Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rabbit Starvation is a MYTH!!!

What is rabbit starvation? Simply it is a theory that (depending on the source) ranges from a claim that rabbit meat depletes your own body fat to a more common claim that it has insufficient fat to live off of if rabbits are the main source of fat and protein. Both variants have some very limited merit to them. Both are 100% dependant on the rabbits themselves being in a state of starvation.

The first variant is dependent on a series of unsubstantiated theories. When mammals starve, they release a hormone that tells the body to burn through the last reserves of fat. This has been collected from starving humans and injected into fat humans and has resulted in weight loss. Rabbit and human hormones are very similar (enough that the urine of a pregnant human female can be injected into the nape of a female rabbit's neck, and the human pregnancy hormone will trigger ovary growth in the rabbit as if the rabbit were pregnant - this is the old rabbit pregnancy test). If the starvation hormones are also compatible between rabbits and humans, then it is possible that eating a starving rabbit could cause you to loose more fat that you would get from the rabbit.

The second variant is based on the simple reality that if you are so starved that there is nothing but rabbit to eat and there is no greenery to supplement your diet with, chances are the rabbit is also starving (they don't have secret food stashes). A starving mammal of any variety is not going to have the fat content of a healthy mammal, and rabbits are no exception. To anticipate otherwise just doesn't make sense.

So now to completely bust the rest of that myth. From our friends at the USDA:

U.S.D.A. Statistical Breakdown of Various Meats
Meat ProteinFatMoistureCalories/lb
Rabbit 20.8 10.2527.9795

Chicken 20.0 11.0 67.6810

Veal 18.8 14.0 66.0910
(md. - fat)
Turkey 20.1 22.2 58.31190
(md. - fat)
Beef 16.3 28.0 55.0 1440

Lamb 15.7 27.7 55.81420
(md. - fat)
Pork 11.9 45.0 42.02050
(md. - fat)

So as anybody can see rabbits have virtually the same amount of fat and calories as a chicken. The differences are minimal. The cholesterol level is somewhat less than chicken, but still not dramatically lower (difference is about 25%):

And none of this is taking into account the sources of fat on a rabbit outside the meat. Rabbits also have strips of pure fat that run from the posterior end of the kidneys up to the diaphragm. Then of course there are the kidneys, heart, and liver (and the lungs, brain, and skin if you are really wanting that last gram of fat) which also have some fat in them.

So, baring a nasty winter, with nothing but snow and ice, after a famine, and with no other sources of nutrients, YOU WILL NOT BE LACKING FAT FROM EATING RABBIT MEAT!!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Earthquake Bunkers...

I live in SoCal, so while hurricanes and tornados are not considered a normal consideration (albeit I was within a few miles of that tornado that ripped through some vacant areas and a freeway a few years back), wildfires and earthquakes are the primary disasters that can and have severely impacted whole regions. I’ll leave wildfires aside for now, but for an earthquake, the important things to remember is that the ground and anything attached to it or in the way of it is going to move back and forth (or up and down depending on the type of wave) violently, and it will happen without any appreciable warning (I did on one occasion hear one coming when all else was quiet or and a friend once saw street lights go out in a rolling wave, but neither gave any real reaction time). Unlike a hurricane or tornado, there is no warning (studies have actually found that even trying to take shelter beyond a simple duck and cover during an earthquake increases your odds of injury), and unlike a tornado, there is no sanctuary from an earthquake under ground. Anything that would collapse an earthquake coded house will covert a storm bunker into coffin even if you happen to be there already, or if you were able to get to it. That means, your earthquake shelter needs to be whatever shelter you happen to be in when the earthquake hits.

The ideal building to be in during an earthquake is pretty much any commercial building built to current earthquake codes. That covers most people that have office or warehouse type jobs – at least during work hours. But finding or building a house to commercial earthquake standards probably isn’t an option for most people.

That all said, the way houses have historically been damaged is by sliding off the foundation (hence the permanent foundation for the previously mentioned manufactured house) or secondary fire. When I was researching earthquake risks, I could not find a single instance of well built residence that was damaged by an earthquake from anything other than sliding off the foundation, or being burnt in a secondary fire. Simply put, unless the magnitude is such that your foundation rips down the middle and half your house disappears into a trench, your house is either going to slide off its foundation and shed in the process, burn in a secondary fire (possibly in addition to having slid off the foundation and shredding), or it is going to be structurally fine.

So that brings us to building or upgrading a house to function as an earthquake shelter. If I were to postulate an ideal "earthquake bunker", it would be a modern manufactured house on a permanent foundation or a site built house properly bolted to an earthquake coded foundation. There is a theoretical benefit in vibration and flex tolerance to the manufactured house, but I’ve yet to see any indication that there is a functional difference. Second to the foundation and structure of the house, there is the concern with gas appliances. Simply put, they need to be secured such that they won’t start walking during an earthquake. Added piece of mind can be had by installing an automatic gas shutoff valve that turns gas off at the meter if an earthquake is sensed.

Those two things cover the big losses seen in disasters like the San Francisco earthquake and the following holocaust. But what about the rest of the houses contents? Look around your house. Anything that can tip will. If your dishes can walk out the cupboard and onto the floor, they’ll do just that. If there is a poorly secured light or fan fixture overhead, count on it coming down. The solutions to these issues are mostly obvious and the intricacies are unique to each house. The commonalities are securing tall furniture to the wall, strapping TVs down if they are sitting on a stand, using child safe latches on cupboards with fragile dishes in them, and making sure that anything hung over head is as secure as possible.

That brings us to that last thing that people often consider for earthquakes (in terms of their homes at least). Earthquake insurance. I’m not familiar with any earthquake insurance other than the insurance offered directly from the state of California. To put it bluntly, it is a waste of money. In even a fairly severe earthquake, most damage is to the contents of the house and to sidewalks and patios around the house. Both are excluded from coverage. Where there is damage to the actual house there is an enormous deductible such that things like minor stress cracking along seems would not be covered, and the next step in damage is collapsing or foundation failure. And finally, if there is an actual collapse or foundation failure, you can bet you won’t be alone, but rather joined by an entire region, and there is a stipulation that in the event that claims exceed available funds, the funds will be prorated across applicants. An analysis on the fund showed that in the event of a “big one” type earthquake, the payouts would be severely undefended. Couple all that with the prohibitive cost of the premiums, you can see why I think it is a waste of money. If you want insurance that will cover you in this type of catastrophe, get life insurance instead. If your house pancakes, your life insurance will probably be the one to actually pay up. In either case, you aren’t likely to survive to see either insurance pay out if you are in your house during an earthquake.

Monday, March 7, 2011

5.11 Rush 72 Review

I use this bag mainly as a day bag for work. It fits my laptop, charger, mouse, binder, planner, lunch, change of clothes, water bottle, and anything else that I may decide to stuff in on my way out the door. It is bigger than I need about 90% of the time, but I'm glad to have it for that 10% of the time. It is also the perfect size for airline carry on since fully loaded it snugly fits under the seat.

Most of the upsides to this bag are obvious so I won't dwell on them much other than to say this bag deserves a solid 4 stars and isn't too horribly far off from that 5th star.

So the downsides:
- The bag has a horrible base. This alone would keep me from giving a fifth star since it is a persistently obnoxious issue that comes up about as often as you use the thing. Any time you set the bag down on its bottom, it rolls to its back. It is all but impossible to get this pack to stay upright without leaning it against something. Attaching (a) bottle carrier(s) to the back in a low position can give it better stability, but this adds a lot of bulk to an already bulky bag, makes it a no go in tight areas, and shouldn't be necessary anyway.
- The rear pouch has too much slack for the most part and tends to flop around. I stitched some Velcro in place, and it made a world of difference.
- The opening for the eyeglass pouch is too small for my taste. Getting glasses in and out is a bit tight, especially with wrap around safety glasses.
- The eyeglass pouch and the path a hydration pouch tube take interfere with each other. If the eyeglass pouch is full, the tube has to bend around it. If the tube is in place first, it is difficult to put anything in the eyeglass pouch. I've worked around this by cutting ports on the left and right side. To prevent tube kinking, I feed the tube through one side port and out the drag handle flap on the opposite side. The tube has to be on the long side for this to work however.
- The 5.11 logo replaces a portion of the PALS webbing at the bottom. Given that those missing loops are probably some of the most used for add on pouches, this is a pretty bad example of function following form. Hiking in high heels if you will. To fix this, I added a full row of webbing below it (which is useful anyway if adding stuff like bottle carriers as the lower placement will give the pack a better base). I have been too lazy (so far) to rip off the patch and fix the missing webbing, but I'd rather it not be there.
- There is no weapon pouch or any decent options for adding or converting one into the bag. For a bag like this, I was shocked at how hard it has been to find a solution for using this as a range bag to hold a handgun in a convenient place.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Combining Dry Fire, Ball & Dummy Drills, andTrigger Reset to Cure Off Center Groups

Combining Dry Fire, Trigger Reset, and Ball & Dummy Drills to cure a flinch isn't hard, but it isn't as widely known as I had thought it was. It is one of those things where to do something right, you have to write over millions of years of instinct that has been hard wired into who we all are. It is so natural to flinch in anticipation of an explosion going off in your hand that it is a universal problem that every shooter deals with at some point. But it can be eliminated over time, and here is how it is done.

When shooting, it is common for shooters both new and experienced to have issues with groups centering low and toward their support side (left for a right hand shooter and right for a left hand shooter). This is often caused by one or both of two things:
  • Slapping the trigger
  • Flinching in anticipation of the recoil
Fortunately there is a form of practice that addresses both of these issues. First I will discuss briefly the three training methods separately before combining them.
  1. Dry Practice. You can do it pretty much anywhere that having a firearm in your hands is acceptable. You don't load any ammunition. For some dry practice drills, dummy rounds are needed, but for most of them you don't even need those. The purpose of dry practice is to practice the motions of using a firearm perfectly without being distracted by live fire. It is also useful because you can do it in your own home. For safety, you need to be certain that you are completely unloaded and do not have ammunition on hand that you could accidentally load while practicing. You also need a target with a backstop capable of stopping a live round if somehow you still manage to get a live round in your firearm. I usually use an old body armor panel. You can buy expired panels for about $50. Other things like safes, brick walls, filled bookshelves, etc can work. Just know where a live round will go if one were to be fired and be prepared to take responsibility if it happens.
  2. Ball & Dummy Drill. This is a live fire drill where preferably somebody else loads magazines or revolver cylinders with some live rounds and some inert (dummy) rounds. If you don't have an assistant you can load multiple magazines differently and shuffle them or spin a revolver cylinder so that you still don't know what is up next, but it is easier with a partner. The purpose of the drill is primarily to diagnose and monitor flinching and to practice clearing a failure to fire malfunction. To a limited degree, it is also to cure flinching.
  3. Trigger Reset. Trigger reset is a technique that maximizes speed and efficiency while minimizing sight picture disruption while shooting. It can and should be practiced both with dry fire and live fire.
  • To practice dry, you take a fully unloaded firearm without dummy rounds or a magazine. For semi-auto handguns, cock the action. For revolvers leave it in double action. Point in at your target, focus hard on the front sight while maintaining the best sight picture you can and slowly apply rearward pressure to the trigger. Keep focusing on the front sight, and watch for any drifting in the sight picture. If pulling the trigger is causing any disruption to the sight picture, stop and adjust your trigger finger until you find the position that you can pull the trigger from without disrupting the sight picture. This is usually the middle of the pad of the last segment on your trigger finger, but it can vary depending on the person and the firearm. Once you are able to pull the trigger all the way to the rear and trip the sear without disrupting the sight picture, hold the trigger to the rear. Make trapping the trigger to the rear a conscience part of the trigger pull. Since you are dry firing, you will need to re-cock the firearm at this point for semi-autos. For revolvers this is not necessary. Keep the trigger trapped to the rear while re-cocking. Point back in on the target and acquire the best sight picture you can. This is to simulate re-acquiring the sight picture after recoil. Now, slowly release the trigger until you hear and feel a click. This is the trigger resetting. Once you are comfortable with finding the trigger reset, you should practice releasing to trigger reset as you are re-acquiring the sight picture. Once you are at this point in a live fire situation you would make the conscious decision to either not fire and relax the trigger the rest of the way and remove your finger from the trigger, or pull the trigger again and fire. Since this is dry practice you will generally just keep repeating the firing cycle until you are done practicing.
  • For live fire it is basically the same. The difference will be that the rounds fired will cycle the action for you so you don't need to re-cock in between shots. You still need to focus hard on the front sight while maintaining the sight picture as you pull the trigger to the rear, consciously trap to the rear before releasing to the reset position while re-acquiring the sight picture, and either firing again, or releasing your trigger finger the rest of the way and removing your finger from the trigger.
Now that each of the three methods have been discussed we can see how they work together. First there is the diagnosis. The screening so to speak is the that groups are low and or to the support side. In very rare cases a shooter may flinch upward, so in a sense, groups anywhere but center are a potential indication of some combination of trigger control and flinching. The best diagnostic tool is the ball and dummy drill. Prepare a magazine or cylinder with live rounds and dummy rounds mixed in such that you as the shooter do not know if the next shot will be live or inert. Fire slowly and methodically using the trigger reset technique. If you feel yourself or a bystander can see you shake or twitch your firearm when you pull the trigger on a dummy round, you have a flinch. I've yet to meet the shooter that hasn't had a flinch at some point so your not alone, and there is no reason to beat yourself up over it. It is a mental issue and the solution is pure mind over matter. The combination of these three techniques are designed to help you eliminate your flinch, and monitor for when it re-occurs. These techniques simultaneously reinforce very important marksmanship habits that translate to all forms of shooting.

Once you have determined that you are flinching, drop back to dry fire for a bit. Practice several cycles of the trigger reset technique to remind your muscles not to flinch as the trigger breaks. Feel the sensation of the smooth trigger break with the trigger trapped to the rear and the sight picture undistributed while focusing hard on the front sight. Allow that sensation to be ingrained into you and mentally mark that sensation as what it feels like when it is done right.

Then load up a magazine with one dummy round followed by three or four live rounds so that the live rounds will be fired first. Fire them slowly and methodically using the trigger reset technique. For each shot, remind yourself what it should feel like and that there is no reason to flinch. When you get to the dummy round fire exactly the way you did for the previous shots as if you were expecting a live round even though you know it isn't. Again allow that feeling of breaking the trigger without flinching sink in.

Now go back to the ball and dummy drill. Take it nice and slow. You will feel a world of difference from the first time. For each fire cycle allow yourself the time to recall the feeling of doing it right. Then go back to your other training drills. With a bit a practice, you will feel the difference if a flinch starts creeping back even without the ball and dummy drills. Any time this happens during training or practice, stop and take the time to remind your muscles what a clean trigger break feels like and then resume your training. With time your muscles will remember what they are supposed to do, and shooting without flinching will be instinctual. Your muscle memory will have written over your natural born instincts, and be it at the range, in your home, on the streets, or at some distant battle field, you will be able to put metal on target as naturally as you blink your eyes.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

To a cancer cell, heathy tissue is the cancer.

Comparing gun control to an addiction or a cancer wouldn't be very original. It has been done. For anybody not familiar, the idea is that the desire for gun control stems from some belief that it is a solution to violence and crime. A common effect of gun control however is an increase in crime and violence as law abiding targets disarm. The result is a greater call for more gun control and so on. That is the addiction portion.

Once an area has reached the point of imploding on itself due to violence despite an extreme gun control / ban that area looks outward and determines that it is the outside world not adopting their gun bans that is causing their problems. They then seek to force their surrounding areas to do the same as they have. Then the cycle continues. That is the cancer portion.

So what brings this up? Well I came across an article that tried to make the case that the cancer in this debate is the belief that people have a right to keep and bear arms at an individual level. To quote:

America has a cancer, an interpretative error originating in our government’s DNA, the Constitution. On June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court handed down an errant interpretation in District of Columbia v. Heller, exacerbating the misconception that the Second Amendment grants individuals the right to own firearms.

So to counter the plain wording on the second amendment, the author falls back on an interpretation that has never been supported by the supreme court, is completely at odds with the reasoning used to protect the first amendment, and is contrary to the spirit of the amendment made clear in every discussion had about it during the drafting and ratification.

To make the case that the second amendment was never meant to be individual, the author offers the following:

One needn’t be a Constitutional law professor to discern the Founding Fathers’ intent in the Second Amendment. The original draft as presented to the first session of the First Congress read:

”The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.”

Clearly, the Constitution’s drafters placed gun ownership solely in the context of organized military service. Even the Amendment’s final version retains and begins with the phrase, “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State.”

This makes me wonder if the author has any concept of what the term militia means in the constitutional sense. He claims to be former military yet clearly has no understanding of the militant structure that existed at the time the second amendment was ratified. The militia was every able bodied male over 16. More over, the framers abhorred the idea of a standing army existing while the populace is disarmed. Those two facts run contrary to the authors entire article.

The author then tries to legitimize his viewpoint with the same old emotional appeal:

Before the advent of firearms, becoming dangerous meant years of training if not a lifetime’s upbringing in a warrior caste. Using his credit card, Virginia Tech madman Seung-Hui Cho paid $571 for a Glock 19 pistol and a box of fifty bullets. A Glock 19 weighs slightly less than a quart of milk; it measures under seven inches long. Its operation is simple: load, point, shoot fifteen times, reload. In nine minutes, Cho killed 30 people, wounding dozens more.

First off, being dangerous without a gun is quite simple. Nut jobs in regions where guns have been banned and largely eliminated have quite effectively committed mass murder with knives, axes, and things like that. The difference is before guns, you had to find an area where you could physically dominate each and every person in an area since you would be attacking them face to face. With guns in the picture a 90 year old grandma who still has decent vision could stop such an attacker if she is armed. So simply finding a physically weak populace is no longer sufficient. Now the attacker has to find something else: a population with little to no chance of a law abiding victim having a gun.

In the authors emoting rant, he forgets to mention that mass shootings not only occur by and large in gun free zones, but account for only a minute fraction of the violence law abiding people risk even in their homes, but also going about their lives outside the home.

If it were possible to simply wish away every gun in existence and erase any concept of how they can be made, that might be a decent solution. Even then I would make the case that the physically frail deserve the level playing field that firearms have made possible. But at least it would be a partially viable solution. But seeing as governments have no intention of disarming (and happen to collectively be the greatest firearm-using-murderers for as long as firearms have existed), and criminals can make firearms in garages with hand tools even if the normal black market channels went dry, the argument that stripping the civilian populace of arms is for their good falls flat.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

By now, most people have heard of the story involving Meleanie Hain being killed by her husband in a murder suicide. The stories comming out of the Huffington Post, and and Brady Bunch only prove what type of ilk anti-gun rights activists are.

Points that have been asserted by these scum bags and their supporters:
  • She was made less safe by her owning a gun
  • Her gun contributed to her death
  • She liked to intimidate children with her gun
  • There is no possibility that a person would need to be able to defend themselves at a soccer game or while shopping
  • She deserved what she got
If each of these assertions were true, it would still be in poor taste to say such things about the dead. But each of these assertions are blatantly false. So what would motivate groups and their supporters to not only smear the dead, but to knowingly and deliberately lie and deceive while doing it? It is to this depth that the anti-gun lobby will sink to push their agenda. A number of liberal rags immediately posted smears agianst her. The most blatent of these was the Huffington Post which insinuated that she somehow contributed to her own death by owning a gun and approved a comment saying that she deserved what she got (that comment was eventually taken down - I flagged once every 10 minutes for a few hours). Notibly, I posted a comment that (not to my surprise) was never posted despite their site policy not to politically censor comments. My comments was:

From what I've read so far there are a few points that absolutely need to be thrown in the face of anti-gunners that attempt to capitalize on this.

1 - She was murdered. She is not some political pawn. RIP
2 - She was not shot with her own gun. Her gun in no way contributed to her death.
3 - Her husband (the murderous scumbag who got off far too easy for what he did) was a police officer - one of the only ones who can do no wrong. One of the ones the brady campaign for insanity thinks should have firearms while the rest of us (including her) should not.
4 - She mentioned in an interview on Gun Nut Talk that she does not carry at home. Something to consider if you live with a mentally unstable police officer who you are in the process of leaving.

Anti gunners who try to spin this as an example of a gun making you less safe need to have these points thrown in their faces.

Her tragic death cannot be allowed to be twisted into anti gun or even anti OC fodder.
I'm not surprised that it was censored. They have a tendency to only approve the few comments that agree with these scum bags, and a few opposing comments as long as the comment doesn't have any real consistency.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

More Proof that Communities Need More Laws Against Weapons

According to THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, a student armed with vicious knives a powerful and lethal ax, and not one but two fire bombs known as Molotov Cocktails attacked his schoolmates injuring nine people before police came to the rescue preventing further bloodshed.

When will enough be enough? How many children have to be burned by fire bombs, or hacked with knives and axes designed to cut things? Why are there not laws to prevent these things? Common sense restrictions on flammable liquids, and sharp objects are needed to protect the children. We need locks on our gas tanks, and laws that punish unscrupulous gas dealers that sell gas to criminals and negligent car owners that don't report gas theft to the police. We must ban glass bottles, and ensure that only the right people are able to own knives and axes. The world will be a better place when there are no more glass bottles, knives, or axes free to ravage our communities, and whatever inconvenience this may cause is worth it for the children.

So lets stand up to the glass bottle lobby and the knife and ax lobbies and the gas lobby. They lie and deceive the people just so that they can make a profit. They know full well that their product will inevitably burn and cut people, but they make them anyway. Never mind the accountability of the student who attacked his classmates. With these vicious weapons at his disposal, how could he resist? It is time to take a stand for the children.