Hunting and Conserving Rhinos

May 20th, 2015

A Texas hunter bid $350,000 for the right to hunt a rhino in Namibia:

Knowlton’s $350,000 will go to fund government anti-poaching efforts across the country. And the killing of an older rhino bull, which no longer contributes to the gene pool but which could harm or kill younger males, is part of the science of conservation, he argues.

Naturally, this makes him a terrible person:

“I think people have a problem just with the fact that I like to hunt,” Knowlton said. “I want to see the black rhino as abundant as it can be. I believe in the survival of the species.”

Grab a Weapon

May 20th, 2015

As far back as the 3rd Century B.C. military men were ridiculing any concern with empty hand fighting as beneath them, James Lafond explains:

In an age when military men hacked each other to pieces at arm’s length, they could have cared less about unarmed fighting, as they knew it to be all but useless in a military context. Over the ages military establishments have either ignored the empty hand question, or have farmed it out to specialists, or made it the personal duty of officers.

For one example of the later let’s take the British military during the Zulu Wars of the late 1800s. The foot soldiers were recruited from a stunted and malnourished population living on starvation rations, and stood about 5-foot 6-inches and weighed around 140 pounds.

The Zulu warriors they fought were drawn from a well-nourished beef-eating population and stood about 6-foot and weighed in between 160 and 180 pounds, with some chiefs and famous warriors being of goliath proportions. The Zulus supplemented their thrusting spear and shield training with wrestling and stick fighting. These were formidable hand-to-hand warriors. As with most warrior cultures throughout history, the Zulus concerned themselves with weaponry and grappling; grappling being the way to obtain a weapon once one has lost his own, as well as a way to neutralize an enemy’s weapon once one has lost his. It is exceedingly rare to see any concern with empty hand striking as it is largely useless in armed combat.

The man in charge of the ‘physical education’ of the British soldier was his officer, a well-fed spoiled rich boy who stood 5-foot 10-inches and weighed in at about 170-pounds. This man would wrestle with pro wrestlers that he and his rich fellows would sponsor at home, as well as spar with famous prize-fighters. [Teddy Roosevelt did this in the white house when he was president!] This officer would then wrestle and box with his entire unit, lining them up and beating their emaciated asses, just like the prize-fighters had worked him and his rich friends over. The wrestling was intended to develop one’s ability to maintain his footing and his hold on his all-important rifle-bayonet, a fearsome weapon even when unloaded. The boxing was purely psychological conditioning, intended to fill the soldier with a tenacious confidence that he could endure the worst.

When the Brits were overrun in one battle, and their ammunition ran out, the Zulu’s suffered horrendous casualties in hand-to-hand combat. It was all about the bayonet. Even with empty guns, it was still the gun that mattered. We cannot forget, when writing unarmed combat scenes involving military combatants, that they are all indoctrinated — a most potent indoctrination, as it is built on a natural primate impulse to seek a weapon — to fight with empty hands only as a way to access a weapon or to deny enemy access to a weapon. There are patchy records of military men striking with fists when in desperate straits, though this is more an act of final defiance than a tactical option.

Maternal Mortality

May 19th, 2015

Between 1990 and 2013, the US’s maternal mortality rate surged 136%:

Even with that increase, the US’s current rate maternal mortality rate is still much smaller than that of many poorer countries — but by no means not all of them. Mothers in Uruguay, Lebanon, Libya, Kazakhstan, Chile, Albania, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Thailand die at lower rates. The average for developed countries, excluding the US, is just shy of 11 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.

maternal_deaths_per_100000_live_births_us_chile_uruguay_russia_chartbuilder

It’s not just the deaths. On top of the 1,200 American women who die every year of pregnancy-related causes, there are 60,000 “near misses,” or women who were really close to dying but survived. The combination of deaths and near-misses makes American women over 10 times more likely than their peers in, say, Austria or Poland to die of pregnancy-related causes — this despite the fact that the US’s per capita spending on maternal care is higher than any other country.

What’s behind this alarming spike in US maternal mortality?

Priya Agrawal, obstetrician and director of Merck for Mothers, identifies three leading causes of maternal death in the US: postpartum hemorrhage (heavy bleeding after giving birth), preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy), and complications arising from pre-existing health conditions. Women getting pregnant are increasingly less healthy, she says. “This year, one in five women [in the US] who become pregnant are obese,” said Agrawal at the Women in the World conference. “Then there’s diabetes and hypertension.”

So, American women are fat and out of shape? Well…

Good health care isn’t always available to mothers before and after giving birth, says Monica Raye Simpson of Sister’s Song, a non-profit group promoting reproductive rights for women of color.“The first barrier is access,” Raye Simpson told Forbes. “The second barrier is racial discrimination.” The black community is particularly affected by maternal mortality, with black American women being over four times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes than white peers.

MMA and Honor

May 19th, 2015

James Lafond discusses MMA and honor — starting with some history:

In the 19th Century boxing was a joint effort between working class ‘sports’ and aristocratic ‘sports’ to preserve a manly tradition of honorable combat in the face of a rising industrial war machine that overshadowed the single combatant. This was done in opposition to the middle-class who now ruled the political and economic world. Boxing was a spasm of masculine reactionary angst on the part of the now disenfranchised upper class that was no longer permitted to legally duel [for they officered the armies of the middle-class politicians and dueling to such a military establishment was as taboo as suicide to the catholic church] and the perennially disenfranchised lower class which had always aped their lords with less expensive and less lethal forms of man-to-man combat. Boxing therefore preserves much of the duel.

The referee generally does not use force but his voice and is regarded as more of an admonishing voice that one is breaking the code, than the MMA style ref who often yells and dives in and throws one fighter to the side. While the MMA style ref comes from boxing he is more of a law officer than an advisor and has little connection to the dueling second of old.

Boxing, like dueling, has such a severe limitation on combat options that a small margin of skill can achieve victory. This results in a usually stable fighter hierarchy in which top fighters reign for decades and second tier fighters act as gatekeepers. In contrast there are so many ways to lose an MMA fight that the sport will never have a decade long reign by a single champion in a given weight class, with the second tier fighters taking on more the role of circling wolves in relation to the champion than a hierarchy of gatekeepers and challengers. This does make for a good simulation of street level violence, down to the referee acting as law officer and ending the encounter.

Each generation of men to suffer under the mother-rule of civilization has sought their own masculine culture, usually as an attempt to keep alive the form of man-to-man combat engaged in by their immediate ancestors but in a current context.

Officers dueled with the weapons that their grandfathers had fought battles with.

Boxers fought with fists, not in the manner that brawlers did in free-for-alls, but according to the conventions of the duel.

MMA fighters keep alive some of the conventions of boxing, of the manly art of old, but also honor their fathers and grandfathers who once lived in a world where one could engage in a fight with another man and not be shot or stabbed or gang stomped, but pulled apart by the bartender, bouncer or peace officer.

James Altucher’s 10-Step Technique for Learning

May 18th, 2015

James Altucher presents his 10-step technique for learning:

  1. Love it.
  2. Read it.
  3. Try it. But not too hard.
  4. Get a teacher (plus the 10x rule).
  5. Study the history. Study the present.
  6. Do easy projects first.
  7. Study what you did.
  8. You are the average of the five people around you.
  9. Do it a lot.
  10. Find your evil plan.

Gentrification in Baltimore

May 18th, 2015

The fact of urban gentrification in Baltimore is that hipster homesteaders have moved into traditional working-class white enclaves:

These areas were sought by the first hipster pioneers to benefit from the protection of the tough whites in those areas who had held out against the black-on-white race purge that was the 70’s and 80’s in Baltimore. The end result is that the housing values go up so much that the working and poor whites must move out as they can’t pay the taxes.

Recently, beginning in the 2000s, Johns Hopkins University and Hospital have been buying up vast swaths of vacant property in East Baltimore [where Boomy the Nigerian cabby rescued the ‘blonde woman of the yuppies’] and along the Charles Village Corridor. This was in response to blacks preying on hospital and university staff. These large institutions are buying up the criminal seed beds which constitute perhaps a third of the black Baltimore economy [with welfare constituting roughly another third]. This has caused more damage to the drug gangs than any police action, and is covered in the final season of The Wire. Over the past two years a concerted effort to discourage white resettlement of Baltimore has been made by black criminal residents. However, the news spin and statistical manipulation engaged in by the leftist city government has successfully blinded the prospective home buyers of these facts until it is too late.

It is no accident that the prime targets of the mob attacks were the Shoppers supermarket [which was successfully defended thanks to the early warnings put out by black cashiers from the neighborhood], and the CVS drug store which the Mayor gave orders not to defend. Both of these locations were only established due to city government initiatives to bring businesses into the neighborhood.

Note that the most successful pockets of gentrification such as South Baltimore, Locust Point and Canton, fared better than the Hopkins controlled areas and the others, because they are neighborhoods with their backs against the water, and raiders have only one way out, with Locust Point, which terminates in Fort Mchenry National Park, being a virtual fortified position.

With the white trash priced out of the community, the protective basis for resettlement is now gone. Without nasty whites to fight the blacks at street level, and with the police now exposed as enfeebled, the hunt for Whitey is on in earnest. This is how I have lived my life, as a white hunted by blacks across an urban crimescape, what H.L Mencken famously called, “the ruins of a once great medieval city.”

Traction Magnates

May 17th, 2015

Back in the 1920s, most American city-dwellers took public transportation to work every day, but then a company called National City Lines, which was controlled by GM, bought up all the streetcars — or so the conspiracy theory goes:

During the 1800s, animal-drawn streetcar lines were built in cities across the United States. Starting in the 1880s, they were replaced by electrified streetcars, which quickly became the dominant mode of transportation in many cities.

Running streetcars was a very profitable business. Cities expanded, and people who found themselves living too far from work to walk depended on them. (Some real-estate developers built nearby suburbs around streetcar lines.) Over time, the businessmen who ran the streetcars, called “traction magnates,” consolidated ownership of multiple lines, establishing powerful, oftentimes corrupt monopolies in many cities.

Eventually, many of them contracted with city governments for the explicit right to operate as a monopoly in that city. In exchange, they agreed to all sorts of conditions. “Eager to receive guarantees on their large up-front investments, streetcar operators agreed to contract provisions that held fares constant at five cents and mandated that rail line owners maintain the pavement around their tracks,” writes Stephen Smith at Market Urbanism.

Streetcar in Traffic in Fresno in 1938

The real problem was that once cars appeared on the road, they could drive on streetcar tracks — and the streetcars could no longer operate efficiently. “Once just 10 percent or so of people were driving, the tracks were so crowded that [the streetcars] weren’t making their schedules,” Norton says.

In some places, like Chicago, streetcars retained dedicated rights of way, and they survived. Pretty much anywhere else, they were doomed. “With 160,000 cars cramming onto Los Angeles streets in the 1920s, mass-transit riders complained of massive traffic jams and hourlong delays,” writes Cecilia Rasmussen at the Los Angeles Times.

What’s more, in many cities the streetcars’ contracts required them to keep the pavement on the roads surrounding the tracks in good shape. This meant that the companies were effectively subsidizing automobile travel even as it cannibalized their business.

And paying for this maintenance got more and more difficult for one key reason: many contracts had permanently locked companies into a 5-cent fare, which wasn’t indexed to inflation.

Pre-Modern Life Expectancy

May 17th, 2015

Basing quality-of-life estimates on average life expectancy at birth warps our view of pre-modern life:

For Neanderthals and other pre-modern humans life was short and brutal primarily because they had to kill animals with handheld weapons at close range. Neanderthals who survived into their thirties looked like they had been pulled out of a Humvee that was hit by an IED. One fellow was missing an eye, an arm, a thumb and a foot! These guys suffered from no known diseases. However, their main food [according to chemical analysis of their bones] was the auroch — basically a rodeo bull — which they had to kill be wrestling with it, stabbing it, and smashing it with rocks!

For a Neanderthal 35 years old was as old as it is for an NFL running back or a lightweight boxer. If one imagines a world where such athletes were executed at retirement, and that all men were such athletes, you get a good idea of the climate for thirty-something folks in the Old Stone Age.

Mature Stone Age hunting and gathering societies, which had not yet invented alcohol, and which did not live with disease bearing domesticate animals, and did not engage in repetitive chores that wear away their connective tissue, produced healthier warriors and women than more technologically advanced societies until the 20th Century. Although few men survived to old age due to constant small scale warfare, male leaders and women living into their 70s was common. As with other apex predators, like lions, most of a primitive’s day consisted of leisure activities.

Agriculture caused people to live in one place, which encouraged disease. With the addition of domestic animals living in close proximity, humanity acquired the measles, all the pox diseases, and venereal disease [don’t ask how]. The result was that few children lived to age five. This is reflected in the fact that many societies did not name children at birth, and that children were seen as a burden until they were able to engage in the horrid economy which the adults were shackled to.

An agrarian man typically worked from sunrise to sundown doing a small cluster of repetitive motions, resulting in a terribly worn body by about age 30. The woman had it no better, on her knees grinding grain all day long, and becoming arthritic before age 30.

This was a nasty way to live, so conquerors lived according to the more ancient primitive tradition. The apex of the population — the nobility and royalty, being the top 5% — continued to live as primitives, hunting and fighting and enjoying leisure time, and making all of those great scientific, literary, artistic, and military advances.

The common agrarian person was a machine, a brute who ate, worked, shat and died in misery, and was regarded as subhuman by his masters, who lived, essentially, as a primitive warrior class.

Note that the age of majority has always been based on man’s prime as an athlete or war fighter. Ancient Greek warrior-athletes, Roman soldiers and medieval knights were not considered fit for combat until age 21, and were regarded as pretty well shot by 40. This has not changed, with modern boxers and football players considered subpar until age 22 and over the hill by age 35. Likewise, various social rights, such as firearms licenses, drinking privileges, voting rights, and military service, have typically not been granted until the 18–22 year age range. It has also remained nigh unthinkable for a head of state to be younger than 35 years of age. This athletic life span corresponds with the hunting life span of the Neanderthal auroch hunter.

Young Feathers

May 16th, 2015

Jetman Yves Rossy and protege Vince Reffet fly around Dubai in a professionally produced video dubbed Young Feathers:

The Same Restless Quest for Physical Excellence

May 16th, 2015

Gottschall had to make a decision about what his book was going to be about:

Violence is a huge topic, and I found that the kind of violence that I was really interested in was the duel, broadly understood. In my definition of the duel, we have everything from sports to a staring duel to a pissing contest to certain kinds of arguments, and so forth. So I stayed away from the more tactical, real-world, self-defense type of writing.

One of the reasons I think your article on the topic is so great is that I think every guy our age can relate to this. Men with families suddenly realize, “Holy shit. My dad doesn’t live with us anymore. If somebody comes through that door, it’s my job to deal with it.” So I absolutely have thought about that.

I live in a place — southwestern Pennsylvania, right on the border with West Virginia — where almost everyone owns a gun. And most working-class guys carry their guns everywhere.

So I’m living in the heart of gun culture, but I’m not a gun guy. I didn’t grow up with them; I was never a hunter; my dad was never a hunter. I’ve shot a handgun, and it really scared me. I also enjoyed it as I got more comfortable with it. And I do think about getting a gun. I’m not comfortable being at such a force disadvantage when everyone else is armed.

Right now, my self-defense, home-invasion plan is based on an ax handle that’s within easy reach in the kitchen, and I also have a hatchet in my bedroom. I chose the hatchet very carefully. In the sitcom, the dad always keeps a bat handy. But a bat is too long. You can’t swing it in a hallway, and it’s also not as terrifying as a hatchet.

[...]

A few times a year in my small town, one of these monkey dances goes off, and the guys are carrying guns, and they shoot each other. Or they shoot each other after a road-rage incident.

I think we have very similar attitudes toward guns and gun culture. I’m not an abolitionist, but I would like the laws to be stiffer. Now I can walk into a gun store in my town and buy military-grade weapons. You’d be shocked by the amount of firepower you can buy — .50 caliber sniper rifles and the same shotguns the Marines carry in Iraq or Afghanistan. It doesn’t matter whether I know how to use these things — I can just walk into a store and buy them.

And if I do get a handgun, I can take it to the sheriff’s department, and in about as much time as it would take me to order a value meal at Wendy’s, they will give me a concealed-carry license. There will be no screening at all to see whether I’m qualified to carry a gun in public — which I absolutely am not. That’s one of the reasons I haven’t gotten a gun in the first place: I don’t know how to use one.

Gottschall clearly isn’t comfortable with — or particularly informed about — guns or gun laws. That makes this stand out even more:

My little brother is a federal law enforcement officer, and he’s also a firearms instructor. He came up recently to visit, and we went out to the range. Part of why I was attracted to the idea of owning a gun was self-defense, and part of it was that I’ve been fascinated by guns since I was a little kid, and I want to play with them. It seems like a lot of fun. And I had a great time. It was probably because I had such a skilled teacher. My brother really knows what he’s doing, and he knows how to make it safe. Shooting with him, and seeing his expertise, I had a tiny eureka moment. I suddenly realized that when it comes to the use of firearms, my brother is a badass martial artist. And I think that a lot of people who like training with guns are probably drawn to it not only for practical reasons, but also in that same restless quest for physical excellence that draws people to a martial arts dojo.

Yes, a lot of people who like training with guns are on the same restless quest for physical excellence that draws people to a martial arts dojo.

Oxford’s Influential Inklings

May 15th, 2015

C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were two of Oxford’s Influential Inklings, but Lewis didn’t feel that he and Tolkien had influenced one another:

I don’t think Tolkien influenced me, and I am certain I didn’t influence him. That is, didn’t influence what he wrote. My continual encouragement, carried to the point of nagging, influenced him v. much to write at all with that gravity and at that length. In other words I acted as a midwife not as a father. The similarities between his work and mine are due, I think, (a) To nature — temperament. (b) To common sources. We are both soaked in Norse mythology, Geo. MacDonald’s fairy-tales, Homer, Beowulf, and medieval romance. Also, of course, we are both Christians (he, an R.C.).

Ethnic Cleansing in American Cities

May 15th, 2015

Henry Dampier describes the wildly successful ethnic cleansing of New York City:

In NYC, America’s capitol of capitalism, the proportion of Whites was cut in half from 1950-2000, from 90% to about 45%. That’s about 7 million to around 3.5 million — a displacement of 3.5 million, which must include some fertility suppression as well.

[...]

Getting rid of 3.5 million Whites from one city in less than a century is an impressive feat, especially because it required no cattle cars or forced marches. How did they get it done, and with such clean hands, also?

Well, one easy way to do it is to teach in the schools that the ethnic group you want to get rid of is really evil and a source of all the bad things in history. Anyone who has been through the post-1960s education system knows that this is a major theme.

Another great thing to do is to encourage women in the ethnic group you want to get rid of to go in for long educations and strenuous careers, rather than having kids. If they have lots of kids, they’re harder to physically remove from the cities you want to get rid of them in.

[...]

All of this works great — in a short period of time, you can remove millions of people from the target ethnic group, forcing them to move to economically marginal areas, solidifying political control for your ethnic group and whatever coalition that you’ve brought along for the ride.

Finally, you want to soft-pedal the enforcement of criminal laws– especially symbolic, humiliating ones like rape — targeted against the population that you want to suppress or remove. Instead of executing criminals, you want to make a pretense of ‘rehabilitating’ them, providing them with long trials, generous probation periods, good-behavior releases, expensive prisons, and other forms of coddling based on relatively recent philosophical developments.

This makes it so that the ethnic group you want to get rid of knows that the police aren’t really on their sides, or are otherwise incapable of doing much. Meanwhile, you call any attempts at organizing defense by the group you want to displace either ‘terrorism’ or ‘organized crime.’

This policy is nothing more than a way of seizing territory and property from the people you want to get rid of. Using this policy, you can extract resources from healthy, successful people using coalitions of barbarians guided by glib sophists. It’s so effective that you can distribute the spoils from the millions of people you chase away to your cronies. Who said the era of rape & pillage was over? It’s just as effective as it ever was.

That’s democracy in the modern West. Conservative parties generally exist to prevent significant resistance to these campaigns from forming — by misdirecting attention to meaningless non-issues while people are prevented from living out good lives in the cities that their ancestors built in the wilderness.

An Effort to Civilize

May 15th, 2015

A huge percentage of the head trauma from boxing and MMA goes back to a single, simple mistake, Gottschall explains:

It’s long been assumed that we’re stuck with this amount of risk, and that current levels of brain trauma are intrinsic to boxing and MMA. I don’t think that’s true at all. A huge percentage of this head trauma goes back to a single, simple mistake. In an effort to civilize combat sports, authorities mandated padded gloves and instantly made the sports far more savage. Granted, putting gloves on the hands seems like a nice thing to do. If you were being punched in the brain by a powerful man, wouldn’t you rather he strap a pillow around his fist? But the glove doesn’t do anything to diminish your brain damage. In fact, it magnifies it massively, because your opponent can then throw his hands around with wild abandon, punching from all angles — using the kinds of punches that you could never throw with bare fists without destroying your hands and crippling yourself in the course of a fight.

If you took the gloves off, you’d change the sport. You’d no longer see windmilling, Roy Nelson-style overhand rights being thrown. You’d see far fewer hook punches thrown. It would revert to a much simpler bag of techniques that was closer to the repertoire of old-fashioned bare-knuckle, and you would see a lot more grappling.

So BJJ guys, for instance, would be much more competitive, because you couldn’t just beat them to death from the top position. And BJJ guys could also attack more effectively, because bulky gloves make for clumsy grappling and give the opponent a good handle to grab onto. (Just to give one example, the rear naked choke has become harder and harder to finish in MMA because defenders just grab onto one of the attacker’s hands with both of theirs and hold on for dear life. The glove provides the grip that makes this defense possible.)

Fighting bare-handed would also move the UFC back to what it originally was — a pretty good simulation of an actual fight. Putting on gloves is completely artificial. You are basically giving the fighters weapons that allow them to do more damage, and this completely changes the character of a human fistfight.

[...]

It was a great PR move, sort of like the football helmet. The football helmet was a way of making kids safer, or so they thought. It was a well-intended humanitarian gesture, but it was a horrible mistake. It made football more dangerous.

You would diminish the risk in MMA to an acceptable level if you just took off the gloves. This would reduce the violence from an insane, NFL level to a rugby level. You would still have a rough, tough, bloody sport that really tests its fighters, but you wouldn’t introduce silly risks that don’t need to be there.

The Real Problem With America’s Inner Cities

May 14th, 2015

America is not reverting to earlier racist patterns, Orlando Patterson writes — in the New York Times:

[C]alling for a national conversation on race is a cliché that evades the real problem we now face: on one hand, a vicious tangle of concentrated poverty, disconnected youth and a culture of violence among a small but destructive minority in the inner cities; and, on the other hand, of out-of-control law-enforcement practices abetted by a police culture that prioritizes racial profiling and violent constraint.

First, we need a more realistic understanding of America’s inner cities. They are socially and culturally heterogeneous, and a great majority of residents are law-abiding, God-fearing and often socially conservative.

According to recent surveys, between 20 and 25 percent of their permanent residents are middle class; roughly 60 percent are solidly working class or working poor who labor incredibly hard, advocate fundamental American values and aspire to the American dream for their children. Their youth share their parents’ values, expend considerable social energy avoiding the violence around them and consume far fewer drugs than their white working- and middle-class counterparts, despite their disproportionate arrest and incarceration rates.

In all inner-city neighborhoods, however, there is a problem minority that varies between about 12.1 percent (in San Diego, for example) and 28 percent (in Phoenix) that comes largely from the disconnected youth between ages 16 and 24. Most are not in school and are chronically out of work, though their numbers are supplemented by working- and middle-class dropouts. With few skills and a contempt for low-wage jobs, they subsist through the underground economy of illicit trading and crime. Many belong to gangs.

Their street or thug culture is real, with a configuration of norms, values and habits that are, disturbingly, rooted in a ghetto brand of core American mainstream values: hypermasculinity, the aggressive assertion and defense of respect, extreme individualism, materialism and a reverence for the gun, all inflected with a threatening vision of blackness openly embraced as the thug life.

Such street culture is simply the black urban version of one of America’s most iconic traditions: the Wild West.

Low Moments in How-To History

May 14th, 2015

The hipsters at Boing Boing ironically share this shooting gallery plan as a low moment in how-to history, because shooting BBs at rabbit and squirrel silhouettes is obviously wrong:

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