Sarah Palin is allowed first dibs on Alaskan wolfpack kills.

calendar   Sunday - June 20, 2010

Group Nap

Ya kin larn somethin new every day!

Here’s today’s bit of arcanery, a not-guaranteed sure-fire conversation starter from the I never even thought about asking file. But since this is Father’s Day, I’m sure you dads (and moms) out there have been asked this kind of question many times before, so here’s the answer:

Sperm Whales Sleep Vertically

Often In Bunches


nap time for Moby and his buds

Scientists believe that Physeter macrocephalus [the sperm whale], which can measure up to 60ft in length and which has the biggest brain of any known animal, sleeps in a highly distinctive manner. According to researchers at St Andrews University, who tagged animals with recorders to follow their behaviour underwater, the sperm whale sleeps by taking short naps during slow, rhythmic dives. The animals are unconscious for no more than 10 to 15 minutes at a time over a few hours, however, and sleep, in total, for fewer than two hours a day. Thus sperm whales sleep less than any other wild mammal.

Unlike dolphins, which have been observed in captivity sleeping with only one side of the brain at a time, sperm whales switch off completely during these dives, the researchers added. “Many mammals show species-typical sleeping behaviour, such as dogs circling before lying down, lending support to the idea that sperm whales sleep during these drift dives,” says Dr Patrick Miller, of the university’s sea mammal research unit.

When napping, they tend to float just below the surface, and just bob along, sometimes sinking a little bit. They come up to breath once in a while, without really waking up. When they do come up, just the end of their nose sticks up, because the sperm whale has his blowhole on the front, off to the left, unlike most other whales who have blowholes more towards the middle.


A whale of a nostril. Um, blowhole. Eeeeww, giant whale boogers!!

The wind was picking up a little bit and Joao put me in the water very far away from them, up wind. I slowly drifted towards the group. They had stopped moving at all and I drifted into a group of slumbering giants. Most of them standing head up, some head down. The biggest one, maybe 15 meters long, was now just two meters away looking at me. Minutes passed and her head-up position made her a bit more approachable. Then she closed her eye as if going to sleep. While eyes shut she surfaced in head up position and blew her lungs clean right beside me. The sound was just awesome and made all my limbs feel like jellyfish. Water sprinkled over me like rain.
I spent 50 minutes together with the whales. They were acting like they were resting in each other’s company. They were completely silent, most of them hovering, but some swam momentarily under me, up to me, away from me. And I swam around amongst them. They just let me be there. I ended up at some point far down current and quickly lost contact with the group. It was over.

It is thought the research shows that sperm whales sleep much less than any other mammal on land or sea. The whales were recorded consistently performing the dives in each location which the study suggested indicated it was stereotypical for the entire species. Video footage showed six sperm whales eerily floating vertically in a motionless manner, with their heads either at or just below the surface of the sea.

Researchers said three of them were “unusually non-responsive” to the approaching boat, until it accidentally touched one of them.

Whole brain sleep, possibly REM. But only for a few hours a day. Do whales dream? Maybe so. Of what? Beats me.

Want more?

I suppose a h/t to Theo is in order, as I found something like the first picture there. But I looked up the rest of it.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/20/2010 at 02:55 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesAnimals •  
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Road Rage


You know what pisses me off when I’m behind the wheel? Other drivers. Stuck on stupid.

Sure, this is New Jersey. And the expectation is that everyone will be speeding almost everywhere. Especially on the highway. But if you don’t want to, that’s fine. Just don’t glue your vehicle to the passing lane on the highway and go no faster than 2 over. That’s you I’m talking to, entire state of Pennsylvania. Speed it up, or move it over. On single lane roads on nice days, you do the speed limit. Because the reality is that this isn’t the maximum speed you are supposed to drive, it’s the speed that you are supposed to drive. Not 30% less.

And you old farts. Yeah, you, the DMD/OGBs ( Dead Man Driving / Old Guy in a Buick ): your car has a gas pedal. Really, it does. Even your Buick. It’s where your foot should be when it’s not actively pressing the brake pedal. Try pushing it with your foot. The car doesn’t have autopilot. You aren’t saving any gas by putting it in “D” and just letting it go. But you are pissing off a whole lot of people behind you. And we know that you know that, and that this is the only way you can get your rocks off since your dick stopped working 35 years ago. Knock it off. Because you are expendable.

Gliding out to the end of the entrance ramp and then coming to a stop and then checking for traffic is stupid. You have mirrors, use them. And it’s annoying as hell when there’s a line of cars behind you, as there always is, because you’re a slow ass motherfucker. If your glaucoma is that bad, get off the road. If you can’t stand the sunlight even with those full face granny shades you wear, get off the road. If you’re such an addled old ninny that any speed over 35 is frightening, check your saggy old ass into a nursing home ... and get off the road. If you can’t drive the speed limit or drive along at the speed everyone else is doing, you’re the problem. You can tell because there’s a line of 20 cars behind you. Always. Everywhere. Screw you and your passive aggressive bullshit Mr. Greedist Generation. My size 10 is going right up your benefits laden retired ass unless you stop blocking traffic. This message applies even more to the middle aged yuppies and preppies who drive expensive and powerful sports sedans, like BMWs and AMG Mercedes. Cars with fantastic and powerful engines. Driven as if they were pedal powered. Slow as molasses. Afraid of the tiniest bit of cornering. Not only are these drivers jerks, they’re pompous assholes for choosing such vehicles and not having the skill or desire to drive them as they were intended. Not in the slightest. Trade it in. Go get a crossover minivan thingy from Infiinity. Just as “luxurious” but not at all scary, if that’s what’s keeping you back. And the rest of us won’t expect any performance driving from you, even though some of us know that that Infinity has 300hp under the hood and can actually handle a bit.

But highways are one thing, and regular town roads are another. And there sure seem to be a whole lot of drivers without much in the way of smarts. Or attention. Tell you what, if you really need to talk on that cell phone, or send somebody a text message, pull off the road. Somehow folks who can carry on a conversation with the other people in the car while driving can’t manage to talk on the phone behind the wheel. And the texters? You’re trying to get us killed. Not just yourself. I didn’t sign up for that, thank you. Go home and kill yourself. We don’t want to be part of it.

And you, the lazy bastige who never does a walk around, a “pre-flight” check on your car. Who doesn’t know that their brake lights don’t work. Or that their turn signals are out. Or that they have things dragging on the bottom of their car. Or one tire mostly flat. Geesh. Fix the car or get it off the road. Or those One Headlight Wonders and their first cousins the “I don’t need to turn my lights on until it’s utterly and fully dark”, who are closely related to the “I don’t need my wipers when it rains; I can see around all the raindrops” simpletons. You guys are idiots. Oblivious arrogant morons. If it’s getting to that time of day when half or more of the vehicles you see have coming the other way have their lights on, it’s time to turn yours on too. Hey, maybe you have Miracle Vision™ and can see in the dark. Who gives a shit? Turn your lights on so that we can see you. And this goes especially for those folks who had the “wisdom” to buy pavement and weather colored vehicles. Asphalt black, fog gray, and even dirty snow white in the winter. You’re hard to see. Flip ‘em on already. It’s called thinking about someone else for a change instead of me, me, me.

But the drivers that really provoke my ire are the ones who expect me to take part in their driving. The ones who don’t bother to look before turning, the ones who pull out with the expectation that I’m going to slow down and dodge for them. The ones who stay right next to me in the left lane when the sign says “left lane ends 1/4 mile” and make no effort to either speed up or slow down. Usually the only effort they do make is an effort to go just fast enough to stay in my blind spot. Asswipes. You expect me to speed up or slow down for you, or to jump out of my own lane so you don’t pile into me or the guardrail? I ought to let that happen. I really should. Arrogant fuck. You deserve to get into a crippling accident for your douchebag antics on the road.

The ones who don’t know what a turn signal is until they’re actually turning piss me off too. Oh sure, give everyone else a sudden panic attack because you just decide to jam on the brakes for no apparent reason at all! And then when we’ve all just scrubbed 5000 miles worth of tread off our tires to avoid not creaming you, and given ourselves a nice hearty surprise dose of adrenaline THEN it’s blink-blink blink as you make a left. At 2mph. You festering crotch wart. And don’t tell me that the corner caught you by surprise. You make that same turn 10 times a week.

So I’m coming home today from my morning job. Coming down the hill just outside of town, doing the 45mph speed limit.  I’m about 2 seconds from a cross street on my right, the little back road that goes into the back of the grocery store parking lot. And this woman in a white Toyota Avalon is coming out, just sitting there at the stop line. And she looks right at me and pulls out to make her left. And doesn’t even step on the bloody gas. Nothing. Just lets off the brake and slowly glides out into the street. If I’d been texting, she’d be dead. If my car was in crappy running condition with bad brakes, she’d be dead. If I had worn out tires, she’d be dead. But I don’t, so she isn’t. I jammed on the brakes and came to an eyeball popping stop maybe 10 feet from her car door as she slowly crosses in front of me. And she’s giving me the hairy eyeball and yelling out that I’m a jerk. Fuck you bitch. Did you think your millisecond of eye contact was going to make my car slow down by flamin’ magic? That that eyeblink was permission asked and received? Or is it that your brain is so addled that you think every road situation everywhere is “alternate merge”; the car ahead of me went past you, so now it’s your turn to go, and you’re going to take that turn thank you very much no matter the fuck what? It ain’t like that sweetie. There’s a thing called right-of-way. And you, on a side street with a stop sign, pulling out across traffic onto a busy road, don’t have any. At all. Which means you wait. But you wouldn’t know that, I know, because I see you and the rest of your relatives blowing past the yield sign just down the street every single day.

Sometimes I wish I had a rusty old tank to drive. A real one. I don’t even want the cannon, just the 8” thick armored steel front end. Or a ‘72 Vista Cruiser station wagon. (same thing almost) Some heavy duty accident-proof I-don’t-give-a-shit mobile. Maybe something with a great big snowplow on the front. Eye level. Just for revenge. Just to help Mr. Darwin thin out the losers from the gene pool. Because they’re out there, and they’re breeding unchecked.

And don’t even get me started on teensy tiny timid women who drive those houseboat sized SUVs. 10 under everywhere, 0-65 in about 30 minutes, full stop before turning, incapable of being driven on their side of the lane in a parking lot. Make that whale swim honey, or go get a Corolla. I don’t buy your “I only drive this for the kids” crap. I see you almost every day in that beast, and it’s always just you inside. Always. I walked past your Moby in the parking lot and looked in the windows. No soccer goals, no massive pile of kiddie toys. No quarter ton of power tools and 4 ladders. Just your iPhone socket, your travel latte cup, the dry cleaning you picked up, and 2 little plastic bags of groceries. All single serving sized stuff too. You ain’t foolin anybody.

We seem to have an awful lot of stupid drivers. Self-centered, unskilled, isolated, unthinking, inattentive, and distracted. Piss poor behind the wheel. And New Jersey has flatly turned down my request to mount Hellfire missiles to my roof. Hey, I’d just be helping everyone else out, come on! And I only asked for 6!!

Me and old Mr. Darwin have a solution. It’s brutal, which is how you knew it a Drewsolution would be. But it would work real well. 

Stuff this “junior operator” license bit for new drivers. Let 13 and 14 year olds on the road with just a written test. But not in cars or on motorcycles. Around town only, on mopeds and little scooters. 100cc and under, 3 speed auto transmissions. With bicycle helmets. The ones who survive can graduate to 250cc motorcycles at 16. Manual shift, with their butts out their in the elements. And real full face helmets. Still not allowed on the highways though. Teach them to be aware of everything, all the time. Everything. From engine speed to gear selection to road surface conditions to flying bugs to the smells in the air you breathe. That’s what motorcycles do. It’s another weeding out process. At 17 they get to drive cars. Small ones. Manual transmission only, semi-anemic 2 liter 4 cylinder engines. and the car has no radio and no iPod port. After 6 months of that we let them on the highways. 3 years of that and they might have enough awareness ingrained in them to be reasonable drivers the rest of their lives. And every 5 years when that license gets renewed, they have to pass a written test, and eye test, a reflexes test, and a significant road test. Maybe we’ll have a few less idiots that way. And a lot more people who learn to love driving, who know their limits and their vehicle’s limits, who thus pay attention and engage in the verve of it all, and who don’t become a hazard or an obstacle for the rest of us.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/20/2010 at 12:37 PM   
Filed Under: • planes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
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Today in History, June 20th


1756 – A British garrison is imprisoned in the Black Hole of Calcutta.
1787 – Oliver Ellsworth moves at the Federal Convention to call the government of the United States.
1837 – Queen Victoria succeeds to the British throne.
1840 – Samuel Morse receives the patent for the telegraph.
1877 – Alexander Graham Bell installs the first commercial telephone service in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


Posted by Christopher   United States  on 06/20/2010 at 09:37 AM   
Filed Under: • History •  
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Let Em Fry

Messing about in the kitchen again. Trying to make some proper fried chicken.

What, you thought this was a post about some execution or something? Ha! Tomorrow maybe, we’ll see who’s in the queue.

So, having had less than excellent results with other attempts at it, I’m trying the Martha Stewart method. To my surprise we can get rebroadcasts of Martha on our cable TV. Yay? She’s just so calm, it’s hard to watch her without thinking thorazine.

So anyway, the Martha Method is to soak the chicken in salted ice water overnight, followed by a solid day in buttermilk that gets a splash of Tabasco added just before the chicken comes out. Then a roll in flour that has salt and pepper added, then into the Crisco.

That seemed a bit flavorless, so instead of ice water I soaked the birdie parts in chicken broth with a good dollop of jerk sauce added. Not as much as last time, when I used half a bottle of the stuff and heavily coated each piece before soaking ... with resulted in self-igniting chicken. It was just too hot to enjoy, and that’s coming from a guy who loves seriously hot and spicy food.

So a light jerking, then follow the Method. I had a bit of a challenge getting really fresh chicken parts. Too much of it was short coded. So the pieces that I got were fresh, but probably a bit large. Rather. A single drumstick weighs a pound? That was one mighty big chicken. It practically gobbled.

So I fried them up, about 8 minutes a side and then another 8 minutes for the first side again. And the chicken wasn’t raw, but the meat was still red along the 1/2” diameter leg bones. Back into the oil for another 10 minutes. Then everything was cooked. “I like when the coating has that dark mahogany look” says Martha. Um, not me. “Dark mahogany” is this close to being carbonized.

So next time ... add a couple slices of raw onion to the jerk soak, and a big splash of Tabasco. Get the flavor level up. Add even more black pepper to the dredging flour. Maybe some paprika too? Try for moderate sized chicken parts, or take the oil temperature down to 325°. I want my chicken golden brown. Girl From Ipanema tan at the darkest.

Ok, off to work for me.

Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there!


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/20/2010 at 08:33 AM   
Filed Under: • Miscellaneous •  
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Happy Father’s Day

Another stupid Hallmark holiday. How does one celebrate Father’s Day?

I’m reminded of a Father’s Day back in ‘79.

I was working at a ‘party supply’, aka, beer carryout store. A rather ‘buxom’ (that’s a nice way of saying ‘overweight’) older woman bought some bottles of wine. She decided to tease me.

“Why aren’t you celebrating Father’s Day?” she asked.

“Ma’am, I’m not a father,” I answered. Admittedly, I was young and inexperienced. So I was totally unprepared for her reply.

“Well, why aren’t you going out and getting some pussy?” she asked.

My friend who was working next to me says I started blushing then. I’d never had an adult actually suggest that I should ‘get some’.

I gave her the change for her purchase. But the next three guys in queue started giving me names of ‘ladies’ who would be most helpful in being a father. Egads!

(always wanted to use ‘Egads!’ in a sentence.)


Posted by Christopher   United States  on 06/20/2010 at 08:56 AM   
Filed Under: • HumorPersonal •  
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calendar   Saturday - June 19, 2010

Lost It

Damn, I thought I posted last night on the rancid situation in the southwest. How vast tracts of land there are now “off limits” to Americans, and have been for nearly 4 years, because it’s too risky for them to go there. Because those areas are frequented by the coyotes and the narco-traffickers, and both groups are violently anti-gringo.

And I looked at the situation and realized that this ought to be a call to war. Territory of our nation seized by armed groups, our citizens kept from entering those territories for their own safety? How is this not an armed invasion by a belligerent force? Especially in this new age of non-uniformed, asymmetric warfare?

I was boiling mad, and called out the President for not doing his primary duty and defending the nation. And there was a bit of a rant about oath-takers and oath-holders and how maybe we should just do the right thing regardless of what those in charge say.

Yeah, it was probably a bit of an extreme post. But I stuck it up anyway.

And today I can’t find it. It’s gone. Lost. Never happened. Go figure. But I found the links again, so here they are:

Four years after federal officials quietly surrendered thousands of acres of America‘s border to Mexican drug gangs and illegals, there still are “no plans to reopen” the taxpayer-owned national park lands.

Roughly 3,500 acres of taxpayer-funded government land in Arizona have been closed to U.S. citizens since 2006 due to safety concerns fueled by drug and human smuggling along the Mexican border, according to a statement posted on the website for the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge.

Imagine the federal government closing a section of the Lincoln Memorial because it was under the control of Mexican drug lords and bands of illegal immigrants.

That scenario is playing out as reality in southern Arizona, where parts of five federal lands—including two designated national monuments—continue to post travel warnings or be outright closed to Americans who own the land because of the dangers of “human and drug trafficking” along the Mexican border.

Again, I can’t see how this is not a call to war. An utter dereliction of duty by our current president and by our past president. WTF, people, WTF?

Let’s see if this post evaporates too.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/19/2010 at 02:09 PM   
Filed Under: • Illegal-Aliens and Immigration •  
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calendar   Friday - June 18, 2010

What Do Arizona And Afghanistan Have In Common?

Like ROE, government regulations hinder the good guys

Hey, aren’t we seeing the same thing in the Gulf with the oil spill? Hmm ... I wonder when people will wake up and realize that we have TOO DAMN MUCH GOVERNMENT !!

Border Patrol agents must navigate a patchwork of environmental regulations dating back decades in order to police for drug cartels, smugglers and illegal immigrants—often on foot-and-horseback in some of the most vulnerable areas of the southwest border.

To unlock the legislative handcuffs, a group of House lawmakers are pushing a bill that would prohibit the Departments of Interior and Agriculture from taking any action that would “impede border security” on public lands.

The restrictions on those lands cover numerous laws, rules and interagency agreements, which the Department of Homeland Security has warned are getting in the way of securing the border at a “critical” time.

“It’s insanity,” said bill author Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah.

The basis for the restrictions dates back to the Wilderness Act of 1964 which established millions of acres of federal protected land and for the most part barred permanent roads and prohibited motor vehicles, motorboats, aircraft and any other “mechanical transport” from entering. For most casual hikers and backcountry campers, that’s not a problem. But as the border has become more porous over the decades, lawmakers say Border Patrol guards have found themselves at a disadvantage as illegal immigrants use the protected lands as a corridor to enter the United States.

Meanwhile, our enemies do what they damn please. It doesn’t matter whether those enemies are Taliban or coyotes, jihadis or drug cartels. The rules are being obeyed only by our side, and that puts our people at an insane disadvantage.

Border Patrol also can only drive into the wilderness areas in an emergency situation. That means it involves “human life, health, safety of persons within the area, or posing a threat to national security”—and the pursuit is “reasonably expected” to result in an arrest. Any time that happens, Border Patrol has to notify the local federal land manager to report on what happened. If the manager determines there was “significant” environment impact, they have to submit a written report.

The rules don’t end there. A House GOP aide said there are plenty of local rules unique to each region. Plus Border Patrol needs to navigate around rules dealing with endangered species.

The October letter from Homeland Security noted that Border Patrol was trying to work with Interior and the Forest Service regarding “Endangered Species Act issues related to Grizzly Bear and road use.” Biologists said vehicle use could be “detrimental” to the bears, but the letter said Border Patrol “must occasionally have motorized presence in those areas.”

Stupid seems to be the only limitless resource on the planet.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/18/2010 at 01:28 PM   
Filed Under: • Illegal-Aliens and ImmigrationWar On Terror •  
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Yeah, what he said

Over at American Thinker, Henry Percy cuts through the “nation of immigrants” fog ...

and decides that the southwest USA is ours, both by right of conquest and by right of purchase. So La Raza can Eff Off.

It’s worth a read.

In short, human history is the story of groups of people moving across vast distances, laying claim to territory, killing or subjugating the earlier inhabitants, intermingling with them, and moving on. The right by which any group lays claim to a piece of land is ultimately enforced by—force.

So let’s hear no more burbling about how “America is a nation of immigrants.” The president said it again in his press conference the other day. The statement is as vapid as declaiming, “The waters of America—our rivers and streams, our lakes and swamps, our bays and marshes—are...are...wet!” Immigrants? I defy anyone to name a country, just one, of the 35 in North and South America that is not “a nation of immigrants.” Is there one in Europe? The world? As far as I know, every country is “a nation of immigrants.” So next time you hear someone say “America is a nation of immigrants,” just laugh at him.


Expanding on one of the comments there, a link to a short post that pushes the “original inhabitants” theory to the extreme: the first people who inhabited the western hemisphere may have been white folks from Europe. How about them apples, Jose?

… while independent invention could account for these similarities (i.e., finding the same solutions to the same questions), the oldest Clovis tools are not on the Great Plains, or in the Great Basin or Southwest of the U.S. - where they should be if the Clovis people trickled in from Siberia and then fanned out across the continent - but rather they are found in the eastern and southeastern regions of the U.S. It’s possible that Ice Age Europeans may have crossed into North America by boats, hugging the edges of the great ice sheets that stretched from Greenland westward to what is now upstate New York.

The “Clovis-First” model, however, requires that all American sites older than Clovis be rejected, and this appears to be no longer possible. The Clovis-First model does not explain the apparent synchroneity between Clovis and the early Paleoindian sites of South America. Finally, a late-entry and rapid dispersal of humans across the New World is inconsistent with the distribution of genetic variation observed in Native American populations today. Thus, alternative models to explain the peopling of the Americas need to be developed.

Original inhabitants, indeed!


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/18/2010 at 12:50 PM   
Filed Under: • Illegal-Aliens and Immigration •  
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calendar   Thursday - June 17, 2010

Cogitatin’ the .45-60

An interior ballistics question

Throat length vs peak pressure in straight walled cases

Take two identical firearms. Chamber one for a straight walled cartridge, and chamber the other one for a longer version of the same cartridge. Assume both chambers are otherwise identical; equally tight or loose. Both firearms have identical barrels that are long enough to allow all the powder to burn before the bullet passes the muzzle.
.38 Special and .357 Magnum or .357 Maximum
.45-70 and .45-90
.45-60 and .45-70
.40 S&W and 10mm Magnum
.44 Magnum and .444 Marlin
.458 Win. Magnum and .458 Lott

Cut a perfect close fitting parallel throat in both firearms, but cut the throat longer in the firearm chambered for the shorter cartridge so that the distance from the inside of the case head to the point where the ogive of the bullet contacts the rifling leade is identical.

Choose a bullet that is long enough so that on firing it’s heel is still in the case of the shorter cartridge when the nose contacts the rifling. Let’s assume identical neck tension and crimps too, just to remove those variables from consideration.

Choose a powder charge that is safe and appropriate for the shorter cartridge and bullet and load both cartridges with that bullet, powder charge, and identical primers.

On firing, will both cartridges generate the same peak pressure? The same pressure curve? Or if the pressure curve is skewed on the larger cartridge, which way will it go relative to the smaller one’s curve?


exactly the same except for case length; do they work the same when the throats are adjusted?

I can see the pressure curve for the longer cartridge being skewed to the right, relative to the curve for the shorter cartridge, since even a full charge of powder in the shorter cartridge will be a less than full charge in the longer case. But my question begs the question of when peak pressures actually occur, relative to the position of the bullet and the friction and other forces acting on it.

Straight walled cases tend to throw nearly all their powder down the barrel as it ignites. They don’t have any of the turbulence benefit that bottleneck cases get, which tends to keep the igniting powder in the case for a longer period of time. All of them are “underbore”, except perhaps for the longest ones of their type (eg .45-120); this means, by volumetric expansion, that they all loose pressure very quickly as the bullet moves down the barrel.

With identical rifling, identical leades, and identical bullets, the engraving force required in both firearms should be identical as well. With matched case head to leade distances, the effective interior volume of both cases is the same at the point in space (and in time?) when the bullets contact the leades. The only difference is that the shorter cartridge may have taken a slightly longer amount of time to push the bullet to that point. A matter of a few microseconds perhaps. Those microseconds give the bullet a slight momentum advantage and allow the shorter cartridge’s powder charge to be a bit more fully burning, but perhaps burning at a lower chamber pressure due to the greater movement of the bullet.  (smokeless powder burns better and faster as the chamber pressure increases) Regardless, once both bullets hit the leades the chamber pressure will start to rise dramatically, since that is the first major bit of friction encountered by the bullets.

[ If you were to build a gun that had a barrel that was only as long as the cartridge case ... the bullet would be sticking out the end of the barrel when it was loaded; the “barrel” would only be the chamber ... when you fired the gun the bullet wouldn’t do much more than pop off the end of the case. You’d have all sorts of burning powder fall out as well. If you built that gun so that it’s barrel was only a chamber and a throat - a bullet diameter smooth tube about 2/3 of a caliber in length - the bullet would pop off going a bit faster, but not by very much. Build that gun with a few inches of actual barrel after that same chamber and throat, and you’ll start to get actual gun-like velocity from that bullet. It takes a bit of time to get the powder burning ( though we are talking about time slices relative to the beginning of what is very nearly an explosion; that bit of time is about 0.0001 seconds), and it takes quite a bit of pressure to make it burn properly. A few inches of rifled barrel give you that pressure because of the radical increase in friction that occurs when you try to cram a metal bullet into a grooved hole of the same or smaller diameter. This is the rifling and the leade (tapered leading edge of the rifling) that I keep referring to. This is why maximum chamber pressure and maximum bullet acceleration always happens in the first few inches of barrel. After that point, internal pressure is actually dropping fiercely, as is the rate of acceleration of the bullet, even though the bullet itself continues to accelerate. With a sufficiently long barrel the relatively constant friction of the bullet moving through the barrel will become greater than the diminishing level of gas pressure within the barrel, and the bullet will actually slow down (it’s rate of acceleration undergoing what mathematics calls a “change of concavity” - it switched from positive to negative), even as the last little bits of the powder are burning up and creating more gas. Here’s a picture:


This is the same exact situation, but looked at from a temporal perspective instead:


PS - these graphs illustrate a puny load. Pressures are usually much higher, and the time elapsed is less than half of this.
PPS - sources tell me it takes about 300 milliseconds to blink your eyes, though I always thought it was 10 times that fast

Yes, given sufficiently long barrels, the overall impulse of the powder charges is going to be the same: the areas under the pressure curves will be identical. A given powder charge will always generate the same amount of energy.

In theory a longer throat will always skew a pressure vs time curve to the right, but I don’t know how it will impact overall peak pressures. I have published load data with pressure figures for the longer cartridge, but I’m trying to develop an equal pressure load for the shorter cartridge, for which no published pressure data exists. Finding the peak of that curve is critical, and developing a load that comes near that peak is the object of this exercise. If I knew how the pressure curves related to each other, then load development would be much easier. Especially if it was a simple as their volumetric difference: the .45-60 holds 89% as much powder as the .45-70, so the answer could be a linear application of that ratio. By design the .45-70 does not have much of any kind of a throat. 0.05”. I have been unable to find SAAMI or CIP chamber specifications for the .45-60, but examination of the rifle in question shows that it has a throat about 0.3” long. And that 0.3” is exactly the OAL (OverAll Length) difference between the two cartridges. 

Going the other way, the .45-90 holds 17% more powder then the .45-70. Generally, as case size increases, the burning rate of the best choice powder decreases, so a powder that was a bit fast in the .45-70 will be just right in the .45-60, and one that was a bit slow in the .45-70 will be just right in the .45-90. But these cases aren’t all that different, so many powders should work well in all of them. Longer barrel lengths will mitigate that difference, and tend to favor the slower powders.

The .45-60 and .45-90 are obscure cartridges from long ago, and neither has a big following these days. Thus quality load data in a modern transducer generated format does not exist. Especially at pressure points beyond what the originals were able to generate with black powder. The .45-70 is actually the oldest of the bunch, dating back to 1873, but it has a huge following, and load data exists in 5 or 6 different pressure categories, for 4 different strengths of rifles, from nearly silent roundball loads suitable for rats in your basement right up to magnum loads suitable for elephant hunting. No other cartridge has such a varied categorization. The .45-70 is the definition of arcane, and becomes more so as the pressures increase. But beyond arcane is the land of here there be dragons, the realm of there ain’t no such puppy to be had. And that’s where modern pressure (or even known pressure) smokeless powder loadings for the .45-60 and .45-90 live. Or for custom chambered .45-70s like mine, which actually has a proper tight parallel throat. And I want to go to that realm and plant a flag, but I want to do it safely. This is a no-brainer exercise if you have a proper pressure barrel and a universal receiver and you happen to be White Laboratories. I’m not. And I don’t have the $10,000 that such equipment would cost. Sure, sure, use strain gauges instead. Great idea ... except that they work for round barrels, and the “test bed” rifle in question has an octagonal barrel. So I probably can’t get there that way either. Even having Bergara cut and chamber a custom barrel for a Contender is expensive, plus the strain gauge and software adds another half a thousand. I’d like to find a solution with math, which costs nothing. Except effort and worry.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/17/2010 at 03:22 PM   
Filed Under: • Guns and Gun Control •  
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calendar   Tuesday - June 15, 2010

Money In, Money Out

Looks like all the cash I got from selling the sofa will be spent on my car. Oh well. Now that summer is here with a vengeance, the A/C isn’t working. I did the DIY routine as much as possible, following the fantastic videos by RichPin on YouTube, here and here. Turns out that my compressor is fine, the wiring is fine, but the A/C won’t come on because the low pressure switch won’t allow it. That means that the system is low on coolant. I don’t think I have a leak; the car is going on 14 years old and the air had been getting weaker over the past few years. This year the compressor wouldn’t even turn on. My first thought was that it’s clutch was bad, a $150 part but one that’s fairly easy to install. Lucky me the clutch is fine. It just needs a recharge. I looked into those DIY recharge kits, and almost all of them have some kind of Stop Leak added to the refrigerant. From what I read, I don’t want that; Stop Leak can gum up the internals and is generally a bad idea. So I’ll take the car down to the local STS shop and have them do a proper evacuation, vacuum check, and a recharge. May as well have them do an oil change and a tire rotation at the same time.

I’ve been busy all day, starting my morning with an “emergency” unclogging of the tub. Sacrificed a wire coat hanger to get it done, but now the tub drains great. Forget drain cleaners, this is the way to do that job:


Lots more things I’ve got to get done today. Bowling tonight, then drop the car off. Looks like I’ll be working out some more .45-60 loads in the next couple of weeks, so I’ll have another installment on that saga at some point. Hey, at least I got to the bank and managed a haircut today in between all the other running around.

Let’s just pray that North and South Korea can avoid starting a shooting war this week ... it seems mighty close from what I hear ... and that Iran doesn’t precipitate a war with Israel with their “aid ships” running the Gaza blockade. And now we’ve got these two trying to break into MacDill AFB with a car full of guns? Jihad wannabes?? No one will ever admit that. Idiots, all of them, east and west. But this is what happens ... the saddle on the weak horse is big enough for everyone to ride at once. Thanks for nothing Odingus.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/15/2010 at 03:23 PM   
Filed Under: • Miscellaneous •  
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calendar   Monday - June 14, 2010

What’s Christopher reading redux

Well, I’m still on my David Eddings kick. I’ve finished the Belgariad and the Mallorean. Also finished Belgarath the Sorcerer. Currently on Polgara the Sorceress who is Belgarath’s surviving daughter. I first read these in the early 2000’s, before, during, and after 9/11. Eddings died in 2009 I saddened to learn.

But I just had to share this passage. Polgara should have been a lawyer.

I hadn’t altered Alreg’s size, nor tampered in any way with his clothing, so there was a man-sized toad in a mail-shirt and with a sword belted at its thick waist crouched bug-eyed on the royal throne, croaking in a shrill kind of panic.

The entire process had taken several minutes, and since Alreg’s throne stood upon a dais, it had been visible to every Cherek, drunk or sober, in the entire hall.

I sensed one of the bearded Chereks behind me reaching for his sword. When he grasped what he thought was his sword-hilt, though, he wrapped his hand firmly about the head and neck of a large, angry snake instead. “Don’t do that any more,” I told him, without bothering to look around. “You’d better tell your retainers here to behave themselves, Alreg,” I suggested to the enthroned toad. “That’s unless you have replacements handy. My Father doesn’t want me to kill people, but I think I can get around that. I’ll just bury them without bothering to kill them first. They’ll probably die of natural causes–after a while so Father won’t have any cause for complaint, now will he?

Emphasis added.

Honestly, Hollywood is churning out remakes of The Karate Kid and Red Dawn. Why can’t Hollywood tackle some really interesting stuff like the Eddings books?


Posted by Christopher   United States  on 06/14/2010 at 08:10 PM   
Filed Under: • HumorLiterature •  
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What Was His Price?

We heard last week or so that TOTUS Obama is pushing efforts to “Save The Whales” by ending the 24 year old ban on hunting them. I guess his logic is that less whales will be culled by actual hunting then are being taken for “scientific research”. All the greenies, from the tree-huggers to the spotted owl lovers, have their knickers in a twist. So do lots of normal folks. Leave Moby alone!

Environmentalists, already peeved with the administration’s handling of the Gulf oil spill, are accusing President Obama of breaking his campaign pledge to end the slaughter of whales.

The Obama administration is leading an effort within the International Whaling Commission to lift a 24-year international ban on commercial whaling for Japan, Norway and Iceland, the remaining three countries in the 88-member commission that still hunt whales.

President Reagen (PBUH) helped put the ban in place, and since then the US has been firmly against whaling. I guess this is more of that Fundamental Change those 52ers were Hoping for.

But today the news story is that Japan has been blatantly bribing the International Whaling Commission, with bags full of money and sweet hoochie on the side! And, just as suddenly as Obama’s reversal on a very long standing US position, they too have reversed themselves!

Revealed: Japan’s bribes on whaling

A Sunday Times investigation has exposed Japan for bribing small nations with cash and prostitutes to gain their support for the mass slaughter of whales. The undercover investigation found officials from six countries were willing to consider selling their votes on the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

The revelations come as Japan seeks to break the 24-year moratorium on commercial whaling. An IWC meeting that will decide the fate of thousands of whales, including endangered species, begins this month in Morocco.

Japan denies buying the votes of IWC members. However, The Sunday Times filmed officials from pro-whaling governments admitting:
— They voted with the whalers because of the large amounts of aid from Japan. One said he was not sure if his country had any whales in its territorial waters. Others are landlocked.
— They receive cash payments in envelopes at IWC meetings from Japanese officials who pay their travel and hotel bills.
— One disclosed that call girls were offered when fisheries ministers and civil servants visited Japan for meetings.

Barry Gardiner, an MP and former Labour biodiversity minister, said the investigation revealed “disgraceful, shady practice”, which is “effectively buying votes”. The reporters, posing as representatives of a billionaire conservationist, approached officials from pro-whaling countries and offered them an aid package to change their vote.

The governments of St Kitts and Nevis, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Grenada, Republic of Guinea and Ivory Coast all entered negotiations to sell their votes in return for aid.  The top fisheries official for Guinea said Japan usually gave his minister a “minimum” of $1,000 a day spending money in cash during IWC and other fisheries meetings. He said three Japanese organisations were used to channel the payments to his country: the fisheries agency, the aid agency and the Overseas Fisheries Co-operation Foundation.

Japan has recruited some of the world’s smallest countries on to the IWC to bolster its support. A senior fisheries official for the Marshall Islands said: “We support Japan because of what they give us.”
A Kiribati fisheries official said his country’s vote was determined by the “benefit” it received in aid. He, too, said Japan gave delegates expenses and spending money. The IWC commissioner for Tanzania said “good girls” were made available at the hotels for ministers and senior fisheries civil servants during all-expenses paid trips to Japan.

(April 24, 2010)

The International Whaling Commission has announced a controversial proposal to save thousands of whales by allowing the first legal commercial hunts in 25 years.

The proposal, to be voted on at an IWC meeting in Morocco in June, sets out a ten-year plan that would bring Japan, Iceland and Norway back under the control of the 88-nation body.

The three nations have continued whaling by exploiting a loophole in the international moratorium on commercial hunting, passed in 1986, that allows lethal “scientific research”. Together, they kill about 3,000 whales a year, ten times as many as in 1993.

The new proposal, released in Washington last night, would replace the ban with legalised quotas and would allow the IWC to monitor all whaling. It is an attempt at a compromise between whaling nations and others such as the US and Australia that have long been opposed to it.


The proposal allows 400 minke whales a year to be hunted in the Antarctic for five years, then lowers that limit to 200 for the following five years. It also allows limited hunts of other species including fin, bowhead and grey whales in specific regions.


Earlier today Japan said that it would push for higher quotas in the IWC plan.

Bought and paid, folks, bought and paid. And they’re not even trying to hide it. And as soon as this measure passes, there will be higher quotas on the way. You know it. And suddenly Obama has a change of heart? Makes you wonder, don’t it?

On the third hand, Japan, Iceland, and Norway have killed more than 35,000 whales since the moratorium went into effect in 1986. Call it 1500 per year. For “scientific research”. Of all the whale species, only the smaller Minke is not considered to be seriously endangered. Maybe the ban never worked too well to begin with; out beyond the line, in the empty corners of the oceans, the only rules that can be enforced are those backed up with sustained and accurate naval gunfire.


extensive scientific research proves

whale tastes great with a bit of wasabi and soy sauce

Lending a bit of credence to the impending sellout ... IWC chairman Christian Maquieira is “suddenly ill” and will miss the meeting where the all-important voting takes place. What’s better than voting “present” on your own pet legislation? Not being there to vote at all, so you can escape any blame. Even though he introduced the idea to begin with.

The chairman of the International Whaling Commission has fallen ill and will not attend its annual meeting due to discuss his proposal to control the annual whale hunt, a spokeswoman said Monday.

The absence of Christian Maquieira could complicate efforts to negotiate a deal to end the stalemate between pro- and anti-whaling countries that has continued since a moratorium on commercial whaling was adopted 25 years ago.

Maquieira circulated a proposal in April to allow limited commercial hunting for 10 years. He has said it would halve the roughly 2,000 whales killed annually by Japan, Norway and Iceland, which exploit loopholes in the whaling ban.

Spokeswoman Jemma Jones said the commission has informed the 88 member states that Maquieira would miss the meeting starting next week in Agadir, Morocco. It will be chaired instead by his deputy, Anthony Liverpool, who co-authored the proposal.

No details of the Chilean’s illness were released.

Something stinks here. Smells worse than a beached and rotting whale.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/14/2010 at 10:44 AM   
Filed Under: • Big BusinessEnvironmentObama, The One •  
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A Strange Instance Of Common Sense

So I’m driving across NJ yesterday to my Sunday job. The skies unzip and it’s pouring down. Crazy heavy rain, the kind you usually only encounter when you’re on a family driving vacation. Clear visibility down to about 50 yards. Rain pounding on the roof, coming down faster than the wipers could handle. To my amazement, not only did traffic on the NJ highway slow down to a relatively safe 45mph, nearly every driver put their emergency flashers on. And backed off each other’s bumpers to a reasonable following distance. And hundreds of cars and trucks drove like that for miles, until the storm let up. I have never ever seen such a thing happen before. Anywhere, not just the great highway insanity state of New Jersey. Is this some new law I’m unaware of? Or did common sense behind the wheel somehow suddenly spread across this state? I know NJ has the “wipers on, lights on” law, and that about 85% of drivers obey it. Later on when the storm had passed and the roads had drained off a bit, we all went back to our standard 10 over in the slow lane style of driving.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/14/2010 at 08:16 AM   
Filed Under: • Miscellaneous •  
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calendar   Saturday - June 12, 2010

Happy Tummy

Happy me, I sold the Natuzzi sofa to a neighbor today. It was a beautiful thing, a great black leather fancy Italian design sectional. Seriously swank. Softest leather I’ve ever seen, but thick, and very well made. I got it for a huge discount because the store had marked down the cream colored ones, but had put the label on the black ones by mistake. Still, even with 40% off it set me back a couple grand, 12 years ago. I got a lot of use out of it, though the corner piece never fit in this condo. It lived out in the garage under a tarp. When we almost moved last summer, the whole thing came out, and a few days later when we moved back under emergency circumstances, it all went into the garage. So we haven’t used it in nearly a year. And to be fair, it needed a bit of restuffing on one or two of the seats, though the leather is all perfect. So I got rid of it for a really low price, 1/6 of what it cost me. I’m glad to be rid of it, and she’s happy to get some quality furniture. Her boys are both in high school now, so she can look for more in furniture than stain resistance and raw durability.

But with cash in hand, we decided that we ought to go out to dinner. So we went down to the local ribs joint and I had a big plate of St. Louis style ribs. Well smoked and mildly seasoned, they were great. All sorts of sauces and spices on the side for the adventurous. Leftovers? Not a darn thing.

The side dish was mashed sweet potatoes. But they were better than any I’d ever had before. We figured out their recipe: cook the sweet potatoes, mash them up, add butter, a bit of brown sugar, and a good dash of bourbon. I’m not epicurean enough to be able to tell if it was Jack Daniels or Jim Beam, but the next time I make some, that’s what I’m doing. Fan. Tastic. Beats the daylights out of adding stupid mini-marshmallows.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/12/2010 at 08:48 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-Dining •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.


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