They have just one thing in common: They're Gear Patrol-approved.
Whether you want to know the going price for a bottle of Pappy 15 or Wild Turkey 101, this is the Instagram account to follow for the price-conscious bourbon nerd.
Visit Uncrate for the full post.
Visit Uncrate for the full post.
For most professional artists, designers, and photographers, the Adobe Creative Cloud is an essential toolkit. If you want to work in the creative industries, you really need to know this software. The Complete 2020 Adobe CC Certification Bundle provides a great introduction, with nine video courses covering Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, and other top apps. You can currently get the training for just $39 via MakeUseOf Deals.
As with any professional tool, Adobe software can be a little daunting when you first get started. This bundle offers a guided tour, along with advanced tips and tricks from the pros.
Along the way, you discover how to edit images with Lightroom; design stunning logos and graphics with Photoshop and Illustrator; and produce eye-catching videos with Premiere Pro and After Effects.
While most of the courses aim to provide a broad education, some focus on individual skills. For instance, you can learn how to design flyers with InDesign or edit vlogs in Premiere Pro.
You get 64 hours of video tutorials in total, including many hands-on projects and exercises. Just as importantly, each course offers a certificate of completion to prove your new skills.
64 Hours for $39
This training is worth $1,800, but you can get the bundle now for just $39 with lifetime access included.
Prices subject to change
Read the full article: Become a Creative Genius With 64 Hours of Adobe CC Training for $39
The digital age has made it easy to capture and store photos that you can access in just a few seconds. But most of us probably have a plethora of old photos in a drawer or somewhere else that signifies a special memory with family or friends.
To help bring those old prints to the modern age, there are a number of great photo scanners that can scan photos to a digital format.
We’re highlighting seven of the best photo scanners.Kodak SCANZA Digital Film and Slide Scanner Kodak SCANZA Digital Film and Slide Scanner Buy Now On Amazon $159.98
Along with photos, you might have old images only on film or a slide. The Kodak SCANZA Digital Film and Slide Scanner can quickly and easily convert those to a digital format in just a few seconds. The portable scanner is compatible with Super 8, 35mm, 110, and 126 films along with 35mm, 110, and 126 slides. Kodak provides all of the adaptors for the different formats, too.
The scanner features a 3.5-inch LCD screen that can tilt up if necessary. On-screen instructions help you select the correct adapter to use and also allow you to view the image. You can do quick edits on the scanner screen and interface. All of the images can be saved at up to 22 megapixels. If you’re not around a computer for exporting, the images can be saved to an optional SD card or even viewed on a TV screen with the included HDMI cable.
2. Doxie Go SEDoxie Go SE Doxie Go SE Buy Now On Amazon $179.00
A great portable photo scanner, the Doxie Go SE is completely wireless. A built-in rechargeable battery means you can scan up to 400 images on a single charge. You can store up to 4,000 images in the small scanner’s memory before having to sync with a computer. To increase the memory, you can also add your own larger SD card.
All of your photos can be scanned in a resolution of up to 600 dpi. With Doxie’s software, compatible with macOS and Windows, you can save and edit photos or send them to cloud storage services like Dropbox, iCloud, OneNote, or Evernote.Epson FastFoto FF-680W Epson FastFoto FF-680W Buy Now On Amazon $599.99
If you have a mountain of photos to scan, take a look at the Epson FastFoto FF-680W. At 300 dpi resolution, you can scan as fast as one photo per second. The high-resolution photo scanner can also scan at up to 1,200 dpi with prints 8.5-inches wide and smaller. It can also capture any notes on the back of a photo in a single scan. The scanner is able to handle different sizes of prints in a single job to save even more time.
Thanks to built-in Wi-Fi, the scanner doesn’t need to be placed near a computer, but you can connect it to a computer if necessary. Along with a computer, you can automatically send scans to Dropbox or Google Drive to access anywhere. Epson includes Mac or PC software that allows even inexperienced users to edit, crop, and restore the images.Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner Buy Now On Amazon $149.00
The Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner is a great portable picture scanner for old and fragile photos. Instead of having to put the photo through a feeder, the device acts as a small flatbed scanner. Just remove the lid and flip the scanner over to scan up to a 4×6-inch image in an album or other location. The images, up to 300 dpi, are sent to an SD card.
A 1.7-inch LCD screen shows the scans. The scanner takes power from 4 AA batteries. For larger images, the Mac or PC software can reassemble all of the originals into a final print. The software also allows you to combine an image with a voice recording that can help tell the story behind the picture. No special player is needed to view the result.Plustek Photo Scanner ePhoto Z300 Plustek Photo Scanner ePhoto Z300 Buy Now On Amazon $198.99
As you could probably tell by the name, the Plustek Photo Scanner ePhoto Z300 is specifically designed for images. The scanner supports 3×5-inch, 4×6-inch, 5×7-inch, and 8×10-inch photos. You can save scans to a Mac or PC at 300 dpi or 600 dpi. With speed in mind, a 4×6-inch photo can scan in just two seconds.
A special soft roller will help protect fragile photos from any damage or scratches during a scan. The included software allows you to quickly and easily restore the old image with many different quick fixes. More advanced editing functions are also available.Epson Perfection V550 Epson Perfection V550 Buy Now On Amazon $177.25
The Epson Perfection V550 is a great way to scan any photos to digital using either a Mac or PC. Along with prints, you can also scan 35mm slides, negatives, and film. The high-resolution scanner can save images at up to 6,400 dpi, which allows high-quality reprints at up to 17×22-inches. To help get to work quickly, there’s no warmup time, unlike some other models.
You can scan multiple photos on the flatbed scanner simultaneously thanks to auto edge detection that crops each image and saves it as a separate file on a Mac or PC. When scanning film, special technology will help remove the appearance of dust and scratches for the best possible image. An Easy Photo Fix feature will also help bring faded photos back to life.Canon CanoScan Lide 400 Slim Scanner Canon CanoScan Lide 400 Slim Scanner Buy Now On Amazon $87.39
You can save space on a desk when using the Canon CanoScan Lide 400 Slim Scanner. The scanner is able to scan upright without any difference in image quality. The scanner uses USB-C, so you’ll just need one cable for operation and power.
The picture scanner can capture images up to 8.5×11-inches at up to 4,800 dpi. A special scan function can also send images directly to cloud storage services like Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox. The scanner can is compatible with both Mac and PC.
Preserve Your Memories With the Best Photo Scanners
There’s no need to worry about losing precious and important photos. Using one of these photo scanners, you can take your old images and enjoy them for many more years to come in a digital format.
For more help bringing images into the modern age, take a look at the best ways to scan and digitize old photos.
Read the full article: The 7 Best Photo Scanners for Backing Up Old Photos
Getting fit isn’t easy. If you want to live a more healthy lifestyle, it takes perseverance and a good attitude on the journey
But the good news is that technology can help. In tandem with a smartphone app, a smart scale can help keep you motivated to lose weight. Some models can also calculate BMI and track changes in your body composition.
Here are seven of the best smart scales on the market.QardioBase 2 Wireless Smart Scale and Body Analyzer QardioBase 2 Wireless Smart Scale and Body Analyzer Buy Now On Amazon $100.00
A great all-around choice is the QardioBase 2 Wireless Smart Scale and Body Analyzer. You’ll use the scale with the companion app available for smartphones and even the Amazon Kindle Fire. All of the information that the scale collects syncs with other apps, including Apple Health, making it a perfect companion to use with an Apple Watch. You can also sync with MyFitnessPal, Google Fit, and others.
Along with weight, the scale measures BMI and tracks changes in your body composition like muscle percentage, body fat, water, and bone. If you don’t want to worry about specific numbers, you can switch to a smart feedback mode that will help you recognize progress with emojis.
The built-in battery provides up to a year of use on a single charge. The scale can recognize up to eight unique users, making it great for families. The scale also features a dedicated pregnancy mode that allows women to track their weekly progress and even add pictures to the numbers. You can select from a white or black version of the scale.Fitbit Aria 2 Fitbit Aria 2 Buy Now On Amazon $99.00
If you’re firmly a fan of Fitbit fitness trackers, make sure to take a look at the Fitbit Aria 2. The smart scale measures weight, body fat percentage, lean mass, and BMI. All of that information will sync to your Fitbit dashboard, and is viewable in the app and on the Fitbit website.
Thanks to the tight Fitbit integration, you can see precisely how your activity impacts weight. All of the information is shown in easy-to-understand graphs. When you reach a goal weight, you’ll earn achievement badges and share with friends through the app.
The scale takes power from three AA batteries. Up to eight different users are recognized using the Aria 2. You can select from a black or white version of the scale.Withings Body+ Withings Body+ Buy Now On Amazon $79.00
The Withings Body+ is another great scale to use with Apple Watch. You can view all of the information from the scale on the companion Withings Health Mate watch app. It also syncs with other major apps like Apple Health, Fitbit, and Google Fit. You can monitor body weight, body fat, water percentage, muscle mass, and bone mass.
Powered by four AAA batteries, the scale can go for up to 18 months before needing to switch the cells out. When stepping on the scale, you can view the daily weather forecast and see the previous day step count if you’re using a Withings activity tracker. Anyone with an Amazon Alexa device can also take advantage of a skill to find out about weight trends by day, week, or year with a simple voice command.
The scale, available in black or white, tracks the information of up to eight different users. There is also a pregnancy mode that offers additional insight and a baby mode for small children.Garmin Index Smart Scale Garmin Index Smart Scale Buy Now On Amazon $113.32
Another popular maker of fitness trackers, Garmin, has a smart scale that can be used within its own ecosystem. The Garmin Index Smart Scale measures a number of different metrics, including weight, body mass index, body fat, and skeletal muscle mass. The scale recognizes up to 16 different users.
You’ll use four AAA batteries for power that can last up to nine months. All of the information is available to view in the companion smartphone app or the Garmin Connect online account. You can select from either a black or white version of the scale.Eufy BodySense Smart Scale Eufy BodySense Smart Scale Buy Now On Amazon $29.99
The Eufy BodySense Smart Scale is one of the best smart scales for anyone on a budget. The scale can measure several different data points, including weight, body fat, BMI, bone mass, and muscle mass. The scale recognizes up to 16 unique users.
The recorded data is available to view in the companion app, too. All of the measurements can also sync with Apple Health, Google Fit, and Fitbit. The scale uses three AAA batteries for power.iHealth Lite Wireless Smart Scale iHealth Lite Wireless Smart Scale Buy Now On Amazon $79.99
Your whole family can easily use the iHealth Lite Wireless Smart Scale. The scale can track measurements for up to 20 unique users. You can see both weight and BMI results in the companion app. The information can also sync to Apple Health and Samsung Health.
This makes the iHealth Lite among the best smart scales for Apple Health. An ambient light sensor will automatically adjust the LED screen so you can easily and clearly see the readings in any room. The scale takes power from four AAA batteries.RENPHO Bluetooth Body Fat Scale RENPHO Bluetooth Body Fat Scale Buy Now On Amazon $22.99
The RENPHO Bluetooth Body Fat Scale can measure 13 different data points, including weight, BMI, body fat percentage, body age, muscle mass, and skeletal mass. Athletes can take advantage of a special mode that provides more accurate body composition information. The mode is also for anyone with above-average muscle mass and activity levels.
Along with the companion smartphone app, the scale can also sync with Apple Health, Samsung Health, and Google Fit. Apple Watch users can view the data on their wearable device thanks to the RENPHO app. You’ll use three AAA batteries for power, and the scale can track data from an unlimited amount of users.
The Best Smart Scales to Help Track Weight Loss
Using one of these smart scales, you can better track your weight loss and view different trends from all of the different information collected.
And using a smart scale is just one piece of technology that can help you become more fit. Make sure to take a look at our rundown of the best fitness trackers with heart rate monitoring as well.
Read the full article: The 7 Best Smart Scales of 2020
The American dietary guidelines recommend, as they have for years, reduced-fat or skim milk.
But mounting evidence suggests this dietary focus on milk with less fat might not necessarily be the right move. A new meta-study from the University of Toronto surveyed a wide range of studies from across the world and found that kids who drank whole milk, not reduced fat, were more likely to avoid obesity.
Milk has been a fundamental part of the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for years. (If you’re curious, you can read the whole thing, for between 2015 and 2020, here.) It specifically recommends reduced fat or skim milk. Those dietary guidelines aren’t just a blog post of recommendations; they inform, just for example, what’s given in public school meals. And yet even as the Trump administration tries to remove Obama-era restrictions on, for example, flavored milk, reduced fat remains the only option for kids.
This hasn’t gone unnoticed. A bipartisan proposal, which never really went anywhere, tried to allow whole milk, both flavored and unflavored, in public schools. Partly this is to help out the foundering dairy industry, and partly it’s to strike a blow at what’s seen as unfair nannying. But what if it might actually be better for one of the country’s biggest public health problems?
The University of Toronto researchers surveyed 28 studies across seven countries, looking specifically at how the amount of fat in milk consumed is correlated with childhood obesity. It found that children who drank whole milk had a 28 percent higher chance of avoiding childhood obesity.
Possible reasons for the surprising conclusion go both ways: there are plausible explanations that support the idea that whole milk is better for fighting obesity, and there are explanations that suggest the opposite. An example: maybe whole milk gives a feeling of being full, leading kids to eat less food. That would be a result that indicates whole milk is better for nutrition.
But then there are other problems. Many parents give whole milk to underweight kids to get them to gain weight; that would throw off the studies, because those kids wouldn’t qualify as obese, but it would certainly have no relation to their milk consumption. Or maybe parents of overweight kids give their kids reduced-fat milk to lose weight. Same problem.
That said, this connection has popped up a number of times in several studies, and is worth investigating further. It may not be the case that whole milk is better for kids than skim—but we also can’t conclusively say that it’s worse yet.
The post Study Finds Reduced Fat Milk More Associated With Obesity Than Whole Milk appeared first on Modern Farmer.
We all know what to think of when we hear the term bonsai: dwarf trees. Or so Shinobu Nozaki titled his book, the very first major publication on the subject in English. Dwarf Trees came out in the 1930s, not long after the Japanese art of bonsai started drawing serious international attention. But the art itself goes back as far as the sixth century, when Japanese embassy employees and students of Buddhism returning from sojourns in China brought back all the latest things Chinese, including plants growing in containers. By six or seven centuries later, as scrolls show us today, Japan had taken that horticultural technique and refined it into a practice based on not just miniaturization but proportion, asymmetry, poignancy, and erasure of the artist's traces, one that produces the kind of trees-in-miniature we recognize as artworks, and even masterworks, today.
It hardly needs saying that bonsai trees don't take shape by themselves. As the name, which means "tray planting" (??), suggests, a work of bonsai must begin by planting a specimen in a small container. From then on, it demands daily attention in not just the provision of the proper amounts of water and sunlight but also careful trimming and adjustment with trimmers, hooks, wire, and everything else in the bonsai cultivator's surprisingly large suite of tools.
You can see a Japanese master of the art named Chiako Yamamoto in action in "Bonsai: The Endless Ritual," the BBC Earth Unplugged video at the top of the post. "Shaping nature in this way demands everlasting devotion without the prospect of completion," says its narrator, a point underscored by one bonsai under Yamamoto's care, originally planted by her grandfather over a century ago.
You'll find even older bonsai at the National Bonsai Museum at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington D.C. In the video "Bonsai Will Make You a Better Person," curator Jack Sustic — an American first exposed to bonsai in the military, while stationed in Korea — shows off a Japanese white pine "in training" since the year 1625. That unusual terminology reflects the fact that no work of bonsai even attains a state of completeness. "They're always growing," say Sustic. "They're always changing. It's never a finished artwork." In National Geographic's "American Shokunin" just above, the titular bonsai cultivator (shokunin has a meaning similar to "craftsman" or "artisan"), Japan-trained, Oregon-based Ryan Neil, expands on what bonsai teaches: not just how to artistically grow small trees that resemble big ones, but what it takes to commune with nature and attain mastery.
"A master is somebody who, every single day, tries to pursue perfection at their chosen endeavor," says Neil. "A master doesn't retire. A master doesn't stop. They do it until they're dead." And as a work of bonsai literally outlives its creator, the pursuit continues long after they're dead. The bonsai master must be aware of the aesthetic and philosophical values held by the generations who came before them as well as the generations that will come after. Wabi sabi, as bonsai practitioner Pam Woythal defines it, is "the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death." Shibumi (or in its adjectival form shibui) is, in the words of I Am Bonsai's Jonathan Rodriguez, "the simple subtle details of the subject," manifest for example in "the apparent simple texture that balances simplicity and complexity." Looked at correctly, a bonsai tree — leaves, branches, pot, and all — reminds us of the important elements of life and the important elements of art, and of the fact that those elements aren't as far apart as we assume.
Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.
The Art & Philosophy of Bonsai is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooks, Free Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.
These grave houses, located at Salem Baptist Church Cemetery, mark the final resting places of Clemons* Mercer (1832-1881) and Jane Elizabeth “Janie” Johnson Mercer (1835-1880). Clemons Mercer served in the Third Seminole War in Florida and contracted malaria there in 1856, which he never completely recovered from. He was later a lieutenant in the Emanuel County Militia (Captain Moring’s Company) during the Atlanta Campaign in the Civil War. Janie Mercer bore him 11 children, all of whom lived to adulthood.
Gary Lee writes: Local lore is that it was raining the day of her burial and her husband promised that another raindrop would never touch her grave. Her family actually rebuilt these a few years ago. Also near her are two of her sisters, Hattie and Adeline who were married to twin brothers, George Washington Lee and Henry Clay Lee who gave the land and the materials for the church.
*also recorded as Clemmons Mercer
Piles of French Novels, Vincent Van Gogh, 1887
Among lovers of Vincent van Gogh, the Dutch artist is as well known for his letter writing as for his extraordinary painting. “The personal tone, evocative style and lively language” of his correspondence, writes the Van Gogh Museum, “prompted some people who were in a position to know to accord the correspondence the status of literature. The poet W.H. Auden, who published an anthology with a brief introduction, wrote: ‘there is scarcely one letter by Van Gogh which I, who am certainly no expert, do not find fascinating.’”
Auden was, of course, an expert on the written word, though maybe not on Van Gogh, and he refined his literary expertise the same way the painter did: by reading as copiously as he wrote. “When it was too dark to paint,” writes University of Puerto Rico professor of humanities Jeffrey Herlihy Mera at the Chronicle of Higher Education, “Van Gogh read prodigiously and compiled a tremendous amount of personal correspondence.” Much of his writing, especially his letters to his brother Theo, was in French, a language he learned in his teens and spoke in Belgium, Paris, and Arles.
Van Gogh’s command of written French, however, came from his reading of Victor Hugo, Guy de Maupassant, and Émile Zola. “Vincent loved literature,” the Van Gogh Museum writes. “In general, the books he read reflected what was going on in his own life. When he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a minister, he read books of a religious nature. He devoured Parisian novels when he was considering moving to the French capital."
In his letters to Theo, he weaves together the sacred and profane, describing his spiritual and creative strivings and his unrequited obsessions. In his reading, he tested his values and desires. We get a sense of how Van Gogh's reading complemented his pious, yet romantic nature in the list of some of his favorites, below, compiled by the Van Gogh Museum.
- Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (1843)
- Jules Michelet, L'amour (1858)
- Émile Zola, L'Oeuvre (1886)
- Alphonse Daudet, Tartarin de Tarascon (1887)
- The Bible
- John Keats, The Eve of St. Agnes (1820)
- George Eliot, Scenes of Clerical Life (1857)
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1887)
- Hans Christian Andersen, What the Moon Saw (1862)
- Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ (1471-1472)
- Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1851-1852)
- Edmond de Goncourt, Chérie (1884)
- Victor Hugo, Les misérables (1862)
- Honoré de Balzac, Le Père Goriot (1835)
- Guy de Maupassant, Bel-Ami (1885)
- Pierre Loti, Madame Chrysanthème (1888)
- Voltaire, Candide (1759)
- Shakespeare, Macbeth (c. 1606-1607)
- Shakespeare, King Lear (1606-1607)
- Charles Dickens, Hard Times (1854)
- Emile Zola, Nana (1880)
- Emile Zola, La joie de vivre (1884)
“Vincent read moralistic books often favoured among members of the Protestant Christian community” in which he was raised by his minister father. He looked also to the morality of Charles Dickens, whose works he “read and reread… throughout his life.” Zola’s “rough, direct naturalism” appealed to Van Gogh’s desire “to give an honest depiction of what he saw around him: farm labourers, a weathered little old man, dejected or working women, a soup kitchen, a tree, dunes and fields.”
In Alphonse Daudet’s 1887 Tartarin de Tarascon, “an entertaining caricature of the southern Frenchman,” Van Gogh satisfied his “need for humor and satire.” Despite the stereotype of the artist as perpetually tortured, his letters consistently reveal his good-natured sense of humor. From French historian Jules Michelet’s 1858 L’amour, the artist “found wisdom he could apply to his own love life,” tumultuous as it was. He used Michelet’s insights “to justify his choices,” such as “when he fell in love with his cousin Kee Vos.”
In a letter to Theo, Vincent expressed his emotional struggles over Vos's rejection of him as “a great many ‘petty miseries of human life,’ which, if they were written down in a book, could perhaps serve to amuse some people, though they can hardly be considered pleasant if one experiences them oneself.” He is at a loss for what to do with himself, he writes, but "‘wandering we find our way,’ and not by sitting still.” For Van Gogh, “wandering” just as often took the form of sitting still with a good book.
Vincent Van Gogh’s Favorite Books is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooks, Free Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.
The world is full of wonders, and that includes some that even scientific research hasn't figured out yet. But curious scientists are working on them. Some are fairly inaccessible and difficult to study, some have been studied but have more than one plausible explanation, and some are just baffling. The picture here seems to show what's at the end of the rainbow, a bubblegum pink lake named Lake Hillier.
This small, saltwater lake on an island off Western Australia is only one-third of a mile long, but its bubblegum-pink color makes it especially striking. The lake was documented in 1802 by British explorer Matthew Flinders, who took a sample of its waters but failed to understand how it got its startling hue. Tourists can visit only by helicopter, though it is safe to swim in the waters.
Scientists today suspect the color is due to the presence of a pink alga, Dunaliella salina, and/or a pink bacterium, Salinibacter ruber. But unlike other pink lakes around the world, such as Lake Retba in Senegal, Lake Hillier’s color doesn’t fluctuate with temperature or sunlight—so the investigation goes on.
That explanation leaves us with another question, though- hasn't anyone taken samples from the lake? Are the helicopter pilots charging too much? Lake Hillier is only one of many geologic mysteries around the globe that scientists haven't yet solved. Read about six more of them at Mental Floss.
(Image credit: Kurioziteti123)
…nor useful, or even smart. They are at best an unfortunate design that can be worked around. More likely — not even in the worst case — they are clunky, undesirable, unnecessary, stupid designs that are downright dangerous. And yet, like polyester bell-bottoms, they are making a comeback, for no reason that I can discern other than people are tired of writing about useful, workable, practical handguns.
They are not traditional – actual DA handguns had been around for nearly a century prior. They aren’t even DA – they are DA/SA. The only reason that they are called “traditional DA” is because the manufacturers needed to call them something other than “obsolete” once the striker-fired polymer-framed pistols started kicking their butts. “Traditional DA” is a stupid term – “DA/SA” is the original and accurate term – and you look stupid if you use the stupid term.
Yeah, I know the SEALs used them for a while – the SIG P2XX stuff. My understanding is that their selection had nothing to do with the DA/SA operation and all to do with reliability. Which brings me to the fact that while the DA/SA transition is, in Jeff Cooper’s words, “a brilliant solution to a non-existent problem”, it can certainly be mastered to the point where it doesn’t matter. No question. Got it. But that last time I discussed pistol training with an ex-SEAL, he casually mentioned that they’d fire thousands of rounds before lunch on training days. Ernie Langdon has made a career out of shooting DA/DA pistols. Both he and SEALs shoot way more than I do, than you do, and that probably either of us could afford to even if we had the time and wanted to. I mean, I gotta a dog to feed and tofu to buy.
In the hands of someone that, literally, doesn’t train exclusively with them to the tune of, oh, say 10,000 rounds a year (mo’ less), DA/SA pistols are, by design, meant to screw up your shooting and cause you NDs. Every instructor that I know reports the same sequence when students use DA/SA pistols (Ernie Langdon and SEALs aside): Up! Miss-Hit-Hit-Hit. Decock/holster! Up! Miss-Hit-Hit-Hit. And so on. That first long hard first shot goes into the dirt (or 5-zone), while the remaining easy SA shots go where they’re aimed. To the surprise of absolutely no one.
Now, that’s on the range on a nice sunny day with no one trying to kill you. What’s going to happen to Johnny Citizen or Mary Q. Public when they have to use that DA/DA pistol for real? Here’s what: they will miss the first shot, just like they do on the range. But they will also likely ND the subsequent SA shots. You know: stress. And adrenaline. Plus they never trained under stress before (1% of the 1% of serious gun owners have). So at best they fail to defend themselves; at worst they shoot someone innocent.
And all this risk…for what? To own a pistol that’s more difficult to shoot well than a striker-fired one? “Let’s make training much harder, let’s make it less likely that we’ll be able to defend ourself, and at the same time dramatically increase our chances of shooting some innocent person.” There’s a winning strategy! I’d say it’s Darwin at work except for the shooting innocent people bit.
The DA/SA design was introduced because manufacturers were trying to get around the real disadvantages of the SA 1911…which truly is an experts-only gun. But instead of designing pistols with a reasonable DA trigger (which I concede may have been difficult with a hammer-fired pistol) they came out with the DA/SA abortion. Striker-fired pistols were already in production, to good reviews, in Europe. Instead of doing the smart thing and putting design resources on that track, they cheaped out, and a generation or two of shooters (and cops) suffered as a result. Glock changed all that for the better, and then the manufacturers had to get off their butts and compete.
But because writers and internet training “gurus” need something fresh to peddle every new year, we now have a resurgence of interest in this putrid design. “Hey, take my new course on the ‘fighting traditional DA pistol’ “. Just make sure to wear your polyester bell-bottoms.
In light of the above, it may be surprising that a few years ago I actually considered buying one of the then-new CZ polymer-framed 9mm pistols because I loved the feel in the hand. They were only available in DA/SA then, and I seriously contemplated putting in the hours and rounds necessary to get competent with it (under stress). But I wisely decided against it because I realized that despite the fair amount of training that I was willing to do with it I still didn’t believe I’d get to a level of comfort with the risk it represented.
Instead I bought another DA/SA pistol that has an even better feel in the hand: the S&W 3913.
But I had it converted to DAO.
The newest backpack from Swedish outdoor gear maker Klättermusen is loaded with features but lacking in color.
The Court of Historical Review and Appeals was an unofficial court in San Francisco that tried cold cases, often very cold cases that were thought to have been settled decades ago. It was a publicity stunt concocted by San Francisco publicist Bernard Averbuch in 1975. The first case it heard was that of police chief chief George W. Wittman, who was relieved of duty after being charged with accepting bribes to allow gambling to flourish in Chinatown -in 1905.
Averbuch had heard of Wittman when city archivist Gladys Hansen discovered police personnel records dating back to 1853. He saw injustice in Wittman’s firing, noted briefly in the ledger in red ink, and enlisted the help of his friend Harry Low, a Superior Court judge, to stage a rehearing. Local TV cameras turned out for the much belated trial. With the benefit of hindsight, Wittman’s “defense team,” a collection of civil servants, including Hansen, told a twisted tale of turn-of-the-century yellow journalism, mayoral corruption, racism and greed that had been hidden from the public at the time. Wittman, they argued, had been a pawn in a scheme to paint Chinatown as an unseemly and dangerous place, part of a bigger effort to move the Chinese immigrants off of their valuable land. With a bang of his gavel, Judge Low rewrote history, ruling that Wittman’s firing was unjust.
The "re-trial" was so popular that the Court of Historical Review and Appeals continued, examining many other historical cases for possible injustice over the next 25 years. The findings were not binding, but drew a lot of national press. Read about some of the other cases heard by the court at Smithsonian.
(Image credit: Shaylyn Esposito)
Intermittent fasting is a type of diet in which a person limits either his eating times to 6-8 hours per day, or the number of moderate-sized meals that he will eat in a week. The big question is, is it effective?
Mark Manson, a neuroscientist from Johns Hopkins Medicine, says that “it could be a part of a healthy lifestyle”. He has studied the effects of intermittent fasting for 25 years, and he adopted it in his life 20 years ago.
An array of animal and some human studies have shown that alternating between times of fasting and eating supports cellular health, probably by triggering an age-old adaptation to periods of food scarcity called metabolic switching. Such a switch occurs when cells use up their stores of rapidly accessible, sugar-based fuel, and begin converting fat into energy in a slower metabolic process.
Mattson says studies have shown that this switch improves blood sugar regulation, increases resistance to stress and suppresses inflammation. Because most Americans eat three meals plus snacks each day, they do not experience the switch, or the suggested benefits.
More about this study over at EurekAlert.
(Image Credit: congerdesign/ Pixabay)
Earth and Sun is a neat interactive tutorial on what makes a day for people on Earth. In specific, it explains the Earth's rotation, revolution, speed, axial tilt, solstices and equinoxes, and more that you haven't thought all that much about.
The duration between two solar noons is known as a solar day which lasts the familiar 24 hours. However, that’s not completely accurate. If you look closely at the simulation of the sidereal and solar day you’ll notice that we didn’t account for two important factors – eccentricity of the orbit and the axial tilt of the Earth. In fact, 24 hours is the duration of a mean solar day. The actual duration of each individual day varies, but before we witness that variation we have to discuss the most important consequence of the axial tilt.
In the visual shown here, you can drag the Earth around on any axis, but you can't change where the sun is, so depending on what time you do it, you'll see where daylight and dark falls. That's just one of the many ways you can visualize what's happening on Earth at the site. -via Metafilter
From trade wars to floods and droughts, 2019 has not been easy for many farmers. Here are some of the biggest agriculture stories of the year:
Photo by Ivan Marc on Shutterstock.
The 2018 government shutdown bled into the first 25 days of 2019, affecting all sorts of agricultural programs at the USDA. The agency halted examining new grants and loans and delayed its crop reports. The FDA stopped most domestic food inspections during the shutdown. The government reopened after 35 days—the longest shutdown in American history. Let’s just say it was an interesting start to the year.
Photo by JoeyPhoto on Shutterstock.
The weather became that much more erratic in many parts of the country this year. In March, floods devastated the Midwest, damaging farmland, destroying grain and killing livestock. This fall, farmers in parts of the southeast were praying for rain, as they experienced an extreme “flash drought.” This meant that states from Virginia through to northern Florida endured temperatures between nine and 12 degrees above normal, reaching record highs.
Photo by OSORIOartist.
Fires in the Amazon
More than 87,000 fires burned in the Amazon this summer, blackening the skies in Brazilian cities. This was the highest number of fires that ripped through the jungle known as the “Earth’s lungs” since 2010. Most of the fires were intentionally set to clear trees for agriculture. There’s some evidence that shows locals felt emboldened to set more illegal fires this year without fear of penalty because of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s pledge to roll back environmental regulations to develop more of the Amazon.
Photo by rawf8 on Shutterstock.
President Donald Trump’s trade wars really took off in 2019. After Trump slapped 25-percent tariffs on a number of Chinese goods in 2018, China responded with its own tariffs on a number of American products, including soybeans and pork. In August, the Chinese stopped buying American agricultural products entirely. There has been a thaw since, as China started buying American soybeans again in September and both sides agreed to delay additional tariffs on some agricultural products. And in November, the Chinese government lifted its years-long ban on American poultry products, facing pressure from its own domestic meat prices due to an outbreak of African swine flu.
Photo by mitifoto on Shutterstock.
Census, Bailouts and Bankruptcies
The agriculture census, which comes out every five years, showed that the total number of farms was down 3.2 percent from the last census, as was the total amount of farmland. The census also showed that the average size of farmland increased, meaning the smaller number of farms that survived are larger. Farmer income also saw its largest drop in three years in the first quarter of 2019.
To help farmers through the hard times of the trade war, the Trump administration announced a $16-billion aid package for farmers in May. But analyses have shown that subsidies doled out to farmers have disproportionately helped wealthy farmers.
And despite the bailouts, farm bankruptcies were way up in 2019. For the year leading up to September, farmers were filing for bankruptcies at a rate 24 percent higher than the year before. America’s largest dairy producer, Dean Foods, filed for bankruptcy in November. Ever low milk prices have also forced many dairy farmers out of business this year.
Vets alarmed by dog heart problems linked to grain-free food...
(Second column, 28th story, link)
Steep rise in pets needing treatment for anxiety...
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The argument for recycling is mutating before our eyes, from the broken “limits to growth” argument to the new climate change arguments.