Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bragging Rights

The private school my grandsons attend is one of several tracked by Duke University's Talent Identification Program. Part of the program is for the 7th graders to take the ACT. Middle grandson just got his scores back. He is scoring in the 99th percentile in all areas. That means he has scores that qualify him to enter some of the most elite universities in the country - in the 7th grade! Hell, he scored a 29 in math, some of which he hasn't even had yet! (Remember, these scores are compared to high school seniors)

My wife and I have been trying to convince the parental units that the two older boys need to take a trip up north to see grandpas roots. The Boston bomber worked against that plan but now I see the need to visit a few college campuses. Watch out MIT!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Backyard Oil

If the the activities of Raylan Givens were not enough to convince me never to visit Kentucky, I found another reason - Discovery Channel's Backyard Oil. Backyard Oil is to Adair County what meth is to Harlan County and Marshall Raylan. The only difference is that the characters are real.

The short story is that several hill country farmers have learned that oil may exist about a half mile below the ground. This show follows their antics on trying to get some of that oil and become rich (by Kentucky standards). Lucky for them, they only have to drill about 2,000 feet and that can be done in a day or two with a compressed air drilling rig. They locate their drilling location with dowsing rods and coon dogs. They also show no regard for the environment, letting the blow pipe from the rig blow rock dust and oil all over the landscape. In the episode I saw, the driller was so stupid, he ran out of fuel and didn't know it.

I guess this is just another spin off of Duck Dynasty - a true life Beverly Hillbillies story. If I were on the Kentucky Board of Tourism, I would pay Discovery NOT to show it. Folks, This is not how it is done in the real oil field.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Boston Bomber Shootout

Instapundit had this link with pictures of the shootout. My first thought was that if those guys had a rifle, they had a perfect flanking shot at the bomber brothers. Sadly, all he had was an non-lethal iPhone. Then I scrolled down and saw the pictures of the holes in his wall. If you map out his orientation, it's pretty clear that the shot that made that hole was fired by the police. The fact that it went through second floor indicates some pretty poor shooting by the police. The fact that it traversed a couple of walls (exterior and interior) proves how powerful this round was. The condition of the car in the driveway is further testament to the number of wild rounds that were fired.

IMHO, there needs to be a review of the police shooting and command and control in this incident. We are all taught that we are personally responsible for any round that leaves our barrel. I am surprised that we didn't have any civilian friendly fire casualties during this shoot out.

The police tell us that they need armored vehicles and special SWAT equipment to deal with modern terrorists. If they have this equipment, my expectation is that they use their armor to advance on and capture the bad guys using only the firepower necessary. But it appears to me that they substituted an extended Mad Minute instead with many of their rounds going wild and endangering the civilian population.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Boston Bombers, The Constitution, and You

I have a Canadian friend who crossed our northern border and became a citizen. During the Clinton administration a census taker knocked on his door and wanted to ask him the myriad of questions that the Democrats wanted answered. He responded by telling the hapless government employee that he had studied the Constitution in order to become a citizen (unlike most Americans) and the only thing he had to tell the government was how many people lived there....and nothing else.

I remembered that story as I watched SWAT teams searching houses in Watertown. I understand the need to find the bombers, but under what authority do the police enter and search your house? I believe that we should have an answer to that question. I thought it was just me until I saw this post by the Bayou Renaissance Man.

What if the government had a registry of all gun owners? You can bet that the database would have been used to identify houses with guns. What if the police decided they needed to secure those guns to keep them out of the hands of the bombers? Never happen you say? Well, that's what happened during Katrina, and even though the police lost their legal case, as far as I know, no guns confiscated during Katrina have been returned.

So, if you want to give up your constitutional rights and voluntarily allow the police into your home, that's up to you. Me, I'd try to limit their incursion to no more than 2 officers instead of the entire SWAT team and I'd go with them. What you do is up to you, but you should put some thought into your reaction because it very well might happen in your neighborhood.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Claw

What you see is a time lapse series of the fabrication, testing and the first salvage of an offshore platform by The Claw. Designed, built and operated by Versabar, it was intended to pick up junk from the seafloor and minimize the exposure of divers to working at depth. It uses a base frame that can be placed next to the object to be salvaged. The object is then placed on the base frame and lifted. Previously, such a salvage operation would require extensive underwater diving work to attach lift points and rigging.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Paranoia is Setting In

Last year, the National WW II Museum hosted a travelling exhibit from the Holocaust Museum called "Deadly Medicine." It told the story of how the Nazi party used the science of eugenics to create the master race. The first step was finding out the whereabouts of people deemed not worthy to live by virtue of disease, race or mental disorder. Teams of workers went house to house providing free physicals. People thought this was a great idea and complied peacefully. Then they came and told the family that they would take their mentally challenged child away where they could be treated and educated. Of course, it was a one way trip.

When I saw the exhibit, my thoughts turned to Obamacare. Then I thought that it was too far fetched and paranoid to think that way.

Today I read this story over at Ann Althouse about the National Health and Alcohol Study.

Gun owners know that the first step to confiscation is registration and a national data base. What is the government going to do with all that data....and DNA? Maybe you can't be too paranoid.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Head Count Follow Up

One of the murderers executed last month in the Kingdom was a Yemeni man who sodomized his Pakistani victim before killing him. Evidently, this called for extra punishment, so after he was beheaded, he was crucified. I cannot explain why crucifixion AFTER beheading is deemed as extra punishment but it seems to be reserved for really, really bad criminals.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

New WW II Museum Exhibits

We had family in town over Easter weekend so we made a trip to the National WW II Museum to see the new exhibits. They have added The Boeing Center building where they now keep their static displays of aircraft and vehicles. The aircraft include a B-17, B-25, SBD Dauntless, TBM Avenger, F4U Corsair, P51 Mustang and a B-24. They are all hanging from the ceiling and can be seen from catwalks. The floor is open for vehicles.

Off to the side, they have the 4D interactive experience "Final Mission", a reenactment of the last hours of the USS Tang. The room is set up to resemble the interior of a submarine, although much more spacious. When you enter, you are given a card with a crew member and his duty position. You will take his position and respond to commands during the 12 minute show. The show compresses the last 5 hour battle of the Tang into 12 minutes and is fairly realistic with vibrations, noises and lights. If you know your history, you know the Tang was sunk by a circular running torpedo. I expected to get a spray of water in the face when the torpedo struck but all they did was theatrical smoke. It will be good fun for the kids and is not as scary as it sounds.

I was told by one of the volunteers that the new GI Joe movie used several vehicles from the museum. Their ME 109 reproduction is supposed to be in the film.

The museum is growing. If you plan to visit, you will now need almost an entire day to see it all.

George Orwell was Right - But just a Little Early

Read the news today and you can learn that the Associated Pres (AP) is removing the term "illegal immigrant" from its style book. It's beginning to sound eerily like "1984", although George Orwell may have been about 30 years early in his prediction. Newspeak was the language of the times. Keep watching the liberal press for more current day examples. Perhaps you can invent a drinking game (drink a shot every time you hear "man caused disaster" or "overseas contingency operation") or play Newspeak bingo. For more examples of newspeak, go to the Newspeak Dictionary.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Head Count

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia executed 10 people last month. However, only 3 were beheaded. These guys were convicted of murder. The remaining 7 were convicted of armed robbery and they were shot. This may be the beginning of a change in execution method due to the lack of qualified swordsmen in the KSA.

Total number of executions in Saudi is now 26, but only 19 of them were public beheadings.