thanks to a strange figure named Mencius Moldbug.

That’s the nom de Web under which Yarvin writes mind-numbing political tracts. Yarvin/Moldbug is a self-proclaimed “neoreactionary,” an unabashed elitist and inegalitarian in the tradition of Thomas Carlyle, one of his heroes. (He fits neatly into the “Natural-Order Conservative” category of a conservative taxonomy.) His worldview: Democracy sucks, the strong should rule the weak, and we could use a good old-fashioned dictator to clean up this mess. That, and he believes that “human biodiversity”—as in the “science” of racial differences, à la The Bell Curve—is real, valid, and very important. Neoreactionary thinking is far more complicated and far more verbose than this—which is in part a deliberate attempt to keep the great unwashed from paying too much attention to such Important Thought. If you’re curious, the tireless Scott Alexander of Slate Star Codex has written extensive rebuttals of neoreactionary theory, which go to prove Brandolini’s Law: “The amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.” The neoreactionaries make up a small and mostly ignorable corner of the Internet, but because they include a number of techies and wonks, they have drawn attention and criticism from outlets like the Baffler and the Daily Beast, all of which served to raise the neoreactionary profile far higher than it ever would have made it on its own. If you want serious reactionary activity, look to Congress.
ADVERTISING

Normally I would have no cause to write about neoreactionary politics—it is eminently inconsequential—except that Yarvin was tossed out of Strange Loop because of his writings. Strange Loop creator and organizer Alex Miller made this public statement regarding his decision to rescind Yarvin’s invitation:

    A large number of current and former speakers and attendees contacted me to say that they found Curtis’s writings objectionable. I have not personally read them. … If Curtis was part of the program, his mere inclusion and/or presence would overshadow the content of his talk and become the focus.

The decision to toss Yarvin is foolish but not because it’s censorship. By making the issue about Yarvin being a “distraction,” Miller has created a perverse incentive. By that logic, anyone could get tossed from the conference if enough people object for any reason at all. Miller admits as much when he says he hasn’t even read Yarvin’s political writing.

——————————–

NYM has occasional quoted some of the Moldbug’s good lines.

Here is a good example:

Whatever you make of the left-right axis, you have to admit that there exists some force which has been pulling the Anglo-American political system leftward for at least the last three centuries. Whatever this unfathomable stellar emanation may be, it has gotten us from the Stuarts to Barack Obama. Personally, I would like a refund. But that’s just me. …

intellectuals cluster to the left, generally adopting as a social norm the principle of pas d’ennemis a gauche, pas d’amis a droit, because like everyone else they are drawn to power. The left is chaos and anarchy, and the more anarchy you have, the more power there is to go around. The more orderly a system is, the fewer people get to issue orders. The same asymmetry is why corporations and the military, whose system of hierarchical executive authority is inherently orderly, cluster to the right.

Once the cluster exists, however, it works by any means necessary. The reverence of anarchy is a mindset in which an essentially Machiavellian, tribal model of power flourishes. To the bishops of the Cathedral, anything that strengthens their influence is a good thing, and vice versa. The analysis is completely reflexive, far below the conscious level. Consider this comparison of the coverage between the regime of Pinochet and that of Castro. Despite atrocities that are comparable at most – not to mention a much better record in providing responsible and effective government – Pinochet receives the full-out two-minute hate, whereas the treatment of Castro tends to have, at most, a gentle and wistful disapproval. …

[T]he problem is not just that our present system of government – which might be described succinctly as an atheistic theocracy – is accidentally similar to Puritan Massachusetts. As anatomists put it, these structures are not just analogous. They are homologous. This architecture of government – theocracy secured through democratic means – is a single continuous thread in American history.

12 Jun 2015

Ornette Coleman, 9 March 1930 – 11 June 2015

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His was just about the only Jazz I ever liked.

Times obituary

11 Jun 2015

Different International Approaches

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ProblemSolving

11 Jun 2015

Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, CBE, CStJ (27 May 1922 – 7 June 2015)

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ChristopherLee4

Christopher Lee died at 8:30 A.M. last Sunday morning in the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London at the age of 93. His family delayed the public announcement of his death until today to allow time for relatives to be notified.

Christopher Lee worked as a character actor in the course of his long career, typically in second-rate horror films, though he was obviously a first-rate human being. He stood 6’5″ (1.9558 m.) in height, spoke six languages, was a world champion fencer, and made a point of performing all his own stunts personally.

Lee was also a political conservative who volunteered to fight for Finland against Soviet Russia during the Winter War, and who then went on to serve as a British commando through the entirety of the Second World War.

He advised Peter Jackson on how properly to sound record a killing during the making of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Dissatisfied with a scene, Christopher asked director Peter Jackson: “Peter, have you ever heard the sound a man makes when he’s stabbed in the back? Well, I have, and I know what to do.”

Christopher Lee became the oldest person to record lead vocals on a heavy metal track when, at the age of 88, he wrote and performed on a progressive symphonic concept album about the life of Charlemagne, from whom he traced his own descent via his mother, an Italian countess.

Christopher Lee remained married to the same woman (a Danish model) for 54 years, and in his later years frequently campaigned for the Tories in national elections.

ChristopherLee3
The younger Christopher Lee as we knew him best.

10 Jun 2015

The Ferguson Effect

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FergusonEffect

The incessant drumbeat against the police has resulted in what St. Louis police chief Sam Dotson last November called the “Ferguson effect.”

Cops are disengaging from discretionary enforcement activity and the “criminal element is feeling empowered,” Mr. Dotson reported. Arrests in St. Louis city and county by that point had dropped a third since the shooting of Michael Brown in August. Not surprisingly, homicides in the city surged 47% by early November and robberies in the county were up 82%.

Similar “Ferguson effects” are happening across the country as officers scale back on proactive policing under the onslaught of anti-cop rhetoric. Arrests in Baltimore were down 56% in May compared with 2014.

Heather MacDonald describes a nationwide crime wave instigated by establishment media agitprop.

The consequences of the ‘Ferguson effect’ are already appearing. The main victims of growing violence will be the inner-city poor.

The nation’s two-decades-long crime decline may be over. Gun violence in particular is spiraling upward in cities across America. In Baltimore, the most pressing question every morning is how many people were shot the previous night. Gun violence is up more than 60% compared with this time last year, according to Baltimore police, with 32 shootings over Memorial Day weekend. May has been the most violent month the city has seen in 15 years.

In Milwaukee, homicides were up 180% by May 17 over the same period the previous year. Through April, shootings in St. Louis were up 39%, robberies 43%, and homicides 25%. “Crime is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” said St. Louis Alderman Joe Vacarro at a May 7 City Hall hearing.

Murders in Atlanta were up 32% as of mid-May. Shootings in Chicago had increased 24% and homicides 17%. Shootings and other violent felonies in Los Angeles had spiked by 25%; in New York, murder was up nearly 13%, and gun violence 7%.

Those citywide statistics from law-enforcement officials mask even more startling neighborhood-level increases. Shooting incidents are up 500% in an East Harlem precinct compared with last year; in a South Central Los Angeles police division, shooting victims are up 100%.

By contrast, the first six months of 2014 continued a 20-year pattern of growing public safety. Violent crime in the first half of last year dropped 4.6% nationally and property crime was down 7.5%. Though comparable national figures for the first half of 2015 won’t be available for another year, the January through June 2014 crime decline is unlikely to be repeated.

The most plausible explanation of the current surge in lawlessness is the intense agitation against American police departments over the past nine months.

Read the whole thing.

10 Jun 2015

Some Good News And Some Bad News

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Die-Hipster

David Infante has some good news and some bad news. The good news is that the Hipster is dead. The bad news is that he has been replaced by another intensely annoying type of millennial wussy, what he refers to as “the “Yuccie” (pronounced “Yucky”), i.e., young urban creatives.

[T]he hipster has to be dead, killed by a contradicted identity. When everyone is rejecting the mainstream, no one is. When everyone is a hipster, no one is a hipster. Hell, saying “the hipster is dead” is, itself, pretty much dead, a late-aughts victim of thinkpiecery and primetime cable namechecks.

And anyway, “hipster” doesn’t line up culturally with who yuccies are. To use myself as an example again: I have no tattoos. My credit is good. Hell, I’ve got dental insurance. My basic, unwaxed mustache, like the rest of me, wouldn’t have rated in the heady days of hipsterism. Hipsters themselves might have scorned me as a yuppie. But that isn’t right, either. “Yuppie” conjures Sharper Image catalogs, clean condos and piles of new money pulled from the pre-recession stock market. It doesn’t capture the sense of creative entitlement that defines the yuccie.

Yuccies are the cultural offspring of yuppies and hipsters. We’re intent on being successful like yuppies and creative like hipsters. We define ourselves by our purchases, just like both cohorts, sure. But not by price or taste level; we identify by price and taste level: $80 sweatpants, $16 six-packs of craft beer, trips to Charleston, Austin and Portland. How much it costs (high or low) is immaterial if the material bought validates our intellect.

We’re a big part of the reason that 43% of every millennial food dollar is spent in restaurants, instead of at home. After all, what product is more fraught with the politics of money and creativity than dinner? It’s gotta be Instagrammed.

You cross the yuppie’s new money thirst for yachts and recognition with the hipster’s anti-ambition, smoke-laced individualism, sprinkle on a dose of millennial entitlement, and the yuccie is what you get.
We are what we hate

The Young Urban Creative. The yuccie. As far as trend-naming goes, this is on the punnier edge of the spectrum. Yuccies are yucky. Why?

Let’s use me as an example again. Almost by definition, yuccies possess enormous privilege. My professional drift towards a creative field (writing) is an implicit statement of privilege. Being a yuccie is synonymous with the sort of self-centered cynicism that can only exist in the absence of hardship. It’s the convenience of being unburdened by conviction; it’s the luxury of getting to pick your battles. In this context, cynicism is maybe the yuccie’s most defining trait.

To wit, of all the reasons I enjoy being a writer, the single driving force behind my career trajectory has been validation. I write for validation: of my peers, of my parents, of the followers who retweet me, even of the commenters who say cruel things in my general direction beneath every piece I’ve ever published.

Don’t get me wrong — I need the money, too, as much as any of my peers. But if I hadn’t insisted on majoring in English, writing professionally and “expressing myself,” I probably could have chosen a more lucrative path. But
I need to be told, repeatedly and at length, that I have valuable ideas. That my talent is singular. That I’m making a dent, the size and location of which is less important than fact that it’s shaped like me.

That’s the cynicism of privilege. That’s what yuccieism is. I’m not ashamed of it, and you shouldn’t be either if this sounds like you. But I’m not proud of it either. Like I said — it’s a bit yucky.

Read the whole thing.

10 Jun 2015

2240 Yard Hits With Open Sights

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K31
Wikipedia: “The Karabiner Model 1931 (K31) is a magazine-fed, straight-pull bolt-action rifle. It was the standard issue rifle of the Swiss armed forces from 1933 until 1958, though examples remained in service into the 1970s. It has a 6-round removable magazine, and is chambered for the 7.5×55mm Swiss (also known as Gewehrpatrone 1911, GP11, or unofficially 7.5×55mm Schmidt–Rubin), a cartridge with ballistic qualities similar to the 7.62×51mm NATO/.308 Winchester cartridge.”

The video below, made by the Long Range Shooters of Utah, shows Ernest Jimenez setting a new long-range record for shots with an open sight rifle, firing at a 36-inch (.9144 m.) pink bison target posted 2,240 yards (2048.256 m.) away.

Mr. Jimenez was using an unmodified Swiss K31 rifle which he originally purchased for $99. You can buy one of these today for a bit over $300. (Classic Firearms has them.)

Mr. Jimenez scored 4 hits in the course of firing something like 83 shots. (Of course, a lot of his misses came awfully close.) On a completely windless day, he would likely have done better.

Personally, I think you could do as well, or better, using a 1903 Springfield.

09 Jun 2015

Vintage Motorcycle

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BMWR75Bobber-375

I think this is a circa 1970 BMW R75 Bobber. A bobber is a custom motorcycle that has had the front fender removed, the rear fender “bobbed” (made smaller), and all superfluous parts removed to reduce weight

Via Exit the Dragon.

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