Archive for May, 2013

Death In A Bastion Of Gun Control

Monday, May 27th, 2013

The headline reads…

“Chicago Shootings:  6 Dead As Guns, Holiday Weekend Make Deadly Mix”

Six dead, 11 wounded in a city with the most draconian gun control laws in the United States.  And the holiday weekend still has today!  It isn’t over yet!

Something is clearly not working here.  What was promised is not coming to pass.

A Girl With A Gun

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

girl in underwear with gun

(Click on the picture to view the largest size.)

The handgun appears to be a 1911 style firearm.  Judging by the dimensions of the barrel, it would appear that the caliber should be around .45 inches.

And yet we can see another, much smaller hole inside the barrel.  This opening also seems to be a part of the frame itself, with the barrel being nothing more than a bit of ornamental bling glued on to the gun.

Can anyone say what is going on here?

It Wasn’t A Kaboom

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

A page from the Canadian War Museum.  The caption reads, in part, ….

“Lieutenant Goodwin Otter Kemp of the 38th Battalion was carrying this revolver when it was hit by a German bullet.”

Worth a look, if only to see when a man uses up all the good luck he will ever have for the rest of his life.

Fantastic Reload

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

No, I can’t describe it.  You all will just have to go here and see for yourselves.

WWI Rifle Cover

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

UK soldier in wwi trench

(Click on the picture for the largest version.)

Why does he have the action on his rifle covered like that?  Is he a sniper?

Proof Against Handguns, Old School

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

bullet proof glass test 1931

testing_bulletproof_vest_1923

(Please click on any picture to see the largest version.)

Dining In The Trenches

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

Interesting new book which examines the food that was available to the British soldier during WWI, as well as revealing some of the recipes used on the battlefield.  It is titled “Feeding Tommy“.

wwi trench eating table

I find this sort of thing very interesting as long as it contains the smaller details.  Such as the fact that the officers and men ate the same foods, and the enlisted ranks were always fed first.  Or that extra spices had to be included in order to supply troops from India.

I’ve just purchased the book for my E-reader.  I’ll let you know if it is any good.

I Thought Submarines Were SUPPOSED To Sink?

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

s-80 spanish submarine

The above is a computer image of the new Spanish Navy submarine, the S-80.  It is billed as the most advanced submarine on the planet, due in large part to the innovative Air Independent Propulsion system incorporated in the design.

Now it appears that Spain’s newest additions will all too readily sink, which is what submarines do.  The problem is that they might not be able to come back up again.

Somehow, in some mysterious fashion, an extra 75 to 100 tons of unexpected weight was added to the design.  The submarine will have to be lengthened in order to displace enough seawater to support the increased mass.  This will increase the costs per unit considerably, as well as push the delivery date farther in the future.

The S-80 project has already proven to be problematic.  The original cost estimate was for $550 million USD per boat, but this has ballooned to a bit more than $700 million USD.  The first boat was to be delivered in 2011, but political delays pushed that to this year.  The redesign to lengthen the hull will probably mean that the first S-80 to face sea trials will get wet in 2017.

This might seem to be a poorly run project, but problems like these are actually par for the course when new weapon systems are first introduced.

Defense contractors routinely “front end” their cost estimates when pitching new projects to the politicians.  This means that they initially request a budget that will work only if everything goes perfectly smoothly and there are no snags, setbacks, or surprises during design and construction.  Everyone knows that there are always surprises, but they count on the fact that politicians are reluctant to cancel a project after a great deal of money has already been spent in the fear that the waste would be used against them at the next election.

And don’t forget that we are talking about highly complex systems put together in novel ways.  No matter how good the engineers are, no matter how much time they spend crunching numbers and peering at the computer screen, no one knows what will happen until they get down to the shipyard and start building the thing.

Bottom line is that cost overruns and last minute design additions are business as usual.  It certainly doesn’t mean that Spain has a lemon on their hands.

Taste Test

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

An online article discusses how wine tasting is bogus.  (Warning: Language isn’t safe for work!)  Blind taste tests have shown that even professional wine tasters cannot distinguish between basic types of wine, such as red and white.  In fact, the very same wine in different bottles will get very different scores based on the taster’s prejudices.  The wine from bottles with the fancy and expensive labels will get better scores than the same wine decanted from a bottle with a cheaper price tag.

fancy wine cellar

This subject really didn’t get my heart racing, as I never drink …. wine!  But what did grab my attention was the following sentence in the rather long rant…

“A 2006 study, published by the American Association of Wine Economists, found that most people can’t distinguish between pate and dog food.”

This caused me to wonder.  How many people taste the food they give their pets, anyway?

pit bull enjoying a worm

Maybe I’m a breed apart.  One of my mottos is “I’ll eat anything that doesn’t eat me first!”  So far, it is a behavior guideline which has done well by me.

I’ve never owned a cat for any length of time, but it seems I have always kept dogs.  Although I don’t regularly snack on food sold in the pet aisle of the grocery store, I have given it a taste once or twice.  For the purposes of this review, we can divide dog food into two basic categories: wet and dry.

Dry dog food, also known as kibble, has never thrilled me much.  It tastes pretty much as it smells, so if you can detect an odor that is very close to what you will experience if you pop a kernel in your mouth and crunch away.   Texture seems to depend on price, with the cheaper stuff hard as rock candy and the more expensive food moist like a chocolate chip cookie.  My dogs seem to like it well enough, though.

Wet dog food is the stuff that comes in cans.  Some varieties are merely ground up meat with a texture much like pate, while others resemble the very same stews sold in cans a few aisles over, yet intended for human consumption.

minced dog food

dog food like a stew

(more…)

Just Plain Stupid

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

This news item relates how a man shot himself in the leg while bowling.

crutch 3d

How in the world is that even possible?

According to what I read in the article, eyewitnesses report that the man was swinging a bowling ball past his thigh when the shot rang out.  Looks to me as if he was carrying a small revolver in his pocket, one with an exposed hammer.  When the ball came by on the backswing, it must have hit the hammer in such a way to drive the firing pin into the primer.

snub nosed 38 with six rounds

There are revolver designs that feature shrouded hammers, which just means that the frame is extended a little bit to keep the hammer out of sight and unexposed.

taurus cia protector snub nosed revolver

As you can see, this design is intended to be carried in odd places, such as a pocket.  All the edges are smoothed, to keep from snagging on clothing when being drawn.  The design also lends itself to avoiding idiotic discharges like the one being discussed.

Although I cannot say for sure, it would appear that the wounded bowler was also carrying his handgun without a holster.  This might seem a strange statement, as it seems obvious that a gun in the pocket would necessarily be sans holster.

There are, however, such things as pocket holsters.

revolver in a pocket holster

two revolvers in pocket holsters with draw hooks

(Picture source.)

Note how the gunleather covers the trigger and hammer.  The odds of a negligent discharge is reduced, while the finish and mechanical parts of the firearm are protected.

Why does it look like the two holsters pictured immediately above have a shark fin shape directly below the grip?  Is that so the owner can brag about how cool he is?

Actually, those are there so the holster itself can be hooked on the edge of the pocket during the draw.  This allows the holster to be left behind, so only the gun comes out in the open air during an emergency.

Like I said before, I am not certain that the hapless bowler was carrying his gun without a holster.  That just seems incredible to me, that someone would actually do something like that!  Firearms are extremely expensive precision instruments.  The gun in that man’s pocket could very probably cost as much as a washer/dryer set.

washer dryer set

So he is okay with the idea that a device with a price tag in the hundreds of dollars would just knock around in his pocket, banging against door frames and being constantly worn by scraping against the fabric with every step?  Besides the obvious safety benefits, holsters also protect your investment.  I don’t know why this wasn’t painfully obvious at the start.

Well, I suppose it is painfully obvious by now.  Particularly the pain part.