James says check out the channel. Just a few songs right now, but if you subscribe you can brag to your D&D group that you joined early and so are cooler than all the rest of them.
My car gets 28 miles per gallon, and gas is $1.75 a gallon around here. What did I do with the $5.00 not needed for gas? I bought a coke and burrito at a truck stop!
Six capital cities, and fine dining to boot. I’m living the life!
Really interesting article concerning the money side of kidnapping. Some criminal gangs and terrorist groups run it like a real business, and legitimate companies have arisen to help mitigate risk to those who may be taken.
Worth a read. Further information for those interested in purchasing insurance to help in case they are kidnapped should start with this excellent essay on Investopedia.
This article in Popular Science discusses how programmers of a robot dog looked to natural dog behavior to teach their creation basic motor skills, such as walking.
I want to know if less acceptable behaviors crept in to the programming.
Remember the little puppy I found, crying and alone next to the crushed body of her Mom? Remember how she was so heartbroken that she would just sit still and stare at nothing? At least, that is, until I introduced her to Pete the Dog?
I thought you might be interested in an update. This is Katy as of today.
She was 5 1/2 Lbs (2.5 kilos) when I found her. Katy is now 35 Lbs (16 kilos), all in a little more than 4 months. Kids! Seems they always grow really fast.
In case you are wondering, Pete was 50 Lbs (23 kilos) when Katy first arrived. He is now 55 Lbs (25 kilos). He chunked up a bit due to the high energy puppy chow I put down in front of Katy. He just gets regular kibble, but they always switch bowls a bit more than halfway done. I suppose dog food is tastier if stolen.
Notice their tails, the dark blur? Currently forming an X behind both dogs? That is because I was bribing them with treats to pose for the camera. Their tails were moving so fast that I could determine velocity or position at any given moment, but not both. Their back ends have entered the quantum realm.
One thing that is readily apparent to anyone who comes to visit is that Pete really, REALLY loves his treats.
Cast your mind back a few decades. It was 2000 AD, and wifi was all the rage.
It was more expensive than the standard wire coming out of the wall, so just about all of the early adopters were people with money. A couple of computer geeks I knew at the time, guys that were really savvy about all this internet stuff, decided to make a play for the brass ring.
Their idea was to load up one of their cars with computer equipment, and drive around the swanky neighborhoods. If they detected a wifi signal, they would park on the street in front of the house and listen in. Almost always, they would get loads of personal information with virtually no effort on their part. Not only would the majority of wifi customers never bother to change their default passwords, a fair number would have no encryption at all!
So my buddies would record all this. Bank account numbers, bank balances, loan and mortgage information, credit card info, retail purchase history, a list personal friends and relatives, phone numbers, addresses, employment history. You name it, if it was on the computer they could get to it.
Armed with these sensitive and personal facts, the two would ring the doorbell and introduce themselves.
They would explain that they were internet security experts, and that the people living in the house really needed their services. Why, look at all the info they sucked from the ether just by parking in the street!
So they demonstrated that the residents of a wifi equipped house needed to guard against unauthorized access, and that the financial or personal damage could be immense. What kind of reaction do you think they received?
The nerd spends a lot of time with a group that recreates bladed combat. Kind of like the Society for Creative Anachronism, but different. All of that training stood him in good stead. When the crash of entry forced Ben Ball to drop the controller and take his eyes off of the TV, he came up swinging with a bearded axe!
Kind of like that, but different. I don’t think that the weapon had much of an edge on it, as the felon managed to flee with his life after a brief struggle. Police used dogs to track the suspect via the blood trail he left behind, and he was taken in to custody and provided with medical attention. Ben Ball managed to defend his home and his person with only minor injuries.
Mr. Ball is a hero. He was willing to live and let live, tried to avoid trouble, but when trouble kicked down his door he didn’t hesitate to reach for his favorite axe and stand his ground! Not to mention that the edged weapon sparring he takes part in looks like a lot of fun.
You can get the skinny by watching the local news segment of the incident.
(Hat tip to Glenn for the heads up.)
I came across a blog that I think my readers would find interesting. It is Firearms History, Technology & Development.
What is it about? The title pretty much says it all. It hasn’t been updated in a few years, but I don’t think the info found there has become stale in any way.
What caught my eye and interest was a series of posts where the author discusses the effectiveness of old firearms.
Antique firearms are tested for accuracy, penetration, and velocity. The results were compared to modern military arms so one can judge the old stuff to the new hotness. Really interesting, at least to me.
Plenty of other stuff there as well, such as the development history of prepellents. Worth a look if you are in to this sort of thing.
Considering some of the recent active shooting incidents that have occurred recently, I have been asked by concerned people what the best choice is for self defense. This surprised me, as I thought people living in Texas would already be pretty up on these things. But I suppose the basics never truly go out of style.
So that is what this is, a series of posts that will go over the bare basics of choosing a firearm for self defense. If you, dear reader, are already familiar with the subject then please pass on by.
Okay, handguns and long guns. What is better? Long guns by far!
Hey, that was easy! I should go throw the frisbee for my dogs!
Well, maybe not yet. I should probably explain WHY long guns are almost always superior.
A crazed gunman went on a rampage yesterday in my adopted home of Odessa, Texas. As of this writing, 5 people are dead and another 21 are wounded. One of the injured is a 17 month old girl.
It seemed to have started during a routine traffic stop, when officers of the Department of Public Safety (what they call the highway patrol around here) pulled over a car. The driver fired through the rear window of his vehicle, striking and injuring one of the officers.
After that, he roared off to see how many innocent people he could kill before the authorities brought him down in a hail of gunfire. He shot random people, and killed a female mail carrier in order to steal her delivery van in an attempt to throw police off the scent. He was finally stopped in the parking lot of a crowded movie theater. God only knows what the death toll would have been if the police had not stopped the suspect before he could get inside.
Chief Michael Gerke of the Odessa Police Department has described the deceased suspect as an “animal”. Considering how he deliberately killed people who had never done him any harm, it is hard to disagree.
The police are still collecting evidence. Locations of shootings are blocked off by the police, with officers guarding the crime scenes until the forensic teams can get there. I had to make long detours when I was out and about this morning. It seems to me to be a great deal of effort expended for a lone gunman who has been killed by the police. I wonder if there isn’t something wider going on.
I mentioned earlier that 21 people had been injured. It is unknown if any will succumb to their wounds in the coming days or months. If you are a person of faith, please include them in your prayers.