Can Airsoft and BB gun training translate to real firearms? You bet they can!

A few years ago, I recommended the use of BB and/or Airsoft handguns as an ultra-low-cost training resource, to improve skill with a real handgun.  I repeated that advice a couple of days ago in a new article.  After that came out, I was challenged by a few shooters who insisted that “playing with a toy” could not possibly translate to usable shooting skills with a real firearm, and that I was “sucking this out of my thumb”. I’m never going to persuade everyone:  but to those willing to watch with an open mind, here’s about as much proof as you’ll ever

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Kidney stones: a follow-up report

In May last year, I wrote about two over-the-counter, non-prescription “remedies” for kidney stones that I’d been trying out.  I reported considerable success with them at the time, and I’ve continued to use them since then.  I’ve also experimented with different dosages. I’m pleased to report that for the past eight months, I’ve been kidney-stone-free.  That’s a huge improvement for me compared to earlier, when I was passing a kidney stone every two to three months, and experiencing considerable pain associated with them.  In particular, I’ve narrowed down my dosage to two capsules every morning (half the recommended dose of two capsules morning

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A nifty, low-cost camper van conversion

I’ve long wanted a travel trailer or small camper, something Miss D. and I can use for weekend getaways, or even for a week or longer.  However, it’s been financially impossible for us, and looks like it’ll be that way for some time. Nevertheless, I keep my eyes open for good ideas in that area.  I was struck by this article about a low-cost conversion of a 2017 Ram cargo van.  It’s filled with interesting touches and useful ideas, as well as lots of photographs.  Here’s an excerpt. When we bought her, our immediate thought was to hire professionals to build it for us

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Media hand-wringing versus reality: aircraft test edition

Last week there were alarming headlines when the fuselage of a new model of Boeing’s 777 airliner split while undergoing a stress test. Boeing got an unexpected jolt in September when engineers in Everett put the new 777X airframe through an extreme test of its structural strength. Just as the test approached its target stress level, an explosive depressurization tore through the fuselage. Boeing has kept the details secret, but photos obtained by the Seattle Times show that the extent of the damage was greater than previously disclosed and earlier reports were wrong about crucial details. The test plane is a complete write-off,

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Yes, you can cook a frozen turkey

I’ve been caught short more than once by a turkey that didn’t defrost fast enough to be fully thawed by the time I was ready to cook it.  I wasn’t aware of it until now, but apparently there’s a method to cook even a deep-frozen turkey without first defrosting it.  San Francisco DJ Rick Stuart tells us how. I just put the frozen turkey in a 325 oven on a lower rack in a rimmed baking sheet like you would use for cookies. That way hot air can get around it to cook. Don’t use a roasting pan with high sides.

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Ice on your windscreen? Three home-made solutions

Like many of us, Miss D. and I were caught in the big Arctic freeze that blew through last week.  It froze up our car windows, so that before we could drive in the mornings, we had to scrape them clear or use the car’s own defrosting mechanisms to melt the ice. Frustrated, I did a bit of searching, and came up with these three recommendations for an easy, home-made solution to car window icing. I haven’t tried them all yet, but I intend to.  I’m not real sure about the middle one – if the water’s too hot, and the windscreen

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America’s food chain: interesting – and vulnerable?

The University of Illinois has just produced the first high-resolution map of the food supply chain in the United States.  It’s eye-opening in many ways.  Fast Company reports: Our map is a comprehensive snapshot of all food flows between counties in the U.S.—grains, fruits and vegetables, animal feed, and processed food items. . . . This map shows how food flows … in the U.S. What does this map reveal? 1. WHERE YOUR FOOD COMES FROM Now, residents in each county can see how they are connected to all other counties in the country via food transfers. Overall, there are 9.5

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For boys needing cutting-edge toys

Being African born and bred, I’ve always had a high regard for a machete as a very useful all-round tool.  It can not only clear brush or chop up light wood;  it’s easier to carry than an axe, it’s a very viable weapon if push comes to shove, and it’s cheap enough that if you break one, it’s seldom a problem to replace it. That being said . . . Cold Steel is currently having a sale on many of their machete models.  Some are below $10!  They make good tools, and the prices they’re advertising are the lowest I’ve ever seen

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Wound treatment: a little knowledge may be a dangerous thing

Aesop brings us a timely reminder that what may look like a simple medical problem might be a whole lot more complicated than we suspect.  He’s not talking about a minor cut or scrape, but wounds that may conceal something a lot more serious. The problem with [a wound closure kit], like everything else, including the laceration, is multi-fold: Do you know which lacerations to close, and which to leave open? Do you know why? Are you sure that’s a lac, and not the evidence of an open fracture? How would you know that without an X-ray? Did you clean and debride

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