Presented Without Comment 
2011.05.02 00:46 - Guns, Internet Stupidity, News and Politics
In light of recent events, SKD Tactical is having a sale.

I bought a chest rig, just because.

Also, I laughed.
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I guess I'm keeping my car for a bit longer 
2011.04.08 09:55 - Meatspace Stupidity, News and Politics, Whining
This got me thinking about how long it would take for me to break even on replacing my current car. Assuming I replaced my $25000 car getting about 20mpg (hopefully, a bit low, but most of my driving is stoplight-to-stoplight) with a $15000 car getting 58mpg and assuming $5/gallon gas, it would take about 13 years (and some change) to break-even. I would have to be averaging less than 17 miles to the gallon just to reach break-even before the expected life of the new vehicle (about 10 years) is up. This doesn't take maintenance into account, of course.

But, that's an intentionally ridiculous estimate. I don't drive very much, but, on the other hand, the gas mileage estimate on my car is low and the one on the hypothetical nücar is fairly absurd for a car costing $15000--we'll leave motorcycles out of the equation, but that's where you'd have to go for those numbers. So, if we assume an annual distance of 15000 miles (almost double my annual mileage), but a more reasonable average mpg of, say, 38mpg and the current average gas price of $3.70 a gallon, it would only take ... a bit over 14 years. For a Ford Fiesta.

I guess I'll keep driving my inefficient little riceburner, then.

Incidentally, while the link at the beginning is a bit inflammatory, I'm not trying to score partisan points, here. I just thought it was interesting (and a little depressing) how much cars have to improve to make replacing mine worthwhile.
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Speaking of Nerds in the Audience 
2011.03.14 09:15 - Internet Stupidity, Meatspace Stupidity, News and Politics
Having already been treated to the rantings and ravings of one hysterical nutbar with too much access to information in the past 48 hours, if you're currently freaking out about the possibility of a nuclear meltdown in Japan and aren't at least related to somebody in the same hemisphere as the Fukushima nuclear plant, turn off the TV and Internet for a day or two. You'd be doing yourself and the rest of us a huge favor, and possibly preventing yourself from having a nervous breakdown over the giant, nuclear death cloud that doesn't exist.

If you must string yourself over the emotional rack over this mess, it would probably benefit you to check out one or two sources that aren't hideously alarmist. (This is one I read that was linked over at NRO, but you may also find some analysis for former nuclear sub guys interesting. Second link's from WTA's thread. Also from the WTA thread is this article.)

If you do happen to live near the Fukushima plant ... well, you have my prayers and sympathy.
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Fans are Mystifying 
2011.01.20 11:32 - Guns, News and Politics
Not that I have any.

I spend too much time (which is to say, any time) watching the Magpul forum at arfcom. I do this because Magpul makes good stuff, and this has, in the past, been a good way to find out what works and doesn't work and how to use some of less conventional bits. The long-suffering people at Magpul even keep an eye on the forum and answer questions, now and then.

Over the last three years, though, their participation has become more narrow and less transparent: less information about stuff under development, more guarded answers, and less direct involvement, generally. They've cited multiple reasons (including problems with industrial espionage, IIRC: stuff that hadn't been officially announced getting knocked off by competing companies), and I don't blame them: if you've been burned, the natural response is to pull your hand out of the fire.

This week, SHOT Show is going on in Las Vegas. SHOT Show is sort of like E3, or CES: it's a big, industry-specific trade show, and is not open to the general public. New media participation has been pretty large the last couple of years, though, and that has made news from the show much more widely disseminated. As a result, I suspect that SHOT is suffering some of the problems that E3 and CES have and/or do: instead of being a big dog-and-pony show from the traditional press, it's starting to become watered down by public marketing.

Last year's launch of the Bushmaster ACR might even be a big contributor to this problem: the news was public almost immediately, and internet-based kvetching started the same day (and you'll find some of it here: I wasn't thrilled, but I also figure I have a readership that can be counted without removing my shoes).

In the past, Magpul has shown off various new and upcoming goodies at SHOT Show: rubberized grips, new handguards, weapon systems, etc. When the new products did not materialize on whatever schedule was mentioned or assumed, the webweenies complained. When the new products didn't cure cancer, the webweenies complained. (If you can't tell, I think the bulk of these complaints are unjustified.)

I guess the complaining was producing more negative PR than showing stuff off was producing positive PR: this year, Magpul's not showing any new stuff at SHOT Show. And, as above, I don't blame them at all.

But, of course, the webweenies are now complaining that there's nothing new to complain about. I guess Magpul can't win on this.

Related (really): I know Apple has its ridiculous fanboys. Do they get similar shenanigans?
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I wonder if there is special significance in Chicago? 
2010.10.19 09:53 - News and Politics
I just noticed that Election Day is the same day as Día de los Muertos this year.
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