Thursday, September 29, 2016

 

Dazzle Camo


For most of the two millennia surrounding the birth of Christ, fighting men around the World wore bright colored uniforms, but that ended about the time of the Boer War. The Brits took off the red tunics with crossed white equipment straps and put on khaki. The Germans had earlier put some elite troops in green. The real change came during WWII and it was spearheaded, like most innovations in war, by the Germans. They put on camouflage uniforms designed not to be seen -- as long as one stayed perfectly still. And the German innovators in camouflage looked at nature for inspiration in what to color their uniforms and equipment. Now all the World follows that lead. That's natural camo. But there are other kinds.

We won't talk about clown camo because it's not worthy of discussion.

But there is a thing called dazzle camouflage. It's not designed to hide what is "wearing" the camouflage but to make it difficult to focus on. Dazzle camo is also inspired by nature as you can see in the photo of zebras above. Here are some marine dazzle camo from WWI, the heyday of this form of camouflage, although some ships in WWII received similar paint jobs.





Nobody is sure if it worked or not and no one paints ships in dazzle camo anymore. The zebras have kept with it though.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

 

In Fact It's Cold As Hell

Elon Musk, the visionary, apparently is tired of building sparky cars and wants to send lots of humans to Mars where their early demise is almost certain. He wants to start doing it in 6 years. Talk about trying to run before you can crawl.

Here are some reasons not to send a lot of people to Mars anytime soon.


  1. Mars is about 48 million miles farther away from the Sun than Earth. You do the calculation based on the inverse square law.
  2. Mars has no appreciable oxygen or nitrogen; in fact, it doesn't really have much of an atmosphere at all.
  3. Mars has no soil in which to grow things.
  4. Mars has no usable water except near the poles where it's even colder than hell. It's so cold there that dry ice, frozen CO2, forms nearly year round.
  5. Mars has so weak a magnetic field that it is constantly bombarded by harmful radiation.
  6. Anyone on Mars would have to live in a very small, closed environment for thousands of generations and such a colony would necessarily suffer the inevitable loss of size, smarts, vigor and ability that plagues all small island populations here on Earth.
  7. The lesser gravity on Mars will be deleterious to human health.
  8. The smallest diameter of crushed rock on Mars would be so fine that it would get into everything, including human lungs, despite the colonists' best efforts.
  9. There is no life on Mars because life such as that which exists on Earth is not possible there.
  10. It's hugely expensive even to send a few on a one way trip there.


So by all means, let's get behind Musk's idea to colonize Mars.

How about we go get some asteroids and bring them back to high orbit around Earth first? See how life inside a rotating asteroid goes before we start shipping humans off to slow dreary death on Mars.

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Monday, September 19, 2016

 

Insight

The New York Times had a hissy fit over the Missouri state legislature's passing a law creating a system of concealed carry that we gun nuts call "Constitutional Carry" that is, you don't need to obtain the permission of the government to exercise your God-given right to defend your life by utilizing your 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. I think Missouri is about the 10th state to do this. Vermont has always been Constitutional carry and it's not actually a blood bath up there. But the NYT editorial board begs to differ with reality. The editorial really does shine a light on the warped thinking of the liberal elite. Behold the start.

In an alarming victory for the gun lobby, Missouri's Republican-controlled Legislature voted Wednesday to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto and enact a wholesale retreat from gun safety in the state.

How about we call it a Civil Rights victory, since we're dealing with an inalienable right actually mentioned in the Constitution as amended? And the phrase "a wholesale retreat from gun safety in the state" is fantastic hyperbole. The left always greets relaxed restrictions on concealed carry permits as the beginning of an ever increasing number of daily gunfights by law abiding gun carriers and it never happens. Never. The removal of having to get permission to enjoy an inalienable right is the right thing to do. We trust the citizens without criminal records or other disqualifiers to keep and bear arms, so why do we need permission to keep and bear arms under a layer of clothing? It makes no sense to us basket dwelling deplorables for the extra bureaucracy based solely on veiling cloth or leather. They NYT editorial board knows better, of course, but rather than support their concern with facts they start to lie.

The law will let citizens carry concealed weapons in public without a state gun permit, criminal background check or firearms training.
Yes to the first and last, but unless the citizen made the gun he or she wants to carry concealed, that citizen, or the citizen who gave or sold the gun, has already passed the background check. As I've often pointed out, we trust our citizens responsibly to keep and bear arms and also to sell or give guns only to those who have not lost their Second Amendment rights through craziness or bad choices. It remains illegal in Missouri to give or sell a gun to someone who can't own one legally. Regarding weapons training, we all remember our required training to get a government license to exercise our First Amendment Rights, right?

It strips local law enforcement if its current authority to deny firearms to those guilty of domestic violence and to other high risk individuals.
More lies; the Lautenberg Amendment still applies in Missouri and you can't have a gun at all if you've been found guilty of domestic violence or even if you only have received a restraining order by a significant other. The other high risk individuals, like crazy people and felons, still can't own a gun legally in Missouri. Does the NYT not know that there are federal laws applicable to all states regarding gun ownership and obtaining firearms?

And it establishes a dangerous "stand your ground" standard that will allow gun owners to shoot and claim self-defense based on their own sense of feeling threatened.

This sentence is chock full of legal ignorance. Your right to defend yourself, that is, your inalienable right to life, always allows you to shoot people if they are threatening you with imminent death or serious bodily injury. That threat which you perceive must be reasonable. That's the basic crux of all states' self defense law. Some states require you to retreat to safety if you can safely do so. Other states don't require a retreat, probably because the decision whether you can turn and run safely is so difficult. The 'stand your ground' states have decided that it is unreasonable to apply this extra decision to people actually aware they are about to get hurt or killed by someone else. Stand your ground does not change the standard for righteous self defense and it makes it no more dangerous to other people who are not actually threatening you. Again this is the "coming bloodbath" irrational fear in different words.

Mr. Nixon, a Democrat, vetoed the measure in June, saying it would allow individuals with a criminal record to legally carry a concealed weapon even though they had been, or would have been denied a permit under the old law's background check. [Democrat Mayors of St. Louis and Kansas City] warned against restricting the power of the local police to deny guns to those who commit domestic violence.

I guess it would be helpful to know what sort of criminal record would have prevented a concealed carry permit for applicants under the old law. Non violent misdemeanors? DUI convictions? If you have a felony or a domestic violence record you can't even own a gun legally, much less carry it concealed around legally. This is a half-lie, and the authors again confused a concealed carry permit with legal ownership of a gun. If a citizen can legally own a gun now in Missouri, he or she doesn't have to get a permit to carry it under his or her clothes (or in a handbag). That's the only change. Prior to this law, a Missouri citizen who could legally own a gun could legally carry it in the open, unconcealed. So the only difference is where the righteous citizen can carry the firearm. Oh, the humanity! It's not that major a change, NYT. Chill out. And remember--federal law, Lautenberg Amendment, means domestic violence perpetrators can't even have a gun much less carry it around concealed. You can't piss on our backs and tell us it is raining, editors.

It's too stupid to quote, but the next paragraph calls the violent Mr. Brown in Ferguson, unarmed. Yeah, he was unarmed because the police officer shot him in the arm rather than let him have the police officer's gun. This was a righteous self-defense shooting as even the highly politicized DOJ has determined. So after the 'Hands up Don't shoot' gentle giant, who else could the NYT editors mention as an unarmed victim of a shooting? You guessed it. Trayvon Martin. But here again, the NYT lies stating, "in that case the judge's instructions to the jury contained the same language of the stand your ground law." Because Trayvon was on top of the white Hispanic raining down punches, there was no possibility of a safe retreat and there were no instructions in that case about stand your ground. None.

The NYT editors admit near the end of the article that background checks would still apply in Missouri. Duh, federal law does indeed apply, brainiacs. But then the editorial trots out the gun show loophole lie: "Unfortunately, there is a separate and busy uncontrolled market where buyers at gun shows and on the internet do not have to undergo background checks."

Wrong. People who sell guns for a living, federal firearm license holders, always have to use the background checks in order to sell a gun legally to anyone, and FFL holders sell about 98% of the guns at gun shows. You indeed can purchase a gun online without a background check, but unless you go pick up the gun yourself, the only way you can legally get it shipped to you is through a FFL holder who has to do the background check as I just stated. Buying online and then retrieving the purchased gun from the seller face to face is eerily similar to just going to the gun owner and buying it face to face. No one can legally sell any gun he or she owns to a person who cannot legally own a gun and again, that federal law applies in every state, even Missouri after it went with Constitutional Carry, as over 1/5th of the states have previously done with nary a detrimental result.

And as a reminder of how few times righteous private owners sell to people who cannot own guns, one needs only look at the statistics for federal prosecutions of violations of this law. In 2014, only a few hundred were prosecuted for such an illegal sale out of the tens of millions of sales made that year. Private sellers almost always follow the law, apparently.

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Friday, September 16, 2016

 

Judenrein

That German word is known to a lot of people but not enough. It means, literally, 'clean of Jews' or more precisely 'free of Jews' in English. It was the main tenant of the Nazi party and it was made permanently real starting when Germany began to lose the war. The plan was to make the Greater Reich free of Jews, literally, by murdering them all. The Nazis got about half way there.

 I bring this up because, whether they know it or not, those lefty people calling Jews living in the West Bank "illegal" are in a very real sense supporting the idea that the West Bank should be Judenrein. How's it feel to be Nazi fellow travelers*, morons?

Maybe you are not morons but are merely horribly ignorant of history. One way to tell this ignorance is to see what they call the West Bank (formerly Jordan and before that Ottoman Empire). If they call it Palestine, they don't know very much about the subject.


*classical reference

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

 

Broadening My Musical Horizons

At the urging of my acquaintance/friend, the Satanic Mechanic* Sam, I went to the Rotting Christ show at the Marquis Theater (and pizza kitchen) at 20th and Larimer last night for four metal bands.



I'm not going to talk about the first three but to say one was from Montreal and another from the Netherlands and Kiss didn't do them any favors by making face painting popular.

Rotting Christ is a Greek, atmospheric Black Metal band (and if you know what I'm talking about in that description, you already know more about modern metal music than I do--heck, I might know more about rap than I do about metal). And I thought they were great. Best concert I've been to in a while. They've been at it for about 20 years (and I guess 20 years of success and excellence gets you gigs in front of 100 people on your tour in atmospheric Black Metal circles). The core is the lead singer/rhythm guitar and his brother the drummer, but the bassist and lead were great. Sam thinks they are the pretty boy props at either end of the actual talent of the group. Kinda. The lead singer has a kind of Greek Orthodox iconic Jesus face and hair style. An ironic iconic face given the name of the band.

Let's get the name out of the way. Christology in the Catholic Church (See Catechism 465) declares that Christ is 100% divine and 100% human at the same time. The empiricist in me doesn't like that because the sum of the parts should add up to 100% not 200%, but he's God. He can do what he wants. So if Jesus is dead as a human from Friday early evening to Sunday early morning (abut 36 hours?) in Judea in early Spring, it's logical to think there would be some decay of his human body. So the in-your-face name is not as blasphemous as I suspect the band thinks. I don't feel that my consignment to Hell was sealed because I attended the concert. I know this is heresy, but I continue to believe that God does not sweat the small stuff, falling sparrows notwithstanding. Knowing about something and actually caring about it enough to do something about it are two different things. Back to the music.

There is a sameness to the music even from band to band across sub group categories (here Death Metal to Black Metal, I was instructed), but that's not an actual criticism. What we now call classical music has a sameness too. What makes the similar music enjoyable across a wide path of listeners is subtle variations on the similar theme. Let me expand on that. The near perfect building in Athens, the Parthenon, had along the sides of the spaces above the columns a series of metopes punctuated by other decoration. And the metopes were of different subjects for each of the four sets. The one that has the most surviving panels was about the battle of Lapiths and Centaurs. So it's Lapiths and Centaurs, Centaurs and Lapiths all along the south frieze of the building. That's a pretty narrow subject matter but each metope is unique, different from the others in framing and composition--subtle variations on the theme. Despite the similar theme, most people think the metopes sculptures are art very high in the pantheon of excellence.

I have to admit that I didn't hear a lot of the words being sung by any of the bands (perhaps 3%); it was all pretty much Greek to me. This was not only because of the guttural, back of the throat voice most of the singers use but also because the music was loud, really loud. But I'm sure these songs are no less profound than rap or pop or what we call jut plain old rock and roll. I'm not sure the words of the songs are their biggest selling point.

Here are some minor things I noticed. I didn't recognize a single guitar by make or model the whole night. That's probably on me. There was not a lot of hair product being used by these guys. I don't know if that is a reaction to the "hair bands" of the 80s and 90s (whom these guys would probably call pussies) or if it is a utilitarian concern that flipping the hair requires limp, slightly greasy hair to work properly. And they do flip their hair, a lot. Either back and forth or in a sort of propeller pattern by rotating their heads in a circle as they crouch down. That's the only choreography metal seems to indulge. Extended guitar solos are rare--20 seconds was the longest duration I noticed. The beat indeed invites a movement of the head up and down. You can't help it. There's a drive and intensity to good metal bands that seems to be sorely lacking in plain old rock and roll.

I'm not a fan, yet, but I can see what the fuss is all about. The deepest I got into metal was liking Queens of the Stone Age quite a lot. Real metal fans would know I'm just barely across the line with that.

*classical reference

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Saturday, September 10, 2016

 

Japanese Wood Prints Still Being Made

Still Beautiful.



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What We Missed At Burning Man This Year











This was from a few years ago I think. Life imitating Art.

Oh well, there's always next year.

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Photo of the Day


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Wednesday, September 07, 2016

 

One Difference Between Me and You

I lived during the pre-Civil Rights Act of '64 period in the south and you (or most of you) didn't. I can almost recall signs in places like this.



But what's more important, I know now the source of these signs, and this awful treatment of black Americans. It was Democrats. They passed laws requiring the separate eating facilities and separate entrances shown above and below.. The only color the restaurant and business owners cared about was green. It was the racist, former slave owners in the local and state governments who passed the Jim Crow laws*. These laws weren't just in the South




Overwhelmed by guilt for being the racists for so long, the Democrats have retreated into projection and vital lies. They seem to do this not only to escape collective guilt but also to avoid having to examine the effect their racist history has on their current policies.

One vital lie is that somewhere, sometime, somehow, the Democrats  switched their invidious racial animus with the Republicans. You really have to be delusional to think that, so of course most Democrats do. It's a Big Lie, the Nazi type of Big Lie, now believed by Millions.

The photos are by Gordon Parks and I believe they were taken in Mobile, Alabama in the late 50s. I lived in Mobile for three years, '62 to '64. Things weren't much different then than when Parks was taking pictures there.

* In Alabama, the Jim Crow Law about restaurants read in pertinent part: "It shall be unlawful to conduct a restaurant or other place for the serving of food in the city, at which white and colored people are served in the same room, unless such white and colored persons are effectually separated by a solid partition extending from the floor upward to a distance of seven feet or higher, and unless a separate entrance from the street is provided for each compartment." 

So rather than cater to the whites' alleged hatred of eating with black people, the racist Democrats created the separate lunch counters and entrances and the businesses had to go along.

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