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November 29, 2022

Heh 2022

Quoting from May 25, 1999:

"Question (Norwegian News Agency): I am sorry Jamie but if you say that the [Serbian] Army has a lot of back-up generators, why are you depriving 70% of the country of not only electricity, but also water supply, if he has so much back-up electricity that he can use because you say you are only targeting military targets?

"Jamie Shea: Yes, I'm afraid electricity also drives command and control systems. If President Milosevic really wants all of his population to have water and electricity all he has to do is accept NATO's five conditions and we will stop this campaign. But as long as he doesn't do so we will continue to attack those targets which provide the electricity for his armed forces. If that has civilian consequences, it's for him to deal with but that water, that electricity is turned back on for the people of Serbia."


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August 08, 2022

The 2022 Pilot Shortage

Received a message from a friend yesterday. He's a CP, IR, CFI: the usual for a serious hobby pilot with IT background (he's a fairly normal sysadmin - Cisco etc.)[2]. But on the side, he flew a Caravan for Martinaire for 4 months or so, and a King Air for a jump outfit a bit on weekends. And now, he accepted a job at an airline. Part 121, not a quasi-airline like Boutique.

He's going to spend a week typing in ATR 72, then a month or so in Florida getting ATP. As soon as he passes the checkride, he's getting into the right seat. The airline pays for everything.

All these years, the media kept making stories about "pilot shortage". And it always was bollocks. So I tuned it out this time around too, but things look different now.

I mentioned this to my wife. She said that she saw an interview with an airline CEO (I don't watch TV, but she does). The exec said something to the effect that, for decades, they sent people to furlough, then recalled them, and pilots always trundled obediently back. But not this time. They aren't returning, thus making the 2022 pilot shortage real.

If she told me before I heard from my friend, I'd think the exec was lying as usual.

Maybe some people don't want to ruin their health by getting jabbed with a dangerous non-vaccine, and the pay no longer makes ruining one's health worth it, even at majors. I dunno, that could be a factor. But it cannot explain the entire amount of pilots not returning from the 2020 furloughs.

[2] For comparison, I have PP with 700 hours, no IR.

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March 10, 2022


As published at the official website of Austalian Foreign Ministry:

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been accompanied by a widespread disinformation campaign, both within Russia and internationally. Tragically for Russia, President Putin has shut down independent voices and locked everyday Russians into a world characterised by lies and disinformation.

The addition of sanctions on those responsible for this insidious tactic recognises the powerful impact that disinformation and propaganda can have in conflict.

The Australian Government is sanctioning 10 people of strategic interest to Russia for their role in encouraging hostility towards Ukraine and promoting pro-Kremlin propaganda to legitimise Russia’s invasion.

This includes driving and disseminating false narratives about the "de-Nazification” of Ukraine, making erroneous allegations of genocide against ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine, and promoting the recognition of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic as independent.

The Australian Government continues to work with digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google to take action to suspend the dissemination of content generated by Russian state media within Australia. [...]

So there you go. It's only 10 people now, but you never know where this is going to end, and at what moment saying anything not approved will become punishable in Australia.

Some are already taking sides. Pixy was trawling Instapundit comments, shitposting for Ukraine and globohomo. That is a serious problem for certain Meenuvia residents.

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November 19, 2021

Banality: Pecan 5: The 2021 season

The hickory continues growing and reached about 4 ft in the 2021 season. Unfortunately, the leaves look a little diseased. Apparently it's about normal in Texas, which is unfortunate.

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August 02, 2021

I remodeled my house

I lived in three free-standing houses with attached garages in the U.S., and all three had the same design feature: the door from garage opened into laundry, which then connected to the rest of the house, typically into kitchen area.

But why? Isn't garage supposed to be dirty while laundry is supposed to be clean?

There must be a very good reason why Americans build their houses that way. But although I am curious about that reason, at this time it's no longer important, because I moved the door from position G1 to position G2 in the picture.

This allows to disrobe in the mud room upon arrival by automobile. Also, it permits causal access to garage without intruding into the laundry area. It's way more convenient, no matter how you look at it.

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July 22, 2021

Flying GA in a helmet

The question of flying a light, personal airplane in a helmet comes up once in a while. As it happens, I have some experience, which I'm going to outline as bullet points for future reference.


  • You do not need sunglasses and your headset cups always contact your skull properly. You do not need to buy super expensive flying sunglasses with thin temples.
  • Your chance of head injury is decreased in certain types of crashes (funnily enough I tested that by experience when I flipped the Carlson and smacked the runway with my head). This is particularly welcome by solo backcountry guys.
  • You can fly airplanes with no interior padding in turbulence, like Cessna 162, where I bloodied my head quite well before the helmet times.
  • You know who of your fellow pilots are dumb and not to be trusted when they try to make pitiful, inept jokes regarding the matter about which they know nothing.
  • You never need to lift your glasses in order to look at backlit LCD displays in the panel. Just glance under the visor. So comfy. This only came about as iPads and the like proliferated. Obviously you can see the steam gauges through eyeglasses.


  • Not all headphones are compatible with helmets, so you choice of modern ANR headsets is limited.
  • Either you carry an additional piece of luggage, or your flight bag is enormous with a separate compartment. This was always a sticking point for me more than anything, especially on ferry flights where you travel commercial with that helmet. Remember that you have to protect the visor and you don't want to check it in.
  • If you're tall, you run a risk of scratching canopies in many low wing GA airplanes.

As far as the choice of the helmet, Gentec is designed to save your head when you punch out of F-22. A Gallet helment is more appropriate, I think. But personally, I fly in David Clark K-10, because it's cheap.

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July 14, 2021

My Golden Monkey Paw Observation Bias

Over the years of my career, I noticed one funny coincidence. If a company reject me, they are going to fall on hard times. If a company extends me an offer of employment, they are going to prosper.

On the success side:

  • MCST (although struggling, it still exists)
  • Red Hat (purchased by IBM after a long run of success)
  • 3PAR (the only of its generation of storage start-ups, alongside Zambeel, etc., who reached the product phase and exited to acquisition; still exists!)
  • Metabyte, of course.

On the failure side:

  • Sun Microsystems (4 rejections, too: I pecked at them until they died)
  • Transmeta (3 rejections)
  • Zambeel (forgot about them until today)
  • NUVIA (they actually exited into acquisition, but an ignominious one)
  • And finally, Igneous (they were tough; took the curse 4 years to kill them)

Note that my score is not perfect: OVH is still around. Although perhaps it takes a little time, I interviewed for them only a couple of years ago.

Also note that the rejecting companies do not fail because my great capabilities were not employed. As long as they decide to hire me, it is all good, even if I decline. It's the curse of rejection.

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June 30, 2021


When I started the .380 ACP Death Watch series, I wrote:

... the fate of .380 hangs upon an introduction of a small gun with 10 or 11 round capacity. It must be well designed and be of high quality. And it likely needs to be made by a top-tier brand, and be striker fired (until the LCP II appeared, this last point was a must, but I'm not as sure anymore).

The promise of P365 380 by SIG only that, a promise thus far: the gun is not yet on the market. In addition, a re-chambering of a 9mm gun is a poor palliative, not enough to arrest the decline of the cartridge.

But never fear, Ruger is on it! The new LCP MAX is already in the hands of reviewers. And it's a true .380 gun.

I'm most happy to see decent sights on it. After the poor capacity, the milled-in sights were the second biggest show-stopper for me.

Glock, where is my G42X? Late to the party as usual?

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May 29, 2021

Banality: Pecan 4: Not A Pecan

I matched the leaves against pictures in a reference book, and found that the plant in question is not a pecan, but a Black Hickory. This is immensely disappointing, because its nuts are not edible, at least not easily. They do look totally like pecans from the outside, and the plant was growing from a nut, so I took it for a pecan.

I'm going to continue to refer to it as "pecan" for the sake of continuity.

Update: Pecan 5.

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May 19, 2021

Contemporary self-defense pistols

A woman and I went to raid a rental counter of a local range.

My impressions:

  • G43X is very large. Very, very large. The grip has a swell, which is absolutely unnecessary. Recoil is surprisingly noticeable.
  • P238 works well, but 6 round mags only is a pain. I am unable to disengage the safety with the knuckle like on 1911. I can do it by transfering the thumb on the other side, but that is asking to drop the gun and takes time.
  • P365 is nice (finally shot one with a short mag).
  • Shield Plus is not bad, but for some reason on the rental unit the slide stop does not disengage when slide is pulled and must be clicked down. WTF. The safety is nasty, better not use it.
  • Hellcat feels blocky like old Glock, not nice at all. Recoil is unexpectedly uncomfortable. Sights are so-so: the gun is mechanically accurate, but the prevalence of white hinders the acquisition of sight picture.

Woman's impressions (she has hand issues):

  • G34X hurts the trigger finger
  • P365 hurts the wrist
  • P238 is very nice, almost no recoil, cute. Failed to go into battery once - could be rental springs. Hard to see sights, dots dominate.
  • Hellcat is unimpressive
  • Shield Plus is the best.

Our old eyes have trouble with sights on many of these guns.

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March 10, 2021

The .357 SIG death watch

The decline of .380 was touched upon at this blog previously, but compared to certain other cartridges it remains positively mainstream. Here's how I commented in a THR forum thread:

Whilst I haven't done an exhaustive search, it would appear that the panic buying has resulted in the disappearance of .357 Sig pistols from the market place.

Who bought them? Was it first time gun owners, desperate for some kind of handgun, who didn't know what they were getting or didn't care? Or was it existing gun owners looking to expand their horizons regarding ammo availability?


Remember that in the past ammo shortages it was a coping strategy to rely on boutique calibers to carry one over while 9mm was gone from the shelves. So, experienced people who expected this shortage to be like the ones before, bought boutique caliber handguns with an expectation of the ammunition remaining available. They were wrong, but they had no way to know and their experience played against them.

The novices bought them too. They bought everything. I remember there was a period when a number of people asked in online forums "I see this great deal on Walther Creed, should I get it?" (and many more just picked it before asking). But that is a gun that ceased production in 2016! Clearly, Walther saw a chance to release their remaining stocks of Creed at bargain prices. Beginners snapped those Creeds. And they snapped the .357 guns.

And I'm sure some remembered that Jack Wilson used a P229 in .357.

And if all these .357 Sig have been purchased, what does that mean for the future of the cartridge? Will it be one more mainstream, resulting in high production rates of ammo? Or will these guns just sit on shelves in closets, or the back of gun safes once everything calms down again?

The latter.

The fundamental problems of .357 SIG haven't gone anywhere. This is how Chris Baker of Lucky Gunner put it:

"I was reading an article published back in the Fall of 2000 by Dr. Gary Roberts, who is probably the most well-known wound ballistics researcher active today. He was sharing the results of a .357 Sig gelatin test he performed at the California Highway Patrol Academy range. This was printed in the Wound Ballistics Review, which was a scientific journal intended for hardcore ballistics nerds, so it tends to be pretty dry and technical most of the time. But at the end of this one article, Dr. Roberts breaks into editorial mode and he says,

""Compared to a 9mm, the .357 Sig has a decreased magazine capacity, more recoil, as well as greater muzzle blast and flash, yet at best it offers no gain in bullet penetration and expansion characteristics. What is the point of this cartridge?”"

Emphasis mine. Copied from transcript of a August 2018 video.

This isn't a thread about .357 Sig vs [insert cartridge], but a general musing on how increased sales of one of the least popular service cartridges might affect its future.

The .357 is already dead. Of course, it will stay around like 7.62 Tokarev, but I do not see it staging a comeback like the 5.7 did. Fundamentally there's nothing good about it, only drawbacks, so it will remain "a hot round for cool dudes", to borrow from LifeSizePotato.

But it's interesting to watch the struggle of .380 Auto. That cartridge has peaked around 2016, when about 25% of new guns sold were in that caliber. Its share declined since and was at 17% before the pan-de-nic. I expected that the strain on manufacturers, who struggle to meet the demand for 9mm guns would crush it completely. But then, after the pandemic started to wane, SIG introduced P365 in .380. Isn't it interesting?

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February 11, 2021

Amazon versus SpaceX

There is a regulatory dispute between Jeff Bezos' Amazon and Elon Musk's SpaceX going on, concerning the orbits of SpaceX StarLink communication satellites. SpaceX filed a petition for more orbits, such as the top altitude is 570 km, coming close to those reserved for Amazon's Project Kupier at 590 km.

This is the third time that I remember Bezos finding issues with Musk in space. The other two were the patent for landing a rocket at sea and the dispute over the lease of KSC Launch Complex 39A from NASA.

A common theme in all three disputes is an attempt by Bezos to lay claims far ahead of the delivery, while Musk was actually doing something that Bezos only plans to do in the indefinite future. StarLink satellites already provide service to subscribers, but Kupier satellites aren't even launched yet. American astronauts launch from LC-39A in SpaceX Dragon, when Beaos' rocket is not even built. And, not being built, it obviously had no chance to land at a ship, while Musk does that all the time.

At a certain point, general public is going to start noticing a pattern.

UPDATE 2021-04-29: Bezos loses to Musk again and protests regarding NASA awarding SpaceX a contract for HLS.

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January 22, 2021

American Presidents


I was reading Tapscott's post about the exhuberance of Trump's economic revival in the U.S. and noticed this:

It takes time for the economy to recover the costs of excessive regulatory compliance and to redirect capital to productive uses, so the gains seen during Trump’s first year are likely attributable in significant part to the expectations generated by his slashing the red tape. The full impact of the deregulation is still to be felt.

So, not much has yet changed in this past year, but America has set up to work already. It's largety irrational, spiritual reaction. In that way, presidents always had a bit of a perception dimension, or at least as far back as I can remember.

The first President that I vaguely recally was Gerald Ford. That was over quickly. {thanks to jabrwok}

My first President was Jimmy Carter. He presided over The Malaisie Era. Inflation and stagflation, gas lines, 55 speed limit. It was the time when Ameica was lost after the crazy 60s and Vietnam.

Ronald Reagan was the President who turned the things around. He did it by recognizing that inflation was harmful, as well as other measures. Also, he won the Cold War. America was happy to be back at work alongside the President.

The George Bush the elder was the president after Reagan, but I don't remember much about him. I think America got tired at that time and needed a vacation.

Bill Clinton was a Vacation President. He was content mostly with enjoying the fruits of Reagan's work, and the country went along with that. It has to be noted that Clinton set welfare queens to work, but otherwise his presidency was about getting blowjobs from interns.

George W. Bush was The President Who Kept America Safe. He opened his office poorly, with the "compassionate conservatism" bullshit, but the events of 9/11 pushed that nonsense into background. Americans pulled themselves together and won dramatic victories in Iraq - twice: once against Saddam and once against Iran. However, Americans quickly realized that all that success abroad was not matched with prosperity at home.

Barack Obama was supposed to be a hope-and-change President, but his chief legacy turned out to the the race war that he instigated. It was a blow after a blow: Obamacare, destruction of Korean Garands, kangaroo courts in colleges, pervets in restrooms, Benghazi (and jailing of Nokula), NLRB, EPA, DOJ. I think BHO was the only president ever who really hated America and wanted to destroy it. Americans resisted as they could. They learned to see through the fake news.

And now, the backlash to Obama's regime of hate and oppression brought us President Donald Trump. The initial signs are encouraging, as Americans are back at building and creating good things. But it was only a year, and it's much too early to sum it up.

UPDATE in 2021

We have someone to sum it up in an anonymous e-mail:

Trump showed that the annihilation of the American middle class was not the result of inevitable forces. Technological change and globalization are not weather or the movement of tectonic plates. The economy, and who gets what from whom, is embedded in political choices. Who pays the costs and who reaps the benefits are political choices. Who is crushed by the legal system and who benefits from it, and who is insulated from it, are also political choices. Trump will never be forgiven for showing normal people that their destruction, and the enrichment of other people, who despise everything that they love, believe in, and care about, is a policy decision. Trump showed other choices are possible.

Having seen once how it actually works, we can never unsee it.

That is Trump’s greatest achievement.

Donald Trump opened my eyes on a certain facet of what the anonymous wrote above. I really believed in the dogma of the free trade, free market economy. Well, it was not wrong. However, Trump has demonstrated two things: first is that enormous burden of modern government is real, and it can be decreased. Without a meaningful fiscal (taxation or budgetary) reform, just by easing the regulatory burden by a very small amount, Trump extended the growth period to become the longest ever in history. I thought the economy was more of a natural law than it turned out to be. What if the 2008 crisis was really prompted by the race hustlers, their bank sit-ins, and Dodd and Frank? What if there's no such thing as "cyclical recession"? In addition, everyone in the elite predicted that Trump's protectionist policies would crash the economy — American for certain, perhaps the world's. But instead, Trump eased the burden of unfair trade agreements that hamstrung America. The resulting prosperity offset the drag of the necessary protectionism easily. It was tremendous. Trump repudiated all the pseudo-libertarian hacks that shilled for international mega-money.

So, in the above sequence, Trump was a President who made us see.

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January 18, 2021

The future of .380 ACP, again

Remember how I wrote, "the fate of .380 hangs upon an introduction of a small gun with 10 or 11 round capacity ... before 2023"? Well guess what. The word is on the street that SIG is introducing a P365 in .380.

I think it must be legitimate because of the "fits most P365 holsters" detail. Typical marketing.

For the survival of the .380, I would prefer a bespoke gun. A re-chambering of an existing 9mm is going to be compromised. And SIG should know it better than many, after the failure of P290RS 380. But I'll take whatever I can.

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December 27, 2020

Peening of Beretta 84 redux

The photo in the previous post on this topic was a complete garbage, so I re-took it with a real camera.

I neglected to add cues, but here's what we're looking at. When the steel slide slams the aluminum alloy frame, it starts to deform it. You can see the thin bright semi-circle where the metal is pressed in. The excess aluminum then mushrooms into the recoil spring channel. In this particular example, the material is (very crudely) removed where it protruded and obstructed the removal of the guide rod.

Interestingly enough, the black finish remains in the area where the slide hits it. There's no sideways friction, so it's not worn out. That is why the sliver of bright aluminum is so thin.

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December 20, 2020

They have hangar homes!!! she says

What a sad video.

When Occasional-Cortex was amazed at the in-sink garbage disposal, it was funny because of how disconnected she was from the lives of Americans, whom she aspires to govern. But this is different. It is not this lady's fault that she's never heard of an airpark before. The numbers of pilots have decreased so much that you literally can live all your life and know absolutely nothing about the private aviation.

On the upside, at least she lived when we still drove. Soon, it's going to be just transportation pods.

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December 17, 2020

Peening of Beretta 84

Often the owner notices the peening when he starts getting trouble disassembling the gun. The aluminum of the frame deforms into the recoil spring channel and obstructs the guide rod removal. The one in the picture was already filed down crudely, so the image only illustrates the area where peening occurs:

Replace recoil springs before the peening happens. It may be possible to alleviate a problem by running a plastic buffer. Those marketed for 1911 may be modified to fit.

Update: I took a better picture.

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November 28, 2020

Suddenly, Lingua Franca

Being a Russian weeb, I keep my hand on the pulse of two countries: Russia and Japan, and I noticed something interesting in recent years: a sharp uptick in English proficiency in both of them. This, oddly enough, coincides with a gradual decay of American influence in world affairs and the cancelation of English as one of the official languages of the Europe.

Of course, both countries made children learn English in school for decades, but it never led to a noticeable section of the population using it for anything. The fall of Soviet Union and "joint ventures" did practically nothing to change that in Russia. But, 30 years later — more than a generation later — it is common for Russians to link English-language media, even videos. This goes hand in hand with two other phenomena: shrill shrieks of ultra-patriots and an avalanche of English stems in everyday language (beyond "printer" and other legacy words).

Japanese trajectory was a little different. The massive acqusition of English stems happened much earlier, and it's normal for people to say "senks" instead of "arigatou". Members of game chat in of my gacha geimu would sometimes tell me not strain myself and just use English, "we all speak it, it's okay". But I thought it was just geeks. What clued me on the change was a significant increase in numbers of retail workers who spoke English. It happened on an identical schedule with Russia, almost overnight as these things go (starting in 2015 or so), and extended far into the cities that weren't known as tourist beacons, such as Nagoya.

In addition, there's a certain evidence that English is spreading around Pacific Rim. I saw Chinese and Thai tourists talking in English in Kyoto in 2019. Also, my wife visited Thailand and reported similar findings.

Not sure what to make of this all. Some observers in the U.S. expected Mandarin Chinese to spread in the region, and at times you hear recorded announcements in Japanese trains. But although many people say that it might be a good idea to learn Chinese, nobody actually uses it (except for narrow business uses, just like English in the 1970s). Certainly not in Russia! You'd think they'd learn German, but nope. The seemingly voluntary, grassroots raise of the interest in practical English, at times contrary to the official efforts, is what's most interesting to me.

UPDATE: In comments, Brickmuppet puts the start of the tide earlier: "I noted a vast improvement in english proficiency in the exchange students from Japan from about 2011 on." It took time for those students to grow up and enter the workforce.

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October 14, 2020

Four years without Steven den Beste

Hard to say if it were too short or too long since his last post.

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July 14, 2020

Banality: Breakfast 3, Fried pasta with cauliflower

This is a next level entirely. The taste is amazing with the cheese adding just the right crunch to overall the soft texture of both the pasta and the cauliflower. It feels much lighter than Brie. Usually, everything tasty must be well-fried, for the fats to scorch and provide the taste, but this is cheating.

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