Saturday, September 22, 2012

Around the blogs

It's only a couple of weeks since our last tour of the blogosphere, but already my list of saved blog posts is getting far too long for comfort!  Time to put them all into an article.

# # #

Author Matt Bracken has penned a short story for the Western Rifle Shooters Association blog.  'What I Saw At The Coup' recounts a fictional left-wing takeover of the USA, followed by a backlash from the 'other side'.  It's thought-provoking, to say the least.

# # #

Blogger M. Christian at Meine Kleine Fabrik has published a book, 'Welcome To Weirdsville'.  It's full of weird and wonderful stories and situations.  He recounts one of them on his blog.  'Kaboom!' describes some of the biggest non-nuclear explosions in history.  Here's one.

One of the more terrifying non-nuclear explosions ever to occur was in 1917 up in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Back in December of that year the Mont-Blanc plowed into another ship, the Imo, starting a ferocious fire. Ten minutes later the Mont-Blanc went up, creating what is commonly considered to be one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in earth history.

The Mont-Blanc was a big ship carrying a lot of extremely dangerous cargo – almost 3,000 tons of munitions bound for the war that was then tearing Europe apart. What happened that morning, which lead to the blast and the nightmarish loss of life, reads like a textbook example of whatever could go wrong, did. To avoid being torpedoed, the Mont-Blanc wasn't flying any dangerous cargo flags, so no one except for her crew knew her cargo was so dangerous. When the fire got out of control, the Mont-Blanc's crew tried to warn as many people as possible – but they only spoke French and the language of Halifax was English. Not realizing the danger, crowds began to form to watch the blaze. The Mont-Blanc, on fire, also began to drift toward a nearby pier ... that was also packed with munitions bound for the war.

When everything finally came together – the criminal negligence, the miscommunication, and worst of all the fire and the explosives – the blast was roughly equal to 3 kilotons of TNT. The fireball roared up above the town and the shockwave utterly destroyed the town and everything within one mile of the epicenter. Metal and wreckage fell as far away as 80 miles from the blast and the sound of the detonation was heard more than 225 miles away. The explosion was so huge it generated a tsunami that roared away from the epicenter and then back into the harbor again, adding to the death and destruction.

It wasn't until days later that the true horror of what had happened was realized: Halifax was completely gone, erased from the face of the earth, along with every ship in the harbor and most of the nearby town of Dartmouth. Approximately 2,000 people died from the explosion and another 9,000 were injured.

There's more at the link.  Interesting stuff, particularly if you conduct a Wikipedia search for more information.  Try here for a start.

# # #

Brigid reminds us that if we fail to prepare, we are preparing to fail.  In similar vein, William Prentice guest-authors an article at the Survival Blog titled 'The Mind of the Survivor'.  Both articles remind us that we need to use our minds as much as any other tool(s) and/or equipment and/or supplies to prepare for unexpected contingencies.  Too many of us focus too much on things, and not enough on mental flexibility, versatility and sheer bloody-minded toughness - which are at least as important as, if not more important than, material preparations.

# # #

The Eclectic Dragonfly (what an intriguing name for a blog!) reminds us that the cost of a car today is roughly analogous to the cost of a car in 1920 - if measured in gold.  It says a lot about the debasement of our currency . . .

# # #

In the light of the recent tragedy in Libya, The DiploMad reminisces about security and consulates he has known.  This incident, at the US Consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, made me chuckle.

We had a program in which we paid fairly well for assorted Soviet hardware. We were particularly interested in the new AK-74 used by the elite Soviet SPETSNAZ units but also in explosives, ammunition, communication equipment, manuals, and just about anything else we could get.

One day I was sitting in the office, when there was a knock on the door. In came our head Pakistani employee towing two very rough, dirty, and downright mean looking Afghan mujahedin. He introduced them to me, and said they had come to collect on our reward program.

"What have you got?"

One of them reached into a muddy canvas bag and pulled out what looked like a large clod of dirt and slammed it down on my desk, bits of earth flying all over my papers.

"What is it?"

"Soviet land mine. Bouncing Betty."

"You put a land mine on my desk?" My voice rose a few octaves, as I jumped out of my chair, and flattened myself against the wall.

"Do not worry. One of my men stepped on it a few days ago and it didn't explode. There might be something wrong with it. I will sell it cheaper."

You know, I'm sure I've met that Muj myself . . . or, if not him, one of his all-too-close relatives!  I hope the Diplomad has many more stories like this for our entertainment.  I'll have to browse his blog archives.

# # #

Charles Hugh Smith asks:  'Is Anybody Else Tired of Buying and Owning Stuff?'  He points out that we own too much, we waste an enormous amount, and it's wearing us down.  He points to sharing and 'free recycling' Web sites such as FreeSharing and FreeCycle.  I recommend reading his article, then visiting those sites.  They'll help you get rid of your excess, and perhaps swap some of it for something you really need.

# # #

Mad Rocket Scientist, writing at Random Nuclear Strikes, advances the theory that the professional class in the USA is mobility-impaired due to being tied to houses they can't sell.  He suggests this is contributing to our economic malaise, because many professionals can't move with their jobs (or to a better one).  He may have a point . . .

# # #

In April last year I linked to a site containing many useful 'field manual' type documents on improvised and emergency medicine.  Now Firehand has linked to another site containing even more such documents.  Very useful stuff, and worth downloading and/or printing for your own archive.

# # #

Covertress reminds us of the hyperinflation that struck the Weimar Republic after World War I.

To understand the incomprehensible scope of the German inflation maybe it’s best to start with something basic….like a loaf of bread. (To keep things simple we’ll substitute dollars and cents in place of marks and pfennigs. You’ll get the picture.) In the middle of 1914, just before the war, a one pound loaf of bread cost 13 cents. Two years later it was 19 cents. Two years more and it sold for 22 cents. By 1919 it was 26 cents. Now the fun begins.

In 1920, a loaf of bread soared to $1.20, and then in 1921 it hit $1.35. By the middle of 1922 it was $3.50. At the start of 1923 it rocketed to $700 a loaf. Five months later a loaf went for $1200. By September it was $2 million. A month later it was $670 million (wide spread rioting broke out). The next month it hit $3 billion. By mid month it was $100 billion. Then it all collapsed.

. . .

People’s savings were suddenly worthless. Pensions were meaningless. If you had a 400 mark monthly pension, you went from comfortable to penniless in a matter of months. People demanded to be paid daily so they would not have their wages devalued by a few days passing. Ultimately, they demanded their pay twice daily just to cover changes in trolley fare. People heated their homes by burning money instead of coal. (It was more plentiful and cheaper to get.)

There's more at the link.  Given the Fed's just-announced QE3 program, I won't be taking any bets that the same thing can't happen here . . .

# # #

A Girl And Her Gun reminds us that each and every one of us has value, and our life has value.  Those who argue against our right to defend ourselves against unlawful and/or unjust attack, or who would take away our ability to do so, essentially deny that value.  It's a timely and very worthwhile reminder.  Go read!

# # #

Old NFO brings us an e-mail reminiscing about Officer Effectiveness Reports, and the devastating simplicity of Vietnam-era Marine Corps OER's compared to those the author was used to in the USAF.  Very true!

# # #

Alan Caruba looks at Israel's pre-war planning for a conflict with Iran, and points out that it's rehearsed most of the moves it'll need in that eventuality, and is developing and/or has developed most of the hardware and software it'll need to carry out the attack and defend itself against Iran's response.  Food for thought in these troubled times . . .

# # #

The Honest Courtesan (with whom I'm certainly not in agreement on some moral and/or ethical issues, but who writes with honesty and directness from her own perspective) points out that it's no longer possible to be an honest citizen.

So it has come to this:  for a number of years now, it has been literally impossible to live in the United States (and a number of other Western countries) without breaking the law on a regular basis; civil rights attorney Harvey Silverglate estimates that the average American commits three felonies every day.

. . .

I don’t pretend to know what the endgame for all this is going to be, but I can tell you one thing:  it will be neither pretty nor peacefully-resolved.  The American government is an immense, blind, idiotic hyper-organism which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of Washington amidst the thin monotonous whine of accursed flutes; it acts on instinct alone, and therefore cannot be counted upon to control itself even if its actions can clearly be recognized by rational beings as evil, chaotic and self-destructive.  Because of this, no sane and moral person should accept any of those actions as having even the faintest trace of moral authority; in other words, the laws and regulations produced by the American political system no longer reflect sense, morality, the well-being of society, the will of the people or any other recognizable principle of good government, and are therefore not binding on free people.  Police, prosecutors and other government actors who enforce such laws are not legitimate authorities, but rather the myriad tentacles of a mad, amorphous abomination flailing about wildly in its delirium and killing or maiming everything with which it comes into contact.

Given these facts, how is a moral person to act?  The answer is, by one’s own conscience.  Any resemblance between the laws and moral behavior is now purely coincidental.

More at the link - and well worth reading.  I can't disagree with her on this subject at all . . .

# # #

I'd like to remind my readers that Chris Byrne at The AnarchAngel is still recovering from thyroid surgery, and is having a very tough time in many ways.  His wife Melody is pregnant with their first child together.  It's a very rough time for them, and they could use not just prayers and good wishes, but practical support as well, if anyone is near enough and/or wealthy enough to offer it.

# # #

Speaking of things medical, Dr. Whitecoat tells us of 'My Three Patients'.  It's funny and heart-breaking at the same time.  Well worth reading.

# # #

The Silicon Graybeard points out the growing 'Cult Of Personality' surrounding President Obama, and links to Miguel at the Gun Free Zone who says 'This is getting way too creepy'.  There are even little pocket books of Obama's thoughts, just like the equally creepy 'Thoughts Of Chairman Mao' .  Again, I can't argue with either of them.  This is very creepy indeed!  I can only venture the opinion that since many of those concerned have abandoned belief in anything else, they're desperate to find some belief to replace those they've left behind - and what else is there but their figurehead?  (These are the same sort of people who seem to believe that President Obama actually earned the Nobel Peace Prize, instead of being presented with it in a fit of left-wing ideological triumphalismSheesh!)

# # #

The Broadside Blog at Military Times has a wonderful article about how a Navy father tries (and fails) to explain to his young daughter how an aircraft carrier model is supposed to work.

When confronted with a crisis, you can fight or you can run. I had over a quarter century of naval experience under my belt, and more sea time than my daughter has earth time. I knew carrier operations. I knew the bridge. She wasn’t even in my league.

So I confronted her. I took control. I exerted my position in the family chain of command.

When the dust settled from the counter-mutiny, the princess was still in the hangar bay, the aircraft were still stuck on deck, and Snow White was sitting in the Captain’s chair. I have not been allowed to touch the ship since.

# # #

Finally, Kirk has discovered a T-shirt fit for the Mistress of Snark herself.  I can't wait to hear her 'Squeee!" when she sees his post . . .

That's all for this week.  More soon!



Old NFO said...

Thanks Peter, and quite a lineup of good things to read!

raven said...

One thing about the debasement of money that has obscured the reality is the unbelievable increase in production efficiency and technology- that 1920 car was no comparison what-so -ever to a modern car, in any respect. So that gold buys a lot more car today.
Now a more relevant comparison would be a Cessna 150- outside of avionics, the basic aircraft has not changed a lot since the 1950's- but the cost of the airplane has wildly outpaced inflation (one of the rare examples, along with medical care, college costs and a few others.)I attribute a significant amount of this to tort liability costs.
Now most things, even with the inflation, are much less expensive today in regard to your purchasing power.

On a Wing and a Whim said...

Housing is one side of why many people can't move - another side are the people who won't leave their kids, even if they only get them every other weekend - or the custody agreement specifically traps them in state so the ex gets shared custody.

That may not be a polite one to mention in today's culture, though, and politicians can't promise to fix it with tax breaks and special lobbying bennies to buy your votes.