Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen...

The Bacone.

Filled with scrambled eggs, hash browns, and cheese, topped with gravy and a biscuit.
The Bacone won judges' choice at Bacon Camp, San Francisco, 2009.
Hat tip to Breda.

Also Not To Be Missed

This Term and the Next

Tom Goldstein at SCOTUSBlog has some interesting thoughts on what the Court is doing, and where they are headed.
Here is what strikes me most about this Term. The Court is moving steadily in the direction of rolling back Warren Court-era precedents that conservatives view as significant overreaching of the judicial role. To be clear, that isn't the Court's principal occupation. Most of its docket is filled with important but ordinary questions of federal law. But it is a significant trend.

I am struck in particular by the opinions of the Chief Justice that seem to lay down markers that will be followed in later generations of cases. NAMUDNO details constitutional objections to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act that seem ready-made for a later decision invalidating the statute if it is not amended. Herring contains significant language that can later be cited in favor of a broad good-faith exception to the Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule that applies to individual police mistakes.

If I'm right about the direction of the case law, the Court's methodology is striking. It is reinforcing its own legitimacy with opinions that later can be cited to demonstrate that it is not rapidly or radically changing the law....

More On Ricci

I don't have anything to add to what's already been said, but for those who would like a concise summation of the case and its implications, read Jess Bravin and Suzanne Sataline in The Wall Street Journal.
Monday's ruling affects any employer of 15 persons or more that uses any type of exams for employees, including test of personality, computer skills, physical fitness or honesty, said Christine Jolls, a Yale Law School professor and a former clerk to Justice Scalia.

Employers that rely on tests may now worry about being sued no matter what they do. "This decision is going to be trouble for business," she said.
I think the best way to avoid charges of discrimination in hiring is to hire indiscriminately, say on a first-come-first-served basis. Yeah. That'll work!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ricci Wins

Sotomayor loses. SCOTUS Blog is live-blogging:
Ricci result: Kennedy finds a violation of Title VII. An outright reversal 5-4....

Ricci is decided 5-4 on ideological lines. The middle ground suggestion of remanding for further proceedings is rejected....

Kennedy delivered the 5-4 majority opinion of the Court in Ricci. Justice Scalia filed a concurring opinion. Justice Alito filed a concurring opinion, in which Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas joined. Justice Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justices Stevens, Souter, and Breyer joined....
More later.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Forest Grove v. T.A.

Debra J. Saunders has the back story.
This is not a joke. Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 6-3 decision that required an Oregon public school district to pay a $5,200 monthly tuition (plus fees) for a private boarding school for a high-school senior whose psychologist had diagnosed him with ADHD, depression, math disorder and cannabis abuse.
Math disorder? Let me translate: the kid has a case of the stupids.

Let me give you a clue, T.A. Self-medicating won't help.

Who Wrote Dreams?

Once more, Jack Cashill piles on the evidence that Bill Ayers wrote Dreams From My Father.

I'm convinced; not that that matters to anyone else. Believing, or even caring, that Bill Ayers wrote Dreams From My Father is like wondering who killed Vince Foster. The mainstream punditocracy is more interested in gamesmanship than truth. This is a matter that they have decided is unimportant, and their decision is final. Don't bother asking.

The only way we will ever know who really wrote Dreams is if the author — or one of the other three who certainly know — confesses. They won't. Bill Ayers will follow the lead of his hero Alger Hiss, and lie about it to the bitter end. Likewise Bernardine Dohrn. Barack Obama has nothing to gain from the truth about this or anything else in his past, and Michelle will certainly stand by her man, as long as she can stand the man.

Have they told anyone else? Does anyone else know, anyone who craves their fifteen minutes of fame? I doubt it. The moment to step forward has passed. Bill and Bernadine and Barack and Michelle are the only ones who know who really wrote Dreams.

The media don't care. "No one," they say, "will ever know." I hate that phrase. It's never true. You might say that "everyone will never know" but not that "no one will ever know." Four people know.

They're just not telling.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Box O' Truth

A fascinating site full of backyard ballistics tests profusely illustrated.

The Box O' Truth.

I could spend hours there. I already have.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Well Said

No Looking Backwards:
The largest tax increase in our nation's history just passed the House by a margin of 219-212, with eight Republicans (soon-to-be unemployed, God willing) jumping in bed with the Marxist revolutionaries.

Iran Skeptic

Diana West in the Jewish World Review.
The worst thing that could happen next, at least for the absolute, non-contestable pundit-ocracy, is that it becomes clear we're looking at an intra-Islamic power struggle that has nothing to do with liberty and justice for anybody.

If this happens, the next question becomes: At what point do said pundits change the color of their Twitter avatars (Joe Scarborough) and their blog backgrounds (Andrew Sullivan) back from Islam green? And will they ever apologize for the fuss?

Dream on. There's something about commenting on the Middle East — really, commenting on Islam — that causes pundits never to say they're sorry. Even if Iran's protests reflect a theocratic power struggle between rival mullahs — namely, between Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who backs Mir Hossein Mousavi, and Ali Khamenei, who backs Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, it will just be time to move on.
This blog failed to jump on the bandwagon, mostly out of laziness, but partly also because I just had a bad feeling about the whole situation. Maybe my instincts were correct. Time will tell.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

World's Greatest Living Political Cartoonist

Hell, he's probably as good as all the dead ones put together. Michael Ramirez. Time for another Pulitzer.

Ted Nugent on Self Defense

Video via Cogito Ergo Geek.

C'mon, Ted, tell us how you really feel.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mom Jailed; Kittens In Custody

The mother, a dark and not very pretty cat, had a litter of five under our barn. Charlie and Marielle spotted the kittens a couple weeks ago; they were already eight weeks old. We trapped the mother first and took her to Animal Control. The kittens laid low.

A couple days later I saw the gray one sitting on a mossy log in the sun, cold and hungry and utterly dejected. He hissed at me when I came closer but he didn't look like he really cared. We put out a bowl of food for them, gratis. Then we baited the trap.

Over the course of the next few days we caught all five, one or two at a time, and took them to the shelter. They're very wild. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to tame them now.

It's so sad.

Why They Golf

I don't golf, but my sister and her husband do. Today she explained why.
A recent study found the average golfer walks about 900 miles a year. Another study found golfers drink, on average, 22 gallons of alcohol a year. That means, on average, golfers get about 41 miles to the gallon. Kind of makes you proud. Almost feel like a hybrid.
Sounds good to me!

Tomorrow's APOD Today

The June 12 Sarychev Peak Eruption in the Kuril Islands.

Nuclear Revolution

A primer by Bob Metcalf in The Wall Street Journal.
Nuclear energy is released during fission and fusion. During fission, large elements like uranium are split into smaller elements. During fusion, small elements like hydrogen are combined into larger elements. These two processes have occurred naturally since the beginning of time -- 13.7 billion years. The Earth is warmed naturally by its own nuclear fission reactors within and also by the sun, that big nuclear fusion reactor.

Today, 20% of our electricity is provided by 104 nuclear energy plants in the United States. These are already cheaper and cleaner than burning coal, oil and gas with all their pollutants, especially CO2. But these plants are all run on big old nuclear reactors, which nobody but the utility companies likes very much.

The good news is that the big names in nuclear energy -- like Areva, Hitachi, General Electric and Toshiba -- have recently been joined by a bevy of high-tech start-ups seeking to develop advanced nuclear-reactor designs for both fission and fusion energy production. So far, there are five fission and two fusion start-ups, among them Hyperion, NuScale and Tri Alpha.
High school stuff, I know. Trouble is, high-schoolers aren't hearing about it. Too busy "saving the Earth."
These new small reactors meet important criteria for nuclear power plants. With no control rods to jam, they are far safer than the old models -- you might well call them nuclear batteries. By not using weapons-grade enriched fuels, they are nonproliferating. They minimize nuclear waste. And they're economical.

All of the new start-up reactors are tiny compared to the 104 old ones, each of which was custom designed for and constructed at the site of its utility power plant. Small enough to fit on a large kitchen table, the new reactors can be manufactured at very low cost and shipped by truck to power-plant sites.
Read all about it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Doctor

Abraham Verghese, Senior Associate Chair for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at Stanford, in The Weekend Journal.
To come back to my favorite painting: a computer cannot take the place of the doctor in Fildes's painting; an electronic medical record (EMR) may or may not save money (it won't be anywhere as much as is projected) but what it will do is ensure that we doctors, nurses, therapists, particularly in hospitals will be spending more and more time focused on the computer, communicating with each other, ordering and getting tests, buffing and caring for our virtual patient—the iPatient is my term for this phenomenon—while the patient in the bed wonders where everybody is. Having worked exclusively for the last seven years or so in hospitals that have electronic medical records (EMR), I have felt for some time that the patient in the bed has become an icon for the real focus of our attention, the iPatient. Yes, electronic medical records help prevent medication errors and are a blessing in so many ways, but they won't hold the patient's hand for you, they won't explain to the family what is going on.
Worth reading in its entirety.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Spent The Weekend In My Bunker

Making ammunition.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Few Are The Equals

Wise words from the eighth century B.C.
you'll lack neither courage nor sense from this day on,
not if your father's spirit courses through your veins—
now there was a man, I'd say, in words and action both!
So how can your journey end in shipwreck or defeat?
Only if you were not his stock, Penelope's too,
then I'd fear your hopes might come to grief.
Few sons are the equals of their fathers;
most fall short, all too few surpass them.

But you, brave and adept from this day on—
Odysseus' cunning has hardly given out in you—
there's every hope that you will reach your goal.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Oregon in The Journal

Oregon is featured twice in the weekend Wall Street Journal, first in The Weekend Interview (which is not really an interview at all) with Senator Ron Wyden, and then in this short but stinging Editorial, which I reproduce in full.
The Labor Department reported yesterday that Oregon's unemployment rate soared to 12.4% in May, the nation's second highest after Michigan's 14.1%. What to do? If you're the geniuses in the state legislature in Salem, you naturally raise taxes.

Last week the legislature approved a $2 billion tax hike on personal income and small businesses that haven't already left the state. The highest tax rate on income above $500,000 would climb to 11% -- up from an already high 9%. Oregon will soon boast the second highest income tax rate in the nation, moving ahead of California (10.55%), and only slightly behind New York City (12.6%). Corporations will pay a 7.9% tax on gross receipts, up from 6.6%.

But that isn't the worst of it. Another revenue raiser will tax hospitals and private health insurance premiums. That's a good way to encourage private employers to drop their health coverage for workers.

In Oregon, as in so many states this year, lawmakers had to choose between reducing the growth of spending and raising taxes. No contest. So government spending will climb by about $2 billion, or almost 4%, which is on top of a 21% increase in the 2007-08 biennium budget. The sliver of good news is that taxpayer groups like Americans for Prosperity of Oregon are promising to put these taxes before the voters in a referendum this year or next. Since Salem's politicians seem intent on following California's, maybe Oregon's voters will do the same and just say no.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Evolution Of A Movement

From a review by William Anthony Hay in The Wall Street Journal.
Has American conservatism run its course? To judge by the pronouncements of scolding liberal pundits -- not to mention of conservatives themselves -- it may even be at death's door. Long ago, the worker-philosopher Eric Hoffer remarked that "all great movements start as a cause, evolve into a business, and end up a racket." While conservatism has gained too much intellectual respectability to be dismissed as a racket, it certainly has its problems.
Cause, business, racket... I know where the AARP is. Sometimes I wonder about the NRA.

We Won't Either

Some people will refuse to fill out the long form.
Outspoken Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann says she's so worried that information from next year's national census will be abused that she will refuse to fill out anything more than the number of people in her household.

In an interview Wednesday morning with The Washington Times "America's Morning News," Mrs. Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, said the questions have become "very intricate, very personal" and she also fears ACORN, the community organizing group that came under fire for its voter registration efforts last year, will be part of the Census Bureau's door-to-door information collection efforts.

"I know for my family the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home," she said. "We won't be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn't require any information beyond that."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Compare and Contrast

Texas Governor Rick Perry
Oregon Governor Ted "The Red" Kulongoski
Don't even talk to me about Alaska.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ramirez In Black & White

I get IBD Editorials in my email five nights a week, and with it a link to cartoonist Michael Ramirez's latest. Oddly enough, it's usually in black and white, and doesn't appear colorized until the next morning. Here, slightly cropped to fit the blog, is tomorrow's cartoon. Click the link (you'll have to wait until tomorrow) and see the colorized version.

Cats and Dogs

Some people think we have too many cougars around here.

Maybe. Or maybe not enough chihuahuas.

(See also.)

Ripe for Revolution

Look at Iran's population pyramid. That's the shape of a country ready for a little rebellion. Compare to, say, Germany.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

No. But, Seriously... No.

Today on the way to the range I was listening to Professor Childers's World War II, Lecture 9: Hitler Moves East. And then I come home to the inter tubes and find this.

No. No. No. It's wrong. It's just wrong. But it's hilariously wrong.

Blame The People's Cube.

Friday, June 12, 2009

No Job For You!

David Neumark wants to delay the minimum wage hike.
Despite severe economic difficulties confronting businesses, and soaring unemployment among youths and minorities, the federal minimum wage is slated to increase to $7.25 in July from $6.55 today. This will be the final step of a three-step increase enacted in the spring 2007, when the unemployment rate was 4.5%.

Based on 20 years of research, I doubt there is ever a goodtime to raise the minimum wage. However, with the aggregate unemployment rate at 9.4%, the teen unemployment rate exceeding 22%, and the unemployment rate for black teens nearing 40%, next month's increase seems like the worst timing possible.
It won't change anything here in Oregon, which has had a minimum wage of $8.40 since January 1st. We also have an unemployment rate of 12%.

I've always said that the meaning of the minimum wage is:
It doesn't matter if someone is willing to pay you $7 an hour, and you're willing to work for that. The government says if you're not worth $8.40 you can just stay home and watch TV.

Protestant Debt Ethic

The Wall Street Journal's Notable & Quotable quotes Steve Malanga:
To people who've worked their whole lives playing by the rules, that is, to the majority of adult Americans in the early 1970s, inflation at the hands of wayward government policy seemed to be a betrayal. People who had been thriftiest watched down payments for buying a home disappear, college savings accounts shrivel, retirement nest eggs vanish, the value of monthly pension checks shrink. Harvard Business School Professor Samuel Hayes recounted the damage to a relative of his in a magazine story: "He was the epitome of the Protestant ethic. He had inherited money, he had saved, he was very frugal, had a very modest house, had part of his investment money in bonds and short-term securities, had always maintained liquidity. And he came out of the Seventies looking like a fool."
What about those of us who have squandered our savings, maxed out our credit cards, have huge old houses, and haven't saved or invested a dime? Will we come out of the Oughties looking like geniuses?

I hate to say.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Too Much Money Chasing Too Few Goods

The classic reason for inflation. Here's the "too much money" part.

Article by Arthur B. Laffer in The Wall Street Journal.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Summer Reading List

Welcome back to the fourth annual Zeta Woof Summer Reading List. Once again, these are books which I have read over the course of the last year or two — or five — that I can in confidence recommend to you.

It is, as usual, an eclectic bunch. If there is any unifying theme, it is my love of history—ancient to modern; past, present, and future. We begin with the very recent past.

No Crueler Tyrannies: Accusation, False Witness, and Other Terrors of Our Times by Dorothy Rabinowitz

Dorothy Rabinowitz has spent a good part of her writing career defending, in her columns and editorials in The Wall Street Journal, those unjustly — and often preposterously — accused of heinous crimes against children. There were a rash of these cases in the eighties and early nineties; the McMartin preschool in California, Officer Grant Snowden in Florida, Dr. Patrick Griffin in New York, the Wenatchee, Washington, investigations, in which dozens were accused and imprisoned, and many more.

Worst of all was the Fells Acres Day School case, in which Gerald Amirault, his sister Cheryl, and their mother, Violet Amirault, were accused, tried, convicted, and imprisoned for crimes they never committed. Crimes which, it seemed, no rational person could even believe possible. Violet Amirault died in 1997 at the age of 74, having spent seven of her last years in prison, still protesting her innocence.

Brave Cowboy by Edward Abbey

Kirk Douglas assembled the cast and crew himself, and hired Dalton Trumbo to write the screenplay. He always said that Lonely Are the Brave was his favorite movie. Kirk Douglas, Gena Rowlands, Walter Matthau, Michael Kane, and Carroll O'Connor — it's probably worth watching, but I don't know. I've never seen a movie that didn't disappoint me at some level. The books are always better.

So I bought the book instead. It's worth the time. It's worth reading twice.

I could see the movie now, but why bother? The pictures in my mind are clearer, the dialogue more convincing, the background of the characters and the details of the plot more complete. Sure it's a great story, but Edward Abbey's finely crafted prose could never survive translation to film.

Or could it? Maybe you can tell me. But read the book first.

Mean Martin Manning by Scott Stein

Martin Manning lives alone. Has for thirty years. Likes it that way.
The young woman knocked on my door—three intrusive raps without a trace of apology....

"Mr. Manning, I'm here to help you."
Martin Manning doesn't want help.
She knocked, this time with the palm of her hand. The metal door echoed flatly.

I was silent.

Again, she knocked.

"Mr. Manning, I know you're in there."

She couldn't know anything of the sort.

"Mr. Manning, don't be afraid. My name is Alice Pitney. I'm your caseworker."

Caseworker? What the hell was she talking about?
Alice Pitney had better watch out. It's not nice to mess with Mean Martin Manning.

The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression by Amity Shlaes

The title comes from an essay by William Graham Sumner, written half a century befor the Depression.
"As soon as A observes something which seems to him to be wrong, from which X is suffering, A talks it over with B, and A and B then propose to get a law passed to remedy the evil and help X. Their law always proposes to determine . . . what A, B, and C shall do for X."
But what about C? Ms. Schlaes asks.

This is a book about C, the forgotten man, the one who was not consulted, the one who paid. The one whose business, and often whose life, was destroyed by A and B to remedy the evil afflicting X.

Once There Was a War by John Steinbeck

In 1943 John Steinbeck was already world famous for The Grapes of Wrath, which had won the Pulitzer prized and been made into a popular film. He was forty-one, too old for the draft, and he didn't need to go to war. But he did.

These dispatches, covering the period from June 21st to December 13th, 1943, were originally published contemporaneously in The New York Herald Tribune and other newpapers. Not until 1958 were they gathered together, with a new introduction by the author, in book form.

It's not straight reporting, but journalism in the original sense of the word. From England to Africa to Italy, Steinbeck lived with and observed and talked with and wrote about the men he encountered, sticking to the facts when the facts were sufficient, but never letting them get in the way of the story.

The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler

Here's an excerpt:
When I got home I mixed a stiff one and stood by the open window in the living room and sipped it and listened to the groundswell of the traffic on Laurel Canyon Boulevard and looked at the glare of the big angry city hanging over the shoulder of the hills through which the boulevard had been cut. Far off the banshee wail of police or fire sirens rose and fell, never for very long completely silent. Twenty-four hours a day somebody is running, somebody else is trying to catch him. Out there in the night of a thousand crimes people were dying, being maimed, cut by flying glass, crushed against steering wheels or under heavy tires. People were being beaten, robbed, strangled, raped, and murdered. People were hungry, sick, bored, desperate with loneliness or remorse or fear, angry, cruel feverish, shaken with sobs. A city no worse than others, a city rich and vigorous and full of pride, a city lost and beaten and full of emptiness.

It all depends on where you sit and what your own private score is. I didn't have one. I didn't care.

I finished the drink and went to bed.
Most people rate The Big Sleep as Chandler's best. I don't agree. It's good; they're all good, but this, written in 1958, is the best.

Art of the Rifle: Special Color Edtion by Jeff Cooper
Personal weapons are what raised mankind out of the mud, and the rifle is the queen of personal weapons. The possession of a good rifle, as well as the skill to use it well, truly makes a man the monarch of all he surveys. It realizes the ancient dream of the Jovian thunderbolt, and as such it exercises a curious influence over the minds of most men, and in its best examples it constitutes an object of affection unmatched by any other inanimate object.
Jeff Cooper died in 2006, at the age of 86, after a long and eventful life.

Mark Twain in Hawaii: Roughing It In The Sandwich Islands by Mark Twain
"The missionaries have christianized and educated all the natives. They all belong to the Church, and there is not one of them, above the age of eight years, but can read and write with facility in the native tongue. It is the most universally educated race of people outside of China. They have any quntity of books, printed in the Kanaka language, and all the natives are fond of reading. There are inveterate church-goers—nothing can keep them away. All this ameliorating cultivation has at last built up in the native women a profound respect for chastity—in other people. Perhaps that is enough to say on that head. The national sin will die out when the race does, but perhaps no earlier...."
So wrote the thirty-one year old correspondent for Sacramento Union, in 1866.

The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature by Steven Pinker

Linguist and evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker made the Summer Reading List three years ago with The Bank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. This one, published five years later is every bit as good but perhaps less controversial.

I've been justly accused of recommending books that are challenging. Tough, that is, and thick. Dry as chalk. Too long, too wide, and too deep. Maybe so, but they're also entertaining, and if you stick with it you'll pick up little gems to decorate the knickknack shelves of your mind. Isn't that what you read for?

Anyway, if all of Pinker is too much just read Chapter 7: The Seven Words You Can't Say on Television, a scholarly ramble that picks up where George Carlin left off.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

David vs. The Management

Eugene Rant spotted this one. How, I have no idea. You're not allowed to access this site.
The ducks in the bathroom are not mine.

Taking Down The Walnut

Greg came over this afternoon with his chain saws and helped me take down the walnut tree. I didn't think to get a picture until quitting time, with most of the tree already on the ground. You'll have to imagine the "before" shot. The platform he's standing on is 25 ft. above the ground, and the tree extended another ten feet above his head.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Atomic Scientist

Zeta Munitions™ first product!

In the foreground: ten rounds charged with 47.8 grains of Winchester 760 awaiting a trip through the crimp die. In the background: ten rounds with 47.1 grains finished and ready for the range.

Somewhere in a box in the basement I have a drawing I made in first grade. The assignment was to "draw what you want to be when you grow up." I drew myself standing at a bench full of beakers and test tubes, and labeled it "Atomic Scientist." This was 1960. "Atomic" anything was about as cool as you could get.

I've finally made it. My bench is full of scientific equipment. And the product explodes. That's about as cool as it gets.

Thursday, June 04, 2009


Last night we saw Lizzy graduate with the Class of 2009 — some 360 of them — on the football field of Crater High School. Needless to say, her high-school-dropout Dad is very, very proud of her.

This afternoon Leslie saw Charlie off on the bus to Portland, there to catch a plane (right about now; 10:00 P.M.) to New York and then Washington, D.C. for a week long tour of all the sights.

And this evening Marielle graduated from Eighth Grade and received, in addition to a Certificate of Achievement, the President's Award for Educational Excellence, that one signed by the big Θ himself.

Eisenhower and Operation Overlord

Prepare for D-Day by listening to Eisenhower and Operation Overlord, a free 35 minute lecture in MP3 format from The Teaching Company.

I'm currently in the midst of the entire 30-lecture course World War II: A Military and Social History, by Professor Thomas Childers. It's what's on the CD player in my car, so I pick up half a lecture here, half a lecture there, as I run my errands.

Professor Childers also recommends as supplemental reading The Second World War by John Keegan. I've mentioned it before.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Breakup of Flight 447

Some details now being released to the press.
The pilot sent a manual signal at 11 p.m. local time saying he was flying through an area of "CBs" — black, electrically charged cumulonimbus clouds that come with violent winds and lightning. Satellite data has shown that towering thunderheads were sending 100 mph (160 kph) updraft winds into the jet's flight path at the time.

Ten minutes later, a cascade of problems began: Automatic messages indicate the autopilot had disengaged, a key computer system switched to alternative power, and controls needed to keep the plane stable had been damaged. An alarm sounded indicating the deterioration of flight systems.

Three minutes after that, more automatic messages reported the failure of systems to monitor air speed, altitude and direction. Control of the main flight computer and wing spoilers failed as well.

The last automatic message, at 11:14 p.m., signaled loss of cabin pressure and complete electrical failure — catastrophic events in a plane that was likely already plunging toward the ocean.
In pieces.

A Spanish pilot in the vicinity at the time reported seeing an "intense white flash".

"Suddenly we saw in the distance a strong and intense flash of white light, followed by a downward, vertical trajectory which broke up into six segments," the chief pilot of an Air Comet plane from Lima to Madrid told the Spanish newspaper, El Mundo.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Some Assembly Required

Santa in the brown suit brought the last of my toys today, and Zeta Woof Ammunition Ltd. will soon begin production.

I got pretty much everything on my list except that I went with the RCBS Hand Priming Tool instead of the press-mounted thingie. I also bought a Lyman Flash Hole Uniformer because I figure when it comes to brass you can't be too pretty.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Rifle Marksmanship

Via SnarkyBytes and Bore Patch, World War Two training films: Rifle Marksmanship with the M1 Rifle (1942).

You don't have to have a Garand to learn from these, but a proper sling would help. I can see mine will need a little work.