Sledgehammer's Cycles

Sledgehammer's Cycles
Sledgehammer's Performance and Custom Cycles

Monday, April 20, 2015

240 Years Ago

Yesterday was the 240th anniversary of the battle of Lexington and Concord. It used to a celebrated day, a time to remember the men who stood against all odds and freedom over servitude.

There's one man who took part that day that I want to highlight. Samuel Whittemore. He was 78 years old in 1775. When the battle took place he was out working in his fields. When he saw the retreating British column, however, he armed himself, and then he attacked with a musket and two pistols.

That is correct. 78 years old, alone, with a flintlock musket and 2 flintlock pistols, he chose to fire on a column of British Regulars. Expending his three shots, he drew his sword and attacked.

The British troops, understandably, shot him in the face and bayoneted him 18 times.

He survived the assault, and lived another 18 years, dying at the age of 98.

He is honored as the State Hero of Massachusetts.

GAO report on hacking airplanes: incompetent and irresponsible?

The US government released a report yesterday warning of security threats facing modern aircraft, leading to stories from major publications claiming in-flght Wi-Fi could be hacked to take control of a passenger plane. But according to Dr Phil Polstra, a qualified pilot and professor of digital forensics at Bloomsburg University, the report contained much erroneous information.

Polstra believes the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report was put together by people who didn’t understand how modern aircraft actually work. He took umbrage with the claims that as airplanes are increasingly connected to the internet, the control systems on planes are in danger of being remotely compromised. He told FORBES over email that the avionics networks, which deal with flight controls and coordination, were simply not connected to the internet like Wi-Fi services. “To imply this is irresponsible.”
This story broke while I was on vacation and ignoring the 'net, and so I didn't comment then.  Now the plot thickens.  The Government Accounting Office has a history of misinterpreting cyber risk:
GAO staffers have demonstrated repeatedly that they do not understand how attacks and networks and operating systems work - at the deep technical level. That means their reports have been forcing government agencies to spend money in precisely the wrong ways - so much so that a close analysis will show that GAO is culpable in enabling the deep and pervasive cyber penetration that has occurred across many elements of the federal government. GAO staffers blame OMB's regulations for their errors when they are called to account. Isn't it time for GAO leadership to take a hard look at the damage caused by its findings and the people they have making those findings?
I hadn't considered inter-Agency budget rivalry as a driver for Press Release driven bogus security news, but that's something that will play a part in my analysis from now on.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

New Shotgun Malfunction

This guy bought a new shotgun last week. With the safety on and his hand nowhere near the trigger, racking the shotgun closed will cause the gun to fire. He has a comment on the Four Rules that he thinks is important.

I'll bet the first one was a surprise. 

Beach memories

I'm back in the ATL watching the TV Newscritters foaming at the mouth in excitement at the tornado warnings.  We're not in Punta Cana anymore, Toto ...

Not a tornado in sight.

View from the beach chair.

It was pretty nice to decompress.

Persecution in 2015

Seventy-five years ago our grandparents looked at the persecution of the Jews under Nazi Germany and swore never again.

Today, the rest of the world sits idle while Christians are being executed by ISIS in Ethiopia.

It's been a year since the Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped and sold into slavery. The hashtag Bring Back our Girls campaign has not moved Boko Haram to release any of them.

I support The First Lady on this one, I think she should be out there bringing attention to the kidnapping, rape, and enslavement of children. I also think her husband should be asking Congress for a declaration of war.

If what remains of the civilized world mean to stop the genocide of non-Muslims by ISIS, Boko Haram, and other extermist groups, it's going to take men with rifles, tanks, and bombs with orders to destroy these organization and those that support them.

Until then it's pretty much #businessasusual    

Friday, April 17, 2015

Science Experiment

How many hard drives with 5.56 NATO ammo penetrate? How does that compare to 7.62x54 Russian in a Mosin-Nagant? This is science.

First the 5.56...

Now the 7.62x54...

There you have it. The old Russian rifle is 3 hard drives deadlier.

Personally I am disappointed. When they loaded that green tip round I expected it to plow through all those hard drives, tunnel straight through the berm, and continue out over the horizon.

Things I've learned in Punta Cana

Una fresco is local lingo for "a cold one" (beer).  The bartenders all grin when a gringo like me orders one.  Heh.

When you go for a walk on the beach all the way to the point (end of the picture), your legs complain about the workout.  Water has a lot more resistive force than air ...

It's hard to get away to the WiFi zone without getting my butt kicked.

Flying back tomorrow, and so blogging (by me) will be back to normal soon.  Of course, ASM826 is doing a fine job of keeping the free ice cream machine stocked with cold, yummy pixels.  Thanks, buddy!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Vietnam Memoirs : Part 1

 UPDATE: Brigid gives it a thumbs-up review.

Don Bonsper was a 1965 graduate of the Naval Academy. His first year post graduation was spent in Costa Rica as a Fulbright Scholar. His second year was spent as a Marine Lieutenant in Vietnam. He completed a career in the Corps and retired in 1985. Here's a short bio.

He has written a book about his experiences in Vietnam. It's a personal memoir of his first six months serving a Lieutenant in an infantry platoon with the Second Battalion, Ninth Marines. I read it over the last few days and stayed up long past my usual lights out to finish it last night.

I learned of this book from a friend of Don's who recommended it to me. It's available on Amazon and I recommend it to you.

It's a very personal story by a man who clearly remembers what it was like to be an officer going on patrol for the first time, to be far away from his new wife, and try to survive and help his men survive while carrying out the mission they were assigned.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Makes Me Wonder if I Could Beat Him

I play a fair amount of chess. I used to play face to face, tried some tournaments, now it's mostly on-line.

Never tried to become a Grandmaster by using a chess program on an iPhone, though.
“The basic problem is that it’s incredibly easy to cheat with a phone,” says Nigel Short, an English chess grandmaster who once was ranked third in the world and is now 60th. “You can have some application running on your phone, and it’s quite easy to conceal. … My dog could win a major tournament using one of these devices. Or my grandmother. Anybody could do this.”

B.A.G. Day

Today, in homage to Tax Day, is B.A.G Day.

If you participated, leave your 2015 selection in the comments. If you couldn't afford a new gat or just have so many you push them off the sofa to have a place to sit down, then take your favorite to the range and get some practice.

Here's one of my favorites, back when it still looked sorta new.

It's weird to unplug from the 'net for 36 hours at a time

I could be on more often, but quite frankly I don't want to.

I have better pix on the camera, but need to upload them to the laptop. Might get to that here, but I might not.

"Here" is Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. It's pretty easy to unplug here, which was the point.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Officer Involved Shooting

This is from two years ago.

Two officers making a traffic stop for a driver that ran a stop sign. The officer on the passenger side has left the vehicle and has walked around behind so to make an approach on the driver's side of the stopped car. Then the driver gets out. If he had been aiming, the outcome of this one would have been very different.

The newspaper report is here.

Here's the officer's car afterward. You can see where the rounds impacted the car as well as the holes in the windshield where the officer returned fire.

When we are having a national discussion about police behavior, I think it's important to remember what sorts of situations can occur and how fast things go wrong.


People that have a lot of experience with firearms and are comfortable around them can get lax. They "know it's not loaded" instead of checking. Muzzle discipline goes by the wayside.  And a fun afternoon shooting clays turns into this.

It's not an accident. The shotgun didn't "just go off". The shotgun was loaded, pointed in an unsafe direction, and the trigger was pulled. It's a negligent.

Monday, April 13, 2015

While Borepatch Works On His Tan

While Borepatch works on his tan, I have a follow-up question from my weekend.

How do you get dots of tinted water-seal off of vinyl siding?

All in all, I'd rather be risking skin cancer on the beach.


Better pix coming when I get them loaded onto the laptop, and the laptop on the WiFi network. A lot of the charm here is that this isn't trivial.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone