War with China?

“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”, as Bob Dylan reminded us.  China’s economy is suffering serious setbacks right now, largely due to President Trump refusing to allow the USA to continue to subsidize China by up to a trillion dollars every year due to trade imbalances and disadvantages.  That nation can’t tolerate that level of economic pain, because its internal stability is inextricably bound up with providing full employment and rising wages to its people.  Take away the latter, and the former suffers.  Therefore, in response, China is becoming more and more belligerent towards the

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A reader weighs in on the Tac Tool debate

Yesterday’s post about the Ka-Bar Tac Tool produced a number of comments and e-mails among those who know about and use such things.  One extended reply was submitted by reader Raven, who agreed to share it with all of us.  Given his background and experience, I found it interesting. My comments are not too well organized but do come from 50 years of manual labor- mechanical, logging, commercial fishing, woodworking etc. Modern life is packed with gadgets- any hobby or vocation is filled with trinkets to part people from their money- newest and best gimmick on the block syndrome- everyone looking

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The Ka-Bar Tac Tool: way overpriced for what it offers

In a great many markets for self-defense, security, do-it-yourself, “tacticool” and similar products, there’s a high volume of hype and exaggeration in advertising.  Most of it is completely without foundation.  It’s meant to appeal to the “boys and their toys” market, where (sadly) many men can be seduced into buying something because it’s the latest and greatest and “coolest” thing out there.  Whether or not it’s worth its asking price is seldom asked.  We looked at earlier manifestations of this in 2014, in terms of wilderness and survival tools and knives, and also last August, when we examined two wrecking tools from the same

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Sunday morning music

In memory of the victims of yesterday’s hate crime at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, here’s the traditional Jewish prayer, Kaddish, recited for the dead. May the souls of the victims rest in peace: and may anti-Semitism, which is just another form of the even more ancient evils of racism and sectarianism, be cursed along with them in the sight of God and humankind. May those who espouse such views come to their senses before another such evil is perpetrated. That’s a pipe dream, I know . . . but it’s still worth praying for. Peter

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Useful post-election security advice from Greg Ellifritz

We’ve mentioned Greg Ellifritz several times in these pages.  He’s produced a couple of very useful articles about how to prepare for and/or react to possible violence following the imminent mid-term elections.  Given the social turmoil in these dis-United States right now, this may be prescient. He has two articles focusing specifically on that issue, and a third on a possible rioter’s weapon. Post Election Riots? Post Election Violence Part II – Surviving the Flash Mob Dealing with Molotov Cocktails and Fire Bombs They’re very informative and practical.  I learned and re-learned several important lessons while reading them.  For example:  “Tear gas will

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No word on the smell . . .

I was taken aback (sort of) by reading about a new technique for producing bricks . . . using human urine. The world’s first ‘bio-brick’ made from human urine was unveiled by University of Cape Town (UCT) civil engineering masters student Suzanne Lambert on Wednesday. . . . Dr Dyllon Randall, Lambert’s supervisor and senior lecturer in water quality at UCT, explained that the “bio brick” is created through a natural process called microbial carbonate precipitation. “It’s not unlike the way seashells are formed,” Randall said. Parts of the urine are combined with loose sand and a bacteria to produce an enzyme

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Some more spectacular rally crashes for you

The video title refers to them as Finnish rallies (or is that Finnish rally drivers?), but some at least were filmed in other countries.  One can only admire the way the drivers hurl themselves at natural obstacles, seemingly intent on beating them into submission.  Of course, it usually ends up the other way round . . . Peter

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Sunday morning music

Here’s something different for your listening pleasure.  Faun is a German group, self-described as “pagan folk”.  They’re in the tradition of many other modern groups who interpret old folk music styles (and occasionally original songs and tunes, as well as their own compositions) in modern rhythms and settings.  The group’s name is derived from the German Faunus, the name of the mythical ancient Roman horned god of the forest, plains and fields, analogous to the ancient Greek god Pan. Here are three songs from Faun to whet your appetite.  The first is “Hörst du die Trommeln” (“Do you hear the drums?”), the band’s entry

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