Aid organizations, corruption, and the clash of cultures

Long-time readers will know that I was involved off-and-on with aid organizations in the Third World for many years, from the late 1970’s through the mid-1990’s.  I saw at first hand the chaos and instability in which many of these organizations worked.  The best of them (Doctors Without Borders, the Salvation Army, and a few others) learned to ‘go with the flow’, working in the midst of chaos and getting their job done as best they could.  Far too many others simply became submerged in the chaos, demanding desperately that someone – anyone! – restore order so that they could

Continue reading

There’s a great holster sale at Simply Rugged

Those of you who follow my shooting posts will recall that I’m a big fan of Simply Rugged holsters.  They’re larger than some of their competition, but very strong, offering both ease and speed of use and also good protection to the handgun.  They offer the flexibility of either strong-side or crossdraw carry, and optional IWB straps permit both inside- and outside-the-waistband carry using the same holster.  I now own seven or eight of them, and I’ve been very happy with them. I wanted to give you a heads-up about their ‘Christmas in July’ clearance sale.  You can pick any

Continue reading

At last, beer you really can pour back into the horse!

It’s long been an English idiom that “This beer is so bad, it should be poured back into the horse it came from!” (or words to that effect).  Well, perhaps now we can. A solar-powered machine that can create drinkable water out of urine, could now be used to make beer, according to researchers. The researchers at the University of Ghent created a device that uses a solar-powered boiler and special membrane to separate the urine into two parts: water and fertiliser. Having tested the method at a music festival in Ghent, where the team collected 1,000 litres of water

Continue reading

Jerry Pournelle on free trade

Dr. Jerry Pournelle, one of the doyens of science fiction, has commented on his blog (one of the oldest in existence) about the issue of free trade. One reason Conservatives are advised by Conservative leaders to disagree with Trump is his position on Free Trade. The problem for me is that I do not see Free Trade, particularly laissez faire Free Trade, as necessarily Conservative at all. The advantages of Free Trade are lower prices for stuff. That means they are more cheaply produced. As the economist David Ricardo wrote, there is a principle of comparative advantage that coupled with

Continue reading

“How a Champagne-Laden Steamship Ended Up in a Kansas Cornfield”

That’s the fascinating headline to this article at Atlas Obscura. Hawley and his intrepid team have quite the incredible passion: discovering and excavating steamboats from the 19th century that may have sunk in the Missouri, but now lie beneath fields of farmers’ midwestern corn. “Ours is a tale of treasures lost,” says Hawley. “A journey to locate sunken steamboats mystery cargo that vanished long ago.” In 1988, Hawley and his crew uncovered the steamboat Great White Arabia, which sank in 1856 a few miles west of Kansas City. The discovery yielded an incredible collection of well-preserved, pre-Civil War artifacts. Hawley,

Continue reading

Political “Gigglesnort!”

Christopher Burg delivers a lovely smackdown to both political parties – or, at least, to their establishments.  An example: The Democrats are selling a world where the disarmed populace is entirely at the mercy of the lawless but remain safe from unapproved, dangerous speech and any potential transgression against Mother Gaia, real or imaginary, is punished via summary execution. There’s more at the link.  Go read it all for a good laugh – albeit a painful one, because I think he’s more right than wrong. I’m also having a lot of fun seeing the textbook conservatives and neocons in despair

Continue reading

What sort of terror attacks will come next?

After all the incidents of recent weeks in Europe and the USA, I suspect we’re in for a long period of such disruptions.  Some will be relatively small, using knives or firearms.  Others will be much worse, using explosives or arson.  Following questions from readers as to what to expect, I’m going to discuss a few likely possibilities here.  In case you’re worried about it, I’m not saying anything new.  Wannabe terrorists have openly discussed these and other ideas on the Internet for years. First of all, I think we can expect small-scale ‘lone wolf’ attacks in ever-increasing numbers.  Individuals

Continue reading

Doofus Of The Day #917

Today’s award goes to two over-enthusiastic Army junior officers in England. Two young Army officers set fire to a mess during a boozy dinner after they tempted to settle a disagreement by shooting flares at each other. A room and corridor in the officers’ mess at Allenby Barracks in Bovington, Dorset, were gutted by fire after the incident at a “fathers and sons” dinner to celebrate the end of a training course. Flares were fired after the unnamed officers decided to settle an argument by taking a kayak into the swimming pool outside and firing at each other on Friday

Continue reading