Thursday, December 25, 2008

I'm Sticking with "Merry Christmas"

Saw this in comments over at a SayUncle post:


Please accept without obligation, express or implied, these best wishes for an environmentally safe, socially responsible, low stress, non addictive, and gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday as practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice (but with respect for the religious or secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or for their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all) and further for a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated onset of the generally accepted calendar year (including, but not limited to, the Christian calendar, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures). The preceding wishes are extended without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee(s).
Or,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Everybody!"


Not sure the first part will fit neatly on a card either.

Regardless - "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year" sums up my opinion on the matter!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Discussion at the Coffee Truck this Morning

Scene: Workplace carpark with coffee truck. Two (young) salesgirls, a random guy from the factory and me.

Salesgirl#1 to me: "Sorry, but I completely forgot about shooting on Saturday."

Me: "Not to worry, we'll schedule another shoot soon. I went up there anyway, but didn't shoot. I did however shoot on the Sunday."

Random unknown factory guy: "Umm, excuse me, what gun club?"

Me: "OGSA, do you know it?"

Random unknown factory guy: "Heard of it, I shoot service matches at Rockingham and I am a member of three clubs. I also hold a dealer's licence."

--- brief interlude of random gun discussion ....

Salesgirl#2: "I'm planning to join OGSA. I'm looking forward to starting the training course in Feb."

Random unknown factory guy: "Wow. Umm, it's great that you want to get into shooting. It's a great hobby."

Coffee was ready, all went our separate ways.

Now that's what I call a good discussion!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Just in time for Christmas

Want something for that "hard to buy for" man (or woman) in your life? Got a spare $4,900,000.00? (It's Australia dollars, so an absolute bargain for you Americans :) ).

How about a Ex-Australian Navy submarine? ... That's right, available on Ebay.



The sales pitch is as follows:

Proceeds from the purchase of merchandise goes directly to the maintainence and administration of the submarine and project overall.

Any items purchased will be received with a certificate of appreciation for your support.

For more information click here to visit web site at www.otama.com.au

"It's not every day you can bid for a 2,000 tonne submarine online, but that's what it's come down to. The HMAS Otama, the last Oberon submarine built for the Australian Navy has been sitting, rusting in Western Port Bay for six years. There were celebrations in 2002 when a small group of volunteers won the sought after tender with the help of a $500,000 grant from the Federal Government's Federation Fund. But the money is running out and the foreshore they have tried to put it on has become or is environmentally protected."

The Western Port Oberon Association Incorporated are group of community minded volunteers, committed to the betterment of the Western Port area. We have been trying to bring this project forward for many years. Unfortunately many obsticles have been put before us.

We are looking for partners, sponsors, members or any one willing to help.

The project has Approved Deductible Gift Recipient status.

Any donation over $2.00 is Fully Tax Deductable.

Western Port Oberon Association. ABN:21798098471.
PO Box 503
Hastings Victoria 3915


Mmm, fitting it in the stocking could be an issue!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Only Five Left

A couple of days ago wandering around the internet I came across the article, "6 Insane Discoveries That Science Can't Explain".

The six things were (numbered as per the original article):
6) The Voynich Manuscript
5) The Antikythera Mechanism
4) The Baigong Pipes
3) The Giant Stone Balls of Costa Rica
2) The Baghdad Batteries
1) The Bloop

Today a friend brought the following to my attention:
World's First Computer Rebuilt, Rebooted After 2,000 Years


A British museum curator has built a working replica of a 2,000-year-old Greek machine that has been called the world's first computer.

A dictionary-size assemblage of 37 interlocking dials crafted with the precision and complexity of a 19th-century Swiss clock, the Antikythera mechanism was used for modeling and predicting the movements of the heavenly bodies as well as the dates and locations of upcoming Olympic games.

The original 81 shards of the Antikythera were recovered from under the sea (near the Greek island of Antikythera) in 1902, rusted and clumped together in a nearly indecipherable mass. Scientists dated it to 150 B.C. Such craftsmanship wouldn't be seen for another 1,000 years — but its purpose was a mystery for decades.

Many scientists have worked since the 1950s to piece together the story, with the help of some very sophisticated imaging technology in recent years, including X-ray and gamma-ray imaging and 3-D computer modeling.

Now, though, it has been rebuilt. As is almost always the way with these things, it was an amateur who cracked it. Michael Wright, a former curator at the Science Museum in London, has built a replica of the Antikythera, which works perfectly.

In the video from New Scientist below, Wright shows how the machine works.

In short, Antikythera's user interface is deceptively simple, operated by a simple knob on the side. This conceals the intricacy within, amounting to a complex mathematical model, tracking the movements of planetary bodies and incorporating a series of submechanisms to account for the eccentricities of their rotation.

A dial on the faceplace featured the Greek zodiac and an Egyptian calendar; pointers showed the location of the moon and the five planets known at the time. On the machine's back, an upper dial shows a 19-year calendar (matching the solunar cycle) and the timing of upcoming Olympic games. A lower dial shows a 76-year cycle (when the Olympic and solunar cycles coincide) and indicates the months in which lunar and solar eclipses can be expected.

According to New Scientist, this is the first working model of the Antikythera computer to include all of the device's known features. And, like the original machine, it has been built of recycled metal plates. That's right: The Antikythera mechanism is not only the world's oldest computer, it's also the world's first green computer.


The video clip is on the site referenced above, or can be viewed directly at youtube.

From an Email: Guns and Doctors

Received this in an email this morning (thanks Aileen) ...


Doctors:
(a) The number of doctors in the US is 700,000
(b) Accidental deaths caused by physicians per year are 120,000
(c) Accidental deaths per physician is 0.17

Guns:
(a) The number of gun owners in the US is 80,000,000
(b) Accidental gun deaths per year is 1,500
(c) Accidental deaths per gun owner is 0.000019

So, statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.

Remember: Guns don't kill people; doctors do.

Not everyone has a gun, but almost everyone has a doctor.

Please alert your friends to this alarming threat. Doctors should be banned, or at least more strictly controlled, before this gets more out of hand.

Out of concern for general public safety, there should be no statistics published about lawyers for fear the shock would cause people to panic and seek a doctor's assistance.


Note: Numbers not checked for validity!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How Could I Have Missed This Two Years Running?

Welcome to the 3rd Annual Global Orgasm for Peace

Yep, the 3rd Annual Global Orgasm for peace is to be held on December 21st at 12.04pm GMT (although, apparently there's a two hour window that you can utilise ... or maybe it's supposed to last 2 hours, or maybe you need to have as many as possible in the 2 hours ... mmm ... i probably need to check out the FAQ).

The "reason" for this activity is:
To effect positive change in the energy field of the Earth through input of the largest possible instantaneous surge of human biological, mental and spiritual energy.

There's more "whys" under the 3 Reasons section.

Things like Peace ... Orgasm and the sense of well-being it brings - how would the planet be if it felt that good? Could that be one definition of Peace? Practice visualizing the planet experiencing the afterglow of your Big Oh and ignoring the Govern-Men as they try to drum up support for their next invasion.

and

Gender & Social Justice .... We are all worthy of justice. To combine the energy of orgasm with a conscious empathy for all beings, human and otherwise, would be a powerful boost to the well-being of our planet and species.

and

Global Warming ooops, should we tell them that it has been rebadged as "climate change"? ... The planet needs a rest from all our other desires, so what better way to get us to take a rest from over-consumption than an orgasm? And if we can combine that energy with a resolution to be satisfied with less of everything (except orgasms, of course), perhaps the collective mindset will change.

read that again "be satisfied with less of everything (except orgasms, of course)" ... right!

Anyone planning an "orgasm" party? ... (i guess you could call it an "Orgy for Change"). Sounds like a workable excuse to me.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) I'm otherwise occupied at that time on Sunday night, so I'll be missing out (literally, apparently) ... maybe next year?

h/t Bayou Renaissance Man

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gun Legislation News

Just seen this article reporting how gun ownership has increased in NSW (New South Wales) and how some of the laws introduced after the Port Arthur massacre are being relaxed.


GUN ownership is booming again in NSW, with 40,000 new firearms registered in the past four years.

The rise coincides with a deal cut by the State Government and the Shooters Party to water down tough gun laws introduced in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre.

Figures from the NSW Firearm Registry obtained by the National Coalition of Gun Control show gun ownership has risen at the rate of 10,000 a year since 2004 to 687,138 in October this year.

Multiple gun ownership has also soared. The number of people receiving permits to obtain a second or subsequent firearm in 2006 was 32,616.

In the first 10 months of this year, 43,095 such permits were issued.

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics has also revealed that guns are being stolen at a rate of more than two a day. The majority are taken from homes.

Despite the worrying figures, the Government and the Shooters Party have quietly agreed to a number of changes to gun laws introduced by former premier Bob Carr after the Port Arthur killings.

Shooting clubs will no longer have their licences automatically revoked for not disqualifying members who have been convicted of firearms offences.

Previously, the police commissioner could immediately revoke a club's licence for not taking action against a convicted member.

In another change, the mandatory 28-day waiting period before a second or third gun can be acquired has also been scrapped.

The Government has also made it easier for men who have previously been the subject of apprehended violence orders to regain a gun licence.


Here is Western Australia, we have only ever had the 28-day waiting period for the first firearm, never on subsequent ones, so I see these changes as just coming into line with other states' legislation.

Interested to read about the ABS figures on the rate of stolen guns - would actually like newspaper articles to actually link to where they get these figures from and the full details rather than "the majority are taken from homes".

Fun on the Range

Went to the range yesterday to do an "Introduction to Firearms" show and tell session with a group of people. Unfortunately a whole bunch of them dropped out at the last minute and it ended up being a group of two. One was the girl who came to the range on Nov 29th and the other was a girl from work, who was extremely nervous about the whole thing.

My friend (Steve) who has been a member up at the range for about 20 years brought some of his arsenal along (Mauser, Lee Enfield, Mosin Nagant, Pump Action Shotgun, Single Barrel Shotgun, Double Barrel Shotgun, his .38 standard gun and his .38 race gun). I had my .22 ruger 22/45, my 9mm Springfield and a .22 Winchester Lever Action rifle. Another club member (Bill) was up there with his revolver and he joined in on the fun.

During the course of the next couple of hours we all shot pretty much all of the guns. The girl from work took a bit of persuading when it came to each gun, but she did like the .22 Winchester Lever Action.

Both of the visitors have decided that they would like to sign up for the IPSC training course next year.

Here's a couple of photos:

Michelle practicing her pistol holding technique with a tube of sun screen


Michelle with the pump action shotgun


Oh, did I mention that I LOVE the Mauser (Yugoslav M48A).

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Guns Shouldn't Be Recreational ?????

Here's an article on this premise with a commentary by someone who disagrees ....

here's probably my favourite extract ... but do read the whole thing ...

(original article) Many people exercise this right and believe that because of it, they are able to do whatever they want, even if it means storing deadly weapons in a house of curious, naïve children.

(commentary) My kids are rather intelligent, and I’ve taught them to use guns safely. If your kids are naïve, you might want to take a real hard look at who’s teaching them about life.


h/t Sharp as Marble

Friday, December 5, 2008

I'm now "Graded"

Just checked out the November Auto Trophy Shoot Match Scores from my gun club and I'm now "D" grade (up until now I was "ungraded").

I hadn't realised that I made the list for October - 25th out of 31 shooters with 125.66 points.

November showed an improvement - 21st out of 24 shooters with 132.73 points.

Can only get better from here on in, one hopes!

Painted Cats

I've just received some really stunning pictures of painted cats in an email, for example:



and



unfortunately Snopes says that they're not real ...

Still they look pretty ...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Wonder if we'll ever hear the full story ....

From: http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,24739912-29277,00.html

Man 'accidentally' shot twice

December 02, 2008 02:29pm

A SYDNEY man is in a stable condition in hospital after being "accidentally'' shot twice, a New South Wales Ambulance Service spokeswoman says.

The man, aged about 30, was shot in the arm and chest at an address in Denver Road at St Clair in Sydney's west shortly after 1.30pm (AEDT) today, she said.

He was taken by ambulance to Nepean Hospital in a stable condition.

Police have been called to the scene of the shooting and are investigating the incident.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Let's review the rules:

1. A gun is ALWAYS LOADED. Always.

2. Do not point the muzzle at anything you're not willing to destroy.

3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you have your target sighted in.

4. Be sure of your target and what's behind it, before you pull the trigger.

If you stick to these four rules it's pretty hard to "accidentally" shoot someone (or yourself) TWICE.