Wheeled armored vehicles keep getting bigger

I’ve mentioned before my experience with South African Ratel infantry fighting vehicles, which were big and relatively tall.  This was an advantage in the southern African bush, because their commanders and gunners were able to see over the bush to locate enemy targets, whereas our foes in their Soviet-era tanks and APC’s were blinded by the vegetation, unable to see more than a few feet in front of them. Nevertheless, by the standards of emerging modern IFV’s, the Ratel was still relatively small.  Courtesy of SNAFU, we find this photograph of two contenders in the Australian Army’s Land 400 IFV/APC

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Facebook becomes the corporate face of ‘creepy’

If Facebook were actively trying to define itself as ‘creepy’, it couldn’t do much better than this.  Two reports over the past few weeks have caused me to wonder at the sanity of anyone who still uses the service. First, it seems Facebook actively marketed to advertisers its ability to ‘target 6.4 million younger users, some only 14 years old, during moments of psychological vulnerability’.  Wired reports: Data mining is such a prosaic part of our online lives that it’s hard to sustain consumer interest in it, much less outrage. The modern condition means constantly clicking against our better judgement.

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Heads up, Ruger Mark IV owners

Ruger is recalling all of its new Mark IV .22LR pistols manufactured before June 1st, 2017.  You’ll find details at the company’s Web site.  If you enter your pistol’s serial number into the provided box, it’ll tell you whether or not your gun is subject to the recall, and provide further information. Ruger’s promising a free magazine with every pistol sent back for repair, which is nice of them.  Having bought Miss D. a pair of bronze-anodized Ruger Mk. IV 22/45 Lite pistols (similar to the one shown below), I’m disappointed that she’ll have to suspend her use of them

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Keep an eye on developments in Qatar

The current crisis in and over Qatar has serious implications for the entire Middle East.  If you haven’t been following it, see these articles for an overview: Qatar’s crisis is impacting millions of people Middle East freezes out Qatar: What you need to know Larry Lambert, a former SEAL who has extensive experience with many of the ‘players’ in the region, has posted two blog articles providing interesting background information: Crisis in Qatar The Evolving Situation in Qatar The crisis there has a direct bearing on the USA’s ‘War on Terror’ – we have a large military base in Qatar,

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A reader asks about the origin of a stripper

I was amused to be asked by a reader whether ‘Mitzi Dupree’, the ‘star’ of a well-known 1987 rock song by Deep Purple, was a real person, and if so, whether she was South African, because the name sounded like a South African one. First off, yes, Mitzi Dupree was (and presumably still is) a real person.  It was the ‘stage name’ of Michelle Pradia, a stripper who worked in western Canada.  A 1981 report noted: Michelle Pradia, 22, who dances under the name of Mitzi Dupree, pleaded not guilty during a brief appearance in Kamloops Provincial Court Friday. The

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Not your average Big Mac – at least, not in the USA

I was reminded that McDonalds has various regional favorites around the world that can’t be bought in the USA. The Chicken Maharaja Mac With India being a predominantly Hindu country, and cows being sacred in Hinduism, beef is not a commercially viable (and in many states, legal) option for a Big Mac. When McDonald’s first opened up in India, the beef was replaced with lamb. But now the magic formula has been struck, and the patties are made of chicken. Gone too, however, are the pickles. In India’s version, there are jalapenos, and the usual mustardy-mayonnaise “secret” sauce is replaced

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Failing masculinity – and terrorism?

I must admit, I’m baffled by the perspective offered in several recent articles about the alleged death of masculinity, the struggles of men to affirm themselves in a society that regards traditional masculinity as ‘toxic’, and institutions that relentlessly affirm women at the expense of men.  I’m amazed that men have allowed this mess to creep up on them at all!  I suppose it’s like the boiling frog . . . if you put a frog in a pot of cold water, and gradually increase the temperature, it won’t realize it’s being boiled alive until it’s too late (or so

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So you want to host a foreign student? Be careful.

Author, blogger and buddy Michael Z. Williamson has just been through some very awkward times over hosting a foreign student.  I’ve known Mike for years, and I’d trust him with my life (or my wife’s life, for that matter), so I take his perspective on this very seriously. We first became aware of International Student Exchange when the school sent out an email blast that two exchange students had to be moved due to an emergency with the host family, could anyone help? The idea was to keep them in the same district. These were high school students. We volunteered

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How lies have come to dominate political discourse in America

Two very useful articles address this subject from different perspectives. Fellow blogger Larry Lambert summarizes the history of unlawful surveillance of Americans under the Obama administration. Did the Obama Administration violate the law by spying on American citizens? (or were his presidential edicts sufficient to protect both him and his catamites?) . . . To better understand what may have taken place, we need to go back to January 21, 2009 when Barack Obama took the oath of office. The actual surveillance that did or did not take place is classified, and we have no access to it, so we

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