Lessons from the London attacks

I noted four elements in the torrent of news reports following the terror attacks in London last Saturday night. First, Frank Gaffney warns that this is an escalation in more than just extremism. “My view is that we are no longer facing random acts of terrorism,” says Frank Gaffney, a terror expert who is president of the Washington-based Center for Security Policy. “We have reached a tipping point. This is now an insurgency.” Gaffney, who has warned of the dangers of Islamic extremism for years, thinks this latest spate of attacks is the natural evolution of years of recruitment among

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Doofus Of The Day #961

‘Trust, but verify’ is an old Russian proverb often used by the late President Ronald Reagan.  It’s a motto that a couple in Modesto, CA, who are today’s award winners, might now be wishing they’d adopted. A couple paid $100 to have a dead tree removed from their north Modesto front yard on Memorial Day. They now expect the botched job to cost them a few thousand. Because the itinerant tree trimmer who came by Monday – proffering a business card that reads “Integrity Tree Service, owner and operator Miguel Morales” – apparently didn’t know much about the work he

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The problem of short barreled guns for self-defense

Short-barreled firearms are great for concealment and ease of carry;  but their short barrels don’t give much time for propellants to burn, and as a result, the muzzle velocity they produce (and, consequently, the muzzle energy imparted to the bullets they fire) is usually lower (sometimes much lower) than that imparted by longer barrels. Tamara posted on her blog this morning about that effect in .38 Special snub-nose revolvers.  You should click over there to read the whole thing (it’s worth it), but briefly, here are the average muzzle velocities she recorded out of a Smith & Wesson revolver with a

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A very profitable encounter

Several weeks ago I described how a contractor’s boo-boo turned into a great opportunity for Miss D. and myself.  We’ve just concluded a second land purchase as a result, and we’re very pleased with the outcome. Our house is relatively small (more than adequate for 2-3 adults, or two adults and two kids, but by no means a McMansion), and it’s on a smallish plot – just under 6,000 square feet, which translates to about 0.14 acres (or, for readers in metric countries, just over 0.05 hectares).  That wasn’t as large as we’d have liked, but the price was right

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Doofus Of The Day #960

Today’s award goes to the contractor allegedly responsible for completely disrupting British Airways’ flights for several days last week. The crisis was caused by power being suddenly lost to BA’s two main data centres, with the problem worsened by an uncontrolled reboot of the system which shut down the entire IT system. All information about flights, baggage and passengers was lost and travellers were left stranded over the bank holiday weekend with at least 700 flights cancelled at Heathrow and Gatwick. Bill Francis, Head of Group IT at BA’s owner International Airlines Group (IAG), sent an email to staff, seen

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When wannabes try to be professionals . . .

. . . sometimes the results are as bad as they can possibly be.  That was the case in Texas a couple of days ago. Trouble is, despite all the claims of ‘professionalism’ and the like by bail enforcement agents, many of them are ‘cowboys’ – bragging about their prowess, proud of getting their man no matter what, ‘shading’ the law in the way they work (if not outright defying it), and carrying on as if they were big-shot lawmen. Bail agents get their ‘license’ from an 1872 Supreme Court case, Taylor v. Taintor.  The relevant paragraph of the court’s

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The Paris climate accords, moonbats, and reality

The moonbat reaction to President Trump’s announcement about withdrawing the USA from the Paris climate accords has been, predictably, hysterical.  Here’s just one example. However, none of them appear ready, willing or able to address the actual facts of why the USA needs to be out of the Paris accords.  Thankfully, Phil Kerpen sets the record straight. (To watch the entire excerpt, and hear the case from both sides, see here.) I think Mr. Kerpen puts it in a nutshell.  The Paris accords would burden the USA unnecessarily for very little, if any, benefit (short- or long-term).  They’re a mantra

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The man who ‘died’ twice in one day

It started during the Korean War, with an idea for a movie. The plot revolved around a group of 14 men ordered to set up an observation post on Red Top Hill … a movie hill that was loosely based on the infamous Pork Chop. One of the men would die in the effort. The agony of dying in the last hours of the war summed up the Korean conflict in 80 minutes. The movie was named “Cease Fire!” So, in mid-June 1953, Crump walked among the front-line troops, choosing each soldier who would be part of the fictional Easy

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This is the future of industrial jobs

We’ve discussed on several occasions the impact of automation on the workplace, and the fact that a very large proportion of jobs currently requiring humans to do them will, in the not too distant future, be automated. Here’s a short video about an aircraft parts manufacturer in Italy.  Note the hi-tech surroundings, the automation of almost every task, and the very few people visible on the factory floor.  They don’t even call it a ‘smart’ or ‘automated’ factory any more;  it’s now referred to as a ‘brilliant’ factory. I did a bit of research into Avio, the parent company of

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What it’s like to be struck by lightning

Ars Technica has a very interesting article on this subject.  Here’s an excerpt. Although survivors frequently talk about entry and exit wounds, it’s difficult to figure out in retrospect precisely what path the lightning took, says Mary Ann Cooper, a retired Chicago emergency physician and long-time lightning researcher. The visible evidence of lightning’s wrath is more reflective, Cooper says, of the type of clothing a survivor had on, the coins they were carrying in their pockets and the jewellery they were wearing as the lightning flashed over them. Lightning is responsible for more than 4,000 deaths worldwide annually—according to those

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