Thursday, March 26, 2009

There is only one natural duty: to accept the consequences ....

Brilliant post over at Atomic Nerds ....

extract to whet your appetite:

There is no such thing as freedom without responsibility, or responsibility without freedom. You must take them both together or not at all, and if you think you can get away with it otherwise, someone has sold you an illusion and the bill will be coming due shortly. There is only one natural right: to do as you will. There is only one natural duty: to accept the consequences. The rest of society is a negotiation from this starting point, from contract law right on up to the death penalty.

the whole article is definitely worth reading ....

I Don't Normally Do YouTube Videos but

this one really appealed to me.

Found over at Hell in a Handbasket.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Global Warming Test

This is an test to determine how much you know about Global Warming.

After you've answered each question there is a detailed explanation which I found quite interesting.

Oh yes, I got 9/10 ... you?

h/t Sense of Events

Which Action Hero Are You?

Found via Assrot the Action Hero Quiz ...

Apparently I'm Lara Croft ...

A thrill-seeking, slightly unscrupulous, tough-as-nails archaeologist, Lara Croft travels the world in search of ancient relics perhaps better left hidden. She packs two Colt .45s and has no fear of jumping off buildings, exploring creepy tombs, or taking on evil meglomaniacs bent on world domination.

Lara Croft..................75%
James Bond, Agent 007....71%
Indiana Jones ...........58%
The Terminator ..........58%
William Wallace..........54%
Neo, the "One"...........50%
Batman, the Dark Knight..46%
The Amazing Spider-Man ..42%
Captain Jack Sparrow.....42%
El Zorro.................29%

Given the alternatives, I'm happy - although I quite like Captain Jack Sparrow!

What about you???


Can definitely use this ....

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Range Report #12

It was a good shoot today. They left the course very similar to last week's Trophy Shoot (although we didn't have the "flip the coin" stage). They had rearranged some targets and added some more no shoots.

There were four stages. The first stage has a swinger (the one I managed to get the D on last week). This week I got 2 As! I shot the rest of the stage okay (2 Cs the rest all As.)

The second stage was pretty much unremarkable however, I shot today with my boss/friend Steve and he pointed out that I was not holding the gun correctly. Apparently I'm holding my left hand down low.

The third stage also had a swinger, managed a C & D on this one (but I did send 5 shots downrange at it). I'm not sure which shots connected. One of the challenging things about this stage was that there were three targets one step to the right of the starting box, and then a short run to the next group of targets - a popper and a paper target. So the decision was whether or not to do a reload between the two steps of targets or not. I'm normally pretty good with poppers, however this one was a small one, in the end I decided to take the risk and not reload and it paid off. I hit the popper on the first shot.

The fourth stage again was quite challenging as they had put two small poppers and three paper targets behind a board with two portals in it. Prior to this was a set of three targets all with no shoots on them. Unusually I got two of the no shoots and, in addition to the no shoots, I managed to only get one shot on one of the targets. However, I managed to get the targets behind the portals without a problem!

Enjoyed the shoot and my friend Steve pointed out two things I need to work on - one is getting the left hand up higher and the other is that i left go of the gun with my right hand when I'm doing reloads. We worked out that this is due to me using both thumbs to operate the mag release (I've got an extended release on there but I still struggle with it). I have to practice only using my left hand for this.

So lots of "dry fire" work ahead of me.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Compliance Doesn't Mean You're Safe ...

From we have this story today:

Guard shot after handing over money

A SECURITY guard has been shot during an armed robbery at a licensed club in Sydney's north, despite handing over money.

Police from Northern Beaches Local Area Command are investigating the armed robbery and shooting at Forestville.

Staff of the licensed club, in Melwood Avenue, were confronted by two men both armed with firearms about 2am.

The men threatened the two employees, one of which was the security guard, and demanded cash.

They were provided with the money, however, the 41-year-old security guard was shot in the leg during the robbery.

The offenders then ran from the building with the cash.

Police have no information as to why the guard was shot after handing over the money.

The guard was taken by ambulance to Royal North Shore Hospital for treatment, where he is in a stable condition.

A crime scene was established and forensic officers are examining the scene.

The men were described each as being about 183cm tall with a solid build.

At the time their faces were covered. Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call Dee Why police or Crime


Who would have thought?, criminals not playing by the "good guys" rules ....

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Range Report #11

It's been awhile since I've done a range report, so here's one from today!

It was an IPSC trophy shoot and there were three squads shooting. We had 11 people in our squad and I think the other squads were around the same size.

There were 5 stages. The stage I found most challenging was a start seated, with gun and all mags/ammo for the stage on the table. There were 10 targets. On signal you had to flip a coin, load and then if you got tails you shot the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th targets, if you got a head you shot the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th and 10th with two shots each.

I flipped the coin and it spun forever! I felt like whacking it! ... I DIDN'T load the gun while waiting though (in my defence this is the first time I've done this type of stage!). Anyway, eventually the coin stopped on tails, so i shot the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and (for some unknown reason) 10th target. So even though I got pretty much all As on the other targets I lost a lot of points with getting the wrong target :( I was really proud of how I shot that last target though - did it really fast (for me) and the shots were neat As ... shame they didn't count.

Only one other person messed up the stage - and they managed to hit all the wrong targets!

The stage after this was a tricky one. Again we started unloaded (in fact there was only one stage where we started with a loaded gun today). There were two targets to the right (with a no-shoot overlapping them). Then to the left there was a door way (with a fault line) and a popper which controlled a swinging target. The swinger could not be engaged from that point (not visible). There was also a paper target.

Then to the left of that was two portals through which you could see the swinging target and three static paper targets.

I missed the swinger :( I'm not very good at shooting at swingers - especially through portals. Definitely need more practice with them.

The last stage also had a swinger and I managed to get one shot on it (it was only a D too!).

The other stages were quite fun and I did pretty good - still slow but at least I'm still shooting pretty much all As.

(More) Newbies on the Range

Met up with some on-line friends on Saturday for a BBQ. We had a nice time and two of them had indicated that they would like to come and try shooting. So after lunch, I took them up to the range.

One of them was quite nervous about guns and said that she was interested because she has never liked them. My eldest daughter came too.

I started them off on the .22 (Ruger 22/45), my daughter shot first (with me helping her hold the gun) and then the other two shot.

We then moved onto my 9mm Springfield and they shot off two mags each (my daughter decided not to shoot this one).

Even though we didn't spend that long up there they said that they had fun and in fact, the lady who "never liked guns" said that "it was more fun than she had expected". I hope she'll come up and watch me shoot an IPSC match in the near future.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Newbies on the Range

Just got back from taking a group of people from work to the range this evening. All up we had 6 staff members and one brought her husband. Three of the group have been shooting with us before, but the other four were newbies.

My boss (& friend), Steve, started off by giving a safety lecture and general info on bullets & guns & stuff. They quite liked the demo of the burning powder (he pulled a .22, a shotgun cartridge and a rifle round apart).

We then broke into two groups. I took the women (3) to shoot pistols and the guys went with another friend/club member, Bill, to shoot revolvers.

The women had a shoot with the Ruger 22/45 first and they all got all of their shots on one of the three targets I had set up at the end of the range. Which they were all very pleased about.

We then moved onto my 9mm Springfield. I set up 8 poppers for them. I like using poppers with newbies because getting a good hit is very rewarding. They all shot off one magazine each and the basic consensus what that it was fun but the gun was heavy. Two of them knocked down three targets each, the other two.

The guys had moved on to play longarms with Steve and Bill took over with the women and let them shoot his revolvers. Again he used the steel and I could hear them being knocked over regularly (I was down watching the guys by this stage).

Once the guys had finished with the over/under shotgun, the Mosin Ngant and the Lee Enfield, I introduced them to the semi-autos.

Again I started with the Ruger 22/45 and after a magazine each they moved onto the 9mm and the poppers. I think they ended up shooting at least three mags each and then Bill and I had a turn (I like poppers!). Ended up going through 180 rounds.

During this time I could hear the women with Steve and he was letting them shoot his Edge. When I caught up with them afterwards most of them said it was definitely the best gun to shoot (I agree - but unfortunately it's too big for my to hold comfortably, so I'll have to stick to my 9mm).

We were on the range for 2 hours and I think they would have liked to have done more, but it was getting pretty dark by the time we finished.

I wonder how sore their shoulders will be tomorrow.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

First Aid ...

Just done a 2-day Senior First Aid course (it is a requirement of being a Girl Guide leader). It was held at the Guide HQ and there were 17 other Guide leaders or older Guides there.

Great fun bunch of people and the instructor was very knowledgeable and good at communicating. She kept the course fun and casual but we did learn a lot. I was surprised at how tired I was at the end of each day.

We had three practical assessments - one for CPR and two for general first aid and a 50 question written exam (luckily open book). I passed.

Couple of interesting things came out of the course:
1. Legal side of rendering first aid
- not required to unless you want to. Once you start you can't stop until ambulance arrives / you are exhausted or the situation becomes dangerous
- protected from suing under the "Good Samaritan" legislation (in all Aust states)

2. Change in CPR techniques
- the push from the Australian Resuscitation Council is to get people to do some and not stress too much of getting everything perfect or not doing it because you're scared of messing up things. So no longer measuring to get the right spot - just aim for the centre of the chest.
- rhythm is 30 compressions then 2 breaths. The 30 compressions are to be done fast (very fast), around 100 per minute. This is the same for infants & babies.
- if you don't want to do the breaths, doing the compressions are fine
- an attempt is better than no attempt
- after the primary survey (for signs of life) just keep going with CPR - no need to stop and check for signs of life again (oh, and no need to check for pulse ever).

3. Jelly fish stings
- Tropical jelly fish (Geraldton to Bundaberg north) - flush with vinegar, remove tentacles
- Temperate jelly fish - flush with sea water, remove tentacles

4. Snake bite
- bandage directly over site, then bandage limb from extremity towards heart as far as you can, make mark over bite site to assist hospital, immobilise.

5. Breaks
- if ambulance is less than 1hr away don't do anything
- if more than that, bandage as far as possible without moving the limb

oh, and the other funny thing was that I was the only person in the class who knew what "priapism" was .. thanks, of course, to Ambulance Driver.
See i knew reading blogs was educational!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What the World Eats

I found this series of pictures and associated information titled "What the World Eats, Part 1" absolutely fascinating.

Go check it out and then come back and tell me what the photo from your house would look like.

The Death of Common Sense

Heard this on the radio this morning and thought it was worth passing on:

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn't always fair, and maybe it was my fault. Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they themselves failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Aspirin, sun lotion, or a sticky plaster to a student; but could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar can sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason.

He is survived by three stepbrothers; I Know my Rights, Someone Else is to Blame, and I'm a Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

can't find any authorship details

Monday, March 2, 2009

... and the band played on (badly, but no better or worse than anyone else)

THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

Some things about living still weren’t quite right, though. April, for instance, still drove people crazy by not being springtime. And it was in that clammy month that the H-G men took George and Hazel Bergeron’s fourteen-year-old son, Harrison, away.

It was tragic, all right, but George and Hazel couldn’t think about it very hard. Hazel had a perfectly average intelligence, which meant she couldn’t think about anything except in short bursts. And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains.

George and Hazel were watching television. There were tears on Hazel’s cheeks, but she’d forgotten for the moment what they were about.

On the television screen were ballerinas.

A buzzer sounded in George’s head. His thoughts fled in panic, like bandits from a burglar alarm.

“That was a real pretty dance, that dance they just did,” said Hazel.

“Huh?” said George.

“That dance – it was nice,” said Hazel.

“Yup,” said George. He tried to think a little about the ballerinas. They weren’t really very good – no better than anybody else would have been, anyway. They were burdened with sashweights and bags of birdshot, and their faces were masked, so that no one, seeing a free and graceful gesture or a pretty face, would feel like something the cat drug in. George was toying with the vague notion that maybe dancers shouldn’t be handicapped. But he didn’t get very far with it before another noise in his ear radio scattered his thoughts.

George winced. So did two out of the eight ballerinas.

Hazel saw him wince. Having no mental handicap herself she had to ask George what the latest sound had been.

“Sounded like somebody hitting a milk bottle with a ball peen hammer,” said George.

“I’d think it would be real interesting, hearing all the different sounds,” said Hazel, a little envious. “All the things they think up.”

“Um,” said George.

“Only, if I was Handicapper General, you know what I would do?” said Hazel. Hazel, as a matter of fact, bore a strong resemblance to the Handicapper General, a woman named Diana Moon Glampers. “If I was Diana Moon Glampers,” said Hazel, “I’d have chimes on Sunday – just chimes. Kind of in honor of religion.”

“I could think, if it was just chimes,” said George.

“Well – maybe make ‘em real loud,” said Hazel. “I think I’d make a good Handicapper General.”

“Good as anybody else,” said George.

“Who knows better’n I do what normal is?” said Hazel.

“Right,” said George. He began to think glimmeringly about his abnormal son who was now in jail, about Harrison, but a twenty-one-gun salute in his head stopped that.

“Boy!” said Hazel, “that was a doozy, wasn’t it?”

It was such a doozy that George was white and trembling and tears stood on the rims of his red eyes. Two of the eight ballerinas had collapsed to the studio floor, were holding their temples.

“All of a sudden you look so tired,” said Hazel. “Why don’t you stretch out on the sofa, so’s you can rest your handicap bag on the pillows, honeybunch.” She was referring to the forty-seven pounds of birdshot in canvas bag, which was padlocked around George’s neck. “Go on and rest the bag for a little while,” she said. “I don’t care if you’re not equal to me for a while.”

George weighed the bag with his hands. “I don’t mind it,” he said. “I don’t notice it any more. It’s just a part of me.

“You been so tired lately – kind of wore out,” said Hazel. “If there was just some way we could make a little hole in the bottom of the bag, and just take out a few of them lead balls. Just a few.”

“Two years in prison and two thousand dollars fine for every ball I took out,” said George. “I don’t call that a bargain.”

“If you could just take a few out when you came home from work,” said Hazel. “I mean – you don’t compete with anybody around here. You just set around.”

“If I tried to get away with it,” said George, “then other people’d get away with it and pretty soon we’d be right back to the dark ages again, with everybody competing against everybody else. You wouldn’t like that, would you?”

“I’d hate it,” said Hazel.

“There you are,” said George. “The minute people start cheating on laws, what do you think happens to society?”

If Hazel hadn’t been able to come up with an answer to this question, George couldn’t have supplied one. A siren was going off in his head.

“Reckon it’d fall all apart,” said Hazel.

“What would?” said George blankly.

“Society,” said Hazel uncertainly. “Wasn’t that what you just said?”

“Who knows?” said George.

The television program was suddenly interrupted for a news bulletin. It wasn’t clear at first as to what the bulletin was about, since the announcer, like all announcers, had a serious speech impediment. For about half a minute, and in a state of high excitement, the announcer tried to say, “Ladies and gentlemen – ”

He finally gave up, handed the bulletin to a ballerina to read.

“That’s all right –” Hazel said of the announcer, “he tried. That’s the big thing. He tried to do the best he could with what God gave him. He should get a nice raise for trying so hard.”

“Ladies and gentlemen” said the ballerina, reading the bulletin. She must have been extraordinarily beautiful, because the mask she wore was hideous. And it was easy to see that she was the strongest and most graceful of all the dancers, for her handicap bags were as big as those worn by two-hundred-pound men.

And she had to apologize at once for her voice, which was a very unfair voice for a woman to use. Her voice was a warm, luminous, timeless melody. “Excuse me – ” she said, and she began again, making her voice absolutely uncompetitive.

“Harrison Bergeron, age fourteen,” she said in a grackle squawk, “has just escaped from jail, where he was held on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government. He is a genius and an athlete, is under–handicapped, and should be regarded as extremely dangerous.”

A police photograph of Harrison Bergeron was flashed on the screen – upside down, then sideways, upside down again, then right side up. The picture showed the full length of Harrison against a background calibrated in feet and inches. He was exactly seven feet tall.

The rest of Harrison’s appearance was Halloween and hardware. Nobody had ever worn heavier handicaps. He had outgrown hindrances faster than the H–G men could think them up. Instead of a little ear radio for a mental handicap, he wore a tremendous pair of earphones, and spectacles with thick wavy lenses. The spectacles were intended to make him not only half blind, but to give him whanging headaches besides.

Scrap metal was hung all over him. Ordinarily, there was a certain symmetry, a military neatness to the handicaps issued to strong people, but Harrison looked like a walking junkyard. In the race of life, Harrison carried three hundred pounds.

And to offset his good looks, the H–G men required that he wear at all times a red rubber ball for a nose, keep his eyebrows shaved off, and cover his even white teeth with black caps at snaggle–tooth random.

"If you see this boy,” said the ballerina, “do not – I repeat, do not – try to reason with him.”

There was the shriek of a door being torn from its hinges.

Screams and barking cries of consternation came from the television set. The photograph of Harrison Bergeron on the screen jumped again and again, as though dancing to the tune of an earthquake.

George Bergeron correctly identified the earthquake, and well he might have – for many was the time his own home had danced to the same crashing tune. “My God –” said George, “that must be Harrison!”

The realization was blasted from his mind instantly by the sound of an automobile collision in his head.

When George could open his eyes again, the photograph of Harrison was gone. A living, breathing Harrison filled the screen.

Clanking, clownish, and huge, Harrison stood in the center of the studio. The knob of the uprooted studio door was still in his hand. Ballerinas, technicians, musicians, and announcers cowered on their knees before him, expecting to die.

“I am the Emperor!” cried Harrison. “Do you hear? I am the Emperor! Everybody must do what I say at once!” He stamped his foot and the studio shook.

“Even as I stand here –” he bellowed, “crippled, hobbled, sickened – I am a greater ruler than any man who ever lived! Now watch me become what I can become!”

Harrison tore the straps of his handicap harness like wet tissue paper, tore straps guaranteed to support five thousand pounds.

Harrison’s scrap–iron handicaps crashed to the floor.

Harrison thrust his thumbs under the bar of the padlock that secured his head harness. The bar snapped like celery. Harrison smashed his headphones and spectacles against the wall.

He flung away his rubber–ball nose, revealed a man that would have awed Thor, the god of thunder.

“I shall now select my Empress!” he said, looking down on the cowering people. “Let the first woman who dares rise to her feet claim her mate and her throne!”

A moment passed, and then a ballerina arose, swaying like a willow.

Harrison plucked the mental handicap from her ear, snapped off her physical handicaps with marvelous delicacy. Last of all, he removed her mask.

She was blindingly beautiful.

“Now” said Harrison, taking her hand, “shall we show the people the meaning of the word dance? Music!” he commanded.

The musicians scrambled back into their chairs, and Harrison stripped them of their handicaps, too. “Play your best,” he told them, “and I’ll make you barons and dukes and earls.”

The music began. It was normal at first – cheap, silly, false. But Harrison snatched two musicians from their chairs, waved them like batons as he sang the music as he wanted it played. He slammed them back into their chairs.

The music began again and was much improved.

Harrison and his Empress merely listened to the music for a while – listened gravely, as though synchronizing their heartbeats with it.

They shifted their weights to their toes.

Harrison placed his big hands on the girl’s tiny waist, letting her sense the weightlessness that would soon be hers.

And then, in an explosion of joy and grace, into the air they sprang!

Not only were the laws of the land abandoned, but the law of gravity and the laws of motion as well.

They reeled, whirled, swiveled, flounced, capered, gamboled, and spun.

They leaped like deer on the moon.

The studio ceiling was thirty feet high, but each leap brought the dancers nearer to it. It became their obvious intention to kiss the ceiling.

They kissed it.

And then, neutralizing gravity with love and pure will, they remained suspended in air inches below the ceiling, and they kissed each other for a long, long time.

It was then that Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General, came into the studio with a double-barreled ten-gauge shotgun. She fired twice, and the Emperor and the Empress were dead before they hit the floor.

Diana Moon Glampers loaded the gun again. She aimed it at the musicians and told them they had ten seconds to get their handicaps back on.

It was then that the Bergerons’ television tube burned out.

Hazel turned to comment about the blackout to George.

But George had gone out into the kitchen for a can of beer.

George came back in with the beer, paused while a handicap signal shook him up. And then he sat down again. “You been crying?” he said to Hazel.

“Yup,” she said,

“What about?” he said.

“I forget,” she said. “Something real sad on television.”

“What was it?” he said.

“It’s all kind of mixed up in my mind,” said Hazel.

“Forget sad things,” said George.

“I always do,” said Hazel.

“That’s my girl,” said George. He winced. There was the sound of a riveting gun in his head.

“Gee – I could tell that one was a doozy,” said Hazel.

“You can say that again,” said George.

“Gee –” said Hazel, “I could tell that one was a doozy.”

Kurt Vonnegut (1961)

h/t to SJA

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Australia's Deadly Dozen

While roaming around the internets tonight I came across a photo gallery of Australia's Deadly Dozen (13 in all). One of the prettiest is ...

The Blue Ringed Octopus

Check out the others at the link.