Tag Archives: what we’re reading

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Sep. 30, 2020)

Autumn is now fully upon us here in western PA, and with the long, dark evenings comes more time for inside pursuits like writing. I have a biggish 2020 USPSA season wrap-up in the pipeline, along with some other revolver-related content (what can I say, I have a one-track mind), and parvusimperator has a few intriguing drafts going too.

War in the East: Azerbaijan and Armenia kick it off

Defense

Pretty Pictures

The ‘Rona and Associated Cultural Phenomena

Science and Technology

China

Guns Etc.

Decision 2020

Grab Bag

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Sep. 23, 2020)

Any thoughts on what we should do for the upcoming 100th edition of What We’re Reading?

WuFlu

  • Is SARS-CoV-2 a product of gain-of-function research? – Gain-of-function research being the head-scratching idea that it’s somehow wise or worthwhile to turn viruses which can’t infect humans into viruses which can, to, I dunno, see if it can be done? Cue Ian Malcolm quote.
  • In that tweet, a guy called Peter Daszak is quoted on the subject of enhancing ‘SARS-related CoVs’, back in November 2019 – Here he is in Boston Magazine, identified as president of an organization that funded the Wuhan Institute of Virology, vehemently denying that research at that institute which involved identifying spike proteins that could cause bat viruses to infect humans and making new viruses from them could have possibly caused a human outbreak of a bat coronavirus in Wuhan.
  • Elsewhere in that Twitter thread, there’s some speculation that virologists who (rightfully, it seems to me) consider gain-of-function research to be an awful idea aren’t speaking up for professional reasons; who wants to be remembered as the person who caused the entire world to ban their field of research? Besides people with a sense of perspective, or, you know, morals.

Defense

3D-Printed Guns

A special topic! There have been exciting developments in the field.

Non-3D-Printed Guns

Other Science and Technology

History

Decision 2020 Etc.

Grab Bag

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Sep. 16, 2020)

Buckle up. We’ve got a lot to cover this week, and (because I submitted more articles than parvusimperator) a myriad of topics.

China

Defense

I got almost all the way through the week’s articles before I had to start a defense section.

Science and Technology

History

Guns

Grab Bag

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Sep. 9, 2020)

While drafting these, I keep on forgetting I’ve already shared match videos, and have to go dig them out later. Oops.

Defense

Guns

Science and Technology

  • In China, GitHub is a bastion of free speech – Because GitHub is HTTPS-only, China can’t ban repositories individually, and China’s technology industry has enough clout to keep the Party from banning GitHub altogether.

Riots etc.

Grab Bag

  • Eternal Brexit – The article didn’t quite pay off the title—in particular, it seems to insinuate that Brexit is, rather than being eternal, likely to come to some sort of conclusion as the EU tires of the whole process.
  • The planning of US physician shortages – It’s because think tanks in the 80s concluded that there would be a glut of physicians, and people made plans based on that.

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Sep. 2, 2020)

Two weeks and a short post is what you get when both of your hosts are on the road and/or occupied in such a way as to prevent a great deal of reading.

Coronavirus

Defense

Guns

Grab Bag

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Aug. 19, 2020)

We’ll call it a biweekly-what-we’re-reading this time.

Your correspondent writes to you from the New Mexico countryside, watching the scrubland give way to thin forest as the Southwest Chief wends its way toward Chicago.

Random Thoughts

  • One of the set of frequently-wrong ‘thought leaders’ on Twitter (Yglesias, maybe?) had the shocking realization that, although Chicago started as a rail hub, it’s now mainly a large city on the basis of network effects. Like, you know, every city.
  • The Planes of Fame museum in Chino, CA is worth a visit, if you’re into airplane museums. They have the only airworthly A6M with an original Nakajima engine.

WuFlu

  • How to test every American for the coronavirus every day – The short version: spit test strips at a low, low price per unit. As accurate as PCR testing? No, but much easier to mass produce. It would cost a few billion dollars, but you can find that behind the sofas on Capitol Hill, and the economic benefits would be massive.

Defense

Guns

  • Testing rifle muzzle brakes – The methodology is ingenious. Parvusimperator has some additional thoughts, which I believe he’s turning into a full post.
  • Parvusimperator and I saw, in the latest issue of the USPSA magazine, a review of a custom-fit earplug guy. Unfortunately, he isn’t coming this far north this year. Fortunately, I ran across Decibullz, a silly name for a mold-your-own-earplugs solution. I haven’t had very good luck with in-ear protection beyond you classic orange foamies, but I’m hopeful that a custom fit and the so-called percussive filters will a) serve more comfortably for a full day of shooting, and b) let me hear things while still blocking shooting noise. There will be a review to come.
  • Duncan v. Becerra opinion – The train wending its way toward Chicago originated in the greater LA area, where my wife and I spent some time quarantining with her family, who are also people of the gun, and you can bet this was a topic of excited conversation.

Grab Bag

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Aug. 5, 2020)

If I call it ‘Weekly What We’re Reading’, maybe I won’t have to feel so bad about missing Wednesdays.

Coronavirus

Defense

Science and Technology

Guns

Grab Bag

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Jul. 29, 2020)

Missed a Wednesday again. Oops.

Books

  • Celestial Matters, a science fiction novel where the science is that of ancient Greece.

China Watch

Defense

Games

  • Star Wars Squadrons hands-on from PC Gamer – parvusimperator and I both cut our teeth on the X-Wing games of the end of the last millennium and the start of this one, and we’re both going to withhold judgment on this one until we’ve seen it in action. That said, there are reasons for cautious optimism.
  • 12 minutes of Star Wars Squadrons in-game footage – It looks… pretty good. All the debris and huge space constructions to fly around inside are, together, something of a space flight sim trope, but it looks pretty much like Modern X-Wing Alliance otherwise.
  • Computers: ha ha, we’re better at chess than you. Humans: oh yeah? – 5D Chess with Multiverse Time Travel! (Granted, the computer is pretty good at it.) It’s chess, except with two time dimensions (and an unused spatial z-axis counting as the fifth dimension from the title). Talking about games sounds like describing the plot to a Terminator movie.
  • MS Flight Simulator 2020: Ars Technica hands-on – The PC Gamer hands-on was similarly effusive. I don’t do much flight simming presently, with summertime pursuits weighing heavily upon my time, but man, do those clouds look good.

Science and Technology

Guns

History

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Jul. 22, 2020)

Another two-week gap, and this time, I’m writing it on Tuesday night so I don’t run out of time tomorrow.

WuFlu

China-Watching

Defense

Science and Technology

Games

  • A train sim that’s actually hard? – In a 2016 article (holy cow, has it been that long?), I perhaps snidely referred to games in the transport simulator genre as ‘podcast screensavers‘. I also slagged off Train Simulator and its fans as ridiculously easy and bad at games, respectively. So, when Flare Path chieftain Tim Stone said, “This train simulator is hard” (albeit in more words), my ears perked up. Not so much that I’ve bought the game yet, but nevertheless, it’s on my radar now.
  • Can a Formula 1 car actually drive upside-down? – Unfortunately, building a test track for this in real life is still not feasible, so we have to settle for simulator runs.

Grab Bag

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Jul. 8, 2020)

Still busy here, hence the double delay in getting this done. Maybe when the project I’m working on at the office slows down? But then, I have several other ones lined up afterward, so maybe not. (I guess I’d rather be busy than the alternative.)

Hong Kong

  • China forced an oppressive state security law through Hong Kong’s government, laying the groundwork to fully tear down the two-systems… system.
  • UK offers British citizenship to three million Hong Kongers eligible for British National Overseas passports – We’ll take the ones who like guns, if Britain doesn’t want them.
  • I saw it said on Twitter that one distinction we in the West should be careful about is this: the sentiment in Hong Kong is more in favor of autonomy (as part of China) than it is about independence (from China). … for now, at any rate. The seed that became the United States was an argument over representation. Look where we are now.

Defense

Technology

Guns