31 July 2010

gnutella client for Ubuntu

the gnutella network is a serverless peer to peer protocol that has been giving the RIAA fits for copyright infringement. It is also a really good way to transfer large files around the internet.

For the first time in my Linux experience I was able to click on a program, download it, install it, and have it up and running the same way windows users can. Frostwire is the client I'm now using (and looking for some documentation that I hope *someone* has and is sharing). The gdeb installer feature is going to make Linux accessible to the masses in a way that "sudo make" terminal installs can not.

Normal users want to be able to USE their computer, not program it. Point and click program installation is completely awesome for normal end users. Ubuntu Linux ROCKS!

30 July 2010


How to deal with losing a soldier, or at least how I'm trying to deal with it.

You cry. Don't care how tough you are, how many haj you've killed, or how many scare badges you wear, you'll shed tears.

You talk. Talk to your buddies, talk to the chaplain. But you need to talk about the one you lost.

You take care of yourself. Get some sleep even if it means pills, eat but don't over eat. When you mourn the dead you still have to care for the living.

Expect your emotions to ebb and flow. Little things will make you tear up and get a lump in your throat. That's normal, deal with each episode as it comes up, and don't worry about the past or the future.

You laugh at things that really aren't that funny, or some things that are, and it is because you need to laugh. Laughter is good medicine.

Drink sparingly. Two drinks is ok, three is a warning sign, four is too much.

Life goes on, and you need to remember that.

29 July 2010

Go with angels

SGT John Sutherland. Combat vet, fellow soldier, friend. Died July 29th 2010.

Public Service Announcement

You are never too good to double check after you've cleared a weapon, and never too cool to not obey the four rules.

I lost one of my snipers because of this. Over two years in a combat zone and he kills himself less than three weeks back by making a stupid mistake with his new revolver.

27 July 2010

Urban sniper rifle


Urban sniping is an interesting thing. We see sniping really fall into three categories, short, medium, and long range engagements.

Short range engagements are less than "Maximum point blank range" (MPBR) shots. This means that the bullet leaves the barrel and never goes above or below a few inches. Even a 30-30 has an MPBR in excess of 250 meters when you give it a +/- 6 inches.

Medium range engagements are really out to "about double" the MPBR distance for a weapon.

Long range engagements are greater than double the MPBR of a weapon.

If you take the standard 20" AR-15, MPBR is 320 meters with M855 ammunition, less if you want a real +/- 6 inch pipe zero. This means medium engagements are between 300 and 600 meters, and long range is greater than 600 meters.

These numbers are pretty typical for most weapon systems, although the 7.62x39 is a bit less because of the difference in trajectory (about 200 MPBR), and the 22lr is even less than that (about 100 meters MPBR).

The longer your shot, the greater the time of flight, the more wind comes into effect. So the closer you get to your target the greater your chances of success. This is why the "Beltway Snipers" always took their shots inside MPBR distance, and most Iraqi "snipers" do the same.

However, inside of MPBR greatly increases your chances of getting caught. So either you need to cache your weapon in place, or abandon it, or have it able to be broken down and put into an inocuous carrying case like a gym bag or backpack. This is the idea of the "urban sniper rifle", something small enough to make infil and exfil easy.

For that I recommend something different than a bolt action rifle. An AR-10 or AR-15 with a 16~20" barrel. Collapsing buttstock optional since you can take it apart with the push of two pins. Caliber is immaterial, anything from 223 to 308 will work, and all the exotic 6.5 Grendel/6.5 LBC, 6.8 SPC, WSSM's only change the MPBR less than 100 meters either way. If you want one then get one, but caliber is not important compared to skill.

Terrorists are using AK's for urban sniping, skill is more important than equipment. But good equipment is always nice to have.

So, to sum up, the majority of your shots should be in the medium range (longer than MPBR) to maximize your chances of successful infil, shot, exfil. Your weapon needs to be either expendable (a "dump gun") or small enough to not raise suspicions during infil/exfil. A silencer would be nice, but if you set up your hide properly you may not need one.

25 July 2010

Ubuntu 9.10 "Karmic Koala"

I used the "update" feature on Ubuntu for the second time. Imagine my surprise that it actually worked.

23 July 2010

Motorcycle saga...

I found out that "about 150 miles a tank" means that you need to fill up by mile 120.

22 July 2010


The JournoList group is not a smoking gun pointing towards a liberal media, merely another long string of data points that show a liberal bias in the media.

However, I didn't know that the liberal media wanted to overthrow freedom of the press.

"I am genuinely scared” of Fox, wrote Guardian columnist Daniel Davies, because it “shows you that a genuinely shameless and unethical media organisation *cannot* be controlled by any form of peer pressure or self-regulation, and nor can it be successfully cold-shouldered or ostracised. In order to have even a semblance of control, you need a tough legal framework.”

So that's what a liberal journalist wants, control of the media. Too bad that's kinda illegal.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Which is why it is ironic that Liberal Journalists don't understand that their ability to peaceably assemble on the internet and express their fascist views is protected by the very law they want to make null and void.

I wonder if KKK members feel the same way as the JournoList members, so willing to gain even a temporary advantage over their opponent that they will cut their own throat. Like poisoning your own well to punish your neighbor...

21 July 2010

Post Count...

Occaisionally I'll start a blog post that never gets finished, but is saved as a "draft" by blogger.

Yesterday I deleted a number of them going back over the last eighteen months. Today I noticed my post count on the dashboard had gone from 662 to 650. That got me thinking about backing up my blog.

To do that you simply set your browser to display every post in your blog by setting n equal to the total number of posts, then saving that web page as either HTML complete or .XML for storage.

Of course draft posts do not show up on the blog, so my Dashboard was lieing to me about the number of published posts....

19 July 2010

flippin' SWEET!!!eleven!!!

I write like
Cory Doctorow

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

For those of you who don't know, Cory Doctorow is a pretty awesome dude who open sourced a Cola among other epic feats of awesomeness.

Citizen journalism...

I just finished watching an episode of "The Simpsons" where Kent Brockman gets fired from his job for saying a dirty word on air. Kent then goes on to work with Lisa doing a webcast telling "the truth" about big media. Telling the truth is such a threat to the "conservative establishment" that they hire him back with a raise.

Interesting. The idea that every journalist out there has "sold out" to the establishment, and that "the establishment" is conservative (even Kent Brockman's boss at channel 6). Oh wait, they were talking solely about FoxNews being conservative...

So the establishment is really liberal, at least in the news media. Why would the conservative establishment bribe reporters to be liberal? I have no clue, it isn't logical to control something so that people are biased against yourself.

But logic is not one of the strengths of liberals.

18 July 2010


I was browsing Sipsey Street and came across a link for this post about swords...

First, any weapon is like any other weapon, you have to have it on you for it to be effective. So if you want to use a sword as a weapon you need to have it on you.

Second, carrying around a sword is a good way to advertise that you have a sword. No matter how many times you watch "Highlander" you won't be able to figure out how to carry a sword concealed.

Third, there are over 60 million gun owners in the US, who own over 250 million guns. If you run out of ammo, somebody else has some. My experience with the fall of civilizations is, when the fecal matter hits the rotary cooling device people manage to get their hands on guns.

Lastly, if you have a sword, and the disaster situation has lasted long enough to exhaust most everybody's ammo stores, then by golly maybe it would be cool to have a sword. Until you meet the guy who has a longbow, crossbow, compound bow, atlatl, spear, or javelin and knows how to use it.

17 July 2010

The NAACP "proof"

This picture is the "proof" of racism within the TEA Party. I took this photo from the NAACP websight. No I'm not going to linke

You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me.


For those who forgot, here is a little of the history of the left saying the same $hit about Bush

http://www.zombietime.com/zomblog/?p=612 for all the Bush=Hitler references

Seriously, the NAACP has lost credibility here. Political protest signs are like political cartoons, they are designed for maximum impact in the space available. They are not meant to advance rational debate, they are meant to give a gut impact.

Someone tell the unions, because FISTS aren't supposed to be doing the gut impact. Cause that would be criminal.


Today I chopped the wood that was in the back of my old truck.

Today I tightened and lubed the drive chain on my motorcyle.

Today I planned to take a half hour ride, and ended up more than twice that. The air was perfect, the sun shining, even the fresh cut hay perfumed my ride.

Tightening the chain really got rid of some of the rattling noise.

15 July 2010

Lady GaGa

There has been a lot of bruhaha in the blogosphere lately about Lady GaGa's use of guns in costumes and music videos.

I'll be honest and say that I could care less. Her music is repetitive and inane, her costumes are nothing new. Cher, Iggy Pop, Madonna, Kiss, all have costume issues, and did it all before Lady GaGa appeared on the musical scene.

I do not expect a 24 year old girl raised in New York and trained in musical performance to be a spokesperson for gun rights or gun control. I expect her to be an entertainer. And she is selling her entertainment like hotcakes. Good for her.

That she chooses to use guns in her entertainment is simply a choice. The same way guns are used in other forms of media, whether it be Miami Vice, Bad Boys II, "Monster Hunter International", Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty.

Guns are a part of the entertainment industry because consumers have given their approval. Trying to make Lady GaGa a serious part of the debate about guns and culture is either a sad commentary on our culture, or a sad commentary about those who want to ban guns.

While I don't really have much experience with total world culture, the little I do have makes me very thankful for American culture. Paul Helmke should move his ass to the UK and see how that total ban is working.

14 July 2010


The Defense of Marriage Act violates the "Full Faith and Credit" clause of the Constitution (meaning that marriages/contracts in one state apply to all others). A Federal judge recognized that fact by calling DOMA unconstitutional and setting it up for Supreme Court review.

This is basically setting up DOMA to become the LGBT communitties "Heller and McDonald" decisions.

I expect the Supreme Court to simply affirm his ruling by refusing to review the case. This will go away quietly instead of being a 5-4 nailbiter.


Home loan applications at 13 year low.

Mortgage rates are now at a historic low.

The strength of the dollar slips in conjunction with declining retail sales.

The durable goods forecast doesn't offer any signs of economic recovery.

Automotive sales are up from last year, but still below 2008 levels.

What does this tell me? All these indicators point to stagnation, and if confidence in the dollar continues to slip, possibly another round of stagflation. Should have put my money in gold instead of stocks...

13 July 2010

I do not think this word means what you think it means...

"We have to close the enthusiasm gap," NAACP president Ben Jealous said in an interview with the Associated Press Friday. "The danger of the Tea Party is that people see them and think about periods in history when groups like them were much more powerful than they are now, and so a lot of what we spend energy doing is explaining to people what reality is, and that the reality is that the majority from 2008 still exists."

Uh huh...who is the one denying reality here?

The majority of Americans support Arizona and the approval numbers for Obama have reversed in 18 months...

The "One Nation" initiative is astroturf any way you slice it...

In an effort to replicate the tea party's success, 170 liberal and civil-rights groups are forming a coalition they hope will match the movement's political energy and influence. The groups promise to "counter the tea-party narrative" and help the progressive movement find its voice again after 18 months of floundering.

The large-scale attempt at liberal unity, dubbed "One Nation," will try to revive themes that energized the progressive grass roots two years ago. In a repurposing of Barack Obama's campaign slogan, organizers are demanding "all the change" they voted for, a poke at the Obama administration.

But the liberal groups have long had a sibling rivalry, jostling over competing agendas and seeking to influence some of the same lawmakers. In forming the coalition, the groups struggled to settle on a name. Even now, two of the major players disagree about who came up with the idea of holding a march this fall.

Liberals can't play nice with each other, how long until "One Nation" turns into another ineffective paper tiger? It is just like liberals to insist a top down solution can even possibly match the energy and authenticity of a grass roots movement.

Hat tip to SondraK.

12 July 2010

Fighting for freedom

Freedom is what you have when you can exercise your natural rights. When you are restrained from your natural rights, that is oppression. Life, liberty, property, expression, etc.

In the blogroll I added "Photography is Not a Crime" and look forward to following the exploits of real civil rights crusaders.

Because make no mistake, men and women who are willing to be arrested for legally taking photographs and videos are civil rights crusaders. Those unlawful arrests stay on your record, and that record makes it difficult to get a job that requires a background check. After all, who wants to hire someone who has had frequent run ins with Johny Law?

Even if you are in the right, as these photographers are, there are consequences. Personal time lost spent in jail cells, an arrest record (even if the arrest is completely illegal the record never goes away).

The limits on free speech, and a free press, are the identifiers of a tyranny. In this age of the internet, every citizen is a journalist. Most "smart phones" allow the user to snap a photo, upload the pic to a server, and then link the photo to a blog post anywhere there is reasonable cell service.

Why is the ACLU silent on this? Why are photographers not being backed by hordes of attorneys to fight for their right to document public proceedings? I don't know.

But it makes me glad that we people of the gun have the NRA, the SAF, and JPFO. Unfortunately we lost Olofson

And every time we lose, tyrants win.

11 July 2010

Facts don't matter....

Today I was at a family reunion, and two elders of the clan began a short argument on politics.

It was short because both cantankerous old men knew that they couldn't convince the other, and conservative old man changed the subject.

Conservative old man asked liberal old man what Obama had accomplished, and liberal old man replied "He's done so much for women's rights, equal pay for equal work."

Words failed me. True believers still exist, and you can't reason with them, you can only kill them.

10 July 2010


Found over at Marko's place
+avatar +plot +dumb

It’s not so much that the plot is dumb, it’s that it’s insultingly preachy, and lifted wholesale from another movie to boot. Just Google “Pocahontas synopsis”, replace “John Smith” with “Jake Sully”, “Pocahontas” with “Neytiri”, make the Indians ten feet tall and blue, and put the whole thing into space.

I don't care who you are, that's FUNNY right there.

Global Warming

Heat Wave in Summer.

Heck, as far back as "The Seven Year Itch" the summer heat in New York City has been a part of movie plots.

Heat waves during Summer are what makes it Summer. How about "Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noon day sun"? Or "The dog days of summer"? Those phrases clearly predate the Global Warming cult.

So, pull up a glass of your beverage of choice, and watch the howling continue, as if somehow, magically, now a heat wave during Summer is proof positive of "global warming". Or, you can see if a UK scientist is correct about the coming thunderstorms.

I'm looking forward so some good stormage myself. It just isn't a Washington summer without a few days of power outage from windstorms :)


Yesterday I spent a few hours sending lead downrange. I got to help a buddy sight in his M1A "Scout" rifle and it was a lot of fun to get my Savage 10 dialed in.

Enjoying the fruits of my reloading efforts really helps me want to spend more time at the bench.

The 7.62x51 Lake City brass did just fine after being prepped. Cleaned, annealed, full length resized, and trimmed to minimum. Loaded with 42 grains of 4064 underneath a Nosler 168 gr BTHP with CCI BR2 primers. Very good performance for a "budget" load up.

Next time I'll take the Saiga 308 out and see if I can't get it dialed in, although shooting my buddies Scout really makes me lust for an M1A of my own.

08 July 2010

Gas Laws and Global Warming

pV=nRt is the combined gas law, pressure times volume equals mols of gas times the ideal gas constant times temperature in Kelvin.

Last year a German Math Professer, who happens to be number 296 on the "table of skeptics" http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~prall/climate/skeptic_authors_table.html wrote a paper explaining how the proposed models of global warming are bunk.

In reply http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0802/0802.4324v1.pdf Arthur P. Smith wrote a nice paper on how to calculate the average mean temperature of a planet. I would like to point out that in his paper Smith does not address the issue of pressure.

Instead of ascribing the ability of an atmosphere to retain heat to pressure, which would be consistant with the known gas laws, Smith decides to attributes the effect of the ability of a "thin layer opaque to infrared radiation".

We can disprove this supposition with a few simple observations.

First is weather balloon data that has never found this "reflective" layer. A temperature spike at altitude would confirm the "greenhouse effect" but since lack of evidence is not evidence of absence we will continue. Consider this not proving the negative, but showing imperical evidence that the model does not match reality.

Second is that the heat capacity for gases is temperature dependent. The only way to drastically increase the heat capacity of our atmosphere would be to drastically alter it's pressure. Since pressure is controlled by gravity you can form your own conclusions.

Third is the variable albedo of Earth. The layer that we KNOW can reflect a lot of energy is clouds. Cloud formation is dependent on a lot of things, including solar output. Not only do clouds prevent energy from warming the surface, but prevents energy from the surface from escaping back into space. You can make ice cream in the Sahara simply by using the clear night sky as a heat sink.

Fourth is the variable heat capacity of our atmosphere due to variable water concentrations. Neither the atmosphere nor the surface of the planet is represented by simple models.

And lastly, anything that can carry heat interacts with the infrared spectrum (the atmosphere cools the ground by convection, but the now heated gas has to release energy somehow). If there is global warming, it has to happen in the atmosphere, and by all models put forth by AGW proponents warming has to be most significant at altitude. The suns emmitted spectrum has a very large IR component (which is why you feel heat from direct sunlight), if the IR component from the sun was "blocked" by this layer, the surface would heat less, causing less convection cooling.

Finally, our atmosphere is already near 100% "opaque" to the IR spectrum. http://www.freebase.com/view/wikipedia/images/commons_id/1898726 CO2 has a "spectrum" of about 4.26 microns and 15 microns. Unfortunately these ranges also correspond to the various IR absorbption of H2O, so increasing atmospheric CO2 would fall under the "chaos" of water vapor.

05 July 2010

Science and public policy

The politicization of science in order to set public policy has become a rather ugly symbiotic relationship between bureaucrats, scientists, and radical activists.

Money flows from the taxpayers to the scientists (often graduate level researchers) through various government agencies. Research is conducted, a result is published, and activists use the research to lobby for the policy they want.

The problem becomes when either the scientist or the bureaucrat is also an activist.

You get crappy publications like the Mann "Hockey stick" graph of climate. You get the climate-gate emails. You get more controversy in the public debate that goes back to bad science.

Ayn Rand predicted in "Atlas Shrugged" about the politicization of science, and unfortunately she was correct, at least her worst fears, an actual "Bureau of Science" has not emerged. But maybe she was referring to the National Academy of Sciences.

A logical, polite argument

Hal Espen said...

It's an interesting exchange shaping up between AM and Ed Darrell; I'm looking forward to AM's response. One point I'd like to offer about AM's critique is that it can be treacherous to rely on a brief excerpt (like Scientific American's) rather than carefully exploring the complete source: in this case, Caroline's exhaustively researched and comprehensively footnoted book, "Rewilding the World: Dispatches from the Conservation Revolution." (Disclosure: Caroline Fraser is my wife.) Caroline's book is the farthest thing from some kind of utopian-hippie-hysterical outcry (I'm looking at you, Ted Amadeus, you sniveling gone-Galt scrub); and it deals at length with the complexities and real-world questions of what to do about the current crisis of crashing biodiversity and accelerating species extinctions, and the potential consequences. And AM, if you had bothered to look beyond the Scientific American excerpt before dismissing Caroline's entire project as worthless, you would have discovered that her book grapples with each of your various arguments. It's your blog, AM, and you're free to argue any way you like, but ignoring 99% of your opponent's evidence (including even the parts that overlap and agree with your own point of view) seems itself pretty unscientific. But then serving in the military doesn't give you more authority on the subject of wildlife conservation than someone who studied English literature at Harvard. In any case, military virtues like discipline, preparedness, careful intelligence-gathering, and respecting your opponent's strengths seem to be utterly missing here.

emphasis mine.

I will admit that I haven't read her book, since it was only two days ago that I was introduced to your wifes work through "Scientific American". I do look forward to putting it on the nightstand and giving it a once through based on your reply.

I ignored the parts of your wifes article that I agreed with, such as the need to sustain biodiversity for the sake of research and habitat preservation. Both because I am not an expert on habitat management (more of an interested amateur) and I agree with the conservation efforts started by John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt. My rather limited education on re-wilding/habitat management has more to do with North American river systems, Riparian vegetation, animal movement corridors, forestry management etc. However I remain totally against the "non-use" policy of many environmentalists simply because it turns habitat from an asset into a drain.

However relying on either Rachel Carson or the current Anthropogenic Global Warming hysteria to make her point is not scientific and an invitation for ridicule. Hysteria and shoddy science do not bolster a logical argument, even in a rag like "Scientific American".

Ed Darrell is an iD10t

Ed Darrell says;

1. Carson got into the thing only after 15 years of studies trying to sound the alarm from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and others. The Forest Service stopped using DDT in 1958 because of its ecosystem destruction, a full year before Carson even started writing in earnest.

The shadow was on the land. Carson merely opened our eyes to it.

The truth is:

Carson wrote "Dr. DeWitt's now classic experiments [on quail and pheasants] have now established the fact that exposure to DDT, even when doing no observable harm to the birds, may seriously affect reproduction. Quail into whose diet DDT was introduced throughout the breeding season survived and even produced normal numbers of fertile eggs. But few of the eggs hatched." DeWitt's 1956 article (in Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry) actually yielded a very different conclusion. Quail were fed 200 parts per million of DDT in all of their food throughout the breeding season. DeWitt reports that 80% of their eggs hatched, compared with the "control"" birds which hatched 83.9% of their eggs. Carson also omitted mention of DeWitt's report that "control" pheasants hatched only 57 percent of their eggs, while those that were fed high levels of DDT in all of their food for an entire year hatched more than 80% of their eggs.

Ed Darrell wrote:

Were it true that the ban on spraying DDT on cotton in Texas allowed malaria to spread in Africa (and I can't believe anyone is that map challenged), the annual death rate from malaria has run at or under a million people a year since EPA acted in 1972. That's 38 years. 38 times one million would be 38 million deaths worldwide. 60 million is an inflated figure in any case.

The US Ban on DDT helped spread the way for the World Health Organization to back off from their 1955 goal of using DDT to bring Malaria under control in the third world, like it already had been in the developed nations.

The World Health Organization disagrees with the "under 1 million" and calls it "at least one million". Africa News in 1999 put the estimate at 2.7 million per year for the continent of Africa. I simply guestimated between 1 million and 2.7 million and rounded down to get to 60 million. But obviously the difference between an "overinflated 60 million" and an "accurate and factual 38 million" isn't any problem, because after all, we are only talking about dark skinned people here, it isn't like they are really human or anything.

Ed Darrell said:
3. Mosquitoes don't migrate from Texas to Africa. Can you explain, please, how not using DDT in Texas causes a rise in malaria in Africa?

See above you simpering sub-monkey moron. Also there was never a "rise" in African malaria, just never a reduction. That place can be a real hell hole.

The truth is that even DDT resistant mosquitoes will avoid areas sprayed with DDT, which is why the WHO has issued a statement as recently as 2006 that supports the use of DDT in Africa. Evidently it's ok for the WHO to eradicate smallpox, but not use DDT to eradicate malaria according to the environmental elite who don't live in crushing poverty.

It's assholes like Ed Darrell that are all for condemning children to blindness because Golden Rice is a genetically engineered crop, and therefore it's ok for the EU to refuse to trade with countries that grow gene modified foodstuffs.

Ed Darrell said:

4. DDT resistance and immunity arose in African mosquitoes in the early 1960s. By 1965, most populations of mosquito that carried malaria and could be assaulted by spraying, were resistant or immune to DDT (see Malcolm Gladwell's profile of malaria-fighter Fred Soper; see Socrates Litsios's Tomorrow of Malaria; see Jonathan Weiner's The Beak of the Finch, a story of evolution in our time.
If DDT didn't work against mosquitoes, as Rachel Carson had predicted in 1962, how is it you blame her for anything? She wasn't the one who overused and abused DDT.

Once again, see above you mouth breathing simian. DDT is useful even against resistant mosquitoes. You don't have to kill all the malaria in the world, just stop the infection in humans.

Ed Darrell said:

5. Check with Audubon. Peregrine falcon populations did not increase during DDT's peak use years. DDT instead made the birds unable to reproduce, and pushed them to the brink of extinction. There are dozens of studies on this point, all of which deny precisely your claim. Peregrines came off the endangered species list, because the decline of residual DDT in their tissues stopped making their eggs and chicks unviable.

The truth is: Up through the 1960s, it was known as a "duck hawk" and regarded as a "bounty bird," a nuisance predator subject to indiscriminate shooting across the West. Overhunting is a much more rational explanation for the decline of Peregrine Falcons than DDT, especially when you look at the data that Rachel Carson so glibly misrepresented.

A Finnish study on historical bounty payment records found this: The ‘golden age’ of bounty schemes from 1898 to the 1920s contributed to local extinctions of both mammalian and avian species.

And what does the Audubon society say about raptor populations during DDT use?

In actuality, however, declines in bird populations either had occurred before DDT was present or had occured years after DDT’s use. A comparison of the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Counts between 1941 (pre-DDT) and 1960 (after DDT’s use had waned) reveals that at least 26 different kinds of birds became more numerous during those decades, the period of greatest DDT usage. The Audubon counts document an overall increase in birds seen per observer from 1941 to 1960, and statistical analyses of the Audubon data confirm the perceived increases. For example, only 197 bald eagles were documented in 194111; the number had increased to 891 in 1960.12

At Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania, teams of ornithologists made daily counts of migrating raptors for over 40 years. The counts—published annually by the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association—reveal great increases in most kinds of hawks during the DDT years. The osprey counts increased as follows: in 1946, 191; in 1956, 288; in 1967, 457; and in 1972, 630.13 In 1942 Dr. Joseph Hickey—who in 1968 would blame DDT for bird population decline—reported that 70 per-cent of the eastern osprey population had been killed by pole traps around fish hatcheries.14 That same year, before DDT came into use, Hickey noted a decline in the population of peregrine falcons.15

Ed Darrell said:
6. Carson's sources showed that chicks either did not hatch, or could not survive to fledging, when the parents got dosed with DDT. No one fully understood the mechanism -- the research all showed bird death. It is misleading to say the research didn't show eggshell thinning, because that wasn't being researched.

See the truth of the Dewitt experiment, which means read my first response again.

Ed Darrell said:
7. Subsequent research fully and completely established that eggshell thinning is caused by DDT and its daughter products, and that this meant eggs laid by bald eagles, brown pelicans, peregrine falcons and osprey, could not survive.

And obviously you can show me the mechanism of action? Oh wait, it is "still unknown". And as I have already linked, hunting for bounty or anti-predation efforts is the more likely culprit for raptor decline.

8. Please explain this: Malaria death rates today are less than half what they were when DDT use was at its peak.

Is the rest of your research so sloppy as that?

My research isn't sloppy you koolaid drinking zombie, there is a huge effort at education, treated sleeping net distribution, limited indoor spraying efforts going on in Africa. But none of it is as effective as DDT was in the developed world.

03 July 2010

Unscientific American

Excerpts from "Could Re-Wilding Avert the 6th Great Extinction?" by Caroline Fraser and printed in "Scientific American".

This global experiment is comparable to the one Americans unwittingly set in motion in the 1950s by sowing the land with toxic pesticides. In the fable that opens Silent Spring, Rachel Carson described a “strange blight” settling over a town. Birds fell silent, bees vanished. There was no pollination, no fruit. “Everywhere,” she wrote, “was a shadow of death.” Carson helped keep that pall from settling over the whole country by inciting a national debate that led to the banning of DDT.

The "shadow of death" existed only in Rachel Carson's mind, and the banning of DDT has lead directly to an estimated 60 million plus deaths to Malaria in Africa alone. Peregrine falcon numbers increased during the peak use years of DDT. Rachel Carson's "sources" for "Silent Spring" showed no link between DDT and eggshell thinning.

Climate change further exacerbates biodiversity loss, and each of these crises magnifies and intensifies the effects of the other. As the planet warms and dries in some areas, species are pushed out of niches they currently occupy. Some of them, including the emperor penguin in Antarctica and the polar bear in the Arctic, have nowhere to go. Worldwide, as water temperatures rise and ponds dry, exposing amphibians and their eggs to ultraviolet radiation and disease, a third of those species are threatened with extinction. As people burn forests for agriculture and grazing, as they replace native vegetation with mono-culture crops that discourage cloud formation, they alter the dynamic relationship between the earth’s surface and the atmosphere, initiating further drying and warming, and further species loss.

Why do species matter? Why worry if some go missing? Part of the answer lies in the relationships coming to light between creatures like the canyon coyotes and the chaparral birds. After the nineteenth century’s great age of biological collecting, when collectors filled museums to bursting with stuffed birds and pinned beetles, the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have proved to be an age of connecting. Biologists have begun to understand that nature is a chain of dominoes: If you pull one piece out, the whole thing falls down. Lose the animals, lose the ecosystems. Lose the ecosystems, game over.

The poor polar bears and their exploding numbers... If the Emperor penguins go extinct it won't be because of climate change. There happens to be rock underneath quite a bit of the antarctic ice cap. Don't count out the Emperor Penguin just yet.

If species are crucial to medicine, ecosystems are indispensable to the health of the planet. Ecosystems provide the most basic provisioning services— food, firewood, and medicines—along with the so- called regulating services of a fully functional environment, which include cleaning the air, purifying water, controlling floods and erosion, storing carbon, and detoxifying pollutants in soils. When ecosystems are lost, as they have been through felling of forests and conversion of landscape to agriculture on a vast scale, havoc ensues, triggering human and natural catastrophe on an unprecedented scale.

What havoc? Where? When? All I see here is a hysterical straw man argument. China has been civilized for longer than the written word, and agriculture isn't the problem with Chinese pollution. Out of control industrialization without air and water quality standards is the cause of Chinese pollution.

Signs of these costs are showing up everywhere, because ecosystem services are beginning to fail. After several record-breaking drought years, the Amazon is approaching a tipping point when its “rain machine” may malfunction, putting South American agriculture in peril. Australia’s rice and wheat crops are failing due to drought, sending worldwide wheat prices to a ten-year high. Emerging diseases are being unleashed as forests are cut. Honeybee colonies are vanishing, leaving commercial crops from avocados to oranges unpollinated. Water shortages, food riots, failed crops, the worldwide collapse of pollinators: this is only the beginning. Welcome to the demographic winter, the new hot season in hell.

What does a failed ecosystem look like? The Sahara desert? Oh wait, that's a desert ecosystem. The drought in Australia is just a drought, they come and go. South American agriculture is an interesting argument, but the "rain machine" of the rain forest is simply recycling rain water that comes from somewhere else. Water comes from and returns to the sea, the rain forest simply recycles it for a bit along the way.

Controversial or not, the unflinching message of conservation biology is that rewilding is not only a scientific necessity but also an ethical responsibility. Biologists no longer shrink from the overtly moral argument that humanity has an obligation to protect and restore wilderness. That responsibility, they contend, goes beyond any utilitarian argument. Noteworthy biologists from E. O. Wilson to Jared Diamond have pushed their colleagues to enter the political arena in the fashion of groups like International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, while religious leaders have encouraged their flocks to consider the moral implications of destroying creation. Biologists and clergy are being radicalized by the same shared belief, a sign that we find ourselves on the brink of committing irrevocable acts.

Morals have nothing to do with this fear mongering argument. Conservation is a wonderful goal, but "rewilding" is a really bad argument. Conservation is "wise use" and "rewilding" sounds like "non-use". Remember that African countries that allow sport hunting have healthy animal populations, while African countries that ban sport hunting suffer from massive amounts of poaching and have low animal numbers. Making wildlife and land economically profitable ensures it's continuation.

Along with alternative energy, the emerging professions of ecological restoration and management will help to drive the economy in the future. Already thousands of jobs in developing countries have been created in ecotourism, law enforcement, and agroforestry. From design to implementation, rewilding projects create jobs for a host of specialties—soil assessment, land system mapping, wildlife surveys and management, fire management—and for people in the construction and landscaping fields. Already projects are being designed to store carbon over decades in newly planted native vegetation, to restore connectivity and biodiversity in large-scale protected areas, and to train workers in restoring and maintaining wetlands and removing invasive species. Such projects could constitute the centerpiece of a global jobs program in developing and developed nations alike, training workers in environmental science and carbon sequestration.

And who the hell is going to pay for all these non-productive soil testers, surveyors, and mappers? Ecotourism dollars aren't exactly huge just yet. Hunting fees on the other hand, plenty of money. It costs in excess of 45k US to hunt a lion legally. That's the power of the sport hunting industry. Heck, price out a hunt for Dall Sheep lately?

But what the heck, Caroline doesn't offer us any plan to implement her ideas, no she simply puts forth what she thinks needs to be done and assumes that everyone but evil corporations agree with her viewpoint. Science by consensus and all that.

So why should you listen to Caroline Fraser on issues of conservation? Because she's an expert obviously, why else would "Scientific American" publish a piece on conservation if she wasn't an expert? Turns out she is an expert, has a Ph.D. and everything, just not in any sort of science. Caroline Fraser has a Ph.D. from Hahvahd, in English and American Literature.

Just 'cause you have a Ph.D. doesn't make you a scientist... At least Rachel Carson had a masters in marine biology. Of course that doesn't excuse her action in creating "Silent Spring". The Washington, D.C. chapter of the Audubon Society also actively opposed such spraying programs, and recruited Carson to help make public the government's exact spraying practices and the related research. Is it any wonder that she wrote a piece that blamed DDT for eggshell thinning?

Top Shot

I'm not a fan of reality TV, but I invariably tune in to Top Shot.

Why? Because I like watching people shoot.

Am I a better shot than anyone on Top Shot? Probably not. I didn't make Rifleman at my first Appleseed. Unfortunately I won't be able to attend the next one because I'll be working.

For anyone who wants to know, here are a few things I've learned over the years.

Go ugly early. Something that works ok now is better than something perfect later.

Even great shots have bad days and bad shots have good days.

Being a combat vet doesn't make you a good shot, just lucky to be alive.

Hard work will hone your skills, but sometimes the bad guys will get lucky.

Solo missions are suicide missions. Any time being alone in an endeavor increases your odds of survival it is a sign you need to rethink your approach to life.

A good spotter can get a bad shot on target. A bad spotter can make a good shot look horrible.

Pistols are short range tools. Subguns are medium range tools. Rifles are long range tools. Shotguns are very useful tools. The user is the weapon. Having tools in your toolbox doesn't make you a carpenter, mechanic, or warrior. Good tools are just a luxury.

02 July 2010

Defense Spending Cuts coming


The Dems control the House, Senate, and Executive branch. When the Dems talk about "austere" measures they mean cutting defense spending.

Fine. Bring it on.

I enlisted in the Clinton years, I remember the budget constraints. Infantry companies would rotate their Bradley crews through the single working Brad in the company to get every crew qualified during gunnery.

I remember the dumping of talented personnel into the civilian job market. TV specials on homeless vets.

Bring it on. With 10% unemployment nationally another 300k or 400k people out of work isn't going to matter right?

We who wear the uniform know that our jobs exist only because of the American Taxpayer. If we need to save money, cut ruthlessly. At the smallest the active component of the US Army was less than 80 artillerymen shortly after the Revolutionary War.

A smaller active duty military might mean a shift back towards our traditional militia roots. Sure we couldn't secure the world, but last I checked we weren't doing much good at that.

Of course we have to have a disaster at Desert One to give the politicians a wake up call that if you want the best military force in the world you have to pay for it. We have to have a massacre at Mai Lai to realize that continuously cranking out Infantry Lieutenants is a bad idea.

Like I said, bring on the cuts. Know that cuts in budget are cuts in both capacity and ability. Know that a professional military is not like a faucet, you can't turn the budget on and off and expect instantaneous results. If you want to get what you pay for right away, you need mercenaries. Of course hiring mercenaries is like turning on someone else's faucet...

95 Honda Magna

This afternoon I went for a brief 45 minute ride.

I'm a new "biker" in that I didn't grow up riding dirt bikes. The most time I've ever spent on a bike was during the basic rider course I had to take to get my motorcycle endorsement.

So my normal riding routine is just to putter around the neighborhood for a bit to make sure I remember how to stop, turn, and what not at slow speed. Then I get on a back street and ride a couple miles out to an industrial park to practice low speed maneuvering. Someday someone is going to call the cops on the idiot practicing U turns and turns from a dead start in an empty parking lot.

But since I'm a new biker I have some questions that maybe some of you know the answers to...

Is it the bike or early onset arthritis that is causing the pain in my right hand? I think I can make the problem go away by increasing the diameter of the throttle handle, anything wrong with that?

Is the rhythmic sound that resembles rocks being shaken in a coffee tin? I thought it was the transmission, but the more I think about it the more I think that the drive chain is involved somehow. Would greasing the heck out of it possibly help? Or is it a sign of something more serious like transmission or clutch wear?

Finally found fifth gear. Pretty nifty.

Anyways, if you are in the Lacey/Hawk's Prairie/Olympia area and you see a guy with triangular reflective stickers on his helmet, give him a wide berth, new biker.


This comment was left anonymously,
Post modern insurgency You don't attack people, you attack the infrastructure. The modern infrastructure is complex and delicate with a very high population density. Food, water, power are all vulnerable.

I agree that food, water, and power are all vulnerable. As are transportation, communication, and medical services. It isn't hard to blow stuff up and cause a lot of chaos, forcing the .gov to spend a lot of resources on civil control and services.

However, what would you gain by destroying infrastructure? Blowing stuff up is just blowing stuff up. And I've been to a country that has had a crap ton of things blown up. You do not want to live in Iraq. The easiest thing to fix are the roads, roads are relatively cheap to build if you don't mind having cheap roads.

Blasting a country back into the stone age doesn't do anyone any good.

War is about killing, killing people. Blood on the streets an all that. Blood on your hands and conscience. War is a waste of energy and life without a clear end state and a plan to achieve it. Hence the success of Mao, Lenin, as well as our Founding Fathers.