Procedural Text        
Fun little experiment.

Basically I scan through some text files, record the number of times pairs of words appear, then go through and use them as probabilities one word will follow the next, and randomly generate text one word at a time.

Here's the result of Homer's Odyssey + Tucker Max's "I Hope they Serve Beer in Hell" + a Cave Story FAQ + a Pokemon Fanfic:


Minerva came up, shooting people who had to the for he had vaginas SlingBlade wasn't fucking verbatim off and you a freshly flayed me around and asked heaven has to another man's, and looking at sea, all went and also his own jism spat out his arrow into the bar, and the long enough lying all fighting for her. She's not right at sea came downstairs and scrub yourself a ki-ote caught hold and my age and killed him for spikes, use the dead body to be killed. Thereon he won't fit for these words he gonna make us back twelve days, for her home again; see that night, and a song suggestions and took an immortal gods were getting frustrated, I start playing "Friends in attendance on their suppers, and head right and went back to his own money I do better. He'll yell (in a couple lances, and the roaring winds, which was left the door, the end of the whole story.

TheCousin ten talents of the top of Peleus. The walls on the way. I went to lose an oar, till we will be weird slurping noise. At the blocks of the suitors. Ulysses said:

"Pisistratus, I pass out, into me.

10:00: Hate pushes his hand against a cute face." The teen girl unconscious (for I got too sober. I am, it for your beer breath bothering you, University of agony ... together." Redhead "I don't want a hole that I went on the back to girls. Oh, Steph ... I decide for I have at least three wheeler... up the better pick-up line so that night, I didn't fucking cheese-eating surrender monkey. I like the contest is a long way in our way I'm invoking that young in the hole is simple: I was, to your goats and challenge his return some plan for three wheeler... up among you in order a scratching noise that your tricks and starts hitting the same boy of Ulysses as she meant taking a cat bawling incessantly. I just try-ing to date, avoid the window to the island not been driven the door on your son: may see if you know, and lie without telling him in bad end to the flesh and then head and can't leave him down upon the blocks on in this you ever been?" May told him not let loose, vomiting all the first Ananament Gem so scared of an ox, or if you gods in the actual streets.
* This enrages me. Prudes suck.

4:16: She stopped and then go home with whatever I thought through markings like it would be funny, like trying to the walls of consider- able to shift moves on, if the power and I walk around for him. The only himself, he just to them, and care how I have sex . AND TAKE MING ARIVE!!" [To the best way home again. And this wife fucks the white thing starts rising. If you are over the cloister upon the ground. His heart was very thickly peopled, but I, who dwell in me to GoldenWife's apartment. We couldn't resist the fucking great cave, and the housekeeper took sign neither in Palo Alto, Fenwick, or any man had succeeded in our surroundings while Karl Childers. My friend who treated you, nor virtue, had made the benches and praying to do you are not associated with my longing to The Gathering tournament, a girl crumpled in my dick is found."

Ulysses was hilarious.

Of course, he had a semi-retarded man just entering the ring were guarding the night a shit, my mild cheers from me." 10:56: Much to herself, and by, for his brawny hand, hospitable and had swords or two. Its hind legs (they move left and to my mast in Palo Alto At bar to the crowd. I know a fair Diana went down, and treating so long?" Tucker "Baby, are nearly eight spears, and wrought with terrific squall from the cave sacred to bed.

By the occasion served; in Cyprus. Thence we weren't sure if haply you probably closer to play with a hurry to the truth, and just sat in my island. I did, for the battle in his comfortable bed outside the source of the bed, but were following the fluttering of the first face in the first weapon! The beauty whether he and now go out their hands, I guess we hurried off at me ... did we could have here and avoiding bats until you suitors, they saw was in the hotel, and moved still drunk. Your mother marry Eurymachus, who took me of humor and brought us shouted out into the story of us where taking her fits as well spoken shall have a blow it is going to where we have to see a dancing in their servants are putting on its force, and foreigners in my money's worth. He's King, a symphony of their course, my life.

EVERYONE HAS TO DOUCHE!! IF SOMEONE STUCK A 1-star (aka, Wildebeast): The sushi restaurant.

11:29: There does strange that Ulysses when she sees the gunfish sign, and powerful and it looks up, so at its first floor, telling me behind him down. Get that he went into his desk lady comes over her retch, the seat and deception (whereas the cut, and my being alive or he asked.

"I'm not let the way of the start hooking up. The weather comes begging about tards when he strung it took his turn, going to wash his mouth, all of a trip back waaaay to the floor of splooge.

This angers me, and I let my group of the ghost of it, pulling me for I were heaving and many great neck of your head, can't see that I am about whom I was the phone, calling and wash their voices in her taller than 5 or his being hit, just cum I decide it even as the =BUBBLER=, another matter. Is it remain away after a loud crash. Girl "I'm not really good account; may tell you are no longer."

Then came together and said, 'Achilles, son of the rock while the pen are doing; see if you have no one or you to normal, though they hook-up he may slacken your set about him with my reaction to Ithaca goes behind him. "Menelaus," replied Neptune, and nursed him from me. I agreed that you to sacrifice of the front of the town, Thomas, back home to get hit, right in the ship and it was a wife of your speech, and now began to father could have been left to get her this, it will not let out in sacrifice around this little and kick myself talking to get back. It was a long spear all about half of my fault that Ulysses and ignored, until she pretty sure to leave us shall have, and her to eat them said, 'as to get enough for those who was swerving from your house?"

Ulysses very angry, or on treesin the wooded slopes of awful burning.

5:23: She stayed where her anger of sandpaper or drink, Telemachus could see you, nor two dollars, I've measured and offered his wife? Even though you attack it washed, its sand.

Continue left on dark, whereon Agamemnon he was leaving the Phaeacians see that of those two servants had the sincerity of these suitors; begin talking to use the hotel, and tell you the Sunstones. To this to eat out of them together when they sent his bed is how carefully away, but somehow made them a humming sound like a clock thing before, I tell all my car [I could think that any one of sheep and handed round as they are, about salary, benefits, work bored you to say what you and told them to have flown off multiple partners are staffed by Vulcan's marriage takes me in tears him up the covers her for there was dead, and full of the wall and a ram, a firebrand."

Ulysses was much as a little else; nevertheless, those people have come, that he loosed the bow in number, watched American fast with good omen when it may be mad. The four whom he sees the approach the gods. Get another better comes out her fingers into my side? What was brewing. The Now the Cook County Emergency Room: Tucker "No, not knowing El Bingeroso is Vegas, they all honesty, saying:

"So I walked in wait for prizes as visitors for their cloaks on guys keep heading right. You will tell you all the sudden:


The swineherd might not attractive. I lied her he manages to kill me, smiled at the urinal

And the rest of there next thought of everyone, you have been ill-treating his son as much taller and sea. Furthermore, wicked witchcraft that they gathered under the richest, and the water and I turn into the ship of Icarius the house I was That was a cry out and PWJ said she, "could easily caught one else in Ortygia. So Eteoneus bustled back already knew what his own if you can avoid the ground seethed with five-pronged spits while on a chameleon's, his nurse went out all of the whole house; they never look went clean them something- even got back, and furnished him and no likelihood of my home, and it was this:

FatGirl and the room and take a friend can I hung a taxi or the faithful to lay it cheap carnival trinkets I whispered back.

I was the middle sheep, or do such a ball of condoms, and pocket the chief persons of silver. Everything I figured this the county along which is hot." SlingBlade "He got sucked miles walked in the house, but they are humans worthy henchmen, when he could then poise your nose and I was not fancy legal talkin' to decide to the ships had put my wide-open eye. I left Florida State Fair. He laid it was enjoying himself into my dash his cheeks are easy to the twentieth day to explain. My father, but I might be COVERED IN LOW RENT SHIT DOES NOT FUCK DA YEW TWO DAYS!?!?" Mike "Oh good, but those in one of the =GUM BASE=, and the store your wife.

"'When your old Misty" Brock Fortress did ill disposed to the prize for me into the bar after giving me off their being a matter how much longer; have sent me off! ME WRESTLE, I'LL FUCKING CLOWNS ARE KISSING IN THE GODDAMN DIGNITY?"

8:00: We looked around my brave companions when she held the corpses bespattered with your friends, and other of Iasus, who are we got. The bard sing the rocks. We then leave the clouds, and said, "No man, that's what I really cute, the shelter from destruction" the =IRON BOND=.

///////////// DECISION TIME \\\\\\\\\\\\\

If you did that when they did you 28."

This isn't it? Anyway, while swinging. Once ALL I was willing to the belt adorned with a helmet, and she drew well as he knows nothing of me the wind into a man can indeed could only that way? This jump at once. Now, therefore, will follow briskly behind a ripple upon the best of the center of this point blank say that I have kept a tramp such bad enough to entreat you a way over the cave, and clearly see Doug at the rocks he excels in full-on El Bingeroso man. He knocks King guy, we saw them over the star blocks hanging out any of us. These are whores."

Greased by the girls in the single tooth-and regaled us go on the actual tape was long pause.

"You're a great story and when he was OK. Here dwells the heavens. Winds from the great looking, and talk to the coolest thing to open the males, both ship and nursed me a ship, and Mermaid took the work when I ruled among themselves, and cannot wash and El Bing "Alright guys, and treated you, fucking with children rejoice when the seat inlaid with spears them and drink, Ulysses with all certainly been like ghetto romance. It was another Mimiga, then leave these guys I am." This girl wearing silver mastiffs which was too would one after you off his hair, with plenty of heroes by all agreed and my stomach muscles and Rick said.

"Well isn't that our bed to my clothes and heaven put a small cutscene, then get away from the car, which on board her building keeps running from toil and the belly by no ill deeds and wanted to a bar. He had driven hither and the nurses handed round the area and glistened most of Olympian Jove, from far. He thought was like 6am the string, and I called.

"Oh yeah and we bore the root than meeting one else that he had two girls that I try and anointed Ulysses ever mess with the poor things. I wished I just lays him when you will give up their work. And I can't take advantage of love for the shape of the gods and fucked her seat, and you are thinking of gay and torn by one, neither ships that summer associates in Duke or with a headlock. Hate ignores me out for it; so use your desire. I got her =AIR TANK= Use enough of my neighborhood. Tanner grabbed the sea. He is dawn will become the blind look out, just ended up Santa's house. Opposite them how many victims; but gave me be shot, throws a quarrel over your PENIS. This didn't say if you go about when she went onto it came in no the woman, Jenka, for his staff, or other. I wrote me off! ME of the front of the lobby, I am sitting over in Cyprus. Thence we too easy. You just didn't like Gone with thick clouds, while their side of the rest of love, he was actually thought that was surprising. Galgameth cried in the waves ran up to see the maids held the bottom" Tanner continued.

"That's attractive." PWJ is beguiling you, you you could not right."

"First light and many of helping one of Maxim, except for the message and save, then Circe has its way and I have been against the harbour, with the quiver full of my longing to look on my corner." I saw four minutes, I wasn't easy, he married, a crucial than myself."

"Is it left her lap: Woman "Oh Christ... not get supper ready, for about it is safe out of your knees and whose speech of a jungle, we were wonderfully like a tsunami of those polled vote and goats, pigs, and did as my own free will enter the =BOOSTER v2.0= back to accept the behest of my life, and Minerva answered, "Sir, you hear the corporeal interim one could easily caught- not scold her," replied giving him and threw up at Pylos, or risked so worn, so my mother. You can shoot them, and which my clothes ripped him immortal, no more seriously date guys workin' with its due pomp, build a nose job and broke out of the Heimlich. Apparently, it for the gods brought them lightly. So now took their crying, and cunning Aeaean island. Do whatever you met mine, and where you how but before Christmas Day One: Baby Dolls. I go to get back and ask yourself: Is stripper-fiancee going past her husband and as the Core of Nausicaa had to the nurses handed I come down to the middle; moreover she might eat. Presently Menelaus told her.

"But the men and killing the sink and that, but you to Laertes, go by night we might get it" John Steele to Ortilochus and leaning upon the split into the left the left of all a Swedish girl. She hung up for I AM NOT STUPID!" SlingBlade "A blind guy eat it, for a bird in principle, it is long and she goes wrong, and a man would say is avoiding bats as they are two nights that as Diana or a pity for a bathroom is persistent wooer, of numbers.

Once at all that was a piece of us had done already. Twice."

I help being driven far away alive, and strippers, double-fisting vodka haze that probably only been crossed our castle and when they made instead I was kinda looks are in Europe. Especially for him. Not that would come off.

1:12: My friend "Why have been the wine round, therefore, with a haven of the line so don't go to write angsty poetry?!?"

She challenges me this:

"Do I almost felt like a young pig you have a large a week after night or hares, but he can gain its wheat and went down there?" Jonathan replied.

Everyone turned to tell you will take us as the door on the final fleet was when the body shots arrive. Tequila. Judging by me, so drunk and spat out from the lab when he was setting out of Saturn, King Alcinous. The men who could best I want to her whenever he has brought them had beautified him drink with Andrew, a visit which was in the hottest girls who keep heading right for this one was that you need this sad thoughts with her on his phone with him. The room to do, we reached the guardian said.

"But there! It got back into Betty's mouth would have no time you to know I am quoting him sit here to the left. There was it. But then kill the twentieth year old and strangling her; she wants. They started honking, flashing bright line turn the Trojans. Anon he is easy. Mermaid "Networking, dude, it's over, enter the fields nor were trying the sheep as fast asleep. The conversation went on my ass off, because you when we had killed on cowboy hat really cute face, changed her face, holding and moaned and threw it was to understand. I like bad stuff I did not. Some one should land on to talk to make friends before he is in the cave this is so that Brownhole and attacked by Icmalius and large volcano. We get the time in the carver fetched water again, even large piece of his arrow on her steps; but eat his mind they were done; when you're with?" Tucker "HAHHAHMHAH ... I cannot cross on your pain and that night.

Tucker "Yeah, he could not; but not there is fun of her defense, do it! What the lamp in the plan." Tucker [A blank, unregistering stare] Girl "Hey Tucker, I even identifying other dirty puddle on board and bong water. Keep heading in case before Junior and dancing, and down to her couch beside him. I guess we wouldn't be a bridegroom and delighted in my site is your voyage to her timbers together and out then talk to ruin your temples. I had offered it from the table of the point out but SHE'S STILL lost your friend I'm going to us. There are fatuous, but I was like midnight." FatGirl 'Tucker, you have a ho into open window. Move, because unlike Tom Cruise, I said, when we have never so will, that has given me. I got two huge fake cell phone and I notice till bed with scrolls of fair wind. Here, we'll call the gleam of it SMELLS. I again raised a shaft and moon; then, my ship, while I can be seen. At the face; but tell me, the night the desk. The suitors would have fulfilled my fingers in there smiling grimly Sardinian fashion with his house of my pants.

1:24: I ran next moving person. Jove the Achaean name, put the facial. As for me:

Tucker "Have you are a grove of night to go. See how abominably you talked to kill it that Teiresias went down of all vicious sluts who were in my hospitality, and they had given to your jumps and that would take what port that she was stupid people they say and get back with a documentary about $800, John Cusack calls me not slowing us about my daughters and kinda spooky.

I would be especially not sent some goatskins and short, and enter the hot curling iron without eating, and hear that country, but some food out a sea shore. Was that has moved there is it true nothing bad some marginally attractive girl wearing a tiny Asian projectile fired at the perfect precursor to you die? Did you might have seen yet. Instead, go unanswered, "Who are smooth and men rushed upon thee. More especially to fuck her again and suffered at first to keep hanging out at all, it's not go home again using the gods who posted this to get the gates of things! What the deal of the Cephallenians, and shadows of the sea, and learned a girl not yet... St. Augustine!" All of the oil upon the child of Mentor, when you up to them how we took hold your men's eyes with the enemies, then was going down like it." Tucker "Thanks Dawn" Tanner yelled.
          Florida, Alabama Consider Legislation on Exoneree Compensation        

As the Florida legislature considers a bill that would change Florida's "Clean Hands" policy, which denies compensation for wrongful convictions if the defendant had a prior felony record, Alabama lawmakers are deciding whether to grant compensation to Anthony Ray Hinton (pictured), who was exonerated in 2015 after spending nearly 30 years on death row. In Florida, death row exoneree Herman Lindsey told the Senate Criminal Justice Committee about his having been denied compensation because of prior unrelated felony convictions. He spoke about the difficulty he has faced finding housing or a job because the arrest for murder is still on his record. He said the "Clean Hands" Provision is, "basically saying, ‘we can take anybody that has a criminal record and say let’s falsely incarcerate him and when he found it wasn’t really him, we can actually put him out on the streets and we don’t actually even have to worry about it.’ I didn’t receive any apology. I didn’t receive any compensation.” The proposed bill would allow compensation for some exonerees who have prior nonviolent felony convictions. Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg), a supporter of the bill, said, “If the state and the people of the state get it wrong, it shouldn’t matter what individuals have done in their past.” Lindsey said only four of Florida's 26 death-row exonerees have received compensation under the Clean Hands Act. “Now, perhaps, this might open the door for 10." Meanwhile, the Alabama Committee on Compensation for Wrongful Incarceration is considering an application to grant $1.5 million in compensation to Anthony Ray Hinton. The amount is based on the 30 years Hinton was wrongfully incarcerated. Two Assistant Attorneys General have written conflicting letters to the committee, with one stating, "I have found no information that indicates that Mr. Hinton's application is disqualified by any of the eligibility exceptions," while the other claims, "The fact that thirty years later different ballistic experts are unable to say conclusively that this gun fired the fatal shots, without the benefit of the original test fired projectiles used by the original examiners, is not evidence of innocence." Sen. Paul Bussman (R-Cullman) has introduced a bill to compensate Hinton $1.5 million, to be paid over a three-year period. He criticized the notion that a wrongly convicted person should be denied compensation when the state lacks evidence to convict, saying, "We can't convict someone in the court of public opinion. ... It has to be in a court of law."

(S. Cordner, "Fla. Lawmakers Looking At Making It Easier For Exonerees To Receive Compensation," WUSF News, February 24, 2017; K. Faulk, "Does former death row inmate Anthony Ray Hinton deserve compensation?,", February 28, 2017.) See Innocence.

          Dota 6.72c Map Download - Dota-Allstars 6.72c Official Map Released!        
Akhirnya setelah beberapa bulan di rilis nya DotA 6.72b sekarang muncul versi terbaru yaitu 6.72c yang baru saja dirilis. Biasanya pada berubahan map a/b/c IceFrog hanya memperbaiki beberapa bugs, kali ini tampil beda. IceFrog banya memperbaikinya bukan hanya bugs tetapi skil dan gameplay yang lain. Langsung saja ini dia :

Dota 6.72c Download Link
Dota 6.72c Download - GameWebZ Mirror
Dota 6.72c Download - GetDota Mirror

Dota 6.72c Changelogs


Bounty Hunter
- Base intelligence increased from 16 to 19

- Base movement speed reduced from 310 to 295
- Spin Web cooldown reduced from 90/70/50/30 to 30
- Spin Web AoE increased from 500 to 650
- Spin Web movement bonus increased from 20/23/26/29% to 20/25/30/35%
- Spawn Spiderlings spawn count decreased from 1/2/3/4 to 1/2/3/3
- Spawn Spiderlings Manacost rebalanced from 80/100/120/140 to 120
- Spiderlings & Spiderites are now affected by Spin Web
- Spiderlings Model size increase slightly
- Spiderlings & Spiderites they now take more damage from towers (50%-125%)
- Spiderlings now do more damage to heroes (75%->100%) and less damage to towers (70%-40%)

Chaos Knight
- Phantasm manacost reduced from 175/225/275 to 125/200/275
- Phantasm cooldown reduced from 180/160/140 to 140

Crystal Maiden
- Freezing Field hotkey changed from Z to F

- Tombstone no longer generates usable corpses

- Base strength increased by 2

Grand Magus
- Fade Bolt bounce AoE reduced from 600 to 500

- Life Break cast range reduced to 550

- Macropyre damage interval is now smoother (same overall damage, more intervals)

Naga Siren
- Intelligence growth increased from 1.65 to 1.95

Pandaren Brewmaster
- Base HP regeneration increased to 0.75

Phantom Lancer
- Base HP regeneration increased to 0.75
- Juxtapose rebalanced to have a 12% creation chance at all levels with a max of 2/3/4/5 illusions

Pit Lord
- Expulsion cooldown increased from 10 to 18 seconds
- Expulsion manacost increased from 75 to 125
- Expulsion corpse AoE and heal/damage AoE reduced from 600 to 575
- Expulsion interval increased from 1 to 1.25 seconds

- Added a 2 second fade time to Nature's Guise
- Overgrowth AOE reduced from 725 to 625
- Living Armor regeneration reduced from 2/3/4/5 to 1/2/3/4

- Haunt/Reality now only moves your camera if you are targeting an area away from where your screen is currently looking

Spirit Breaker
- Charge of Darkness indicator AoE increased from 2500 to 3000
- Charge of Darkness manacost increased from 75 to 100

Shadow Priest
- Poison Touch is no longer blocked by damage block items like Vanguard

- Warcry AoE increased from 450 to 700

- Metamorphosis illusion extra damage taken increased from 250% to 350%

Troll Warlord
- Ranged Whirling Axes now does 75 damage
- Fervor AS bonus rebalanced

5/10/15/20 AS per attack with a max of 100

20 AS per attack max of 40/60/80/100

- Shadow Word cooldown reduced from 24 to 20

- Lightning Bolt/Thundergod's Wrath now reveals the same area at night as during the day (1000/750 to 1000/1000)


- Cooldown reduced from 90 to 80

Veil of Discord
- Discord AoE increased by 25 and cast range by 75

Vladmir's Offering
- Aura AoE decreased from 1100 to the standard 900
- Now includes the regeneration from its components in the final item

Gameplay and Cosmetics

• Melee hero collision size now reduced from 24 to 12
• Added support for the Filipino language
• Added a visual effect for Bloodstone's heal (469212)
• Pitlord is now in CM restriction list
• Wildkin's Tornado cooldown reduced from 120 to 70
• Charge of Darkness now displays a minimap signal for allies when it is used (464281)
• EMP is now an AoE targeting cursor (296622)
• Added a new attack projectile for QoP (461897)
• Changed Sniper's projectile arc (274494)
• New attack projectile for Eredar (459608)
• Added an Aghanim visual effect for Beastmaster (459402)
• Added a new Phantom Strike visual effect (463160)
• Added a new visual effect to Furion's Teleportation (450559)
• Added a new Icon for Telekinesis (280720)
• Added a new Icon for Spell Steal (280720)
• Added a new test command -dummy that creates a level 10 enemy hero in the middle of the map
• Improved Haunt visual effect (370706)
• Infest allied only visual effects are now visible to observers


• Fixed Icarus Dive sometimes affecting Magic Immune units for a short duration
• Fixed a bug with how Warpath stack count works when it is at max power (new stacks don't count towards incrementing the timer)
• Fixed a couple of areas that you could still get stuck in with Telekinesis
• Fixed a bug with Neutral spawning and Goo
• Fixed Remote Mines explosion to keep the vision while it is exploding (382646)
• Fixed Hookshot having inconsistent behavior on magic immune units
• Fixed some bugs with Infest
• Fixed some bugs with Whirling Axes and Spell Steal
• Fixed Echo Slam tooltip to make it more accurate
• Fixed some exploits with Ravage, Thundergod's Wrath, Requiem of Souls, Slithereen Crush and Reverse Polarity
          Is Atheism A Religion        
Atheism: The lack of belief in a god or gods.

1. The atheist position:
What are you talking about? A god? What's that? Eh? Are you drunk? Sounds like you've imagined it!

2. The atheist philosophy:
To silently disbelieve unwarranted, unnecessary & unsubstantiated supernatural claims.

3. The atheist agenda:
To passively not believe all unsubstantiated claims for god or gods.

4. The atheist belief system:
The belief that whomever promotes claims for the existence of god or gods should substantiate those claims.

5. The atheist activist agenda:
To converse with whomever promotes supernatural fables as true and persuade them to simply admit there is no legitimate reason to promote unsubstantiated conjecture as fact. And that those of us too honest to do so, do not vomit projectile ectoplasm while our heads spin around.
Please Note:
Discourse associated with no.5 may only be achieved where the atheist makes points to illustrate how facets of faith have been misjudged.
The religiously indoctrinated often intuit the points made in such debates to be a set of commandments or principles in which the atheist believes (has faith).
This is not so.

I'll attempt to illustrate...
Debater A has a doctrine of instructions, commandments etc; a seemingly cohesive structure of concepts from which to argue her doctrine's position.
Debater B has no doctrine and so the debate may only proceed by way of presentation of each concept raised in Debater A's doctrine.
As the debate moves forward each point in the Debater A's doctrine is countered by Debater B (Whether or not these are won or conceded by either side, a posit of similar validity is made.) and by the end of the debate each point of doctrine has two explanations, the original doctrinal explanation presented by Debater A and the new alternative explanations to the doctrinal concepts presented by Debater B.
Debater A is confused as to why there even are alternatives, why her 'beloved' doctrine has not won hands-down; "it's the work of a god after all". Undeterred, however, she moves on to debate with Debater C, who also has no doctrine.
This time, when the debate was over, Debater A noticed the concepts offered as alternatives to the key points of her doctrine were almost exactly same set of concepts offered by Debater B. Debater A concludes "Debaters B and C must be following a doctrine of their own! My doctrine details that Good-guy-gramps has a supernatural archenemy with sneaky and bad, naughty, naughty ways; their apparently cohesive doctrine must be an Evil product thereof! Oooooh Spooky!"
Because doctrine has temporarily1 inhibited Debater A's reasoning capacities, she has failed to notice...
1. Doctrines remain unchanging so the same arguments will be repeatedly offered in opposition to doctrinal concepts, in every debate.
2. Many of the concepts for which her doctrine makes claims have actual, verifiable, real-world answers, which wholly differ from doctrinal claims and which cannot be overlooked as alternatives to doctrinal claims because they are facts.
3. All doctrines makes a set of claims. In any debate the set of responses countering those doctrinal claims will be perceived, by those taught to perceive everything via a religious framework, as a cohesive doctrine, structured similarly to their own doctrine's religious framework, but this is an illusion born of circumstance.
4. In the absence of a religious doctrine to set a framework, the set of concepts presented to counter that religious framework are not perceived of as a "set" but are merely an unconnected subset of all known concepts/data/knowledge.
Only when perceived through religiously tainted eyes do a subset of concepts look like a religion.
The religionists misapprehension "atheism is a religion" is born solely of the presence of their own religious framework.

For the rational it's clear, when a more reasonable description of atheism might be the ultimate absence religion, any person describing atheism as a religion, may only be viewed as having an agenda which necessitates such dishonesty, so the question here is...
Is the religionists disability of reasoning on this point, in and of itself, clear enough evidence of the terribly insidious influence over followers' honesty and thereby wider society these spurious tomes have?
You can probably guess what I think.

1 If Debater A were to accept that "immortal soul" is not fact but pretence she would be able to recover full reasoning capacities.

This is one of the Too Many Questions
Please leave a comment - Anything will do
The best communications are often,

          Interview of James A. Van Allen by Brian Shoemaker        
Interview of James A. Van Allen by Brian Shoemaker Van Allen, James A. (James Alfred), 1914-2006 Dr. Van Allen is a distinguished physicist and a leading researcher on interplanetary satellites. He is known for helping to organize the International Geophysical Year in 1957-58. As a young student at Iowa Wesleyan University in 1931, Van Allen developed a strong interest in physics under the guidance of Thomas Poulter. Poulter was the chief scientist and second in command for the Second Byrd Expedition to Antarctica in 1933. As an undergraduate, Van Allen learned to make observations of the magnetic field of the Earth using a magnetometer, and was introduced to the science of geophysics, his lifelong passion. He also did original scientific work on the Perseid meteor shower of August 1932. After graduating from the University of Iowa in 1939 with a Ph.D. in nuclear physics, he joined the Carnegie Institution as a Research Fellow, where he helped develop a radio proximity fuse for use in naval long-range anti-aircraft guns. He developed one of the basic features of the vacuum tube that was the heart of the fuse. In November 1942, he and two co-workers were commissioned as naval officers to go out to the fleet and accompany an initial shipment of these proximity fused projectiles. His personal responsibility was for the destroyers. Van Allen discovered that the success rate of the fuses was compromised by the early deterioration of the batteries, and was responsible for setting up re-battery depots on a wide scale in the Pacific. His navy career ended in May 1946. Van Allen returned to the Applied Physics Lab as a civilian, and did considerable research on high altitude rockets, including captured German V-2 rockets. He oversaw development of the Aerobee, a high-altitude Navy rocket. This rocket has no active guidance system, and Van Allen and his team successfully made adjustments to insure that it would not deviate from its approved range at the White Sands Proving Ground. He also continued research on cosmic rays, atmospheric ozone, and high altitude photography. On April 5, 1950, Van Allen invited several friends, all distinguished scientists, to his home for a dinner party at Silver Spring, Maryland. The group included Sydney Chapman, a British geophysicist, Lloyd Berkner, and Wallace Joyce. It was here that the very first plans were laid for what became the International Geophysical Year (IGY). The men agreed that the general assessment of geophysics was moving along so rapidly that it would be desirable to plan the IGY for 1957-58, on the 25th anniversary of the first Polar Year. As it happened, this was also a year of expected maximum solar activity. The IGY was a non-governmental enterprise made up of independent scientific organizations. In the United States, the National Academy of Sciences was the principal society, and the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Navy provided the principal governmental support. Van Allen belonged to several committees of the IGY, and chaired the Working Group on Internal Instrumentation. He was responsible for soliciting and selecting the experiments which were to be conducted on the satellite itself. Polar exploration in both the Arctic and the Antarctic received an enormous stimulus from the IGY. Operation Deep Freeze, which established the Antarctic continent as a major area of scientific exploration, was a major consequence of the IGY. The Antarctic Treaty was another direct outcome of the IGY. Van Allen made three polar expeditions for scientific purposes. In 1952, with the support of the Office of Naval Research he devised and successfully developed techniques for launching a rocket from a balloon at some 50,000 to 60,000 feet of altitude. The device, called a rockoon, which was launched in 1953 from the Coast Guard cutter Eastwind, reached altitudes of 250,000 feet. It made valuable discoveries in the Arctic region, including cosmic ray measurements, and the discovery of the auroral soft radiation zone. Similar experiments were later conducted along the equator and in Antarctica. At the University of Iowa, Van Allen, working with colleagues and in close touch with his friend Wernher van Braun, of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency in Huntsville, Alabama, developed the scientific payload for Explorer I, the first successful American satellite. The flight was a great success, and resulted in the discovery of the radiation belts of the Earth, later named the Van Allen belt. He was the co-discoverer of the radiation belts of the planets Jupiter and Saturn. Van Allen commented as to how much his research field has changed over the years. For example, he and others worked for years in the early 1950’s using balloon launched rockets (rockoons) to complete a very good latitude survey in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Today, using polar satellites, the same mapping can be done in 45 minutes. He never personally returned to the Polar regions. Since 1958 Van Allen’s entire career has been in satellite and spacecraft observations. He had instruments aboard Mariner II to Venus in 1962, Mariner IV to Mars in 1964, Mariner V to Venus in 1965, and the first missions to Jupiter and Saturn on Pioneer 10 and 11. He has also kept very busy with research, and continues to train graduate students. As recognition of his long, productive career, Van Allen has been awarded the Nansen Medal for his contributions to Arctic geophysics, radiation belt physics, and the exploration of the aurora by rockets and satellites. Major Topics Van Allen’s long career in polar and inter-planetary astro-physics International Geophysical Year (IGY) Development of balloon launched rockets (rockoons) Research on radiation belt physics and exploration of the aurora Contributions of satellites in global and interplanetary research The Van Allen radiation belts Aerobee, Navy rocket used in high altitude research, p. 15 Berkner, Lloyd, pp. 17-25 Byrd, Admiral Richard, pp. 6-7, 45-46 Chapman, Sydney, 17-23 Gore, Albert, Vice President, p. 27 Joyce, Wallace, p. 17 Kaplan, Joseph, 24-25 Kent, Bob, Army Ordinance Department, pp. 15-16 Lee, Willis A., Admiral, pp. 11-13 Liddell, Urner, pp. 35-36 Ludwig, George, p. 32 Parsons, W. S. (Deke), Rear Admiral, p. 11 Pickering, Bill, p. 24 Pomerantz, Martin, pp. 36-38 Porter, Richard, p. 24 Poulter, Thomas C., Prof. of Physics, pp. 2-7, 25 Singer, Fred, pp. 18 Turner, Harold A., Colonel, pp. 15-16 Vestive, E. H. “Harry”, pp. 18 Von Braun, Wernher, p .32
          Interview of Mort D. Turner by Brian Shoemaker        
Interview of Mort D. Turner by Brian Shoemaker Turner, Mort D. Dr. Turner graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a major in Geology in the Department of Mining in the College of Engineering. The Army Reserve permitted him to complete his college degree before going to Aberdeen Proving Grounds. At Aberdeen, Edwin Hubble assigned Mort to the exterior ballistics division, where his primary task was to photograph projectiles flying through the air. Later, he worked with Dr. Goddard in tracking rockets. Dr. Turner helped survey the White Sands Proving Ground and worked with Dr. Werner von Braun. After leaving the army, Dr. Turner earned an M.S. in Geology and did the field work in Puerto Rico. Before completing his thesis, he accepted a position with the State Geological Survey in San Francisco. After a few years, he accepted a position as the State Geologist of Puerto Rico. In 1959, Dr. Turner joined the National Science Foundation, Office of Polar Programs as a project officer. He served in many capacities until his retirement in 1985. It was considered desirable for him to have a Ph.D. He studied in the Department of Geology at Kansas and used his Puerto Rico work for part of the thesis. Upon return to NSF, he was in charge of geology and geophysics and recruited many of the important scientists during this time. Dr. Turner discusses the problems of maintaining research projects when the budget is cut. He also discusses some of the ice core storage problems. In the 1960s and 1970s, the research projects tended toward large groups. It became difficult to convince scientists to do projects in Antarctic. The Bureau of Mines was interested in identifying and locating mineral deposits. Dr. Turner observed that bureaucracy increased under the Nixon administration. The Navy resisted the sending of women scientists to Antarctica. The Navy did not want a scientist from the University of Venezuela to go because he was on the wrong side in the Spanish Civil War. Upon Dr. Turner’s retirement from NSF in 1985, he went to the University of Colorado in Boulder. Major Topics 1. Dr. Turner’s educational background. 2. His work for Edwin Hubble at the Aberdeen Proving Ground. 3. He photographed the flights of rockets developed by Dr. Goddard. 4. As an employee of California State Geological Survey he worked on industrial minerals. 5. His position as State Geologist in Puerto Rico. 6. National Science Foundation Office of Antarctic Programs. 7. The pressure to earn a Ph.D. the selection of Kansas, and how his work was handled at NSF are described. 8. The discovery of various fossils in Antarctica supported the continental drift theory. 9. Bureaucracy grew under President Nixon. 10. The transition from Navy to NSF funding is discussed. Key Individuals Mentioned 1. Edwin Hubble – p.2 2. Dr. Edgerton – p.2 3. Dr. Goddard – p.3 4. Dr. Werner von Braun – p.4 5. Laura Pérezy Mendez – p.4, 20 6. Tom Jones – p.6, 8, 16, 21, 34, 36, 41, 42 7. George Toney – p.7, 8, 41 8. Phil Smith – p.7, 8, 41, 42 9. President Eisenhower – p.7 10. John Mullingan – p.10, 29 11. Ed Zeller – p.10, 11, 15, 17, 19, 29 12. Ernie Angino – p.10 13. Bob Nichols – p.11 14. Charles Bentley – p.13 15. John Behrendt – p.13, 30 16. Cassidy – p.13 17. Harry Hess – p.17, 23 18. Frank Foley – p.17 19. Berty Crary – p.19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 42 20. George Llano – p.17, 41 21. Bernie Lettow – p.19 22. Joanne Church Dort – p.20 23. Lamont – p.21, 23, 25 24. Bob Dietz – p.23 25. Ed Thiel – p.24 26. Chet Langley – p.26 27. Gorden Robin – p.27 28. Lyle McGinnis – p.31 29. David Elliott – p.33, 35 30. Ned Colbert – p.33 31. Scott – p.36 32. Larry Frakes – p.36, 40 33. John Crowell – p.36 34. Finn Ronne – p.38 35. Jerry Huffman – p.41 36. Helen Gerasimou – p.42 37. Cruxent – p.45 38. Mary Alice McWhinney – p.46
          Beast gets life for shooting child ten times        
Madison-Rankin District Attorney Michael Guest issued the following statement.

Habitual Offender Receives Life Sentence for Shooting a Nine Year Old Child

Madison and Rankin Counties’ District Attorney Michael Guest announced today, following a two day trial, Larry Carter IV was sentenced to serve life without the possibility of parole after being found guilty of shooting into an occupied dwelling and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

On October 5, 2016, at approximately 2:45 a.m. the Madison County Sheriff’s Department received a 911 call from the Canton Garden Apartment Complex reporting that multiple rounds had been fired into an apartment and that a child had been struck by the gunfire.

When officers arrived on the scene they immediately proceeded to the bedroom of the apartment where a 9 year old child had been shot multiple times. Law enforcement performed emergency medical care on the child until paramedics arrived. The victim was transported to UMMC and underwent emergency surgery. Law enforcement later spoke with the doctors at the hospital and learned that the child had been shot ten times.

Investigators spoke with the victim’s mother and step-father and learned that they and their three children, ages 9, 7 and 2, were in the house sleeping when they were awakened by numerous gunshots. Once the shooting stopped the parents began to check on their children and discovered that their oldest child had been shot. Law enforcement searched the perimeter of the apartment and recovered 23 spent shell casings. Officers also recovered numerous projectiles from the walls of the apartment.

Law enforcement developed Carter as a suspect and he was placed under arrest and transported to the Madison County Sheriff’s Department where he was advised of his rights and agreed to speak with investigators.
Carter admitted that he was the individual who had shot into the apartment. He also told law enforcement that he was a gang member and that the victim’s step-father was a member of a rival street gang. Carter said that prior to the shooting the step-father “had been disrespecting him and needed to be dealt with.” At one chilling point of the interviews, investigators reported that Carter appeared upset that no one was killed during the shooting incident. Carter admitted that he had been using ecstasy and cocaine prior to the shooting.

Guest stated, “Carter is a terrible person who chose to shoot up an apartment where three children were sleeping because he felt that the children’s step-father was disrespectful to him. I cannot think of a better place for Carter to spend the remainder of his life than behind bars. I cannot thank the jurors of Madison County enough for holding him accountable for his actions.’

Guest concluded, “Sheriff Randy Tucker and his team did an outstanding job putting together a rock solid case against Carter. Their investigation provided us with the evidence we needed to obtain convictions against Carter that ultimately removed him from our community. The citizens of Madison County will be safer because of the hard work of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department.”

Hobson has two prior felony convictions and was on probation at the time of these crimes. He was previously convicted of breaking into two homes in Madison County in 2011.

District Attorney Michael Guest was sworn into office in January 2008 and represents the Twentieth Judicial District, Madison and Rankin Counties. For more information regarding the District Attorney’s office, follow us on Facebook, download our app or please visit


Name: Larry Charles Carter, IV
Address: 619 Martin Luther King Drive, Canton
Date of Birth: August 5, 1991
          Organ Pipe Adventure 2017        
The Organ Pipe Catcus is a National Montumen is located in Arizona and on the border of Mexican state of Sonora.
The park is the only place in the U.S. where the Organ Pipe Cactus grows.   Many other type of cacti and wild flowers  of the desert grow there.
There are some 517 aquare miles in the park.  The Land for the Monument was donated by the Arizona state legislature to the Federal Goverment during the Prohibition.  In 1937 the land was opened as a national monument.

North entrance is a few miles south of Why, AZ.
In the South it would be Lukeville.  Where the crossing point to Mexcio is.

Many archaeological sites can be found within Organ Pipe Cactus.  In 1937 it was offically opened as a national monument.
 Wrong time of season for wild flowers.
Hope you enjoy this posting.  Kitfoxgal

In what is now Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, archaeological evidence places human beings in this area approximately 1,600 years ago. These people left behind projectile points, seashells, pottery, rock art and the paths they followed on foot are still carved onto the desert floor. Over the millennia, people moved through here while following impressed trade routes, hunting and gathering, and settling for short periods of time. Once agriculture was introduced in the southwest, people began to establish more permanent settlements and eventually larger villages.
Many archaeological sites can be found within Organ Pipe Cactus. The Hohokam people's culture existed in this area from the first years Common Era (C.E.). through C.E. 1450. Considered the greatest of the ancient southwest cultures, the Hohokam achieved remarkable successes during their time, and are today most noted for the creation of extensive irrigation canals fed by the Salt and Gila rivers. Several miles of irrigation canals can still be seen on the desert floor at Organ Pipe Cactus. These waterways supported fields of corn, beans, squash, tobacco, and cotton

hohokam shell jewelry
Hohokam Sea Shell Jewelry
NPS Photo
Barely 90 years after the Hohokam culture dispersed across the landscape, the first Europeans ventured into the Sonoran Desert, and named the area "New Spain." These Spaniards were looking for wealth that they could acquire from others. These conquerors used the unique landmarks shown to them by local American Indian guides, as well as the sun, moon, and stars to accurately map and document their discoveries.
Nearly 150 years after the first Spaniards confirmed the lack of large and wealthy civilizations,missionaries combed the area to collect the many valued souls of the people who lived here. With the spread of Christianity, local American Indian cultures changed to use the European methods of farming and ranching taught by the missionaries. Not long after the area was purchased from Mexico by the United States in 1853, both ranching and mining dominated as the major industries for American Indians, Mexicans, and European settlers- lifestyles which lasted into the 20th Century,and overlapped with the creation of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in 1937.

The early national monument faced many challenges, especially with local miners and ranching families. Mineral mining began in the late 19th century, and was allowed to continue up to 1976. Hiking in the monument you can easily see the mining history in old prospecting holes, tailings, and buildings.
Modern ranching in the monument began at the beginning of the 20th century, and also continued through the 1970's.The effects of overgrazing are still seen today. You can visit old ranching sites at Alamo Canyon, Bates Well, and otherwells scattered across the monument.
In 1976 The United Nations designated Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument as an International Biosphere Reserve, reconfirming its status as an outstanding example of the Sonoran Desert. Then in 1977, Congress declares 95% of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument as a Wilderness area.

Quitobaquito has had many colorful residents. Andrew Dorsey arrived in the early 1860's, opened a store, dug the pond deeper and built an earthen dam to create a bigger water source. He also dug irrigation ditches to water his pomegranate and fig trees. Dorsey lived in the area until the 1890's. In 1887, a former Texas Ranger named Jefferson Davis Milton was hired to establish a United States Custom and Immigration station at Quitobaquito.
Milton went on to mine for gold and silver in the area and established the Milton Mine that you can still visit in the monument today. Around 1903, local rancher Thomas Childs Jr. arrived and rebuilt Dorsey's dam and irrigation ditches. Among other crops, he started to grow watermelons.
On April 13, 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the proclamation creating Organ Pipe cactus National Monument. Around 1947, the pond at Quitobaquito was approximately 2 feet deep, and covered an area up to 0.5 acres. Also over 4,000 feet of irrigation ditches existed, providing water to at least 8 fig trees and 22 pomegranate trees.

          When You Are Finished Eating, Place Your Chopsticks On The Rest Or On The Table--never Across The Rice Bowl.        

Domestic Flights When flying within the country of Korea magnetic field turns it stiff , as well as "nano-tubes" promises interesting composites that promises high strength and low weight inserts for ballistic vests. When meeting your contact for the first time, the general greeting etiquette is and her chin, with an upper lip as full as her lower lip. While the lining of the coat should be well tailored, you actually need to over Europe was caused by "flak", or anti-aircraft artillery, which produced a lot of low-velocity projectiles. An apprenticeship with a stylist An internship with a stylist or amazed with how diverse people?s beliefs, cultures and traditions are and yet commonality was very apparent.

This primer goes into a short history of personal armor in the modern era, which generally means of the 20 th century, only to reemerge in the 1950?s and yet again in the 1980?s. Not later on that the Movie stars had revived the practice of wearing white and ears during colder weather, or "bokgeon," a soft black cone-shaped hat with a black triangle trailing behind it. "It's been an emotional year, and I'm very proud of my wife and the fight and struggle she's been detailing such as ribbon, bows, lace, ruffles, lighter colors and more shine. The parents of the bride and groom greet them with A fashion editor is the person who finds beautiful or trendy clothes and works with toko jaket keren photographers and models to create a fashion spread for a magazine.

Featuring many companies in the automobile, semiconductor, electronics and steel industries, American excess dye, or you might have dye bleeding during future washes. Picture this, for how many months now, golf has had its number one player out of the picture, into seclusion and into rehab--only to a formal Korean event to attend, traditional Korean clothing, known as "Hanbok," can be useful.   The bride and groom drinks sake , rice wine nine times to Book Cover for a Report By Charlotte Johnson, eHow Contributor Share Decorating a report cover is a fun project for kids. Earliest personal armor are made of bone and leather and and fight the natives, they generally do not need much armor as the natives are of a lower technology level.

The cotton or silk materials for these garments, as seen in woodcuts Octopamine neuro-receptors, which do not exist in mammals. From bows to monochromatics, Derek Lam to Du Juan, center of the leather, excluding the spine pieces at the center of the leather. The first machine-produced fabric was finished in Fall of 1898, and Zeglen returned to the US styles of karate, but are rarely used in tournaments. I at first started by adding some synthesizer textures bins or online discount suppliers for materials you like.

          U.S., Israeli firms boost joint production of anti-missile systems        
Missile defense
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Companies in Israel and the United States have ramped up production of the projectiles that are at the center of Israel’s multi-layered anti-missile defense systems, Defense News reported Tuesday.

Israel’s missile defense systems—including the Arrow-3, David’s Sling, and Iron Dome—are all heavily funded by the U.S. In exchange, U.S. companies get a share of the work in developing the systems.

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          Yemen: Artillery Attacks Kill Civilians in Taizz        

(Beirut) – Houthi-Saleh forces have repeatedly fired artillery indiscriminately into populated neighborhoods of Taizz, Yemen’s third largest city, in violation of the laws of war, Human Rights Watch said today. Over a 10-day period in May 2017, shelling of the city by the Houthi armed group and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh resulted in the deaths of at least 30 civilians and wounded more than 160 others, according to doctors at two local hospitals. The opposing government-affiliated forces of President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi also appear to have fired artillery indiscriminately into populated areas outside the city.

The al-Daboua’a neighborhood in Taizz where shelling from Houthi-Saleh forces struck on May 23, 2017. The attacks killed at least five civilians, including one child, and wounded seven, including four children. May 29, 2017. 

© 2017 Maher al-Absi

Human Rights Watch documented seven attacks between May 21 and 23 that killed at least 12 civilians, including four children, and wounded 29, including 10 children. Houthi-Saleh forces apparently carried out six artillery attacks on Taizz city, which is controlled by forces affiliated with the Yemeni government. On May 22, government-affiliated forces appear to have shelled al-Hawban district, under Houthi-Saleh control, northeast of Taizz, and killed three civilians, including two children, and wounded two others.

“Houthi-Saleh forces’ shelling of populated areas of Taizz has taken a terrible toll on civilians,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Houthi-Saleh commanders should immediately halt these indiscriminate attacks, and Yemeni government forces should ensure that their own forces are not launching similarly unlawful attacks outside the city.”

Human Rights Watch interviewed 14 witnesses to the May attacks along with local activists and health professionals. During the past two years, Houthi-Saleh forces, which control the capital and other areas of the country, have repeatedly fired mortar projectiles and artillery rockets from an elevated area in al-Hawban district indiscriminately into populated areas in Taizz.

Yemeni government-affiliated forces have controlled most of Taizz city since March 2016. Local monitors, including one in al-Hawban district, have reported numerous indiscriminate attacks by Houthi-Saleh forces into the city, and occasional unlawful strikes by government-affiliated forces, like the May 22 shelling, into al-Hawban. Mwatana, a leading Yemeni human rights organization, reported that Houthi-Saleh forces were responsible for most of the dozens of indiscriminate shelling incidents they documented in Taizz between April 2015 and March 2016.

A local activist, Faris al-Obidi, prepared a list of casualties from attacks over the three days in May when shelling in Taizz city was particularly heavy, after speaking with witnesses and survivors, as well as consulting logs at Taizz’s three hospitals. The list, which he shared with Human Rights Watch, included the names, ages, and date of injury for 54 civilians. Among the 14 dead were three children and two women.

Dr. Ahmad al-Dumaini, technical director at al-Thawra, Taizz city’s main hospital, said the hospital received 58 war-wounded civilians between May 20 and 26, including 20 children, plus three people who died before arrival, including a child. He said the vast majority of these casualties were from shelling. Dr. Walid al-Watiri, the laboratory chief at al-Safwa Hospital, said al-Safwa, al-Thawra, and al-Rawda hospitals received the bodies of 31 people, including six children, and another 167 wounded, including 60 children, over a 10-day period.

Jamil Qaid comforts his 8-year-old daughter, Malik, after her arm was amputated. Malik was wounded during one of the Houthi-Saleh artillery attacks on al-Dabou'a neighborhood, Taizz, on May 23, 2017. 

© 2017 Khalid Fuad Albanna

The renewed shelling occurred after local government-affiliated forces pushed Houthi-Saleh forces back from several locations east of the city, said a local activist, Maher al-Absi.

The areas hit on May 21 were about 800 meters from the front lines while those hit on May 22 and 23 were in the middle of the city, far from the front lines, in “very crowded civilian places,” al-Absi said. Witnesses to the six attacks in Taizz city that Human Rights Watch documented said that no government-aligned military forces were in those neighborhoods at the time of the attacks. Witnesses to the attack outside the city said no Houthi-Saleh forces were present.

Dr. al-Dumaini from al-Thawra hospital described what happened to Malik Qaid, an 8-year-old girl who lost her arm in one of the attacks on May 23:

The worst scene I saw was the child Malik. First, I felt helpless and heartbroken because we had only one surgeon in the operating room and he was busy with other cases, but at the end he finished and he operated on her. I felt sorry for this girl. How will she live with one arm? How will she adapt with the other kids while throughout her life she will be scarred by war?

Human Rights Watch has previously documented Houthi-Saleh indiscriminate shelling in Taizz. In June 2016, shelling killed at least 18 civilians and wounded 68 others over three days, hitting markets crowded with people shopping for Ramadan, according to the UN. In August 2015, three Houthi-Saleh attacks on Taizz killed at least 14 civilians, including five women and five children. In February 2017, Taizz-based activists provided Human Rights Watch a list of dozens of attacks on Taizz since March 2015 that had resulted in scores of civilian casualties.

The laws of war applicable to the armed conflict in Yemen prohibit indiscriminate attacks that strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction. Examples include attacks that are not directed at a specific military objective or that use weapons, such as unguided rockets, that cannot be directed at a specific military objective.

The laws of war also require commanders to choose a means of attack that can be directed at military targets and will minimize incidental harm to civilians. Explosive weapons that are so inaccurate that they cannot be directed at military targets without a substantial risk of civilian harm should not be used in populated areas. Forces also must avoid locating military objectives near densely populated areas and seek to remove civilians from the vicinity of military targets.

“Commanders of Houthi-Saleh forces could face war crimes charges for ordering attacks that indiscriminately strike Taizz’s populated neighborhoods,” Whitson said. “All sides need to abide by the laws of war to minimize harm to civilians who have endured more than two years of fighting.”

May 21

On May 21, 2017 at about 5 p.m., a munition hit al-Humaira area, Sala district, a residential neighborhood about 200 meters from the front lines, killing a woman and her son and wounding four others, including the woman’s daughter.

Abdulrahman al-Naqeeb, 28, told Human Rights Watch that he and his friends heard a loud explosion and saw that a munition hit near a security checkpoint, wounding a local security officer. Fragments also struck a small van that contained a driver, and a woman and her two children. Al-Naqeeb said:

After the explosion, we heard someone calling for help. Four or five of us went to help…  

I didn’t recognize them at first, the driver was wounded. When we arrived at the hospital, they told us the woman was dead already, and I was looking at her son, and I was wondering why his face was very familiar to me. I was shocked, as I realized that she is my sister-in-law, and those are her kids. They were coming to visit us.

Eman al-Sufiani, 37, a recent widow, and her son Muhanned, 13, died in the attack. Her 8-year-old daughter, Shahad, was wounded. A local activist said three other men, including one of the men who worked at the checkpoint and the driver, were wounded in the attack.

Two more attacks that day, one near a school and the other near a mosque, killed five civilians, including a child. Three others were wounded, including two children, according to local activist al-Obidi.

May 22

On May 22 at about 1:30 p.m., a munition hit near Taizz’s Great Gate in al-Qahira district, a crowded area where people regularly gather to shop at the nearby market. According to al-Obidi’s casualty list, the attack killed one civilian and wounded 10, including a child.

Hamoud al-Shar’abi, 20, was buying vegetables in the market near the Great Gate when the munition hit. He said:

The first shell hit very close to me. People fell. Some got wounded. … I was thinking of rescuing a guy close to me. I didn’t know what to do. … Then I found myself on the ground, I lost consciousness.

Al-Shar’abi’s father said he heard an explosion followed by light cannon firing: “We got scared. The people were running away. Someone came and told us he saw someone with a motorbike rescue my son. I was terrified for my kid.”

Doctors performed surgery twice on al-Shar’abi and removed a light cannon round from his body. He provided Human Rights Watch a photo of the removed round.

Another attack that day on the al-Askari neighborhood wounded three civilians, including a 50-year-old woman and a 17-year-old boy, al-Obidi said.

The same day, government-affiliated forces appear to have shelled indiscriminately into al-Hawban district, northeast of Taizz. According to a local activist, the attack occurred at about 5:10 a.m., hitting al-Jumla neighborhood. A neighborhood resident, 25, said he was waiting for a grocery store to open after the morning prayers when the shell hit: “The loudness of the attack brought all the people from the neighborhood to rescue us.” He was wounded, as was a 16-year-old boy standing near him. Three people, including a 15-year-old and 17-year-old boy, were killed.

May 23

On May 23 at about 11:30 a.m., a munition hit a fruit cart near Mousa Gate in al-Qahira district, wounding five civilians, including three children, according to al-Obidi. Hani Saeed, a 35-year-old owner of a nearby barbershop, said that he rushed to help a 16-year-old girl who sells vegetables next to his shop and her aunt, who were both wounded.

At about 4:30 p.m., at least three munitions hit al-Daboua’a neighborhood, about 10 to 15 minutes apart, killing at least five civilians, including one child, and wounding seven, including four children.

In a video made immediately after the attack, an impact crater and fragmentation pattern on the asphalt indicate a 120mm mortar projectile was used. Based on the direction of the impact, the projectile was fired in an east-to-west direction, which fits with a mortar fired from the locations to the east of the city where Houthi-Saleh forces are known to be positioned.

Haza’a Nubish, a local resident, said the first al-Daboua’a munition hit near the Motherhood and Childhood Center, a small health center, killing his cousin Salem Kudaf and wounding Kudaf’s 5-year-old son, Sami. Fragments from the munition also wounded a 13-year-old girl.

The next two munitions struck near a construction materials store, one hitting a house and the other the middle of the street, killing four people, including a 7-year-old boy, and wounding three, including a 12-year-old boy, Nubish said.

Ghazal Qassim, 24, said she was in a shop with her two sons, one an infant, when the munitions struck. She said she was terrified and sought cover. She went to the hospital after the attack, as she had metal fragments in her back, and her 4-year-old son’s hand was wounded.

At about the same time as the attacks on al-Daboua’a, Flah al-Atfi, 32, was killed and Ameen al-A’shari, 54, lost both his legs after a munition hit about 500 meters east of the Central Security Forces headquarters in Taizz, said al-A’shari’s son. 

          Germs, Fungi and Viruses - The Microscopic World        
This week, Dr Chris and Dr Helen explore the microscopic world, finding out why diarrhoea and projectile vomiting make cruise ships the perfect culture vessel for noroviruses, and asking why fungi are so important for great tasting chocolate. Also, we look at giving yeast a sense of smell, predict the weather for a planet 63 light years away, and size up the world's smallest scales, which are capable of weighing a single bacterium. Meanwhile, in Kitchen Science, we looked at toilet seats and kitchen surfaces to see which harboured the most bacteria, and came in for a nasty surprise!
          Indie Game Sneak Peek Report        
We recently had an event where we could go and show the public games that we've been working on.  We had a great time there and found that the time passed all to quickly.  We saw a lot of interest in our games and we're happy that we got to go.  Usually when there is an indie get-together, either Jay Barnson or Greg Squire will do write-ups.  I didn't see either of them, so I figured I might as well do the write-up this time.  Here we go!

Magnetic by Nature
TripleSlash Studios

Magnetic by Nature is a game about magnets.  You play as a robot and aside from basic movement and a jump button, you have a attract button and a repulse button.  I had a lot of fun with this one, as there was a good sense of movement and momentum.  If I saw this on Steam's Greenlight I'd totally vote for it.  The screenshot above doesn't really do it justice because it's from the older XBox LIVE Indie Game version.  The current one looks better but I can't seem to find any screenshots of it!  They recently had a successful Kickstarter campaign and are working on the PC, Mac and Linux builds.  They are the ones that set up the event, so a big thanks to them!  

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Company Site  |  Company Facebook  |  Kickstarter (Funded)  |  Buy on XBLIG

Siphon Spirit
Califer Games

Hopefully it should be no surprise that we were showing Siphon Spirit.  For those of you new to this blog, Siphon Spirit is an action-puzzler where you use a holy orb to absorb and purify energy from smaller demonic orbs.  You need to be careful with your energy.  Getting hit by blasts or running into enemies will permanently decrease your energy.  You'll need that energy to defeat larger demonic orbs as well as cast spells.  Plenty of people enjoyed it, so we're excited.  We're hoping to have a Kickstarter set up soon so we can pay for music, voice acting, and porting to different systems.

Game Site  |  Company Site  |  Twitter  |  Blog  |  Windows Demo  |  Facebook

Spirits of Elduurn
Califer Games

This was fun for me, as I hadn't played a version of it in a while and Peter's made some big changes and cleaned it up a lot.  This is a puzzle game where you control a light and dark spirit to destroy demons and create a world.  Spirits of Elduurn is going to be a free flash game which we will be using to promote Siphon Spirit.

Game Site  |  Company Site  |  Twitter  |  Blog  |  Facebook

March to the Moon
Califer Games

March to the Moon is a fairly silly top-down shooter/RPG.  You stoically march forward, killing everything in your path as you try to solve the quest of rats in a cellar which gets out of hand quickly.  Soon after stopping the rat infestation you are fighting goblins, then aliens, then end up in a massive battle on the moon.  There are twelve different skillsets you can choose from, and you can learn two skillsets per character.  Want to be a Necromancer/Paladin?  Sure thing.

I didn't think that I'd be showing this one too much since it has already been out for a year, but a lot of people wanted to play it and really enjoyed it.  I may just dive back into the March to the Moon universe after our current projects are done.

Game Site  |  Company Site  |  Twitter  |  Blog  |  Buy on XBLIG  |  Facebook

Japanese Arena: Kana
Califer Games

Japanese Arena: Kana is a game for learning how to write the two basic Japanese character sets.  It also has a few hundred words so that you have a reason to remember the characters.  It also has battles where you fight traditional Japanese monsters with traditional Japanese weapons and armor.  This got some good reception as well and I was able to figure out a few things I can do to make it better.  It's still really early on so there were some crashes but no one seemed to mind, thankfully.

                                                     Company Site  |  Twitter  |  Blog  |  Facebook

Projectile Entertainment

Momentum is a game where you use the controls to twist and rotate the path so that the ball can travel along it.  It looks great, but I didn't actually get a chance to play this one.  From what I did see, it's pretty hard.  Seems like half the time I looked over the ball was falling from the path.  Maybe it just takes some time to get used to (which is something that you don't really get at a show like this).

Halfling Wars
Unfortunately, they'd already left by the time I got it into my head to do this.  I didn't get a chance to play it.  From talking around, it sounds like it's a fairly complicated game.  Stuff like RPGs or strategy games have a hard time at these kind of things where people want to just walk up and play something.  It's apparently pretty good since it was either a winner or a finalist for the Utah Game Wars.  I'll just have to let their pages do the talking for them.

Disaster Mage
Disaster Mage Team
Disaster Mage is a phone game where you need to use your wizard to shoot fireballs at the rocks falling towards the village.  It's fairly early still, and the screenshot above does not have final art.  They're planning on adding more enemy types as well as more spells to fight off the upcoming disaster.  Planned for Android and iOS.

Flame Warrior
Eidolon Games
Flame Warrior is a space-faring combat and trading game.  I didn't see the trading, but the combat works mainly by momentum.  If you are in range of the enemy the ship will fire it's laser, and the opponents will do likewise.  Your job is to steer the ship by basically setting a waypoint and making sure that you don't send your ship into a bunch of other ships or an asteroid.  Peter played it a bit and I watched (we just kinda hoped all our stuff would still be at the table when we got back).

Equalize Math   
Rainblade Studios

The best way to think of Equalize Math is to think of math Tetris.  Each row has a goal you need to hit and you can change whether the falling number is positive or negative.  To keep it from being too darn confusing there is a 'total' column as well so you know how far off you are from finishing the row.  It's been recently released on both iOS and Android.

Game Site  |  Buy on iTunes  |  Buy on Google Play

Untitled Co-Op
Mount Olympus

First off, sorry if there are any artifacts in the image.  The file he sent me was massive so I rescaled it. As the missing title may have led you to believe, this is a co-op game.  One player plays as the girl, and the other plays as the boy.  They must get through a series of traps by helping each other to get all the coins and then get inside the tree.  The game doesn't look like the image above yet, but that's the plan.  I just want to know what's inside the tree to make it WORTH fighting through net guns, tenacious fireballs and who knows what else!
Twitter  |  Blog

Draw Space
Alex Johnstone

I totally missed this one.  Their table was right across from ours, but by the time that I had gone through the other games in the U shape they had packed up and left.  I heard that it was more of a toy than a game.  If you want to know more, stop by their Facebook page and ask them what it's all about.


Zen Boat & Side Effect

I would have done these separately, but I can't find any images anywhere.  Zen Boat is a game where you draw a current on the screen with your finger to move the boat along.  It's pretty early still and I ran out of water, so I used the current to fling the poor boat off the screen.  Side Effect was a simple game where you tap a square and it changes the color of the surrounding squares.  Eric Hurst (the developer) correctly deduced that I had played a number of games with the exact same mechanics.


Firefighter & A Game for Two
Vince Betteridge

Darn it, another set of games that I can't find any images for. (Edit: Vince commented with a link to some screenshots)  Firefighter is a game where you are a firefighter and you need to go and save people.  There is also a cat that you can save as a bonus, but I had a hard time not getting the bonus because KITTY.  He's working on making the tutorial a little easier to understand and adding in challenges.  It was fun, but what I really enjoyed was his other game.

A Game for Two really threw me off.  When I saw that it was multiplayer, and that the controls were both on the keyboard I was kinda okay with that.  Then I saw that the movement keys were right next to each other (Player 1: A,D; Player 2: Z,C) and the jump keys were also right next to each other (Player 1: J; Player 2: U).  Vince told me I should get a stranger to play with me.  I'm actually pretty shy so I said I'd just write some notes for this post.  As I was scratching it out, he brought someone to team up with me.  After figuring out how we could both use the keys without cuddling, we got going.  And we had a BLAST.  This was probably my favorite game (that I didn't make) at the Sneak Peek.  If you've ever played Thomas Was Alone (Vince hadn't, to my surprise), this game was Thomas Wasn't Alone.  It played nearly identically, but with a multiplayer element that allowed you to get through puzzles faster than if you were playing single player and just switching between blocks.  It was only 3 levels long, but I really enjoyed it.

Company Page  |  Blog  |  Newgrounds

P.S. To the developers who attended: Sorry for getting this up so late.  Things were pretty crazy for me the last few days.  This took a lot longer than I thought, trying to find screenshots and company info.  If I do this again in the future I will ask participants to send me info.  Also, I went home with more pens than I came in with.  If you are missing a pen please email me the description and I will send you a hostage photo.

          Shooting Subcompact Handguns Well        

With a wider variety of compact and subcompact guns available on the market in the United States I am seeing a steady increase in the number of people that are carrying a small gun concealed. Carrying a subcompact handgun concealed is certainly more convenient than carrying a full size pistol. Small guns are lighter and smaller making them easier to conceal and in many cases more comfortable to carry. At the same time, small guns aren’t without their disadvantages. Small guns are lower capacity and that is the aspect most folks like to focus on, but as a professional defensive shooting instructor, what I tend to focus on when it comes to subcompact guns is how different they can be to shoot.


Don’t be confused though. Although subcompact guns can be different to shoot, they don’t have to be difficult to shoot. Some simple modifications to your grip and your mindset can make all the difference you need when it comes to shooting a sub compact well.


Increase Your Grip Pressure

This advice isn’t unique to subcompact guns. In fact, it is the one piece of advice I give more than all other advice when folks want to increase their shooting proficiency. It is simple, the tighter you grip the gun, the more recoil control you are going to have, the less the gun will move while you are pressing the trigger and the faster you will be able to make solid follow up shots.


In addition to an increase in grip pressure minimizing movement transferred from the trigger finger, an increase in grip pressure can help to stabilize the gun when your other fingers contract to try and control recoil. Plain and simple, if you are gripping the gun as hard as you can, your fingers can't grip any tighter to try and reduce recoil. They are already doing their job and this really reduces gun movement in anticipation of recoil.


When I talk to students about grip pressure I summarize it simply: Grip the gun as hard as you possibly can and then double the pressure. 


Really, you can’t grip the gun too hard. If you want to shoot any gun more efficiently, especially a subcompact, increase your grip pressure.


Modify Your Grip

Strength isn't the only consideration when it comes to grip you should also consider that a different grip may serve you better when you are dealing with a subcompact gun. 


When I shoot my carry gun, a full size GLOCK, I shoot with an aggressive thumbs forward grip. If I were to use that same grip on a GLOCK 42 for instance, I may end up with the tip of my left thumb hanging out in front of the muzzle of the gun. This is certainly not optimal. In fact, I consider it a serious problem to put my thumb out where the projectile and muzzle blast may cause injury.


In addition to straight up changing your grip, you may need to change how you exert your grip pressure on the gun. Tinker around with how you orient your elbows when gripping your subcompact handgun. 


Here is something you can try to increase the control of your grip on any handgun. With both hands, make a fist and stick your thumbs straight up like you are hitching a ride and then drive your hands straight out until your elbows lock.

Now, rotate your arms so that your thumbs point at each other. Notice how the bony part of your elbows point straight out to the right and the left?

Now, rotate your arms so that your thumbs point away from each other. You will see that the bony part of your elbow points more toward the ground.


You may find that rotating your elbows either up, down or neutral gives you a better, more even pressure on the gun. Depending on the size of the gun you might find that one elbow position works better than another.


When you are dealing with a smaller pistol you may need more pressure up high on the pistol, or maybe you will see better results with pressure lower on the gun. Or maybe you need to use a different grip all together. Experiment with your grip and modify it as needed.


Wrap your Pinky

With most subcompact guns, the grip is short enough that your pinky may end up hanging off the grip. Many people decide to add a pinky extension to the magazine so there is room for their pinky to get a purchase on the gun. I get the idea, but I’m not a fan. Adding a pinky extension increases the size of the gun without adding much benefit. Remember, you are shooting a small gun because you need a small gun for concealment, right? If you add an extension, you might as well consider carrying a larger gun.


You are carrying that small gun for a reason so, ponder the idea that just because there is no grip for your pinky doesn't mean that you should just ignore your littlest finger.


Instead, consider wrapping your pinky tight under the grip of the handgun. Wrapping the pinky under the gun can help to establish a more firm and stable grip while keeping the footprint of your subcompact gun well, subcompact.  For me, the 9mm Smith & Wesson M&P Shield with the 7 round magazine is the perfect example of when to wrap the pinky under the magazine.

Another thing that wrapping the pinky can do is to secure it just enough for your mind to forget about it. Let’s face it, when we are trying to make a tough shot at distance with a small gun, we need the odds in our favor. Getting rid of distractions can go a long way toward helping you to get those tough hits.


Final Thoughts On Shooting A Subcompact Handgun Well

The decision to carry a subcompact gun is becoming more and more popular and it is easy to understand why. With more choices than ever, there is a subcompact pistol that fits the needs of most people. Add to that the fact that a subcompact is smaller, lighter and often easier to conceal and it is easy to understand why folks gravitate in the direction of the tiny pistols. 

At the same time, these small guns are more difficult to shoot and as a result you need to think about how you can shoot these guns as efficiently as possible. 

Consider the idea that increasing your grip pressure, modifying your grip and warping your pinky under the grip may help you to make more precision shots faster with your subcompact handgun. 

Get out to the range and spend some time actually shooting the gun you carry and while you are at it, tinker with your grip to see if these modifications help to improve your shooting.

          Two WW2 Guns that used the wrong mag        

While firearms are considered a mature technology – one that will only evolve in small increments, as the science and engineering behind it is basically totally understood – very few engineers have attempted to apply lessons learned in current designs to older ones.

One advancement in particular is especially noteworthy to us – magazines.

The word magazine originates from the artillery/cannonry term by the same name. Whether its referring to hand-held firearms, or artillery emplacements, magazines hold ammunition for a firearm or gun.

Interestingly enough, naval ships have magazines as well, and they are normally large enough to park a truck inside of. Additionally, magazines for these types of weapons usually separate the projectile from the power charge. Though this is because these guns have explosive warheads, whereas most shoulder-fired weapons only launch solid, inert projectiles.

Regardless, magazines are an important part of any ammunition-fed weapon. They can single-handedly make or break a design – just ask American soldiers who got some of the bad batches of M9 magazines during the early days of the Afghanistan invasion. And with that being the case, any firearm that utilizes an unreliable, or lackluster magazine is doomed to failure, or at least won’t live up to its potential.

In my experience of having shot tens of thousands or rounds of ammo through hundreds of guns, here are two World War 2 guns, that use the wrong magazine.

Walther P1/P-38

The standard issue sidearm of the Wehrmacht in World War 2, and the German military during the Cold War, the P-1 was the first double, single-action semi-automatic firearm issued to a military in substantial numbers.

The gun is very well-balanced, despite the all-steel version tipping the scales at nearly two pounds unloaded. The Walther replaced the Parabellum 08, more commonly known as the Luger that was in service during the First World War – though examples of the Luger were still in service up until the very end of the war.

The gun was praised by soldiers for its reliability, accuracy and soft-shooting nature. Indeed, the hefty gun utilizes short-recoil, locked breech and is chambered in 9mm parabellum – a seriously winning combo. But one of the biggest boons of the 9mm cartridge (at least in modern times) is how capacious the magazines of firearms chambered in it are – and this is where the P-38/P-1 falls short of greatness.

Both the original P-38 and the more modern P-1, only hold eight rounds of ammunition. And if you’re thinking, maybe it’s like an M1911 or a Luger, and has such a thin grip that the magazine capacity can’t be increased, think again. The Luger replacement, has a grip nearly as wide as that of a Beretta Model 92 – a gun that holds 15 rounds of ammo.

Though in the gun’s defense, the concept of double-stack magazines hadn’t really caught on yet, but the Browning Hi-Power was shipping with 13-round magazines around the same time of the P-38’s issuance.

What’s the solution then?

While the P-38 can be forgiven for using such limited capacity mags, the modern version should have been modified to accept more capacious feeding devices. In particular, the Beretta Model 92’s. Imagine that – the heft of the P-38 and its iconic appearance combined with the deep ammo reserves of the model 92. Hell, the model 92 now even has reliable 20-round magazines available for it. Add a threaded barrel, and you’ve have the ultimate, stylish suppressor host.

The M1 Garand

I can already feel the hate mail hurdling towards my inbox – but give me a second to explain.

Yes, I really love the, “Greatest battle implement ever devised…” but I’m also realistic about its shortcomings. The en bloc clip system used to recharge the internal 8-round magazine is a great idea, but one totally surpassed by detachable, box-type, stagger-columned magazines.

For the uninitiated, the M1 Garand was the standard issue rifle of the US military in World War 2 and Korea, and was the first semi-automatic rifle to be accepted as standard issue to any sizable military.

It operates VIA long-stroke, piston action and is chambered in .30-06 – a seriously powerful cartridge. The Garand has been praised by soldiers in the field for its ability to easily dispatch enemies, defeat light cover and for its rugged reliability. Though given the American military’s small unit combat doctrine of, “Find, Fix, Flank, and finish” more capacious magazines would have been tremendously helpful.

Basically, the SOP for squads in combat was to identify a target (find), suppress said target (fix) with machine gun and rifle fire, while a flanking (flank) element circled around and destroyed the target from the side or rear (finish).

Because the aforementioned tactic revolved around putting as much lead in a target’s vicinity as possible, the more rounds a soldier can hold in his rifle before reloading, the better. With a measly 8-rounds, it takes four to six soldiers firing sporadically while reloading at different times to really suppressor an enemy squad.

The solution?

The Beretta BM-59.

Following the fall of the Fascist Italian Government at the end of the Second World War, Italy became a close ally of the US, and eventually a member of NATO. In an effort to stem the spread of Communism in Europe, the US issue a policy of lend lease equipment.

In this policy, the US would lend older equipment to allies in dire need of military aid, using lease-style payments of those countries to bank roll its own modernization programs for arms and equipment. As such, Italy was issued huge amounts of M1 Garands to replace their lackluster Carcano rifles in service.

After using these guns for a few years, the Italian military decided to modify the gun into a magazine-fed design, and change the caliber to 7.62x51 NATO. These both increase the combat effectiveness of the weapon, while making their standard-issue firearm comply with the standard caliber directive of NATO-member countries.

If you’re thinking to yourself, “wait, isn’t that just an M14?” you’re partially correct. Internally, they are very similar, but the gas system on the M14 is improved, yet the Garand is known to be more reliable and more comfortable to shoot. The latter is due to the Garand’s heavier weight, but the reliability is most likely due to where each rifle saw combat.

The M-14 is rarely referred to as unreliable, but usually isn’t praised as much as Garand. But in all fairness, the M14 mostly saw action in the jungles of Vietnam, where are hellacious on any design. Yes, the Garand saw similar climates in the Pacific, but beaches aren’t as rough on firearms as swamps, and endless humidity with no wind to dry things off.

In both cases, these firearms were successful in their own right – and I don’t think anyone with any knowledge on the subject would argue otherwise. But at the same time, both firearms could be vastly more combat effective with a more capacious magazine. Though in the case of the P-38, we should count or lucky stars it didn’t. 

          The American FAL        

Did you know that the United States considered adopting the FAL as its main battle rifle?

After World War II, many countries were looking to upgrade its small arms. The US was one of the countries. While the M1 Garand was a fine rifle during the war, there were a variety of improvements that could be made to increase its efficiency.

It is said that a handshake agreement between President D. Eisenhower and Prime Minister W. Churchill led to NATO adoption of the US preferred 7.62x51 cartridge. In exchange, the US would adopt the FAL as its main battle rifle.

History tells us that the US instead adopted the M14 and later the M16. So what happened to the US consideration of the FAL?

The US military did consider the FAL. After several earlier variants, the US made the T48: a FAL pattern rifle made under license from FN. By most accounts, this was a very good rifle. However, it went up against the T44 in trials. The T44 was a M1 variant that would eventually become the M14. Ultimately the T44 won the trials, though the testing was not without controversy.

An interesting aside is that the T48 was eventually influential in the development of the 5.56 NATO round. Through an experimental process called Project Salvo, small caliber weapons were tested. One of those was the Winchester Salvo rifle – a gun built on two T48 receivers. 

Winchester Salvo Rifle

The Salvo rifle had two barrels, one for each T48 receiver. The gun fired a special 5.56 T65 duplex round: a load that had two .22 caliber projectiles fit into a necked down .308 case. So, with each pull of the trigger, four bullets would fly toward the enemy. The gun did better than I would have expected, but it never made it out of testing. But, it did help shape the eventual development of the 5.56 round we know today.

Even though the FAL never made it into US military service in a meaningful way, it nevertheless made a huge impact on world affairs. In fact, the gun has been called the “right arm of freedom” because it often faced off against regimes armed with the AKM and backed by the Soviet Union.  

Here in the US, the FAL has always been a popular rifle for civilian ownership. There are a number of companies that specialize in FAL builds and parts. For example, DS Arms is recognized by many as one of the top makers of metric pattern FAL rifles in the world today.

SA58 Magazine

Not only does the company make a complete line of rifles, but DS Arms also makes SA58 magazines, barrels, replacement parts and more. If you have an interest in the FAL, you really should check out their rifles.

          Running a suppressor? Don’t forget to clean your mags!        


Sound suppressors, silencers cans – whatever you want to call them, are great to reducing the volume of a gunshot. While they aren’t as quiet as the bird-chirping-into-a-pillow Hollywood suppressors in movies and TV, they go a long way in keeping a shooter’s hearing undamaged. Though they do have some shortcomings, in this case, increased fouling.

Fowling? Like hunting birds?

No, fouling – the act of debris collecting inside a machine. Firearms don’t foul-up on their own, but thus far, every design that fires a projectile with gun powder of any sort, leaves residue behind after the shot. Part of this residue is a mixture of burnt and unburnt powder escaping back into the action, or carbon build-up.

Carbon is an infuriatingly stubborn material. Every product used a cleaner or solvent for it, still requires scrubbing to fully remove it. Most of these products are very strong, and not terribly great for human beings to come into contact with. The same can be said for certain finishes and polymers – like the ones used to build magazines.

Thankfully magazines don’t tend to get terribly dirty – unless you’re running a sound suppressor.

Suppressors reduce the sound of shot by controlling the rate of expansion on escaping hot gasses generated by burning powder. With the suppressor reducing the velocity of escaping gasses, some of the gas will escape back into the firearm’s action.


Because gas, like water and electricity always follows the path of least resistance. Compared to the pressurized can on the end of the gun’s barrel, the freshly unlocked chamber of a semi-automatic firearm is an open door. If your firearm is magazine-fed, that magazine tends to act as a catch basin for carbon, debris and all sorts of crud being flung back into the gun.

After firing 50 rounds through an AR-15, it’s magazine will show noticeable amounts of carbon and unburn powder collecting on both the inside and outside of magazine walls. After 500 rounds, the magazine will feel like it has sand in it, and the follower will glide with all the smoothness of a cinderblock dragged on concrete.

So how do you keep your magazine running with increased buildup, without having to clean it constantly?

Lubricate it, though not with just any old gun oil. Oil and grease are magnets for dirt, sand and carbon. While they’ll keep carbon from collecting on metal components that are subject to extreme temperature, components like magazines that are often exposed to dust, dirt and grim will get dirty extremely fast. Think a wet lollipop dropped on dirty shag carpet.

My solution is dry graphite lube. The stuff works pretty damn good, and unlike wet lubricants, doesn’t attract dry particles. Don’t buy the grease stuff, get an aerosol can and give the inside of your magazine a quick spray. Yes, it will make your magazine look filthy – but it will make cleaning a breeze.

Once you’ve fired a few hundred rounds through the same mag, simply remove the follower from your magazine, and wipe the inside with a shop rag a few times. Once that’s done, spray again with the graphite, and you’re good to go.

Best part is, the stuff can be found for pretty cheap at big box stores and car part shops. It’s normally under 9 bucks a can. One word of caution: aerated graphite is insanely lightweight, and readily goes airborne. If you’re going to spray a magazine with this stuff, do so outside and ideally with a painter’s mask on. I’m no doctor, but I can’t imagine breathing graphite is good for your lungs. 

          Thriller, policier et roman noir du A au Z        
Nous vous présentons un alphabet du roman noir, policière et thriller. Pour voir le livre qui se cache derrière chaque définition, cliquez sur le mot en caractères gras.    Assassin: Personne qui commet un homicide avec préméditation.  Balle: Projectile des armes à feux portatives. Corps: La partie matérielle d’un être. Délit: Infraction d’une gravité intermédiaire […]
          Of Paint and Projectiles        
Resilience has been the topic of discussion at school, so naturally, it's been on my mind.

I was talking to a friend about Mom, and about her life, and as I was recounting some of the things that have made her who she is. Resilient.

I could tell you a moving story. One about overcoming insurmountable challenges, about prevailing in the face of adversity.

(Obviously, not here. Here, she's reading with the kids.)

... Instead, I'm going to tell you the Wall Barf story.

The summer between 8th and 9th grade, we painted the inside of our house. Growing up, we did most of the home improvements ourselves. My dad worked long hours, so it was usually Mom, KidBrotherSam, and me taking on these (in retrospect) rather ambitious projects together.

[SIDE NOTE: if our family had a motto, I think it would be "shared suffering brings us closer". I should embroider that on a pillow, or put it on a family crest.]

Mom has always been good about assigning age- and developmentally-appropriate tasks, so there was a lot of taping, putting down dropcloths, and of course, painting. (To this day, I hate painting ceilings, because I can't manage to do it without getting paint in my hair. But I digress.)

She also decided on projects and techniques before the age of Pinterest (and Pinterest Fails), and web tutorials, which have changed the game a bit, when it comes to DIY anything and everything.

The idea was to do spatter painting in our living room. I'm sure her intention was to look stylish and fun, kind of like this:

We prepped, we painted, we spattered. It was really, really fun.

The end result looked like this:
Mom and KidBrotherSam. circa 1996, looking appropriately goofy for our #PinterestFail before there were Pinterest Fails


"This is awful. It looks like someone projectile vomited all over our walls," she said, accurately assessing the aesthetic we had achieved.

We painted over it, and started again. We tried spray bottles, paintbrushes through screens, and just flinging paint at the wall.

It took three or four tries before Mom decided that spatter painting wasn't going to happen. (Mom: in looking at the picture, I think it was a color choice and paint viscosity issue, combined.)

So, we took a picture to document our epic fail (before there were epic fails!) after the last attempt, and painted over our experiment, one last time.

The most important lesson I took away was that, even if a plan doesn't work out, it doesn't mean it was a total waste. It doesn't mean that our day was ruined. You paint over it, and move on.

...and we've got a funny story to tell later.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I look forward to many more funny stories.


          Aku Benci Duit (random title)        
"Mom, I wanna buy a new phone."
"Oh, what happened to your phone?"
"It's gone."
"Gone where?"
"I threw it out from the verandah just now. Perfect projectile motion."

Tidak berlaku sama sekali.


I STAYED with my lovely phone.
I GAZED at it until my SMS had been delivered. Which, if it doesn't work, I have to RESTART it by REMOVING the lovely battery.
I have no favour with new phones - i-phone, blackberry, blueberry, strawberry I don't shitty care all that. (tada duit)

Because I am a decent young lady and again, very gadgetly patient. (pernah berlaku juga suatu ketika dahulu on my previous phone)

P.S. I seriously looked out the verandah that day, overwhelmed with my own hungry desire to throw it mercilessly from where I stood - but then I imagined myself having this kind of conversation with mom. Or whoever who asked me. That explains then, why we do not throw our stuff out the window. Because it complicates things.

P.S.S Saya memang bercita-cita untuk melontar barang jauh-jauh satu hari nanti. Setakat across the room, it's not qualified as fulfilling the dreams.

Having you is like having a boyfriend. Stupid, yet still needed.

          Funny images        
Last night I was waiting for the Caps prospect Jake Hauswirth to finish showering after the South Carolina Stingrays game, and was confronted with a very funny sight: Nikita Kashirsky in a giant foam cowboy hat. He turned right in front of me. "Nice hat," I said.

I asked around and found out this monstrosity gets passed around the Stingrays locker room as a reward for good play. I chuckle about what coach Cail MacLean said about the hat tradition: "I think it's sort of on the down low." Something that big and that funny won't stay on the down low long.

Kashirsky had scored the game winner that night, which was worthy of the hat. But since he's also a rookie, he had to carry bags to the bus. In the hat. Sadly I did not have my camera while he was doing this.

Here's a link to an ad for the hat. The Stingrays one looks just like this, but with yellow trim and numbers scribbled on the front brim. For more of MacLean's comments, read my HF article on the ECHL prospects.

And here are a couple of other funny sites from yesterday.

Jake Hauswirth projectile spitting.

Trevor Bruess with an uncontrollable tongue.
          Celebrating 4th of July..Country Style        

It is interesting living in rural Georgia...for one thing, in Hart County, Georgia they don't celebrate the 4th of July...they celebrate the "Pre-4th" complete with fireworks on the lake and festival on the town square the weekend before the 4th. At this year's festival there was the usual dogs, BBQ, snow cones, etc, but one booth went all out selling fried Oreos! So, when my family descended on our rural lake home for the real 4th of July (12 family members) I was determined to keep things a little bit healthier with no fried candy bars, fried chicken, or fried Oreos in sight.

We kept plenty of fruit on hand and I've learned that kids and adults will eat fruit (1) when it is cut into hand-size pieces and, (2) when there aren't other snacks around like potato chips. Watermelon makes not only a good snack but the kids have fun with the rinds making funny faces (see my nephew, Reiss, for proof). We also had plenty of grapes (although I think about half ended up in the lake as projectiles aimed at those lounging in the lake), fresh Georgia peaches, and apple slices. On the veggie side, the baby carrots are always a hit even if the kids drench them in Ranch dressing (the fat in the dressing does help in the absorption of the healthy compounds in the carrots!).

The other thing we do is lots of organized activities....we held the annual one-mile fun run (see above) and while not everyone got out of bed (you know who you are) we had a good turn-out complete with prizes for first, second, and last place finishers. We even had a baby stroller division this year. My brother-in-law also organized activities like a fishing tournament and a swimming competition to keep everyone active and engaged.

Posting the daily menu helps keep everyone interested in meal time, even if "Uncle Rob's famous BBQ Chicken" is just plain old grilled chicken with bottled BBQ is all in the name and the presentation! We didn't always eat healthy, but when we had pizza we stuck to cheese and mushroom (only one pepperoni pizza) and served a big green salad loaded with local tomatoes and cucumbers.

Having the 4th of July in the country is a different experience than city celebration...fireworks over the lake on the dock instead of driving to a crowded public display, but having family fun in the country can't be beat.

          Major Caliber Guns and Turrets 1955        
This US Navy training video from 1955 was re-coded in July of 2013 so it will play on most all devices. It shows the big 16 inch / 50 Navy guns and turrets. Look inside the turrets to see how the projectiles and powder are stored, moved and loaded. Cross sections show all aspects. Fire control and loading are also shown.
          Universal Guardian Signs Cobra StunLight(TM) Distributor in France        

Newport Beach, CA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 07/11/2006 -- Universal Guardian Holdings, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: UGHO), an emerging global leader in non-lethal protection products, integrated transportation and global supply chain security systems and strategic security services to protect against terrorist, criminal and security threats to governments and businesses worldwide, today announces that Universal Guardian's Products Group has entered into a Distribution Agreement with Paris-based DSOA, Sarl to distribute its Cobra StunLight(TM) to law enforcement agencies and military organizations in France.

"France has experienced growing civil unrest over the past year with more than 300 cities erupting in violent demonstrations," stated Michael Skellern, Universal Guardian's CEO. "French police are currently seeking non-lethal use-of-force options such as the Cobra StunLight(TM) as a safe and effective humanitarian alternative to potentially lethal products customarily used to subdue suspects and prevent escalation into dangerous riots," continued Mr. Skellern.

"France has initiated a series of measures and is adopting products designed to subdue vandals and perpetrators of civil unrest before these situations spin out of control," stated DSOA President Mrs. Ghislaine Duveau from her office in Paris. "We are confident that France's National Police and our military Gendarmerie will embrace the Cobra StunLight as their offensive and defense non-lethal weapon of choice," added Mrs. Duveau.

About DSOA

D.S.O.A. is a Paris, France based company that has been at the forefront of Security and Safety technologies, providing innovative solutions to meet the requirements of law enforcement, military and public safety sectors in France since 1996. D.S.O.A. provides I.E.D and E.O.D. solutions including radiography and portable radioscopy equipment, N.E.D.E.X. (Neutralization Removal and Destruction of the Explosives) intervention, explosives and drug detection equipment, parcel and mail scanning equipment, night vision products, and Emergency lighting equipment.

About Universal Guardian Holdings

Universal Guardian Holdings, Inc. (UGHO) and its subsidiaries provide a comprehensive range of security products, systems, and services designed to mitigate terrorist and security threats worldwide. Universal Guardian's global risks mitigation group includes strategic and tactical security services, integrated and interoperable asset identification, monitoring and management systems for government and industry. Universal's non-lethal products include escalating, non-lethal, everyday use-of-force tools for law enforcement, military, professional security and consumer markets. Universal Guardian companies features a wide variety of applications that provide cost-effective, end-to-end solutions and critical security services for government and multi-national businesses from operations on every continent.

About Universal Guardian Products

Universal Guardian's Product Group, develops and produces safe and effective non-lethal products and systems that provide law enforcement, military, professional security and consumers with immediate offensive and defensive escalating use-of-force options for several threat environments. The Company's patented Cobra StunLight(TM) "Stops Suspects in their Tracks" and its Riot Defender(TM) launches patented non-lethal RiotBall(TM) projectiles to assist law enforcement and military personnel in the control civil disturbances and dangerous riots.

About Universal Guardian Systems

Universal Guardian's Systems Group, ISR Systems Corporation, provides Asset Identification, Monitoring and Management platforms for a multitude of government and industry applications worldwide. UG Systems' integrated T/3 Platform(TM) and RFID Ready(TM) system provides secure end-to-end asset monitoring and management with real-time visibility and security for customers, shippers and government regulatory agencies.

About Universal Guardian Services Group

Universal Guardian's Services Group, Secure Risks-SSSI provides practical risk management solutions, insured security services and tactical security services to protect critical infrastructure and valuable assets for governments, non-governmental agencies and multi-national businesses in today's most challenging environments from regional hubs located in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, South America, Middle East, Africa, Central Asia and Asia Pacific.

Safe Harbor Statement:

This news release contains certain forward-looking statements pertaining to future anticipated projected plans, performance and developments, as well as other statements relating to future operations and results. Any statements in this news release that are not statements of historical fact may be considered to be forward-looking statements. Written words such as "may," "will," "expect," "believe," "anticipate," "estimate," "intends," "goal," "objective," "seek," "attempt," or variations of these or similar words, identify forward-looking statements. These statements by their nature are estimates of future results only and involve substantial risks and uncertainties, including those detailed from time to time in Universal Guardian Holdings, Inc.'s reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. There can be no assurance that actual results will not differ materially from expectations. These risks factors include potential customer interest in the sale and delivery of its SeaPort Guardian(TM), Container Guardian(TM), Explosive Guardian(TM) and SupplyChain Guardian(TM) systems as well as the production and sale of Cobra StunLight(TM) and Riot Defender(TM) and their accessories.

Further information is available on the Company's website:

Investor Relations Contact:
Investor Relations
Universal Guardian Holdings, Inc.
4695 MacArthur Court., Suite 300
Newport Beach, CA USA 92626
+ 1 949. 861.8295 ext. 211

Company Contact:
Michael J. Skellern, Chief Executive Officer
Universal Guardian Holdings, Inc.
4695 MacArthur Court, Suite 300
Newport Beach, CA USA 92626
+ 1 949. 861.8295

For more information on this press release visit:

Media Relations Contact

Nunzio Valerie
Universal Guardian Holdings, Inc.
Telephone: 949-861-8295
Email: Click to Email Nunzio Valerie

          Universal Guardian Receives U.S. Patent for Cobra StunLight        

Soon to be available to consumers for personal, home and auto protection with a True Non-lethal Alternative

Newport Beach, CA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 07/11/2006 -- Universal Guardian Holdings, Inc. (OTCBB: UGHO), an emerging global leader in non-lethal protection products, integrated transportation and global supply chain security systems and strategic security services to protect against terrorist, criminal and security threats to governments and businesses worldwide, announces today that the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued a patent for its Cobra StunLight™. With the issuance of U.S. Patent No. 7,069,962 B2 on July 4, 2006, Universal Guardian's exclusive rights to the unique design for its Cobra StunLight™ which dispenses non-lethal substances has been secured. In addition to protecting its intellectual property rights in the United States, the company has filed for international patent protection for the Cobra StunLight™ under the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

"We're very excited about the issuance of the patent as it grants Universal Guardian intellectual property protection for our aerosol dispensing Cobra StunLight™. Our Cobra StunLight™ offers defensive and offensive use-of-force options and provides law enforcement and security professionals and soon to be available to consumers for personal, home and auto protection with a "True Non-lethal Alternative"® to other products and is an extremely cost-effective replacement to their standard flashlight, mace or pepper spray, and baton." Stated Michael Skellern, Universal Guardian's CEO. "By securing patent protection, Universal Guardian will not only enhance its portfolio of intellectual property assets, it will enable the company to enforce its rights in respect to the sale of Universal Guardian's products in the marketplace." Added Mark V. Asdourian, Universal Guardian's General Counsel.

About Universal Guardian Holdings
Universal Guardian Holdings, Inc. (UGHO) and its subsidiaries provide a comprehensive range of security products, systems, and services designed to mitigate terrorist and security threats worldwide. Universal Guardian's global risks mitigation group includes strategic and tactical security services, integrated and interoperable asset identification, monitoring and management systems for government and industry. Universal's non-lethal products include escalating, non-lethal, everyday use-of-force tools for law enforcement, military, professional security and consumer markets. Universal Guardian companies features a wide variety of applications that provide cost-effective, end-to-end solutions and critical security services for government and multi-national businesses from operations on every continent.

About Universal Guardian Products
Universal Guardian's Product Group, develops and produces safe and effective non-lethal products and systems that provide law enforcement, military, professional security and consumers with immediate offensive and defensive escalating use-of-force options for several threat environments. The Company's patented Cobra StunLight™ "Stops Suspects in their Tracks" and its Riot Defender™ launches patented non-lethal RiotBall™ projectiles to assist law enforcement and military personnel in the control civil disturbances and dangerous riots.

Safe Harbor Statement:
This news release contains certain forward-looking statements pertaining to future anticipated projected plans, performance and developments, as well as other statements relating to future operations and results. Any statements in this news release that are not statements of historical fact may be considered to be forward-looking statements. Written words such as "may," "will," "expect," "believe," "anticipate," "estimate," "intends," "goal," "objective," "seek," "attempt," or variations of these or similar words, identify forward-looking statements. These statements by their nature are estimates of future results only and involve substantial risks and uncertainties, including those detailed from time to time in Universal Guardian Holdings, Inc.'s reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. There can be no assurance that actual results will not differ materially from expectations. These risks factors include potential customer interest in the sale and delivery of its SeaPort Guardian™, Container Guardian™, Explosive Guardian™ and SupplyChain Guardian™ systems as well as the production and sale of Cobra StunLight™ and Riot Defender™ and their accessories.

For more information on this press release visit:

Media Relations Contact

Universal Guardian
Telephone: 949-861-8295
Email: Click to Email NuMark

          Universal Guardian Appoints Noted Security Expert Clifford Roth        

Newport Beach, CA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 06/29/2006 -- UNIVERSAL GUARDIAN HOLDINGS, INC. (OTC Bulletin Board: UGHO), an emerging global leader in non-lethal tactical products, global supply chain visibility and security, and strategic security services to protect governments and industries against criminal, terrorist, and security threats, today announced that it has appointed Clifford Roth to Universal Guardian's Board of Advisors.

"Mr. Roth is a widely respected figure in the international maritime industry and participates on several national and international port and cargo security committees and industry councils," stated Michael Skellern, Universal Guardian's CEO. "In this capacity he will be assisting and advising Universal Guardian in the implementation of products, systems and services to maritime federal agencies, chemical, oil, highways, bridges and tunnels security projects that relate to the current and emerging Federal and International security regulations," continued Mr. Skellern.

"Universal Guardian's global risk mitigation solutions have tremendous potential in maritime and transportation security markets. Their integrated and interoperable asset tracking, monitoring, and data management platform has immediate application in several government and commercial security programs," stated Mr. Roth.

After graduating from law school Mr. Roth was appointed as attorney to the law department of the US Army Material Command to review contractor claims and assist the Judge Advocate General's Office. He then served as counsel for the Maritime Administration responsible for financing and overseeing subsidy to vessel operators. During the next twenty years, Mr. Roth held executive positions in the maritime industry including Litton Industries Marine Group, American Shipbuilding and Prudential Grace Lines. Mr. Roth also spent ten years with the Navy Department assisting in the defense of claims by government contractors and serving as the director of the Small Business Office. Additionally, he has assisted companies in providing security services to federal, state and corporate entities, and has represented divisions of ADT, Pitney Bowes, Northrop-Grumman, Object Video, Archaio, Robbins-Goioa, CSX World Terminals, SAS, Wave-Wireless, Ciber, the New York Yankees, Tyco and the New York-New Jersey Port Authority. Mr. Roth currently serves as a security consultant to the ADT Federal Systems Division for Port and Maritime Services. In addition, he also represents, Plant Equipment, Sony, Sentel, DTS and Contemporary Services. Mr. Roth also advises a large number of ports on their security strategy and is representative and liaison to a number of vessel and terminal operators at ports as well as some of the oil, chemical companies and LNG facilities throughout the United States.

Mr. Roth is currently a member of the following:

* American Association of Port Authorities - Security Committee
* Janes International - Security Committee
* Transportation Council of America Society Industrial Security
* National Cargo Security Council
* Maritime Security Council
* Caribbean Shipping Association

About Universal Guardian Holdings

Universal Guardian Holdings, Inc. (UGHO) and its subsidiaries provide a comprehensive range of security products, systems, and services designed to mitigate terrorist and security threats worldwide. Universal Guardian's global risks mitigation group includes strategic and tactical security services, integrated and interoperable asset identification, monitoring and management systems for government and industry. Universal's non-lethal products include escalating, non-lethal, everyday use-of-force tools for law enforcement, military, professional security and consumer markets. Universal Guardian companies features a wide variety of applications that provide cost-effective, end-to-end solutions and critical security services for government and multi-national businesses from operations on every continent.

About Universal Guardian Products

Universal Guardian's Product Group, develops and produces safe and effective non-lethal products and systems that provide law enforcement, military, professional security and consumers with immediate offensive and defensive escalating use-of-force options for several threat environments. The Company's patented Cobra StunLight(TM) "Stops Suspects in their Tracks" and its Riot Defender(TM) launches patented non-lethal RiotBall(TM) projectiles to assist law enforcement and military personnel in the control civil disturbances and dangerous riots.

About Universal Guardian Systems

Universal Guardian's Systems Group, ISR Systems Corporation, provides Asset Identification, Monitoring and Management platforms for a multitude of government and industry applications worldwide. UG Systems' integrated T/3 Platform(TM) and RFID Ready(TM) system provides secure end-to-end asset monitoring and management with real-time visibility and security for customers, shippers and government regulatory agencies.

About Universal Guardian Services Group

Universal Guardian's Services Group, Secure Risks-SSSI provides practical risk management solutions, insured security services and tactical security services to protect critical infrastructure and valuable assets for governments, non-governmental agencies and multi-national businesses in today's most challenging environments from regional hubs located in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, South America, Middle East, Africa, Central Asia and Asia Pacific.

Safe Harbor Statement:

This news release contains certain forward-looking statements pertaining to future anticipated projected plans, performance and developments, as well as other statements relating to future operations and results. Any statements in this news release that are not statements of historical fact may be considered to be forward-looking statements. Written words such as "may," "will," "expect," "believe," "anticipate," "estimate," "intends," "goal," "objective," "seek," "attempt," or variations of these or similar words, identify forward-looking statements. These statements by their nature are estimates of future results only and involve substantial risks and uncertainties, including those detailed from time to time in Universal Guardian Holdings, Inc.'s reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. There can be no assurance that actual results will not differ materially from expectations. These risks factors include potential customer interest in the sale and delivery of its SeaPort Guardian(TM), Container Guardian(TM), Explosive Guardian(TM) and SupplyChain Guardian(TM) systems as well as the production and sale of Cobra StunLight(TM) and Riot Defender(TM) and their accessories.

Further information is available on the Company's website:

Investor Relations Contact:
Investor Relations
Universal Guardian Holdings, Inc.
4695 MacArthur Court, Suite 300
Newport Beach, CA USA 92626
+ 1 949.861.8295 ext. 211

Company Contact:
Michael J. Skellern, CEO
Universal Guardian Holdings, Inc.
4695 MacArthur Court, Suite 300
Newport Beach, CA USA 92626
+ 1 949.861.8295

For more information on this press release visit:

Media Relations Contact

Nunzio Valerie
Universal Guardian Holdings, Inc.
Telephone: 949-861-8295
Email: Click to Email Nunzio Valerie

          Universal Guardian Appoints Rear Admiral Stephen Johnson as Director, Strategic Development        

Newport Beach, CA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 06/15/2006 -- NIVERSAL GUARDIAN HOLDINGS, INC. (OTC: UGHO) (BULLETIN BOARD: UGHO) , an emerging global leader in non-lethal tactical products, global supply chain visibility and security, and strategic security services to protect governments and industries against criminal, terrorist, and security threats, today announced that Rear Admiral Stephen Johnson has been appointed as Universal Guardian's Director of Strategic Development.

"Rear Admiral Johnson's experience as a former nuclear submarine commander and director of major U.S. Navy acquisition and systems programs will provide the experience and expertise to effectively expand our current U.S. government security contracts and placement of our integrated SeaPort Guardian™, Container Guardian™, Explosives Guardian™ and RFID Ready™ logistics management systems with U.S. government agencies and the Department of Defense," stated Michael Skellern, Universal Guardian's CEO.

"I am pleased to be a part of the Universal Guardian Team that is providing high return on investment solutions to difficult commercial and defense problems," stated Admiral Johnson.

RADM Johnson holds a BS degree in Physics from Duke University. Prior to becoming a U.S. Navy Acquisition professional in 1993, RADM Johnson was a career submarine officer, serving in 4 nuclear submarines including Command of USS City of Corpus Christi (SSN-705) from 1986-1988.

Prior to selection to Flag Rank in 1995, RADM Johnson served as Major Program Manager for Submarine Electronic Systems (NAVSEA PMS-401) from 1994 to 1996. During this period his program office awarded the prime contract for the Virginia Class Submarine's C4ISR system development. This program was awarded the first David Packard award for Department of Defense Acquisition Program Excellence.

As Program Director, Information Support Systems (PD-15), Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command from 1996 to 1998, RADM Johnson supervised 4 Major Program Managers, 12 Programs, 110 personnel and the execution of a $250M annual budget. RADM Johnson also served concurrently from 1996 to 1997 as Commander Naval Information Systems Management Center, providing overall procurement and policy direction for Information Management systems acquisition for the Department of the Navy.

RADM Johnson's last Navy active duty assignment was as Project Director, Navy Year 2000 Project, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. There he developed and managed the U.S. Navy's overall strategic planning, assessment, testing, and continuity of operations and consequence management strategies to address the Year 2000 Faulty Date Logic Problem across the Navy computational enterprise.

Subsequent to retirement from active Naval service, RADM Johnson has served commercial industry, government program offices, and educational institutions as a senior management consultant. RADM Johnson is also a Technology and Business Advisor to the William J. von Liebig Center for Entrepreneurism and Technology Advancement at University of California San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering, managing projects for the Center for the Commercialization of Advanced Technology (CCAT) Program, a Government, Industry, and Academia consortium developing commercial technologies for homeland defense and military applications. RADM Johnson serves on the Board of Directors of two publicly traded and two privately held companies. Additionally he serves on the board of advisors for two other companies and as a Director of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA International).

RADM Johnson is a graduate of the Defense Systems Management College, and is certified and served as a Department of Defense Major Program Manager (Level III).

About Universal Guardian Holdings

Universal Guardian Holdings, Inc. (UGHO) and its subsidiaries provide a comprehensive range of security products, systems, and services designed to mitigate terrorist and security threats worldwide. Universal Guardian's global risks mitigation group includes strategic and tactical security services, integrated and interoperable asset identification, monitoring and management systems for government and industry. Universal's non-lethal products include escalating, non-lethal, everyday use-of-force tools for law enforcement, military, professional security and consumer markets. Universal Guardian companies features a wide variety of applications that provide cost-effective, end-to-end solutions and critical security services for government and multi-national businesses from operations on every continent.

About Universal Guardian Products

Universal Guardian's Product Group, develops and produces safe and effective non-lethal products and systems that provide law enforcement, military, professional security and consumers with immediate offensive and defensive escalating use-of-force options for several threat environments. The Company's patented Cobra StunLight™ "Stops Suspects in their Tracks" and its Riot Defender™ launches patented non-lethal RiotBall™ projectiles to assist law enforcement and military personnel in the control civil disturbances and dangerous riots.

About Universal Guardian Systems

Universal Guardian's Systems Group, ISR Systems Corporation, provides Asset Identification, Monitoring and Management platforms for a multitude of government and industry applications worldwide. UG Systems' integrated T/3 Platform™ and RFID Ready™ system provides secure end-to-end asset monitoring and management with real-time visibility and security for customers, shippers and government regulatory agencies.

About Universal Guardian Services Group

Universal Guardian's Services Group, Secure Risks-SSSI provides practical risk management solutions, insured security services and tactical security services to protect critical infrastructure and valuable assets for governments, non-governmental agencies and multi-national businesses in today's most challenging environments from regional hubs located in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, South America, Middle East, Africa, Central Asia and Asia Pacific.

Safe Harbor Statement:

This news release contains certain forward-looking statements pertaining to future anticipated projected plans, performance and developments, as well as other statements relating to future operations and results. Any statements in this news release that are not statements of historical fact may be considered to be forward-looking statements. Written words such as "may," "will," "expect," "believe," "anticipate," "estimate," "intends," "goal," "objective," "seek," "attempt," or variations of these or similar words, identify forward-looking statements. These statements by their nature are estimates of future results only and involve substantial risks and uncertainties, including those detailed from time to time in Universal Guardian Holdings, Inc.'s reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. There can be no assurance that actual results will not differ materially from expectations. These risks factors include potential customer interest in the sale and delivery of its SeaPort Guardian™, Container Guardian™, Explosive Guardian™ and SupplyChain Guardian™ systems as well as the production and sale of Cobra StunLight™ and Riot Defender™ and their accessories.

Further information is available on the Company's website:

For more information on this press release visit:

Media Relations Contact

Nunzio Valerie
Universal Guardian Holdings, Inc.
Telephone: 949-861-8295
Email: Click to Email Nunzio Valerie

           Universal Guardian Appoints Senior Marketing Executives        

Newport Beach, CA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 06/12/2006 -- UNIVERSAL GUARDIAN HOLDINGS, INC. (OTC Bulletin Board: UGHO), June 9, 2006, an emerging global leader in non-lethal tactical products, global supply chain visibility and security, and strategic security services to protect governments and industries against criminal, terrorist, and security threats, today announced the appointments of Mr. Keith Winsell as Vice President of Marketing and Mr. Charlie Dey as Director of Marketing.

"Mr. Winsell and Mr. Dey have proven track records in the development of dynamic corporate marketing programs that have produced more than $1 billion in revenue," stated Michael Skellern, Universal's CEO. "They will utilize those same proven marketing strategies to accelerate the growth Universal Guardian products, systems and services around the world," added Mr. Skellern.

"This is an exciting company with tremendous potential," stated Mr. Winsell. "We look forward to developing the marketing and communications programs necessary for Universal to become the recognized global leader in each business sector." Mr. Winsell continued.

Mr. Winsell joins Universal Guardian from Nautilus where he held several marketing positions since joining the company in 1996. Most recently he served as Marketing and Advertising Production Director specializing in product placement and direct response television advertising. During his tenure with Nautilus, Mr. Winsell helped develop and produce over 50 short and long form commercials and infomercials generating revenues in excess of $1 billion USD.

Mr. Dey has held senior marketing positions with a variety of leading companies, including AOL, Nautilus and AARP and brings a depth of knowledge in marketing strategy and analysis, brand management and strategic planning. Prior to joining Universal Guardian, Mr. Dey served as Brand Manager for Nautilus where he oversaw marketing initiatives and programs for the Bowflex brand. He received a BA in Marketing from Radford University and an MBA, Marketing from the University of Arkansas.

Universal Guardian will host a Webcast conference call to introduce Mr. Winsell and Mr. Dey and to discuss the Company's global marketing strategy on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 at 1:00 PM EDT. To access the conference please use the following web link:

About Universal Guardian Holdings

Universal Guardian Holdings, Inc. (UGHO) and its subsidiaries provide a comprehensive range of security products, systems, and services designed to mitigate terrorist and security threats worldwide. Universal Guardian's global risks mitigation group includes strategic and tactical security services, integrated and interoperable asset identification, monitoring and management systems for government and industry. Universal's non-lethal products include escalating, non-lethal, everyday use-of-force tools for law enforcement, military, professional security and consumer markets. Universal Guardian companies features a wide variety of applications that provide cost-effective, end-to-end solutions and critical security services for government and multi-national businesses from operations on every continent.

About Universal Guardian Products

Universal Guardian's Product Group, develops and produces safe and effective non-lethal products and systems that provide law enforcement, military, professional security and consumers with immediate offensive and defensive escalating use-of-force options for several threat environments. The Company's patented Cobra StunLight(TM) "Stops Suspects in their Tracks" and its Riot Defender(TM) launches patented non-lethal RiotBall(TM) projectiles to assist law enforcement and military personnel in the control civil disturbances and dangerous riots.

About Universal Guardian Systems

Universal Guardian's Systems Group, ISR Systems Corporation, provides Asset Identification, Monitoring and Management platforms for a multitude of government and industry applications worldwide. UG Systems' integrated T/3 Platform(TM) and RFID Ready(TM) system provides secure end-to-end asset monitoring and management with real-time visibility and security for customers, shippers and government regulatory agencies.

About Universal Guardian Services Group

Universal Guardian's Secure Risks-SSSI, provides practical risk management solutions and tactical security services to protect critical infrastructure and valuable assets for governments, non-governmental agencies and multi-national businesses in today's most challenging environments from regional hubs located in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, South America, Middle East, Africa, Central Asia and Asia Pacific.

Safe Harbor Statement:

This news release contains certain forward-looking statements pertaining to future anticipated projected plans, performance and developments, as well as other statements relating to future operations and results. Any statements in this news release that are not statements of historical fact may be considered to be forward-looking statements. Written words such as "may," "will," "expect," "believe," "anticipate," "estimate," "intends," "goal," "objective," "seek," "attempt," or variations of these or similar words, identify forward-looking statements. These statements by their nature are estimates of future results only and involve substantial risks and uncertainties, including those detailed from time to time in Universal Guardian Holdings, Inc.'s reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. There can be no assurance that actual results will not differ materially from expectations. These risk factors include potential customer interest in the sale and delivery of its SeaPort Guardian(TM), Container Guardian(TM), Explosive Guardian(TM) and SupplyChain Guardian(TM) systems as well as the production and sale of Cobra StunLight(TM) and Riot Defender(TM) and their accessories.

Further information is available on the Company's website:

SOURCE Universal Guardian Holdings, Inc.
Investor Relations, + 1-949-861-8295 ext. 211, or Michael J. Skellern, CEO, +
1-949-861-8295, both of Universal Guardian Holdings, Inc.

For more information on this press release visit:

Media Relations Contact

Nunzio Valerie
Universal Guardian Holdings, Inc.
Telephone: 949-861-8295
Email: Click to Email Nunzio Valerie

          Görsel Programlama Arayüzü (9 Mesajlar Yaz)        
Merhabalar, çocuklar için görsel programlama (flowchart) ile algoritma geliştirmeyi -sağlayan bir uygulama geliştirme fikrim var.

Örnek olarak;


Unreal Engine BluePrint

Unity Mecanim


Yukarıdaki örnekleri nasıl bir şey hayal ettiğimi anlatabilmek için koydum. Yani uygulama temel olarak drag and drop ve serial port üzerine kurulu olacak.

Bu uygulamayı ilk olarak Windows için geliştirmeyi düşünüyorum. Ayrıca uygulama elektronik kontrol kartlarını(arduino,raspberry pi v.s.) kullanacağından dolayı Serial Port kütüphanesini kullanmam gerekiyor.

Gelelim sorulara;
- Görsel açıdan güçlü,interaktif ve .NET kütüphanelerini kullanabileceğim güzel bir tool önerebilir misiniz?

- Unity'e aşina olduğumdan ve kaynak çok fazla olduğundan Unity ile yapmayı düşündüm fakat Mono'da Windows Serial Port kütüphanesi buglı olduğundan dolayı takıldım ve ilerleyemedim. Ayrıca Unitynin UI ağırlıklı uygulamalar için uygun olmadığını düşünüyorum.

- .NET WPF ile devam etmeyi düşündüm ama kullanımı çok ağır geldi belki yeterli bilgiye sahip olmadığımdandır.

- QT'ye baktım bir fikrim yok ama kullanan ve öneren olursa değerlendirebilirim.

- Son olarak bu tarz da bir çok programın yazıldığını görüyorum.
Ama hiç birinde developer tool olarak ne kullanıldığı yazmıyor haliyle. Bu tarz bir projeyle uğraşmış olan varsa neler kullanılabileceği hakkında öneri verebilirse çok memnun olurum.
Arduino için yazılmış çeşitli IDE'ler - []

Yazılım dünyasına yakın zamanda giriş yaptığımdan Bilal'e anlatır gibi anlatabilirseniz sevinirim :D

          Trump’s Blurred Red Lines        

This week, Donald Trump is getting a taste of what it’s really like to be president, and his responses have bolstered what his opponents said about him in the Republican primaries and the general election—that he’s temperamentally unsuited for the job.

Suddenly Trump is facing crises in Syria and North Korea, two of the most intractable problem countries on the planet, and he has taken the worst of all possible paths on both—threatening military action, even unilateral military action, without having a shred of a plan in his pocket.

His words on Syria are particularly egregious. Earlier this week, his secretary of state and U.N. ambassador publicly said that it was pointless for the United States to try ousting Bashar al-Assad from power, that they would instead focus on destroying ISIS and leave the rest to the Syrian people. Then, on Wednesday, Trump watched TV footage of women, children, and babies suffering the horrors of a chemical attack—almost certainly launched by Assad—and told reporters, “My attitude toward Syria has changed very much.”

Throughout his campaign, and as recently as this week, Trump castigated President Obama for drawing a “red line”—threatening, in 2012, to use force if Assad used chemical weapons—then declining to cross it when Assad did just that. Trump went so far as to say that Obama’s failure to follow through “set us back a long ways, not only in Syria but in many other parts of the world, because” his red-line warning turned out to be “a blank threat.”


Now, though, Trump is saying that Assad’s new chemical attack “crossed many, many lines, beyond a red line—many, many lines.” As a result, he’s put himself in a spot where he now has to do something, lest he be likened not just to Obama, but to Obama at what Trump and other critics assail as his weakest moment.

When Trump gets his Pentagon briefing on the subject, he will discover that none of the options they lay out for taking action against Assad are good ones. Will he do something anyway, to save face? And then what happens?

This was the question that concerned Obama the most when Assad crossed the red line with a sarin gas attack in August 2013. The option that Obama was all set to put in motion, according to officials familiar with the plan, would have attacked Assad’s air force, likely destroying all his planes as they sat concentrated on a base, as well as his command-control systems. This would be done using a small number of U.S. and allied aircraft, likely resulting in no American casualties.

But then three things happened. British Prime Minister David Cameron, who had promised to join the attack, sent the notion to Parliament—which voted it down. Since the point of the plan was to punish Syria for violating international law, Obama felt he needed the legitimacy of international support. Absent that, he turned to Congress for authorization—and Congress voted it down, too (though that didn’t stop Republicans from subsequently criticizing Obama for not going through with the attack anyway).

Finally, in the course of running these obstacles, Obama contemplated the larger strategic issues. Maybe the strike would succeed; some of his advisers thought it would be so potent that Assad’s regime might collapse. But what if it didn’t? What if Assad went ahead and launched more chemical attacks? Or what if Russia and Iran, Assad’s two allies, stepped up their support, sending in troops, planes, and more. Obama would then have had to choose between two dreadful options: backing down, which would look worse than if he hadn’t taken action in the first place, or escalating, which could suck him and the nation into a civil war that he desperately wanted to avoid.

Russia then stepped in for the rescue, making a deal under which Assad agreed to surrender his chemical weapons—or, as we now see, most of his chemical weapons. Will some new deus ex machina save Trump from a similar dilemma—and if not, will he back off or sound the trumpets for a charge into the quagmire? The attack plan that Obama favored, at least for a while, might not be so enticing now: Assad’s planes are more dispersed, and his forces are entangled with Russian planes and advisers. An attack potent enough to have impact might also unavoidably draw in Moscow.

This isn’t to say that Trump should do nothing, especially after his words Wednesday. The question is what should he do? And, just as one might now argue that Obama should never have uttered the words red line, why did Trump go even further than Obama—invoking “many, many lines”—without knowing how to respond? This is what happens to someone habituated to dashing off tweets at all hours.

North Korea provides another case of Trump’s impetuousness. He is meeting Thursday with Chinese President Xi Jinping in what would be any American president’s most important summit of the year. Xi is bringing along an able crew of advisers, some of whom have closely studied American politics and Trumpian psychology. Trump comes with a foreign policy apparatus that’s staffed to a small fraction of its normal capacity, topped by appointees—Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster—who, whatever their various talents, have no experience in dealing with China.

The question of what to do about North Korea’s nuclear program tops the summit’s jampacked agenda, particularly following the latest missile test by Kim Jong-un’s government on Wednesday. In an interview with the Financial Times, published Sunday, Trump said, “If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will.” Asked if he believed the United States could solve the problem without China, Trump replied, “Totally.”

Once again, it’s the naïve bluster—the blithe certainty, untempered by the slightest knowledge of the history and politics of the region or the conflict—that sends shivers up the spine.

China’s interests in this subject are complicated. On the one hand, Xi is growing impatient with the antics of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. On the other hand, he has no desire to force the crumbling of Kim’s regime, leaving a humanitarian crisis on China’s remotest border and the prospect of a unified Korea controlled by the American allies in Seoul. Nor does Xi want to remove a threat to U.S. air and naval forces in northeast Asia, leaving them free to roam in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea, where Beijing has vital interests. Trump might nudge Xi to recalculate his interests and put more pressure on Kim—Obama did that, to some extent—but he doesn’t have the leverage to push him very far.

Meanwhile, Trump is on record: If China doesn’t solve the North Korea problem, he will—“totally.” He isn’t the first one to believe that a fierce growl and a display of arms will make the Hermit King of Pyongyang cower. Vice President Dick Cheney thought so, too. In 2003, the U.S. sent bombers and warships within striking range of North Korea, and for good measure the vice president bellowed, “We don’t negotiate with evil, we defeat it”—this was right after the U.S. military, with little effort and great speed, crushed the Iraqi army and sent Saddam Hussein running. Kim Jong-il, North Korea’s leader at the time (and the current Kim’s father) paid no attention.

But Trump probably doesn’t remember that sequence of disillusionment, or if he does, he may still think, as he does in so many realms, that he has the moxie to do things that none of his predecessors could manage.

“Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated,” Trump moaned when his attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare went up in smoke. He’s about to discover the same thing about the world.

          North Korea Is Now Trump’s Problem        

For all the storm and turmoil that have kept this president in a near-constant state of agitation, Donald Trump has not yet faced any crises (other than those of his own making) or made a single decision on foreign policy.

This may be about to change, after North Korea tested four ballistic missiles Monday morning, once again flouting U.N. Security Council resolutions that ban such tests and elevating the threat to South Korea and Japan.

No crisis is in the offing just yet, as contrary to initial fears, these were not intercontinental ballistic missiles; their roughly 600-mile flight path fell well short of the range necessary to strike U.S. territory. But North Korea is known to be developing ICBMs, and Monday’s missiles—which could easily hit American bases in Japan and South Korea—were launched from a test site that analysts believe was designed to accommodate long-range missiles.

And so the question the last four American presidents have faced, at various phases, with mixed records, is what to do about the nettlesome dictator of Pyongyang.

Even before the latest missile tests, the National Security Council had embarked on a policy review in the past week, examining options such as patient containment, pre-emptive strikes, and several courses in between. And though the senior members of Trump’s national security team—Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster—have little or no experience in Asia–Pacific issues, a few mid-level officials with deep expertise have survived the post-Obama purges and departures. If Trump is inclined to listen to specialists inside his administration, there are specialists to offer advice and context.

Still, as Trump recently discovered when he looked at health care for more than a minute, this stuff about nukes and North Korea is complicated. Bombing North Korea’s nuclear facilities and missile sites might be tempting, except for three things: Some of these facilities are buried underground or inside mountains; the location of others is a mystery; and any such strike would be an act of war, possibly prompting a wave of attacks on U.S. bases and allies in the region. The retaliation wouldn’t necessarily be with nukes: North Korea has thousands of artillery rockets, some loaded with chemical warheads, many within range of the American garrison in Seoul, only 35 miles from the border.

During the presidential campaign, Trump said he would solve the problem of North Korea by pressuring China to get rid of Kim Jong-un, or at least get him to disarm. It is true that China, as North Korea’s largest trading partner and only ally, holds great potential leverage over Kim. But other presidents have tried this approach and Beijing’s unwillingness to act has nothing to do with the skill, or lack thereof, of American negotiators. Though China’s leaders are growing increasingly impatient with Kim’s antics, they don’t want to oust him from power (which is what forcefully removing his nukes would require) for three reasons. First, China would face a humanitarian crisis in its scantly populated northwest region as millions of North Koreans flee the ensuing anarchy. Second, China values North Korea as a buffer between American allies and its own border. Third, compelling U.S. air and naval forces to maintain a presence in northeast Asia limits their firepower in the South China Sea and Taiwan straits, where China’s vital interests reside.

President Bill Clinton did put a halt to North Korea’s nuclear program (or at least to that part of it involving plutonium re-processing), with the Agreed Framework, signed in 1994, and shortly before he left office he came close to wrapping up an accord to bar ballistic missiles.

When George W. Bush was elected president, his incoming secretary of state, Colin Powell, told reporters that he would resume those talks where Clinton had left off—but Vice President Dick Cheney ordered him to take back that statement, after which Bush pulled out of all talks and revoked the Agreed Framework. As Cheney put it in his own public statement: “We don’t negotiate with evil, we defeat it.” Two years later, Cheney thought the Pyongyang regime—then led by Kim Jong-un’s father, Kim Jong-il, who’d inherited the throne from his father, Kim Il-sung—would crumble after witnessing America’s swift defeat of Saddam Hussein’s army in Iraq. Yet even after Bush turned up the volume on that message by sending an aircraft carrier and some bombers near North Korea’s borders, Kim Jong-il held firm.

Once Cheney was sidelined in the last two years of Bush’s presidency, attempts were made to restart nuclear talks—but it was too late. When Kim Il-sung first set out to build a nuclear program in the 1980s or early ’90s, he may have been looking primarily for a bargaining chip: leverage to acquire economic aid, energy assistance, and diplomatic recognition. After Bush rejected the chip, Kim Jong-il pursued nuclear weapons for their own sake. Those first two Kims had a pattern of negotiating—there was a way to get them to an agreement—and a few of Clinton’s aides decoded the pattern. But the current tyrant, far more paranoid and sadistic than his elders (who rated pretty high in both), seems to reside on a different astral plane; he may be beyond suasion or influence. The old methods probably won’t work.

Some hold out the prospect of a negotiated freeze on North Korea’s nuclear program. On the one hand, it’s a bit late: Pyongyang already has the material for at least a dozen nuclear bombs. On the other hand, there is no evidence that they’ve shaped and reduced this material in a package that could fit on the tip of a missile. So if a deal included a freeze on missiles, and could be verified, it might be worth a try. But there are no signs right now that Kim Jong-un would be open to such a deal. His grandfather, who founded the North Korean state at the end of World War II, fashioned a strategic posture that he likened to “a shrimp among whales”—a tiny, impoverished country that gains power and maintains independence by playing its larger neighbors off one another. The approach has borne fruit, and still does; why should he give up anything?

At this point, regime change might be the only way out of this mess. But that will probably take a while to accomplish—and the United States can’t, and shouldn’t, be the one to lead it. (No American president would have any desire to restore order in a North Korea that’s been suddenly beheaded, nor would he or she have the slightest idea how to pull it off.)

Meanwhile, the president’s task—really, 90 percent of U.S. foreign policy anywhere in the world—is to maintain and bolster America’s alliances. In this case, it means assuring Japan and South Korea of our commitment to their defense, moving more forces into the region if needed, and prodding China to do more. This last task is a long shot, but it did pay off, to some degree, during the Obama years, when China voted for a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning North Korea’s nuclear program, for the first time, and even joined some economic sanctions.

But before we can do any of this, the Pentagon and State Department need some deputy, under-, and assistant secretaries who have East Asia in their portfolios and who have the authority to speak for the administration—which is to say, Trump needs to nominate some deputy, under, and assistant secretaries. He hasn’t yet done this in his seven weeks as president; apparently he sees no need in having such officials on his team and—in his drive to centralize power and hold his entourage tight—may not want to fill those senior staff jobs, in order keep the State and Defense Departments weak.

Yet Trump may soon discover, possibly under prodding from Mattis and McMaster, that he can’t have a foreign policy without a foreign-policy apparatus. Which leads to another lacuna in this troubled presidency: Trump doesn’t have a foreign policy. I don’t mean that he lacks a grand strategy—grand strategies can be too grand, locking their aspiring visionaries into assumptions and actions that don’t fit realities on the ground. I mean Trump doesn’t have a foreign policy—an approach to dealing with friends, foes, and problems—on any issue, in any part of the globe: Russia, China, the Middle East, Africa, South America, or the Pacific.

What to do about North Korea’s ballistic missiles is the least of the questions we face in Asia—or, rather, it’s a subset of a larger set of questions that we face not just in Asia, but across the span of global politics. What are we doing in the world? What are our goals and interests in the conflicts where we’re fighting and where we’re not fighting? There is no sign that Trump has asked these questions, much less begun to answer them—no sign that he even knows that these are the questions to ask.

          State Department says Trump, his administration on same page on North Korea        
The ICBM has increased the reach of North Korean projectiles to the American mainland.
          Weapon Audio Replacement Module        
Weapon Audio Replacement Module
Replaces all of the projectile weaponry to newer sounds. Credit to North And South for the musket and rifle sounds. Back up your original sound file and replace it with this one.
          Bioshock Infinite - "The Citizen Kane of video games"         

After the original release of Bioshock Infinite, I couldn’t help but be taken back by the unbelievable amount of praise the game had received; and after playing the game rather extensively and having seen that the game is still receiving praise almost a year after its release, I think it’s about high time that the game got some legitimate criticism.

One of the many flaws of infinite, and perhaps one of the more controversial, is the racism subplot; so I’ll get that out of the way first. The game scarcely does anything with it, other than shoving it in the players face with signage. Despite being a game hailed as pushing the medium forward and a prime example of storytelling in video games, the racism doesn't go anywhere. It attempts to use such a sensitive topic to shock the player, yet simultaneously tries to be politically correct about it. There was no lynching, no mention of white people raping their black slaves, no disparaging terms and as a result no sort of real bite. I'd say that Infinite is more insulting as a result by undermining the kinds of issues black people had to face during the time period. Despite the time frame, Columbia isn't anywhere near as bad as many areas of the United States, which is ridiculous since we're expected to hate Columbia and those who reside there. In summary, the racism doesn't go anywhere near far enough and as a result comes off as half-assed.

Another issue is how the game handles choice and practically insults the player. One of the very first choices presented to you within the game is at the raffle, where Booker draws the number 77 baseball. The player is given the choice to either throw the ball at Fink, or throw the ball at the couple. Bare in mind that we're playing a First Person Shooter. On the most basic level, the player is required to look around and fire projectiles. The game instead opts to prompt the player, insinuating that the player wouldn't have the intelligence to throw the ball using the basic controls. This is supposedly a game that's been hailed as both "An intelligent game for intelligent gamers" and "The Citizen Kane of video games."
This leads on to the illusion of player choice. Ken Levine has stated that he's far more interested in what exactly goes on within the players mind over the outcome of the choice. However I'm willing to bet that when you opted to throw the ball at Fink, you were thinking far more about "How will this choice impact me later?"
Had control been relinquished to the player during the scene, I'm willing to bet that the majority would've thrown the ball at the couple, not even knowing that Fink was an option. This could've aided with immersion, placing the player in Booker's position; being pressured by the mob to throw the ball at the couple. None of the choices within the game truly reflect the player, if at all. The players thought processes while making these decisions are liable to be the best way to get around the system in order to gain the best outcome. At no point did any of the choices make me realize anything about myself. Though none of this ever really matters since absolutely none of the games choices have an impact on the story, which is another issue in and of itself.

This reminds me a little of that one scene in Half Life 2 when you're asked to throw the can in the bin... Only that game didn't treat you like a moron.

There's a lot of praise heaped on Elizabeth, however all of this is completely unjustified. While it's true that the game at no point felt like an escort mission, Irrational achieved this through removing Elizabeth from the equation completely. At no point did any enemy attempt to target her over Booker, nor attempt to capture her while she was out of sight. This reduces her to a non-element. She has no real place, other than throwing the player ammunition and salts that she seemingly generates out of thin air. Her mannerisms are all completely out of character. Elizabeth had hardly interacted with other human beings prior to Booker arriving. Yet as soon as she leaves, Elizabeth seems to gain better social skills than Booker; dancing with strangers and acting more outgoing than your average Disney princess. This isn't how anybody who's been kept in captivity for their entire lives acts. At all. It's jarring, irritating and a cheap way to get the player to like her. A cop out to save the writers doing their jobs properly.

Miss, isn't this your first time out of that tower since you were a small child?

The gunplay has scarcely evolved from the original, the guns themselves feeling like limp peashooters. The enemies are all bullet sponges with no sense of self preservation, which absolutely isn’t helped by the two weapon limit and low ammo count. This forces the player to use unupgraded weapons if they happen to run out of ammo for the weapons they’ve been sticking with, making combat tedious and unsatisfying. As if this isn’t bad enough, around half way through the game the weapon pool is arbitrarily doubled which only makes it more difficult to find ammo for your favorite guns when you need it. This all seems to be done in order to make Elizabeth seem like a useful companion, which is ridiculous. Sacrificing quality of gameplay in order to make your AI companion seem less useless is utterly atrocious design. None of the enemies require any skill to tackle, and hardly vary in type. You have the guys shooting at you with guns, the guys throwing fire at you, the crow guys and the handymen.

Get ready to be doing a lot of this. Truly the most thought provoking game of this generation.

This leads me onto another issue. The game seems completely content to, instead of tweak and improve features, simply rip them out instead. The original Bioshock had a hacking minigame. No, the minigame wasn’t fantastic and it did get rather tedious by the end of the game, but that doesn’t justify ripping it out completely and reducing it to a temporary cast vigor. Instead of forming an improved minigame, Irrational instead opted to cut it completely which is quite simply lazy and  reeks a lack of creativity. Lock picking is given to Elizabeth (again to make her seem less useless) and even vigors feel like uninspired drivel that are simply tacked on because it’s a Bioshock game.

Bioshock Infinite is anything other than a masterpiece. It’s not smart, it’s not fun, and it’s certainly not worth your money. The only positive thoughts I had during my experience with the game was how gorgeous Columbia looked from a distance; which was ruined as soon as I got close enough to see the disgusting textures. This is a representation of everything that’s wrong with the gaming industry. A generic First Person Shooter with a story so convoluted that it’s fans think a legitimate defense is that it’s “Just too deep for you.” For the sake of spoilers, I’ve left my thoughts on the ending out of this review. But I can promise you that the ending is just as convoluted and filled with holes as the rest of the game.

It’s bland, uninspired, dull, tedious and underwhelming.

          Japan Deploys Patriot Missiles To Shoot Down North Korean Rockets        
by Tyler Durden Aug 10, 2017 Following North Korea’s threat on Wednesday to fire ballistic missiles over Japan toward Guam, it was only a matter of time before Japan – which overnight said it has the authority to shoot down any such projectile above its territory – took appropriate steps, and according to the […]
          Discovery Channel: Ice Age Columbus        

Discovery Channel produced this docu-drama presenting the recently discovered evidence that Europeans of the stone-age Solutrean culture reached eastern North America perhaps 2000 years before Asians (ancestors of "native" Americans) entered North American from the Northwest over the Bering land bridge.  I find the drama they created unlikely, but the scientific evidence is compelling.  It appears that Europeans did in fact reach North America long before "native Americans" did. 

Here's Smithsonian Anthropologist Dr. Dennis Stanford giving a lecture on the same evidence of the prehistoric peopling of America by Solutreans, obtained by studying ancient projectile points and mitochondrial DNA evidence.

          Rifles That Made America: War of 1812        

For those that slept through most of history class, this next war might come as a shocker. The Revolutionary War wasn’t the last time America fought the British. In fact, in the War of 1812 the British even burned down the White House! America’s second conflict required a new service rifle. Two main rifles were used by the American Soldier: The Springfield Model 1795 musket and the Harper’s Ferry U.S. Model 1803 rifle. Of the two, the Harper’s Ferry Model 1803 was truly the more advanced (and will be the main focus here).
So what makes the Model 1803 rifle any different than service weapons before it? The main difference was the use of rifling in the barrel. With spiraling grooves built into the barrel, the projectiles would now spin in a pattern, speeding up the round as well making it considerably more accurate. The use of rifling would prove to be so successful that it became the dominant weapon type of the Civil War, as well as being featured in almost all modern rifle designs.

How much of a difference did barrel rifling make? After all, who needed to shoot further than the 75 yard Model 1795? How about shooting accurately at twice that distance? That’s right; the Harper’s Ferry could hit a target at 150 yards or twice that of its smoothbore counterpart. However, the superior range of rifling came at a price. Rounds back then were still loose projectiles stuffed down the barrel, and as such they heavily relied on a tight fit to ensure the round caught the rifling as it passed through the barrel. The heavy black powder of the time made the rifles foul up very quickly.

Another major advantage of the Model 1803 was the relatively smaller size than the smoothbore. On average, the Model 1803 was 8-11 inches shorter while shedding a pound of weight over the Model 1795. This greatly contributed to its use for smaller units such as snipers that could afford to quickly retreat after each shot. The weapon design would become a favorite on the frontier for its improved ergonomics.

Despite the clear advantages of the Model 1803 rifle, the War of 1812 was still fought predominantly with the Model 1795 musket. This weapon was so popular in fact that around 150,000 of these muskets were made by hand during its lifespan! It saw use from the late 1700s until the end of the Civil War. While not as revolutionary as its Harper’s Ferry counterpart (the 1795 was based almost entirely on the French Charleville musket used in the Revolutionary War), due to the fighting tactics of massed volleys at the time, the smoothbore musket still saw the vast majority of the action in American wars. The maximum effective range was still a pitiful 50-75 yards, with a skilled shooter having the ability to squeeze 3-4 shots a minute under the right conditions. At 5 feet in length, the Model 1795 was almost as long as the shooter!

Though the Model 1795 would be used in the Civil War, it would get dominated by the appearance of a new Springfield rifle: the legendary Springfield Model 1861. In the next segment, we will discuss how this dangerous new weapon would define America’s bloodiest conflict.

          Ammunition Specialist        
WORLAND, Wyoming National Guard
Firearms and other projectile weapons are only as good as the ammunition that goes in them. That makes the storage and distribution of ammunition - all ammunition - an undertaking of paramount importance. That's where the Ammunition Specialist comes in: to make sure this vital job is done correctly.

The primary responsibility of an Army National Guard Ammunition Specialist is to ensure the proper receipt, storage, documentation, and issuance of conventional ammunition, guided missiles, large rockets, and related items. These duties might include the inspection, modification, and demilitarization of various munitions. You will also learn the maintenance of nuclear weapons, as well as the handling, testing, and maintenance of missiles and rockets.

The skills you learn as an Ammunition Specialist will help prepare you for a civilian career with government agencies and private industries performing ordnance research and development. You might also consider a future as a bomb-disposal expert, gunsmith, or munitions manufacturer.

Earn while you learn
Get paid to learn! In the Army National Guard, you will learn valuable job skills while earning a regular paycheck and qualifying for tuition assistance.

Job training for an Ammunition Specialist consists of 10 weeks of Basic Training, where you'll learn basic Soldiering skills, as well as 10 weeks and two days of Advanced Individual Training. Part of this time is spent in the classroom and part in the field.

Requires military enlistment. Applicants must meet minimum qualifications. Actual MOS assignment may depend on MOS availability. Benefits subject to change.
          Comment on Warframe Update Brings New Weapon and More Changes by Nocam        
It's not a bow. It's a railgun with an explosive projectile. Penta, Daikyu, and Mutalist Cernos had a love child. For ammo issues, use Carrier. The Ammo Mutation on it works well enough.
          Galway had yielded immediately after the unreticent Marshall manner, she herself isnt carried away        
I move that this is no sense of lostness-the deep and intimate way, inhaling and inhaling, one hand and a wholesome instinct against infection, except, it seems, in the flats already. We can't be natural not to the sergeant: 'I give this person with polio would have been established, at their feet. Jim's mother she heard nothing of the prize. And we'll never tell, will we, boys?" "Yeah, you'd like that, not even guess, the diary she wrote when she went to Catlett, but made one bound for the Atlantic States were covered by a pure Gothic style. Let me rot in splendour while the car with a bunch of pills with morphine in them I began to spring at any price. My own country? You heard that he saw that we owe to the sovereignty of the curtains, the polished floors, their eyes you keep doing things your own light! A word would pass between the pages of the front edge. Only the Lord Admiral, allowed Pett to build a new material of the earth." He was employed was that of the grin reminded her that day. 'You've got to the elevation was at once in another man's offspring, you should become mere learned women; mere female pedants, as useless and sometimes striking off in passing that he understood perfectly, and patted him on his knees without having known, a heritage into which things had got there was no possibility of launching himself in the admirable principles on which Pilcher, Chanute, and Professor Montgomery were able to give your husband his sleeping draught." "Yes," she said, and now I'm down and motioning them to Mr. We heard the clock again and now obsolete instrument. Galway had yielded immediately after the unreticent Marshall manner, she herself isn't carried away by unworthy motives into a police report. Sommerville he added, "is a special interest in grabbing or choking. It was, therefore, with difficulty see the top of a dead king. Maybe you can either be interpreted by the lever set on foot and horse posts. "Then I give the front gate," she explained, as a matter of fact, in the air. I'm planning perhaps to our work for us to correct it. He filled that room with Jack Van Hay, a man with a quick glance at Brutal in an ulster over a brook full of interest in him; inside him; a faculty: but not for long, as in the Prussian service, in his Greek text , "Smitten down, blind in his town in connection with the utmost industry and integrity, favoured his first glider of rods of peeled willow, over which hurtling projectiles of fierce emotions passed back and forth, but he'd done then-you don't need to be broken across the Theatre Francaise, he had spent most of the coal-miner, and the blood is not foretold, but foreknown; not prophesied, but ascertained. To reduce these pigeon messages to the dead woman - evidently she had relaxed she had more to him as daft.
          "Last of the 8-inch Cruiser Guns"        
Nice little article from USNI's Naval History by CDR Tyrone G. Martin, USN (ret) about heavy cruiser guns, especially the
Last of the 8-inch Cruiser Guns
Heavy cruisers were a part of the U.S. Navy for about 50 years, until the late 1970s.
Almost all of them were armed with nine 8-inch/55-caliber guns of several different types whose projectiles were fired using bagged powder charges. With the outbreak of World War II in Europe, four cruisers of the Baltimore (CA-68) class were immediately ordered. A total of 24 ultimately would be ordered, with 14 entering service. Combat experience resulted in modifications, which were reflected in the Oregon City (CA-122) class, whose superstructure was more concentrated to widen the antiaircraft batteries’ arcs of fire. Three of the ten cruisers ordered were completed and commissioned.

Shortly after the Oregon Citys were ordered, a startlingly different 8-inch/55 gun became available, one that used semi-fixed ammunition and could repeat firing cycles without human assistance. This was the Mark 16, which required an expansion of the Oregon City design. Twelve ships were programmed, but with the war’s end, only the three hulls well underway were completed: the Des Moines (CA-134), Salem (CA-139), and Newport News (CA-148). These would be the last 8-inch-gun cruisers built by any navy.
Newport News was around for the last legs of the Vietnam War, arriving, I believe, soon after the North Vietnamese Army rolled south in the 1972 "Easter Invasion."

One of the lessons that seems to have been learned out of that was that semi-fixed ammunition for the
8"/55 guns was somewhat of a logistical issue for the force - there was a scarcity of it in theater - and ammunition ships entering the waters off Vietnam had to take on the remaining 8"/55 load of ammunition ships leaving the area to load out other munitions in Subic Bay. As I recall, there was a requirement to document loads of that ammo by message to keep the fleet higher ups in the know on where Newport News 8" was and in what quantities.

In the larger logistical sense it points out the problem of having to cater to one ship's needs while most of the rest of the NGFS force was using 5"/38 or 5"/54 or even 6"/47 rounds.

Standard ammo types make logistics easier.

Newport News was a beautiful ship, though.

Photos from here - USS Newport News Official Website
          Hamas exposes Israeli campaign of deception of Israelis, Palestinians and the world        
With 5 Israelis dead, and over 425 Palestinians dead, 8,500% more Palestinians than Israelis suffering casualties (not factoring in the injured), we ask what started it?

These are the Israeli government's assertions:
- The war is on Hamas and not on the Palestinian people.
- Hamas broke the ceasefire and so instigated the attacks a week after its 6-month conclusion.
- The rockets that Hamas fires legitimate the response currently being undertaken by the Israelis.

Looking at each of these assertions, we see that in targetting mosques, businesses, civil establishments, the police force, the university, a hospital, homes - Israel may be hitting at the political wing of Hamas, but they are certainly also attacking Palestinian civilians who utilise, live in, live off and depend on these institutions and facilities. Further, civilians being killed are unarmed non-combatants, thus making such attacks war crimes in international humanitarian law. Second, the Palestinian people voted Hamas into power in January 2006, making Hamas the legitimate political representative of the people; even if the assertion that only Hamas was being targetted, which is false as the evidence shows, this would still be an attack on the Palestinian people's democratic choice of a political representative, thereby making it an attack on Palestinians in general.

Second, Israel broke the 6-month long ceasefire when it killed six Palestinians in Gaza on November 13 and prior to that on November 5 when it blew up a tunnel and also killed around six Palestinians. See the BBC here and Press TV here. Therefore, there is absolutely no truth to the assertion that Hamas broke the ceasefire. Another condition of the ceasefire was the opening up of the border crossings to allow in aid, medical supplies, fuel and food into Gaza. This was another violation on the part of the Israeli government who repeatedly closed the border crossings. Also important to note is that 49 Palestinians were killed by the Israelis during the ceasefire; Israel did not suffer a single casualty.

Finally, there is absolutely no 'proportion', a buzz word among the human rights activists sitting in comfortable chairs in the UN, between "homemade projectiles that make more noise than damage" and the Israeli response of a seige on Gaza preventing electricity, food, medicines, fuel and other essentials from reaching 1.4 million Gazans, not to mention the humiliation, uncertainty of death, and the terror instilled in those on the receiving end of such a policy.

And then at 1130am on December 27, sixty Israeli war planes dropped a hundred bombs on Gaza city, killing close to three hundred Palestinians. And the operation continues.
          Lord Of The Rings And Gritty Hack-And-Slash Team Up        

I’m a big fan of Snowblind Studios and their particular brand of Diablo-style loot-fests, as seen last generation in the forms of Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance and Champions of Norrath. My biggest concern when I heard about their latest project, Lord of the Rings: War in the North, was whether or not slicing through legions of monsters and gathering piles of armor and weapons could work with the rather serious tone of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings lore. Today I got my first look at the game during E3, and I’m still not entirely sure about that concern.

Snowblind says it’s trying to create a “darker, grittier” version of Middle Earth, something even more dire than the tone that I was already worried about. The demo begins with a group of heroes flying to the entrance of Mirkwood to search for the Brown Wizard, Radagast, a counter-point to Gandalf who has not been terribly fleshed out in existing Lord of the Rings media.

Once on the ground, the party of heroes is almost immediately engaged in combat. War in the North focuses heavily on co-op, and it’s immediately evident that teamwork will be required to survive. Magic-users can pull up a huge shield that protects party members from incoming projectiles. Once it’s up, they’ll need to move to within melee range so the beefier melee fighters can take bad guys out. The shield only lasts for a limited time and has a cooldown before it can be used again, so when it drops, party members will need to keep their distance from the enemies and pick them off with crossbows.

The combat is definitely more up-close and intense than Snowblind’s previous games, and the enemies come in smaller but much deadlier packs. The conversation between the three developers playing reminded me of an intense raid in an MMO. Surely that was staged to some degree, but from the gameplay alone it seems like you’ll need to be communicating with teammates fairly constantly to succeed.

The need for working together was driven home one more time in the demo’s final encounter, a giant ogre-like creature. In Lord of the Rings, huge enemies like this simply can’t be taken down by a single hero. At one point, he grabs one of the heroes and raises him in the air menacingly. When this happens, your partners must immediately start bashing away at the creature, trying to get him to slacken his grip. If he isn’t worn down quick enough, it appears that he can essentially auto-kill one of the heroes.

Still, not everything in War in the North is foreign to fans of Dark Alliance and Champions of Norrath. Enemies still drop progressively better loot, and you still can (and will need to) down potions with a simple button press at any point during battles. This time around, though, potions are created by human characters who can find and harvest herbs in the world, one of several unique racial abilities thatwill be put to use to help the party out.

At this point, I can say that War in the North definitely looks nice and has a lot of potential to be a great return to form for a developer that crafts excellent hack-and-slash dungeon crawls. My main concern has shifted from the tone to the focus on co-op. I love a good co-op game as much as anyone else, but I’m worried that the level of teamwork necessary to survive won’t likely exist in solo play, where computer-controlled bots take over as your allies. That said, if sticking strong to a cooperative structure allows them to make an exciting adventure while staying true to the source material, I’m sure there are plenty of Lord of the Rings fans out there who will not be disappointed.

          Pressure Equalized Rainscreens (PERs) for High-Wind Conditions        

The typical challenges faced by designers of multistory building envelopes pale in comparison to wind forces of tornadoes and hurricanes. This course investigates how pressure equalized rainscreens (PERs) address heat loss, air infiltration, moisture migration, fire safety, and lateral forces—even under extreme wind and projectile testing. Aluminum composite material/metal composite material PERs are outlined in detail vis a vis standard tests, types of fabrication, and relevant building code requirements.
          My First Experience of LARPing        


Sorry this is late, but wanted to have photos included and there were many they needed to go through before posting

As some of you know who actually read half the stuff I write, Sunday was my first time LARPing. Told myself that I would write about this first experience and that is what I'm going to do whether anyone cares or not.

So basically what happened was I originally planned on going by myself, but after a night of drunk bowling and watching movies, me and a friend decided that it was something that we wanted to do together. So we headed down there, and what started out looking like just an ordinary park turned into something awesome. We drove in to park and all we see is a bunch of people in some epic looking gear, be it armor or just the creativity of them as a whole. Was a bit intimidating walking past all of them to register feeling naked, and knowing we weren't allowed to wear that stuff for another 4 weeks being newbies.

So the minute we get to the registration desk we stand there wondering just what we are supposed to do. They said the best way to start off is to mingle and find some country to join. So we started asking each other who to approach, but the guy right in front of us just so happened to be on his second week and quickly befriended us. Introduced us to his friend, and then from there we met up with the country the two had joined. The "Chosen Blood" is the name of the country. Lawful Chaotic to my surprise. I always wanted to play chaotic, but never really expected to end up in that position so suddenly. Definitely something different because they are what's considered the "heavies". Which means they wear a lot of armor and wield the biggest shields, or tower shields.

So we got the introduction speech, and from there the real fun began. They gave us a country tabard, and then started training the basics. That meant using 1 handed swords to learn how to both strike and dodge. After that we were given the tower shields and boy were those a doozie to control. Getting the stance right and being able to turn it into an extension of yourself was no simple task. For me mostly because I don't work my left arm out as much as I do my right or should. My friend on the other hand found it a challenge just because he's left-handed and mot were right-handed. Good nonetheless for him just for the fact that eventually he'll learn how to make use of both arms in combat. Sadly he did break his nose because again that shield is no walk in the park to wield. Aside from that the vets really made it all so fun. They really knew what they were doing and showed a lot of passion for it as people who had been LARPing for probably 8 years to 15 as a whole. The other newbies were fun as well, I mean there was even this one girl that was so hardcore about it that it was certainly intimidating when she goes charging at someone with her mace.

After the training came what could only be described as war. Taking what they taught us and going countries vs countries which turned everyone bloodthirsty. I mean when the adrenaline started to get pumping, you feel like you could take the world on. Even after all the strikes, jabs, and projectiles flying at you. The pain was nothing when you were having so much fun, none of it really registered till I got home and it was then that I knew I was completely committed to LARPing. I don't regret this for one second and having a friend with me through that experience made it all the more better. Now we just have to make it through these next 4 weeks to show our metal so that we can get our classes which we have chosen to be a mage/disciple(me) and cleric(friend). In this for the long run, and hopefully can afford all the necessary gear.

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          Scotland 2013 -- Castles & Highland Cows and more        

Welcome back, Blog Fans.  We've just returned from another wonderful week in Scotland over the Bank Holiday and "half term" break.  Recall that we spent a week in western Scotland at this time last year (link).  As tempting as it was to return, we decided to tour the eastern half this year.  It resulted in a very different but still enjoyable experience.

So, you know how long-winded I get after a week long holiday.  Hunker down, have a cup of tea and enjoy the ~200 photos.

We love Scotland.  The scenery is beautiful.  It's open and spacious.  Everyone is friendly and hey, the beer is better too (okay, that last one is just for me as the rest of the family doesn't care).

We logged 1250 miles (compared to 1400 last year).  We picked up a quick visit to Hadrian's Wall (J) on the way back as well.  Zooming in to the Scotland portion:

Our two bases for the week were in Crail, near St. Andrews (D) and Aboyne along Royal Deeside (H).  On the way up we stopped at Rosslyln Chapel (B) and the Linlithgow Palace (C).

Going from Crail to Aboyne, we stopped at Glamis Castle (E), Edzell Castle (F) and Dunnottar Castle (G).

For reference, it took about 5 hours to get to Rosslyn Chapel and another 1.5 to get to Crail.  Crail to Aboyne took most of the day with the stops but was probably about 2.5 hours of driving time.  Our route home took 10 hours but that's with 75 minutes or so at Hadrian's Wall and 4 pit stops.

We do realize how lucky we are not to have to fly or hire a rental car to do this.  In fact, we only needed two tanks of diesel for the week!

Saturday, May 25 -- drive up with stops

We got a nice early start on Saturday morning.  The weather was outstanding over the weekend and generally good all week.  We only had one afternoon of rain.  Our good fortune with Scottish weather continues!

Our route to the first stop had us taking an old, scenic route to Edinburgh.  I had to stop for a quick photo (above) to capture the scenery.

Our initial destination was Rosslyn Chapel.  Its recent fame is due to the final scene in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code book (and movie) but it is spectacular in its own right (site link and wiki link).   The chapel was established in the mid-15th century and contains many stone carvings inside.  After the Scottish Reformation (1560) it was largely dormant until Queen Victoria visited in 1842 and "suggested" that it be preserved (it re-opened in 1861 as a Scottish Episcopalian church).

Photos were not allowed inside.  We were treated to a nice tour/talk by one of the staff.  Highly recommended.

Our next stop was Linlithgow Palace (link plus wiki).  From wiki:

The palace was one of the principal residences of the monarchs of Scotland in the 15th and 16th centuries. Although maintained after Scotland's monarchs left for England in 1603, the palace was little used, and was burned out in 1746. It is now a visitor attraction in the care of Historic Scotland.
large fountain in the center courtyard -- plaque mentioned that Scottish King James V was sending a message to English King Henry VIII regarding Scotland's Independence.
We had fun exploring the various rooms -- here's Alex looking out one window
 folks enjoying the fine day on the adjacent property

Kuk's turn from the window

Kuk and me in a few years?  I had to chuckle at this older couple who had nodded off.

Two of the cutest wee Scottish laddies outside a nearby church before a wedding.

we walked down to Linlithgow Loch ourselves

Our final destination for the day was our home for the first half of the week.  Crail is a small fishing village in East Neuk (i.e. near St Andrews) and made a nice base.  We stayed in the Hazelton Guest House and had a wonderful time. 

Kuk and I took a short walk around upon arrival while the kids unpacked and re-connected (wi fi is a must these days).

I had a feeling that this rocky coast would be in my future before we would leave.

a wee bit of beach near the harbor

the harbor

the view from our room -- that is the Isle of May in the distance; we would visit on Monday

Sunday, May 26 -- St Andrews

We spent a very full, but relaxing, day in St Andrews on Sunday.  I picked Sunday because the Old Course was closed for play (and therefore open for walking).  We parked by the golf course(s) and took this photo of the hotel.

Coincidentally, friends and fellow ex-pats Tim and Lori were spending the weekend in St Andrews with another pair of their friends. Lori was a golfing widow for the day so we invited her to join us.  Glad you could make it, Lori -- it was a great day!

Our first activity was a pleasant stroll along the adjacent West Sands Beach.  This was high on my list as it is not only picturesque but it also the place where the opening scene of Chariots of Fire was filmed (You Tube link).  [This was a fond memory for me as it was one of my Dad's favorite movies/soundtracks.]

of course, I made the kids run along for a photo up as well

Nicole giving it a better effort (Alex was a little confused on why he was running)

this was also re-enacted by Mr. Bean during the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony

Alex quickly split off from the rest of us for the long walk down to the water (at low tide)

he ran to catch up though

 two horses running along the beach too

We walked the entire length of West Sands including around into the estuary.   There was probably a way to make a loop out of it but I didn't figure that out.  We hopped up on one of the courses and witnessed a major duff off the tee and figured we were safer back on the beach!  Once back, we did take a few more photos of the Old Course.  Here is the famous one of the 18th green (on the right) and 1st tee (on the left).

holding the 18th hole flag (though it wasn't actually on the green at the time -- the green was blocked off)

after a bite of lunch we walked up to the ruined St Andrews castle -- this view is from the castle looking back to the cathedral up the coast

. . . and one of the castle (or what's left of it).  Quite a bit of history with the castle with the wars of Scottish Independence and later with the Scottish Reformation (wiki link).  Cardinal David Beaton imprisoned and later burned Protestant preacher George Wishard in 1546 in front of the castle walls.  Later that year, Wishard's friends snuck in disguised as masons and murdered Beaton and hung his body outside for all to see.  Protestants took hold for awhile and thwarted an underground (tunnel) attack by digging their own countermine (tunnel)!  Neat stuff.

Kuk with Lori -- again, glad you could join us Lori

 our turn

we enjoyed relaxing in the sun on the castle grounds -- Nicole made a monster daisy chain

Alex stormed the hill


nice one of Nicole

Alex preparing to roll down the hill (it's not always about the history you know)

next stop was the (ruined) Cathedral -- like many, it did not survive the Reformation

artsy shot #1

 view of cathedral grounds and St Andrews from the tower

artsy shot #2

We walked back to the golf courses and bid adieu to Lori who re-joined Tim and the gang.  I thought I would post this info board about the golf courses.  The famous Old Course is but one of many.  There are actually 6 courses on the site plus one more off site.

The Old Course is considered the "Home of Golf" and dates back to the 1400s.  Interestingly, King James II banned golf in 1457 because folks were playing too much instead of practicing archery.  The ban was lifted in 1502 by King James IV since he fancied a round himself.

The course initially had 22 holes but some were thought too short so were combined with others to reach 18 which is how the standard was established.

The "New" Course opened for play in 1895.

Another neat feature is the Himalayas Putting Green run by the Ladies Putting Club and open since 1867.  There are 9-hole and 18-hole courses.  For a grand total of £4 we played the 9-hole course.  We had so much fun, we actually did it twice.  We quickly gave up keeping score.  I imagine we were close to a 72 with putting alone (though it is set up considerable tougher than a regular green).  What a hoot.

Alex at the ready.

We later walked some of the Old Course -- perhaps about 4 holes out and 4 in.  Here's Nicole in one of the famous pot bunkers.

 family shot near one of the larger ones (2nd or 3rd hole -- sorry I didn't note it)

ground level shot

Nicole on the 17th green

the famous 700 year old Swilcan Bridge

parents' turn

kids' turn

Fantastic day in St Andrews.

Monday, May 27 -- Anstruther and the Isle of May

Monday was our day in/around the fishing village of Anstruther.  We had booked a boat trip out of the Isle of May for the only sailing of the day at 2:15.   We decided to visit a small cheese shop/farm and then the Fisheries Museum before hand.

Well, the St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese shop (link) was a little disappointing.  They were making cheese but it's a small operation and they just had this one vat going.  Oh well.  We did watch a short video and read the info boards.   We'd seen similar (and bigger) operations in Cheddar and Normandy. 

We did try a few samples and bought some for later (along with a few other souvenirs) so all was not lost.  It would be a nice place for lunch but the timing didn't work out for us.

Next up, in Anstruther proper, was the Fisheries Museum.   It's much larger than the little storefront would have you believe.  It was well done and we were glad we went.  We especially liked the parts on the early fishing industry.

Fishing was hard work.  It was a family, if not community, affair.  The women, in particular, seemed to have loads to do.  For instance, baiting the long lines with over 1000 hooks.  There was another photo of them carrying the men to the boat so they wouldn't get wet!  Not to mention all the "regular" chores that they were responsible for.

I also enjoyed this display on herring packing.  Since herring is fairly fatty, they have to cure the fish quickly.  Two to clean and one to pack in the barrel with salt.  If I read it correctly, they could clean 60 fish a minute -- hard to believe.   The packer would fill 3 barrels an hour.  The process became regulated to ensure the highest quality and was known as the Scotch Cure.

 finger clothes or cloots to protect hands from the salt water or a slip of the knive

I've placed most of the food items at the end.  However, since this place is fairly famous, I'll include it here.

Supposedly some of the best fish-n-chips in all the land.  Not bad -- I could definitely tell the quality.  But you know what?  I guess I'm not a fan, no matter how good (it's the fried bit that I can't handle in large quantities).

We treated ourselves to ice cream afterwards.  We all had small cones except for Kuk who had to try an "oyster shell".

For the main event, we took a boat ride on Anstruther Pleasure Cruises (link) to the Isle of May.  The ride was just under an hour each way and we had 2.5 hrs or so on the island.  The island is known for its bird nesting, in particular the puffins.  We also might see a seal or two.

Monday was not the best weather day.  It was cool/cold with a stiff breeze and the threat of rain.  This was our only day to make the trip (they didn't sail on Tuesday) so we decided to gear up and give it a go.  When purchasing our tickets, she mentioned it was a "bit choppy" today.  Hmmm.

Given the weather, we decided to sit "inside" on the lower level.  Big mistake.  Less air and much harder to keep a view on the horizon.  Sky.  Water.  Sky. Water.  Pretty much the longest hour of my life.  The family was looking pretty green but only one of us lost our lunch.  Yep, this guy.  The staff were quick with the bags and I did have the foresight to get one before it was too late.  I stumbled out to the fresh air and carried on.  I'd say about 10-20% of the patrons tossed their cookies too with a good chunk of them coming from the inside seats (though Nicole witnessed some projectiles off the top deck -- yuck).

[We weren't looking forward to the ride back but it was slightly calmer and I got the outside seats and some motion sickness tabs and did better.] 

Okay, anywho.  On to the island.  Was it worth it -- heck ya!  [they did mention that this was the best day of the season for puffins -- likely due to the rough seas]

Our first taste with some puffins and other birds in the distance.

Eider ducks (males) -- we would stumble across the females along the path quite frequently

like this one

puffins and gulls


puffin nests -- these were all over but I didn't see any puffins near them -- I think they were from previous years as they not yet laid their eggs

more puffins -- a little closer this time

quite sure this is the coldest I've every been on May 27th -- we had hats, gloves, neck warmers, multiple jackets and over-trousers

more puffins

one off by himself

a bigger colony of Razorbills (I think)

a longer view of the island

one more solo puffin

a gull squawking at us because the path (and us) were close to her nest

ready to re-board for the trip back -- great day despite the rough seas

Tuesday, May 28 -- Palaces

This day was about visiting two grand palaces:  Scone ("scoon") and Falkland.

Scone Palace was about 75 minutes away and our first destination.  We then circled back for Falkland which was closer.

Arriving at Scone we were welcomed by the Highland Cow herd (always good for nationalism and tourism).  They are really cute and quite a hit with this family.

 feeding time

 nosing around a root vegetable


bear with me -- too many cute photos to cull

friendly too

 whatcha lookin at?

only a couple more

 okay, last one -- at any rate, I'm sure the kids thought this was the highlight of the palace

nice peacock on the fence

and finally the palace

No photos inside.  Official website here and wiki here.  Scone Palace is privately owned by the Earls of Mansfield whose family who have been connected with the site since 1600 when it was bestowed as a gift from the King for some timely intervention.

The area is known as the place were Scottish Kings were crowned and once housed the Stone of Destiny before it was taken by King Edward to Westminster Abbey.  (It is now "on loan" at Edinburgh Castle after 600+ years in England.)

The house is nicely decorated and has the wow factor you might imagine.  Certainly a worthy visit.

replica of the Stone of Destiny

the Chapel on Moot Hill -- legend has it that this hill is formed by medieval noblemen's home soil that they brought with them to stand on when swearing to the King (they were expected to do this on their own soil but it was too dangerous for the king to travel to them)

 okay, one more before leaving

Next stop was the Falkland Palace (link).   This was the country residence of the Stuart monarchs for nearly 200 years.  Though I could take photos, I didn't really have any worthy ones due to the dark lighting.  I enjoyed re-learning some of the Stuart history (the King James I to VI, Mary Queen of Scots, unification, Charles I & II, etc.) but the rooms and furniture didn't do much for me.  We've seen quite a few places similar to this one so it didn't really stand out.

We had a little extra time in the afternoon so I took Alex down to the beach in Crail.  I knew he'd like the rocks and he must have thrown about 500 of them.

Wednesday, May 29 -- 3 Castles on the way to Royal Deeside

We said farewell to our hosts at the Hazelton Guest House and started our journey further north.  However, we had 3 planned stops to make on the way to turn it into a relaxing day.

First stop was Glamis ("Glomz") Castle (link).   Glamis is also privately owned; in this case by the Earls of Strathmore for over 600 years.  Viewing is by guided tour only which lasted about 50 minutes and was very well done.  This was probably our favorite of the week.

Glamis has some more recent history as well.  It was the home of the Queen Mother Elizabeth (i.e. Queen Elizabeth II's mother) who married the Duke of York (Albert/Bertie -- aka King's Speech guy) and became Queen when Edward VIII abdicated thrusting Albert to the throne as King George VI. 

The Queen Mother purposefully had Princess Margaret at Glamis in 1930 to have a royal born in Scotland -- the first since 1600.

Again, great visit even if I don't have a lot of photos and boring facts to go with it.

 aww -- they have one too

On our drive to our next stop I had to pull over to try to capture some of the color we were seeing.  We saw the bright rapeseed flowers all over in both England and Scotland.  Quite impressive in some cases.

I'd never heard of rapeseed.  A quick google search turned up the fact that is called canola oil in the States (though that may be a specific variant).  Rapeseed used to be high in toxic erucic acid.  It was re-bred in Canada and called Canadian Oil, Low Acid, aka Canola.   At any rate, it's all over the place and quite colorful.

Next stop was Edzell Castle (link).   This peacock must be tired having come all the way from Scone.

This was also a ruined castle that we had fun exploring.  It was unique in that the owner essentially made some bad investments (e.g. Scotland Colony group) and went bankrupt back in the 1600s (?) and the castle fell into disrepair. 

The main selling point for the castle is actually the gardens.  Unfortunately, we were too early for the blooms but we could still see the unique carvings and set up.   One side displays the seven planetary deities, another the seven cardinal virtues and the third the seven liberal arts.

 along the planet row -- Venus and Nicole

 the arts:  Geometry

 and a view of the garden from one of the towers

Third stop was the very impressive sea-side castle Dunnottar.  Here is an aerial view (from a poster).

 very impressive location

Hi Wizards!

Exciting news to share today! Today we introduce a huge re-vamp (totally no reference to Vlad there) of our spell system as well as release some exciting new DLC! First of all watch the below video and then read on for the full breakdown of what you can expect to see in today's update!

Free Spell Update
- Improved Spell System and Effects. There are now even more spell combinations to make use of, most of the existing spells have had a graphical overhaul.

- Added Steam and Ice as Individual Elements. Just as it was in Magicka 1 these will take up one slot in the element queue:

  • Steam is made from Water and Fire
  • Ice is created from Water and Cold

- New Element! Poison! As above, this will take up one slot in the element queue. Poison is created from Death and Water.

- Added Poison State. When poisoned, the target will take damage over time. Damage done is dictated by the target's total health and the amount of Poison applied, the target will also become slowed. The poisoned state can be extended by applying more Poison to the target. The poisoned state can be removed by applying the Life element.

- Changed Ice Projectiles. Pure Ice is now a channeled spell, while Ice + Earth will work as it did before the change.

- Changed Projectile Charge Time. Earth and Ice + Earth have had their charge time reduced, meaning they will reach full effect faster. Damage for these spells has been re-balanced to work with this change.

- Re-balanced Mines. Mines now deal more base damage and reach their full damage faster.

- Changed Earth and Ice armor to also Reduce Push Received. When using an Earth or Ice armor, you will now also be more resistant to push effects . The amount of resistance depends on the amount of elements used when creating the armor.

- Changed Pure Shield. Duration has been increased, and will decrease faster when taking magic damage.

- Re-balanced Barriers and Elemental Walls. Physical barriers (Earth and Ice) now have a longer duration. They have also received a buff to the amount of damage they do when imbued with other elements.

- Overhauled the Challenge Experience. Reworked the challenge menu and added leader-boards.

There are also two bugfixes included:

- Mine Damage on Clients Fixed. Fixed an issue where clients mines would always deal damage as if they were fully charged.

- Fixed Sometimes not Getting Achievement for Completing Campaign. This issue should now be fixed and you should be able to get the achievements.

New DLC!

The Magicka 2 Gates of Midgård Challenge Pack ($3.99) A set of three new Challenge Maps, perfect for sampling new spells

The Magicka 2 Three Cardinals Robe Pack ($4.99) A stylish new selection of wizard-wear (not stain resistant; highly flammable; do not eat). Three robe and item sets are included, each with their own theme.
          Game Update - 13:00 CEST        
Hi folks,

Servers will come down at 13:00 today, patch notes below!

* Barriers
- Added small decal for Earth Barriers.
- Ice Barrier HP increased from 150 to 500, increasing its lifetime.
- Ice Barriers are now immune to Cold and Water damage.
- ED now spawns half as many barriers as EDD. EDX remains the same.

* Mines
- Are now ignored by Lightning Bolts.
- EW/ES now spawns half as many mines as EWW/ESS. EWX/ESX remains the same.

* Storms
- Damage unified among different Storm sizes. The amount of elements now only controls size, ergo EFF is larger than EF but deals the same damage.
- Damage changes: EFF increased from 40 to 80, ERR increased from 35 to 45, EQQ changed from 25 push to 30, EA changed from 100 to 80, EAA increased from 75 to 80.

* Beams
- Life beam base "damage" changed from 300 to 250.
- Steam base damage increased from 40 to 90.

* Lightning Bolts
- Life lightning base "damage" increased from 65 to 75. (AAW now also heals)

* Projectiles
- Steam base damage increased from 100 to 170.

* Spray
- Steam base damage increased from 225 to 250.

* AoE
- Steam base damage changed from 150 to 125.

* Midsummer's Blessing
- Duration changed from 10sec to 4sec.
- Initial Delay changed from 2sec to 0.5sec.
- Heal amount increased from 110HP/sec to 375HP/sec.
- Fixed some sound issues.

* Fire Tornado
- Changed duration from 12sec to 8sec.
- Velocity changed from 6m/sec to 3m/sec.
- Turn time (time it takes before it starts to turn) changed from 2.5sec to 1.5sec.
- Turn speed (time it takes for it to complete a turn) changed from 0.5sec to 1sec.
- Range increased from 1.5 to 2.
- Damage tick rate changed from 0.4sec to 0.5sec.
- Fire damage increased from 35 to 150.
- Magick damage changed from 35 to 0.

* Tidal Wave
- Earth damage increased from 30 to 65.
- Magick damage changed from 30 to 0.

* Conflagration
- Damage changed from 500 to 450.

* Frost Bomb
- Direct hit damage changed from 110 Cold to 110 Cold.
- AoE damage changed from 150 Cold to 100 Cold.
- Range changed from 5.5 to 6.

* Revive
- Revive and heal amount changed from 750HP to 500HP.

* Displace
- Min range changed from 20m to 40m.

* Raise Dead
- Added follow state for zombies when no enemies are near.
- Changed deterioration-damage-rate from 1sec to 2sec.
- Deterioration damage unchanged at 50.

* Water
- Movement speed penalty/bonus changed from -25% at 0 Affinity to -20%, and from +25% at 100 Affinity to +20%.
- Removed all AoE range modifiers. (Self cast, barrier/mine explosions, projectile explosions)

* Cold
- Removed all AoE range modifiers.
- Cold base resistance penalty/bonus changed from -50% at 0 Affinity to -35%, and from +50% at 100 Affinity to +35%.

* Lightning
- Removed self cast AoE range modifier.
- Reduced Lightning Bolt max length penalty/bonus from -30% at 0 Affinity to -20%, and from +30% at 100 Affinity to +20%.
          Wrist Rocket        
I carry a slingshot with me everywhere I go for barking dogs and asshole chickens making bullshit in the night.  But they are also good for killing time and even hunting if the area you happen to be has critters of the right variety.  The point is that there are few weapons that a regular person can carry wherever they want in the world and few long range weapons.  That asshole with the barking dog who lives on the third floor of a gated complex and told you to "fuck off" when you asked him about the barking dog-yep, sweet sweet revenge.  I carry the regular old wrist rocket that most of us in my generation had, and I keep a half dozen surgical rubber slings for it.  I pick the rubber up whenever I am back in the states.  Another important tip for the intrepid traveling slingshotter is to keep the rubber in a zip lock bag and stick the whole sling shot in a zip bag when not in use, especially when in tropical climates.  The rubber will break down quickly if not cared for properly, but keeping in the bag shielded from the elements will extend the life of the rubber-maybe forever, I don't know if there is a limit, but leave it out in the tropics and you will get about a month.

So whats out there for the slingshot toting traveler?  Well I have already told you what I carry and that type of wrist rocket is quite common.  The average fifteen dollar wrist rocket from ACE Hardware in the states with the pea sized lead ammo is lethal up to about fifty feet in the hands of the someone who knows what they are doing.  There is a whole new level though which I just found out about today and I would never have guessed how they could make something as simple as a slingshot any better than the regular wrist rocket. 

The key to making an even more lethal slingshot shot is counter balancing steel ball stabilizers extending forward of the grip and also down.  This helps to eliminate unintentional movement after the release and before the projectile is clear of the weapon.  I can see how this would make a big difference and though I don't own one yet I will definitely get hold of one when I am next stateside.  The image below tells it all and for more info about acquiring this little beauty follow this link      

Barnett Pro Diablo catapult

          Taxi Cab Robbery        
Ok I have been thinking about this for quite some time now but recently I was lucky enough to find some video of a taxi cab robbery in Manila traffic.  It happens all the time but obviously there is not a helo right over the robbery very often.  The video has helped me to perfect my plan of action should this happen to me.  I have tried to find the video I saw on TV on the web but unfortunately couldn't even get a good photo.
But basically they just rush the car yelling and try to get the doors open.  As soon as they get the doors open they pull everyone and everything out of the car and take what they want before running away.  Obviously they are targeting white foreigners as they figure that is more a payout.  


I originally considered my hunting knife-which I usually have with me at all times, as the ideal slash and stab technique sounded good.  I think that leaving the window down about ten inches-which I know is strongly discouraged, is the best course of action.  It is likely that the robber will see the window down and think that just going for the locks themselves will be quicker than threatening the driver.  As is the case with all robbers they are looking for the easy target and will have already decided that you are just that if they try this in the first place.  Ideally they will put a weapon through the window first-I doubt these guys think much, then you can just grab the wrist and cut the tendon where the hand and wrist connect.  The weapon will drop and the man will probably just go away.  Personally I would disable his other hand as well just to make sure he doesn't try for retribution.  Obviously you need to be able to go hard to execute this and your knife needs to be razor sharp setting beside you always while in the cabs.  The problem is dealing with multiple attackers.  It is hard to put two men down with a knife unless you're Jason Bourne, and you could get put down pretty easy.

I have came to the conclusion that short of having a hand gun or alien laser pistol a stun gun is our best bet.  Not the kind that shoots the projectile-though those are badass too, but the regular old school one that looks like a hand held shaver.  When that arm comes through the window, BANG, that assholes laying on the ground crying for mommy.  If there are two I am pretty sure the other guy will book it outta there unless he has a gun, then he may just shoot you in the head.  That's why it is good to have a partner when traveling the wild parts of the world.  If each of you has a taser then you can execute the defensive action at the same exact time which would most likely eliminate the need to worry about a gun. These guys aren't soldiers and I am sure that if they have a gun the very first thing they will do is stick it through the window and wave it around while screaming.  That's when you slam their hand forward into cab and hit em with the stun gun.  If the video I watched was pretty standard action-which I think it was, the attackers will hit each door at roughly the exact moment so as to maximize the surprise factor.  This works to our advantage as the attackers will not be able to learn from their partners failure. 

The final step is to always carry heavy duty zip-ties, these things are always handy, particularly in securing assholes in uncomfortable positions.  I would recommend hitting the bastard one more time with the taser-just for good measure and then put the arms behind their back and zip them together using one zip-tie per wrist looping them together in the middle. Then do the same with the feet, and just for fun you can tie the feet to the wrists using one more zip-tie.  A nice little gift for the cops.

There's my plan in a nut shell, I have stayed awake many-o-night thinking about this as there have been many of these taxi cab robberies lately.  I really think that if you just stay calm and keep the tasers at your side always in the cab you can easily overcome the attackers and keep your valuables.  These people are desperate and most likely wont even have a nice knife, and having a gun would be even less likely as they would have probably sold it already for cash.  Good luck and remember stay alert stay alive, your only a victim if you choose to be.

          Vice President Kills Former US Secretary of the Treasury        

"Sir, I challenge you to a duel!" While these words today are a joke, and at most would give you the opportunity to slap someone with a glove, not so long ago these words meant serious business. Since the dawn of time, men have always had the urge to show their male dominance. And what better way to accomplish this than by a potential deadly duel? But dueling could not be over a quibbling matter, no, dueling was reserved as a way to restore honor to one's name.

I just started reading Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, by Joseph E. Ellis, and the first chapter tells of the most famous duel in American history. In reading, I ran across a passage which informed the reader of the probability of injury. "But the inherent inaccuracy of a projectile emerging from a smoothbore barrel, plus the potent jerk required to release the cocked hammer, ignite the powder, and then send the ball toward its target, meant that in this duel, as in most duels of that time, neither party was likely to be hurt badly, if at all." (1) I also found numerous other sources that indicated the same notion. "The chance of dying in a pistol duel was relatively slim. Flintlocks often misfired. And even in the hands of an experienced shooter, accuracy was difficult." (2)

If this was such an ineffective way to duel, why even take part? I realize that the chance of dying is possible, but like all sources state, not likely. It almost amounts to dueling with billiard balls, which two Frenchmen did in 1843. (3) I am guessing that neither of these gentlemen died-well, not from billiards dueling anyway.

The Burr-Hamilton duel, which would become the most famous duel in America's history, took place on July 11, 1804. This duel, which took the life of Alexander Hamilton, would forever change the country's opinion on dueling. Dueling, just as slavery, was a nasty, customary element of the era. The custom of dueling started in medieval times and came to America, with the Pilgrims, on the Mayflower. Only one year after establishing a colony in Massachusetts, in 1621, Edward Doty and Edward Lester had a sword duel. The punishment for this "crime"?-the two men spent one hour with their ankles tied to their necks. I would say the punishment hardly fits the severity of the crime.

In researching this topic, I ran across several stories about the duel between Andrew Jackson and Charles Dickinson. This 1806 duel led to the death of Charles Dickinson and an injury resulting in a lifetime of pain for Andrew Jackson. Andrew Jackson-yes, Old Hickory himself-fought in many a duel, and was known to leave a few lifeless bodies in his wake. In the earlier referenced source (2), there was a quote, "In the eyes of many, Jackson's behavior amounted to little more than murder." Not only had he killed a man in this duel but he also broke a rule, which by today's definition would label him as a cheater. This leads me to a question. Let's say that Republican Nominee for President, Mitt Romney, participated in a duel in his younger years. Would he be elected president? Would the press not make this issue the issue? I think so!

Interestingly enough, somehow this history of dueling turned into a political survey and not so much a history lesson. But I digress. As America became a civilized country dueling, like slavery, would be seen for what it truly was and like slavery be abolished

          Optical Metrology Paving a New Era in Measurements and 3D Scanning        
Optical metrology employs light as the ultimate medium of measurement. Perhaps one of the most advanced aspects of modern science, the use of lasers and light to measure parameters of an object can be as complex as it is interesting. Optical metrology not only helps the scientists measure parameters of objects really far away, but it can also be used to get a highly accurate measurement of objects in order to get a 3D scan of it. Case in point, the use of optical metrology by the U.S. Army in creating replicas of objects through 3D scanning. A team of researchers from the U.S. Army had recently shown how they can generate accurate 3D measurements of any object and use these measurements to create an identical object. They believe it to be an innovative step towards obtaining defects in vehicles and projectiles, as well as measure far away objects to assess the level of threat. The scientists are planning to use their technology in collaboration with NASA to achieve higher levels of speed and efficiency in optical metrology. James Lackey, the director at AMRDEC, stated that optical metrology comprises a critical advantage for multiple fields, including defense, in terms of obtaining dimensional data which can be processed using software and algorithms to generate the necessary results. He also mentioned that optical metrology can be performed using handheld laser scanners. While they can provide high levels of speed, they are currently not good at producing edge details, nor are they effective in scaling down massive objects or objects that are close to the scanner. But in terms of relative progress, the use of handheld scanners is a massive boost to the global market of optical metrology. The National Metrology Center has also provided pivotal advancements in optical metrology tech. Since one of their major tasks is to create innovations in the field of measurements to improve the rate and efficiency of measuring technologies, optical metrology has received a large amount of attention from its NMC scientists. They are using these technologies in fields as diverse as microscopic measurements to the 3D scanning of solar power cells.

Original Post Optical Metrology Paving a New Era in Measurements and 3D Scanning source Twease
          The Queen        
Music production is, for the most part, done. There's just a couple songs left to polish, likely to be finihsed during the week.

Now the production is being focused on the Metroid Queen. It's proving to be a very interesting process. I was able to make a nice looking animation cycle for its legs, using the knowledge I gained while developing the other Metroids. It doesn't look as static and robotic as it used to.

The Queen has its original Metroid 2 attacks, and I'm experimenting with some new ones. The thing is, the limited space Samus has to move around the room also limits the variety of new attacks I can add without feeling cheap and frustrating to avoid.
Unfortunately, I can't fill the screen with projectiles.
So, new attacks need to be mostly timing based, making them fairly easy to predict when you learn them, but also making the fight feel predictable and formulaic.

While the Queen fight works right now, it's going to take a bit of experimentation to make it feel a lot more unique, without changing the foundations of the original fight.
It is, after all, the most important boss in the game.

Balancing and playtesting might take longer than expected too, but I want this fight in particular to feel fair and rewarding. Stay tuned for next month's update, hopefully she'll be finished by then.
As always, thanks for following the project.
          Start Spreading the News...        
For some time now Frankie singing "New York, New York" has been my ring tone. I have loads of pictures to share, but can't figure out the how tos just yet. But it feels so very odd to have not been on my beloved blogger in so long. So where should I begin?

On Wednesday night two weeks ago, I sat around my kitchen table in Chandler Az and laughed and chatted with my three very best friends and my sister dearest. I cried a rather ugly cry when it came time to say good bye to each of them. And in many ways I don't think it has STILL hit me that they are not right around the corner from me.
The flight with mamba my darling brave kitty cat was...trying. On both of our nerves. The calming meds laughed in both our faces and did little to actually put her to sleep. In fact on a rather particularly shaky landing into Chicago it was both incredibly sad, and funny in a way only a delirious woman such as myself could find funny when mamba projectile vomited out of her kennel on the plane. yep.. I was that girl.
She is so happy now though in her new digs, and his making less and less hissing sounds at her new buddy new roommates female cat.

I love New York. It i exactly what I wanted it to be without it trying too hard. I came at just the right time to still see the beautiful changing leaves and have the fun brisk walks with colorful scarves and cute shoes. SHOES! Oh the shoes. How they have let me down. I am not sure if I'm the only one, or if no one else is talking about it. So let me be the first. MY FEET KILL. I mean this in a very real way. Waiting in long lines at amusement parks feet has NOTHING on this feeling. Hiking all day in poor quality shoes have NOTHING on these feet. These feet burn they hurt so bad. Throbbing would be better then the amount of pain I get in my feet. If You say "try inserts" I might just come through my screen and strangle you..a little. Because I have currently THREE different kinds in my one pair of shoes. So. Sex in the City can suck it because ain't no way I will be jaunting around town in high heels for the look of it. I'm getting all "working Girl" in this bitch and wearing practical ugly shoes with a cuter pair hidden n my giant baglady bag.
Well... that was a rather unexpected rant. Needed however.

I have started to train at the Tequila Bar and Resturant and I love it.  work with some very nice and talented people. Singers dancers acters.. everyones got something. Except this girl (me) who is an  massage therapist :) There have been a few celebs who have come in which is fun and also a test of just how creepy one is. Such as when the girl from Boy Meets World came in and I had to resist the urge to reach out and pet her hair. I didn't of course.. but man did I want to. Ugh red flags right! lol

I have learned three things thus far about New Yorkers. One: they aren't that mean.. and if you are being yelled at by one of them you probably deserve it. Just like the woman I yelled at on the street three days in of being here.. you just cant STOP in the way of everyone come on now. Two: They aren't looking up not because they are jaded and no longer appreciate the view of the buildings.. its because we are trying to not trip, or step in something sticky and yucky. And Three: Theyre kinda awesome. I cant explain the last one. But when I was riding on the subway one day tired and unwilling to give my seat up to anyone, I watched and joined in as everyone in the car got up and gave their seat up to the tired and cold runners of the New York City Marathon runners complete with a round of applause each time more got on. They surprise me, delight me, and inspire me.

So glad I have arrived. So glad that I have you all back too :)

I will write again soon..must go paint my bedroom!

 I will also be catching up on all YOUR wonderful blogs too so look for those late comments !

          Painless Needle-free Drug Delivery System        
Needle-free Drug Delivery System and Advantages The needle-free drug delivery devices market [] is an emerging market. Injections are the popular mode used for delivering drugs to treat and prevent many disorders. However, it is an invasive method to deliver drugs, which leads to tissue damage. Also, some discomfort and pain is associated with this method. The needle-free drug delivery system is relatively a pain-free system, which is the major contributing reason to the growth of this market. Needle-free drug delivery was developed to reduce the number of needle stick accident and other problems associated with injections. Needle-free drug delivery technology is developing and it has the potential to become more efficient, convenient, and safe. Some of the advantages of needle-free drug delivery system over the traditional needle injections include -   It prevents puncturing of skin and does not lead to bruising or bleeding. It administers drug faster and better compared to invasive drug delivery system. The stability of drug for storage is better as it is delivered in dry form, particularly for water-sensitive drugs. The needle phobia is eliminated. Self-administration of medicine is possible with needle-free drug delivery system. It provides improved immune response to vaccines.   Needle-free Drug Delivery Devices and Techniques The needle-free drug delivery devices market according to the technology is divided into jet injectors, novel needle-free technology, competing needle-free technology, transdermal patch technology, and inhaler technology. The market according to application is divided into vaccine delivery, insulin delivery for diabetes, pediatric injections, pain management, and others. According to the system, the needle-free drug delivery system is divided into three main categories which are liquid injections, powder injections, and projectile injection. The powder injection system consists of a chamber which is filled with a solid drug and a nozzle which is used for firing the drug into the skin by using the power source which usually is compressed gas. This system has a diaphragm on any side for covering the drug chamber. In needle-free liquid injections if the pressure is high enough by the fluid during the intimate contact with skin, then a hole will be punched into the skin which will deliver the drug into the tissue and under the skin. These systems utilize gas or spring drug loaded chambers and nozzles. Market Overview The above listed advantages of needle-free drug delivery system are the driving factors which contribute towards the growth of this market. However, this technology is expensive and many are not aware of how to use these devices which tend to restrain the growth of this market. The market of needle-free drug delivery devices is categorized according to geography into Europe, North America, Asia-Pacific, and Rest of the World. The major key players in this market are Glide Pharmaceutical Technologies Ltd., Antares Pharma Inc., 3M, Pharmajet, Injex Pharma AG, and Zogenix Inc. These market players gain profit on the basis of qualities such as company overview, business strategies used by the companies, financial overview, product portfolios, and the innovative technologies they have. Competition between these companies is high and this market also has threat from new entrant companies. Even though, there are many benefits of the needle-drug delivery system, there are some disadvantages too. This method is expensive and complex; also not all systems are fitted into a standard size. To use this system one has to learn how to use and maintain the devices. This mode of drug delivery is not applicable for intravenous route. However, technological advancements will help to make this drug delivery system more affordable and accessible, which will help to boost the growth of this market. About us is the most comprehensive collection of market research reports. MarketResearchReports.Biz services are specially designed to save time and money for our clients. We are a one stop solution for all your research needs, our main offerings are syndicated research reports, custom research, subscription access and consulting services. We serve all sizes and types of companies spanning across various industries. Kindly visit:

Original Post Painless Needle-free Drug Delivery System source Twease
          Iran Unveils 2 New Defensive Achievements        

The home-made products were unveiled by Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan in a scientific festival here in Tehran on Monday, held to introduce the latest achievements brought by the Iranian Armed Forces' industrial researchers.

The first prize in the festival went to the military experts who manufactured an advanced technological product, namely a smart seeker nose cone that is mounted on the ballistic missiles with pinpoint accuracy.

The new product, already in possession of few developed countries, is exclusively mounted on the strategic weapons, and plays a significant role in the sphere of missile capabilities.

Brigadier General Dehqan also unveiled another indigenous military product, a composite armor.

The high-tech armor enjoys a unique type of yarns in its structure and has been manufactured on the basis of shear-thickening fluid (STF) technology, enabling the product to behave like a solid when it encounters mechanical stress.

The home-made armor is even resistant to armor-piercing projectiles with steel core, and also meets the global standards of the military equipment.

Getting advantage of the new armor in Iran’s military equipment will decrease by 76% the weight of the armors that are installed on the tanks, armored personnel carriers and other vehicles.

In a similar development in December, 2013, Dehqan unveiled a dozen home-made technological products that are aimed to be used in the country’s cyber sectors.

An “Indigenous and Safe Operating System” was among the 12 products unveiled at the time.

          Infamous: Second Son - Review        

By: Steven Santana

It's a beautiful city you get to run around in

Infamous Second Son is missing something that made the previous entries in the franchise special. The comic book aesthetic is toned back to four cutscenes, moral choices fail to change the game in any significant way and the plot doesn’t supply any motivation until late in the game. Regardless the gameplay is super fun, and the city of Seattle is beautiful, but this is not enough to save Second Son from falling short of its potential.

An odd way to open the game, spray painting

In case you don’t already have a basic understanding of the game thanks to numerous trailers, here is the gist: Second Son takes place seven years after the death of Cole MacGrath. In the events after Cole’s death, the Department of Unified Protection is formed to hunt down and capture the remaining Conduits, now dubbed “Bio-terrorists.” Delsin Rowe is a graffiti artist as well as his tribe’s local delinquent. His brother, Reggie, is the local sheriff, and often ends up having to arrest Delsin for his acts of vandalism. Both are Akomish Native Americans, whose territory lies at the shore of the state of Washington. Brooke Augustine is the director of the D.U.P. and a Conduit with power over concrete. While hunting down renegade conduits in the Akomish reserve, she tortures Delsin and his tribe. This drives Delsin to travel with Reggie to Seattle, now under lockdown by the D.U.P.

You can tell she's evil because of the red glow and they don't show her face (Villainy 101)

It has been a long road to getting Second Son. First shown off at the reveal of the PlayStation 4, it was given a presentation that played on the buzz of big brother watching you. Now that theme is only shown when Delsin destroys a DUP camera and comments, “Peeping tom.” The one consistent theme throughout Second Son is that Delsin enjoys his powers, the opposite of our previous protagonist. Reggie has some potential to butt heads with Delsin, yet is full of contradictions. Reggie starts out arresting Delsin for tagging a billboard, and then joins him on his redemption quest to Seattle, always offering a helping hand despite Delsin’s knack for murder, continued tagging and general destruction of the city. In fact you rarely even see Reggie. He is present on-screen in the opening, when confronting escaped conduits, and only near the end in order to kill him off. Despite the lack of a real relationship, I did feel sorrow witnessing Reggie let go of Delsin’s hand to die in the water below, and brought anger into the subsequent battle with Augustine.

Reggie gets very few on-screen scenes with Delsin

Augustine herself is a flat villain, easy to hate due to her effective performance in the opening cutscene, in which she causes Deslin and your Akomish relatives to suffer. In the final battle you’re given a look into her motivation for current actions. This was a lame “every villain is a hero in their own mind” plot device that I was fully aware of while watching the cutscene. After seeing previous conduit memories of their experience in Augustine’s hands, all pity was lost and there was no angle you could show me where Augustine was justified in her actions. She was sufficiently antagonistic and evil, but a one note villain who offered no depth.

Augustine is a one note villain

Your other conduit friends also suffer from a lack of character and a meaningful relationship. Fetch, a former addict who, while under the influence of drugs, murdered her own brother. This serves as a great backstory and offers so much potential. However your only interactions with her are an annoying boss battle, her tagging along as you gain powers, and finally a karma mission. And that’s it besides a cameo at the end where she shows up to help you out. It felt empty and short. Dialogue after your karma mission with her also show evidence that she was a one night stand for Delsin, as afterwards you only talk to her in cell phone conversations and the aforementioned cameo in the final mission. This is followed beat for beat by Eugene. You meet him after another annoying boss battle, he helps you absorb some more core relays and then you do a karma mission and poof, gone until a cameo in the end. Eugene’s backstory is not as interesting as Fetch’s. He was bullied as a kid and had the power to bring his video game to life, the generic World of Warcraft MMO knockoff.

No you can't replicate this when you get neon powers

The boss battles are generic and boring. Starting with Fetch, you are placed in a closed down theater full of convenient neon signs. You’re tasked with draining the signs of power while Fetch constantly blasts you with her lasers. However once you’ve drained all the signs the real battle begins. With all the neon signs gone you also have no way of regaining health and are forced to hide behind pillars and junk piles long enough to recover. Fetch is always putting you in her sights though, which caused multiple deaths. As an aside, the difficuly levels (Easy, Normal, Expert) have no real difference besides how much damage Delsin can take, and even then I had a hard time differentiating the tolerance between my Normal and Expert playthrough. Between the battles with Fetch and Eugene you face off against a concrete soldier while Augustine goads you overhead. This boss battle follows the stereotypical “memorize my attack pattern” repeated in the end boss. Euguene’s battle would be the worst if it were not for the drawn out nature of the finale. With him, you’re stuck in a video world of floating platforms with lava underneath. The platforms frequently fall into the lava below when you’ve depleted a certain amount of his health, requiring you to fly your way to others. And by fly I mean fail to reach the raising platforms in time and jump through lava. However the final boss fight takes the cake. Augustine willingly lets you absorb her powers, putting you at level 1 concrete with no attacks to utilize. Euguene grabs some core relays and slowly gives them to you, allowing you to start doling out some damage. However your base attack does minimal damage and the missiles that proved so helpful with previous powers only does a bit more. Augustine, now in a scorpion-like form, because “end boss,” has one attack where a multitude of concrete projectiles are sent your way and slightly track your movement. Getting hit by one sends you into your damaged animation and if you luckily don’t get caught in the architecture thanks to the constrained space, you won’t immediately die from the second barrage.

Your lackluster source of motivation for 7/8 of the game

I mentioned before how Reggie’s death did stir some emotion within me, and I felt sympathy for Delsin’s loss and hate at Augustine for causing it. However this occurred very late in the game, with only two story missions following the events. In the beginning the motivation thrust upon you is guilt over causing the torture of the Akomish people. You never see any of them besides Betty, that near senile grandmother character we can mostly relate to with our own family. She gets very little screen time, which means my sympathy for her suffering is also very little. The opening itself is full of exposition and foundation setting for the rest of the game, but is boring to play and slow. Whereas the first Infamous opened quickly and with quite literally a bang, this one doesn’t even begin in Seattle and instead features a linear pathway used as the tutorial section to slowly explain the controls. There is also no option to skip this section upon a second playthrough, and puzzlingly no option to skip cutscenes as well.

Not pictured: 10 seconds later he's enjoying it

Delsin upon gaining smoke powers has a small freakout but after saving his brother from a fallen tree/car combo is pretty enamored by them. It’s a very quick transition and only done in the span of less than 5 minutes. After this jarring change in attitude Delsin never changes. His character upon entering Seattle and the finale is very much the same person. He doesn’t grow, and the only mourning we see after Reggie’s death is seen in the good ending where he paints a mural in memory of his brother. Besides that we only get a vengeful Delsin given the choice to kill or spare fellow conduit Hank as well as Augustine. And again, the opportunity to have him play off of Fetch or Eugene are lost due to the minimal amount of time spent with them.

You'll repeat this mission ten more times

The shortness of the characters also applies to the overall game itself. There are 17 story missions, with only two main parts of the city. The plot should take less than 10 hours, depending on how much side activities you plan on participating in. Seattle, though smaller, is beautifully rendered in Second Son, every block has so many little details to it. From the wet splotches on the ground and streets to the structure of buildings that aren’t just flat low resolution textures but have crevices and parts that jut out a bit more. Traveling around Seattle is fun, and there is also thankfully a lack of fog found in earlier GTA games. I can at any point climb up a building and know I can travel to that far off block across the water. Character models are also great; the faces look good and never came across as uncanny valley.

Delsin doesn't change throughout the game

The game on a whole is much more realistic, starting with Seattle not being a fictional city inspired by a real world city. The plot also attempts to reel in the comic book aesthetic of the previous games, starting with the word of the day, “bio-terrorist” which is shoved down your throat. I loved the comic book cutscenes which are now relegated to portraying the backstories of the conduits you interact with. They could have been used more but at least they’re still present. Moral choice is another staple of Infamous and unfortunately those are pretty weak. You’re given very few good/evil choices throughout the plot. There’s an  inconsequential one in the opening that no matter which you choose, the consequence of the Akomish being tortured remains. Then you have choices with each conduit: Fetch, Eugene, Hank and Augustine. Again, the consequences are insignificant. With Fetch and Eugene you simply do a different mission based on your choice. With Hank literally nothing noteworthy happens, he lives or dies and nothing else. The overall ending decision with Augustine was very much like the ending of the first Infamous, with both conclusions being very much in the same spot. Either Delsin is a hero and people love him or he’s  a villain and everyone hates him. The only other significant difference is in the final cutscene where you either return and save your people starting with Betty or return and are rejected by Betty. The evil ending also has a nice touch where you perform a karmic bomb with your smoke power, presumably killing your tribe.

Neon is best for combat

Now Seattle is under control of the DUP when you enter, but slowly you can take over the city block by block by destroying their RV and then performing the same repetitive missions. You get the same exact missions no matter what part of the city you’re in. There’s finding the spy among civilians, finding a dead drop, spray paint stencils, destroying DUP cameras and finding blast shards, all of which culminate in a district showdown, a fancy term that means big battle. Previously blast shards used to be collectibles you would find on the map and sometimes required you to search in hidden areas, now they’re marked on the map and carried by little drones. This takes away the exploration aspect and an element that extended playtime, as finding that last blast shard could take quite some time. Blast shards have also replaced the XP system that used to upgrade powers. Instead of gaining experience from combat and stunts, you now upgrade powers by spending blast shards. This takes away the necessity to complete side missions in order to gain more XP to level up powers. Instead now all you have to really do is find all the blast shards once you’ve taken out the DUP communication hub. The missions are just not very inspired, even the first Infamous had some special ones that pitted rival gangs against each other, conduits included. Instead in this game you face the same foe in both areas of the city, the only difference being the ones found in the latter half of the game are a bit more armored up. This lack of variety greatly contributes to the overall uninspired feeling of Second Son.

Spray painting ended up converting me to its cause

One side activity, the spray painting, was at first a bit annoying. It requires you to tilt the Dualshock 4 sideways and rattle it before using the Sixaxis  to aim and fill in the stencils. After I got used to the controls it became a fun side activity to perform, ending in a unique piece of artwork depending on if you chose the blue or red design. Absorbing the elements is now assigned to the touchpad and the sound transfers halfway through the animation from the TV to the controller’s speaker. There is also a moment early on where you are required to use the touchpad to align a finger with a spot onscreen, but is never used again. These are nice additions, but do nothing that a controller couldn’t do before. Climbing is a big part of traversal early on and is floatier than before. Delsin doesn’t have as sticky hands as Cole, and when he fails to make that jump upwards he ends up falling to the bottom, a frustrating occurrence. Once you gain neon, and especially video, climbing becomes obsolete however.

Video makes traveling so easy and fast

Smoke is the default power and by far the coolest looking. Shooting up and out of air vents did not get old during my entire playtime, and the way it looks around Delsin as he glides and dashes through the city is just amazing. Neon is best used at night for full effect and great for fights, especially when you gain the ability to slow down time with good karma. Video is a bit weak until you upgrade it thoroughly but is the fastest for traversal. You don’t get to play around with concrete until after the credits and it’s the powerhouse of the bunch, though you can only absorb it from fallen DUP soldiers.

The comic book cutscenes are rare and missed

As always I simply had to play through twice in order to see the evil playthrough, since as everyone else does, I go good the first time. While disappointed by the lack of a substantial difference I still had lots of fun getting to wreck the city and kill everyone I saw. While there is a lot wrong with Infamous Second Son, the gameplay is just so fun that I didn’t let all those complaints effect the fun I was having fighting DUP soldiers and running through the beautiful city. Infamous Second Son may not be great, and may make me rethink my views on previous entries, it’s still a very fun, and very beautiful game worth getting if you have a PS4. Overall I would give Infamous Second Son a 7.0 out of 10.


          Thanksgiving Week~ ER trip        
If you hadn't noticed, I did not post many blog entries this week. Thanksgiving week was....interesting to say the least.

Kids were out of school, that had no school...which meant chaos at home. Luckily we didn't have big plans for this week. I did not make a big production of the meal. We had tacos and tamales for Thanksgiving day and on Friday I made a turkey with mashed potatoes. Simple right?

Well Friday things got crazy. We had a mishap with a stocking holder falling on my 9.5 months old head and us watching him carefully. He seemed fine all day. Then night hit, and the throwing up started. Of course this is when I turned to Google to see what it said about head injuries, and guess what one of the symptoms was? Yep..throwing of course I start to panic. My husband and I agreed that if he got sick one more time we would call the pediatrician. Well not even 10 minutes after those words left my mouth, Jake projectile vomited all over my husband and my bed. Immediately we call the pediatrician and gave her the details. Of course since he is so young she said that he needed to be seen at a ER, just in case it was a head injury and not just a bug.

Hubby ran off with Jake and I stayed behind with the big kiddos. Panic and worry set in. I was literally sick to my stomach with worry. I was texting my husband asking for a play by play of what was going on. Of course most of it was simple," We r in the waiting room. He seems OK", "Wait, he just threw up again." And finally they were called back and a doctor ordered a CAT scan just to be safe. Luckily the CAT scan showed nothing! It was negative. The doctor said that he had a bug that is going around. If he was able to hold down some pedialite then he could come home to me, if not then he was getting a IV and a admission.

Fortunately, my son is a trooper. He is a tough one. He was my most difficult pregnancy, and by far my easiest baby(other than the scare we are talking about right now). So I knew that he would be the fighter he has always been, drink that pedialite and come home to me.

And he did.

Other than being exhausted, he has done wonderfully! Saturday we kept him on just a pedialite and water diet. He was not happy. He was so hungry but I wanted to make sure his tummy had settled down. Today, he has kept down oatmeal, cheerios, gerber banana puffs, and a banana. So tonight, I'm finally going to let him have some milk.

*Cross your Fingers* for me and for him! ;)

          Rafting the Colorado        

Not quite twenty-six years ago, my wife, daughter and I rafted the Colorado River with an experienced river guide. The expectations were explicitly communicated by her advising us to “... remain in the raft at all times and follow my instructions to the letter without fail.” Also, if, by chance, we were ejected from the raft for any reason, the guidance was to “immediately assume a fetal position so your toes or feet won’t be trapped by the rocks below, otherwise, the surging river will then drown you.”

It was exciting, if not, altogether, quite exhilarating as we donned our life vests and were provided real-time role modeling as to how to paddle, shift seating positions and, periodically, to even use our hands to push away when the raft came into gentle contact with larger boulders. The guide forewarned us at the moment of first launch “plan on getting very wet with water that is very cold.”

Early in the voyage, the river was unusually polite and friendly, hardly the stuff of anticipated Class II, III or IV rapids. I wondered if we had been duped by the slick marketing pamphlet into gearing up for what was turning out to be an uneventful ride on still waters. Of course, “all good things must come to an end” and our lazy meandering started to incrementally speed up.

The guide was a weathered, athletic, no-nonsense individual who was clearly in her watery element but with the additional attitudinal caveat that the river was clearly THE dominant force to be reckoned with and mostly on her idiosyncratic, if not altogether autocratic, terms.

At times, we were instructed to paddle going with the current’s flow in order to speed up the movement of the raft so as to go up and over smoothed stone projectiles rising modestly from the water. At other times, the orders were to paddle hard going against the current’s flow in order to retard the speed of the raft so as to avoid crashing into much larger or more jagged boulders in the water. And, at still other times, the exhortation was for all inhabitants to shift their positions so as to re-weight the raft allowing it to partially lift up on its side permitting safe passage through narrow openings.

Only after the river’s fast and furious nature had fully satisfied itself in having its way with us, did it revert to its initial hospitality, eventually, granting us pleasant respite within a completely placid area only slightly removed from the turbulent movement of the river. We disembarked, temporarily, to explore our new surroundings, forage for small rocks infused with thousands of garnets and partake of refreshment before completing the remainder of our trip.

Fortunately, no one was injured, no one was ejected from the raft and no one wore a single piece of clothing that was still dry. However, the memories and experiences of my rafting the Colorado River have continued to reverberate with me for more than a quarter of a century. I have come to appreciate that rafting any river is actually a marvelous metaphor for living one’s life! Sometimes, you must “go with the flow” of the river of your life. Sometimes, you must “go against the flow” of the river of your life. Sometimes, you must engage in a sort of “musical chairs” where either you “assume the position” or, alternatively, “change your position.”

The “river of life” is an heuristic analogy to the “river of your life” and while it may be construed an errant’s fool to paddle upstream a downstream river, sometimes, that is exactly what the circumstance may require, if not dictate, in that particular space and time of your life.

Rafting the Colorado was a peak experience for me and, in retrospect, it remains a great mentor for me as to where, when and how I must always be actively engaged, personally responsible and immediately accountable for all of my words and deeds, at all times, no matter what current the river of my life has in store for me.

Author Note: Dr. Larry B. Gelman is a Clinical Psychologist and a Personal Mentor

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          Hubble Captures Deep Impact's Collision with Comet        

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured the dramatic effects of the collision early July 4 between an 820-pound projectile released by the Deep Impact spacecraft and comet 9P/Tempel 1. This sequence of images shows the comet before and after the impact. The visible-light images were taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys' High Resolution Camera.

          Comment on Italian American Museum, Mulberry Street, NYC by New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Vomiting in the Big Apple – Part II | Oh God, My Wife Is German.        
[…] We walked, talked and snapped pictures of everything — even taxi cabs hauling ass in front of the Italian American Museum, apparently. We even enjoyed a gigantic thermos full of coffee, which I promptly spiked with […]
          Man gets hit while filming son fire toy bow and arrow        
Hilarious footage has emerged of a man getting hit by a toy arrow after trying to film his son firing it. The video, captured outside a home in Denmark, shows the man instructing his 5-year-old to fire the arrow in his direction. Underestimating his son's accuracy, the projectile ends up sailing past the camera and hitting the man in the eye. "I asked for it..." the filmer wrote online.
          School Gardens To Benefit From Flying Food Waste        
Last year, they ate bugs. This year, they're turning compostables into projectiles. All to benefit school gardens. The folks at REAL School Gardens are at it again.
          A Closer Look At Dracula's Vampiric Powers        

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 marks the first time in series history that players control the Prince of Darkness himself (excluding that lovable tyke Kid Dracula). Gabriel Belmont has become Dracula, and his former life as a warrior of God has imbued him with some formidable abilities. We spoke with producer Dave Cox about the Dark Lord's vampiric powers, complete with exclusive concept art and examples of these evil tricks.

"We wanted Dracula to be a very powerful character but at the same time, we didn’t want him to be overpowered," Cox says. "So we very carefully selected the powers and abilities that he would be able to wield. We took inspiration from the older Castlevania games and vampires from other media in general to arrive at the final list. We tested certain abilities in gameplay and anything that smelt like being over powered we scrapped. Our ultimate goal was for the character to be powerful but temper that with a strong strategic element in any power that he had access to."

With those key design tenets in place we'll take a tour through the abilities that Konami is ready to reveal at this time.

Mist Form

Dracula can transform into a elusive vapor. Becoming a cloud of floating particles allows him to reach new locations or evade unwanted enemy encounters. Once in a scuffle, Dracula can use his mist form to phase through enemies and avoid taking damage. Fans of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night's mist form shouldn't expect Dracula to float around the game world like Alucard, however. It sounds like Dracula's vaporous skill is slightly more grounded.

Bat Swarm

Vampires are famous for their ability to turn into bats, but Lords of Shadow 2's Dracula uses them in a way more similar to Batman. Dracula can summon bat swarms and bend their will to his own. These flying mammals can be directed to distract enemies and even the odds in mismatched encounters. When facing multiple enemies, Dracula can unleash his bats on an enemy to stun them and temporarily remove them from the situation.

Konami is hesitant to reveal why a vampire as powerful as Dracula would need to sneak by enemies, but Cox did offer a bit of insight. "What I can say is that there are some distinct moments in gameplay when we require the player to take a more sneaky, stealthy approach using certain abilities like distracting an enemy or glamoring them to possess their body and pass by unnoticed," he says. "Dracula begins the game with many of his powers missing and rushing in with just your whip can prove foolish. These are special moments that give the player a break from the norm."

Take a look at a demonstrative animation of Dracula summoning his army of winged helpers:

Vampiric Glamor

In Bram Stoker's Dracula, the iconic vampire charms a insane asylum inmate to do his bidding. Similarly, Lords of Shadow 2's Dracula can glamor his foes when they are unaware. These enemies can then be directly controlled by the player to interact with the environment or access new areas. Glamoring enemies is a great way to use these dim-witted pawns to open doors or preemptively take them out of a battle.

Dragon Form

At the end of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (watch this episode of Spoiled! to learn more), Gabriel Belmont says "...I am the dragon, Dracul! I am the prince of darkness!" Calling himself "The Dragon" wasn't just flashy lip service. In Lords of Shadow 2, Dracula can literally transform into a dragon and obliterate his enemies. These fantastic flying creatures exited eons ago in the Lords of Shadow universe, but Dracula's unique ability lets him become one in the present. He combines dragon scales with a mysterious talisman to unlock this dark power, which allows him to quickly turn the tides of battle.

We asked Cox whether Dracula's dragon form is on a cooldown timer of if he needs to find new resources for each use. "Dracula’s dragon form requires dragon scales to use and once used, the player will need to find the requisite number of dragon scales to perform again," Cox says. "This ability is very powerful and can get you out of a jam when push comes to shove."

Here's a storyboard sketch of Dracula's transformation into a Dragon:

Shadow Daggers

We already know that Dracula uses his own blood to form a glowing red whip he uses to lash his foes. He can also cut his wrists to focus his life force into daggers. These projectiles can be used to deal a powerful blow and destabilize enemies.

Many of Dracula's powerful abilities are dependent on his supply of blood, which can be refilled by biting the necks of stunned enemies. We asked Cox about this design choice. "Blood drives Dracula’s abilities," he says. "Collecting blood from enemies allows Dracula's abilities to be used, if you cannot master the focus system then you will not have access to all of Dracula's abilities and powers. Why? We want players to play well…if they do, they will be rewarded with a vast amount of powers and abilities that will allow them to take enemies down easier. If they don't play well, they will struggle to finish the game. they will get frustrated and will get their asses handed to them by the bosses and creatures they will face. Play the game and use the mechanics and you will be a very powerful vampire lord and feel awesome doing it."

Seal of Alastor

In addition to Dracula's latent abilities, he also collects relics and powers that unlock new potential. The Seal of Alastor is an item that can be shattered to unleash the soul of a legendary warrior. Once activated, Seal of Alastor unlocks all of Dracula's weapon skills regardless of his progress. This temporary access to a slew of powerful moves tilts the scales in Dracula's favor while it lasts.

Stolas' Clock

The clocks of Stolas are some of the most precious relics in Dracula's world. The demon prince Stolas enclosed the ashes of a thousand dead bodies in these twisted hourglasses. These clocks slow time when shattered, allowing Dracula the upper hand in battle. He also accrues more experience from his kills while its effects last. 

These vampiric abilities are just a slice of the dark powers available at Dracula's blood-stained fingertips in Lords of Shadow 2. MercurySteam's creative flair for destroying terrible monsters is intact with this sequel, and we can't wait to test drive them when the game releases on PS3, 360, and PC on February 25.

For more on Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, read our preview from this year's San Diego Comic-Con

          Kate Upton ‘Cat Daddy’ Bikini Dance Extended Play Version        
  Kate Upton Full Version of the 'Cat Daddy' Screencaps
Individual of our favorite videos of the year, not quite got a longer and uncut, and you ın fact fantasize look at ıt.

we persist bittersweet on this uncut Terry Richardson gets to peel wonderful burning girls nekkid ın his apartment meme, we endure zero but overly-amped and a little chagrined to endure at the point at the fortuitous to behold the long-form sculpt of the Kate Upton disreputable "cat Daddy' bikini caper from Kate Upton projectile for Terry's camera.

lest we fail or cease to remember or recall or think of the GQ photos that at last arose from their partnership, purely epic

kate-upton-full-cat-daddy-dance ile EgotasticMedia

          THAAD Anti-Missile System Notches 14th Successful Test Intercept        
A  THAAD anti-missile system hit-to-kill projectile launched from Alaska destroyed an intermediate-range missile target over the Pacific on Tuesday in the 14th consecutive successful test...
          Workbench #6: Hello Tearout My Old Friend        

I don’t know why but I have S&G stuck in my head, hence the title for this entry.

I started milling the legs! After putting some epoxy on all 4 sides of each leg and then scraping most of it off with a carbide paint scraper, I started jointing the blanks for the legs. Here you can see one of the longer blanks with my two Home Depot push blocks (a.k.a. grout trowels) and my Harbor Freight infeed and Rigid outfeed set up. The Harbor Freight roller stand was only $14 but I have my doubts about whether I like it. It is hard to get tight enough that the weight of these boards doesn’t cause it to drop. It really worries me when I get to the 10 foot pieces for the top. And, as you can see, I need to get some darn dust collection!

Aside from some test pieces this will be my 1st experience jointing and planing boards to a specific size for use in a project. In reality, it doesn’t matter if my legs are exactly 5”x5” or even if they are all the same size but I am taking the time to try to get them perfect as practice for more important projects. At the jointer, the hardest part so far has been jointing a second side square to the 1st. The wood is so big and heavy and takes up so much space on the jointer that it is very hard to maintain pressure against the fence when there is a slight gap at the bottom. If the gap between the face and the fence is at the top that’s easy but due to the grain orientation I can’t always choose. All-in-all, I was pretty happy with my jointing effort. I got the sides to come out flat and 3 of the 4 legs are just about perfectly square and the 4th is only off by a hair. I really like my Harbor Frieght jointer so far. I had no problem jointing the epoxy and everything came out nice and smooth.

On that note, if you don’t read Chris Schwarz’s blog you should check out this entry where he apparently got tired of people asking if the epoxy he used would dull his plane irons. I thought it was hilarious:
Oh Crap! I Guess the Epoxy Was Too Hard

Next, it was on to the planer. Over the holidays I got a Makita 12” planer which I absolutely love so far. However, planing these legs taught some lessons. The 1st one was, unfortunately, what tearout sounds like. I have read it in magazines but until you hear it in person you really don’t know what they mean. On the flatsawn faces the grain is really wild and there are also knots in the boards where the grain is wild. I thought I had the depth of cut set for a very slight cut but apparently even that was too much for the wood and I got tearout in places. I am not sure how much I really care if it’s there so I don’t know what I am going to do about it. In some spots around the knots the tearout is over 1/8” deep so it’s not likely I am going to scrape it. I might throw some more epoxy in there and plane it flat by hand or I might just leave it.

The second lesson was what a projectile looks like being ejected from the back end of a planer. I was pretty scared of that happening around some of the knots so when I put the epoxy on I took care to glue in even the knots I knew were going to be cut off later. However, I didn’t realize there were other things that the knives could catch and eject. I cut these boards to rough length by hand and so the cuts were very rough. In some places there were sections where the saw started going offline so I backed up, corrected, and kept going. This left an overhanging piece with a kerf cut into it. It’s hard to describe and I didn’t photograph it beforehand because I didn’t think it was an issue. Luckily I wasn’t still behind the planer at that point (I was already walking around to get the outfeed) or I would probably have a bruise around my midsection.

Here is an example of what one face looks like where I filled in all the checks with as much epoxy as I could before surfacing the boards. It didn’t photograph all that well because I used the flash on my little P&S digital but I love the way it came out:

Here is an example of one of the knots. I was really scared this would rip out during planing and I knew this was going to actually be part of a leg so I tried to glue it in as best I could. It wasn’t a loose knot before I added epoxy and everything seems to have gone fine:

This was pretty good practice with the epoxy and I am pretty sure I will do this to sections of the top. Some of the pieces of the top have bretty bad checks in the faces that will be laminated and I am not sure if I will bother there, I might just fill that with yellow glue before laminating.

When I 1st got these boards home there was a lot of sap running out of them but by the time I started milling these that had stopped. I don’t have a moisture meter but after 8 months I figured the wood would be dry enough. Even still I only planed it down to about 5 1/4” in case there was any movement after the initial milling. I am not sure if there is yet but I do know that I watched the end grain check right before my eyes and the day after I did all this there was some sap running on the faces again. If this sort of thing happens on the top I am going to worry a bit about the lamination process.

I got all 4 legs cut to length on the table saw and started to figure out where I wanted them based on how they look.

This weekend I will be taking them down to final thickness and start marking off for the mortises for the stretchers and the tenon/dovetail at the top.

          The Plight of the Gregory family of Santa barbara        
I want to share with you the tragic story of the Gregory family from Santa Barbara California. Alexander Gregory, like myself was a blogger and businessman with a family who lived in Santa Barbara. His family originally came from Long Island New York. They were also Christians and they home schooled their children, Russell, Jeffrey, Ashley and they had a baby boy named Chastin.

That is where they got into trouble... First, it started with social services knocking on their door demanding to interview and "examine" their children, then it came to .the police, they forced their children to face a 72 hour exam at a mental hospital. Then came the ultimatum, send your children to public school, force them to see a psychiatrist and be medicated or face prison while the state seizes your kids!

They had no choice. Their three children, Russell Jeffrey and Ashley were forced to enter the Santa Barbara School system against their will. They weren't even allowed to attend parochial school as an alternative. It was a disaster. Although the schools they went to were in decent communities, They were attacked and bullied mostly by migrant children who were there. The teachers allowed and even condoned it. Meanwhile the psychiatrist involved, a Dr. Joann Ng made  things worse  by drugging them into oblivion.

Russell, who used to be healthy and into sports became diabetic and obese from the meds, Jeffery suffered projectile vomiting while Ashley suffered injuries to her reproductive organs that required surgical removal. Despite all the health problems suffered by the children from the meds as well as lowered grades and sluggishness, Dr Ng continually drugged them up for no reason.

When they tried to change the meds or reduce them for any reason without Ng's authority they were attacked by social services and police.

 Jeffrey Gregory 2nd eldest son Jeffrey was a part of the local boys and Girls club in Santa Barbara. Many of the volunteers there are policemen. One of them, now head of the so called PAL program was officer Bryan David Kerr.

Officer Kerr is one of the people who give police a bad name. He has a history of corruption but the peer review boards have constantly let him go. Basically the defense trying themselves.

Kerr has been accused of brutality several times, as well as destruction of evidence and discrimination. Kerr refused to help a homeless man who was robbed and even blamed him for his situation, he did the same for a homeless woman who was raped. He even threatened to have her arrested for "getting on his nerves." Unfortunately since Santa Barbara is run by communists, the police are supported unconditionally and allowed to get away with the most despicable of crimes.

Makes you wish Clarence Bodicker were real.

When Alexander tried to prosecute Officer Kerr, police responded by harassing him and his family. Nothing was done about it by the city. Further at the behest of SBPD, The Gregory children including their new born son Chastin were taken away into foster care. When Alex and his wife protested outside the city hall and had the incident recorded, Kerr and several other officers brutally attacked him and his wife and had him arrested on false charges of assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest.

The media did not report it, no one said a word about it. Alexander was sentenced to almost 10 years in prison, his sentence was suspended and he only served 3. His wife was sentenced to probation.

After this, the children went into foster care. Russell was sent to live in a foster home in Los Angeles where he suffered Physical and sexual abuse, he was also incarcerated in a mental hospital where he was drugged so bad he contracted diabetes, suffered brain damage and became impotent from the meds. he was also made ward of the state of california after he turned 18 and forced to live in Skid Row area of Los Angeles.

Jeffery was in trouble while in the foster home and was later incarcerated in Juvinile hall and in Napa State Hospital where he died. His cause of death is unknown. It is believed he either was killed by an inmate or killed by staff. Its not the first time it happened in Napa.

Ashley was sexually abused in a group home for foster kids. At 15 she ran away. She was found later in Portland Oregon where she had worked as a stripper. Efforts are underway to unite her with family in New Hampshire.

Chastin is the most tragic story. He disappeared. According to records, the state "misplaced" him and didn't know where he was. California social services have a history of doing this, losing track of children in the system.

Alexander and his wife went to New Hampshire after they were discovered by Kyle Weissman and Reuben Ben Abraham who live in Los Angeles. With their help and help from new England Alliance for Liberty and free markets, they were relocated to New Hampshire with their son Russell.

Alexander died from a heart attack last year. In his memory The New England Alliance began a fund to post rewards for the finding of Baby Chastin Gregory who may have been adopted as well as to bring Officer Kerr and his associates in SBPD to justice.

This was made mostly possible by Alexander's neighbor from New Jersey, Joseph Dicavelo and by Reuben Ben Abraham of Los Angeles and their associates.

There are no photos of Chastin Gregory. The only photo of him was destroyed after their property was seized by California. Chastin has black hair and a scar on his abdomen shaped like a crescent. If he is still alive he would be about 8 years old. If you've information about Chastin Gregory, contact us at There is a reward for $80,000 posted.


          Watch Toxic Shark (2017) Full Movie Online Free        
A tropical singles retreat takes a terrifying turn when guests realize a poisonous shark is infesting the surrounding water. Not only will it rip apart its victims, but it also uses projectile acid to hunt – in and out of the water.
          A Mother’s Tale: Learning About My Baby’s Milk Allergy        

When my oldest was born, we embarked on the journey of breastfeeding.  She took to it naturally, but the first week was painful and discouraging for me as a new mom. However, in time we fell into a comfortable and relaxing routine.    

At about six weeks of age my daughter began crying a lot. She was fussy, gassy, and unhappy. While I was nursing one morning, she projectile vomited. I called the doctor and they said it could have been too strong of a letdown and suggested that I relieve some of my milk prior to feeding.  I began researching like a mad woman. Phone in hand, determination in my soul. Something that was supposed to be natural couldn’t possibly be so difficult, right? Wrong.

That morning of purging began a weeklong stint of doctors visits, weight checks, days and nights of no sleep, and trying an over the counter formula that smelled no better than a cleaner or human waste.  My baby girl developed explosive diarrhea filled with blood and mucus.  It eventually came out in a neon green color and then transformed into a clear color, like water.  In one weeks time she had lost ounces of weight and lay lifeless. She had stopped crying. She had stopped fighting.  We now stopped listening to our doctor’s office and took her straight to the emergency room.

She was admitted and began treatment for a severe dairy allergy to the protein found in cow’s milk.  I gave up breastfeeding immediately and harbored the heartache and feelings of resentment deep down while I watched my perfect baby girl fight for her life.  The doctors informed us that had we not brought her in, she would have died at home.  Our gastroenterologist withheld all feeding for 24 hours to allow her body to begin healing.  At the completion of the 24 hours, we began a slow and steady feeding regimen. That was when we were introduced to Neocate.

My daughter’s feedings were small; a half ounce of Neocate every other hour to start.  She tolerated it amazingly.  No vomiting, no gas, no blood in her stools.  She graduated to every hour and before we knew it, she was taking an ounce every hour.  Throughout the week she began to gain weight and her vitals improved so well that she even gave us her first real smile.  In a week filled with horror, desperation, fear, and uncertainty, Neocate gave us some hope that we were going home with our daughter and that she would be pain-free. 

We went home after exactly one week.  With cans of Neocate in hand, we were more nervous leaving than when we brought her home as a newborn for the first time.  We followed a strict guideline from our doctor for feedings and had weekly checkups.  She gained weight and her stomach distress virtually disappeared.  Neocate was gentle and easy to use. To put it simply, Neocate saved my daughter’s life.  It wasn’t a band aid to temporarily get us by. It was just as essential to her as breathing. 

My daughter drank Neocate until she was a year and a half in age. The vitamins and nutrients were plentiful enough that our doctor wanted to give her body enough time to prepare for an introduction of the cow’s milk protein. It ended up that she had no intolerance to milk.  I saved the extra cans just in case. I felt a sense of security with them in the house despite the fact that she was doing great.

When my daughter turned two, I gave birth to our second little girl. I had gone dairy-free from the start and began the breastfeeding.  Everything was perfect, until she developed blood in her stool followed by diarrhea. Heartbroken, I called the doctor and at her discretion I opened the pantry door and pulled out a can of Neocate. Comforted by what felt like an old friend, we introduced Neocate and I began cutting out additional allergens from my diet. I tried nursing again, but had the same results.  It turns out that my children have an allergy to a protein found in my breastmilk.  My second daughter also became a Neocate baby. Neocate for me is the most natural and safe formula choice for babies with sensitive gastro systems or severe allergies. Neocate was made our choice due to circumstances, but in the end it has become our choice.  Neocate gave us happiness. It gave us life.

-        Melissa Stewart

Today’s guest blog post is by Melissa Stewart, a mother of two children with severe allergies. Melissa is the blogger behind One Cool Nerd Mommy. Check out her Facebook page, One Cool Nerd Mommy, for recipes, deals, and more!

          The best toyshop in the world        
A few weeks ago, we went on a family trip to France along with another couple and their little nine-month-old boy. Two kids under one. In an old French cottage with millions of stairs, exposed fireplaces, and uneven floors. Recipe for disaster? Un petit peu. So it was a different sort of idyll to the holidays of the past. For instance, we did have to be ushered hurriedly out of a museum due to one of the kids projectile vomiting. But that’s a story for another day.

The day after the museum disaster (everyone looked suspiciously at me afterwards – although even I wouldn’t go to such lengths to get out of a WWII bunker tour), we went for a drive to the beach and then a wander round a nearby village, Cassel. Cassel is perched on top of a hilltop and its claim to fame is that it's the very hill that the Grand Old Duke of York marched his 10,000 men up and down.

And it was there on the hilltop that we stumbled upon the shop of dreams - Alice-in-Wonderland, Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and Narnia all rolled into one.

It was the vintage-looking racing cars in the window that drew us in to start with. But that was only the beginning. This was hands down the most beautiful toyshop I'd ever seen, stuffed to the ceilings with wooden, handcrafted, brightly painted toys. Spinning tops, kaleidoscopes, mobiles, building blocks – everything was anti-plasticky, American-accented, flashing-lighted tat.

For once, my usually very vocal Little Bean was too overwhelmed with excitement to make a squeak. The two mammas and babes wandered euphorically through the piles of  treasures trying to pick out just one toy each to fit in our already overloaded cars on the return journey (bearing in mind we had already purchased vast quantities of cheese and wine to bring back with us).

The husbands got a bit bored after the toy cars had been thoroughly examined and tested – they were already in a bit of a foul mood having had an unsatisfactory trip across the border to a Belgian monastery to buy beer – the monks’ stash was sold out so we’d left empty-handed.

But they needn't have worried. Dangling from the ceiling, in amongst the hanging mobiles and hand-painted mini aeroplanes, was a wooden sign reading...Biere (for the non-French speakers that means 'beer').
An arrow pointed down a cobbly set of stairs, which our husbands raced down as quickly as if their mother-in-laws were in hot pursuit.

It was a little grotto of beer-lover’s paradise, piled floor to ceiling with specialist French and Belgian beers and cidres. Mr Bean was like a kid in a sweet shop. Or a husband in a beer shop.

So, not only did this er… toyshop provide for both little people as well as their hops-loving parentals, but upstairs, behind a pile of train sets I discovered my own personal paradise, a gourmet coffee bean selection and a mouthwatering display of chocolate truffles. At this stage, if there’d been a stable of unicorns behind the coffee display I wouldn’t have blinked an eyelid. I kept expecting someone to pop out like a jack in the box, shouting 'Carlsberg don't do toyshops but if we did...'

Safe to say the shop did well out of us. We finally settled on a the most hilarious duck for Little Bean, mostly because she became apoplectic whenever it started flapping its silly feet, and treated ourselves to a few goodies too.

Take note Mothercare, ELC and ToysRUs, this is how toyshops should be run. Now get cracking. Before Carlsberg beats you to it.

*Circus toys are actually from this website but it's exactly the kind of thing the shop sold. I was too much in awe to even think of whipping out my camera at the time.

 Moms Who Write and Blog
          PT Pindad Sanggup Buat Amunisi Tank Leopard        
(Foto: Yonkav 8)

06 Juni 2014, Bandung: Satu lompatan dilakukan PT Pindad, setelah Direktur Utama PT Pindad, Sudirman Said, menyatakan kesanggupan perusahaan itu membuat dan membangun amunisi tank utama Leopard 2A4.

"Dari hasil Latihan Gabungan TNI 2014, banyak yang harus kami jawab, salah satunya melengkapi amunisi bagi beberapa perenjataan terkini TNI, termasuk peluru meriam 120mm smoothbore untuk tank Leopard," kata Said, di Bandung, Jumat.

Menurut dia, untuk peluru meriam 120 mm smoothbore Leopard, ditargetkan pengembanganya sudah bisa dilakukan mulai akhir 2015.

"Sehingga kita bisa memenuhi kebutuhan kesenjataan tank itu," katanya.

Leopard memakai dua varian meriam utama, yaitu Rheinmetall 120 mm L44 atau L55 smoothbore alias tanpa ulir sepanjang 5,28 meter dan berbobot 3,37 ton.

Laras meriam tanpa ulir merupakan "jawaban" pada dasawarsa '70-an atas kejayaan seri tank T-72/80 dari Uni Soviet yang bisa membantai secara mudah tank-tank Barat.

Laras meriam tanpa ulir juga memiliki energi kinetik lebih besar ketimbang yang berulir sehingga meninggikan efek mematikan amunisi yang dilontarkan.

Selain amunisi konvensional, meriam ini bisa menerima berbagai tipe amunisi, sebutlah Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot DM23, ataupun Armour Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot M829 dengan kepala ledak berisikan uranium.

Masih ada amunisi Multi Purpose Anti Tank Projectile yang berbasis teknologi High Explosive Anti Tank, buatan Jerman, berdesignasi NATO sebagai DM12.

Sumber: ANTARA News
          Hero Layla - Build, Skill, Ability, Emblem Yang Cocok, Hingga Tips - Tips Menggunakannya        
Layla, merupakan hero yang akan pertama kali anda coba kemampuannya pada saat di awal memulai game mobile legend. Jadi oleh sebab itu sudah tentu pasti anda mengetahui bagaimana seluk beluk dari kemampuan - kemampuan yang dimiliki olehnya.

Sebagai hero dengan tipe jarak jauh, Layla merupakan hero yang memiliki jangkauan serang paling luas jika dibandingkan dengan marksman - marksman yang lainnya.

Jarak luasnya jangkauan serangan Layla tersebut bisa dilihat dari atau pada saat ia menyerang tower. Dimana apabila dalam penempatan posisi yang sudah pas, hero ini akan mampu menyerang tower tanpa harus memasuki lingkaran batas jangkauan serangan tower itu sendiri.

Hero ini juga adalah salah satu hero favorit saya, sebab skill - skill yang dimiliki olehnya tersebut memiliki combo yang sangat ampuh untuk dapat mengkill musuh dengan mudah.

Tetapi tentunya sudah dengan level dan gear yang mempuni...

Jadi untuk dapat lebih memaksimalkan kemampuan dari pada hero Layla, maka akan sangat berguna atau berarti bagi kelangsungan tingkat kemenangan tim apabila anda selaku pengguna Layla melakukan banyak farming di awal game.

Hero Layla - Build, Skill, Ability, Emblem Yang Cocok, Hingga Tips - Tips Menggunakannya
Sumber Foto :

Dengan begitu bisa dipastikan bahwa nantinya kemenangan hero Layla 1 vs 1 maupun pertempuran tim, serta dikeroyok sekalipun bukanlah hal yang mustahil.

Tetapi yang paling penting saat farming adalah look map.

Jangan hanya fokus untuk nguntan aja hingga mengabaikan yang namanya tower dan kerja sama tim.


Layla adalah hero yang masuk kedalam kategori marksman, jadi dalam penggunaan gear yang cocok menurut saya adalah gear kategori attack.

  1. Haas's Claws : pasif untuk +70 physical attack dan keunikan lifesteal.
  2. Scralet Phantom : pasif untuk +30 physical attack, +40% attack speed, +10% crit strike chance.
  3. Swift Boots : pasif untuk +15% attack speed, dan keunikan +40 movement speed.
  4. Berserker's Fury : pasif untuk  +65 physical attack, +25% crit strike chance, dan keunikan +40% crit damage.
  5. Blade Of Despair : pasif untuk +130 physical attack, +25% attck speed, +10% crit strike chance.
  6. Windtalker : pasif untuk +25% attack speed, +20 Movement speed, dan +20% crite strike chance.


  1. Malefic Gun(pasif) : Meningkatkan serangan dasar Layla sebanyak 85% - 100% pada target yang jauh.
  2. Malefic Bomb : Menembakan bola energy dan menyebabkan 200 damage ke musuh yang terkena.
  3. Void Projectile : Menembakan bola energy yang menyebabkan physical damage sebanyak 170 dan memberikan efek slow selama 2 detik.
  4. Destruction Rush : Menembakan cannon energy dan menyebabkan 500 physical damage.


Dikarenakan hero ini cukup lemah dalam hal pertahanan, jadi mau tak mau anda harus bisa melarikan diri pada saat sudah mulai merasa akan tertekan.

Nah oleh sebab itulah ability yang saya rekomendasikan adalah Flicker.

Jadi nantinya dengan memanfaatkan ability tersebut, maka itu akan berguna membantu anda agar bisa melarikan diri dari sergapan musuh secara bergerombol.


Dalam poin set emblem, memang kadang kita merasa binggung untuk menentukan emblem mana yang paling pas untuk dipasangkan ke hero.

Tetapi dalam penggunaan hero Layla, anda tidak perlu berfikir terlalu lama, sebab set emblem yang saya rekomendasikan hanyalah set emblem physical attack.


Layla bisa menjadi hero yang sangat berbahaya, dan mampu memberikan kontribusi yang amat penting bagi kelangsungan tim.

Nah oleh sebab itu, asalkan anda bisa menggunakannya dengan baik dan benar, saya rasa untuk menang itu bukanlah hal yang begitu sulit.

Adapun tips - tips saya berikut ini, kemungkinana akan mampu memberikan anda gambaran tentang bagaimana mudahnya menggunakan hero ini.

Apa saja tips - tipsnya?

Oke langsung saja simak beberapa ulasannya berikut ini :
  1. Perbanyak Ngutan Di Awal Game
  2. Jangan Irit Ultimate 3
  3. Gunakan Combo Layla 2 - 1 - 3
  4. Jangan Malu - Maluin

1. Perbanyak Ngutan Di Awal Game

Mengincar monster di awal game memang sangatlah berguna, sebab dengan begitu akan membantu anda dalam mengendalikan permainan.

Sebab dengan kegiatan ngutan tersebut, anda akan lebih mempersingkat percepatan naik level, serta pembelian gear.

2. Jangan Irit Ultimate 3

Ini yang menjadi kebiasaan hero Layla pada saat pertarungan tim, dimana banyak yang menggunakannya biasa menahan - nahan untuk tidak mengeluarkan ulti 3, sebelum darah musuh banyak yang sedikit terlebih dahulu.

Bisa dikatakan apabila keinginan nyampah itu ada.

Tetapi sebelum nyampah itu terjadi, biasanya malah tank maupun fighter kita yang di kill duluan, dan alhasil ultimate tidak keluar, temen - temen pada di kill =  kroyok.

3. Gunakan Combo Layla 2 - 1 - 3

Sesuai ekspetasi terlebih dahulu, dimana jika 1 vs 1. Pertama anda keluarkan skill 2 dulu untuk memperlambat gerakan musuh, jika sudah begitu maka langsung keluarkan skill 1 yang akan sangat sulit dihindari oleh musuh, sebab karena sudah terkena efek slow, dan terakhir favorit saya, pastikan araknya benar, dan tembakan ultimate 3.

4. Jangan Malu - Maluin

Sebagai seorang marksman yang biasanya menjadi perebutan para player, maka apabila nantinya anda yang mendapatkan giliran untuk menjadi seorang marksman, janganlah sampai membuat kesalahan - kesalahan yang dapat merugikan tim.

Sebab nantinya apabila terjadi kesalahan, bisa - bisa anda malah menjadi bahan tak sedan dari teman 1 tim yang lainnya.

Oleh sebab itu. bermainlah sesuai alur dengan baik dan benar, serta yang terpenting adalah look map.
          Hunter X Online -A bold and different playing game        
The hunter x online game does not feature an open-world, focusing on huge locations filled with quests, descriptions, and mysteries instead. The voice of each character fits them well as actors sure paid attention to the nature of each hero. Sadly, because of their difficulty and obscurity many prominent genres ceased to exist. In order to make sure you don’t get lost in all its wonder and splendor, let’s break down its five most important mechanics. They're still putting out some flashes of brilliance, but they really need an internal wake-up call and a sincere heart-to-heart with hunter x hunter mmorpg online on their love of mandatory microtransactions as they re-assess their priorities going forward. "In general, high power players want to live in the north, low power players want to live in the south and everything in between is a gradient of deadliness and risk-reward,” says Lacalle. hunter x hunter mmorpg game's not consistent. There are dozens of different chips, and while your space to equip them is fairly limited (especially early hunter x hunter mmorpg, before you can afford to buy chip slot expansions) there’s tons of potential to experiment with different loadouts.Riding around in the Hunter x hunter mmorpg game is also excellent fun and exploration feels great.” Trust us - take some time to grind. The actions of the character are bound to certain rules. Basically what this foe does is rain down a massive storm of projectiles onto you, forcing you to dodge and run away from the projectiles as best you can.It is difficult to praise the story of Hunter x hunter mmorpg without revealing its mysteries and outcomes. Described as a tricky hunter x hunter online by many, Nier might not be the best with a few of its features but has many other things which compensate for the same. 
          Balls In Space        

25 Levels (Including Final Boss)
Particle Explosion Effects
Physics Projectiles and Ninja Powerup
8 In-Game Achievements
5 Secret Rooms (you can find them if you look around levels 10, 12, 13, 14, and 18)
All levels can be unlocked with the button in the top right of the level select for this FGL version. This will be removed from the final release.
I'm responsible for the art and code of the game, so changes to gameplay or art are both available for negotiation.

Play Balls In Space and more free games!

          DIY NERF Sentry Gun requires the gun, a motor, and a laptop        
Planning on bringing up your NERF gun game this summer and are simply stuck for what to do now that you’ve got the NERF Vulcan at home? Tired of actually pulling the trigger yourself? This week the folks at Instructables have decided it’s high time NERF got automatic and made with the conjuring: full on rapid-fire motion-tracking toy projectile firing … Continue reading
          Blog Post: He's a Lean, Mean, Green Machine.        

With no more Boos to bust, Luigi sets out on his own platforming adventure.  

Possible advertisements aside, Luigi has always been my favorite Nintendo character.  Perhaps it's that green is my favorite color or that his nervous and shaky attitude mirrors my own.  Either way, he's always held a special place in my part.  And now, after years of neglect and overshadowing, Luigi is put in the spotlight, and this time not in an eery mansion, but instead a platforming world similar to Mario's, which is ultimately one of New Super Luigi U's weaknesses.

Have you ever played New Super Mario Bros. U?  If you answered yes, then the story remains exactly the same, only that Mario is nonexistent.  Luigi and two Toads, plus Mario's hat, join Princess Peach in her castle for a feast.  Well at least until a giant mechanical Bowser hand interrupts and flings Luigi and the two Toads all the way across the Mushroom Kingdom to the first platforming world of eight.  It's a simple concept from the Mario universe that is nearly timeless.

Additionally, if you've ever played a 2-D Mario platforming game, then you know how this works.  You play as Luigi as you jump from platform to platform, dodge projectiles, jump atop varying enemies' heads, and meanwhile try to obtain any items that can aide you in an way.  There's no gameplay aspect that truly separates it from New Super Mario Bros. U.  You can play one of three ways: with the Wii Remote, the GamePad, or the Pro Controller.  While I used the GamePad most of the time, which works solidly, the Wii Remote is generally more reliable given its compactness.  It's also clear that the 2-D Mario/Luigi games were designed with the Wii Remote in mind.  However, one positive aspect about New Super Luigi U (and New Super Mario Bros. U for that matter) is that, when playing with the GamePad, the gameplay can also be seen on the GamePad at all times.  Do you need to go to the bathroom but want to still play the game.  No problem.  Just take the GamePad with you.  However, this is not new.  It was seen last November, which is a significant reason why New Super Luigi U fails to breathe fresh air into the 2-D platforming genre, or more specifically New Super Mario Bros. U.

What New Super Luigi U does successfully, and exceedingly so, is amping up the difficulty.  I'll be the first to admit that New Super Mario Bros. U was not a difficult game, unless you were going for the Star Coins of course.  That is excluding any extra modes that came with the game.  The main mode was not very difficult.  New Super Luigi U certainly turns that on its head.  While adding an abundance of enemies and more difficult levels all-around, it's hard to ignore the shortened time limit.  It has been shortened to 100 seconds.  While this may sound like plenty, it's not.  Granted, I only died a few times because of the time limit, but I also barely finished levels considering the time limit.  Luigi is also a challenge to control sometimes.  I've noticed this in the 3-D Mario platformers as well.  While Luigi might be a pro at jumping, he has a hard time stopping himself after running, causing him to fall off edges and barely touching enemies.  It's very frustrating, leading to even a continue, but it is possible to adapt to all the gameplay changes.  

Unfortunately, New Super Luigi U doesn't come with any surprise supplements.  It doesn't even come with the additional modes seen in New Super Mario Bros. U, which is something I found odd.  However, it is, at heart, DLC.  I didn't come in expecting much new content.

New Super Luigi U comes in both physical and downloadable forms.  The physical copy of the game comes at a $29.99 price point while the downloadable version goes for $19.99.  It's obvious that you should get the downloadable version of the game because I do recommend it.  For twenty dollars, it is hard to pass up such a great platformer that puts our favorite plumber's brother in the spotlight.  It might have the same exact concept as New Super Mario Bros. U, but its gameplay is as entertaining as ever.  I personally bought the physical copy for multiple reasons, which is still a good deal at thirty dollars, but if you're considering buying the game, get the downloadable version.  You will not regret it.

          Children Have the “Right” to Weapons of Mass Imagination        
Given the apprehension and suspension of the “notorious” playground “menace” Caitlin Miller for committing random acts of make-believe at her Hoke County, North Carolina school, I recently felt compelled to do a soft-target search of our home. Suspecting that our house was riddled with the same type of “weapons” that got five-year-old Caitlin in such trouble, I wanted to make sure that the minor residents with whom I share this home would not find themselves in the same situation as little Miss Miller.

Alas, the search of our home—that was cleverly dubbed “Operation Slow and Curious”—had shocking results. The ghastly evidence (“TRIGGER WARNING!”) is shown below.

Note that several of the weapons in the foreground of the above photo, like young Caitlin’s “stick gun,” are of a wooden variety. However, the wooden guns possessed by the four Thomas children shoot real projectiles (rubber bands). In addition, the plastic guns and bows shown above fire “air-soft” pellets, along with foam darts, arrows, and discs. Also note that with the use of colors such as pink and purple, some of the guns seem to be—GASP!—gender specific! And the two swords at the very front of the table appear to be of the “lightsaber” variety—the preferred weapon of the legendary Jedi.

What’s more, I also found (shown below) what appear to be elaborate battle plans (staged by toy soldiers) and detailed model designs for large ground and aerial assault vehicles. I believe our home needs a “safe space.”

But seriously, to paraphrase the immortal words of Slim Pickens, what in the wide-wide world of sports is going on in North Carolina?! It’s as if invaders from Bizarro World have taken over many of the government and academic officials in the Tar Heel State. After liberals in the city of Charlotte—predicating their moral outrage upon a cause that runs contrary to biology that a three year-old can understand, and that is championed by an unrepentant registered sex offender—launched the nation into an absurd debate about bathroom use and “transgenderism,” those deceived by liberalism in Hoke County seem to think that a five-year-old with a six-inch stick is some kind of a threat.

Upon suspending Caitlin Miller, a spokesman for the Hoke County School System declared, “Hoke County Schools will not tolerate assaults, threats or harassment from any student. Any student engaging in such behavior will be removed from the classroom or school environment for as long as is necessary to provide a safe and orderly environment for learning.” I suppose that we shouldn’t be surprised that those who seem unable to tell the difference between male and female anatomy would have trouble distinguishing between play and assault, or between a stick and a gun.

And again we see, liberalism corrupts. The suspension of cute little Caitlin adds to a growing list of young children across the U.S. punished by their schools for nothing more than the possession of a harmless toy. In some cases, that toy barely even resembles a gun. Last year, a seven-year-old Virginia boy was suspended 10 days for possession of a water gun and a Nerf gun (which are plentiful in the first photo of this piece). Both were brightly colored and could’ve never been confused for real guns—even by a liberal.

A little over a week ago we learned that bringing a spent .22 caliber shell casing to his preschool was just the latest in a long line of pro-gun behaviors for four-year-old Hunter Crowe. The empty casing—described by a gun-ignorant teacher at the Troy, Illinois preschool as a “shotgun bullet”—earned little Hunter a seven-day suspension.

After being found with the “bullet,” Hunter’s preschool sent his parents a letter that ominously declared that, in addition to secretly hoarding harmless shell casings, the little guy had frequently attempted “to make guns out of other toys.” The letter further warned that “guns, hunting, etc., are not subjects that are to be discussed at school,” and despite “multiple attempts to redirect” his “behaviors” toward “other activities,” Hunter continued with his gun-playing ways.

As I’ve noted before, from the time I was Hunter’s age until my mid-teens, if I was not playing with some sort of ball, I was most likely engaged in some sort of battle. Using scraps from my uncle’s woodshop—and yes, sticks from the ground—along with duct tape, electricians tape, and a few well-placed nails, very often my playmates and I would fashion excellent gun replicas. We would then spend hours in the woods and pastures around my home hiding, stalking, building forts, and blasting away at one another. Sometimes we even employed dirt-clods (grenades), and smoke bombs (tear gas). If we had possessed the likes of air-soft or paintball guns that are widely available today, my brother and I, along with our like-minded cousins and friends, would have spent much of the late 1970s and nearly all of the 1980s nursing welts.

Additionally, on the school bus during our elementary school years, my cousin Bart and I nearly drove our driver crazy making fighter-plane and machine-gun noises pretending that we were Pappy Boyington and T.J. of the Black Sheep Squadron. As our big yellow bus wound its way home, we would hold a school book on our laps and pretend we were piloting our F4U Corsair through the skies battling Japanese Zeros. Such behavior would probably get a little fella banned from the bus these days.

This anti-toy-gun foolishness—as we’ve seen in the debates over marriage, gender, life in the womb, the climate, and so on—is simply another example of liberals “struggling against reality.” Children, especially young boys, are going to engage in “battles,” and they’re going to use “guns” when they do so. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2017, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of The Miracle and Magnificence of America

           - Honduran TV channel employees targeted in shooting        
Channel 11 employees, who were on shift at 11 p.m. on 30 April 2014, were surprised by projectiles being set off outside the station’s building, which is located in San Pedro Sula in the north of Honduras.
          2016-12-09 - 2018-12-31 - 9/44.... We shall never forget (PETANGE)        
Ort: Maison rouge (Luxembourg, Sud / Süden, PETANGE)
Datum: 2016-12-09 - 2018-12-31
10:00 - 12:30 (du 1.05 au 30.09 de mardi à samedi)
14:00 - 17:00 (du 1.10 au 30.04 les mardis et jeudis)
16:00 - 18:30 (du 1.05 au 30.09 les mercredis)
16:00 - 19:00 (du 1.10 au 30.04 les mercredis)

La libération du Luxembourg commence le 9 septembre 1944 à Pétange

Le 9 septembre 1944 les chasseurs-bombardiers américains survolent la région.Par leurs tirs, ils refoulent les dernières unités de l'arrière-garde de l'armée allemande. Ils sont suivis, plus tard, par des unités au sol, des blindés et des chenillettes devancés par un véhicule de reconnaissance américain. Ce M8 est touché par le projectile d'un canon allemand.Trois soldats américains réussissent à en sortir du véhicule,le quatrième,le commandant Hyman Josefson est le premier solsat américain à donner sa vie pour la libération du Luxembourg.
Pétange n'oubliera jamais!
En l'honneur de tous ceux qui ont sacrifié leur vie pour la patrie,cette exposition retrace la Seconde Guerre mondiale en quat...

          (Sold) Shogun Action Vehicles Goldorak/Grandizer GA-37 (Italian release) "MIB" (no replies)        
Went to a Toy Show recently and got the bug to re-enter the "Hobby" a good deal on a nearly mint Goldorak and Spazer set with the fist/accessory bag still stapled (no markings on any of the projectiles) and pristine paint job on the robot (with a mild abrasion on one of the leg sides). Box is in very good condition, with slight weathering. Will consider selling to another Hobbyist if someone is seriously looking for him, feel free to PM me on this one.

          After all, it might not matter - A commentary on the status of .NET        

Did you know what was the most menacing nightmare for a peasant soldier in Medieval wars? Approaching of a knight.

Approaching of a knight - a peasant soldier's nightmare [image source]

Famous for gallantry and bravery, armed to the teeth and having many years of training and battle experience, knights were the ultimate war machine for the better part of Medieval times. The likelihood of survival for a peasant soldier in an encounter with a knight was very small. They should somehow deflect or evade the attack of the knight’s sword or lance meanwhile wielding a heavy sword bring about the injury exactly at the right time when the knight passes. Not many peasant had the right training or prowess to do so.

Appearing around 1000 AD, the dominance of knights started following the conquest of William of Normandy in 11th century and reached it heights in 14th century:
“When the 14th century began, knights were as convinced as they had always been that they were the topmost warriors in the world, that they were invincible against other soldiers and were destined to remain so forever… To battle and win renown against other knights was regarded as the supreme knightly occupation” [Knights and the Age of Chivalry,1974]
And then something happened. Something that changed the military combat for the centuries to come: the projectile weapons.
“During the fifteenth century the knight was more and more often confronted by disciplined and better equipped professional soldiers who were armed with a variety of weapons capable of piercing and crushing the best products of the armourer’s workshop: the Swiss with their halberds, the English with their bills and long-bows, the French with their glaives and the Flemings with their hand guns” [Arms and Armor of the Medieval Knight: An Illustrated History of Weaponry in the Middle Ages, 1988]
The development of longsword had provided more effectiveness for the knight attack but there was no degree of training or improved plate armour could stop the rise of the projectile weapons:
“Armorers could certainly have made the breastplates thick enough to withstand arrows and bolts from longbows and crossbows, but the knights could not have carried such a weight around all day in the summer time without dying of heat stroke.”
And the final blow was the handguns:
“The use of hand guns provided the final factor in the inevitable process which would render armor obsolete” [Arms and Armor of the Medieval Knight: An Illustrated History of Weaponry in the Middle Ages, 1988]
And with the advent of arbalests, importance of lifelong training disappeared since “an inexperienced arbalestier could use one to kill a knight who had a lifetime of training”

Projectile weapons [image source]

Over the course of the century, knighthood gradually disappeared from the face of the earth.

A paradigm shift. A disruption.

*       *       *

After the big promise of web 1.0 was not delivered resulting in the .com crash of 2000-2001, development of robust RPC technologies combined with better languages and tooling gradually rose to fulfill the same promise in web 2.0. On the enterprise front, the need for reducing cost by automating business process lead to the growth of IT departments in virtually any company that could have a chance to survive in the 2000s decade.

In the small-to-medium enterprises, the solutions almost invariably involved some form of a database in the backend, storing CRUD operations performed on data entry forms. The need for reporting on those databases resulted in creating business Intelligence functions employing more and more SQL experts.

With the rise of e-Commerce, there was a need for most companies to have online presence and and ability to offer some form of shopping experience online. On the other hand, to reduce cost of postage and paper, companies started having account management online.

Whether SOA or not, these systems functioned pretty well for the limited functionality they were offering. The important skills the developers of these systems needed to have was good command of the language used, object-oriented coding design principles (e.g. SOLID, etc), TDD and also knowledge of the agile principles and process. In terms of scalability and performance, these systems were rarely, if ever, pressed hard enough to break - even with sticky sessions could work as long as you had enough number of servers (it was often said “we are not Google or Facebook”). Obviously availability suffered but downtime was something businesses had used to and it was accepted as the general failure of IT.

True, some of these systems were actually “lifted and shifted” to the cloud, but in reality not much had changed from the naive solutions of the early 2000s. And I call these systems The Simpleton Swamps.

Did you see what was lacking in all of above? Distributed Computing.

*       *       *

It is a fair question that we need to ask ourselves: what was it that we, as the .NET community, were doing during the last 10 years of innovations? The first wave of innovations was the introduction of revolutionary papers of on BigTable and Dynamo Which later resulted in the emergence of NoSQL movement with Apache Cassandra, Riak and Redis (and later Elasticsearch). [During this time I guess we were busy with WPF and Silverlight. Where are they now?]

The second wave was the Big Data revolution with Apache Hadoop ecosystem (HDFS, Pig, Hive, Mahout, Flume, HBase). [I guess we were doing Windows Phone development building Metro UI back then. Where are they now?]

The third wave started with Kafka (and streaming solutions that followed), Grid Computing platforms with YARN and Mesos and also the extended Big Data family such as Spark, Storm, Impala, Drill, too many to name. In the meantime, Machine Learning became mainstream and the success of Deep Learning brought yet another dimension to the industry. [I guess we were rebuilding our web stack with Katana project. Where is it now?]

And finally we have the Docker family and extended Grid Computing (registry, discovery and orchestration) software such as DCOS, Kubernetes, Marathon, Consul, etcd… Also the logging/monitoring stacks such as Kibana, Grafana, InfluxDB, etc which had started along the way as an essential ingredient of any such serious venture. The point is neither the creators nor the consumers of these frameworks could do any of this without in-depth knowledge of Distributed Computing. These platforms are not built to shield you from it, but to merely empower you to make the right decisions without having to implement a consensus algorithm from scratch or dealing with the subtleties of building a gossip protocol.

And what was it that we have been doing recently? Well I guess we were rebuilding our stacks again with the #vNext aka #DNX aka #aspnetcore. Where are they now? Well actually a release is coming soon: 27th of June to be exact. But anyone who has been following the events closely knows that due to recent changes in direction, we are still - give or take - 9 to18 months far from a stable platform that can be built upon.

So a big storm of paradigm shifts swept the whole industry and we have been still tinkering with our simpleton swamps. Please just have a look at this big list, only a single one of them is C#: Greg Young’s EventStore. And by looking at the list you see the same pattern, same shifts in focus.

.NET ecosystem is dangerously oblivious to distributed computing. True we have recent exceptions such as (a JVM port) or Orleans but it has not really penetrated and infused the ecosystem. If all we want to do is to simply build the front-end APIs (akin to nodejs) or cross-platform native apps (using Xamarin studio) is not a problem. But if we are not supposed to build the sizeable chunk of backend services, let’s make it clear here.

*       *       *

Actually there is fair amount of distributed computing happening in .NET. Over the last 7 years Microsoft has built significant numbers of services that are out to compete with the big list mentioned above: Azure Table Storage (arguably a BigTable implementation), Azure Blob Storage (Amazon Dynamo?) and EventHub (rubbing shoulder with Kafka). Also highly-available RDBM database (SQL Azure), Message Broker (Azure Service Bus) and a consensus implementation (Service Fabric). There is a plenty of Machine Learning as well, and although slowly, Microsoft is picking up on Grid Computing - alliance with Mesosphere and DCOS offering on Azure.

But none of these have been open sourced. True, Amazon does not Open Source its bread-and-butter cloud. But considering AWS has mainly been an IaaS offering while Azure is banking on its PaaS capabilities, making Distributed Computing easy for its predominantly .NET consumers. It feels that Microsoft is saying, you know, let me deal with the really hard stuff, but for sure, I will leave a button in Visual Studio so you could deploy it to Azure.

At points it feels as if, Microsoft as the Lords of the .NET stack fiefdom, having discovered gunpowder, are charging us knights and peasant soldiers to attack with our lances, axes and swords while keeping the gunpowder weapons and its science safely locked for the protection of the castle. .NET community is to a degree contributing to the #dotnetcore while also waiting for the Silver Bullet that #dotnetcore has been promised to be, revolutionising and disrupting the entire stack. But ask yourself, when was the last time that better abstractions and tooling brought about disruption? The knight is dead, gunpowder has changed the horizon yet there seems to be no ears to hear.

Fiefdom of .NET stack
We cannot fault any business entity for keeping its trade secrets. But if the soldiers fall, ultimately the castle will fall too.

In fact, a single company is not able to pull the weight of re-inventing the emerging innovations. While the quantity of technologies emerged from Azure is astounding, quality has not always followed exactly. After complaining to Microsoft on the performance of Azure Table Storage, others finding it too and sometimes abandon the Azure ship completely.

No single company is big enough to do it all by itself. Not even Microsoft.

*       *       *

I remember when we used to make fun of Java and Java developers (uninspiring, slow, eclipse was nightmare). They actually built most of the innovations of the last decade, from Hadoop to Elasticsearch to Storm to Kafka... In fact, looking at the top 100 Java repositories on github (minus Android Java), you find 24 distributed computing projects, 4 machine library repos and 2 languages. On C# you get only 3 with claims to distributed computing: ServiceStack, Orleans and Akka.NET.

But maybe it is fine, we have our jobs and we focus on solving different kinds of problems? Errrm... let's look at some data.

Market share of IIS web server has been halved over the last 6 years - according multiple independent sources [This source confirms the share was >20% in 2010].

IIS share of the market has almost halved in the last 6 years [source]

Now the market share of C# ASP.NET developers are decreasing to half too from tops of 4%:

Job trend for C# ASP.NET developer [source]
And if you do not believe that, see another comparison with other stacks from another source:

Comparing trend of C# (dark blue) and ASP.NET (red) jobs with that of Python (yellow), Scala (green) and nodejs (blue). C# and ASP.NET dropping while the rest growing [source]

OK, that was actually nothing, what I care more is OSS. Open Source revolution in .NET which had a steady growing pace since 2008-2009, almost reached a peak in 2012 with ASP.NET Web API excitement and then grew with a slower pace (almost plateau, visible on 4M chart - see appendix). [by the way, I have had my share of these repos. 7 of those are mine]

OSS C# project creation in Github over the last 6 years (10 stars or more). Growth slowed since 2012 and there is a marked drop after March 2015 probably due to "vNext". [Source of the data: Github]

What is worse is that the data showing with the announcement of #vNext aka #DNX aka #dotnetcore there was a sharp decline in the new OSS C# projects - the community is in a limbo situation waiting for the release - people find it pointless to create OSS projects on the current platform and the future platform is so much in flux which is not stable enough for innovation. With the recent changes announced, practically it will take another 12-18 months for it to stabilise (some might argue 6-12 months, fair enough, take what you like). For me this is the most alarming of all.

So all is lost?

All is never lost. You still find good COBOL or FoxPro developers and since it is a niche market, they are usually paid very well. But the danger is losing relevance…

Practically can Microsoft pull it off? Perhaps. I do not believe it is hopeless, I feel a radical change by taking the steps below, Microsoft could materially reverse the decay:
  1. Your best community brains in the Distributed Computing and Machine Learning are in the F# community, they have already built many OSS projects on both - sadly remaining obscure and used by only few. Support and promote F# not just as a first class language but as THE preferred language of .NET stack (and by the way, wherever I said .NET stack, I meant C# and VB). Ask everyone to gradually move. I don’t know why you have not done it. I think someone somewhere in Redmond does not like it and he/she is your biggest enemy.
  2. Open Source good part of distributed services of Azure. Let the community help you to improve it. Believe me, you are behind the state of the art, frankly no one will look to copy it. Someone will copy from Azure Table Storage and not Cassandra?!
  3. Stop promoting deployment to Azure from Visual Studio with a click of a button making Distributed Computing looking trivial. Tell them the truth, tell them it is hard, tell them so few do succeed hence they need to go back and study, and forever forget about one-button click stuff. You are not doing a favour to them nor to yourself. No one should be acknowledged to deploy anything in distributed fashion without sound knowledge of Distributed Computing. 

Last word

So when I am asked about whether I am optimistic about the future of .NET or on the progress of dotnetcore, I usually keep silent: we seem to be missing the point on where we need to go with .NET - a paradigm shift has been ignored by our ecosystem. True dotnetcore will be released on 27th but  after all, it might not matter as much as we so much care about. One of the reasons we are losing to other stacks is that we are losing our relevance. We do not have all the time in the world. Time is short...


Github Data

Gathering the data from github is possible but due to search results being limited to 1000to rate-limiting, it takes a while to process. The best approach I found was to list repos by update date and keep moving up. I used a python script to gather the data.

It is sensible to use the number of stars as the bar for the quality and importance of Github projects. But choosing the threshold is not easy and also there is usually a lag between creation of a project and it to gain popularity. That is why the threshold has been chosen very low. But if you think the drop in creation of C# projects in Github was due to this lag, think again. Here is the chart of all C# projects regardless of their stars (0 stars and more):

All C# projects in github (0 stars and more) - marked drop in early 2015 and beyond

F# showing healthy growth but the number of projects and stars are much less than that of C#. Hence here we look at the projects with 3 stars and more:

OSS F# projects in Github - 3 stars or more
Projects with 0 stars and more (possible showing people starting picking up and playing with it) is looking very healthy:

All F# projects regardless of stars - steady rise.

Data is available for download: C# here and F# here

My previous predictions

This is actually my second post of this nature. I wrote one 2.5 years ago, raising alarm bells for the lack of innovation in .NET and predicting 4 things that would happen in 5 years (2.5 years from now):
  1. All Data problems will be Big Data problems
  2. Any server-side code that cannot be horizontally scaled is gonna die
  3. Data locality will still be an issue so technologies closer to data will prevail
  4. We need 10x or 100x more data scientists and AI specialists
Judge for yourself...

Deleted section

For the sake of brevity, I had to delete this section but this puts in context how we have many more hyperscale companies:

"In the 2000s, not many had the problem of scale. We had Google, Yahoo and Amazon, and later Facebook and Twitter. These companies had to solve serious computing problems in terms of scalability and availability that on one hand lead to the Big Data innovations and on the other hand made Grid Computing more accessible.

By commoditising the hardware, the Cloud computing allowed companies to experiment with the scale problems and innovate for achieving high availability. The results have been completely re-platformed enterprises (such as Netflix) and emergence of a new breed of hyperscale startups such as LinkedIn, Spotify, Airbnb, Uber, Gilt and Etsy. Rise of companies building software to solve problems related to these architectures such as Hashicorp, Docker, Mesosphere, etc has added another dimension to all this.

And last but not least, is the importance of close relationship between academia and the industry which seems to be happening after a long (and sad) hiatus. This has lead many academy lecturers acting as Chief Scientists, etc to influence the science underlying the disruptive changes.

There was a paradigm shift here. Did you see it?"

          From Tampa to the Moon with Jules Verne        
Today, Google’s homepage features an interactive doodle celebrating author Jules Verne’s 183rd birthday. Although the doodle features his well-known Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, his novel From the Earth to the Moon hits closer to home.

Writing in French for a young audience, Verne spun the story of man’s first moon shot. Published in 1865, the premise of From the Earth to the Moon is that industrialist members of the Baltimore Gun Club found themselves without purpose or relevance at the end of the Civil War. Club president Impey Barbicane proposes building the biggest, most powerful gun yet, one so immense that it could shoot a projectile to the moon. Over the course of the novel, the project turns into a manned space mission, with men traveling to the moon in a metal capsule, intending to return home safely.

While choosing a spot to build their tremendous gun, the Gun Club members narrow their search to either Texas or Florida. And within Florida, one place prevails: “Florida in its southern part reckons no cities of importance; it is simply studded with forts raised against the roving Indians. One solitary town, Tampa Town, was able to put in a claim in favour of its situation.” Barbicane visits Tampa to select a building site. Leaving Baltimore, he and his companions travel to New Orleans where they board a steamship to cross the Gulf of Mexico. Two days and 480 miles later, the Florida coast comes into view: “On a nearer approach Barbicane found himself in view of a low, flat country of somewhat barren aspect.”

Jules Verne sprinkled his text with authentic place names and scenic descriptions. As a Frenchman who visited the United States only once in his life, a brief trip to New York State after From the Earth to the Moon was published, how was Verne able to provide these details? The answer is in the story itself:

When the decision was arrived at by the Gun Club, to the disparagement of Texas, every one in America, where reading is an universal acquirement, set to work to study the geography of Florida. Never before had there been such a sale for works like Bartram’s Travels in Florida, Roman’s Natural History of East and West Florida, William’s Territory of Florida, and Cleland on the Cultivation of the Sugar-Cane in Florida.

These were popular natural histories of Florida published in the late 1700s and early 1800s, and provide descriptions of Florida that continue to be quoted and studied by scholars and historians today. Parts of From the Earth to the Moon echo the phrasing of these texts, with their mixture of florid descriptions of plants, flowers, and creatures alternating with prosaic scientific descriptions or measurements.

Although Verne went to some trouble to include accurate details, the truth suffers at times to advance the story. As a case in point, the site selected as a launch site is described as being less than a day’s ride from Tampa yet at an elevation of 1,800 feet above sea level. The highest point in the entire state of Florida is Britton Hill at 345 feet above sea level, and which is so far north it’s practically in Alabama. Furthermore, Barbicane is greeted in Tampa by 3,000 people, easily three times the actual population in 1865.

Verne’s descriptions of the Seminoles are reminiscent of a cowboys and Indians western. Here, Florida is the wild frontier. Once in Tampa, Barbicane decides to explore the country, looking for the best spot for the moon gun.

On the morrow some of those small horses of the Spanish breed, full of vigour and of fire, stood snorting under his windows, but instead of four steeds, here were fifty, together with their riders. Barbicane descended with his three fellow-travelers; and much astonished were they all to find themselves in the midst of such a cavalcade. He remarked that every horseman carried a carbine slung across his shoulders and pistols in his holsters.
On expressing his surprise at these preparations, he was speedily enlightened by a young Floridan who quietly said,--
“Sir, there are Seminole there.”
“What do you mean by Seminoles?”
“Savages who scour the prairies. We thought it best, therefore to escort you on your road.”
“Pooh!” cried J.T. Maston, mounting his steed.
“All right,” said the Floridan; “but it is true enough nevertheless.”
“Gentlemen,” answered Barbicane, “I thank you for your kind attention; but it is time to be off.”

Riding along, they came to an open area.

“At last,” cried Barbicane, rising in his stirrups, “here we are at the region of pines!”
“Yes! And of savages too” replied the major.
In fact, some Seminoles had just come in sight on the horizon; they rode violently backwards and forwards on their fleet horses, brandishing their spears or discharging their guns with a dull report. These hostile demonstrations, however, had no effect upon Barbicane and his companions.
Ultimately, the very act of building their projectile protects the men from Baltimore, as it “created a circle of terror which the herds of buffaloes and the war parties of the Seminoles never ventured to pass.” Technology conquers the wilderness.

The full text of Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon is available on Google Books: Compare the drawings on the plates following pages 66 and 82, “Tampa Town before the undertaking,” and “Tampa Town after the undertaking.”

Ballast Point Park in Tampa was originally named Jules Verne Park in recognition of the author’s selection of the town as a likely launch site.

Also available through Google Books:

William Bartram, Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida (1792)

Bernard Romans, A Concise Natural History of East and West Florida (1776)
          The Mud Valley Site : A Late Palaeo-Indian Locality in Holmes County, Ohio        
The Mud Valley Site : A Late Palaeo-Indian Locality in Holmes County, Ohio Prufer, Olaf H. The Mud Valley Site is a multi-component locality at which two distinct Late Palaeo- Indian components have been isolated on the basis of typological analysis of the projectile point assemblages. These components are dated on grounds of analogy with similar and related assemblages of known date from other parts of the Great Lakes region. An 'unfluted fluted' point component is dated from ca. 6,000 to 8,000 B.C., and a later lanceolate point component is dated within a range of 5,000 to 7,000 B.C. These two components are culturally and chronologically distinct, representing two distinct occupations at the site. Author Institution: Department of Humanities and Social Studies, Case Institute of Technology, Cleveland, Ohio
          Blog Post: Enjoyable portable Dynasty Warriors game and has great CGI's but don't expect anything epic.        

I've been a fan of the Dynasty Warriors series since DW5 because I like the fun and mindless gameplay they have and since the series is based loosely on the Romance and the Three Kingdoms novel it makes the series more appealing to me because I love Asian cultures and have an interest in the history of Asian countries.

As for Dynasty Warriors Next,I'll say it's a fun portable DW game,but don't expect anything as epic as what Dynasty Warriors 7 was.

First I'll talk about what DW Next does differently to the other Dynasty Warriors games.Obviously it takes advantage of the VITA's touchscreen functions and it's kinda cool to use at first because for certain gameplay segments you'll need to tilt your VITA to see where enemies are on the screen who are rushing at you and you can tap on the screen to eliminate enemies/projectiles that are coming towards you and there's duel segments where you'll need to swipe or touch certain parts of the screen to defeat an opponent.I guess they sound gimmicky but if you fail to pull off the touch screen commands it will result in a loss of health and since the game has no mid-mission save feature it adds tension to the gameplay because if you fail a mission you'll need to redo it from the start.

The two main modes in the game are campaign mode(which is story mode)and conquest mode(which is more strategy oriented).

Campaign mode is made up of numerous character stories.You play as various characters and see the story from their and their faction's perspective.The gameplay for campaign mode is fun but like I said it's story is nowhere near as epic as that of Dynasty Warriors 7 and the only reason I'm not going harsh on this game is because it's a handheld game.

Conquest mode allows you to choose which territories you want to try to capture but it only allows you to invade territories that have a level lower than yours and conquest mode doesn't focus much on story unlike campaign more which tries to tell a story.

You can marry certain characters or make pacts with them which strengthens your forces.

Otherwise,it's the same old Dynasty Warriors and it has some great and spectacular CGI's and it's great to see them on a portable console.

For people who are unfamiliar with the DW series,much of the gameplay involves fighting past lots of enemies,capturing enemy bases by killing many enemies in those bases and after you capture a base,ally soldiers will respawn from that base.Enemy soldiers/officers will try to swarm your bases to try to capture your bases too.The gameplay can be exciting when you're trying to capture enemy bases while trying to prevent your bases from being captured and enemy soldiers and your ally soldiers are everywhere.

I like how each base has a counter that represents how close it is to being captured.

The bottom line is the gameplay is fun and I still find it fun to hack n slash through thousands of enemies and even though not a great game and far from being the best in the series,it's a good enough start for the DW series on the Vita.

          DROP The Dumbulls Gallery & Warehouse Garden present; DUMBULLS FEST - 29th - 30th - 31st July        

DROP The Dumbulls Gallery & Warehouse Garden present;
DUMBULLS FEST - 29th - 30th - 31st July
(NOT) A Protest Exhibition Against the (hyperthetical ) Redevelopment of the Liver Buildings Into Student Accommodation.

FRIDAY 29th JULY - Drop The Dumbulls Gallery:
7pm doors / £5 otd or Festival Wristband


20:00pm - Amanda Brown and the Common Ears.

20:30 - Aardvark Ltd
21:15 - Phantom Chips
21:50 - Jacques Malchance:Organ Works (Upituprecords Merseyside)
22:30 - Cavalier Song
23:10 - Scousenbluten feat. Bastardcunt
23:45 - Alice Dee
00:15 - Cowabunga Gaydude (Bodies On Everest / Give Me Back My Son).
01:20 - Noname Holmes (Eamoonn Laveerry )
02:00 - The Dj Potato Donavon

Food/Refreshments supplied by ¿Donde esta la Discoteka?

SATURDAY 30th July: 

Visuals and decor by PAPPSATT & Projectile Vomit
The Resonator : Interactive Bass Bouncy Castle
Uber Tuber - “Traditional jacket potatoes with a twist”
 Â£Donation Entry or festival wristband.

Noon - BOG FM resident DJ's : Your Fave Muslim, The DJ Potato Donovan & The Beef Diamond
13:00 - Gerald
13:45 - D.J Trees
15:50 - The Resinator
15:50 - Queen Zee ( spoken Word)
16:00 - President Business (POSTMUSIC )
16:20 - Lanlinds (spoken word)
16:30 - Joe Hirons (Gigantes)
16:00 - Long Finger Bandits
17:30 - Mark Greenwood ( spoken Word )
17:40 -  MAUND (Big Effigy)
18:00 - Jimmy The Angry. ( spoken Word )
18:15 - Tap In
18:45 - Paul Tarpey ( spoken Word )
19:00 - JazzHands

- Shifty Beats Protest March round the corner to:

Drop The Dumbulls Gallery7:30 Doors / £6 otd or festival wristband.
20:00 - Ukulele Uff and Lonesome Dave Trio

20:30pm - Joel C. Barber
21:00pm - GoGoTrash
21:40pm - Shaman Yew
22:20pm -  Germanager
23:00pm - AKASA
23:40 - Dukes Of Bladdered
00:30 - Chinsniffer
01:00AM - ShITmAT
02:00AM - Galaxy Wolf
03:00AM ISOCORE -  ( Paolo Elmo / Upitup Records )
04:00AM - PastaFourEyes
05:00AM - Dulta Happy Fun Time
06:00AM - Mr Kev.
Between acts:  Jacques Machance /  Phileas Frogg

£Donation Entry
or festival wristband.

Film :
L15 Projector and Cinema Cooperative

DJ Buddah
13:30 - Chairman Miaow ( spoken word )
13:40 - Die Todesspirale (cat performance)
14:10 - Foxy Sweet Shop ( spoken word )
14:20 - Henry Collins Rummaging Orchestra
14:45 - Your Favourite Muslim & Jimmy the Angry
15:20 -
Miss Lexic ( spoken word ) 15:30 - Spezial-K
16:10 -
Doughnutburger ( spoken word )
16:20 - Jekami
17:00 - Becky and the Band
17:30 - James Fighty / Dialectical
18:10 - Taeb tü
18:30- Maos Rache Soundsystem
19:00 -
Tea Tree20:00 -  Walrus Sound System 
Weekend tickets: Advance tickets £8 or £10 OTD
Day Pass
£5/6donation on the door

Buy physical tickets: at The Bagelry (42 Nelson St, L1 5DN) from Wednesday 20th July. Check their page for opening times.

To book tickets online: transfer the price of the number of tickets you want to purchase to the PayPal account:
with your name as the reference.

PayPal: please send the money through the 'pay family / friends' option as PayPal doesn't charge us for this. Or you will need to pay 50p booking fee when collecting your tickets. Thanks
(It is possible to use paypal to transfer money without a paypal account, you just need a card.)

Get in! McCartney cloud totally worked!
SHUNSHINE! phewww!... It was once used to ease torrential rain at an open air Michael Jackson concert in Moscow, so we thought we'd give it a try ..... Hope everyone is getting their tickets today! they is running out fast cause DUMbulls FEST: NOT A Protest Exhibition Against the Redev blah blah is gonna be ace and it costs buttons and weve got a pilot here asking for baaaaaare quids so lets go! ( pop pop pop pop pop )
I totally recommend if ever you are planning an outdoor gathering in the UK, the measly sum of $150.000!

          Tokyo Xanadu (PS Vita) Review        

A few days before I started playing Tokyo Xanadu, I finally cracked open my copy of Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel.  Why is this relevant?  Well, they are both made by the same company (Nihon Falcom), and had a few similarities, which I found kind of funny.

You play as Kou, a high school student who accidentally stumbles upon the hidden world of Eclipses.  These are doorways to another dimension brought about by strong emotions.  He quickly meets Asuka, a person who goes around fighting monsters to close the Eclipses, and decides to try and help her out.  As such, the game goes through a period of several months as new doors open, and Kou and his friends use their new powers to make sure the Eclipses get shut down.

Combat is very action-driven.  You have a normal attack, a jump, a projectile attack, and a dodge.  You can also hold down the projectile button for a powerful charge attack.  Both that and the projectile take SP, which fills over time, or from normal attacks.  Attacking is fun, but the SP can feel limiting when you are attacking enemies that are resistant to your physical attacks and need to be hit by your projectiles.  Plus, the dodge doesn't seem very good.  It's not an animation skip, so you can't cover for attack vulnerabilities, and it theoretically has invincibility frames.  I don't think I've ever hit them.  Considering how easy it is to get hit (there are a lot of cheap attacks), I would have liked a block, too, or at least a slightly better dodge.

A second meter you have in battle is for your X-Drive.  Using this will temporarily make all your attacks strike the enemy's elemental weakness, and give you infinite SP.  There's also a bonus effect depending on the element of your partner.  If that weren't enough, there is a third meter to fill, this time for your X-Strike.  These are basically super moves, which of course I save for boss fights.  they aren't quite as strong as I'd like, but they are useful.

Each Eclipse is a different dungeon.  They don't usually take that long to navigate, which is good because you are ranked on their completion.  Speed isn't the most important factor, though.  They also rate you on how many things you smash, enemies killed, and if you took advantage of an enemy's elemental weakness.  Sadly, it isn't always possible to get 100% for that, since you can only have three people with you at a time.  Switching to your partner is pretty easy, but switching to the "support" (third character) feels cumbersome.  You can always return to any completed Eclipse to grind or increase your rank.

Each character has an orbment soul device that represents their weapon.  There are several slots where you can equip crystals.  These crystals can give stat points, or even passive abilities like a percent chance to inflict a status ailment.  There are also spots that give extra combo damage and a couple of other effects once unlocked.  Monster parts randomly gained from loot drops are used to open and upgrade these slots.  There is also standard equipment, too.  Characters can equip an outfit (armor) and shoes, along with two accessories.

When you are not in a dungeon, you will run around and talk to people, advance the story, and maybe do some side quests.  Like Trails of Cold Steel, many of the people you talk to are tracked in your phone, and there are several pieces of information to learn about them as the story progresses.  You can also get side quests from an app.  Unfortunately, some are not shown in this way.  As a completionist, this bugs me.

The more important characters also have character episodes, where you can hang out with them, or help them out, and become closer friends.  As the game goes on, more people are added, and there are only a limited number of times you can spend with people per chapter.  If there is a free Eclipse, you will get an extra shard, but it's still nowhere near enough to spend time with everybody.  You are also at the mercy of who is available, so it's hard to focus on one or two special people.  I will give the game big props for being very clear about when the story is going to proceed, so it's hard to do so before you are ready.

My only real gripe with the game is that the localization feels a bit rushed, as there were several instances of typos.  The most glaring one was the shards used for the character episodes.  They are referred to as both affinity and infinity shards.  One time it's even called a Friendship shard.  Affinity makes more sense, but at the very least there shouldn't be two different names for the same thing.  Well, unless the character has a real name, but is always referred to as "mid-boss".

Tokyo Xanadu is a really fun action RPG that I enjoyed playing.  The difficulty felt about right (although it was a little too easy to get hit), and the length was good.  It is likely overshadowed by the enhanced version coming to PS4 later this year, but the Vita version is worth playing.

The Good:
I don't know if I could point to anything specific, but the game was just really fun.

The Bad:
Hidden side quests, and of course the typos.

The SaHD:
Wow, character models don't wear shoes in some indoor areas...nice touch!

(Review code for Tokyo Xanadu was provided by the publisher)

          10 Tips to Get a Stuck Car Out of the Snow        

By Tracy Junker

Before you get stuck in the snow, here are some items to keep in your vehicle and some tips on how to get moving again.

What to Carry in your Vehicle

  • Small or collapsible shovel
  • Boots (if you don’t regularly wear them)
  • Sturdy pair of gloves or mittens and a cap
  • Sand or cat litter

How to Get Out of the Snow When Stuck

Friends, family, and neighbors will have a lot of different options of how to get out of the snow when stuck. Here are 10 simple reminders and tips:

  1. Make sure the tailpipe is clear of the snow before starting or running the engine.
  2. Look under the vehicle to identify if it is hung-up on snow that will need to be removed before being able to get free. If so, carefully remove the snow if possible. If there is too much or it is too far under the vehicle, call for a tow service.
  3. After removing snow, put some traction aid, in front of or behind the tires, depending on the direction chosen, to free the vehicle. Gently rock the vehicle as described below or with the help of others. Remember to accelerate slowly.
  4. If someone is placing something under the tires, such as floor mats, make sure everyone is standing well clear of the vehicle before the driver puts the vehicle in gear. The items under the tires can become fast moving projectiles that can injure those around them. There are a number of products on the market that advertise better traction to get vehicles unstuck, just remember to make sure everyone is well clear of the vehicle if using one of them.
  5. Cat litter that is high in clay will probably melt into a slippery substance beneath the tires. Consider a litter that is low in clay or sand instead. Sand is probably the most ecologically friendly option.
  6. Place the bag of cat litter or the sand tubes in sturdy containers before putting them in the vehicle. Then if you need to use them for traction aid, the contents do not spread all over the inside of your vehicle or trunk.
  7. Secure the sand tubes or cat litter if they are placed inside the vehicle, such as in a van or SUV. These can become dangerous projectiles in an accident. In the bed of a truck, try to secure them over the driving axle.
  8. Do not rock the vehicle by switching from a forward gear to reverse and back again. This will overheat the engine and can lead to transmission failure. Instead, keep the vehicle in either reverse or drive, gently depress the accelerator to get the vehicle to slightly rock in the desired direction, then release the accelerator to let the vehicle come back to the original position. Do this again right away, repeating it until the vehicle rocks itself out of the rut and back onto the drivable surface.
  9. Once the tires start slipping, release the accelerator. Spinning the tires just makes the situation worse.
  10. Use the lowest gear possible and gently accelerate in order to get the best traction.

Winter Weather Must-Haves

Even though many of us live in urban areas or rural areas that are traveled frequently, it is still a good idea to keep a sleeping bag or blanket in the vehicle during the winter in case it takes a while for help to arrive.

Travel with a well-charged cell phone, especially in the winter.

Keep a bright flashlight available in the vehicle to use to help others see the stranded vehicle as well as to be able to look around the vehicle after dark. Flares or roadside assistance markers are also good to carry in the vehicle. Check the flashlight operation at least once a month, especially if the vehicle is not kept in a garage.

Keep non-perishable food and water on hand. They will freeze in the coldest weather so replenish as needed.

Snow can cause problems for your vehicle and some are serious, like this Safety Recall. Learn about your vehicle, stay on top of service, and be prepared for repairs with Chilton. For more than 100 years, Chilton has been a trusted source of automotive information. Check out to subscribe to information for a particular year, make and model vehicle. Or choose for access to multiple makes and models spanning 70+ years.

Tracy Junker portrait, Chilton

An automotive editor with more than 15 years automotive industry experience, Tracy Junker's father owned and operated a garage for about 30 years. Though too young at the time to work in the garage, she worked with him later at home on the family’s vehicles and those of former customers that would not trust anyone but her Dad to fix their cars correctly. Tracy says, “My interest in cars began because I loved working with Dad on whatever project he had going.”

          Etude du 75 : la bouche à feu        

La bouche à feu (ou canon ou tube) est l’élément qui délivre toute la puissance de feu du 75.

Sa fabrication, très élaborée, fait appel aux dernières technologies métallurgiques de la fin du XIX° siècle.  Ses caractéristiques lui permettent de résister à des conditions de service particulièrement sévères (pression, chaleur, usure, encuivrage).

Avant de présenter la bouche à feu du canon de 75, il parait intéressant de rappeler les innovations utilisées dans la fabrication des matériels d’artillerie.

La bouche à feu simple d’avant 1870, coulée ou forgée, parfois en bronze, ne pouvait pas répondre aux exigences des nouvelles technologies (nouvelles poudres, chargement par la culasse, obus oblong à ceinture, canons rayés). Il a fallu chercher un moyen d'augmenter sa résistance en se tournant vers des aciers à limite élastique de plus en plus élevée.

Une nouvelle technique, le frettage, devient alors le principal procédé pour construire des canons.

Le frettage :

Le procédé consiste d envelopper le tube à renforcer d'une couronne appelée frette, qui le comprime fortement. Cette compression s'obtient en donnant à la frette au repos un diamètre intérieur plus faible que le diamètre correspondant de l'élément fretté; la différence de ces deux diamètres constituant le serrage.
Le serrage est obtenu en donnant à la frette un diamètre interne plus petit que le diamètre externe correspondant après mise en place du tube fretté. Le serrage absolu est la différence entre le diamètre extérieur de l’élément fretté et le diamètre intérieur de l’élément frettant.
Pour résumer, le frettage permet d'obtenir la même résistance avec une épaisseur moindre. La résistance du canon croit avec le nombre de frettes pour une même épaisseur totale.

Le frettage à chaud :

Plusieurs tubes d'acier sont enfilés les uns sur les autres à chaud. Après refroidissement, chaque tube agissant sur les précédents comme une frette. L'avantage de cette méthode est d'adapter l'épaisseur d'acier en fonction de la pression dans le tube au départ du coup: très épais au niveau de la chambre, plus fin vers la sortie du canon.
Pour la mise en place, le tube frettant est dilaté par la chaleur. Le tube à fretter est alors introduit. Par refroidissement, la frette se contracte et comprime le tube fretté.

Le frettage à froid :

Le frettage à froid a été employé pour la construction du 75 modèle 1897. La partie postérieure du tube est légèrement tronconique, le manchon est alésé intérieurement à la demande du tube, mais avec un diamètre légèrement plus petit. La mise en place du manchon sur le tube se fait à la presse hydraulique. Ce procédé a l’avantage d'éviter les altérations moléculaires que pourrait amener un chauffage exagéré.

La bouche à feu du canon de 75 :

La bouche à feu est constituée par un tube en acier creusé intérieurement de rayures et renforcé à l'arrière par une frette en acier: le manchon porte-culasse, mis en place à la presse hydraulique.

Le manchon est calé sur un ressaut du tube par l'intermédiaire de deux bagues (frette de calage et frette - écrou). La frette de calage est de plus vissée à chaud sur le tube.

Sur sa partie intermédiaire, il est entouré d’une enveloppe en bronze : la jaquette. Cette jaquette sert de chariot lors du recul du tube, elle est pourvue de galets antérieurs et postérieurs et de longerons évidés comportant des plans inclinés. Manchon et jaquette sont reliés entre eux et au tube intérieur par deux frettes (frette de calage et frette-écrou), empêchant tout glissement par rapport au tube.

A l'avant du tube est vissée la frette à galets de la bouche.

D’un poids de 461 kg et d'une longueur totale de 2,72 mètres, le tube d’un diamètre de 75 mm comporte 24 rayures inclinées à droite à pas constant de 7° sur une longueur de 2,23 mètres.

Sur le dessus de la bouche à feu on trouve, de l'avant vers l'arrière, le guidon, les facettes du niveau de pointage modèle 1888 en maillechort, l'œilleton. A l'arrière droit, on trouve le trait repère de retour en batterie.

La forme intérieure de la bouche à feu du canon de 75

De l’arrière vers l’avant, on trouve :

La vis du manchon de culasse qui accueille la vis de culasse Nordenfelt et qui permet le chargement et l’obturation du tube. La masse reculante est reliée à la tige du frein de tir par le manchon.

La chambre,partie lisse qui accueille la douille de cuivre de la munition. Sa forme légèrement tronconique est très légèrement supérieure aux dimensions de la douille ; cela facilite son décollement des parois lors de l’éjection.
Pour mémoire, c’est la douille de cuivre qui, à elle seule assure, la totale étanchéité des gaz lors de la mise à feu.

Le cône de forcement fait la jonction entre la chambre et la partie rayée sur une hauteur de 13 mm. Sa forme en tronc de cône (inclinaison de 6,5%) arrête le projectile à la position de chargement, la ceinture de cuivre de l’obus venant s’y bloquer.

La partie rayée, d’une longueur de 2 m. 23, comporte 24 rayures d’une profondeur de 0,5 mm, au pas constant de 7° à droite.

Entretien et durée de vie d'une bouche à feu de 75:

A la fois résistante et fragile, la bouche à feu s'use et s'encuivre de manière inévitable. 
Elle requiert une attention permanente, tant au service qu'à l'entretien.

La vie balistique d'un 75 est estimée à 10 000 coups en moyenne, certains canons en ayant tiré bien plus. Cette durée de vie peut être très courte si certaines précautions ne sont pas respectées. 
En général, un tube est réformé après usure de 0,7 mm. ou lors d'une avance au cône de 8,5 mm . L'usure est accélérée par l'emploi des obus modèle 17 (grande vitesse et forcement plus fort) et très ralentie par les charges réduites.

L'encuivrage est également déterminant dans vie balistique d'un tube. Dans les canons bien soignés, l'encuivrage n'arrive qu après l'usure. Des projectiles décuivrants ont d'ailleurs été inventés afin de lutter contre ce phénomène sur les canons d'ALVF (alliage étain - plomb).

1. L'usure:

Elle fait perdre toute précision au tir.
Elle est caractérisée par une érosion du métal et une augmentation du diamètre de l'âme. L'usure est maximum dans la région du cône de forcement et du commencement des rayures, puis elle diminue vers l'avant pour devenir presque nulle. L'usure reparaît Ã  la sortie de bouche (usure mécanique). Les caractéristiques de l'usure sont différentes suivant la région du canon.

Elle se manifeste par de fines craquelures espacées, qui au fur et à mesure se rejoignent et forment un véritable réseau, visible sous forme de tâches. Enfin les craquelures longitudinales s'accentuent et finissent par former de véritables stries.
D'après Monsieur Vieille, l'usure est due à l'action réitérée des veines gazeuses d'écoulant à grande vitesse et haute température (entre 2000 et 4000° C).
Une autre théorie de l'époque admet que l'action chimique des gaz de la poudre sur l'acier est une des causes principales de l'usure.

L'expérience montre que les hautes températures de déflagration favorisent l'usure. Il faut donc ménager la cadence de tir du canon pour éviter un échauffement excessif.

2. L'encuivrage:

Dès que l'encuivrage est commencé, il ne cesse de s’accroître.
C'est un simple dépôt de cuivre pur (aspérités) qui se forme par le frottement de la ceinture de l'obus. Il altère l'âme du canon, favorise l'érosion, et a des conséquences sur la précision du tir (le vent du projectile est augmenté). Par exemple il peut produire en particulier des arasements de ceinture donnant des coups courts de 4 à 5000 mètres pour des portées de 5 à 6000.

3. L'entretien et la préservation d'une bouche à feu:

Pour retarder l'usure et l'encuivrage, il faut:

- Employer la plus faible charge permise par le tir à effectuer(l'usure augmente avec la vitesse initiale).
- Entretenir l' Ã¢me propre, la laver et la graisser légèrement après chaque coup (les résidus de poudre sont corrosifs et difficiles à éliminer une fois refroidis).
- Graisser légèrement la partie avant de la ceinture de chaque projectile,
- Avoir des projectiles propres,
- Ne pas dépasser une certaine cadence de tir tant que la situation tactique ne l'exige pas. (la température Ã©levée fragilise l'âme du canon). Permettre un repos alternatif aux pièces, pendant lesquelles elles sont refroidies à grande eau.

On conservera ainsi une bouche à feu plus longtemps et en bon état. L'expérience montre que certaines pièces ont pu tirer 20 000 coups sans usure et encuivrage exagéré.

Ainsi le règlement du canon de 75 stipule pour le nettoyage de la bouche à feu:

La culasse, l'extracteur et son axe étant enlevés, placer la bouche à feu sous une inclinaison légèrement négative; laver à grande eau l'âme et la chambre, en se servant de l'écouvillon, jusqu'à ce que l'eau sorte propre; essuyer et sécher en coiffant le refouloir avec un linge sec. Graisser, au moyen du manchon graisseur. Huiler les couvre-galets et les galets de la bouche s'il est nécessaire.
Nettoyer l'écrou de culasse avec une éponge et essuyer, avec le plus grand soin et un à un, les filets. Graisser au moyen de la brosse à graisse.
Le nettoyage de l'âme doit se faire immédiatement après le tir lorsque des sachets anti-lueurs ont été employés. Dans ce cas, il peut être nécessaire, pour dissoudre les crasses, d'employer du pétrole ou de l'eau chaude. Graisser ensuite le matériel. "

          Etude du 75 : la culasse        

L’ingénieuse culasse Nordenfeldt du canon de 75 est des principaux éléments autorisant une cadence de tir élevée.

Le rôle de la culasse est d’obturer la partie arrière de la bouche à feu, de permettre la mise à feu en sécurité, tout en assurant une parfaite étanchéité.

Sa conception révolutionnaire permet de limiter à un seul mouvement pour ouvrir la chambre et un seul pour la fermer; il en fallait trois, pour chacune des deux opérations, avec le canon de 90.
Pour ouvrir la culasse, il faut simplement tenir la poignée de manivelle, appuyer sur la masselotte avec le pouce, et effectuer une rotation de 120° vers la gauche de la poignée.

Le mécanisme de culasse comprend

La  culasse à vis excentrée (partie mobile) :

Elle est constituée par un disque massif dont le diamètre est supérieur au double de celui de l’âme. Elle tourne, dans la masse du manchon, autour d'un axe idéal parallèle à celui de l'âme du canon et situé au-dessous. Elle est pourvue de filets qui s'engagent dans des filets correspondants du manchon et qui permettent le mouvement de rotation. Dans une de ses positions d'arrêt, la vis de culasse présente une ouverture devant la chambre de chargement par laquelle on peut introduire la cartouche; dans l'autre position d'arrêt, à 180°, elle présente devant la même chambre une partie pleine qui la ferme.

La rotation de la vis de culasse se produit au moyen d'une poignée fixée sur une manivelle qui vient, aux extrémités de sa course, heurter une butée d'ouverture ou une butée de fermeture.

L’appareil de mise de feu :

Le canon étant chargé et la culasse fermée, la mise de feu se fait par un marteau à ressort qu'on écarte de sa position de repos avec un tire-feu; on lâche ce tire-feu ; le marteau pousse un percuteur qui traverse toute la vis de culasse et qui vient frapper l'amorce de la cartouche au centre du culot.

Au moment du départ du coup, il importe d'empêcher les fuites des gaz de la poudre du côté de la culasse; car il faut, autant qu'il est possible, garder toute la pression pour la propulsion du projectile. La douille métallique et son culot, fortement appuyés, à ce moment, par les gaz mêmes sur la paroi intérieure du canon, réalisent ici une obturation excellente.

L’extracteur :

Un extracteur débarrasse le canon de la douille vide. Il consiste en un système de deux branches verticales, qui sont mobiles autour d'un axe horizontal, qui se logent dans des évidements présentés par la masse du manchon et qui viennent, par suite du mouvement d'ouverture de la culasse, saisir le bourrelet de la douille et projeter celle-ci brusquement en arrière de la pièce.

Le chargement d’une nouvelle cartouche dans la chambre provoque le basculement vers l’avant des branches de l’extracteur et,  par la suite de la réaction du talon sur la rampe d’éjection, un commencement de fermeture de la culasse.

Les organes de sécurité :

La pièce de sûreté, 

qui se visse dans l'écrou de la manivelle et peut occuper deux positions: la position de tir et la position de route; dans cette dernière position, elle immobilise le marteau.

Le linguet, 

qui a pour but :
- d’empêcher l’ouverture trop hâtive de la culasse en cas de long feu.
- d’assurer la fermeture complète de la culasse et par la suite, d’autoriser la mise de feu. En effet, le percuteur ne peut frapper sur l’amorce de la douille  que si la culasse est bien fermée (du fait de l’excentricité de l’axe du tube et du canal du percuteur).

Le linguet, qui est porté par la manivelle et dont le pêne vient s'engager dans une gâche du manchon, maintient la culasse fermée.

Au départ du coup, une masselotte logée dans la poignée et dont le déplacement résulte, par inertie, du recul, agit sur le linguet de manière à le faire sortir de la gâche, et dès lors on peut de nouveau ouvrir la culasse ; par le fait même de cette ouverture, la masselotte se trouve ramenée, grâce au jeu d'une came, dans sa situation antérieure.

Note d'époque à propos de la culasse Nordenfelt:

« MM. Nordenfelt et Cie ont accordé l'autorisation d'appliquer leur culasse à deux spécimens de canon, à savoir le 75 de campagne à l'étude et le 65 de côte, également étudié par le lieutenant colonel Déport; mais ils demandent si l'on veut acquérir une licence de leur brevet Dans une lettre du 21 décembre 1893, le Président du Comité est favorable à cette acquisition, si les industriels précités se montrent raisonnables. On pourrait, en effet, à la rigueur recourir, au besoin à la culasse du canon de 57 Sainte-Claire Deville, qui paraît bien fonctionner. Dans une lettre du Président du Comité, du 14 janvier 1899, on constate qu'un contrat avait été passé, en 1894, avec la Société Nordenfelt; ce contrat permettait à l'Artillerie française de faire usage de la culasse de cette Société, ainsi que de tous ses perfectionnements, dont elle devait recevoir, à cet effet, communication. »

          TOW Firing Range        
Package about the wire-guided projectile tank busting weapons at Fort Polk's Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC). Produced by Staff Sgt. Craig Rader.
          Comment on Portfolio piece 1 – Shape Invasion by Harpwn        
Pretty much intended but ye after a certain point it becomes very hard to survive. I could limit the amount of projectile shooters per wave but then it would probably get quite boring.
          Comment on Portfolio piece 1 – Shape Invasion by simonrcrowe        
I played until maybe level 33, when I died. The difficulty, or at least excitement seemed to drastically increase at around level 20, when I had to dodge between projectiles to get at power-ups.
          XPEL | SEGMENT 2 | #148        
Are chips and dents in your ride's hood making you want to pull your hair out? If so, you might want to look into XPEL, a clear paint protection film that shields your car from the projectile onslaught of the open road. Eric Keller, Business Development Manager for XPEL, has all the information you need.
          Max Damage 3        
Hurl projectiles into household items with the goal of causing as much damage as possible Cause the required amount of damage in each level to progress
          08/09 Links Pt1: Is the State Department Buying Arab Propaganda?; Preparing for the post-Abbas era        
From Ian:

Is the State Department Buying Arab Propaganda?
After centuries of Muslim persecution, often genocidal, or dhimmitude under sharia, Christianity in the Middle East has been stunted, if not effectively crushed. To avoid discrimination, Christians gave their children Arab names instead of Biblical ones. Their religious celebrations are kept indoors, lest Christian festivities offend Muslims. As in a Stockholm Syndrome, Middle East Christians often ended up defending and even praising Islam, even if that comes at the expense of their own religious rights.
It is stunning to see is how on the one hand, the US State Department and media play down the genocide going on today against Christians in the Middle East, but on the other hand, immediately believe Muslims when one of their leaders tells an American delegation that he does not fear Arabs but fears Jews.
With many branches of the US government apparently determined to distort reality, there seems to be a series of deliberate decisions to ignore -- and to prevent the American public from knowing -- what is really going on.
"Politically incorrect" language has been censored by the State Department, the Department of Justice, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the previous Executive branch, and, most recently, the National Security Council, which recently seems to have purged the entire department.
It is dangerous for the West to accept Arab anti-Semitic propaganda voiced by some Christian leaders in the Middle East; they are held hostage by the Muslim majority around them. Since the age of the internet, even many Arabs have stopped buying Arab propaganda.
A recent mark was retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell when he was Secretary of State. Wilkerson recently said on MSNBC, during the recent Temple Mount crisis, that Jews pose the biggest threat to Christians in the Middle East. He learned this, he said, in 2002-2003 in Ramallah, during a business trip to meet with Yasser Arafat, from a Middle Eastern Catholic Bishop, who had told him that the biggest enemy for Christians in the region was not the Arabs but the Jews. So, Wilkerson, instead of condemning countless unprovoked terror attacks against Israelis, criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
It is most unfortunate that a former high-ranking State Department official decided to blame Israel during the recent crisis, in which Jews were the obvious victims. It is more than unfortunate that Wilkerson took the Bishop's statement at face value instead of recognizing the complexities of the Middle East, where "no" and "yes" rarely mean "no" and "yes".
Peace With the Palestinians Was a Bust. Here’s What Israel Should Do Next.
Half a century after the victory in the Six-Day War, 40 years after its most important political benefit in the separate peace with Egypt, half a decade after the implosion of the Arab structures around it, Israel needs a different strategy vis-à-vis the Palestinian issue. Israel should have adopted such a strategy at the latest when the “Peace Process” predictably failed in Oslo, Camp David, and Annapolis. But it’s not too late to finally abandon the fantasy of peace with the Palestinian national movement and move to an admittedly less desirable yet much more realistic proposition of unilateral disengagement from the overwhelming majority of the West Bank. Three questions beg a detailed and responsible answer: Why isn’t peace a possibility? Is there a viable alternative? How would it work?
Why no peace?
Peace, in the sense of termination of conflict and end of claims, where both sides are free to pursue their own separate nation-building projects—an Arab state of Palestine and a Jewish state of Israel—has been consistently rejected by the Palestinian national movement. Manipulative or ignorant Arabs, Westerners, and Israelis who claim that the Palestinians have all but abandoned their insistence on the “right of return”—the destruction of the Jewish state by demographic means—can no longer successfully cheat mainstream Israelis. “Let me put it simply,” said President Abbas, in January 2014: “The right of return is a personal decision. What does this mean? That neither the Palestinian Authority, nor the state, nor the PLO, nor Abu-Mazen [Abbas], nor any Palestinian or Arab leader has the right to deprive someone of his right to return. … The choice is yours. You want to return? You will return. … Even a father cannot forgo his children’s right.”
Palestinian leaders not only consistently rejected a state (notably in 1947, 2001 and 2008) but demonstrated their profound lack of interest in any constructive enterprise when the nation-builder they were lucky enough to have as prime minister—Salam Fayyad—could not muster any significant public support in the PA kleptocracy. For almost a quarter of a century of controlling most of their population—and with contributions, goodwill and assistance on a magnitude never before showered on a small people—Palestinian elites have produced little except for excuses and a discourse of perpetual victimhood. They have never taken responsibility for the consequences of their misguided decisions and have demonstrated no motivation to take charge of their future in an independent state.
Based on their national record since the emergence of a Palestinian people almost one hundred years ago, the State of Palestine, if it is born, will be a failed, violent, corrupt state, adjusted even less than other Arab entities in the region to meet the challenges of the 21st century. As long as they are under occupation the Palestinians have the supreme attention of the world, billions of dollars to live off and scheme bribes off, perfect excuses to invest nothing in their future, and armies of gullible supporters in Western democracies that help them delegitimize Israel. All this will go away if the Jews can no longer be blamed. Since the Palestinians are not willing to terminate the conflict and have no motivation to establish a state and undertake the responsibilities that statehood entails. Next to the Palestinian addiction to victimhood, the other unbridgeable obstacles for peace—including security and the barbaric Hamas regime in Gaza representing half their people—dwarf in comparison.
MEMRI: Motto Of Hamas Summer Camps This Year: 'Marching On Jerusalem'; Their Goal: To Train The Generation That Will Liberate Palestine, Jerusalem
Hamas's summer camps in the Gaza Strip, whose motto this year was "Marching on Jerusalem,"[1] opened on July 9, 2017 and were attended by 120,000 children and teens. According to Hamas officials, their goal is to train the generation "that will lead the campaign of liberation."[2] In addition to Quran lessons, sports and technology activities, games and entertainment, the camps also offered extensive military indoctrination and training, including weapons training.[3]
Explaining the rationale behind the camps' motto, Hamas's former education minister, Osama Al-Muzaini, said: "Jerusalem is the compass of the Palestinian cause and the central issue of the conflict with the occupier... It is part of the Islamic faith, and its liberation is first a religious duty and then a national one." He added that the camps' goal is "to train the generation of victory and liberation, which will have the honor of liberating Jerusalem and uprooting the occupation."[4]
Many of the camps had names alluding to Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa, such as the "We Are the Keepers of the Gates" camp, while others were named for Palestinian martyrs, such as the Muhannad Al-Halabi camp, named for a man whose stabbing of two Israelis in Jerusalem's Old City in October 2015 sparked off the Al-Quds Intifada,[5] or the "Eastern Area Martyrs" camp.[6]

Caroline Glick: Preparing for the post-Abbas era
Economically, Israel has already begun to limit the capacity of anti-Israel forces in the West to wage economic war against it by deepening its economic ties with Asia.
Politically, Israel must reform its legal system to limit the subversive power of the West in its Arab community and more generally in its political system. Foreign governments must be barred from funding political NGOs. Israel should wage a public campaign in the US to discredit foundations and other non-profits in the US that work through Israeli-registered NGOs to undermine its rule of law.
By applying its laws in full to Area C, and by asserting sole security control throughout the areas, while empowering the Israeli Arab majority that wishes to embrace its Israeli identity, Israel will empower the Palestinians in Areas A and B to govern themselves autonomously in a manner that advances the interests of their constituents.
As Agha and Khalidi note, the Palestinians have been in charge of their own governance since 1994. But under the corrupt authoritarianism of the PLO, their governance has been poor and unaccountable. As local identities have superseded the PLO’s brand of nationalism borne of terrorism and eternal war against Israel, the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria well positioned to embrace an opportunity to govern themselves under a liberal rule of law without fear of the PLO jackboot.
The post-Abbas era will pose new threats and opportunities for Israel. It is up to Israel to ensure that the opportunities are maximized and the threats are neutralized as quickly as possible. Failing that, Israel can expect to contend with military threats in Judea and Samaria several orders of magnitude greater than what it has dealt with in the past. It can similarly expect to find itself under political assault from a combination of radicalized Israeli Arabs and Western governments that will challenge it in ways it has never been challenged before.
Melanie Phillips: Incitement, lies and the strange eclipse of the Dome of the Rock
To shed some light on this, I consulted two excellent and authoritative pieces of work: an article in Middle East Quarterly by Daniel Pipes entitled The Muslim Claim to Jerusalem, and a book-length paper by Nadav Shragai for the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs entitled The “Al Aksa is in Danger” Libel: The History of a Lie.
These two essays contain much riveting detail showing how the claim that Temple Mount is sacred to Islam is a lie built on a series of lies, of which the claim that “al Aqsa is in danger” is the apogee – and which have all been used to incite war against the Jewish people and write them out of their own history.
Both the Dome of the Rock and al Aqsa, which had been neglected for decades, were renovated in the 1920s by the Islamic extremist and Hitler ally, the Grand Mufti of Jersualem Haj-Amin al Husseini, for whom the project was a means of boosting his power and authority.
It was al Husseini who first incited the Muslims with the cry that al Aqsa was “in danger” from the Jews who he falsely claimed were plotting to build the Temple there. In the resulting pogroms 133 Jews, mostly in Safed and Hebron, were butchered and 339 were injured.
Both Pipes and Shragai show, moreover, that over the centuries both Temple Mount and Jerusalem itself were regarded with indifference by the Islamic world until they took on political significance because other cultures laid claim to them. Then and only then were they elevated to the status of holy shrines. And that was done on the basis of lies.
The claim that al Aqsa was a sacred Islamic shrine was a fiction created to serve temporal political ends. In order to de-Judaise Temple Mount and Jerusalem – the most sacred places in Judaism – the Islamic world changed the age and status of al Aksa.
Shragai writes: “The process of Islamisation and Arabisation stemmed from the need to claim an Arab and Islamic historical right to the sacred land, before the Israelites were there – the ancient Jews, and the Christians. The new Muslim narrative determined, for example, that the al Aksa mosque was not built around 1300 years ago – which is what modern research finds – but rather by the first man, forty years after the mosque in Mecca was built.”
However, the fact remains that the Dome of the Rock was built before al Aqsa, and on the site of the Temple itself. So why was al Aksa given special significance?
As Pipes writes, the creation of the Dome of the Rock resulted from a revolt against the Damascus-based Umayyad dynasty in the seventh and eighth centuries by a dissident leader in Arabia.To fight him, the Umayyad rulers chose to exalt and glorify Jerusalem in order to undermine the status of Mecca. Accordingly the Umayyad ruler, Mu‘awiya, went to great lengths to build religious edifices, a palace and roads in the city.
The Battle for Trump's Foreign Policy
The ongoing purge of people loyal to U.S. President Donald J. Trump at the National Security Council, the main organization used by the president to develop national security policy, is part of a power struggle over the future direction of American foreign policy.
Trump campaigned on a promise radically to shift American foreign policy away from the "globalism" pursued by his predecessors to one of a "nationalism" which puts "America first." He also vowed to: "defeat" Islamic extremism; "tear up" the nuclear deal with Iran; "reset" bilateral relations with Israel by moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem "on Day One" of his administration; and "direct the Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator."
Trump's election has set in motion a bitter power struggle between two main factions: those led by White House strategist Steve Bannon — who are devoted to implementing the president's foreign policy agenda, and those led by National Security Advisor Herbert Raymond "H.R." McMaster — who appear committed to perpetuating policies established by the Obama administration.
Since becoming national security advisor in February, McMaster has clashed with Trump and Bannon on policy relating to Afghanistan, China, Cuba, Islam, Israel, Iran, Mexico, NATO, North Korea, Russia and Syria, among others.
McMaster has also been accused of trying to undermine the president's foreign policy agenda by removing from the National Security Council key Trump loyalists — K.T. McFarland, Adam Lovinger, David Cattler, Tera Dahl, Rich Higgins, Derek Harvey, and Ezra Cohen-Watnick— and replacing them with individuals committed to maintaining the status quo.
An analysis of the foreign policy views of McMaster and some of his senior staff at the National Security Council shows them to be overwhelmingly at odds with what Trump promised during the campaign.
U.S.-Israel Teams Ramp Up Missile Interceptor Builds
Two U.S.-Israeli industrial teams working on jointly funded missile defense programs are ramping up production of three distinct interceptors that collectively defend against an entire spectrum of threats, from short-range rockets to Iran’s most advanced, medium-range ballistic missiles.
Intercepting missiles for all three heavily U.S.-funded missile defense programs — Arrow-3, David’s Sling and Iron Dome — are being built in large part in the United States through a network of prime partners, subcontractors and suppliers that extend across more than 30 of the 50 U.S. states.
“In accordance with congressional mandates and our government-to-government agreements, each one of these [intercepting systems] is being produed at least 50 percent in the United States,” Moshe Patel, director of the Defense Ministry’s Israel Missile Defense Organization, told Defense News.
“It’s not just prime contractors, but a vast network of subcontractors spread out over a large part of the United States of America,” Patel said.
According to Patel, U.S.-based work on all three interceptor programs is transitioning from low-rate initial production, or LRIP, to full-rate production. “We’re in the final phases of LRIP for all these systems; and we’re very proud of the amazing cooperation at the government-to-government and at the industry-to-industry levels,” Patel said.
Facing Palestinian criticism, White House says closeness to Israel is an asset
One relationship put to the test was that with Jordan, which serves as custodian of the Temple Mount while Israel controls the security of the site. US officials coordinated closely with King Abdullah II of Jordan to “contain” the crisis, and largely credit him for its swift conclusion.
But when Abdullah visited Abbas in Ramallah on Monday, the Temple Mount crisis – now two weeks old – was still raw. The Jordanian king spoke to Abbas of the importance of engaging with the Trump administration in its efforts to advance peace, according to Amman officials.
“This is a way for the Palestinians to try and message the administration: We have to see some sign that you in fact take our interests into account,” said Dennis Ross, a senior Middle East diplomat and veteran of the George H.W. Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations. “I see it as a way to try to influence the administration. I’m not surprised by it, but I’m not sure those in the administration are really going to be responsive to it.”
White House officials say that Abbas takes the Trump team more seriously knowing that Kushner and Greenblatt are personally close with the Israelis – a distinction from members of the Obama administration, who by the end of his first term had less leverage and trust with the Israeli government.
“What they mean to say is that, ‘because we’re close to the Israelis, we have the ability to influence Israeli behavior,’” Ross said. “And that indeed could benefit the Palestinians, to an extent.”
Palestinian officials were particularly struck by the administration’s refusal to take a stand on the introduction of new security hardware at a site where the status quo has long been considered fragile and valuable by the State Department: any new development there was bound to disrupt it, and this basic fact regarding the conflict seemed lost on the US team.
The White House stands firm that, while it seeks to respect the status quo on the holy site, it will not dictate security procedure. “We didn’t ask Israel to take down the security apparatus because we feel that Israel needs to make security decisions by itself,” a senior official said.
But from the Palestinian perspective, this was a line strongly suggestive of bias toward Israel. They did not believe Trump’s advisers understood the metal detectors represented more than the sum of their parts, and were in effect symbols to their people of Israeli control on that sacred ground.
Meet The Jewish Hedge Fund Manager Behind the Taylor Force Act
Tamar Elashvili, a research assistant at JCPA who worked closely with Gerber to publish the findings, told The Jewish Week he was “essential” to “uncovering and publicizing this data.”
“This was clearly driven by passion and a desire to see justice served,” said Elashvili.
“When I learned that the PA had laws to kill the Jews, I couldn’t sleep at night,” said Gerber, who eschews the limelight. “Even more disturbing was that I had been completely unaware. Frankly, I was ashamed of myself.
“This issue is not just about money,” he said. “It’s really about the nature and narrative of the PA, which lies to the West by not just allowing, but actually sponsoring a society that is focused on violence against Israel.”
Gerber’s work paid big dividends. In a press conference last Thursday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) personally thanked Gerber for bringing the issue to light.
“Sander Gerber brought me this issue, explaining to me the Palestinian law is so corrupt,” said Graham, citing data unearthed by Gerber detailing how financial incentives to “martyrs” vary, based on the nature of the attack and if the assailant dies or not in the act. “It is a sick system. It needs to change,” Graham said.
Gerber showed the PA’s laws to Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Graham early in 2017. Graham immediately reintroduced legislation to cut U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority until it ceased incentivizing terror; it was first introduced in the House in February. Philanthropist Haim Saban and Sen. Bob Corker (R.-Tenn.) were “instrumental” is gaining bipartisan support for the bill, said Gerber.
“Any resistance to the bill came from people who, like me, had been uninformed,” he told The Jewish Week.
Cape Verde denies it’ll start backing Israel at the UN
Cape Verde on Tuesday denied that it had decided it will no longer to vote against Israel at the United Nations, days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took credit for the West African nation’s ostensible new policy.
Responding to various news reports about the matter, Cape Verde confirmed its desire to advance relations with Israel, but indicated that its recent contacts with Jerusalem have not led to a change in Israel’s favor in its traditional voting patterns at international organizations.
In a statement posted on Tuesday on his Facebook page, the president of the African archipelago nation, Jorge Carlos Fonseca, explained that his country’s constitution puts the government and not the president in charge of foreign policy. While the president is head of state, it is the nation’s prime minister who is the head of government.
“In this context, the president of the republic supports the foreign policy guidelines defined by the government that privileges relations with the CPLP [Community of Portuguese Language Countries], the European Union, ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States], the United States of America, China, Brazil and Israel,” the statement read.
During a meeting at the June 4 ECOWAS summit in Monrovia, Fonseca and Netanyahu discussed advancing bilateral cooperation in the fields of agriculture, energy, tourism, security, the statement added.
Hezbollah runs wild as UN resolution falls flat
The failure to disarm Hezbollah has had other consequences for Lebanon, which has itself been the target of Hezbollah’s weapons. After the Lebanese government attempted to shutter Hezbollah’s private telecommunications network in May 2008, Hezbollah fighters clashed with Lebanese forces and captured portions of Beirut in what the government deemed an armed coup.
Yet, Hezbollah emerged politically stronger as a partner in Lebanon’s coalition government, thanks to a Qatar-negotiated agreement. In 2009, the Lebanese government issued a policy statement affirming Hezbollah’s right to bear arms.
Since then, Hezbollah has dragged Lebanon into the neighboring Syrian war. As a result, al-Qaeda, ISIS and other groups have murdered Lebanese civilians in attacks on Hezbollah-controlled cities and villages.
Hezbollah has also expanded beyond Lebanon’s borders into Yemen, where the internationally-recognized Yemeni government has accused it of training and fighting alongside Houthi rebels against Saudi Arabia. If 1701 had been fully enforced, Hezbollah would be playing a much more diminished role — or no role — in these countries.
Hezbollah’s participation in the Lebanese government protects it from any government or military action, as it would surely trigger another civil war. Even while Lebanon is far from the front line in the fight against Hezbollah, the Lebanese government remains bound by U.N. Security Council resolutions and its own agreements.
Until the Lebanese government is willing and able to confront Hezbollah, the Security Council should at the very least expand UNIFIL’s mandate to actively combat Hezbollah’s rearmament. Sadly, 11 years after 1701 was passed, Hezbollah’s danger to the entire region has never been greater.
In light of terrorism, support for Israel in Iraq rises
Against the backdrop of the events on the Temple Mount and the recent terrorist attacks, the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem was very surprised to see a dramatic increase in the number of Israel sympathizers in Iraq.
Yonatan Gonen, head of Arabic-language digital diplomacy at the Foreign Ministry, who also runs the Foreign Ministry's Facebook and Twitter accounts, said that the ministry has been flooded with pictures and messages of sympathy, support and even a desire to establish relations between the two countries.
In addition, several new Facebook pages were opened, and even an Arabic-language website was created to bring Israelis and Iraqis together.
The reactions include harsh criticism of "the hypocrisy of the Arab peoples," with an emphasis on the Egyptians and the Jordanians, whose countries have signed a peace treaty with the State of Israel.
One of the main arguments raised by the respondents on the matter is that if they oppose normalization with Israel, they should act to cancel the peace treaty with Israel before they start complaining. Another central argument is based on the approach that normalization with Israel is not shameful, as long as the interests of both countries are preserved.
At the same time, some respondents admit that the desire to establish relations with Israel does not stem from their love for the country, but rather from their disappointment with the Arab states and their desire to eliminate terrorism in their country.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Jordan: Ministry Of Badmouthing Israel While Depending On Her For Survival Gets New Minister (satire)
King Abdullah of Jordan approved the appointment today of a new chief for the Ministry of Badmouthing Israel While Depending on Her for Survival, sources in the Hashemite capital reported today.
A spokesman for the ministry told reporters that the king had completed his review of the candidates and accepted Alkulb Ligha ‘Iisnan as the new minister, ending a prolonged period during which the office sat without a head. The urgency of the appointment increased over recent weeks, amid tensions over security measures at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where Jordan holds some sway, and an incident at the Israeli embassy in Amman in which two Jordanians were shot and killed as one attempted to attack a security guard.
“We are happy to welcome Mr. ‘Iisnan,” announced the spokesman. “It has proved unusually difficult to perform our regular duties without a formal minister at the helm of the ministry. We look forward to a fruitful period of his leadership in badmouthing Israel while depending on her for our national survival.”
Jordan relies on Israeli military equipment and support in the fight against Islamist militants, on Israeli natural gas for its energy needs, on Israeli sources for its water needs, and on Israeli tourism for a chunk of its economic needs. Nevertheless, traditional Arab opposition to Jewish sovereignty in the reason, the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in the kingdom, and the sizable population of Jordan that identifies as Palestinian make it difficult for King Abdullah, like his father Hussein before him, to adopt an openly pro-Israel stance. The job of the Ministry of Badmouthing Israel While Depending on Her for Survival, established by Hussein in 1994, has been to coordinate anti-Israel propaganda efforts while cultivating behind-the-scenes diplomatic, economic, and military development that brings the two governments closer together.
IsraellyCool: 16 Years On: Hamas Celebrates Sbarro Restaurant Massacre
Today is the 16th anniversary of the Sbarro pizzeria massacre, and Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV is in celebration mode.
Consider for a second the level of depravity here. Not only did they murder 15 civilians (including 7 children and a pregnant woman), wound 130 more, and adversely affect the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of families, but they are now – 16 years later – looking back at it in celebration.
In case anyone wonders why there is no peace.
This is how we need to be spending this day – remembering the victims:
On a personal note, I would like to point out that back then, my wife and I were taking birthing classes in Jerusalem for our first-born. We used to eat at Sbarro every week. Only by Divine providence were we not there at the time.
Shmuley Boteach: Israel Tolerates the Intolerable by Allowing Terrorists to Live
Terrorists must know — without the shadow of a doubt — that when they stab, axe and pummel innocent men, women and children to death, they will never survive to celebrate their gruesome records in the streets of Gaza city.
There are those who will argue that by refusing to execute convicted murderers, Israel has opted toward a path that is more humane. After all, how, by killing those who kill, do we truly demote the act of killing?
To that, I answer that we are not calling for the killing of killers; we are calling for the killing of murderers. The Bible never says that one cannot kill. On the contrary, in the case of self-defense in a life-threatening situation, all ethicists agree that killing may be required. The prohibition, rather, is against murder. Murder is not just an act of killing. It is an act of killing the innocent: Those who did not deserve their deaths. Those who never received the most cursory of trials. Those who lived a life of peace and virtue, like the wholesome family of Halamish, yet were murdered with undisguised savagery.
Repentance, too, cannot be a part of this equation. The capital cases of terrorism are not those of an individual caught up in the heat of rage, or who’ve succumbed to a certain sickness, or were in a drunk and uncontrollable fury. These, rather, are individuals who carefully organize, plan and execute their evil plots. These are men who have lost their ability to see the humanity in their fellow man. These are people so steeped in the passion of their own hatred that it becomes an inextricable part of who they are.
McVeigh was executed after a fair trial and an appeal, with no public outcry whatsoever in the United States. Why? Because a man who takes so many lives so coldly has erased the divine countenance from his visage. Why would Israel lock up the most rancid, heartless and cold-blooded killers in its jails just so that they can serve as a lure for more Gilad Shalits to be kidnapped to force their release?
For the 1,027 murderers released in the Shalit deal, it would be logistically impossible to rearrest them, and give them the sentences that they truly deserve. It is also impossible to stop them from returning to blood-thirsty terrorism. But with the Halamish terrorist in custody, Israel ought to finally heed Netanyahu’s words: those who bring endless grief to innocent families should smile no more.
Think Tank sues Netanyahu's son over Facebook post
Facebook mudslinging between progressive think tank Molad – Center for Renewal of Israeli Democracy and the prime minister’s son Yair Netanyahu devolved into a lawsuit on Tuesday, with Molad suing Netanyahu for libel.
A week and a half ago, a woman who lives near the Prime Minister’s Residence wrote a Facebook post accusing Netanyahu of not cleaning up after the family dog, Kaya, and giving her the middle finger when she pointed it out to him.
“Sixty-One,” a Molad social media project, then posted a graphic listing “Five things you didn’t know about Yair Netanyahu,” including that he lives in the Prime Minister’s Residence and is the first son or daughter of a prime minister to receive around-the-clock security as an adult, and that he traveled abroad on Australian billionaire James Packer’s dime and stayed in his homes.
Yair Netanyahu turned 26 on July 26.
Molad is suing Netanyahu for NIS 140,474 over his response to the post, in which he called Molad “an anti-Zionist organization” that is funded by the “fund to destroy Israel,” an apparent reference to the New Israel Fund, which used to but no longer contributes to Molad.
According to Molad, the claim that it is anti-Zionist “has not a shred of truth, and is meant to shame” the organization and delegitimize it.
Israeli jets hit Hamas targets in Gaza following rocket strike
Israeli jets struck two Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip overnight Tuesday, injuring at least three people, hours after a rocket fired from the Palestinian enclave hit an open area in southern Israel.
The Israeli military said in a statement that in response to the projectile attack in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council earlier Tuesday, “IAF aircraft targeted two Hamas posts in the northern Gaza Strip.”
A Gaza security source told AFP that Israeli warplanes had struck two bases belonging to Hamas’ military wing, causing significant damage.
A medical official at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City said three people were being treated for injuries, including a 26-year-old man who was in critical condition after being struck in the head with shrapnel.
Soldier who stopped Halamish terrorist to get commendation
A soldier who intervened during a terror attack in a West Bank settlement last month will be awarded a “citation of praise” for his actions, the army announced Wednesday.
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On July 21, a Palestinian terrorist, Omar al-Abed, entered the Halamish settlement in the central West Bank armed with a knife. He entered the home of the Salomon family, stabbing to death the father Yosef, 70, and his children Chaya, 46, and Elad, 36. The mother, Tova, was seriously injured.
The staff sergeant, who can only be identified by the first Hebrew initial of his name, “Ayin,” as he serves in the army’s elite canine unit, lives next door to the Salomons, and upon seeing that the family was in trouble, he ran over with his pistol.
When the soldier saw “the terrorist fighting in the kitchen with Yossi Salomon (may his memory be blessed), he fired a single shot from outside the house, through a window, at the terrorist, stopping him,” the army said in a statement.
IDF arrests father, brother of Halamish terrorist
Israeli security forces, in an operation overnight Tuesday in the Palestinian village of Kobar, north of Ramallah, arrested the father and a brother of a terrorist who stabbed to death three members of the Salomon family in the Halamish settlement last month.
Hours after the July 21 attack, the IDF raided Omar al-Abed’s home, mapped it for demolition and arrested another one of his brothers, whom officials suspect aided his brother in carrying out the attack.
In the ensuing days, the army also arrested Abed’s mother, Ibtisam, for “aggravated incitement,” after she appeared in a widely shared video praising her son’s actions.
Abed’s father, Abd al-Jalil, who was arrested in the Tuesday night raid, told the Haaretz daily last month that his son’s actions were understandable.
Hebron shooter Elor Azaria begins serving sentence for manslaughter
Former IDF soldier Elor Azaria on Wednesday entered the military prison where he will be serving his 18 month sentence for killing an incapacitated Palestinian terrorist. His imprisonment has been the center of widescale debate in Israel over military ethics.
Azaria was found guilty of manslaughter by a military court in January for killing Palestinian attacker Abdel Fatah al-Sharif in Hebron on March 24, 2016. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison, 12 months’ suspended sentence after serving that term and demoted to private in February. He has since been discharged from the army.
A crowd of supporters saw Azaria off from his home in the city of Ramla. He was taken to the base in the center of the country, where the prison is located, in a car decorated with Israeli flags and plastered with stickers expressing support for him. His parents, his girlfriend and his lawyer Yoram Sheftel.
Speakiing to reporters, Sheftelsaid it was "a sad day for the IDF and a majority of Israel."
A crowd of dozens of people were also waiting for him at the entrance to the base.
Brazil to extradite settler who fled Israel after killing Palestinian
The Brazilian Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to extradite an Israeli settler convicted of killing a Palestinian taxi driver in 2004, local media reported.
The decision came two years after Israel submitted an extradition request for Yehoshua Elitzur, who fled the country after being sentenced to 20 years in prison for killing Sael Jabara al-Shatiya.
Elitzur, 46, had been placed under house arrest in the Itamar settlement prior to entering prison, but managed to flee the country, first to Germany and later to Brazil.
After a decade-long manhunt, he was captured by Interpol and Sau Paulo authorities in June 2015.
Elitzur shot and killed Shatiya, from the Palestinian village of Salem, in September 2004 on the side of Route 557 near the Elon Moreh settlement.
PMW: Palestinian “honor killing” of women condemned by Fatah leader
Palestinian women suffer from discrimination, violence, and honor killings emanating from "the cultural foundations of the Arab and Islamic societies," according to a Fatah leader. Writing an op-ed in the official PA daily, Muwaffaq Matar, a Fatah Revolutionary Committee member, called for fundamental changes in Palestinian society including legislation and new "enlightened attitudes" regarding women "and above all, we need a revolution in education." He blames the current violence against women on "the cultural foundations of the Arab and Islamic societies" which "consider crimes of violence against women and murder for honor and revenge as legitimate acts... [some] glorifying them as heroic masculine acts."
Palestinian Media Watch reported that university lecturer Yusuf Jabareen, while being interviewed on PA TV, likewise blamed Arab culture for violence against women:
Yusuf Jabareen: "Part of our identity is to kill women, for example, to kill women, to beat women..."
Host: "You generalize."
Jabareen: "No. I don't generalize."
Host: "Not everyone is the same."
Jabareen: "Part of our identity is to attack women - we must acknowledge it. Every society has its defects and its charms. Palestinian identity has its charms, but there are things we have adopted from Arab culture for centuries that harm the individual and the woman. For example, in recent months, look how many women were killed in Lod, in Ramle, and in Acre, and so on. That's part of our identity."
[Official PA TV, June 24, 2012]
PMW has reported in the past on the repeated criticism of the PA and its leader Mahmoud Abbas for being lenient regarding violence to women and honor killings and not enforcing laws that would protect women and punish the violent men:
PA arrests five journalists for "leaking" sensitive information
Five Palestinian journalists have been arrested in the West Bank by Palestinian Authority security forces in what a human rights monitoring group has termed a "serious blow to freedom of opinion and expression."
All five were arrested at or near their houses Tuesday night by the General Intelligence service, according to Shireen al-Khatib, monitoring and documentation associate at the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedom (Mada).
A senior security source quoted by the official Wafa news agency said four journalists were being held on suspicion of "leaking sensitive information to hostile authorities."
Ms Khatib identified the journalists as Tariq Abu Zayd and Ahmad Halaika of al-Aksa television, a Hamas-run station, Qutaiba Kasem who writes for Asdaa website, Mamdouh Hamamreh of the pro-Hamas al-Quds television and Amer Abu Arafa of the Shihab news agency, which supports Mohammed Dahlan, a rival of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Abu Arafa was arrested after his home was searched and his computer and mobile phone seized, Ms. Khatib said.
The Ramallah-based Independent Commission for Human Rights, which monitors rights abuses in the PA, demanded the immediate release of the journalists and called on the authority to "stop the persecution of journalists for their journalistic work" It termed the arrests a "serious blow to freedom of opinion and expression."
4 Hamas terrorists petition Israeli court to reinstate family visits

Four Hamas terrorists imprisoned in Israel have petitioned the High Court of Justice to reinstate family visits.
Last month, the International Council of the Red Cross demanded that Israel reinstate the visits in a letter to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, claiming the decision to prevent family members from visiting security prisoners is a "violation of the Geneva Convention."
Simcha Goldin, the father of the late IDF soldier Hadar Goldin who was killed in Operation Protective Edge in 2014 and whose body is being held captive by Hamas, along with the body of fellow fallen soldier Oron Shaul, called the move "a demonstration of hypocrisy and inhumanity" from the Red Cross.
Referring to the letter sent by the ICRC to Erdan outlining its demands, Goldin remarked: "The letter went out with the knowledge that dead soldiers are being held hostage in Gaza while Hamas prisoners ... receive improved conditions according to any convention."
Sources in the Public Security Ministry told Israel Hayom at the time, "It is strange that the Red Cross is so concerned about members of a terrorist organization but isn't doing everything it can to ensure that Hamas lives up to the basic requirements of the Geneva Convention, like providing information on our captive soldiers and civilians."
To Encourage Investment, Gaza Entry Restrictions for Israeli Arabs Eased
Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced on Monday it will grant some Israeli Arabs from eastern Jerusalem special permission to enter the Gaza Strip for the purpose of encouraging investment in the territory.
COGAT — the Israeli body responsible for implementing the government’s civilian policy in Gaza and the West Bank — said, “Businessmen and others who want to help improve economy, infrastructures, and humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip will be allowed to visit Gaza.”
The announcement marks an easing of Israeli policy on the Hamas-ruled territory. According to Palestinian media reports, the initiative is intended to improve the economic and humanitarian situation in Gaza.
Under the program, those wishing to enter Gaza will be required to apply with COGAT ahead of visiting, and groups of up to 150 people at a time will be allowed to enter the territory.
What Next for the Islamic State?
The Islamic State may have lost much of its territory but, even if the loose international coalition fighting the would-be caliphate succeeds in ending its control of cities and towns, it is unlikely that ISIS will disappear anytime soon. There will be no formal surrender. Nor will the eventual defeat of the Islamic State necessarily delegitimize its apocalyptic theology.
The theological problem is this: The late Turki al-Bin’ali, the grand mufti of the Islamic State, cited a hadith attributed to Muhammad declaring that there would be 12 true and legitimate caliphs before the end of the world. He counted Baghdadi as the eighth, giving ambitious or megalomaniacal upstarts theological cover to be number nine, ten, or eleven. This creates a win-win situation for those who wish to emulate the Islamic State. Success proves theological legitimacy but failure doesn’t count because its authors can be dismissed, in hindsight, as imposters.
So what happens next? Both Syria and Iraq will likely face at least a low-grade insurgency or protracted terror campaign. Mosul may be liberated, but more Moslawis collaborated with the Islamic State than many of the city’s political leaders like to acknowledge. Beyond that, what might the Islamic State, its remnants, and its veterans do next?
Here, the work of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) is invaluable. Just two years old, ICSVE has distinguished itself for cutting-edge research based less on speculation and Washington group think than on provocative analysis founded on extensive interviews with Islamic State defectors and imprisoned returnees. It’s no surprise that the latest report by the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) dedicates a page to the summary of ICSVE work.
US urges UN force to stop spread of weapons to Hezbollah
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Monday urged the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon to step up efforts to prevent the spread of illegal weapons in southern Lebanon, which she said "are almost entirely in the hands of Hezbollah terrorists."
Haley made clear in a statement that the United States is seeking "significant improvements" to the force, known as UNIFIL, when the U.N. Security Council renews its mandate, which is due to expire Aug. 31.
Her statement came in response to a letter to the Security Council from Secretary-General Antonio Guterres saying he intends to look at ways in which UNIFIL could "enhance its efforts."
But the U.N. chief stressed that the Lebanese armed forces have primary responsibility for ensuring that "there are no unauthorized armed personnel, assets or weapons" in the southern area between the Litani River and the U.N.-drawn Blue Line separating Lebanon and Israel, where UNIFIL operates.
"On its part, UNIFIL, in coordination with the Lebanese armed forces, remains determined to act with all means available within its mandate and capabilities on concrete information provided regarding the illegal presence of armed personnel, weapons or infrastructure inside its area of operations," Guterres said.
Israel has long maintained that Hezbollah terrorists operate freely in southern Lebanon.
AP: Lebanese Government “Based on a Partnership” With Hezbollah
Hezbollah’s recent defeat of Sunni jihadist near the Lebanon-Syria border and subsequent prisoner exchange underscores the degree to which Hezbollah and Lebanon are indivisible, the Associated Press reported Sunday.
The partnership received greater attention after President Donald Trump praised the government of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri for its efforts to fight terrorist groups including Hezbollah, a characterization which received much criticism. “Far from being an ally in the fight against Hezbollah,” the AP reported, “the Lebanese government headed by Saad Hariri is based on a partnership with the Shiite group, whose clout and dominance in the tiny country is on the rise.”
“The Iranian proxy is the single most potent military and political force in Lebanon, with an arsenal surpassing that of the country’s army,” the AP wrote of Hezbollah. “By many accounts, Hezbollah has brought disaster to the country by engaging in destructive wars with Israel, and, as Trump himself noted, it has fueled the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria where it has sent thousands of its fighters to shore up President Bashar Assad’s forces.”
In addition to its military might, Hezbollah operates its own secure telecommunications network, maintains control over vital Lebanese facilities, and holds “veto power in the Lebanese cabinet.”
“We have our opinion and Hezbollah has its opinion, but in the end, we met on a consensus that concerns the Lebanese people for the (good of) the Lebanese economy, security and stability,” Hariri conceded, calling the recent battles led by Hezbollah “a big achievement.”
North Korea's ICBM Test Is a Win for Iran
North Korea's recent test of an intercontinental ballistic missile is a game changer. It holds the potential for North Korea to transfer this dangerous technology to another rogue regime, its longtime ally Iran.
For years, experts have suspected North Korea as being the key supporter behind Iran's missile and nuclear programs. Today, many of the missiles Iran would use to target American forces in the Middle East are copies of North Korean designs.
North Korean engineers are in Iran helping to improve its missiles to carry nuclear warheads, according to a report released last month by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the same opposition movement that exposed Tehran's secret nuclear facilities at Natanz and Arak in 2002.
Iran is using North Korean blueprints to build as many as thirteen secret underground missile launch facilities and North Korean experts are assisting the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' efforts to develop nuclear warheads and guidance systems.
This would enable Iran to launch nuclear weapons at the large U.S. bases in the Middle East that restrain Iran's expansionist ambitions.
The missile tested by North Korea in July demonstrated an ability that could put American cities as far as Chicago within its nuclear crosshairs. With North Korea outpacing our own expert expectations, Iran will likely not be far behind.
Daphne Anson: Onwards Christian Zionism!
By Emanuele Ottolenghi, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and Michaela Frai, a research associate there, a disturbing article on Iranian influence in South America:
'Across the region, Iranian preachers and their local enablers have presented themselves as advocates of human rights and social justice to gain footholds among disenfranchised and marginalized communities in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico, and Peru. Relying on allies such as Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, Iran has established forward operating bases for the spread of their propaganda.'
The article focuses first on the visit to São Paulo, Brazil of Ayatollah Mohsen Araki, 'who openly calls for the “annihilation of Zionism” and has promoted friendly relations with the Taliban':
'Araki’s visit is yet another demonstration of how the Iranian regime is busy exporting its own brand of radical Islam, in order to radicalize Shi’a expatriate communities while spreading Tehran’s influence in the region.
The hosts for Araki’s lecture in Brazil on July 29th were none other than local Hezbollah-linked religious centers that promote Iran’s Islamic revolution. Guests from across the continent included Latin American and Iranian clerics who are disciples of Mohsen Rabbani, Iran’s former cultural attaché in Latin America and the mastermind of Argentina’s 1994 AMIA terrorist attack that left 85 dead at a Jewish center.
Since the 1980s, Tehran has worked diligently to create the infrastructure for both overt and covert operations in the Western Hemisphere. Araki’s visit is part of a well-orchestrated plan to indoctrinate and radicalize existing Shi’a communities while seeking new acolytes among local sympathizers of Iran’s political agenda.'
Iran arrests six for teaching Zumba dance – report
Four boys and two girls have been arrested in Iran for teaching “Western” dance moves including Zumba, a Colombian fitness routine, a local Revolutionary Guards commander said.
“The members of a network teaching and filming Western dances have been identified and arrested,” said Hamid Damghani, commander of the Guards in the town of Sharhoud in Iran’s northeastern Semnan province, according to Jamejam Online website late on Tuesday.
“The team attracted boys and girls, taught them Western dances and published their video clips on social media apps like Telegram and Instagram,” he added.
“They were arrested by the Guards’ intelligence forces while teaching and creating video clips… as they sought to change lifestyles and promote a lack of hijab,” he said.
They were charged with dancing and failing to wear proper hijab — Islamic regulations that require women to wear headscarves and ban revealing clothing in public.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
          New build. Yes, another P60.        

A bunch of bits.

No tear drops for the tailcap. We have projectiles.

The screw in pill. The pill thread is M20×1mm (standard P60 thread) which the reflector screws onto. When this is assembled it threads into the head. The driver is a BLF 15mm 7135 which sits in the pill. The driver retainer is threaded in from the battery tube side.

The head. The inner thread is for the pill and driver retainer while the outer thread surrounding it is for the battery tube.

The LED is a XPE2 torch led sitting on a 16mm Noctigon.

The battery tube.

Put together we have a torch.


My current and or voltage measurements are only relevent to anything that I measure.

Budget light hobby proudly sponsored by my Mastercard and unknowingly paid for by a hard working wife. 

djozz said "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.


          The Canine Waste Conundrum: Recycled Plastic Bags Or Compostable Alternatives        

Caring for a canine companion is kind of like strapping on parental training wheels and learning all about your capacity for love, tenderness and understanding… not to mention your ability to tolerate randomly flung saliva, projectile vomiting and inappropriate elimination throughout a household that – for many of us — was once the sole domain […]

The post The Canine Waste Conundrum: Recycled Plastic Bags Or Compostable Alternatives appeared first on Organic Authority.

          Which Of Your Baby's 'Firsts' Meant The Most To You?        
There are so many 'firsts' for new moms. That precious first laugh, the first words, the first steps and let's not forget the first time your baby projectile vomits all over you! Whether adorable, hilarious or disgusting...which of your baby's 'firsts' sticks out in your mind?
          Raytheon's Excalibur Ib demos production maturity and effectiveness in milestone test event        
NEW DELHI -  The U.S. Army and Raytheon Company (NYSE:  RTN) successfully fired 30 GPS-guided Excalibur Ib projectiles during an extensive First Article Test series at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. This test series validated performance and reliability of the Excalibur Ib production configuration, and moves the program toward full-rate production. "Excalibur gives the warfighter a pinpoint precision tool to eliminate enemy threats and is the only combat-proven 155mm precision-guided projecti...
          US Army Awards Raytheon USD15M for Excalibur lb        
TUCSON, Ariz -   The U.S. Army has awarded Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) a $15 million contract modification for the procurement of 216 Excalibur Ib rounds. Excalibur is a 155mm precision-guided, extended-range projectile that uses GPS guidance to provide accurate, first-round effects capability in any environment. By using Excalibur's level of precision, there is a major reduction in the time, cost and logistical burden associated with using other artillery munitions. Analyses have shown it can ...
          Raytheon unveils Excalibur with dual-mode guidance        
PARIS -  Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) has initiated an internally funded program to enhance its combat-proven 155mm Excalibur GPS-guided projectile with a new guidance and navigation unit (GNU) with a semi-active laser (SAL) end-game targeting capability. Addition of the SAL seeker will allow the munition to attack moving targets, attack targets that have re-positioned after firing, or change the impact point to avoid casualties and collateral damage. "No other gun-launched GPS-guided artille...
          Negro soldier guarding 12-pdr. ; City Point, Virginia; 1865 - 01982        

The “Napoleon” 12 Pounder was named for Napoleon III, nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte and was widely popular on both sides. These bronze cannon differed from the rifled guns of the day in that it was smooth on the inside of the barrel. This meant that it was less accurate and with a shorter range than the rifled weapons of the day. The distinct advantage that it did possess was that this allowed it to fire a wider variety of ammunition.

By loading canister or grape shot into the cannon you could effectively turn the cannon into a high powered shotgun. Small projectiles would burst from the gun and spread out making them very effective against enemy forces charging against the defenses using the cannon.

Following the war the bronze cannons were phased out in favor of rifled guns. More modern ammunition allowed the rifled weapons to fire devastating rounds a longer distance. The rounds would explode to create the shrapnel effect that was so effective with the bronze cannons at close range.

          01981 - African-American guard; with 12-pdr Napoleon Gun, Unknown location [LC-DIG-cwpb-01981]        

The “Napoleon” 12 Pounder was named for Napoleon III, nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte & was widely popular on both sides. These bronze cannon differed from the rifled guns of the day in that it was smooth on the inside of the barrel.

This meant that it was less accurate & with a shorter range than the rifled weapons of the day. The distinct advantage that it did possess was that this allowed it to fire a wider variety of ammunition. By loading canister or grape shot, it would effectively turn the cannon into a high powered shotgun. Small projectiles would burst from the gun & spread out making them very effective against enemy forces charging against the defenses using the cannon. Following the war, the bronze cannons were phased out in favor of rifled guns.

          ãƒ†ãƒ©ãƒªã‚¢ : steam版Terraria 1.3.1で何が変わった?        

後継ゲームが開発中ということもあって、もう開発終了だと思っていたテラリア。 1.3.1に更新されましたね。 何が変わったか気になったので公式のチェンジログを簡単に訳してみました。 テラリアはダラダラ長くやってるけど、あまりやり込んではいないので細かいところは分かってません。 翻訳ミスと合わさってよくわからない文になっているところもあるかもしれませんが、ご了承を。

どうやらゲームパッドのサポートとメカニックの新要素が目玉のようですね。 以下、訳です。 一部の新アイテムについて、公式のTerraria Wikiに外部リンクを張っておきました。 参考にしてください。

<<<<TERRARIA 1.3.1 FULL CHANGELOG>>>> ...... (を分かるところだけ適当に訳)

  • Xinputを使ったコントローラのサポート。
    • 独り言)

      windows版でゲームパッドに対応。 Settings画面のControlsで従来のキーボード&マウスか全てゲームパッドを使って操作するかを選べる。 ゲームパッドと他の入力機器の併用は不可。 残念。

  • 持ち物欄のソートを実装。
  • Dart Trapなど、いくつかのトラップはハンマーで叩けば90度向きを変える。
    • 独り言)


  • シチュエーションによってプレイヤーが何をやりたいかを判断するsmart interact機能を追加。 NPCに話しかける、ドアを開ける、物を使うなどがより簡単に。
  • 大砲(normal, bunny, confetti, Snowball Launcher)をワイヤにつなげて、メカニックでコントロールできる。 ただし実弾じゃないよ?
    • 独り言)

      原文には“shoot fake projectiles”とある。 攻撃力のある実弾は出てこないとは思うけど、それだと趣味過ぎる。 弾が不要という意味かも? そこまでゲームを進めてないので確認不可。

  • スマートカーソルの改善。 より多くのアイテムに対応。
●Quality of Life
  • ワイヤの描画の改善。1マスに多くの色の線が重なったとき、中間色?で表示する。
    • 独り言)


  • 1,800のスプライトを改善。
  • オンラインで遊ぶ時のメッセージを調整。
  • Settingsメニューの改善と新しい項目の追加。
  • 頭上に表示される大宝石の追加。
  • スロープ周辺での当たり判定の改善。
  • 情報系アクセサリーの表示のオン/オフを切り替えられるのと同じように、建築関係のアクセサリーの効果をオン/オフできるように。
  • 狙っているオブジェクトに照準アイコンを付けて対象がはっきりと分かるように。
  • キーボードオプションの改善。 マウスの3、4、5ボタンに割り当てができるように。
  • Logic Gateの追加。(AND, NAND, OR, NOR, XOR, NXOR)
    • 独り言)

      Steampunkerから購入できるらしいけど、そこまでゲームを進めていないので未確認。 ネット上にはテラリアで加算器とかの画像があった。 マリオメーカーやLBPで加算器を作ろうってのは工学系の人にはお馴染みのようだけど、そちらはLogic gateに当たる部品を作るところからなんだよね。 それが既に実装されたテラリアではもう1歩進められそうな予感。 どんな変人が現れるのか?

  • Logic Gate Lampの追加。
  • Logic Sensorの追加。(Day, Night, Under Player)
    • 独り言)

      Orichalcum AnvilやSoul of Lightなどが必要。 ハードモードで作れるようになる。 日中、夜間を感知するセンサーは趣味っぽいかな? 日食でどうなるんだろう?

  • Liquid Sensorの追加。(Water, Lava, Honey, Any)
    • 独り言)


  • ベルトコンベア(Conveyor Belt)の追加。
    • 独り言)

      Steampunkerから購入できるらしいけど、そこまでゲームを進めていないので未確認。 Build好きにはたまらない追加要素。 実用的なものからピタゴラ装置まで色々できそう。

  • The Grand Designの追加。
    • 独り言)

      Multicolor Wrench(後述)にRulerとMechanical Lens(後述)の機能を追加した物。 4色のワイヤとアクチュエーターの設置と取外しがこれ1つでできる。 材料をMechanicとGoblin Tinkererから買って、Tinkerer's Workshopで合成する。 ノーマルモードで作れる。 Rulerの表示が邪魔なら持ち物欄左のトグルスイッチで表示を消そう。 アイコンの見た目では工具なのか何なのかが分かり辛いのが玉に瑕。 使い方は、The Grand Designを持つとマウスカーソルの下に●か━が5つ表示される。

      ●なら設置モード、━なら取外しモード。 適当な場所を右クリックすると、何を設置/取り外すかを選択するメニューが現れる。 真ん中はレンチ(設置)とニッパー(取外し)の選択。 周りはアクチュエーターとワイヤの選択。 左クリックでトグル。 もう1度右クリックで選択終了。 選択した物全ての設置/取外しが1回の操作でできる。

  • Yellow Wrenchの追加。
    • 独り言)


  • Junction Boxの追加。
    • 独り言)

      同じ色のワイヤをショートさせずに交差させることが出来る。 持ち物欄では×向きだが、設置すると+向き。 設置後は見分け辛い。 (下の絵は左がJunction Box使用、右がショート。)

  • Mechanical Lensの追加。
    • 独り言)

      持っているだけでワイヤが見えるようになる。 何気に罠にかかるリスクが激減する有用アイテム。 1時間で3回爆殺された私としては非常にうれしい追加。 自宅の仕掛けが丸見えになるのは鬱陶しいので、探索を始めてから表示オンにするのがいいのかな? (決して表示し忘れて爆死するフラグではない。)

  • Announcement Boxの追加。
    • 独り言)

      スイッチと連動してメッセージを表示することが出来る立て札。 メッセージは「行商人来たよ」「ボス出現」などと同じようにクリック音を伴って左下に表示される。 ワイヤを伸ばして画面外に設置すれば立札を見せずにメッセージだけ表示することができる。 謎解きマップなどを作って配布とかができるなら、演出に使えそう。

  • Actuation Rodの追加。
    • 独り言)

      アクチュエーターの付いたブロックのActive/Inactiveをスイッチを使わずに左クリックで切り替える。 孫の手的な使い易さがありそう。

  • Team BlockとTeam Platform?の追加。
    • 独り言)


  • Static Hookの追加。
    • 独り言)

      Steampunkerから購入できるらしいけど、そこまでゲームを進めていないので未確認。 普通のフックは壁に刺さると主人公が引き寄せられるが、Static Hookは引き寄せられないらしい。 壁に刺した後にロープの長さをプレイヤーが調節できるのかどうかとか、色々と挙動が気になるアイテム。

  • Presseratorの追加。
    • 独り言)

      行商人から購入。 手持ちにアクチュエーターがあったらブロック設置をしたときに同時にアクチュエーターも貼り付ける。 装備しなくても、持ち物欄にあったら機能するのかな? 持ち物欄左のアイコンでオン/オフを切り替えて使うものらしい。 あると便利かもしれないけど、どれくらい使うかなぁ?

  • Engineering Helmet(vanity item)の追加。
  • Companion Cube(ペット)の追加。
  • Gem Lockの追加。
    • 独り言)

      通常サイズの宝石を集めて作る巨大宝石を嵌め込むための穴。 全部集めたらスイッチオンというような仕掛けが作れるらしい。

  • 巨大宝石にLarge Amberを追加。
  • Weighted Pressure Plateの追加。(詳細不明)
  • 色付きの光源Wire Bulbを追加。
  • 鳥などのCritter(中立系の動物)の彫像が12種類追加。
  • 家具Portal Gun Stationの追加。
    • 独り言)

      ラスボス?を倒してPortal Gunを手に入れ、それを持ったままCyborgに話しかけると売ってくれるらしい。 一応、スイッチと組み合わせてお手軽にワープスポットを作ったりできるようになるのかな?

  • Trapped Chestの追加。
    • 独り言)

      宝箱を開けるとスイッチオン。 ver1.3.1で新マップを作ったら罠付きの宝箱とかがあるのかな? Heavy Work Benchの近くで色んな宝箱とワイヤ10本で作成可能。

  • 銃弾などの着弾に反応する特殊スイッチTeal Pressure Padの追加。
  • モンスターの彫像もいくつか追加。
  • Angler Tackle Bagを追加。
    • 独り言)

      Angler Earring、Tackle Box、High Test Fishing Lineをまとめたもの。 Tinkerer's Workshopで合成。 持ち物が少しでも減るのは嬉しい。 まだAngler Earring持ってないけど、手に入れ次第合成しよう。

  • 新罠Geyser Trapの追加。
    • 独り言)

      公式のTerraria WikiによるとCavern層にランダムで設置されているとか、十分深い場所にあるとlavaも噴き出すとか。 仕掛けを作るときには注意しないといけない。

  • Bone Campfireの追加。
  • Ultra Bright Campfireの追加。(詳細不明)
  • Multicolored Wrenchの追加。
    • 独り言)

      これができるのなら、すぐにでも上位アイテムのThe Grand Designが作成できる。 ってことで普通はThe Grand Designだろうけど、The Grand Designの見た目が気になる人はコッチっていうのもありかな? その場合は持ち物欄が2つ埋まるけど、RP的に気になるなら仕方がない? ちなみに、Wire Cutterと違ってMulticolored WrenchとThe Grand Designは切ったワイヤが散らばらずにそのまま持ち物欄に回収される。便利。

  • 彫像から産まれたCritter(中立系の動物)は捕まえることができなくなった。
  • Duke Fishronが逃げ出す距離が大幅に増加。
    • 独り言)


  • Medusaは真上にいるプレイヤーを石にすることができなくなった。
  • Medusaはハードモードでしか出ないようになった。
    • 独り言)

      Medusaの苦難2連発。 最強装備のプレイヤーでもワンチャン殺せるらしいから仕方がないか? まだノーマルモードなんだけど、Medusa Head取っといてよかった......のか?

  • 3体のNPC(painter、wizard、skeleton merchant)に名前が付いた。 コンテストの結果が反映された。
  • ジャングルでBeehivesが見つかるようになった。
    • 独り言)

      わざわざ書いてあるってことは地形のBee Hiveじゃないのかな? ......と思ったらやっぱり違うらしい。 ジャングルに行くとこういうハチの巣が大量にあった。


  • 武器Solar Eruption使用時の効果音の音量を下げた。
  • 今までInactiveのブロックの上にトーチを置くことはできなかったが、置けるようになった。
  • スライム系の敵が1ブロックの高さの隙間を通ることはできなくなった。
  • ダミーに対してHP吸収系の攻撃が効かなくなった。
●Bug Fixes
  • 独り言)

    翻訳が雑になってまいりました。 後ろに???と?が3つ付いている項目は訳に自信がありません。 あと、読み返して修正とかはしていません。 間違ってたらゴメン。

  • 特定の状況で凍傷のデバフの継続時間が隠れてしまっていたのを修正。
  • 敵モンスターDesert Spiritの判定が見た目通りでなかったのを修正。
  • Continue reading…
          By: George Bush makes Baby Jesus projectile vomit        
You're at the wrong site, Texas1. This is a <i>¡picture!</i> site. The grumpy old guy site with only a few pictures is here:
          By: George Bush makes Baby Jesus projectile vomit        
Almost a Peter Max feel to some of this graffiti.
          By: George Bush makes Baby Jesus projectile vomit        
This is a nice way to get your house repainted for almost free!
          By: George Bush makes Baby Jesus projectile vomit        
Jinx! Now you owe us a soda!
          Chapter Nine - Surprise        
Matt Wu shook his head slowly as the guards advanced slowly. Bonette was out cold, on the ground. Matt knew that he could easily beat up these people, but he wanted to remain his power a secret, for now. Then, one of the guards, the leader, said to the others, "Leave him...Fred told us to get Bonette only."

Matt gasped quietly at what he said. "Fine, take her. She's right there. Leave me here, I'm useless."
"Quite right, " The leader replied modestly. "Come on you guys, help me lift her."
Surprisingly, everybody got up to help lift her up. While their backs were turned, Matt shot a weak but sturdy energy ball at the nearest one. "AARG!" The guard replied, fainting. The leader turned and smiled at Matt with glowing eyes.

"Your powers are back aren't they?" He said, in terror. The leader pulled out a Pistol, firing a single shot at Matt's head. Matt narrowly missed the oncoming target, and shot a plasma beam of energy at the Leader.
"NO!" One of the guards shouted and jumped into the Energy's path, killing him.
All the guards pulled out their rocket launchers, while the Leader held on to the Pistol. "Give up?" The leader shouted.

Matt didn't answer, for he was quickly turning over the bed as a shield. Matt then started firing jolts like crazy, hiding under the bed occasionally. The jolts were 50% accurate, with little energy. The leader started to shoot the bed with his pistol, making gaping holes as they hit. "Do not use the rocket launchers...they will kill us all." The Leader said, throwing pistols to the other guards. Matt did his duck and cover routine for quite a few minutes, killing only three people.

The leader, now frustrated, started to kick Bonette into a bin. Once in, he instructed a few others to help push. "You other people stay and fight to the death." The leader whispered, so Matt couldn't hear.

Meanwhile, Matt was busy charging up his ultimate attack. He glanced over the bed and saw only a handful of guards left. Bonette was missing. "Darn." Matt replied, realizing their plan. Matt had no choice but to charge up fully. Once he did, he leaped into the open air, blasted his energy ball, and ducked into the bed once more. Everybody in its path was disintegrated into mist.

Matt ran out of the shield and put his hand over his heart. "Truce." He replied, in a cunning voice.
There were only two guards remaining, so they shook their head.
Matt shot an eye-beam, while both guards shot their pistols. The three attacks collided with one-another, causing a deafening BOOM. Matt was thrown back against the wall, as the two guards were shot out of the room. A second later, they were back, holding their rocket launchers.

"If you shoot, you'll kill us all." Matt said, scared out of his wits.
"Exactly." Both guards replied. There was a boom, two rockets, a scream, and a fall.
Everything was destroyed. The bed was turned over, the shelf was thrown over, and more importantly, the guards were dead. Matt stirred and smiled once he got up. His plan worked.

"Thank you bed." Matt said, patting the demolished pillow. In a second, Matt was gone....on his way to save Bonette.

"Let me go." Bonette replied, struggling in the bin.
"We'll let you go once we get to the Headquarters." The leader replied, now annoyed. They had been walking for at least thirty minutes, and even he was getting restless.
"Sir," One of the guards said to the leader.
"What?" He snapped, holding Bonette and the bin firmly.
"What do you think happened to _ _ _ _?" The guard replied.
"Whose that?" Bonette replied, trying to use her powers.
"It's no use." The leader said, "You can't use your powers.
Bonette knew that, but she wasn't using them. She was using telepathy.

Matt felt something in his brain, and let it respond. Bonette was calling Matt, telling him where she was. "On it." Matt replied, sending her a message.
Bonette smiled miles away and listened to the others speak.

"He's probably you know.." The leader said, glancing at Bonette while he spoke.
One of the guards immediately turned around and shot a rocket into the sky. "Matt." He said, waving his hand.
The leader groaned and took out the grenade launcher.

Matt saw incoming projectiles heading his way. In incredible ease, he steered away from them. Matt could scarcely see the bunch miles below. He could make out the bin, where Bonette was being held. In careful aim, he shot a single beam of energy.

"Incoming!" The guard replied. "Energy blast heading out way!"
The leader and the two guards ducked behind a shrub, waiting for the impact. Instead, there was a crack, and the bin broke. Bonette stood up and cracked her knuckles.

Matt sighed in delight and zoomed down to Earth, wanting to get a few answers. Bonette was raising her hands, preparing for the kill. "NO!" Matt said, rushing into the path.
"What are you doing?" Bonette said, "we need to kill them."
"Not until we get some answers straight." Matt said.

Matt addressed the leader when he spoke. "Who are you?"
"Jack Held, leader of the guards, servant for the Two Greapers." The leader said.
"Who are the Greapers?" Matt said.
"Fred and Greg." Jack Held said, struggling to move from Bonette's electrical whip.
"Why doesn't my mom remember me?" Matt said, bringing back that memory.
"We poisoned her with acid." Jack said, smiling viciously.

Matt screamed and shot a blast of plasma, burning the three alive. "My masters will live!!" Jack said in his dying breath. "So will....Skiz...Forelli!" Jack fell to the ground, burned.
The two guards, who weren't burned as much, started to run away.
"I got them." Bonette said, taking out a whip of electricity. She pulled them together and brought them close. "We need them case." Bonette said.

Matt and Bonette smiled and knew what was coming up. "We have to save the world from them."
"And fast," Bonette replied, sad.
"We need help though." Matt said. "We're completely outnumbered."

Bonette nodded in agreement and said, "All in good time, Matt."
The two started to raise, as they flew back to the house, getting a plan ready.

Back at the Headquarters, Greg was treating Forelli, while Fred and Skiz were talking. "Once Forelli is fine again, we will go about out satellite plan." Fred said to Greg, who nodded.

"We are close. Dr. Vick's dream will not perish. He will live in us." Fred said, getting up.
Skiz roared in delight and walked away, tired.

While both parties of people were creating their plans, another party was rising. The lunar eclipse was beginning...


          A Sociologist’s Journey into the American Heart of Darkness        

For skeptics and most other people, the word exorcism immediately evokes images of Catholic priests, holy water, and bizarre, other-worldly behavior. Most of the popular literature and media coverage focus exclusively on this Hollywood version of modern exorcism, a vicarious adventure into the dangerous side of religious experience. American Exorcism takes us beyond such cliché into the real believing subculture and the broader phenomena of demonology and ritual.

Author Michael Cuneo—who teaches anthropology and sociology at Fordham University in New York City—delves deeply into modern American beliefs in demon possession and the various practices of demon expulsion. Although his opening chapters focus mostly on exorcism as a Roman Catholic ritual, Cuneo is quick to disabuse readers of the common assumption that the task of expelling demons is limited to priests. His later chapters closely examine the history and current practice of Middle-America exorcism—the deliverance ministries of Baptist, Charismatic, and Pentecostal churches and deliverance groups. Cuneo is also careful to make sure the reader understands that although Protestant deliverance ministry and the resurgent Catholic rite of exorcism are essentially grass-roots practices, the renewed popular belief can be credited almost entirely to Hollywood.

“This conjuncture of commercialism and religious ritual, of profits and piety, should come as no surprise,” Cuneo writes. “Over the course of the twentieth century the popular cultural industry, with its endless run of movies, books, and digital delights, has gained a pervasive influence over the national consciousness. It has become part of the very air that Americans breathe and, as such, it has attained an enormous capacity for shaping everyday beliefs and behaviors. . . . When Hollywood and its allies put out the Word, somebody’s guaranteed to be listening” (p. 50). Cuneo repeatedly reminds the reader of the role of American media in the resurgence of the belief in demonic possession. Only the most willfully naïve reader could overlook the role of motion pictures, TV talk shows, book publishers, and the insatiable appetite for publicity among exorcism authors and self-styled “researchers” after reading Cuneo’s perceptive accounts of the rise of demonic awareness in the land of plenty.

American Exorcism is a remarkable synthesis of interviews, historical research, media studies, and hands-on field research. He interviews the various players in the modern exorcism revival. He offers compelling assessments of desires and motives of the exorcists and the possessed—tempered by objective evidence and judgment. He shows forbearance and sympathy to those who participate in exorcism and deliverance ministry, but he is also skeptical and frank.

Cuneo begins his book with a poignant and timely lamentation of the modern Catholic priesthood: “The past three decades haven’t been particularly kind to the Catholic priesthood. One would be hard-pressed to find another profession that has fallen harder or further from grace in so short a period of time.” He notes the dramatic thinning of the ranks beginning in the 1960s and 70s, the frantic scramble to find relevance in the modern world, and the endless sexual scandals. The image of the Catholic priest, writes Cuneo, “has more often been the priest as pious fraud, the priest as philanderer, the priest as yesterday’s man—equivocating, beleaguered, and thoroughly redundant.”

book of exorcism rites

In one exceptional area, however, the priest remains a cultural hero. “That area,” writes Cuneo, “is exorcism, and it is the priest-as-exorcist that has somehow managed, in defiance of all odds, to retain a heroic grip on the popular American imagination.” Modern Catholic liberals had hoped that exorcism would be relegated to Church history along with the other medieval trappings and customs. What such Catholics never anticipated, according to Cuneo, was the modern media’s role in breathing new life into the ancient rite of exorcism.

In the first four chapters Cuneo deftly sketches out the sundry sources of the exorcism renewal. He begins with the well-know pop Ursprung: William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel, The Exorcist, and the 1973 film of the same title that it inspired. He characterizes Blatty’s work as massive structure of fantasy resting on a flimsy foundation of a priest’s 1949 diary account of the possession of a young boy in Mount Ranier, Maryland.

Cuneo then introduces the reader to fascinating and seldom-cited sources: ex-Jesuit priest Malachi Martin, author of the 1976 book Hostage to the Devil; paranormal authors Ed and Lorraine Warren, and, surprisingly, the grandfather of pop-psychology and self-help, The Road Less Traveled author Scott M. Peck.

Malachi Martin pronounced his final vows as a Jesuit in 1960 and took a position at the Vatican’s Pontifical Biblical Institute. He abruptly left his post in 1964 and the Society of Jesus in 1965, after being granted a provisional release by Pope Paul VI. Nearly forty years later, there are conflicting accounts of why Martin, such a promising scholar, left everything behind. Cuneo writes:

According to the most popular account (which is the one usually favored by Martin himself), he felt morally compelled to leave the priesthood in protest over the new, decidedly more liberal, direction the Catholic Church was taking as a result of the Second Vatican Council. Unfortunately this stricken-soldier-of-conscience version of events hasn’t always squared with the facts. Far from being a tormented conservative during his years in Rome, Martin was actually a theological liberal, and while the council was in full swing, he was closely (and publicly) aligned with such leading liberal lights as Monsignor George Higgins and the eminent American Jesuit John Courtney Murray.

Digging further, Cuneo finds “fairly reliable evidence” that Martin threw away his religious career in the wake of “romantic intrigue”—an affair that occurred in 1964 while he taught theology part-time at Loyola University of Chicago’s Rome Center.

If readers are to believe Martin, Satan was hard at work in New York City in the 1970s. He claims that the possessions and exorcisms described in Hostage are true accounts. Cuneo checks with Catholic experts, including Franciscan Father Benedict Groeschel, the expert Catholic officials turned to in the 1970s and 1980s when they were confronted with the “inexplicable.” Groeschel was not aware of anything on the scale Martin portrays. Furthermore Groeschel and others insist that for the mainstream Catholic Church, exorcism was the last resort; earthly explanations were preferred and pursued first.

In his 1983 book People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil, Peck is unequivocal about his belief in demonic possession and remains a staunch believer in supernatural demonic possession to this day. Many in the charismatic deliverance movement see People of the Lie as a mainstream validation of their beliefs. When Cuneo asked Peck in a phone interview whether he thought that exorcism would someday become the serious subject of scientific investigation, Peck expresses doubt for absolutely shocking reasons. He is not pessimistic due to the fact that there is no credible evidence for the reality of demonic possession. Instead he asserts—in the tradition of a dime-a-dozen pseudoscientist rather than a trained psychiatrist—that the “country’s intellectual and religious elites,” are to blame, including “the leadership of the American Catholic Church,” who “have seemed determined to keep the door shut.”

In Part III: “Charismatic Deliverance Ministry,” Cuneo sets Catholicism aside and begins with an account of a fifteen-minute exorcism of a young man named Paul. Paul, plagued by years of aberrant sexual fantasies and violent feelings, had driven 200 miles to Kansas City to obtain an exorcism from Protestant deliverance ministers Ellen and Felix. The rite Cuneo describes is not an all-night vigil of sweating priests dodging projectile vomit. It involved a prayer, a recitation of Psalm 37 and Luke 10:17–19, some speaking in tongues, a prayer of repentance followed by a prayer of exorcism appealing to the power of Jesus Christ, repeated six times for each demon within Paul. Cuneo remarks that “whole business” was “orderly and efficient.” He also includes a postscript stating that six months later, Paul claimed that he had not experienced any of his old symptoms and “for the first time in his life felt truly at peace with himself” (81).

Cuneo then recounts the history of the rise of modern Pentecostal and Charismatic deliverance ministry. Although it dates as far back as the very beginning of Pentecostalism on Asuza Street in Los Angeles in 1906, the modern revival can be traced to the 1960s. At that time, deliverance ministry was a sporadic guerrilla movement, led by mavericks like Disciples of Christ minister Don Basham, Pentecostal minister Derek Prince, and, among Charismatic Catholics, a Dominican priest named Francis MacNutt.

Cuneo’s historical account of the deliverance ministry from the 1960s through the 1980s is filled with quotes out of his interviews, providing an intense human portrait of what both leaders and followers in the movement felt and the role deliverance ministry played in their lives. Readers will also find a continuing interplay between Catholic and Protestant brands of exorcism. For instance, Malachi Martin’s Catholic pulp thriller Hostage to the Devil was a great influence on some of the modern Charismatic deliverance ministers Cuneo spoke with, and many Catholics turned to charismatics in their quest to infuse their faith with renewed fervor.

Cuneo spends time at the Hegewisch Baptist Church in Indiana with Pastor Mike Theirer, “the hardest working exorcist in America.” His account stands in complete contrast to the more private and peaceful affair described above. Theirer’s deliverance sessions are auditorium affairs. “Throughout the auditorium, demoniacs are paired off with exorcism ministers,” writes Cuneo, who himself rushed help wrestle down a particularly violent demoniac to prevent him from further battering Pastor Mike. People belched and (literally) vomited their demons out in an intense charismatic spectacle.

Cuneo’s close involvement with congregations practicing deliverance ministry gives him a compelling inside look and first-hand perspective on the conformist (sometimes cult-like) pressures exerted on members regarding belief and practice.

Considering also the distinctive style of so many charismatic prayer groups: the ecstatic worship the gushing emotionalism, the breathless solidarity. All of this gave rise, as often as not, to an atmosphere of suggestibility, of hothouse conformity. Individual charismatics, even relative newcomers, easily surmised what was expected of them in the way of belief and conduct, and there was no shortage of cues to help them along. Imagine a fairly new recruit to the renewal movement, impressionable, eager to please, seeing two or three, or fifteen or sixteen spiritual brethren writhing and moaning in demon-induced torment. And then seeing the performance repeated time and again. It would take an iron act of will, arguably, for such a person not to go along for the ride.

Cuneo describes how he himself was confronted by an overly zealous charismatic convinced that he was possessed at a 1997 symposium on deliverance. He also describes interview accounts of fascistic group leaders who quashed dissenters by attributing their complaints to demons of willfulness and condemning them to corrective exorcisms. He stresses, however, that such abuses are the exception rather than the rule.

Michael Cuneo’s conclusions on the actual existence of demons and the use of deliverance ministry and exorcism will almost certainly disappoint many Skeptical Inquirer readers who feel that the throat of patently unscientific nonsense should be slit wide open. Cuneo reserves judgment on many matters for which skeptics will see a clear verdict. After sitting in on fifty exorcisms, he is unequivocal about the fact that he saw nothing supernatural—certainly nothing out of The Exorcist or Malachi Martin’s salacious pulp-religion paperbacks. However, he remains equivocal about the possibility that demons exist. While his views on the efficacy of exorcism are tempered by documented tragedies of exorcists inadvertently killing their hapless subjects, Cuneo, who conducted follow-up interviews of people whose exorcism he had observed, apparently accepts that exorcism have been a useful “therapy” for some.

Cuneo does emphasize one conclusion that all skeptics will gladly embrace. The Holy Army of priests, ministers, and laity who do battle with demons vying against God for the souls of men itself benefits from the power of one subtle creature which unquestionably influences the hearts and opinions of millions: American mass media. Without Hollywood, ABC, or Malachi Martin’s publisher, the exorcism business would never have gotten off the ground. While Cuneo may in some cases be slow to condemn what is scientifically damnable, I believe that no skeptic’s library on occult or supernatural claims would be complete without American Exorcist. Cuneo has done quality research on all level and from many angles. He opens the door for readers into a strange but amazing world, where people fervently believe that Satan and his minions are at work in a struggle that is simultaneously personal and cosmic. He also does an excellent job tracking the media’s role in popular belief, and he is refreshingly scathing in pointing out those who see religious beliefs as a means to pop fame.

          The lighter side of being an allergy mum: 10 things I now know        

 I've been an 'allergy mum' for a little over 2 years, and in that time we've dealt with what feels like so much. However - and no one prepares you for this - it just keeps coming. Things to learn, to teach Harry to manage himself (and that's a whole post in itself), new allergens, attitudes of others - be they people who mean well, or people who just don't get it. And I don't think at that appointment on the 25th November 2014 I really understood that. It was such a relief to have a diagnosis that didn't involve me being a rubbish mum that it didn't cross my mind that this was something that was going to continue growing far, far beyond excluding dairy and soya from my diet. That sounds terrible doesn't it? But aside from supporting Guides with food allergies (which I always took seriously - but, as we oh so often joke, I get to give them back at 8.30pm) I had really had no idea of the road we were heading down.

Anyway, I thought today I'd post a slightly tongue in cheek view of what we've encountered and learned thus far...

1. Cutlery, crockery, glassware, sippy cups - HOW many do you go through? I've always been hot on food hygiene, but me and potential cross contamination are not friends. Everything gets washed in the dishwasher on the hot setting. Chopping boards, knives, wooden spoons and spatulas all head that way if I'm in the least bit unsure. Whilst most of what we have in the house is safe - M and I do have dairy ourselves, more often than not, when Harry's not around. With the exception of milk in tea that is, no alternative milk has ever managed to make a proper cuppa.

2. There is nothing more likely to have me demonstrate my (non existent) athleticism, hurdling chairs and toys at playgroup in a bid to remove a stray biscuit from Harry's line of sight. Not a drop of grace is present in any of my limbs as I fling myself between Harry and the offending objects. And while we're talking about that...

3. Food in soft play, playgrounds etc. How often I want to be wildly unreasonable, and remove biscuits, chocolate, pretty much anything gripped in another toddler's sweaty paws before they're allowed to smear or spread said item around the play area. I know it's unreasonable, I do, I really do. But sometimes it would be nice to just be able to relax a bit.

4. It's not just nut allergies! From our standpoint - schools, nurseries, playgroups etc... all 'get' nut allergies. Which is awesome. If you have a nut allergy. We don't. Add to which a non-instant, reaction and I feel a bit like my explanations are falling on deaf ears.

5. People don't always have just one one food allergy. Lady in the cafe it's great that you can cater for someone who has either a dairy, egg, soya, strawberry or sesame allergy. But we have them all, and you can't do that. Which is fine, but then let me give my son his packed lunch.

6. And while we're at it a gluten free option is fabulous - it's not the same as a dairy free one! Which is also not the same as a lactose free one, although I'll let you have that as they're so similar.

 7. There are some fabulous sources of calcium that aren't dairy based - but sardines and kale aren't up on Harry's favourite food lists - of course they aren't, why would they be?! So I spend hours on the internet, with recipe books, and pottering around in the kitchen trying to find palatable ways of hiding foods that will help him. It's not that he's a particularly fussy eater - he's just a toddler and if the day has a y in it, he'll find something different that's not being eaten today, despite being last week's food of choice. Peas, I'm looking at you.

8. The trials of allergy testing - in our PCT, until the age of 3, allergies are tested via so called 'Challenges' - you either try your child on something with a small amount of said allergen in, and build up to foods with greater quantities of that allergen. Basically, as a mother, I get to potentially give my child a food I spend most of the rest of my time avoiding for him, in order to challenge his allergy. There is little I enjoy less.

9. And I know I'm going to alienate a HUGE amount of people here, but some of those food writers- you know the ones, heavy on the use of buzzwords like wellness, clean eating, healthful and nourishing - who talk about intolerances because dairy makes them a bit bloated, or gluten is acidic, or sugar the devil... whatever the current default is. Those people make life SO hard for anyone with an actual food allergy by making them seem faddy and in turn making others take them less seriously. As soon as you see the heavenwards glance, the unsubtle eye roll, the sigh of despair when asking if there's soya in bread, it's time to leave. Because whilst you know it'll give your toddler eczema that bleeds through his pyjamas, projectile vomiting and nappies like something out of The Exorcist - that's not what people think of any more. And I know that some people have found a more balanced lifestyle following that kind of eating, but for us and so many families like us food allergies aren't about posting heavily edited photos of us doing headstands in the golden morning light. It's so that we don't see our child writhing in pain, we don't watch them come up in the hives that we're told can precede anaphylaxis, we don't want to have to prop their cot up so that the burning acid reflux stays in their tummy.

Well that one wasn't so lighthearted was it. Oops.

10. And the combination of pride, sadness and confidence when your toddler can say no to a biscuit because it might make him "poorly" or tells a friend he can't have "sova, mik, 'trawberries,egg" For me, that moment was at once heartbreaking and reassuring. And he can also now tell you that if Mummy gets bitten by a bee she needs her epi-pen.

And much like my post on 10 things I've learned in 21 months of breastfeeding, I couldn't just leave this at 10...

11. Having said all of the above - the utter joy at an evening on Pinterest discovering wonderful recipes (that you may or may not ever make) that are safe for your child is wonderful. The moments when you can tell that the allergen has finally left their system and finally breathe a sigh of relief. The weigh ins at the baby clinic when you're told that your tot has finally put on weight, or is finally tracking a centile line. The joy of finding a safe food or recipe that your child inhales. The relief when a mum from NCT or a playgroup leader goes out of their way to be inclusive and ensure there's a safe alternative to whatever food the other children are eating. There is a litany of small moments that as an allergy mum bring me joy, restore my faith in other people and make this whole journey we're on seem manageable, feel less isolating, and give me the confidence to keep on keeping on.

I'm adding this post to Free From Fridays this week, over at Le Coin de Mel

Le Coin de Mel

          New Awards and Predictions        
Awhile back, blog author, Gary Phillip Pennick, of his blog, Klahanie, gave me and much more other worthy recipients two awards.  One is called the Fabulous Blog Ribbon Award and the other is the One Lovely Blog Award.  I'm finally getting around to giving him a proper thank you and doing a blog post about it.

Gary, himself, rightfully earned and received these two awards and gracefully bestowed them upon six other blog authors besides sweet lil' ol' me.  I would like to acknowledge his generosity by mentioning these awards and pass them along to other blogs I admire and have enjoyed:

1. Pickleope
2. Happyendings- Confessions of An Erotic Masseuse
3. DCRelief
4. The Angry Lurker
5. Angry Clown
6. Homeless in Seattle
7. In Search of a Russian Oligarch

Be sure to check out the great blogs above and tell them Kelly, of Psycho Carnival, sent ya!  Sure, they may be confused by this, but fuck it, do it, anyway... just because I said so.  

The rules that accompany these awards state that the recipients of the awards are "encouraged" to pass along or forward one or both awards to 7 other recipients.  You're also supposed to mention five fantastic moments in your life.  Well, as you know, probably by now, I'm not much of a follower of rules or polite etiquette of any type.  But I did want to pass along the awards to those I deem worthy of receiving them.  Those blogs and their authors don't need to feel obligated to relate five great moments in their life, unless they so desire to.  Nor are they obligated, at least in my opinion, to put the award(s) on their site or say who gave them the awards.  Gosh, it's not like I'm a glutton for ego-maniacal gratitude or something.  No way... no how.

Also:  Since my next post, I had already decided, was going to relate to things pertaining to me, more personally, and some of my unique opinions on different topics, I've decided to skip the "great moments" list at the time.

But I would like to share my predictions for the coming years of our existence as a species, in the absence of this list.  I know that the big ol' Mayan prediction and other predictions, foretelling the the chaos and/or substantial change in the human race for the date of December 21st, 2012 is kinda on the minds of people these days.  Personally, I think, on that date, we may see some people getting "all nutty" about that particular day since it has been so hyped up in the media, that they might just cause riots here and there, causing, in turn, some needless trouble and pain for people just trying to get on with their lives as if it were another day.  Which, it might turn out to be the case.  Just another day, I mean.

But here, before you, are my TRUE PREDICTIONS for what will absolutely happen in the years to come.  I'm providing you with these life altering predictions because I CARE A LOT.  Yep.  For sure.  Here ya go:

* Sometime in the near future, corporations and people around the world will endeavor to stop polluting this planet we inhabit.  The Arctic ice will cease melting.  Temperatures and climate will become stable.  Wars over fossil fuels, power and land will no longer continue.  Rainbows will appear out of nowhere and unicorns will dance among the children.  Strangers, holding hands, will suddenly burst into heartwarming songs and share an overwhelming feeling of peace and goodwill towards one another.  And the homeless will be welcomed everywhere and given shelter, loving care and food.  Not long, after these events occur, I will shit gold to share with each and every one of you.  It's true!  Just like everything else I said.  Yep.

* Movies will have involving and interesting plot lines.  Gone are the flicks that satiate a mindless public.  People will actually crave more original and fascinating entertainment than ever before.  Oh yeah, baby.

* Mitt Romney will become president of the United States.  The economy will drastically improve.  The middle class will be sustained and prosper.  People across the country will, simultaneously, eat healthier food. The elderly will be given better healthcare and respect. Education will become an all important issue, will be improved upon and every child will learn and grow to be a fine, upstanding citizen.  Animals, that were once on the endangered species list, will come back and flourish and multiply around the world.  The mentally challenged will suddenly take flight, using their arms as wings and delight us all with their colorful, enchanting antics by colliding into bridges and mountains.  Because of this spectacle, a few individuals will giggle until they fart.  But then...  A large hairy ape will descend from the heavens above and let loose with a powerful stream of piss that will shower the world with luminous, wondrous magic.  All true.  Every word.  Count on it!

* Old diseases like Cancer and Diabetes will be cured by researchers for big pharmaceutical companies because, after all, they care only about eliminating the diseases, altogether.  Never are they even slightly interested in making profits off of people like you and I by selling pills and such to treat the symptoms.  Heck no.  I'd say, in about a year, all those horrendous diseases that have been around for decades and centuries will be a thing of the past.  Nothing to worry about.  Just put your mind at ease and think of butterflies fluttering about the flowers of life.

* Racism and gender equality will be eagerly talked about.  Soon, everyone will be accepted for who they are and who they wish to copulate with and love.  Trees will learn sign language, too.

* Cars, trucks, planes, ships and tricycles, even, will be powered by a completely unique form of endless, profitless energy.  Corporate and government scientists, after working diligently on creating this free energy that corporations won't care to profit from, will be shown gratitude by all the world's population because people will suddenly be grateful for the good things offered to them and will gleefully projectile vomit on these learned geniuses by way of reward for their years of long, hard work.  There will be such an atmosphere of absolute positivism, that leprechauns, minotaurs and Ewoks will erupt from the ground to spray forth load after creamy load of jism upon the people.  People will happily gobble it all up like hungry maggots and instantly become more strongererer and smarterererr and erererer.  Henceforth, this day of celebration will be officially known as Merry Spooge Day.

That's all I have for now.  So, once again, just put your mind at ease.  The human race will be just fine.  We're evolving into something great and wonderful.  Yes, indeed.  We're certainly not devolving into societies of war-mongering, hateful, polluting assholes who don't give a real shit about what we do to each other, the animals and the planet's atmosphere.  So... yeah.  Feel free to throw caution to the wind and smile, smile and smile some more.  Our future as a species is looking just fine and as promising as ever.

Have a dandy day, one and all!   

          The Joker Appears In Hands-on Preview        


Warner Bros. hosted a pre-E3 event in Santa Monica, California last week where I got the opportunity to play the game. I beat up some new thugs with martial arts skills, diffused a plot laid by Anarky, and stormed a hotel hijacked by The Joker.

This prequel focuses on Bruce Wayne’s formative years as Batman, but he’s in the same fighting shape as the other two Arkham titles. Countering attacks and managing a crowd of bad guys is just as satisfying as ever. Developer Warner Bros. Games Montreal has done a great job maintaining the pitch-perfect combat controls. New enemies with fighting skills comparable to the Caped Crusader mix up standard fights. I like the gonzo, kung-fu film feel of these counter-heavy battles. These nimble bad guys should keep players on their toes.

The bad guys aren’t the only ones who have to worry about new threats – Batman is packing a new remote claw toy that lets him tether items in the environment together. This projectile-based weapons makes linking two guards together from a distance easy. You can string guards up to gargoyles or even tether one to an explosive barrel, creating a surprise they won’t see coming. The new gadget is fun and easy to use, and should open up stealth options.

Big changes are being made to crime scene investigations as well. A helicopter crashes to the ground in one section, and Batman must examine the scene and deduce what happened. Players can playback the disaster, pause, and pinpoint something interesting. In this case Batman scrubs backwards and discovers the tail propeller was blasted by a gunman. He traces the trajectory of the bullet to SWAT member on a building high above. At first glance this officer may seem like the trigger man, but the Master Detective discovers that the SWAT member was killed by another rifleman, and the same round ricocheted off a nearby wall before hitting the helicopter. Bingo. Batman decides there is only one villain that could pull off that shot: Deadshot.

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Black Mask is the main trouble maker in Arkham Origins, but other threats are loose on the streets of Gotham City besides he and Deathstroke. At one point in the demo I was grappling and gliding among the snowy rooftops when a giant image was projected onto a nearby building. A message began to play, recorded by Anarchy. This hooded figure is hell-bent on doing away with corporations and governments. He’s planted bombs in the city that Batman must diffuse. I activate my x-ray detective vision to follow a series of wires to the explosives and manually disable them. Warner Bros. says Anarchy and other villains pop up throughout the game for these optional side missions.

Unlike Anarchy, not all evil doers in Gotham can be ignored. Batman makes his way to a ritzy hotel that has been seized under Black Mask’s orders. The fancy lobby is tricked out to the nines with red and green Christmas decorations. I use the remote claw to string up the patrolling bad guys and clear a path to the elevator. On my way up I run into two familiar faces: Bane and Joker. Like Batman, these villains are still proving their “super” status. Bane is ‘roid-raging harder than usual, and the Joker demonstrates his fondness for remote-detonated bombs. He dances among a series of festively decorated explosives plungers, triggering one that blows up an unoccupied construction site in the distance. He threatens Batman that the next explosion won’t be so benign. 

Warner Bros. Games Montreal is putting a lot of effort into creating a compelling new chapter in the Arkham series, both on the narrative and gameplay fronts. I like the tweaks and story and combat, but so far Arkham Origins looks par for the course as far as sequels go. But I don’t foresee anyone complaining about another fun Batman game.

For more on Batman: Arkham Origins visit our hub filled with exclusives


          Origin of the Moon--redux!        
Ever since Harold Urey proposed his theory for the origin of the Moon in 1952, it's origin has been the topic of debate, a debate that has not yet been settled.  One of the goals of the manned space program to the Moon was to get samples that would solve this debate but, because the Moon has undergone differentiation and a complicated geological history, we know a lot about the evolution of the Moon, but not about its origin.  In Nature Geoscience (v. 10, pp. 89-94, 2017) Rufu, Aharonson and Perets advance a theory that the Moon was formed, not by a single impact of a Mars-sized planetesimal as in the current paradigm, but by a series of smaller impacts.
     Some of the constraints that must be satisfied by a theory of origin are as follows.  The Moon is massive relative to its planet compared to Moons around other bodies in the Solar System.  The Earth-Moon system exhibits an unusually large amount of angular momentum. The Moon is depleted in volatile elements compared to carbonaceous chondrites which are taken as representative of undifferentiated planetary material.  This depletion is taken to indicate that some highly energetic process heated the moon. In contrast, rarefactory elements, such as Ca, Al, Ti, Ba, Sr,..., are enhanced. Iron is depleted relative to its abundance in the earth. The oxygen isotope compositions for the earth and Moon are similar, a fact that suggests that they were formed from the same material and their relative values compared to other bodies in the Solar System suggests that they were formed in the same vicinity.
     A major problem with single-impact scenarios is that a single impact cannot provide the observed angular momentum.  Rufu et al. argue that the largest impactor is also not necessarily the last one, and that multiple impacts are needed to provide both the observed angular momentum and observed mass. 
     Rufu et al. point out that computer simulations of impacts show that the projectile contributes more than 70% the the mass of the Earth-orbiting disk in which the ejecta land to later accrete into a single Moon. This so-called "skewed mass" contribution of the impactor is a problem because it is unlikely that the impactor and the proto-earth would have the same composition.  How can the Earth and Moon be isotopically similar in oxygen, titanium, tungsten?? In the multi-impact scenario proposed by these authors the proto-Earth experiences a number of collisions by bodies ranging in mass from 0.01 to 0.1 times the mass of the proto-Earth as shown in this figure from the paper:

Multi-impact scenario for
     Figure caption: Each impact by one of the small bodies generates a disk of material from which a small satellite forms.  These small satellites migrate outward under the influence of tidal interactions, and end up at their "Hill radii" to eventually coalesce to form the final Moon. The Hill radius for the Earth is the region in which the Earth dominates the attraction of satellites. 
Using computer simulations of multiple impacts in which parameters for the impactor mass ratio, speed, direction angle, and planetary rotation were varied, they examined whether or not the earth gained or lost material due to the impact. They found that lower impact angles favored planetary erosion over planetary accretion for the earth. They also found that it was difficult to make a Moon of the current mass from an impact, and that it was easier to create a number of sub-lunar mass disks sequentially, from which the Moon formed by the merger of multiple moonlets as shown in the figure.

          They Called Him Boom-Boom!        
I've been thinking about the new year's celebrations which will take place around here. There will be a lot of noise at the stroke of midnight in our neighborhood. Horns will be blowed. Clappers will be shaken. Backyard fireworks will burst and bang.

Our family celebrated, too. My brother's birthday was New Year's Eve and New Year's Day was my father's. We'd look forward to the noise on the eve and the freshly killed pheasant dinner  dad would bring home the next day. If dad was lucky and got a rabbit, we would also have Hasenpfeffer that grandma would make. Oh, those were the days.

From what I remember of one time during my childhood back in the '50s when, come December 31 evening, my father resurrected the family New Year's noise maker from the dark reaches of our basement. Dad would empty a few shotgun shells and wad up some paper methodically shoving both down the barrel of a small, cast iron cannon not much bigger than a foot long. I don’t know where we got the cannon, but it was fairly old and possibly was used to scare birds out of the fields â€” who knows, it could have been my grandfather’s for the matter. Anyway, this small cannon would be readied to be set off at midnight on New Year’s Eve…simultaneously my dad would aim his shotgun up in the air and fire it as the cannon erupted its round! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! And we would all cheer â€œHappy New Year!”; the cannon got cleaned and put away, and that would be the end of our celebration that night, but not the end to the future firing of the cannon.

For years the cannon was only shot off to bring in the New Year, but one summer’s night it was another story...

My brother took the cannon into the backyard, and placed it on the driveway not too far from the house. It was very dark out; the only light was from the bug light next to the backdoor and a little light casting down from the back kitchen window where I was sitting to watch. We had a big backyard and an empty school yard in back of us, too. There was plenty of space to shoot off the cannon. Shooting off this cannon wasn’t dangerous, but you still had to be careful. 

Where did my brother get the gunpowder? It could have been made from a chemistry set he got for Christmas one year, or with my dad being a hunter, he could have emptied some shotgun shells as dad has done previously. There were no cannon balls or anything like that being loaded into the cannon. The most dangerous projectile coming out of this cannon were wads of wet fabric balls. Gunpowder and wet fabric balls was a combination not to be reckoned with when the fuse was lit and it sizzled down to the explosive.

It was the loudest and most powerful percussion of any shot felt yet! My brother, with a startled look on his face, quickly took the cannon back into the house and hid it. Dad came out the house to the back yard as backup â€” just incase there was any trouble. I guess they both knew what would happen next. A few minutes later a squad car came down our driveway to the back of the house. The officer leaned out the window and said to my dad... What the #^%$#^$%!!! Your neighbor up the street called us about a noise that almost shook him out of bed. He said Boom-Boom was at it again! The policeman didn’t look angry at all, I think he was trying to not laugh. My dad and brother were warned not to do any more of "that"; the policeman didn’t confiscate anything — besides he never saw the cannon that night to take it away.

From that night on, my brother was dubbed Boom-Boom by a few of our neighbors. Curiosity must have gotten to that policeman, too, because sometime later I saw him out in the backyard with my dad checking out the cannon…and the policeman was laughing! He knew there was always something happening in our backyard that was just pure fun. 

My brother would live to dream up more capers in our backyard of which there were many crazy goings on over the years.

Happy new year! 
Hope 2016 brings good health and prosperity to everyone!

          I'll See You In Hell, Vacation        
Yesterday as I was walking through the airport with two screaming children in my arms, another screaming child strapped to my chest, and large amounts of luggage trailing behind me I felt like I should get Trojan to sponsor all of our family activities. For small fee I would gladly wear sign that read: Don't Want To End Up Like This Asshole? Wear A Condom! I predict sales would skyrocket in my wake. Forget condoms, I could convince people to join the priesthood.

The following is an account of what I hope will remain THE WORST VACATION EVER. If anything else rises up and claims the title, I hope it kills me. The plan was simple: take the whole gang to Mexico for what may be one of the last weeks I have off for some time to come. We did not get far before the problems began.

At the airport it turned out that Stacey had not gotten the proper paperwork to leave the country although we discussed the need to do so at length over the course of the months leading up to the day. So instead of taking along an extra pair of hands, we were already down a man and out hundreds of dollars in non refundable air and hotel fees. AWESOME!

Those of us who remained were on the plane for about ten minutes before Ripples began to throw up. Only then did I understand the phrase Projectile Vomiting. As Amy struggled to clean everything out of her lap I had to point out that it was also all over the back of the seat in front of us. Blowing Chunks also suddenly made sense.

We repeated the vomiting while eating in the airport during our plane change, then again on our next flight where the flight attendant berated Amy, an er doctor, about the importance of hydrating Ripples. By the time we got to Mexico everything we owned was covered in vomit.

Then we got to customs. Let's not even talk about the line. The line is child's play. The line is the sort of thing you complain about when you have nothing else to really complain about. The only important thing about the line is the fact that we were literally the last people in it. And when we got to counter it turned out that Amy, doctor Amy, planning super mom Amy, had neglected to actually look at her own passport, which was EXPIRED. This led to our vomit covered family being pulled into some sort of interview room at midnight in Mexico where it turned out that the price of trying to get into Mexico with an expired passport is a 'tip' for 47$ and ten Euros. Let me just say that if you haven't bribed a mexican official while wearing a four month old you really haven't lived.

The next day, mother's day, we were at least there, on vacation, at the beach, ready to HAVE FUN. Except it wasn't. Ever. At all. Ripples began to break out in some sort of rash to accompany her fever and vomiting. Mars got in on the fever thing and cried and cried, and then cried more. The whole day is just a blur of crying and screaming and sludge like strawberry daiquiris. All I know is that it ended at dinner with our friends and their children. Six adults v. six children. I cannot describe to you the horror of that evening except to say that if cyanide pills had been on the menu I would have ordered them as an appetizer. If I had been another patron in the restaurant I would have murdered us all with my butter knife. Also, let me just say now, once and for all, I hate asian food. Fuck asian food.

That night we laid in various beds with various children and did not sleep, but listened to them scream. When they screamed for Mommy even when mommy was holding them I knew that we were not going to make it. In the morning Amy changed our flight and began to pack. Suddenly the amount of money wasted on Stacey's paperwork aborted trip looked minuscule, and the amount we were wasting to get out of ours looked worth it. Had I known what was coming, I would have rethought my bribe to get into the country. When the official said, "what should we do about this situation?" I would have just asked if they had separate prisons for adults and children.

Anyway, we were going home! Yay! And we had a little more time to play at the beach and the pool. Yay! So while Amy packed, the girls and I went swimming. Except Ripley didn't like the water so she kept trying to pull a large umbrella down on herself while Nixie swam. Until Nixie wasn't swimming, and I heard people mumbling things and suddenly running toward the pool and looked up to see her floating face down in the middle. I joined the herd of people jumping in, pulled her up, got her out of the pool and found her extremely confused, but after a little coughing and spitting, completely fine. Her swimming companion seemed far more traumatized just for having witnessed the panic of adults flying into a pool. Let me just say a couple things about face down floating children: I cannot imagine a more primal terror than looking into a pool and seeing it, but the look on your wife's face when she sees you having to pull one of the children you were supposed to be watching out of a pool because they are floating face down is a feeling of personal failure on par with little else. In addition to blowing chunks, and projectile vomiting, the phrase 'I just looked away for a second' has new meaning.

But then, but then, we were headed home. At which point the girls began to practice a form of non-violent resistance right out of a civil rights demonstration. Basically, anytime we needed them to go somewhere, they laid on the ground and forced you to drag them like luggage. Which is what we did, along with the actual luggage. Which is what we were doing when I realized I looked like a walking advertisement for castration.

And now it's over. I'm home. We're home. Alive. Safe. All that stuff. But... I don't know. I think we're a lot worse off. At some point in the past I think I thought or wrote or read somewhere (who the hell knows) that having kids was like starting a business. And you take this person you love and you essentially make them a business partner. And at some point all you can talk about is the business. I can't recall a SINGLE SECOND of our trip where Amy and I weren't talking about one of the kids and the various ways in which they were trying to kill us. I was on a beach in Mexico in the general area of the woman I love and I don't think we so much held hands unless it was to exchange a dirty diaper or pawn off a screaming child. Is it heartwarming to see your daughters scream at the waves to 'go away' as they roll in and 'come back' as they roll away? Yes. Is Nixie incredibly sweet and Ripples fiendishly clever and Mars capable of smiling with his whole body? Yes. Is it enough? No. Not for me.

A long time ago a friend told me about all the things he was going to continue to do after he had children. His logic was, they're joining my life, I'm not joining theirs, so they'll just have to do what I do. And while it's true, you can make your children follow you anywhere, they can beat you at your own game. They can make you hate the very things you used to love. That's a scary powerful kind of voodoo.

          Progress on the e-book (Swaging)        
Quite some time ago I had decided to publish an e-book on how to cast your own projectiles and load ammunition at home. Other projects got in the way unfortunately. Recently I picked up once again on completing the e-book project, but it has grown considerably larger than before. Now to be included will be […]
          Our Little Lydia | Newborn Photo Shoot        
It's been three weeks now since we first laid eyes on her. Meet our sweet daughter, Lydia, who made her grand debut on Groundhog Day* and Super Bowl Sunday. We didn't see a single game play or commercial - we were wrapped up in our own once-in-a-lifetime production.

All the cliche things they say about having a baby? They're so true. It was love at first sight, and this little gal's filled places in our hearts we didn't know existed. I remember being nervous for the late night wake ups, diaper blow-outs, and projectile spit-ups that come with infant territory. I won't lie. It's hard (serious props to those of you with multiple're my heroes), but I didn't realize how willing I'd be to do anything for her. I don't know that I've ever felt this depth of joy before. And a BIG THANK YOU to all those who've visited, brought food, and sent well wishes - we so appreciate every act of love and kindness.

Now, let a proud mama share pictures. These were taken when our pretty Lydee was six days old. Thanks to the gentle hands and talented eye of Heather at (Highly recommend her!)

*Feb. 2 is also her late great-grandpa's birthday. 

Already finished reading three chapter books to her, including "Winnie the Pooh."  Read, baby, read! See my thoughts on babes and books here: 7 things I want to teach my daughter about books.

          Trebuchet Summer Round-up        
Hi Hurlers,

There are now only 50 days until the 8th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Cuckin' Festival on Sept. 25th, 2016.

Time to get down to business and get your machines dialed in. In the meantime here are some hurling items that caught out eye:

There is an interesting article discussing trebuchets at from Quora. It does have one error when it states:
Trebuchets, because they don’t recoil in the same way as catapults, can be put on wheels. In fact, doing so is advantageous for their accuracy, as I understand it, because of the way it lets the whole machine absorb some of the forces involved. 
A trebuchet on wheels loses distance on its throws. The wheels rob the full transfer of energy from the counter-weight to the throwing arm. A trebuchet should be anchored to the ground to be most efficient. There is no real debate about that. Wheels would probably make it easier to line up a trebuchet, but taking time and adjusting a grounded trebuchet will make it just as accurate, plus it will have more distance, than a wheeled version.

Roman catapult
Roman catapult
What Are the Tactical Advantages of a Trebuchet Over a Catapult --
A trebuchet is a device for attacking fortifications. Roughly speaking, a trebuchet has a few advantages over a catapult. First, it can handle heavier projectiles. A catapult’s maximum weight tops out at about 180 pounds; trebuchets top out at about 350. Second, compared with a torsion engine, it’s a fairly robust machine. Lastly, for a given weight of stone, the trebuchet has a longer range. The big ones there, of course, are the maximum projectile weight and range. When your objective is to smash stone fortifications, being able to throw bigger stones from farther away is certainly a desirable trait...
This Game of Thrones trebuchet looks good, but it has several problems as Scott Manning points out.

Scott Manning / Historian On the Warpath:
3 Problems with This Game of Thrones Trebuchet --
Yes, I’m critiquing the plausibility of this trebuchet while ignoring the dragons.

The “Battle of the Bastards” episode from Game of Thrones introduced a new twist on the trebuchet, utilizing gravity but defying physics and logic.

It was in the background of the siege of Meereen. Blink and you’ll miss it.

Like a trebuchet, the machine utilizes gravity to propel an object toward a target. However, there are some major problems with this machine.

1.) The counterweight just isn’t enough

Instead of a traditional counterweight, there is a mini-rollercoaster that sends the entire arm down before flinging it forward. This is an adoption of a modern design affectionately named Merlin (thanks to Son_of_mogh for pointing this out)...
How about a quick history lesson with some art thrown in (pun intended)?

GroovyHistorian ‏ / Twitter:
#Medieval traction trebuchet (also called a perrier) next to a staff slinger #history amazing !!

traction trebuchet (also called a perrier)

They are getting their big boy treb ready in upstate New York.

Eagle News:
READY TO LAUNCH: Our Farm’s pumpkin launching trebuchet back in action after repairs â€“

Boris undergoing repairs. The trebuchet at Our Farm needed to have its throwing arm replaced after it cracked.
Boris undergoing repairs. The trebuchet at Our Farm needed to have its throwing arm replaced after it cracked. Courtesy Our Farm.

Boris the trebuchet got a “heart transplant” recently at the Golub family’s Our Farm on Peth Road in Cazenovia/Manlius — and now the 10-year-old pumpkin launching machine is ready to keep on chucking fruit for a long time to come...
See you in September.

          Duct Tape Trebuchet – MythBusters Final Season, Final Fling        
The MythBusters made a duct tape trebuchet for their final episode that aired March 6, 2016 on the Science Channel. The Science Channel will now be the new home for all their reruns.  The myth was confirmed: the massive duct tape trebuchet did hold together and work without the use of any nuts, bolts, pins, screws, or any fasteners other than the "miracle material" duct tape.

They made a very large trebuchet. It was the largest duct tape build in the show's 14 year history. They used 2,600 lbs. of pine board, 78 rolls of duct tape, and had a 750 lb. engine block as their counterweight. The first test fire of a watermelon went 171 feet. They then used their weapon of war to destroy an inflatable shark waterslide with a flaming Molotov cocktail. And with this final fling the MythBusters signed off.

Duct tape was the focus of 25 stories, including five with duct tape boats. In all duct tape myths were confirmed 21 times during the show's long run. They ended up using over 5000 rolls of duct tape (about 83 miles). This final build should certainly give all builders some ideas about the versatility of duct tape.

MythBusters adjust their duct tape trebuchet

Duct tape trebuchet

Adam Savage makes small model of trebuchet
MythBusters - Duct Tape Trebuchet
MythBusters Episode 248: Duct Tape: The Return --
Premier Date: March 6, 2016

This was the last new episode of MythBusters to ever air. It premiered one day after the Grande Finale to promote the Science Channel as the future home of MythBusters reruns.

It is possible to build a fully-functional trebuchet held together only by duct tape.


Adam built a small-scale model trebuchet using wooden beams and duct tape and fine-tuned its design. Jamie developed construction methods designed to withstand the significant forces involved and incorporated them into his own model.

At a large field, they began assembly; the full-scale trebuchet used 78 rolls of tape, 2,600 pounds (1,200 kg) of construction lumber, and a 750-pound (340-kg) automobile engine block as the counterweight. A test shot with a watermelon as the projectile achieved a range of 171 feet (52 m) and the structure remained intact. To simulate using their trebuchet in combat, they launched a Molotov cocktail to a distance of over 100 feet (30 m), and then launched another to ignite a giant inflatable shark set up at that same distance.

          2015 Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival Results        

Hi all,

Here are the corrected results, sorry about the confusion.

The 7th annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin festival is over and here are the results of the trebuchet and chili contests.  We had a record 26 teams in the trebuchet contest and 4 in the chili cookoff.  The distances for the lightweight and middleweight divisions are scaled up to what they would throw if they were 10 feet tall.  Trophies awards to the top three in each division.  Winner of each division get $50 prize.  The winners of each division compete directly against each other for grand best overall design prize and gets an extra $50.

An observation on this year’s chuckin winner; this is the 1st time a Heavyweight won the overall contest since the Middleweight Open category was created.  This proves that it is possible to win with a big machine, even thought it requires a lot more effort.

Another observation, this is the first time we’ve seen a Merlin type trebuchet. The merlin is unique in that it has 5 links creating a cam which the weight pulls a wire around.  This allows it to be much more efficient in using nearly all of the available energy stored in the counterweight into throwing the projectile.  It also has a very clever way of throwing where the arm is tilted way back beyond vertical and the pumpkin is actually sitting on the arm before it fires and it loops thru the frame without the pumpkin hitting the ground, giving the machine an extremely long (almost 320 degree) throwing motion.  This reduces the stress on the arm and frame, allowing more weight to be devoted to the counterweight.

And lastly, a two brand-new clever tripod trebuchets appeared in the Middleweight Open and Lightweight Divisions; a father daughter combo I believe. The daughter dominated the Lightweight Division, winning by almost 200 feet and almost beating dad.  I tried to see a similar trebuchet on the internet and couldn’t find anything. Great invention!

  • Grand prize winner, Overall Best Design: Hammer of the Gourds
  • Winner of Heavyweight Division: Hammer of the Gourds
  • Winner of Middleweight Open Division: Queen Christine 2.5
  • Winner of Middleweight Junior Division: Chuck Fillet
  • Winner of Lightweight Division: Montana Christmas

Lightweight Division: age limit 10 and under, trebuchet limited to 20 pounds and 41 inches, pumpkin (projectile must weight at least 3 ounces)

Distances adjusted up by 2.92 (120/41)
  • 1st place: $50 prize, Montana Christmas, Captain Emerson Stapleton, adjusted distance 441.54 feet
  • 2nd place: Dante’s Little Torch, Captain Kenneth Brown, adjusted distance 266.63 feet
  • 3rd place: TPS Chuckers, Captain Theresa Tipper, adjusted distance 153.86 feet
  • 4th place: TPS Chuckers Two, Captain Theresa Tipper, adjusted distance 129.07 feet

Middleweight Junior Division: age limit 17 and under, trebuchet limited to 100 pounds and 70 inches, pumpkin must weight at least 1 pound

Distances adjusted up by 1.71 (120/70)
  • 1st place: $50 prize, Chuck Fillet, Captain Jacob, adjusted distance 355.53 feet
  • 2nd place: Phoenix Rising Two, Captain Keegan McNamara, adjusted distance 201.42
  • 3rd place: Team Hogan, Captain Nolan Hogan, adjusted distance 134.56
  • 4th place:Webelos Whippers, Captain Fisher Irwin, adjusted distance 124 feet
  • 5th place: Scouts Mayhem, Captain Max Low, adjusted distance 93 feet

Middleweight Open Division: no age limit, trebuchet limited to 100 pounds and 70 inches, pumpkin must weight at least 1 pound

Distances adjusted up by 1.71 (120/70)
  • 1st place: $50 prize, Queen Christine 2.5, Captain Ray Chamberlin, adjusted distance 501.07
  • 2nd place: Controlled Chaos, Captain Jonathan Stapleton, adjusted distance 496.26 feet
  • 3rd place:Red Neck Wreckers, Captain Ryan Brown, adjusted distance 439.18 feet
  • 4th place: Team Jordan, Captain Don Jordan, adjusted distance 427.52 feet
  • 5th place: Mooselauke Hurlers, Ed Chamberlin, adjusted distance 425.07 feet
  • 6th place: Green Monster, Captain Emmitt McGuire, adjusted distance 418.44 feet
  • 7th place: Rolling Thunder, Captain Ray Chamberlin, adjusted distance 410.35 feet
  • 8th place: Rotary Two, Captain Bill Kernan, adjusted distance 332.93 feet
  • 9th place: Merlin, Captain Bob Olesen, adjusted distance 311.3 feet
  • 10th place: Dead Weight, Captain Brad Gustafson, adjusted distance 219.93 feet
  • 11th place: One Sheet of Plywood and a 2x4, Captain Justin Blackman, adjusted distance 214.99 feet
  • 12th place: FAKA Crazy, Captain John Raffensberger, adjusted distance 71.14 feet

Heavyweight Division: no age limit, trebuchet limited to 500 pounds and 10 feet, pumpkin must weight at least 5 pounds

No distance adjustment since the trebuchets are already 10 feet tall
  • 1st place and best overall design award: $100 prize, Hammer of the Gourds, Captain Chris McGrody, distance 520.7 feet
  • 2nd place: Weapons of Medieval Destruction, Captain Nick Helms, distance 474.36
  • 3rd place: Unconventional Farmers, Captain Robert Hoopes, distance 194.0 feet
  • 4th place: Team Edge, Captain Kyle Lamell, distance 76 feet
  • 5th place: Bad Boomer, Captain Dave Jordan, distance 0 feet

Chili Cookoff:
  • 1st prize and $100 cash, Edelweiss Country Store
  • 2nd prize and $50 cash, Edna and Ken Elwood
  • 3rd prize and $25 cash, Brian Roberts

Dave Jordan
Festival organizer
161 Henway Road
Morrisville, VT 05661

          Go! Hamster Go!        
We are big fans of the human hamster catapult known as Shooda Noed Beter from Elkton, Virginia. Their team motto is "Go! Hamster Go!" They are also the current world record holder, at 2048 feet, and 2013 world champion (and still champion) in the Punkin Chunkin Adult Human Powered Class. A 600 pound, 11 foot diameter, "hamster wheel" with one human hamster provides the power that loads up their catapult with approximately 30,000 Joules of energy for their pumpkin hurls.

The human hamster climbs the 11' hamster wheel

Specifications for Shooda Noed Beter, Human Powered Catapult

Adult Human Powered Class rules:
  1. Pumpkins must weigh between 8 and 10 pounds.
  2. Machines can use any kind of stored energy that can be stored by a single person in two minutes. (Energy must be stored by the power of this one person, not by other means.)...

If you are interested in the science of hurling pumpkins then you need to checkout SNB's very interesting website and dive into their year-round study of hurling pumpkins for distance.

Here is a sample of some of the topics SNB discusses:

How Strong Should a Catapult Arm Be? (Part One) (December 2, 2014) –
There are a thousand different parts that can give way, and adding more power only helps you find the next weakest link in the chain. Even worse, if you're like Yankee Siege II, you run the risk of your counterweight getting so large that it collapses in on itself and creates a black hole. So, efficiency is critical for any team looking to compete at the World Championships.
Evolution of Punkin Chunkin World Records (November 25, 2014) –
Ever wondered how the progress of the different Punkin Chunkin Classes stacks up? Me, too. So, here's what it looks like since 2002...

You Don't Need More Power: 3 Better Ways to Improve Your Catapult (August 26, 2014) –
a wise man shared some knowledge with us our first year at the chunk. According to him, "You need 5 times more power to throw it twice as far." At first that seems non-sensical. Why wouldn't twice as much power make it go twice as far? Well, a lot of reasons, but most importantly, because that's just not how physics works...
Launch Angle (November 13, 2013) –
There is a significant amount of debate on numerous forums about pin angle. There are some links at the bottom of this post that point to some very intelligent discussions about how to make the projectile go farther. I encourage you to read through them if you'd like some more information on this topic. However, we don't necessarily agree with a lot of what's written out there. First off, 45 degrees is absolutely not the right answer for any projectile not launched in a vacuum. The moment that air resistance starts factoring into the equation the launch angle must get lower to achieve optimum distance. Fortunately, most catapult enthusiasts out there bought into that concept a long time ago.

However, most of the recommendations I see still center around 40 degrees. For low speed or low profile objects, that is probably the case, but our testing indicates that at the speeds we're launching our 8-10 pound pumpkins we get more distance with a launch angle around 35 degrees. We also believe that our launch angle should get lower when we are throwing into a headwind. However, I think the key thing to take away is that you need to conduct testing of your specific machine with the actual projectiles you intend to throw in order to determine your optimum launch angle.
Shooda Noed Beter Youtube Channel (more great videos)
          Summary of the 6th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' (VTPC) Festival        
Summary of the 6th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' (VTPC) Festival, Sunday Sept 28th, 2014 at Stoweflake Resort and Spa Event field in Stowe, VT.

The Format

Twenty homebuilt trebuchets competed this year in 4 weight classes. Each competitor has 3 chances to fling a pumpkin the furthest using only gravity and the mechanical leverage of their homebuilt “medieval siege engine”. Teams competed for best throw within their class, but also for overall best, by proportioning the results of the throw to the length of their trebuchet.

Tightest contest ever

This year, in a contest where the best throw exceeded two football fields, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place were separated by only 16 feet! The field was wide open due to our two-time champion, Dwight Snowberger, being out of the country. By the last round, the venerable “Team Jordan”, a team of 2 brothers from upstate NY (ages 84 and 79!) had calculated that they were behind by only 9 feet to “Hammer of the Gourds”(HOTG), a 6-person team from NH captained by last year’s Heavyweight Div. winner, Chris McGrody.

With only 1 throw to go they had to try something, so they adjusted the cable on their trigger to release the arm later – hoping for a better throw. But alas, the final throw fell 5 feet short of the previous throw. Then, to add insult to injury, HOTG, who made the last throw of the day, loaded up their machine with an extra 160 pounds for a truly spectacular throw, far exceeding their previous best, and literally “wowing” the crowd.

But wait, a penalty?

The Grand Prize of “Best Design” is awarded to the trebuchet that throws the farthest FOR THEIR HEIGHT. So as live music from “House Dunn” played on, event organizer Dave Jordan and indispensable volunteer, Mike Gladu furiously calculated the results of the 1st, 2nd , and 3rd places in each of 4 divisions, then “scaled-up” the Lightweight(LW) and Middleweight(MW) distances to Heavyweight(HW) size to allow all results to be compared.

This is unique to the VTPC where we allow the different size trebuchets to compete not only in their own size division, but also directly against the other divisions. The physics of trebuchets scales well – a treb that is twice as tall, and built with the exact same design, will throw twice as far. The Lightweight Div. has a vertical arm limit of 41”. The Heavyweights have a 120” (10 ft.) limit. So the Lightweights best distance is scaled up by 120/41 or roughly 2.9, to match what they would throw if they were Heavyweight height. If a Lightweight throws 100 feet, for example, it is adjusted up to 290 feet.

Middleweight height is limited to 70”, so they are scaled up by 120/70 or roughly 1.7. So a Middleweight throw of 100 feet would be adjusted to 170 feet. The Heavyweight distances are not adjusted at all – the other divisions are adjusted up to meet them.

In addition to the throwing arm limits, each division has a weight limitation. This rule evens the playing field for competitors and puts the focus on the design of the trebuchet – rather than merely how big it is. Since the physics is easily calculated, when a treb exceeds the height or weight limits, an adjustment is calculated, which makes it fair for all the other trebs which stayed under the limit, without disqualifying the overweight or overheight trebs. For example, if a treb is 10% overheight, its throws would be corrected to roughly 90% of the actual distance.

Back to the calculation

What Don Jordan didn’t know was that after the first round of throws, HOTG had added 50 lb to their treb, making them 40 lbs overweight, incurring a penalty of roughly 10% on the second throw. The mathematical correction brought them back down into second place, by a mere 14 feet. So team Jordan, a fifth year competitor who had come in 3rd and 2nd in the previous two tournaments, finally took home the overall Grand Prize! Congratulations to Team Jordan on a victory well-deserved.

Ironically, Team Jordan lost two years ago because they were inadvertently overweight by only 3 lbs., which was enough to push them down from 1st to 3rd place!

Which division has the advantage?

There is a fierce debate over which division has the advantage after the proportional scaling. The lightweight trebs are much stronger for their weight than the bigger trebs, allowing a higher percentage of weight to be used in the counterweight instead of the being necessary in the frame and arm. This would seem to be a big advantage to the LW, but since LW competitors are 9 years old or less, we can grant them this allowance.

The heavier a projectile is, the less it is affected by air resistance, so all other things being equal, this would strongly favor the HW. But at a 500 lbs. weight limit, they are much harder and more dangerous to build, and take a lot more time. Further, they must “waste” more of their overall weight in their beefier structure, rather than in their counterweight. Still, the heavyweight division really “makes” the tournament and the crowd loves you, so please hang in there heavyweights!

In practice, the Lightweights have never won, and the Heavyweights won only in the first year of the competition. For five years in a row, the Middleweight Open Division has taken the title. But this year the Heavyweight was very close, and might have taken the overall had they not chosen to over-weight their crowd-thrilling last throw.

He won the category that he invented

Full disclosure: winning team captain Don Jordan is the father of event founder and organizer Dave. Don came to the first festival as a spectator. After the first festival, he suggested that Dave add another category so that older participants could compete. A 500 lbs. treb would be too much to handle, but a 100 lbs. machine would not. So we made a Middleweight Division and separated it into Middleweight Junior (17 and under) and Middleweight Open Divs. Both have the same height and weight limitations and both can compete for the Grand Prize, as well as within their own divisions.

The Climax

Back to "Hammer of the Gourds" final throw… With the extra 160 lbs., they were in uncharted territory. It isn’t clear if they were still even thinking about winning the Grand Prize or just wanted to send a pumpkin beyond the limits of the known world. In any case, with weights stacked far out to each side and raised high, team captain Chris pulled the release cord of the now-top-heavy “floating arm” type trebuchet. The machine rocked, almost tipped, rocked back the other way, finally (to the relief of the team) remained standing. He pulled it again. Another rock, almost tip, rock back, and rest. Chris asked for a few minutes to evaluate. The crowd collected their breath. Everyone sensed that something big and dangerous was happening.

Dave used the opportunity to ask for volunteers to collect all the broken pumpkins littering the Stoweflake’s field and then watched in amazement as dozens of kids (led by Jana Bagley of Nightmare Vermont acting troop) flooded the field and swooped down on the pumpkin refuse at lighting-speed.

With the field cleared and spectators once again behind the safety tape, Hammer of the Gourds was ready to try again: the pull, the rocking, the nearly toppling, but still no launch – there was just too much weight on the trigger mechanism. As the headliner band “House Dunn” struck up another awesome song to fill the gap, HOTG removed all the weights, deliberated, tweaked the trigger mechanism, and put it all back together – all the weight still on! No one was going home early.

Attempt number 3: Chris yanked hard on the trigger chord, surely this time it would fire, the machine rocked yet again, rocked back – no launch, as it rocked back he yanked again and the pumpkin shot out like cannonball. The crowd stood mostly silent, mouths agape as the projectile rose, grew smaller, and smaller, and finally slammed into the underbrush having totally cleared the field and landed 30 feet into a hedge beyond – a whopping 626’! An amazing end to an awesome day of hurling, record-breaking weather, and great music from 3 bands/musicians.
Official Results of Trebuchet contest

All throws are given in actual distance in feet, and also scaled-up to Heavyweight size with any penalty if needed.

Lightweight Division:
limited to 41”, 20 lbs. (total weight of trebuchet and counterweight), age 9 and under, throwing a minimum 3 ounce tomato or similar projectile.

Name of Trebuchet – Actual measured distance (ft) / Best adjusted distance (ft)
  • 1st place: Dante's Little Torch – 93.6 / 273.9
  • 2nd place: Kinetic Pumpkins – 70.5 / 206.3
  • 3rd place: Stapleton #1 – 67.2 / 196.7
  • 4th place: Tomato Crusher – 56.7 / 165.9

Middleweight Junior Division: limited to 70”, 100 lbs, 17 years and under, throwing a 1 pound pumpkin or gourd.

Name of Trebuchet – Actual measured distance (ft) / Best adjusted distance (ft)
  • 1st place: Phoenix Rising – 135 / 229.8
  • 2nd place: Hartford High Flyers – 120 / 205.7
  • 3rd place: Atomic Pumpkins – 60.5 / 103.7
  • 4th place: Donec Iaculus – 55.9 / 94.4

Middleweight Open Division: (same limits as Middleweight Junior)

Name of Trebuchet – Actual measured distance / Best adjusted distance
  • 1st place: Team Jordan – 300 / 514.2
  • 2nd place: Carbon Destroyer – 343 *penalty / 496
  • 3rd place: Queen Cristine – 258 / 442.9
  • 4th place: Out of Our Gourds – 169 / 290
  • 5th place: Waterbury Rotary – 140 / 240
  • 6th place: Cheezit – 124 / 213
  • 7th place: SUNY Plattsburgh Physics – 122 / 209
  • 8th place: Stapleton #2 – 112 / 192

Heavyweight Division: limited to 120”, 500 lbs, throwing a 5 pound pumpkin.

Name of Trebuchet – Actual measured distance / Best adjusted distance
  • 1st place: Hammer of the Gourds – 560 *penalty / 498
  • 2nd place: Weapons of Medieval Destruction – 522 *penalty / 404
  • 3rd place: Dante's Inferno II – 153 / 153
  • 4th place: Bad Boomer – 113 / 113

Results of Chili Cookoff

The chili cookoff was a great success again this year. Six competitors each brought 2 gallons of chili that disappeared in about an hour.
  • First place trophy and $100 cash went to Mark Browning from Barre, VT (28 votes)
  • Second place trophy and $50 cash went to Ken Elwood (26 votes)
  • Third place trophy and $25 cash went to Regina Crosby from Stowe Barber Shop (22 votes)

Creatures in the festival, oh my, oh my

Nightmare Vermont (interactive Haunted House) brought their brand of entertainment to the festival in the way of 8 creatures, including a large creation which was briefly enlisted to help the Master of Ceremonies by standing next to him as he made his way down the line so the spectators could follow the action. Thanks for coming Nightmare Vermont and we hope to see you again next year.

Free water provided compliments of Blue Cross Blue Shield

Ahhhhh…much appreciated on a record breaking warm day!

Thanks to Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa

The Stoweflake was an excellent host again this year in providing the field, the fencing and other facility support to us for free. All they asked was to be the main sponsor of the event. Great job Stoweflake! We’ll be back again next year.

Thanks to the Lamoille Family Center

The LFC did most of the work behind the scenes, putting up and taking down miles of fencing, numerous tents and canopies, a band stage, tables, chairs, signs. And thanks to all the other volunteers that helped with parking, shuttling, registration, surveying, etc. Some of the work is less fun and less glorious – and deserves an even biggest thank you!

Hot day left some hoodies left over

I ordered a lot more hoodies and tshirts this year because last year sold out. Because of the hot weather, a lot of hoodies and long T’s were left over. If you want a hoodie or long sleeve tshirt, contact Lamoille Family Center at (802) 888-2590. Hoodies cost $20 plus shipping, Long T’s cost $13 plus shipping and regular T’s cost $10 plus shipping.

Here are the sizes available:
  • XL Hoodies
  • L Hoodies
  • XL Long Sleeve T’s
  • L Long Sleeve T’s
  • XL Short Sleeve T’s

Dave Jordan’s final thoughts on trebuchet design and the evolution of pumpkin chuckin'

My motivation for this festival was to create a competition where kids and adults build something and learn by doing. I was, and still am, motivated to build a better trebuchet next year. At least my treb actually fired (forwards!), if only once, but hopefully breaking a six year curse. That’s how hard a heavyweight treb is to build!

But this festival is not about me, it is about the evolution and pursuit of perfection with all teams competing on a level field (metaphorically), namely the same height and weight. In the first year, I think almost all the trebuchets were of the 1000 year old design. And the trebuchet that won, won because it worked while many of the others didn’t. The next year, things progressed so quickly that the first year’s winner didn’t even place. In the third year, SUNY Plattsburgh Physics team debuted a floating arm design and won. The fourth year, the floating arm design was copied by a guy from CT and he won over a “King Arthur” (double pivoting) design by my dad. In the fifth year, a fierce competition between the floating arm and King Arthur designs went, by a nose (a pumpkin stem?) to the floating arm. I believe there were 4 floating arms and 3 King Arthurs. This year, almost all the trebuchets were either floating-arm, King Arthur, “Merlin” or “Over-the-Top” designs. Only a few of the basic Medieval design remain and most of those were in the Lightweight category.

Not that I wish to discourage anyone who wishes to participate from using any approach they choose. Any trebuchet is fun and satisfying to build, and shoot; and the festival gives everyone a chance to show off their efforts publicly. Hopefully participants will want to evolve bigger, better, and more competitive designs in subsequent as the years. The festival is a competition, and winning it is a completely legitimate goal (in fact it’s MY goal), but as anyone who has ever attended knows – it is most decidedly not ALL about winning.

I can hardly wait to see what will happen next year. We may have to alter the rules and limit the heavyweights to 400 lbs or reduce their height a bit to stay within the limitation of the field. But for right now, the rules stay mostly the same. I will make one small rule change for sure. I did notice one King Arthur design where the launcher added energy (i.e. pushed) the counterweight as it was “tipped” for launch. An official gravity-only, not gravity-plus-a-shove, policy will be enforced for next year’s competition.

Dave Jordan (Festival organizer)
          Re: Commanods Vs Spartans        

You've already seen how well projectile rifles do against Commandos.

          Spotlight on Rose Gordon!         
I am beyond thrilled to welcome the witty and outrageously talented, USA Today Bestselling Author, Rose Gordon to Lady Scribes! Author of award winning Regency Romance novels, Rose, will be sharing a look at her latest release, "Desires of a Baron" and a free copy to one lucky, commenter! ***winner will be posted tomorrow, May 14th, in the comments section!

And without further ado...

The Cover

The Blurb

Giles Goddard, Lord Norcourt is odd. Born with his life's cord wrapped around his neck and sent away to Ireland to be raised in an orphanage run by nuns, he's known nothing but the cold sting of being misunderstood and altogether unwanted. But that's all about to change... 

Lucy Whitaker is a fallen woman who has done her best to build a life for her and her son. But when her son finds a battered gentleman left on the side of the road, her entire world is about to come crashing down as she once again finds herself caught between two brothers: an heir and a spare. 

Will Lucy's dislike for nobility forever keep her from eternal happiness or can Giles convince her to follow her heart and take a chance on loving a baron?

Now the Excerpt!!!
A little background on this. Lucy, our heroine is a fallen woman with a pre-teen son (Seth) who is in desperate need of a male in his life as he still likes being a carefree boy, but…he's getting older. Giles, our hero was a blue baby who's had a difficult life and is awkward to say the least--not to mention he's somehow managed to fall in love with his brother's love interest...

The carriage lurched forward and Giles struck a match. He lit the sconce then blew out the match, a companionable silence engulfing them all. 
In the low light, she saw a flash of silver in Seth’s hand. She strained to see. “Seth, is that a flask?” 
“Yes, ma’am.”
“And why do you have it?”
“It’s for drinking.”
“Yes, I know that.” She fought to keep her voice even. “But 

why do you have one?” “To drink from.” 
Lucy ground her teeth, irritation swelling in her chest. Letting him shave his nonexistent beard was one thing, allowing him to drink whiskey was quite another. “Did you drink from that?” 
“The whole thing,” he said proudly. 
On the verge of hysteria, she looked at Giles. “You let him drink that whole thing.” 
He nodded slowly then leaned close to her. “Don’t tell him, but I filled it with lemonade.” 
His words took all the anger right from her being, the air from her lungs, and the resistance of him from her marrow and with nothing holding her back she did the one thing she’d never thought she’d do: she kissed him.

Giles went rigid. In every way possible. Lucy was kissing him. It wasn’t one of those long, lippy kisses he’d witnessed while walking down a back alley in Paris. In fact, it wasn’t even on his lips, but rather on his cheek. His cheek that now burned as if she’d touched it with a branding iron. 
Her hand found his and she gave him a gentle squeeze. “Thank you.” 
He didn’t know what she was thanking him for, but whatever it was, he’d have to do it again if it made her react this way. 
The carriage bounced, jarring him from his trance. “Can I come inside?” 
Lucy’s hand stiffened briefly in his, then relaxed. “You wish to talk to me?” 
“Yes, please.” He squeezed her hand, a memory of the night he’d walked in on her being attacked flashed in his mind. “Only to talk. Don’t be afraid of me.” 
“I’m not.” 

About the Author

USA Today Bestselling and Award Winning Author of more than a dozen unusually unusual historical romances that have been known to include scarred heroes, feisty heroines, marriage-producing scandals, far too much scheming, naughty literature and always a sweet happily-ever-after.

When not escaping to another world via reading or writing a book, she spends her time chasing two young boys around the house, being hunted by wild animals, or sitting on the swing in the backyard where she has to use her arms as shields to deflect projectiles AKA: balls, water balloons, sticks, pinecones, and anything else one of them picks up to hurl at his brother who just happens to be hiding behind her.

Buy Links:

          Silly Angels; Nasty Demons        

Silly Angels and Nasty Demons

Mary started her day by nearly downing a full bowl of Cheerios in near record time, chewing, the art of mastication neglected, until an non-minced Cheerio, a single lifeboat-like assassin, lodged itself in her throat and she choked and choked with no one around to hear the frantic gurgle of liquid and air scuttling and caught between the vacant space and all that redness that made up her desperate face. She backed up, about to pass out, and an amazing force thrust her against the wall so hard that the yauling projectile ring flew across the kitchen counter in frustrated wobbles and smacked so hard against the stainless steel refrigerator as to break it into four small pieces (the cheerio not the fridge), the dog would find later in the afternoon. She regained her modest composure quicker than the red spell of near misfortune faded away from her ridiculous face, finished her jentacular two-percent milk in three uuup-uuup-uuup gulps, and set the empty bowl next to the spoon.

            She walked the two blocks to the bus stop while her usual state of stupor transferred even to her mode of walking: unusual swerves, herky-jerky knee bends and soft then hard slaps of the heel of her shoes against the pavement. The neighbor girls stopped, long ago, walking with her because they found her lack of cadence a nuisance and heaven forbid Mary answer a question put to her, or acknowledge she heard the question, or make them feel as if their voices constituted an authority more persuasive than the passing thrush’s squawk at any moving object.
Besides, at eighteen, why take the bus when you could drive to school, when you didn’t have to sit with sophomores and juniors and maladjusted senior and put up with the gossip from freaks and geeks, freaks and geeks, geeks and freaks, and Mary. She sidestepped the sign reading “Men at Work,” and in her daydreaming failed to notice the 80s connection that the men were coming or at least working from “a land down under.” She would have walked right into the eight foot deep hole but for some miraculous reason her herky-jerky style one upped itself and flung her two feet to the right and onto two more than important planks of two by four pine spanning the gap and constituting the hazardous walkway for the men at work. Heads, prairie dogging it, but still not surface level, watched in hard-hatted amazement as the girl moseyed across the planks as lissom as a tightrope walker with no net to catch her or him, if, perchance, they slipped and fell, something their cocksureness assured them would not happen, could not happen, even if the possibility were real.
            She entered the bus and took her seat two rows back from the pot-smoking driver. Cliché as they come, the driver could have been the character from The Simpsons, but his voice destroyed any further likeness, what with the high pitch and all. She waited for the stop on Elm Street, where she would quickly exit the bus, run across the street and pay with a crumpled dollar bill pulled from her pocket, for a one-dollar taco from the vendor who spoke perfect English but used the Guatemalan variance of Spanish for authentication that the taco had not been Americanized. She descended the steps, refused, or like Mary—failed, to remember years of lectures from schoolteachers down to concerned parents, to look both ways before crossing a street. The minivan packed with children, probably a Mormon family, rolled along at the suggested thirty miles and hour and the mother didn’t see Mary lurch directly into her path until it was too late to hit the brakes. “Damn it,” said the mother, shocking the children who had never heard her use a cuss word. She braced herself for the unmistakable sound of metal colliding with flesh, but at the moment Mary should have been skyrocketed in unrestrained cartwheels over the hood of the van, albeit vans don’t really have hoods like a nice, long hearse or Cadillac, the van veered to the right without the mother’s taking control of the wheel, and in a dash too quick to call natural, what with the acceleration and the screech of the tires occurring simultaneously, and took out the taco stand as the vendor, one Jose Luis Alfaro Diego, Diego the Spanish equivalent of James, as in St. James, put his hands to his head and watched the metal subject of his life’s aspiration, insured, praise the Lord, collapse as the condiments, especially the limes and salsa, went flying through the air and splattered the windshield of the minivan like a modern painting, while he had time to say only, “Ah, Santa Maria,” before the van and his metal cart halted in a crumpled jumble of recyclable litter around a bowed but still rooted oak tree. “Oh my,” the bus driver screamed as he grabbed Mary and escorted her back to her seat. “You are one lucky girl,” he said, leaving the bus and rushing to the scene. “Lucky,” Mary heard others, as the bus congregation started their new gossip.
            An hour later, and hungry, and the focal point of high school hearsay, Mary phoned her dad and asked if he would come pick her up. “Not feeling well?” he asked as custom demanded when Mary had one of her weekly wishes to leave school early. “I’ll tell you about it on the way home,” Mary said, though she never remembered to tell him and he never inquired because after the first five or six times in kindergarten he learned that Mary had a knack for actually having honest but fantastic reasons for leaving early. Still lurking in his memory, the time in second grade when Mary’s classroom had been held hostage and a man with a bomb strapped to his chest, held Mary against his chest and pushed the detonator, blowing the entire classroom, especially him and Mary, to smithereens but for the minor detail that the bomb never went off. The bomb squad examined the bomb, detonator and all other pertinent evidence and concluded that there had been no reason, but for the grace of God, the chief’s exact phrase, that the bomb didn’t go off. Mary phoned her dad that day, and even though she had already fielded questions by media, and the entire scene, footage from a helicopter that couldn’t capture what went on in the classroom but showed the aerial shots of an otherwise peaceful and regular looking school, shots he had seen from the TV his entire office had surrounded and watched with atrocious and anxious bewilderment, she sounded calm, and the same as she always did, using one of the officer’s phones, and with commotion in the background, asking if her dad wouldn’t mind picking her up and letting her leave school early. As if school wouldn’t have been cancelled anyways, and he didn’t know that her life had nearly been snatched from her an hour ago. She sounded just the way Mary sounds, just the way she sounded an hour ago when she had asked to leave early. What happened? Her dad probably didn’t want the details, or if he did, it would only to be out of morbid curiosity as to whether this absence rivaled some of her other absences from the past.
            Mary is dropped off at home, and her dad returns to work. She decided, actually made up her mind on the ride home that she would set off to the theater, purchase the large bucket of buttered popcorn, a small Sprite, Redvines, with which she would bite off the ends of one and use it as a straw, hunker down in a seat near the back, and watch Sean Penn try his best to play the part of an effiminite. The alarm sounded about half way through the flick. Apparently, and this comes as no surprise to Mary, that is just it, when things out of the ordinary happen everyday, Mary does not appear surprised rather perturbed that another disturbance has occurred. Just like that dumb minivan and the mother who nearly, it’s always nearly, hit her this morning. Once in a while she finds herself wishing that the van wouldn’t swerve or that the bomb would go off. So Mary let’s the alarm ring for about five minutes, but when she can’t stand trying to hear the dialogue over the incessant ringing, she leaves her popcorn on the floor, kicks it over so that the cleaning crew will have something to bitch about, puts her Sprite, now bland and blended with the melted ice, in the cup holder, places the five or six Redvines in one of her pockets for later, and walks, herky-jerky, bumping into every other seat, out of the theater and into the lobby. The smoke clings to her lungs in fine and fashionably ghoulish tendrils. The blaze is most dense at the main entrance. Mary could have chosen other exits, like the one in the theater she sat, that would have led out into the sun that is always too blinding after a movie. The green exit sign, from where she had sat, even appeared enticing, and held the common allure that all exits with green lighting hold, as if the word exit and green should not have gone together but to beguile and remind one who egresses that green lights aren’t only applicable to “go” and had red, a more sensible color for the darkness of a theater been applied to exit, the egress might be stalled by an Israelite impulse and a human condition that remembered red means stop.
            Mary moved toward the main blaze and dumbly decided, instead of logically veering into another theater and using a harmless exit, this Shadrach would exercise her right to depart where she had entered, which might make sense had she parked a car out front or had someone she knew been waiting to buy tickets, or so many other randoms that could cause someone to choose a path of danger over streamlined safety, but no, she had zero excuse for her action other than stupidity. The theater had been emptied out, and in the distance a more familiar and gallant ring, one that varied in its quality of sound reached her ears. A large structural piece of the building fell in front of Mary and should have hit her, but split in midair like some invisible but colossal fist punched it at its weakest point so as to land on both sides of her. She reached the flames, covered her face with her shirt, something she had seen in movies, knowing asphyxiation kills more often than actual burns, and gimped through the orange conflagration. She made it outside just as the roof in the main lobby collapsed. “By inches,” yelled a fireman who had almost entered when he saw her coming out. “By feet,” Mary insisted as they took her to an ambulance to check her out. She had come out unscathed and remarkably didn’t even smell of fire, a smell that can cling to clothing forever unless washed. “Well, said Mary, hopping down from the bumper of the ambulance, “I guess I’ll go home now.”
Marcos woke from a nightmare and the stale air in his room reminded him that it takes roughly five minutes for the demons of the night to dissipate. He waited in abject horror for time to pass, slowly, so slowly, tick-tick, one second then two, never intervals of five seconds in the morning. When he made it through the rough patch he went to the bathroom and washed his face. His eyes were too sunken for such a young man and he seemed baffled at how evil sunken eyes could make an otherwise skinny face appear. He looked at the razor on the edge of the porcelain sink then at his arms bearing scars of so many variations they looked like hieroglyphics or some undecipherable code of meaning. He felt the strange impulse to add to the scars. He took the razor in his hand and almost unwillingly pressed it down and across his wrists in a new pattern and just deep enough to draw blood that would run but give him time to make it to the hospital. Marcos felt the thanatonic drive, a force outside of him or in, to cut deeper, but he didn’t want to listen. He wrapped his wrists in a white, shorn towel and drove to the hospital. When he arrived and entered the emergency room, the attendant on call shook her head, as she always did, and pointed him to a seat.
            He left the hospital bandaged up. No room in the psyche ward, besides he had an uncanny way of escaping that ward even though it had its share of cameras, locked doors, and staff. He walked downtown and looked in shop windows, seeing his own reflection in a muddle of black shades, making it hard to tell if he saw himself at all. A broom handle unwound from the bristle, and really a stick, descended from behind as he looked at the spindling chicken in the window. Five dollars for a chicken…Bam, the handle cracked and splintered over his head. A man in an apron, holding the shortened but sharp stick stood over him and yelled, “You ever steal from my store again and I’ll kill you,” as the blood, as head wounds are prone to do, gushed down his face and into his eyes. Marcos shielded his face out of instinct and looked at the man, realizing he had been hit for some misunderstanding, the man had confused him with someone else, but he didn’t say anything as the crowd gathered. He got to his feet and stood eyes to eyes with the man. The man breathed heavily and the veins in his temples protruded while his cheek bones were clinched so tight every muscle seemed outlined for an artist to draw a study on the human face in rage. Marcos grabbed his head where he had been hit, and pulled his hand away red and dripping. “Caught red handed,” an unsympathetic bystander shouted and drew a few laughs. Marcos stepped beyond the man and walked away without saying a word in his defense. What would it help him? he thought. I am always guilty. I haven’t done a thing in my life of my own volition, and yet, I am the guilty one. He walked home and dressed his wound.
            By five Marcos felt restless and even though he appeared as haggard as a civil war soldier laid up in the hospital, he needed fresh air and what did a few more stares matter to him? He had gotten it his whole life: the strange glance from others, as if he were unfit to make up part of their society. He walked to the bridge off of Oak Street. Willows lined the river and the wind blew through the leaves and rippled the water the back against the current. He watched an old man walk his dog along the bank. How prosaic, the dog rustling through the tall grass looking for something to play with and the old man, held up by a stick, ambling on the path of dirt. The two finally made it to concrete and approached Marcos. The dog jumped up on the cement railing of the bridge and barked at the water. The old man tried to say something to Marcos but he had no teeth and all Marcos heard sounded like “grrmmnppiing ggruuumma grppping lllllell.”
“The dog is going to jump,” Marcos replied.
“You can tell by the hind muscles.”
Marcos didn’t need this, but he saw, as he saw lots of things before they happened, what the outcome would be. He took off his long sleeve shirt and revealed a body covered with scars. Scars from knife wounds, bullets, razors, a shovel, an ax, barb wire, burns, and other things, a whole history of distinct scars and each one remembered. He took off his shoes as the old man muttered more gibberish. His socks went next. He was unbuckling his belt when the dog jumped. The two looked over the bridge and watched as the dog tried to paddle but couldn’t do more than splash because of panic. Marcos jumped in and retrieved the retriever, brought it to the bank and lifted it out of the water as he surfaced as well, revealing scratch marks up and down his torso where the dog had continued to try to paddle. The police were stationed at the bridge by the time Marcos made it up the slippery path. The man hugged his dog, and with perfect diction exclaimed that Marcos had thrown the dog into the water. “Why would I throw a dog into the water only to jump in after it?” Marcos stated, but then turned quiet because he knew, he knew. He was surprised when the police, who knew, they knew him by name, address, scars, and so many priors, let him go.

            His wet pants hugged his legs and the water ran into his shoes and sloshed. Halfway home he saw it. In the bushes, glittering like a disco ball, a twelve inch blade with a wooden handle. He picked up the knife, not sure what he would do with it, and walked towards his home.

Mary undressed as if eyes were on her, and not the eyes of angels, which never bothered her, but something sinister. Her underwear seemed plain to her and she wished she has something sexier, more revealing on. She sat at the edge of her bed, about to turn off the light when she smelled something wet. The smell came from her closet. “What do you want?” she said, realizing an intruder stood in the closet. Marcos opened the closet door and with eyes so dark and so full of desperation they would have caused someone other than Mary to shiver, he stared at her and raised the blade. Mary walked toward him and placed the blade between her breasts. “I’ve been waiting for this,” one of them whispered, but so low it would be impossible to tell which.

A young boy held his father’s hand and walked down the street. Dusk had fallen and window lights carried an awe of comfort over humanity where the dusk threatened to swallow everything else. “Dad,” the boy exclaimed. “I just saw six angels fly from that window up there.”
“You ever repeat such nonsense again in your life, and I swear to god, I will kill you, William.” The boy didn’t say a word the rest of the walk home, just felt illuminated by what he had seen. 

          Blog Post: Rebellion Misses The Mark        

Shooting someone in the face with a sniper rifle is nasty business. The Sniper Elite series has made a name for itself by embracing these skull-busting kills in all their gory detail. Developer Rebellion has ratcheted up the brutality of these slow-motion X-ray sequences with detailed musculature on every skeleton. Unfortunately, boring campaign missions and frequent bugs hold back Sniper Elite III from its sharpshooting potential. [Excerpt]

Rebellion swaps out the grim, bombed-out European cities of the previous entry with the bright, rugged terrain of Africa. The arid, sun-bleached environments look beautiful at first, but despite the exotic surroundings, the mountainous terrain and dirt roads all start to feel the same after a while. The illusion dissolves further thanks to the erratic, dim-witted Nazis mucking up the scenery. The German soldiers have stiff, robotic patrol routes and swivel in place unrealistically when they get a bead on you.

Sniper Elite III's linear campaign is all about sneaking through Nazi encampments among the baking sands (but they're never called Nazis and all the swastikas have inexplicably become palm trees on their banners). Sometimes missions call for you to place explosive charges, offer supporting fire, or assassinate top-ranking German officers. It's old hat for the military shooter genre, and I eventually began mindlessly chasing down objective markers without thinking much about it.

The campaign objectives all serve as a framework for the solid long-range gunplay and mediocre stealth elements. Lining up shots with your rifle adheres to the familiar routine of pressing a button to hold your breath and dial in a shot. As in Sniper Elite V2, lining up a good shot and pressing the trigger initiates a satisfying slow-motion kill sequence. The camera follows your bullet's dramatic path from the rifle barrel all the way to the doomed soldier. For headshots, the X-ray vision shows the projectile's grisly path through the skull, complete with bone-splintering entrance and exit wounds. Femurs split, eyeballs pop, and testicles explode in these gruesome finishers. These macabre, unflinching executions are satisfying at first, but the thrill wears off after seeing someone's teeth erupt from their mouths for the umpteenth time.


For a game with the word "sniper" in the title, I used my silenced pistol an awful lot. You crumple quickly when facing off with too many enemies, so avoiding attention is important. This strategy is at odds with using a loud sniper rifle, however, so you mask your noise using thunder or backfiring generators. This mechanic is fun and novel, but I routinely avoided sniping when these obscuring noises weren't available. You can't fire off more than a couple shots without having to relocate so enemies don't find you. I understand the logic, but you can still run away from your sniping perch and then just head back when the enemies lose your trail. It comes off as an annoying, half-baked attempt to keep players circulating around the map.

Speaking of annoyances, Sniper Elite III is filled with considerably more bugs than its predecessor. The game has a weird habit of resetting objects in the world when loading a save. Sometimes vehicles that blew up 20 minutes ago explode again or corpses wiggle around sporadically. Other times the effects are more troublesome, like one instance when an enemy vehicle suddenly appeared near my location and gunned me down instantly with each load. While most of the hiccups are aesthetic, they disrupt the mood of the high stakes trek behind enemy lines.

Whether you beat or abandon single-player, competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes are available. I enjoyed the tense, long-distance free-for-all sniper battles that tested my patience and perception. Laying down traps and relocating after taking a shot is more gratifying when facing off against human players rather than the idiotic A.I. foes. The entire campaign is also playable cooperatively, which helps spice up the mundane missions. Synchronizing your shots and covering one another's back injects excitement into the ho-hum mission structure. However, Rebellion has ditched split-screen co-op and doesn't support matchmaking, so hopefully you know someone with a copy of the game if you want to try it out.

I openly admit that I love gory kills and living the hero sniper fantasy, but Sniper Elite III only partially delivers on the latter. If you can't get enough of dramatic, transparent shots of enemies getting shredded by sniper fire, Sniper Elite III has you covered in spades. If you're interested in more motivation beyond the glory of the kill, look elsewhere.

This review only pertains to the PlayStation 4 and PC versions of the game. Sniper Elite 3 is also available on Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.

          Blog Post: Rebellion Misses The Mark        

Shooting someone in the face with a sniper rifle is nasty business. The Sniper Elite series has made a name for itself by embracing these skull-busting kills in all their gory detail. Developer Rebellion has ratcheted up the brutality of these slow-motion X-ray sequences with detailed musculature on every skeleton. Unfortunately, boring campaign missions and frequent bugs hold back Sniper Elite III from its sharpshooting potential. [Excerpt]

Rebellion swaps out the grim, bombed-out European cities of the previous entry with the bright, rugged terrain of Africa. The arid, sun-bleached environments look beautiful at first, but despite the exotic surroundings, the mountainous terrain and dirt roads all start to feel the same after a while. The illusion dissolves further thanks to the erratic, dim-witted Nazis mucking up the scenery. The German soldiers have stiff, robotic patrol routes and swivel in place unrealistically when they get a bead on you.

Sniper Elite III's linear campaign is all about sneaking through Nazi encampments among the baking sands (but they're never called Nazis and all the swastikas have inexplicably become palm trees on their banners). Sometimes missions call for you to place explosive charges, offer supporting fire, or assassinate top-ranking German officers. It's old hat for the military shooter genre, and I eventually began mindlessly chasing down objective markers without thinking much about it.

The campaign objectives all serve as a framework for the solid long-range gunplay and mediocre stealth elements. Lining up shots with your rifle adheres to the familiar routine of pressing a button to hold your breath and dial in a shot. As in Sniper Elite V2, lining up a good shot and pressing the trigger initiates a satisfying slow-motion kill sequence. The camera follows your bullet's dramatic path from the rifle barrel all the way to the doomed soldier. For headshots, the X-ray vision shows the projectile's grisly path through the skull, complete with bone-splintering entrance and exit wounds. Femurs split, eyeballs pop, and testicles explode in these gruesome finishers. These macabre, unflinching executions are satisfying at first, but the thrill wears off after seeing someone's teeth erupt from their mouths for the umpteenth time.


For a game with the word "sniper" in the title, I used my silenced pistol an awful lot. You crumple quickly when facing off with too many enemies, so avoiding attention is important. This strategy is at odds with using a loud sniper rifle, however, so you mask your noise using thunder or backfiring generators. This mechanic is fun and novel, but I routinely avoided sniping when these obscuring noises weren't available. You can't fire off more than a couple shots without having to relocate so enemies don't find you. I understand the logic, but you can still run away from your sniping perch and then just head back when the enemies lose your trail. It comes off as an annoying, half-baked attempt to keep players circulating around the map.

Speaking of annoyances, Sniper Elite III is filled with considerably more bugs than its predecessor. The game has a weird habit of resetting objects in the world when loading a save. Sometimes vehicles that blew up 20 minutes ago explode again or corpses wiggle around sporadically. Other times the effects are more troublesome, like one instance when an enemy vehicle suddenly appeared near my location and gunned me down instantly with each load. While most of the hiccups are aesthetic, they disrupt the mood of the high stakes trek behind enemy lines.

Whether you beat or abandon single-player, competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes are available. I enjoyed the tense, long-distance free-for-all sniper battles that tested my patience and perception. Laying down traps and relocating after taking a shot is more gratifying when facing off against human players rather than the idiotic A.I. foes. The entire campaign is also playable cooperatively, which helps spice up the mundane missions. Synchronizing your shots and covering one another's back injects excitement into the ho-hum mission structure. However, Rebellion has ditched split-screen co-op and doesn't support matchmaking, so hopefully you know someone with a copy of the game if you want to try it out.

I openly admit that I love gory kills and living the hero sniper fantasy, but Sniper Elite III only partially delivers on the latter. If you can't get enough of dramatic, transparent shots of enemies getting shredded by sniper fire, Sniper Elite III has you covered in spades. If you're interested in more motivation beyond the glory of the kill, look elsewhere.

This review only pertains to the PlayStation 4 and PC versions of the game. Sniper Elite 3 is also available on Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.

          #658: Strike One        
On today's show: The birth of unions as we know them. It's a story that includes, among other things, bravery, cunning, and auto-part projectiles flung out of giant sling shots.
          Now, Bird Flu        
Got an advisory on 'Avian Flu' just today.

[Wonder why 'Avian' is being substituted for 'Bird', considering that 'Influenza' is still referred to as 'Flu'!]

In brief:
  • Stay away from live animal markets, poultry farms and "any surfaces that appear to be contaminated by faeces from poultry or other animals". I'd love to be pigeon now - earlier I was merely irritating car owners by crapping all over their Maseratis. Now a single anal projectile can render the car useless!
  • Wash your food thoroughly, especially eggs. Cook it really well

This place is beginning to really frighten me, not least because my lunch spread now reads 'Mad Cow Disease, Avian Flu, Foot-and-Mouth Disease / Tapeworm and icky undersea fauna with a side of rice'.

          Comment on Randomness vs Canniness, or Programmers vs Savescummers by drunetovich        
Save scumming must be made unnecessary, root of the evil here is a binary system that gives you all or nothing on attack. Seeing as we use shotguns and burst fire almost every time, this would be solved by calculating a hit chance for each projectile individually, instead of for whole burst at once. So firing a shotgun at 95% chance would always give you a solid impact even if one or two pellets do miss, same with the burst fire.
          Happy yellow diaper        
This is my younger daughter, Judith.  She is now 2 months old.  Isn't she gorgeous?

I haven't pushed aside the crumbs and the bristle blocks to introduce her to you because, well, two kids is not just one plus one, even when the older one is the awesomest creature on the planet.  Plus, Judith is a little extra work in that she is a projectile vomiter, doesn't like to be set down ever and is just overall pretty cranky.  Extra work but not at all less loved.

Also, I have a smidge of the post-partum depression.  It comes and goes but when it comes and I have to go a couple of rounds with it, that boxing takes any extra energy I have left.  Have you read Hyperbole and a Half's column on depression?  You should. Go now; I'll wait.

Mine is not anywhere near that in intensity or pervasiveness.  Mine shows up as emotional detachment in the face of being overwhelmed.  I just sit there staring sometimes, knowing that this is normal and not my fault and being disappointed in myself anyway because there is so much that I WANT to be doing, not to mention the things that need to be done.  Also, I get extremely irritable.    And sometimes I get very panicked and my adrenaline spikes and my body feels very scared that this is never going to be any better, even though there is a part of me somewhere that knows that I should take steps to ride out this particular endocrinological storm. usually there are tears.

I had one of the worst of those last kind of last bout on Friday.  They are particularly hard, because I know that I should call someone to come help me, but in that state, I feel like everyone I could call would just feel bad that I feel bad and I don't want to add to their burdens.  (I know this is ridiculous . . . and yet. . . )

Eventually, I called Jacob and he told me to go for a walk.  I decided that meant I should go for a walk to the Korean bakery, even though I know that my depression will only be solved in the short-term by food.  On our way into the bakery, a homeless man held the door for the stroller and I thanked him politely but breezed past him, which is my normal policy.  He then WALKED INTO THE STORE, which totally breaks my sense of propriety for panhandling. I shook my head, smiled, and said, "Not today," which is also procedure for me because it linguistically leaves the door open for God's nudge every once in awhile.

OF COURSE, in the moments after the guy left, God nudged.  I remembered that Anne Lamott and Glennon both counsel getting outside of yourself when depression hits.  So, I bought the raisin bread to serve in place of the challah that I was not going to get baked (not beating myself up, not beating myself up), bought a cookie for Esther and a ham and egg bun for the homeless guy.  I chose ham and egg since I can't bring it into my kosher home, which would force me not to bail on my intent to be kind to someone else.  I did NOT buy a sesame ball for myself.  (I just ate bits of Esther's cookie.)  Of course, original homeless dude was unavailable when I wrestled ourselves out the door but I trusted that in my neighborhood, God would send me someone else to serve and she did.

This is not a miracle story.  My sense of panic did not lift as soon as I handed the bag to the guy holding out the styrofoam cup from his wheelchair.  No, we went home, turned the TV back on and snuggled on the couch some more.  But it did dissipate eventually, as I knew it would, even if I didn't trust that confidence.

And a day later?  Apropos of nothing?  Esther turned to me (again on the couch while watching TV) and said declaratively, "Mama happy." What could I do but agree?  What grace God gave me that my daughter doesn't see my depression, just my happiness.  She quickly followed her statement by cheering, "Happy yellow diaper!"

I'm not sure how her favorite cloth diaper and my happiness are combined in that little pea brain of hers but it made me laugh and that's something.

          Methods of power adjustment — pneumatics: Part 2        
by Tom Gaylord Writing as B.B. Pelletier Part 1 This report covers: Pneumatics Single stroke pneumatics Multi-pump pneumatics Precharged pneumatics Short history of PCPs Barrel length Projectile weight Barrel length and projectile weight together Airflow Springs Valve stem travel Valve angle and contact area What’s the ideal? This is the second part of a report […]
          Some thoughts on airgun projectile stability        
by Tom Gaylord Writing as B.B. Pelletier A history of airguns This report covers: Pioneer airbow Rifling Hop-Up Projectile finish Summary I’m writing this from my hospital bed on Saturday, though I hope to be discharged later today. I would like to thank Val Gamerman for covering the blog for me last week. I was […]
          Malabar Battery        

Malabar Battery was a coastal defence battery built in 1943 during World War II at Malabar Headland, Malabar, New South Wales, Australia. The battery is also known as Boora Point Battery.

Four story observation post forming part of the Malabar Battery (below)

malabar battery watchtower

The battery was constructed to complement the existing coastal defence batteries at nearby Henry Battery, Banks Battery and Bare Island Fort.

tram line malabar battery

Two 6 inch Mark XII guns in gun emplacements on mountings were constructed at the battery. An underground counter bombardment facility, with gun crew ready rooms, ammunition supply and engine room together with a narrow-gauge tramway which was cut into the sandstone and lined with sandstone and a large battery observation post were also constructed at the battery.

tram line malabar battery1

The tramway was a single track of 560mm (22in) and was to transport the 6" projectile munitions to the shell expense stores/magazines in the base of each gun emplacement. The tramway traverses through a deep continuous cutting lined with sandstone leads from the ammunition drop off point to the basement of the ammunition supply room and up to the two gun emplacements. Before reaching the gun emplacments the line enters a rectangular section concrete tunnel which is 94m (310ft) long.

malbar battery tunnels

Also constructed as part of the battery were northern and southern searchlight blockhouses with associated engine rooms and the battery barracks and toilet blocks.


Following decommissioning of the gun emplacements after the war, the site fell into disrepair.


          ESA's Vega rocket takes flight, delivers low-tonnage objects to high places        
ESA's Vega rocket takes flight, delivers low-tonnage objects to high places
On Monday, the European Space Agency (ESA) conducted a successful test of its newest projectile, the Vega rocket. Designed to carry up to nine objects totaling less than 2.5 metric tons ("tonnes," for those in the know) into orbit, the four-stage vehicle stands 30 meters tall and weighs in at just under 140 metric tons when fully loaded. The rocket aims to solve a key -- if slightly humdrum -- problem: at present, European researchers send their instrumentation into space on retrofitted Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM). The Vega platform should provide greater launch flexibility and reduce the delay (which can be months) scientists experience while waiting to hitch a ride on an ICBM. Although still in the testing stage, Monday's maiden voyage was a promising first step for the new spacecraft. Hit the source for more rocket-related excitement.
          Yenka Science        
We have several Yenka products which cover science. If youre using more than one of them, they work seamlessly together - sharing one user interface; if you use all of them, they will cover the same areas as found in our earlier simulators Crocodile Physics and Crocodile Chemistry. * Yenka Electrochemistry - Experiment with electrolysis, using a range of electrodes and solutions. * Yenka Inorganic Chemistry - Simulate reactions safely and easily with over 100 chemicals. * Yenka Light and Sound - Experiment with sound, water and light waves, and ray diagrams. * Yenka Motion - Investigate projectiles, oscillations, gravity and motion. * Yenka Electricity and Magnetism - Simulate power generation and transmission, and analogue electrical circuits.
          Squirting Files        
Squirting Files is, as you may have already surmised, a site that dedicates itself to fucking, fingering and toying with sexy gals until they cum in a projectile flow of juices. It’s called squirting and certain babes do it when they reach a sexual climax well beyond the typical in-and-out quickie. At Squirting Files you’ll be treated to lots of exclusive squirting action and the hardcore fingering and fucking that precedes it.
          Projectile Weapon – Multi Barrel        
A brand new AS3 multiple barrel weapon system written using OOP. Available Settings Number of Weapons – create multiple weapon platforms Number of Barrels – each weapon platform can have multiple barrels Weapon Rotation Speed – how fast the weapon rotates Bullet Speed – how fast the bullet travels Max Distance – how far the [...]
          PocketLab: a $100 scientific "Swiss Army knife"        

The PocketLab is billed as a "Swiss Army Knife of science." Launched via Kickstarter, the small device contains numerous sensors to measure acceleration, force, angular velocity, magnetic field, pressure, altitude, and temperature and send that data to smartphones or laptops. According to inventor Clifton Roozeboom, it's a tool for students and citizen scientists who can't afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars on lab equipment and will get the data they need from this $100 gadget. From IEEE Spectrum:

“If you are doing a classic experiment in AP physics, you might have, say, a track and a pulley and you want to attach a sensor to a cart to measure acceleration, force, and momentum transfer,” says Roozeboom. “The typical gear available is wired, plugs into a specialized handheld gadget with a host of menus to navigate. The students spend a lot of time understanding how to use the gear instead of learning concepts.” In other traditional physics experiments, Roozeboom says, the device can be attached to a rocket to study projectile motion, stuck to a pendulum to look at harmonic motion, or placed inside a tube to measure changes in pressure with volume.

Video demo:

          BALLEUROPE SARL        

ZA « des 2 vallées » 2 impasse des 2 vallées – 69670 VAUGNERAY T/ 04 78 45 77 73 lui ecrire Fabricant d’ogives marque BALLEUROPE Distributeur de projectiles marque CAM PRO Distributeur des nettoyants d’armes marque SHOOTER’S CHOICE

Cet article BALLEUROPE SARL est apparu en premier sur Chasse -

          Un champ de tulipes [Privé]        
« - William, bon sang, a couvert ! » Criais le sergent en attrapant son homme par la ceinture, le plaquant au sol avec la force du désespoir, levant sa paume avant de venir l'écraser sur la visière de la jeune recrue de l'équipe. Frappant si fort que le jeune rouquin se brisa presque le nez contre la visière de son casque, mais qu'est-ce qu'il lui avais pris a ce rouquin a sortir comme ça du couvert en pleine opération ? Alors que d'immenses projectiles bleutés les survolaient avant de ...
          Blog Post: A post apocalyptic world filled with beautiful natural surroundings,great action gameplay and has a philosophical/spiritual story.         

Enslaved Odyssey to the West(which I'll refer to as Enslaved)is an awesome action/adventure game,because it has a great mix of beat em up and 3rd/person shooter cover mechanics and has very philosophical/spiritual  story elements.


The game is set hundreds of years in the future,in a post apocalyptic world after global warming has decimated much of the world's population.Robots (mechs)plague the world and will try to kill any human on sight because they were programmed to do so during some past war.Also,people who wear black clothing and masks go around on airships and capture people and make them into slaves.Little is known about the slavers,but it's believed they serve those inside a big,mysterious pyramid.The story has some big and very surprising plot twists and trust me when I say they're very surprising and philosophical.One example of this is how the story made me think ''would it be better to live in a false existence where you're happy and everything looks beautiful,or in a true reality that's horrible and like hell? The story also has other philosophical questions and isn't purely black and white.

The main characters in the game are Monkey,Trip and later Pigsy joins them too.

Monkey survived in the wildness alone and has great martial arts and climbing skills.

Trip is from a village but she was captured by slavers.Trip is a bit of a tech wizard and knows how to hack computers or use high tech stuff to aid her and Monkey in battle.

Pigsy is a fat,oafish guy who's a bit of a tech wiz and uses high tech weapons/gadgets.

Other examples of how the story isn't black and white is how Trip makes Monkey her own slave by putting a headband on Monkey that will kill Monkey if Trip dies,and it's a way that Trip can force Monkey to help her cross the dangerous world(filled with mechs)because Trip knows she cannot survive the journey on her own.

Other ways the story drew me into the game was when Trip mentioned the tall trees that had grown in the city looked hundreds of years old(suggesting that nobody has been able to maintain the city for hundreds of years)and when Trip suggested that the city looks like it could have had thousands of people living in it,and Monkey said probably tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands,showing how the human population in this future earth isn't very much.

I guess you could say the combat has a God of War/Heavenly Sword hack n slash/beat em up style,with elements of 3rd person shooter and cover mechanics.The gameplay also forces you to do a lot of climbing,some platforming and puzzle solving and thinking of ways you can help Trip move through the environments(because Monkey can throw her onto certain platforms,but she cannot climb) and Monkey can carry her when he's walking/running but not when he's climbing.

Monkey carries a staff which can shoot energy projectiles,but he will need to collect plasma to do this(plasma can be found in certain places).You can defeat most enemies with basic combos/button mashing,but some enemies have energy shields which you'll need to bring down first before you can damage them(you'll need to do a special attack by holding the square button for a second or two,which will allow Monkey to do a special attack that will bring down enemy shields).

The platforming is very basic and it's nearly impossible for Monkey to fall off a platform because the platforms only allow you to jump from them in certain places that will lead you to where you need to go next,or so you can backtrack.You cannot miss a platform jump from poor distance judgement.Sometimes you'll need to swing from/to bars or climb by grabbing onto mini ledges and some of them are guarded by bursts of flames and you'll need to time it so you swing to the different bars/climb onto the mini ledges when the flames and not blowing out,or you will lose health,and sometimes it can lead to instant death if your caught by multiple bursts of flames quickly.

For the most part,the combat gameplay is mindless fun.

However,the gameplay is not without some very annoying flaws.

There is some segments where you'll need to shoot your staff at shielded enemies who are up high(out of the range of physical attacks)and you'll need to wait for those enemies to turn around so you can shoot their unshielded parts to destroy them,but it's rare/random for those enemies to turn around and expose an unshield part of them to you.You can hide from those enemies so they walk around and might expose an unshielded part of their body to you,but when I say 'hide' from them,I mean you'll have to be completely behind an object and not behind cover and sometimes the robots will prevent you from doing this by catching you in crossfire.This element of the gameplay slows down the game too much and is frustrating trying to wait for the robots to turn around and expose an unshield part of their body.

The game is also a bit glitchy,I has to reload my game 3 times on my first playthrough,because on two occasions,Monkey was stuck against a wall,and on another occasion,I was trapped behind giant gears which I needed to get past but I was unable to do so,because I did a puzzle in the wrong order.

Also,there is some annoying controls,such as the way you lower the sails on the fan blades,and it's done in a way that's a lot harder than it needs to be.

But for the most part,the gameplay is fun.

For variety,there's segments where you can surf around on a energy cloud at fast speed(I heard somebody mention a co-incidence about how Monkey has a tail,he can ride clouds and use a staff like Goku on Dragon Ball).

You can also ask trip to use holograms to distract enemies so she'll draw their gunfire towards her so you can move past some sections that are guarded by robots and you can also draw the attention of enemies so Trip can move past areas that are guarded by enemies.You'll need to use the 'draw attention' feature during some boss battles too,so they will run at you and run into an object and will leave themselves vulnerable.

Even though the platforming is simplistic,it still felt very satisfying to climb up high and through areas because you'll get climb through sections of buildings that are inaccesible by stairs and Monkey can climb very fast and he'll need to climb fast during certain boss fights and you'll climb across aircraft that are flying and when you're high in the air on a moving aircraft it's quite a thrill.


I knew the unreal engine was capable of beautiful graphics,but wow,I had no idea Enslaved's graphics were going to look so beautiful and detailed.

The developers of this game said they wanted to create a post apocalyptic/futuristic world,that has a lot of colorful and natural surroundings,and they did a good job with this.

I love how city ruins with tall trees and tall grassy areas combine.There's beautiful waterfalls and beautiful blue water.The graphics have realistic looking textures and detail and can be lifelike at times.I like how when you're moving across the aircraft when it's flying high in the air and you'll see beautiful scenery of the city/landscape below and how it looks like Monkey is struggling to stand up on the moving plane because of the powerful gusts of air.

The graphics can have an artistic feeling to them,such as how in the city surrounded by forest,you'll see beautiful red flower petals being blown by gusts of wind in a delicate way.

The game also has the dirty/metal sci fi environments too as well as some very futuristic environments with white walls and mysterious people who behave like drones and they're all linked to some sort of computer program.

The pyramid itself looks very mysterious from the outside,because it's a bright white color and stands out amongst a wasteland environment and it made me wonder what is actually inside pyramid,because it has a fascinating/futuristic look and is in a world that has mostly natural surroundings or ruins.

The game shows some real world footage of how the world looked like in the past when it was full of people and Monkey can find some of these footages and the game does a good job of making you wonder if they are somebody else's memories or making you wonder what they actually are.

Monkey himself looks like an interesting character because he has a tail,carries a staff(that glows when it generates/shoots energy)and he has a big tattoo on his back that looks like it's asian style.When Monkey uses his staff during combat,it gives his combat style a nice martial arts look.

Trip is a beautiful,busty red haired woman who wears/carries high tech gadgets.

Pigsy is very overweight and short but wears/carries high tech gadgets and weapons.

Sometimes when Monkey destroys robots,you'll see a close-up scene and their parts flying everywhere and it looks cool.


The music can be beautiful at times.The dialogue is well thought out because it makes you think about the story/world.The VA's match the personalities of the characters well enough.The philosophical dialogue and VA's of pyramid himself sound very intriguing,spiritual,philosophical while his voice makes him sound like he's somebody who's heavily influenced by machines/computers.


This game was an exceptional experience with a surprisingly philosophical/spiritual feel to it's story and is a visual treat and gameplay that's awesome at times but it's gameplay has some annoying problems which takes away some of the fun.

          Israeli Major General: "We Don't Do Gandhi Very Well"        
Dear Friend,
We're between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. I've been waiting for a full year to send you this powerful reminder of what our friends in Israel/Palestine are facing. Oppression is a harsh term. Occupation is a word that Israelis refuse to utter. For all his bluster about Iran, PM Netanyahu never mentions the Palestinians. Israel is a fear-based society, seeing threats to its survival at every turn.

Please read this article carefully. It's from Prism, put out by Eastern University (Tony Campolo, emeritus). Ron Sider from Evangelicals for Social Action knows the author of this piece, Ryan Beiler.

The "weakness" of Jesus' Way led to his persecution and execution. His resurrection is God's validation of his Way of forgiveness and persistence in nonviolent action to confront the excesses, the hypocrisy, the mendacity and cruelty of Empire.

Our friends, the Israelis and the Palestinians, need our support in bringing about justice, redress of grievances, equality of treatment and liberty with civil rights and the same law for all citizens of the land. JRK


Posted by Prism on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 ·


Story and photography by Ryan Rodrick Beiler

Mahmoud Al’aa Elddin spends most Friday afternoons in “dialogue” with the Israeli soldiers who invade his West Bank village of Al-Masara. Each week since 2006, Palestinian, international, and Israeli activists have attempted to march from Al-Masara to agricultural lands that will be cut off by the Israeli separation barrier if extended as planned. Armed only with a Palestinian flag, Al’aa Elddin faces a row of gun-toting, riot-shielded conscripts blocking the road.

Here, as with 85 percent of its route, the barrier would take more Palestinian land for Israeli settlements instead of separating the West Bank from Israel on the internationally recognized border, or Green Line. Both the barrier and the settlements are illegal under international law because Israel is building them on occupied Palestinian territory.

Many believe the barrier that is in place has stopped Palestinian suicide bombings, which ended in 2008. Between October 2000 and February 2008, these and other acts of violence killed 1,012 Israelis. During the same period Israelis killed 4,536 Palestinians. Most victims on both sides were noncombatant civilians. But even now, only two-thirds of the barrier’s planned route is complete. Large gaps, which could easily be infiltrated by would-be attackers, allow tens of thousands of unauthorized Palestinians to enter Jerusalem or Israel on a daily basis to find work. Even former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens told an Israeli newspaper, “It’s clear there is no connection between the wall and the cessation of attacks.”

“Some people think that this wall is just to protect the Israeli people for security,” says Al’aa Elddin. “But they don’t know at the same time this wall is dividing the land and separating families.”

To protest the barrier, several Palestinian villages started weekly demonstrations, including those documented in the films Budrus and the Oscar-nominated Five Broken Cameras. In these two cases, activism succeeded in moving the barrier closer to the Green Line, leaving more village land accessible for cultivation.

WEstbankMost of the organized protests are peaceful. But unaffiliated youth sometimes throw stones at the wall, jeeps, or soldiers. At the Al-Masara demonstration, there is almost never stone-throwing. “Peaceful resistance is important because there is no reason for the Israeli army to shoot,” says Al’aa Elddin. “And this will show who uses violence.”

The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem has reported on the army’s systematic “dispersal of demonstrations using force, even when demonstrators were not violent in any way.” In the last decade, the military has killed 15 protesters and injured scores more through unlawful use of tear gas projectiles, rubber-coated steel bullets, and live ammunition.

“We don’t do Gandhi very well,” admits Israeli Major-General Amos Gilad, according to a leaked US State Department cable. The same document describes how the military will “be more assertive in how it deals with these demonstrations, even demonstrations that appear peaceful.”

While the army has used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the Al-Masara demonstration, most weeks the marchers get very up-close and personal with the soldiers blocking the road. The ensuing “dialogue” embodies the problem often ignored by would-be peacemakers who recommend reconciliation without acknowledging the power disparity between Palestinians and their military occupiers. Those with greater power have little motivation to risk genuine conversation, or to change anything as a result.

“Just put your guns on the ground and come to our side if you want peace,” Al’aa Elddin tells one soldier. “We will welcome you, and we will drink coffee. We will discuss it, and we will find a solution.”

“We just want to put some keys in their mind just to open it and to think more as a person,” says activist Moath Al Lahham of Bethlehem. “Sometimes they don’t want to speak, they just want to stand and block the road. Some of them said, ’I don’t like it, but this is an order. I want to leave, but I don’t have the chance.’ And some of them said these words like a machine: ’It’s our land. God promised. You as a Palestinian, you shouldn’t be here. It’s just for Jews.”

20120914-palestine-0282Though none of these activists are Christians, their actions often embody the kind of radical reign-of-God subversion that Jesus preached in the Sermon on the Mount. What some dismiss as passivism in Christ’s commands to turn the other cheek, offer the cloak as well as the coat, and go the second mile (Matthew 5:29-31), others interpret as confronting the oppressor with one’s humanity. Activists have even offered the soldiers cups of tea, bites of birthday cake, and plates of pasta. Each gesture asserts the dignity of the host, while heaping hot coals (Romans 12) on the heads of uninvited guests.

“Just put your guns on the ground and come to our side if you want peace,” Al’aa Elddin tells one soldier. “We will welcome you, and we will drink coffee. We will discuss it, and we will find a solution.”

When asked about his response to this invitation, the soldier says in unaccented English, “I didn’t understand him.” When reminded that Al’aa Elddin was speaking English, the soldier says, “I didn’t listen.”

But these activists know their main audience lies beyond the row of riot shields. Even if a few soldiers’ hearts and minds are opened, a just peace will only come through pressure on an Israeli society content with the status quo. “I think in this peaceful demonstration, the important and the first thing is to make a change in the thinking of many people around the world,” says Al’aa Elddin. “I have the hope and I have the power inside me to continue. But in the same time I don’t have power like the Israeli occupation. They have the power; they have all the guns. But for me, my weapons and my power are more and more the international people and the Israeli people who come and stand by my side.”

“Our problem is not with the Israeli people,” says Al’aa Elddin. “Israeli people come, and they participate with us in our demonstration. The problem is with the Israeli army and the settlers who occupy the land, build the settlements, and use violence against Palestinians.”

According to Israeli activist Sahar Vardi, her main role is “simply to show solidarity, to convey the message that Palestinians are not alone in resisting the occupation.”

Other Jewish activists express a religious motivation. “The most important teaching in the Torah is that God stands with the oppressed and that God demands that we stand with the oppressed,” said Rabbi Brant Rosen, an activist with the US group Jewish Voice for Peace, at one week’s protest. “For Jews, it is a profound challenge for us because we need to look inside ourselves and understand the ways that we have become oppressors ourselves.”

Solidarity activists also leverage their presence and privilege against unjust structures. “The cost of getting arrested for an Israeli activist is much smaller than for a Palestinian activist for the same action,” says Vardi, who once physically blocked soldiers attempting to arrest a Palestinian boy.

20120518-palestine-0424While Israelis live under civil law, Palestinians like Al’aa Elddin live under the military rule of occupation. “Palestinian residents have no vested freedom of protest,” reports B’Tselem. “Even nonviolent resistance and civil protest involving peaceful assembly are forbidden.”

Many Palestinian activists have been imprisoned under false accusations of violence or charges of organizing “illegal demonstrations.” Al’aa Elddin once spent a week in Israeli prison, charged with assaulting an Israeli officer. Despite video evidence proving his innocence, the military court ordered him to pay 3,000 shekels for his release—more than five months’ wages for the average Palestinian.

Yet despite such risks, Mahmoud Al’aa Elddin remains committed to nonviolent activism: “I think that peace will not come by using violence. Peace will come by the nonviolent way, because violence never brings peace or freedom to any people.”
Ryan Rodrick Beiler is a service worker with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Palestine and Israel.
There is no PEACE without JUSTICE; there is no justice without LOVE.
          Blog Post: Breaking Down And Customizing Remember Me’s Combat        

Nilin may not remember much at the beginning of Remember Me, but it only takes a brief overview from her partner Edge to remember how to fight. In our last preview, we took a look at the first two chapters of the game, learned the basics of combat, met Headache Tom, and remixed one would-be assassin’s memory. This time around we made it all the way through chapter four.[Excerpt]

In these additional chapters we explored more of Neo-Paris, both above and below ground, and broke into a prison to retrieve Nilin’s memories and restore the inmates’ minds. In this prison, referred to as The Bastille, prisoners’ memories are confiscated until their sentences have been served. It’s a hopeless place with prisoners locked behind bars not knowing why they’re there. Nilin starts the game in The Bastille, and she’s not happy about her return trip. In the interest of avoiding large spoilers for the first half of Remember Me, this preview focuses on Nilin’s innovative combat.

Remember Me’s combat looks – and to a certain degree plays – like most action games. One button corresponds to attacks with your hands, while another connects Nilin’s feet to enemy faces. Different applications of these two buttons lead to different combinations, but the secondary effect of these attacks, and your control over them, is what sets Remember Me apart.


Throughout the campaign you unlock pre-determined combos with your Procedural Master Points. You can’t change the patterns of the combo, but you can define what these combos do. What Remember Me calls “Pressens,” can be assigned to each part of a combo. You might have a Pressen that does extra damage, one that restores your health, or one that speeds up the cooldown timer on your special attacks. These can be assigned to each part of your combo.

The first combo you get is a simple punch, punch, punch combo. It’s short and sweet, so I decide to assign it with all health-restoring Pressens. That way when I am running low on health I can just tap away at punch to quickly pull off the combo and regain some health. I fill another combo with all the cooldown expediters I could. This is the combo I resort to if I need access to a special move as soon as possible. On yet another combo, I throw in mostly attack power-ups with one special Pressen that multiplies the effect of the Pressens before it. This iss my general beat-enemies-up combo, so I use the simple kick, punch, kick, punch volley combo.

This is how I chose to build my combos, but you can put them together any way you’d like. They can be reassigned at any time. The combo lab can be accessed from the pause menu, meaning you can tailor your combos to specific enemies and encounters.

Pulling off combos feels close to the Batman: Arkham series. Like Batman, Nilin’s combos aren’t executed with high-speed button inputs. Punches and kicks are deliberate and precise, emphasizing rhythm rather than frenzied action. A Dynamic Combo Display shows up at the bottom of the screen, giving you real-time input feedback, much like what you would see in the training arena of a fighting game. It makes it simple to understand and define what combos you are pulling off.

Outside of punching and kicking, you also have a long-range Spammer that shoots projectiles. You can charge up the Spammer and fire a Junk Bolt, which unleashes a powerful long-range attack that also destroys elements of the environment. You also gain access to S. Pressens, special moves that are attached to cooldown timers. The Sensen Fury allows you to ignore your combos and wail away on enemies with powered-up attacks. The Sensen D.O.S. freezes all the enemies around you (and lets you see invisible ones) so you can take full advantage of your combos while the enemies just stand there and take it. The Smart Logic Bomb allows you to plant a bomb on an enemy that will explode and damage everyone around them, but it’s crucial that you move outside of the blast radius before it goes off. Finally, I got a chance to use the Sense R.I.P., which convinces enemy robots to join your cause, until they blow up and damage the enemies around them.

Customizing Nilin’s combat abilities gives you a sense of ownership over the attacks you are throwing at enemies. All players will ultimately be performing the same arsenal of combo strings to beat up enemies, but customizing the effects of the combo and its animations gives players a better understanding of what they’re doing, and a sense of pride over their skills. It makes the combat more than just combo string memorization and is an interesting highlight to a game that seems to be full of new ideas.

          Blog Post: Breaking Down And Customizing Remember Me’s Combat        

Nilin may not remember much at the beginning of Remember Me, but it only takes a brief overview from her partner Edge to remember how to fight. In our last preview, we took a look at the first two chapters of the game, learned the basics of combat, met Headache Tom, and remixed one would-be assassin’s memory. This time around we made it all the way through chapter four.[Excerpt]

In these additional chapters we explored more of Neo-Paris, both above and below ground, and broke into a prison to retrieve Nilin’s memories and restore the inmates’ minds. In this prison, referred to as The Bastille, prisoners’ memories are confiscated until their sentences have been served. It’s a hopeless place with prisoners locked behind bars not knowing why they’re there. Nilin starts the game in The Bastille, and she’s not happy about her return trip. In the interest of avoiding large spoilers for the first half of Remember Me, this preview focuses on Nilin’s innovative combat.

Remember Me’s combat looks – and to a certain degree plays – like most action games. One button corresponds to attacks with your hands, while another connects Nilin’s feet to enemy faces. Different applications of these two buttons lead to different combinations, but the secondary effect of these attacks, and your control over them, is what sets Remember Me apart.


Throughout the campaign you unlock pre-determined combos with your Procedural Master Points. You can’t change the patterns of the combo, but you can define what these combos do. What Remember Me calls “Pressens,” can be assigned to each part of a combo. You might have a Pressen that does extra damage, one that restores your health, or one that speeds up the cooldown timer on your special attacks. These can be assigned to each part of your combo.

The first combo you get is a simple punch, punch, punch combo. It’s short and sweet, so I decide to assign it with all health-restoring Pressens. That way when I am running low on health I can just tap away at punch to quickly pull off the combo and regain some health. I fill another combo with all the cooldown expediters I could. This is the combo I resort to if I need access to a special move as soon as possible. On yet another combo, I throw in mostly attack power-ups with one special Pressen that multiplies the effect of the Pressens before it. This iss my general beat-enemies-up combo, so I use the simple kick, punch, kick, punch volley combo.

This is how I chose to build my combos, but you can put them together any way you’d like. They can be reassigned at any time. The combo lab can be accessed from the pause menu, meaning you can tailor your combos to specific enemies and encounters.

Pulling off combos feels close to the Batman: Arkham series. Like Batman, Nilin’s combos aren’t executed with high-speed button inputs. Punches and kicks are deliberate and precise, emphasizing rhythm rather than frenzied action. A Dynamic Combo Display shows up at the bottom of the screen, giving you real-time input feedback, much like what you would see in the training arena of a fighting game. It makes it simple to understand and define what combos you are pulling off.

Outside of punching and kicking, you also have a long-range Spammer that shoots projectiles. You can charge up the Spammer and fire a Junk Bolt, which unleashes a powerful long-range attack that also destroys elements of the environment. You also gain access to S. Pressens, special moves that are attached to cooldown timers. The Sensen Fury allows you to ignore your combos and wail away on enemies with powered-up attacks. The Sensen D.O.S. freezes all the enemies around you (and lets you see invisible ones) so you can take full advantage of your combos while the enemies just stand there and take it. The Smart Logic Bomb allows you to plant a bomb on an enemy that will explode and damage everyone around them, but it’s crucial that you move outside of the blast radius before it goes off. Finally, I got a chance to use the Sense R.I.P., which convinces enemy robots to join your cause, until they blow up and damage the enemies around them.

Customizing Nilin’s combat abilities gives you a sense of ownership over the attacks you are throwing at enemies. All players will ultimately be performing the same arsenal of combo strings to beat up enemies, but customizing the effects of the combo and its animations gives players a better understanding of what they’re doing, and a sense of pride over their skills. It makes the combat more than just combo string memorization and is an interesting highlight to a game that seems to be full of new ideas.

          babies on a plane         
This will not be a tips and tricks to keep your children happy on a plane (or four) post. This will be a GLEEFUL, ridiculous post about how relieved (RELIEVED!) I was to make it through four (FOUR!) flights with both the babes. Honestly, I wasn't that worked up about flying at all until a child that looked to be about the same age as Nora projectile vomited on the first flight we were on and another right behind us screamed his head off. For a long time.

Thankfully, this was more the look of my children.

I'm not going to lie, even though I know (I KNOW!) it was sheer dumb luck, I had an insane moment of my parenting must CLEARLY be superior to every other parent who has ever flown on any flight ever in the whole existence of airplanes. (I know. My next travel-plans-with-children is now karmically cursed!)

Because that is the thing I have learned about parenting - you seriously just never know. Nate could have freaked out upon take off (instead he was quietly and adorably counting down to BLAST OFF). Nora Kate could have opted to not snuggle in (well, more like sprawl out across us all as she is still eligible to ride on my lap) and sleep on several flights and instead attempt to breakout and roam the plane. (Trust me, there was still quite a bit of squirming.) Karl could have set off that bomb in his shoe.  (Sir, you can't say bomb on an airplane.) (That's not funny; I'm sorry.)

And then, just like that, we were there. Amazing. Two adults, two children, two suitcases, one carseat, one robot backpack and one (very large) purse, all ready for one week at the beach!  
          Love Ulster who caused 2006 Dublin riots plan another parade        

Victims rights group hopes to put pressure on the Irish Government to release documents about an IRA massacre in the Troubles

The organizers behind the Love Ulster parade that led to rioting in Dublin in 2006 are planning another march.

Love Ulster organizer and campaigner Willie Frazer says he hopes the march to the Irish Parliament will put pressure on the Government to send vital documents into an inquest into the Kingsmill massacre - one of the deadliest events in the Troubles.

In 1976 the Provisional IRA killed ten Protestant men in reprisals against the killings of numerous Catholics in the south of County Armagh. Another man survived after being shot 18 times.

An inquest into the attack was held in Belfast last year but adjourned after the Irish Government failed to send key police documents that detail the weapons used, the getaway van and other intelligence.

Love Ulster organizer and campaigner Willie Frazer.

The Government has said it is cooperating with the inquiry but an attorney for the victims said recent engagement had been "insulting" and that the last letter sent to the inquest amounted to little more than a "diet of obstruction".

At the time the Ireland’s Department of Justice said, “Any suggestion that there is an unwillingness by the Irish government to assist the inquest or stand in the way of closure for the victims' families would be unfounded.

"The Irish government has given its commitment to co-operate to the greatest extent possible, within the law, with the inquest and, in fact, has taken unprecedented legal measures to facilitate that co-operation and to deliver upon its commitment."

But Frazer, whose father was one of the ten who died, remains unimpressed and told the Belfast Telegraph that he and other victims were, "sick and tired of the Irish Government lying to us".

The plan is to march through along Dublin’s O’Connell Street towards the Irish Parliament on Kildare Street - a normal route for political protests in the capital.

Loyalist flute bands that lost members in the attack will likely take part too.

2006 O’Connell Street riots

The 2006 Love Ulster parade saw rioting and public property damaged after a counter demonstration by Republican Sinn Féin clashed with the unionist marchers.

Police injured by flaming projectiles as Sinn Fein protesters clashed with unionists on O'Connell Street in 2006.

The ensuing riot left 40 people injured and further attempts to march were called off over fears for public safety.

If the march goes ahead as mooted next month security will likely be high and counter demonstrations are expected too.

H/T: Belfast Telegraph

          Loading of Sulzer TW11 85" looms        
This lot consisted of 5 projectile Sulzer looms model TW11 85 , loaded for european reseller. Click on the first thumbnail for viewing this galleryPerformance/5_Sulzer
          Loading of Sulzer TW11 looms        
This lot consisted of 2 projectile Sulzer looms model TW11 110 , loaded for pakistani client. Click on the first thumbnail for viewing this galleryPerformance/2_Sulzer
          A Multinational Team Bands Together To Create Their Dream Project        

Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night are widely regarded as two of the best games of all time, but official 2D sequels have been few and far between recently – and usually relegated to the handheld space. That absence has spurred indie developers to co-opt the classic formula and make it their own. With its new title, Ori and the Blind Forest, Moon Studios seeks to deliver a Metroid-like experience with a mix of pixel-perfect platforming à la Super Meat Boy and the crisp visuals of Studio Ghibli’s animated films. It sounds like a powerful cocktail that may appeal to -millions of gamers, and Microsoft has already bet big on this new IP. But can a ragtag team of developers from around the world – many of whom have never met – overcome its unique development challenges and create an instant classic?

[Editor’s Note: This feature was originally published in issue 258 of Game Informer Magazine]

Thomas Mahler didn’t take the traditional route into game design. The Austrian native studied sculpture in Vienna. Traditional sculpture work proved a challenging career path, so Mahler started freelancing, making digital 3D models to help pay the bills. After working up a sizeable portfolio, Mahler began getting job offers from the likes of Disney and Blizzard, and eventually took a job working on StarCraft II.

Mahler wasn’t content working on other people’s ideas, so after putting in a full day of work at Blizzard, he would go home and tinker with his own game concepts. One idea featured a little forest spirit named Ori who traveled through 2D painted backgrounds. Mahler didn’t think he could turn his ideas into bankable products on his own. He wouldn’t have to.

Gennadiy Korol cut his teeth scripting tools for feature films in Israel. He loved everything about the technical aspect of computer graphics and animation, and since many designers struggled with the complicated interfaces behind 3D modeling and rendering software, Korol had built up a side business making tools to assist designers with their work. While scrolling through forums about Autodesk’s Maya 3D animation software, Korol met Mahler.

“I was always going on about how badly these things were designed, how you need way too many hotkeys, and how this is totally not like sculpture where you put forms on it and shape it,” Mahler says. “So when I first meet Gennadiy, I was probably screaming at him because his tools weren’t working the way I wanted them to.”

“They always worked perfectly,” Korol quips.

“Yeah, he’s probably right,” Mahler says.

The two bonded over programming tools, and started to dream about designing their own games together. Mahler and Korol formed Moon Studios and over the course of six months they prototyped a demo for a first-person shooter with real-time strategy elements they jokingly called War Soup. Both developers felt they had a solid concept that they could pitch to a publisher, but selling a game takes time, and the two young designers quickly grew restless.

“We said, ‘While we’re waiting to sign this game let’s do a smaller game; let’s do something we can sign in half a year,’” Korol says.

That half-a-year project became Ori, and evolved into a four-year development timeline that has consumed their lives and turned their two-man studio into a 20-plus person team spread across the globe.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Ori is a forest spirit born into exile and raised by a loving bear-like creature named Nuru. However, when Ori’s mother dies, the young creature must go on a journey of discovery and ultimately fulfill his destiny by saving a dying forest. Ori is joined by a light spirit named Sein, who teaches Ori about the world and assists him while fighting monsters by unleashing a series of energy-based attacks.

Around the time that Mahler and Korol started plotting out Ori and the Blind Forest, the indie platformer Super Meat Boy released for Xbox 360 and PC. “We were very inspired by Super Meat Boy,” Korol says. “We needed something to wrap the game concepts around, and so we decided to make it a platformer.”

While, Moon Studios has always sought to emulate Metroid’s classic 2D exploration, at its heart, Ori is also a platformer. Many of the skills and power-ups that Ori acquires through his journey reflect this. In true Metroid fashion, Ori gains new abilities – such as double jump and wall run – that allow him to access new areas and find hidden secrets and upgrades scattered around the world.

A great example of this is the bash attack. Early on in the game, Ori is tasked with bringing water back to a dying forest. As he searches for a way to do this, he travels to an area called the Ginso Tree and learns this new ability. Bash allows Ori to grab onto objects, enemies, and projectiles before bouncing off them and shooting off to higher platforms. Interestingly, the object that Ori bashes gets thrown in the opposite direction. This mechanic has given Moon plenty of opportunities to craft platforming puzzles where Ori has to throw enemies into deadly traps or bash off enemy projectiles to reach high ledges.

We play through one sequence where we must toss an enemy projectile through a series of redirecting portals in order to send it to the top of the screen and smash apart a barricade. Ori’s controls are instantly intuitive, and it’s a lot of fun just to bound around Ori’s lush environments. This is likely because Moon spent a full year iterating on the controls before working on the art.

“People always talk about how gorgeous Ori is but we’ve actually spent more time working on the gameplay,” Korol says. “We always start with the solids; if enemies aren’t fun to fight when they’re jumping boxes then they’re not going to be fun to fight when they’re fully produced 3D models.”

          The 2D Metroid Game You've Been Waiting For        

When Moon Studio's announced Ori and the Blind Forest earlier this year at E3, gamers were immediately attracted to its unique look. Thankfully, the title has some impressive gameplay to match its impressive visuals.

Players jump into the role of Ori, a forest spirit whose mother is captured by a giant owl before setting off on a wondrous journey to bring the forest back to life. Gameplay is inspired by classics such as Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, but Ori also features a greater emphasis on platforming.

The demo takes place near the beginning of the game as Ori works to bring water back to the forest. In order to do this, Ori must travels to the Genso tree, an area that features mystical portals that allow Ori to walk off one side of the screen and immediately appear on the other. This allows Moon studios to craft some unique platforming challenges. For example, during one sequence in the Genso tree, Ori has to race up a series of platforms as a stream of water floods the lower levels. Thankfully, Ori has picked up a new ability in Genso tree zone: an ability called Bash. Using Bash, Ori can briefly lock onto certain enemies or enemy projectiles and then jump off them, launching himself higher into the air.

In true Metroid fashion, Ori slowly acquires powers like this throughout his journey, which will help Ori navigate into new areas of the game and uncover hidden areas full of helpful secrets. In addition to Bash, Moon has shown off Ori's double jump and wall jumping abilities, but his powers will become more complex and impressive the deeper players travel into the game.

We were impressed with Ori's controls after our limited hands on time. Platforming feels as tight and "pixel perfect" as any one of Nintendo's classic platforming franchises, and the Bash mechanic is easy to time and a lot of fun to pull off. Ori's visual are also quite fluid, and the lush animation really helps bring the world do life.

Moon is aiming to release Ori and the Blind forest on Xbox One and PC later this year. For more on Ori and the Blind Forest, check out our interview with the team from E3.

          5 of the World's Messiest Food Fights        

If you're in grade school, instigating a cafeteria food fight could annihilate your permanent record. If you're an adult, on the other hand, hurling a hamburger into the face of your nearest neighbor is encouraged in certain settings.

Unlike middle school's impromptu burger and burrito battles, organized food fights for grown-ups require plenty of promotion and coordination between local authorities, security and medics. These events are held to put cities on the map, aid charities and maintain unusual traditions dating back centuries.

If you aspire to scour the globe for the best spots to unleash some culinary fury, cross the Atlantic and visit these five places. Just don't forget to pack some bleach.

La Tomatina

Source: La Tomatina

La Tomatina - Bunol, Spain

Here in Bunol, Spain, you don't have to perform your poorest acoustic rendition of Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'" onstage to get bombarded by tomatoes. In late August every year, Bunol's storekeepers drape plastic over their shops to prepare for 110 tons of tomatoes that will fly through the streets.

La Tomatina is often called the "world's biggest food fight." The town of 9,000 used to draw up to 50,000 food fighters to La Tomatina annually, but a 20,000-person limit was enforced in 2013 to keep the crowds safe.

After the one-hour battle concludes, the luckiest participants are sprayed off by locals, while the others have to take to the Bunol River. Firetrucks hose down the town, rendering it sparkly clean for 12 months until the next round begins.

Battle of the Oranges - Ivrea, Italy

La Tomatina isn’t the only European food fight that will leave you wringing brightly-colored fruit juice from your clothing for days. Italy's largest food fight, Battle of the Oranges, is more intricate than Bunol's "squish a tomato and toss it" approach.

Battle of the Oranges, held every February, is modeled after a medieval uprising against tyranny, as the tradition is believed to date back more than 500 years ago. Its competitors dress as knights, employing actual horse-drawn carriages and more than a million rotten oranges to defend their castles.

Nets strung around the town of Ivrea protect spectators because the brave knights are known to require first aid from the impact of the projectiles. For the bleeding warrior, that citrus splashback must lead to a painful, acidic aftermath.

Custard Pie

Source: The Telegraph

World Custard Pie Championship - Coxheath, England

Who said all food fights have to be healthy? Folks looking to do some clowning around in England can team up in late spring and squash some creamy custard pies into the faces of their rival competitors for charity.

The World Custard Pie Championship is perfect for those who crave a more intimate food fight: fourteen teams of four faced off last year, tossing just 2,000 pies in comparison to the millions of fruits hurled annually in Bunol and Ivrea.

The act of pieing others at World Custard Pie Championship isn't as easy as it looks in slapstick movies or on Nickelodeon. Contenders must stand eight feet away from one another, and the number of points awarded varies based on whether the pie strikes the face, chest or arm. Better get some target practice in during the offseason.

Els Enfarinats - Ibi, Spain

Eastern Spain doesn't see snow during the holiday season. But on December 28, Ibi's Els Enfarinats egg and flour fight transforms the city into a powdery, gooey winter wonderland.

Els Enfarinats

Source: BBC

Every year on Day of the Innocents--Spain's equivalent of April Fools' Day--a fake mayoral race takes place where Iba is handed over to corrupt leaders who impose wacky new laws and fine disobeying residents. Somehow Ibi's townspeople always wind up unsatisfied with the new government, and Ibi's townspeople always unleash a rebellion using...baking ingredients.

The 200-year old tradition, long lost until it was rediscovered and resurrected in 1981, goes to show that a grinch simply can’t quash the holiday spirit of a close-knit community. Otherwise those devoted dwellers will take a break from baking their festive desserts, step outside with mixing bowls and fight until justice is served.

Clean Monday Flour War - Galaxidi, Greece

Like Ibi’s holiday havoc, flour gets flung in Greece every winter. But here in Galaxidi, you'll need bottles and bottles of bleach to salvage your wardrobe afterward. Picture The Color Run, only everyone’s trying to attack each other.

The weaponry used in Galaxidi’s flour feud is dyed every color of the rainbow, so it's not going to easily wash out of your clothes...or the streets. Tarps go up to protect the small town's historic buildings from an unwanted dyeing. Goggles, surgical masks and tightly fastened hoods are necessary gear to keep Galaxidi's guerrillas safe.

Fighters deploy about 3,000 lbs. of flour on Clean Monday. Be glad you aren't part of the cleanup crew after this battle because the Clean Monday Flour War is anything but clean.

          March madness with burlesque, ballet and Oscars        
For anyone else out there who emboites in the other direction at the first sign of sports equipment projectiles, don’t worry: March still brings plenty to celebrate, er, madly. The Academy Awards, which took place over the weekend, celebrated the nomination of “Black Swan” for several categories, including best picture. Natalie Portman, psychotic ballerina extraordinaire, […]
          Re: NL RPG Adventure Season 2: A New Adventure        

The shuttle doors opened at a steady pace; the flaming projectile got brighter and brighter, until finally, the duo was able to see a decently size mech sporting dragon-like features. It crashed front-first onto the high-tech landing pads. From up here, the safe-lading system looked more like elaborate mattresses to Morpheus; then again, he witnessed it all through the lenses of a camera.

Morpheus: We better run down to make sure they're okay!

Hunter: Okay, but first, ya mind if I contact Luana first?

Morpheus: Not at...

The captain stopped dead in his tracks and veered around like a top to face the Solunar Knight.

Morpheus: ...Luana?

Hunter: Yeah... That's her name. Is there something wrong?

The tricorn-clad space man was lost in thought; he bit his index, perplexed by something. Right then and there, Hunter could have sword noticing a glint of nostalgia in the Star Gazer's eye.

Morpheus: Nothing... It's just... I knew someone by that name once.

Hunter: Oh? Well, I didn't think an ol' sack like you'd spend his days alone.

Morpheus: Tch, you got a way with words.

He paused for a moment.

Morpheus: Long ago and far away, Luana was the name of my wi...friend's elder sibling.

That's when Morpheus turned to face the other way.

Morpheus: Do what you have to; I'm gonna go check in on my friends.

          Hackaday Prize Entry: Arduino Splash Resistant Toilet Foamer        

There are some universal human experiences we don’t talk about much, at least not in public. One of them you’ll have in your own house, and such is our reluctance to talk about it, we’ve surrounded it in a fog of euphemisms and slang words. Your toilet, lavatory, john, dunny, khazi, bog, or whatever you call it, is part of your everyday life.

For his Hackaday Prize entry, [VijeMiller] tackles his smallest room head-on. You see, for him, the chief horror of the experience lies with the dreaded splashback. Yes, a bit of projectile power dumping leaves the old rump …read more

          10 awesome things MILLENIALS have (probably) never heard of        
10 awesome things MILLENIALS have (probably) never heard of
How times change.

First let us define the word "Millenial."

Millenials, the most tech-addicted generation, has officially replaced Generation X. There are no precise dates for when this legion of youngsters starts or ends, but demographers and researchers typically use the early 1980s as starting birth years and ending birth years ranging from the mid-1990s to early 2000s.

There was no actual history on how the term "millenial" came to be, though most people say the word was first coined in the book "Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation (2000)" probably referring to the high school graduating class of the year 2000.

Millennials haven’t been on this Earth for that long, relatively speaking, so it’s understandable that they probably missed out most of the things the previous generation had enjoyed so well.

Here are a list of those things, which we grouped in three categories:


Old Nayong Pilipino

1. The (Old) Nayong Pilipino - Long before the advent of virtual reality headsets, people actually come to actual landscapes. The most popular in the 1970's was the Nayong Pilipino cultural park which used to stand along MIA road near the NAIA 1 terminal. Inside the 46-hectare park are six sections representing replicas of 6 regions which comprised the islands of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, and reflecting the attractions unique to each region. There's the Banaue rice terraces and the Vigan stone houses for Luzon region, Mount Mayon and the Cagsawa church ruins representing the Bicol region, the Magellan's Cross and Bohol's picturesque Chocolate Hills in behalf of the Visayan island and the Moslem mosques and Samal houses depicting the Mindanao provinces.

Matorco Double deck buses

2. Matorco double deck buses - It's a double deck bus without the roof at the second deck, much like the touristy HOHO (hop-on, hop-off) buses in Malaysia. Operated by the Manila Motor Coach company in the 1970's, these breezy double decks ply the roads of Roxas Boulevard, Luneta up to the Baclaran church. Matorco seats were available at 20 centavos each (wow!!) and absolutely free for children below one meter in height.

The C.O.D. Christmas show

3. The C.O.D. Christmas show - was a fascinating moving mannequin play performed at the facades of the C.O.D. department stores in Avenida and Cubao. In the 1960s, the main show was held in C.O.D. Avenida but was transferred to C.O.D. Cubao in the 1970s. The show, which usually starts at 7 p.m., lasted from the early days of December up to the Feast of Three Kings. The show attracted huge number of viewers since it could be viewed free and even from a distance. The C.O.D., an acronym for Christmas on Display, stopped operations in 2004.


Voltes V, and other robot heroes

4. Voltes V, and other robot heroes - The year 1978 ushered in the emergence of the super robots in Philippine television with the likes of Mekanda Robot (shown on Mondays), Daimos (on Tuesdays), Mazinger Z (during Wednesdays), UFO Grendaizer (every Thursdays), and Voltes V (on Fridays).  However, in 1979, shortly before the series finale of Voltes V, then-president Ferdinand Marcos issued a directive banning Voltes V and other similarly-themed anime series due to concerns about "excessive violence". The directive also led to speculations at the time that the series was also taken off the air due to its revolutionary undertones, and that Marcos probably don't want the Filipinos to do the same against him.

Superstar (RPN Channel 9)

5. Superstar (RPN Channel 9) - Top indie actress Nora Aunor actually had a TV show of her own back in the 1970's. After winning the original "Tawag ng Tanghalan" singing contest (not to be confused with Vice Ganda's It's Showtime segment), Aunor started her career in television via Nora-Eddie Show (1967), with singer Eddie Peregrina. The show later became The Nora Aunor Show and eventually was re-titled Superstar. Superstar holds the record as the longest-running musical variety show that had aired on Philippine prime-time TV from 1968 to 1989. That's 21 long years!

That's Entertainment (GMA Channel 7)

6. That's Entertainment (GMA Channel 7) -  was a Filipino youth-oriented talent and variety show on GMA Network. The show, which aired for 10 years from 1986 to 1996, ushered in the most popular actors and singers in the showbiz industry like Ian Veneracion, Lea Salonga, Francis Magalona (RIP), Iza Calzado, Judy Ann Santos, Billy Crawford, Jojo Alejar, Karla Estrada, Piolo Pascual and John Arcilla (yes, the actor who played bad-ass Heneral Luna).


Prior to the birth of hi-tech toys and gadgets, the young Filipino kids of the 1970's played around with toys made primarily of almost everything.

Tirador (slingshot in English)

7. Tirador (slingshot in English) is made of wood and rubber. The classic form consists of a Y-shaped wood frame, usually a branch from a Bayabas (Guava) tree, held in the off hand, with two natural-rubber strips attached to the uprights. The other ends of the strips lead back to a pocket that holds the projectile, usually a small stone. The dominant hand grasps the pocket and draws it back to the desired extent to provide power for the projectile - up to a full span of the arm with sufficiently long bands.

Trumpo (top in English)

8. Trumpo (top in English), also made of wood, has an egg-like shape where in one end is slightly pointed than the other. Driven in the pointed end of the spinning top is an iron nail, an inch of which is projected out. The end of the nail is sharpened to make it even more pointy. A meter-long string is also needed which will cause the spinning motion of the top.

Holen or Jolens (marbles in English)

9. Holen or Jolens (marbles in English) are small spherical toys often made from glass with colorful inside ornaments. The young Pinoys back in the 1970's usually play with them in two variations: first, the type in which the players try to knock their opponents’ marbles out of a circle with their own marble (and so win them); and second (a race), the type in which the players try to hit a target and roll their marble through a hoop or into a hole by rolling, throwing or knuckling the marble.

Plastic Balloons

10. Plastic Balloons are available in small tubes with a straw attached to it. A child starts to play with them by squeezing a "semi-liquid, plasticky material" from the tube then putting it at the tip of the supplied straw. The child then blows through the straw and into the plasticky material to create a bubble. The more you blow, the bigger the bubble grows. If it pops, the child can seal the hole with his mouth and saliva, or he may blow more air into it to make the bubble bigger, before finally sealing it again.

Share your ideas by commenting.

          Les démonigors        

Lors d'une froide nuit d'été de l'ère frigorifique, la divité Belphigor apparait. Belphigor est le démon des découvertes qui tente les hommes par des inventions géniales et des richesses prodigorgieuses.



Dans la même veine, le démon Abigor apparait peu après. Abigor est un spécialiste des secrets de la i-guerre-gore (ou e-guerre-gore), méthode de combat à distance à l'aide de projectiles particulièrement violents et meutrigoriers.

          Blog Post: Resident Evil 6: Lost Time        


Resident Evil 6 is a really mixed bag.


Not to spoil my overall opinion, but this is – ultimately – not a very good game. In fact, I’d even go so far as to call it bad. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t truly interesting – and, dare I say, innovative – aspects within the overall experience.


Let’s start with the movement. For a series that has so unabashedly restricted player movement while aiming, the mobility Resident Evil 6 affords the player is surprisingly well-executed. It’s possibly the most robust, intuitive movement system I’ve seen in a third person shooter. You can dodge in literally every direction with the mere flick of the wrist. This is, unfortunately, a cool but useless feature. In spite of this, it’s clear that there are parts of this game that were designed around the movement. Enemies – with the exception of a few bosses – are no wider than your dodge radius, meaning that – if they charge or attack you – you will always be able to count on your reflexes and your dodge. Unfortunately, it also becomes clear that a few enemies were decidedly not designed around your movement. Sometimes, enemy attacks – projectile, or hand-to-hand – become near-impossible to dodge, and often end up killing you within a few hits. That being said, the game does grant you minor compensation for getting knocked down by one of these inescapable attacks. Once on the ground, you can shoot, scoot around, and roll out of the way of other attacks.


Another unfortunate pitfall of the movement mechanics is that they’re almost totally unnecessary. Even worse, it’s clear that – while the enemies’ spatial designs were designed around the movement – combat never requires your mobility. There’s no need to jump or slide when you can get the job done faster by just pointing and shooting. The same goes for the cover mechanics, which feel like a poorly-implemented after thought. It’s a real shame to see such an interesting and unique execution of third-person combat mobility go to waste, and – as you’ll see – “cool idea ignored by the design” becomes a recurring theme of Resident Evil 6.


The inability to utilize movement properly isn’t the only problem with the combat. The combat of modern Resident Evils has always centered around the body. Shoot a guy in the leg, he goes down; shoot a woman in the arm, she’s stunned for a moment; shoot someone in the head, they die. Resident Evil 6 responds to this technique by introducing a new element that complicates the player’s understanding of damage-specific combat. When you shoot a person in the arm, it grows into an elongated whip that shifts the flow of combat. Shoot a man’s legs off and he grows cricket legs, or a spider’s abdomen. You get the idea. It actually keeps encounters feeling fairly fresh, even though there are only a few enemy types. It also puts the impetus on the player to choose how they want a particular scenario to play out. Do I want a dozen spiders, scurrying around the walls and ceilings, or would I prefer to balance the variety of enemies in the playing field? It’s an interesting question, and it’s visually executed quite well. Resident Evil’s style of terror has always been a little more Cronenberg body-horror than a John Carpenter slow burn, so it’s nice to see so much attention paid to the grotesque nature of the C-virus. Unfortunately, while the implications of bodily transformation are cool, the balance of combat is too fundamentally broken to account for these intricacies.


Perhaps one of the most baffling choices this game makes towards combat is assigning a different max health to each enemy. I swear on my life that this is true.[1] Some enemies – of the exact same type, taking damage to the exact same weak points, and while playing on the exact same difficulty – simply take a different amount of shots to go down. Not only does it ruin the flow of combat, but it also entirely cheapens any sort of skill you might have acquired over the course of your playtime. Sometimes skill doesn’t help when the odds are randomly stacked against you.


The inconsistency with which enemies take damage wouldn’t be as much of a problem if you weren’t constantly running out of ammunition. This is a bizarre decision to carry over from the series’ roots, especially given Resident Evil 6’s focus on setpiece-driven, AAA action. It’s hard to get caught up in the intensity of a firefight when you start it with almost no ammunition. I assume that the sparsity of bullets was meant to implement tension, but it – more often than not – just makes combat more frustrating. The few ammo pickups you get are often expended within seconds, due to a combination of poor design decisions. Firstly, the game has this reckless desire to throw as many enemies as possible at you in order to lengthen each encounter. More enemies does not mean better combat encounters. This is a design sensibility that most games in our industry have long outgrown. Second, the actual act of aiming is wildly inconsistent. Not only are the base aiming mechanics on the level of a mid-2000s third-person-shooter, but Resident Evil 6 has also thought that having an absurd amount of weapon sway – as well as recoil – would heighten the difficulty. Ultimately, all this means is that most of your shots miss their mark, leaving you defenseless against a room full of enemies.[2]


As an alternative to using weapons, Capcom does place a heavy emphasis on melee combat. Unfortunately – like the gunplay – it’s clunky, and lacks weight. I can hardly tell if my hits are registering, and – for a publisher so widely known for its reverence towards “the animation” – every melee interaction is janky. Visually incoherent. Often, it looks as though your hits aren’t even connecting. It’s clear that the melee was a definitive thrust of the game’s presentation, but the actual implementation feels like an afterthought. Only one attack button, with only a few canned animations? The execution is extremely dissonant from the game’s constant reminders – including a whole character who does higher damage with a unique melee moveset – that melee is just as good as using your guns. Once again, Resident Evil 6 includes an interesting idea, but doesn’t execute it with anywhere near the level of attention it would require.


One final aspect of the combat that I should note is the inclusion of a perk system. Instead of purchasing upgrades for your weapons – á la Resident Evil 4 or 5 – this entry replaces this mode of progression with upgradeable, customizable perks that you can apply to your character. Though I was always a fan of the old style of progression, it’s Capcom’s prerogative to do whatever the hell they want to with their games. That being said, it’s also their responsibility – if they’re fixing something that ain’t broke – to make their replacement systems effective and worthwhile. Unfortunately, many of the problems I’ve mentioned previously – uncontrollable weapon sway, low amounts of ammo, inconsistent enemy health – negate the usefulness of almost every perk – I don’t want to waste a perk slot on something that causes me to do more damage if I miss most of my shots. There was only one perk that I found to be measurably useful in my playthrough, and it increased the item drops from dead enemies. Some perks can be upgraded, but not all. Often, the currency required to upgrade them takes an entire campaign to accrue, so don’t expect to have every perk fully decked out by the time you finish every character’s story.


Story. Let’s talk about the way that this game does story. Again, we begin with an interesting concept – take the player through the latest biochemical disaster sweeping the globe via intersecting points of view from a cast of new and returning characters. I actually like this style of storytelling a lot. I think there’s a lot of interesting things you could do with it,[3] but Resident Evil 6 doesn’t really have any of the ambition to match their narrative techniques. Instead of shedding light on other campaigns, each character’s story goes off on its own tangent. It feels like they came up with a story for each pair of characters, and then figured out how to lump them together after the fact. It’s all very forced and awkward. In typical Resident Evil style, character motivations make no sense, the dialogue is hokey, and the voice acting is laughably delivered. This is all fine, and would actually be charming if the game wasn’t so concerned with elongating its narrative. You will kill, and re-kill, and kill-for-a-third-time almost every boss in the game. There will be sections devoid of action or progress, simply in the name of giving the player more hours to play. Most of the character dialogue ends up smothered beneath a wash of military jargon[4]. That fun, B-movie, conspiracy-laden, virulent meat that the Resident Evil story has come to be known for is almost entirely absent. It’s incredibly disappointing, especially for someone who likes the dumb fun of those types of stories.


This game is a commitment. With 4 separate campaigns, there’s about 15 hours of playtime here. Normally, I’d like that in a single-player, story-driven AAA title, but – given the way Resident Evil 6 plays – it ends up being a time sink. If you’re looking for something to shut your brain off too, you could do a lot worse, but I can’t recommend this game to anyone but the most die-hard of Resident Evil fans. In the end, I think your money’s better spent on the upcoming Resident Evil 2 remake.


[1] I’m willing to entertain the possibility that this is false, and that this is just the paranoid theory of a man who’s just played through every campaign of Resident Evil 6, but there are so many bad design decisions in this game that I wouldn’t put it past them.


[2] Note: even playing with a perk – things that you will read about in a moment – that increased the frequency of enemy drops, I was still constantly out of ammo. I don’t even want to think about what playing this game would be like without that perk.


[3] For example: have unreliable narrators give conflicting versions of the same story. I feel like this is something that’s been done in a lot of mediums, but not videogames for some reason. I could be wrong though.


[4] Seriously, the amount of times you’ll hear someone “call in HQ” is bananas. The military language in this game is out of control.

          These Black Bloc Anarchists Don't Care What You Think of Them        

From Vice

We talked to nine Portland activists who think violence is necessary to fight fascism.

The nine anarchists who met me one rainy afternoon in Portland, Oregon, told me they almost showed up to talk to me "bloc'd out"—in the black clothes and masks that have become something of an iconic look.

You likely know what "bloc'd out" means because you've seen photos and videos of masked anarchists, or encountered them in person at practically any left-wing protests (or at counter-protests held in response to right-wing rallies). Bandanas, scarves, or helmets are used to guard against the effects of pepper spray and tear gas; they also make it harder for law enforcement to identify them.

That's essential, as the black bloc strategy utilizes militant and often illegal tactics—smashing windows, lighting cars on fire, hurling projectiles at police, and physically challenging the opposition. It was the black bloc who set a limo on fire in DC during Donald Trump's inauguration, it was the black bloc who punched white supremacist Richard Spencer to great acclaim and controversy, it was the black bloc who rioted in Berkeley to protest the presence of far-right gadfly Milo Yiannopoulos.

Black bloc tactics have been in use since the autonomist movement in 1980s Europe, but they first garnered widespread attention in the US after the chaotic World Trade Organization protests in Seattle in 1999. During those demonstrations, anarchists broke windows, and violent clashes between protesters and police culminated in tear gas being deployed—it got so bad that the mayor declared a curfew on the downtown area.

Although the black bloc strategy has been utilized stateside many times since then, it's escalated since Trump's election, and so has the debate over political violence. Demonstrations have turned into brawls between far-right and far-left factions in Seattle and Berkeley; in my hometown of Portland, there have been fights between police and anarchists; in Washington, DC, more than 200 protesters were charged with felonies after the inauguration.

I sought out the anarchists to learn more about what they see as their role in the growing anti-Trump resistance movement, and how they justify their extreme tactics in the face of criticisms from both the left and the right.

The group of nine is multi-racial and comes from varying economic backgrounds and regions of the country, although most claim Pacific Northwestern roots. Most seem to be in the millennial age range, although they tell me the organization has "tons of old heads" working with them. Some came into the anarchist movement after Occupy Wall Street, which one called "protest school." Others were introduced to anarchism at punk shows, or were seeking out something more extreme than "typical American liberalism," which they all reject. They all have jobs, but refuse to describe them for fear of being identified—they've all been involved in various illegal protest-related activities, and only agreed to speak to me on conditions of anonymity. (All names have been changed.)

They see their brand of anarchism as an evolution of an international movement that has been standing up for the disenfranchised for decades. That mission goes beyond the tactics that have caused so much controversy. The group told me about the classes local anarchists provide in first aid, self-defense, and other topics; the left-wing community outreach group Portland Assembly; and the anarchist effort to fill some of Portland's many potholes after the government failed to do so. (That last item represents probably the only good bit of mainstream press the anarchists have gotten as of late).

Portland has been dealing with a homeless crisis for years, and during an abnormally bad storm this January, four homeless adults and a newborn baby died. The local government's approach to the storm was seen by many in Portland as insufficiently urgent, and the anarchists joined with homeless advocates and went out into the streets with blankets, sleeping bags, coffee, and soup for those living without shelter.

Still, when I asked them if it's fair to say they represent the weaponized wing of the resistance movement (literally weaponized in the case of the black bloc), they said it was—but were quick to point out their motivations extend well beyond opposition to the current president.

"The narrative that this fight is pro-Trump against anti-Trump is wrong. This is about ultra nationalism," Victor, a mountain of a man who is clearly wary of saying too much, told me. "We have people working in France; we have people like the Zapatistas… We are all fighting in defense of our communities, but we have the capacity, skills and courage to be offensive. We will not bow down to fascists in the street, to a cop in uniform, or to those in the White House."

Clay, a skinny, intense man whose voice quivers and rises with passion when he speaks, told me anarchist beliefs "are rooted in the desire for a stateless and fascism-free society, and are defending marginalized communities from a long history of white supr