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Monday, April 29, 2019

Who Is The United States Surgeon General?

Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams
     If you have bought a pack of cigarettes in the US during the last 40 years there’s a warning printed in the package that the Surgeon General has determined that smoking may be hazardous to your health. 
     Who is the Surgeon General? Why does he/she wear a military uniform? Are they in the military? What else do besides rail against cigarettes? 
     The current Surgeon General is Jerome M. Adams, an anesthesiologist and a Vice Admiral in the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. 
     The United States has seven federal uniformed services: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and the Coast Guard. These five constitute the “Armed Forces.” Two, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps wear uniforms, but they are not members of the Armed Forces. 
     Commissioned officers of these latter two groups wear uniforms that are derived from Navy and Coast Guard uniforms, except that the commissioning devices, buttons, and insignia reflect their specific service. Their uniformed officers are paid on the same scale as members of the armed services with respective rank and time-in-grade. They consist of commissioned officers only and have no warrant officers or enlisted ranks. 
      They may be militarized by the President and because they are commissioned officers, they can be classified as prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions, if captured by an enemy. The reason for this provision is that the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey originally began commissioning its officers so that if captured while engaged in battlefield surveying, they would be protected under the Law of Armed Conflict and could not be tried or executed as spies. They are considered non-combatants 
     Also, those who served as officers in these two services are considered veterans the same as those who served in the Armed Forces. 
     In a non-uniformed services setting, formal military courtesies are practiced, but if they are on assignment to an Armed Forces branch, officers will be required to conform to the rules of courtesy as practiced by that branch of the service. 
     And, yes, this includes saluting if you are a member of the Armed Forces and run into one. Uniformed USPHS Corps officers and USCGS officers are saluted by any junior and they will salute their seniors as well. However the likelihood that a military member will even come across these officers is rare. When you do come across them it is very difficult to tell that they are not Navy officers. 
     The Surgeon General oversees the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, a group of more than 6,700 uniformed officer public health professionals working throughout the federal government whose mission is to protect, promote and advance the health of the nation. 
     The most visible role the surgeon general plays is to talk about health, whether in public speeches or scientific reports. Since 1878, the office of the surgeon general has published Public Health Reports, a peer-reviewed journal on public health issues. 
     The most famous report came out in 1964, when then-surgeon general Luther Terry published a 150,000 word study titled Smoking and Health that said cigarette smoking was the main cause of lung cancer in men. 
     The most famous surgeon general is probably C. Everett Koop, who had to battle political considerations and social mores to address the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. President Ronald Reagan, who appointed Koop, and his administration were initially reluctant to speak out on the disease, because they believed victims of the disease brought it on themselves, but after thousands of deaths, Reagan finally allowed Koop to create a report. 
     So far as I know only tobacco products are required to have the Surgeon General’ warning, but besides tobacco, the Surgeon General’s current concerns, beside tobacco are opioids and addiction, community health and economic prosperity. health and national security, oral health and emerging public health threats. Some of these concerns are obvious, but some are not. 
     The Surgeon General’s concern is that the country’s prosperity is being hampered by preventable chronic diseases and behavioral health issues. A population with poor health results in workforce shortages, absenteeism, work-related injuries and illnesses, profitability concerns, and challenges with workforce recruitment and retention. 
     What about the concern that wellness is at the heart of the safety and security of the nation? It is estimated that 8 out of 10 young people aged 17 to 24 fail to qualify for military service due to obesity, educational deficits, or behavioral health issues or criminal history.  Also falling into this category is oral health. Poor oral health impacts the country’s ability to recruit young adults for military service and maintain military readiness. Amazing at how puny the youth is! 

      The Surgeon General provides the facts on emerging public health threats, such as Ebola and Zika, gives an update on the government response, and lists steps individuals can take to protect themselves and their families.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Operation Mockingbird

     Operation Mockingbird was a CIA project that recruited journalists to write fake stories promoting government ideas while dispelling communist ones. It was a large-scale project undertaken by the CIA beginning in the 1950s in which they recruited American journalists into a propaganda network. The recruited journalists were put on a payroll by the CIA and instructed to write fake stories that promoted the views of the intelligence agency. Journalists were reportedly blackmailed and threatened into this network. Student cultural organizations and magazines were allegedly funded as fronts for this operation. 
     Operation Mockingbird expanded later on in order to influence foreign media as well. Frank Wisner, the director of the espionage and counter-intelligence branch, spearheaded the organization and was told to concentrate on “propaganda, economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world.”
     The CIA’s financing wasn’t just meant to create favorable stories, it was also a means to covertly collect information from other countries that were relevant to America’s national security. 
     The New York Times and Ramparts Magazine exposed the covert operation in 1967 when it reported that the National Student Association received funding from the CIA. A 1977 article in Rolling Stone, written by Carl Bernstein, reported that the CIA hsd secretly bankrolled numerous foreign press services, periodicals and newspapers—both English and foreign language—which provided excellent cover for CIA operatives. 
     These reports led to a series of congressional investigations done in the 1970s under the Church Committee, a committee that was set up by the Senate. The Church Committee investigations looked into government operations and potential abuses by the CIA, the NSA, the FBI and the IRS. 
     In 2007, around 700 pages of documents from the 1970s were declassified and released by the CIA in a collection called The Family Jewels. The files all surrounded the investigations and scandals pertaining to agency misconduct during the 1970s. There was only one mention of Operation Mockingbird in these files, in which it was revealed that two American journalists were wire-tapped for several months. 
     Though declassified documents show that this type of operation occurred, it’s never been officially confirmed as the title of Operation Mockingbird. Thus, it’s also never been officially discontinued. 
     These days, some believe the CIA has a program that influences mainstream media outlets to promote fake propaganda stories, by having agents troll internet forums, social media, and website comment sections in an effort to disrupt alternative media sites. 

     It’s claimed by some that the CIA is creating fake user accounts on various internet forums and social media channels, arguing politics with real users in an attempt to stifle and subvert genuine communications between users. They will defend current government decisions with relentless irrational stubbornness. The purpose is to mislead the public.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Doctor Humor

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Cargill Salt Mine

     Cargill, Incorporated is an American privately held global corporation based in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and incorporated in Wilmington, Delaware. Founded in 1865, it is the largest privately held corporation in the United States in terms of revenue. 
     Some of Cargill's major businesses are trading, purchasing and distributing grain and other agricultural commodities, such as palm oil; trading in energy, steel and transport; the raising of livestock and production of feed; and producing food ingredients such as starch and glucose syrup, vegetable oils and fats for application in processed foods and industrial use. 
     Cargill also has a large financial services arm, which manages financial risks in the commodity markets for the company. 

     What most people living in Cleveland, Ohio don’t know is that there’s a whole other world lurking beneath Whiskey Island, a peninsula at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland. Whiskey Island was the first piece of solid land amid the swamps lining the river one-quarter mile down the Cuyahoga when Moses Cleaveland visited the area in 1796. Lorenzo Carter built his family farm on Whiskey Island, which got its name after a distillery was built on the site in the 1830s. 
      Lake Erie is the shallowest Great Lakes and near the shores of Cleveland, it's only about 65 ft. deep and the mine goes down 1,800 feet below Lake Erie. The Cargill Salt Mine covers about 12 square miles as it stretches out under the lake. It’s the place where the rock salt that covers Ohio’s streets in the wintertime comes from. 
     During an average winter, the mine will produce approximately 4 million tons of rock salt. Once the salt is drilled, blasted and scooped, it's sent to the surface for processing via a system of conveyor belts and elevators. 
     In the mine, giant pillars of salt are intentionally left to support the layers of rock on top of the salt. Within the pillars, you can see layers of salt and other types of rock. 
     The elevator, known as the skip, takes about three minutes to descend and at the bottom, a giant metal door swings open, and you enter a world where the walls, ceiling and floor are made of salt. 
     It’s dirty at the mine’s entrance, where the rock has absorbed diesel fumes and dust for more than 60 years. But, pristine white salt with glimmering flecks can be seen at the far reaches which stretch for three miles out and five miles wide under Lake Erie an Crews ride in a truck to drive out to the far reaches of the mine each day, a 20 minute trip and every day the mine gets a little bigger as crews stick explosives in the walls and blast the salt loose. 
     Workers drill holes in the salt walls, then insert ammonium nitrate fuel oil. They blast the wall, then use a modified front-end loader to deposit the chunks of salt in a crusher machine, which channels it onto a conveyor belt. The belt leads to the mill, where the salt is refined, before being hoisted out on another elevator A giant machine claws at the ceiling and walls, to get all the excess salt. 
     The air feels dusty and gritty on your skin and you can taste the salt on your lips. The only light comes from lamps on the miners’ hardhats and the headlights on vehicles. The air in the mine is dry, though it may get humid in the summer and temperature is steady year-round, at about 68 degrees. A single fan pushes fresh air through the mine and channels the dusty air, polluted with diesel fumes, back up to the surface. The fan is so strong that near the entrance, wind blows your hair around. 
     The mine can produce 4 million tons of rock salt each year, but because of mild winters, the last two years the mine has produced about 75 percent of an average year. Every year, engineers revise a 25-year plan, deciding where to drill next. The mine could conceivably go on at least to the Canadian border, but they ay it has at least 50 years more or until trucking miners out to and salt back from the far reaches of the mine becomes too expensive. 
     Actually, the mine could be anywhere in the Great Eastern Salt Basin, under a huge area stretching from Michigan to New York, through Ontario. Under Lake Erie, though, Cargill has to lease land from only one owner, the state of Ohio, not thousands and thousands of owners. 
     The mine does leak! But only in two spots: the skip (elevator) and in one room where the ceiling converged and caused the mine to close temporarily four years ago. But, the water isn’t coming from the lake; it seeps in from the layers of rock in between Lake Erie and the mine. 
     From Cleveland, ships carry 1.6 million tons of salt to ports around the Great Lakes, including Duluth, Chicago, Milwaukee and Canada. Salt is also transported by train as far as Massachusetts and by truck to southern Ohio. About 30-50 percent of the total salt is extracted, with walls and columns of salt left to support the structure. There are no other supports, aside from metal studs drilled into some portions of the roof. 
     Everyone underground must wear what’s called a self rescuer in a metal container on a belt. The device fits over your mouth and changes carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. In an emergency, miners would exchange their self-resuers for larger self-contained self-rescue devices, kept in boxes throughout the mine. Those provide oxygen for an hour. There are green reflectors lining the tunnels, showing the way out. And the mine has two safe rooms stocked with food, water and oxygen to last three days. 
     Even though it’s about 98 percent sodium chloride, it’s really not edible. Table salt comes from other sources.

Monday, April 22, 2019

The Giggling Granny

Nannie at the time of her arrest
     Between the 1920s and 1950s Nancy Hazel (Nannie) Doss, known a the Giggling Granny, told police she had been searching for the perfect mate...that's after she murdered 11 people which included four of her husbands, two children, her two sisters, her mother, a grandson and a mother-in-law. Her favorite method was rat poison. 
     Born into to a family of farmers in 1905 in Blue Mountain, Alabama where instead of going to school, all five children stayed at home to work on household chores and tend to the family farm. 
     At age seven, Doss suffered a head injury while riding a train that changed her life forever. By the time she was a teenager, she dreamed of living an idyllic life with her future husband and she spent much of her time reading romance magazines, especially the “lonely hearts” columns. 
     At the age of 16, she wed a man named Charley Braggs whom she had only known for four months. The had had four children together from 1921 to 1927 when the marriage fell apart at that point. The couple lived with Braggs’ mother, but she had the same abusive type of behavior as Doss’ father. 
    In 1927, two of the children died under mysterious circumstances. One moment they were healthy and then suddenly they died without an apparent cause. 
     Charley and Nannie divorced in 1928 and he left, taking and older daughter and leaving his mother and Nannie with a newborn. A year after her divorce, Nannie married her second husband, Frank Harrelson, whom she met through a lonely hearts column; he turned out to be an abusive alcoholic. 
     The marriage lasted 16 years until 1945. During this period, Nannie likely killed her own newborn granddaughter a few days after the birth by using a hairpin to stab her in the brain. A few months after the granddaughter’s death, her two-year-old grandson died of asphyxiation while in Nannie's care. These two kids belonged to her oldest daughter whom she had with her first husband.
     Husband number two died on September 15, 1945 after a drunken party celbrating the end of World War II. Nannie mixed poison in his hidden jar of moonshine. People assumed he died of food poisoning. 
     Husband number three, Arlie Lanning, died in 1952 several years after he responded to a lonely hearts classified ad placed by Nannie. She added poison to one of his meals and he died shortly thereafter. A heavy drinker, doctors attributed the heart attack to alcohol. 
     Richard Morton was next on the list. Initially unknown to Nannie, he was canoodling with other women. Doss’ mother broke her hip in 1953 and needed a caretaker. She died suddenly and without warning a few months after Doss agreed to take care of her. Shortly after her mother’s death, one of Doss’s sisters died suddenly after having contact with the Doss. After the death of her mother and sister, she turned her attention to Morton and he died under mysterious circumstances. 
     Nannie's final victim was Samuel Doss who was neither a drunk nor abusive. He simply made the mistake of telling his wife that she could only read magazines or watch television shows that were for educational purposes, so she laced a prune cake with poison. 
     Samuel Doss got sick and spent a month recovering in the hospital. A few days after he got home, poison-laced coffee finished him off. The doctor who treated Samuel had suspected poisoning during Samuel's month-long hospitalization, but he had no proof. So after Samuel died, the doctor convinced Nannie, who was to receive two life insurance benefits, to let him perform an autopsy. The doctor' pretext was that an autopsy would save lives. The autopsy found huge amounts of arsenic in Samuel Doss’s body and the police were alerted.

     Nannie Doss was arrested in 1954. After her arrest she confessed to killing four of her five ex-husbands, but not her family members. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life imprisonment. She died in prison at the age of 60 on June 2, 1965 
Nannie in later years

Saturday, April 20, 2019


     Have you ever wondered what kind of a Supreme Court Justice you would be? Or, what kind of dog you should own? Or, cat? Or, what presidential candidate you should favor next year? Or, any on of dozens of questions ranging from serious to trivial? The Select Smart has quizzes you can take and it will reveal the answers to your questions, or so the claim is. BTW, I would make a conservative Supreme Court Judge and I should be living in Virginia Beach, Norfolk or Newport News Virginia and I should own a poodle! My chess style most resembles...Botvinnik. 
     Find out the answers to these and many other questions on Select Smart.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Brandy Memorial Tulips Are Blooming

     About 20 years ago I bought about $60 worth of tulip bulbs and planted then along the back of the house on a Saturday morning. A couple of days later, looking out of the kitchen window, I saw them all on the patio. An investigation revealed that our dog, Brandy, had dug them all up, carried them over to the patio, crushed them with her teeth and left them. She missed one clump though and they have been blooming about this time every year. Brandy has been gone about 12 years now, but whenever the tulips, which I refer to as the Brandy Memorial Tulips, bloom, they always remind me of her, the only dog we ever had. 
     She was a loving dog with a soft spot in her heart for children. Our neighbor used to by dog treats and when he was out mowing the lawn Brandy would follow him up and down along the fence waiting for him to toss her a treat.  
     She also used to sit at the fence and stare at him when he was grilling. She looked so pathetic that he couldn't resist giving here a bite of whatever was on the grill.  In fact, one day I saw here gnawing on something and when I went out to see what it was, the neighbor had given here a whole T-bone steak!  He explained that he had grilled an extra one the day before and when he and his wife went to eat it for lunch, it didn't taste good reheated, so he gave it to her.  I told him next time give it to me!
     The day I informed him that the vet told me she was terminally ill and had to be put to sleep, he choked up and was actually on the verge or tears.
     Another time my wife heard three kids on the front porch talking.  They were discussing who was going to be the "talker."  When she opened the front door, the "talker" explained that they were walking down the sidewalk and saw our dog in her cage in the garage which was open.  
     They went in to pet her and, as the kid explained, she looked very sad.  That's when he started crying and asked, "She isn't going to die is she?"  My wife explained that's just the way she looks.  Relieved that Brandy's health was good, they thanked my wife and left.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Klaus Fuchs, Atomic Bomb Spy

Police photo, 1940
     Klaus Fuchs was born on 29th December, 1911, in Rüsselsheim, Germany, the third child in the family of two sons and two daughters. His father, renowned for his high Christian principles, was a pastor in the Lutheran church who joined the Quakers later in life and eventually became professor of theology at Leipzig University. Fuchs's grandmother, mother, and one sister committed suicide and his other sister was schizophrenic. 
     Fuchs studied physics and mathematics at the University of Leipzig and in 1931 he joined the German Communist Party. He fled the country when Hitler took power in 1933. He taught in Paris before moving to England where he studied Theoretical Physics. 
     Soon after his arrival he was the subject of a police inquiry because the German Counsul in Bristol named him as an extremist left-wing agitator. Not a great deal of credence was given to the allegation because such denunciations were fairly frequent and he was just another German who had fled the Nazis. After obtaining his PhD he took a position at Edinburgh University in the field of of quantum mechanics. After the outbreak of the War in 1939 he was interned with other German refugees in camps on the Isle of Man. 
     He was then transferred to a camp in Canada where he met Hans Kahle, who had fought with the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War and Kahle gave Fuchs some addresses of left wing friends. 
     Fuchs was was released following the pleas of many distinguished scientists who claimed his skills were going to waste. In 1940, when it was clear that an atomic weapon was a serious possibility, Fuchs was recruited to do experimental and theoretical work back in England. Getting him a security clearance presented a problem at first, but it was eventually granted. 
     According to a document in the NKVD archives, Fuchs began spying for the Soviet Union in August 1941 when he was recruited by an exiled German Communist resident in Great Britain. Another file says that Fuchs passed material to their agent for the first time in September 1941. Fuch's Soviet controller was Ursula Beurton
     In 1943, Fuchs joined the Manhattan Project, the American atomic bomb program based in Los Alamos, New Mexico. However, Fuchs was based in the research unit in New York City and over the next few months he met five times with his Soviet contact and passed us a number of theoretical calculations on atomic fission and creation of the uranium bomb. His only financial reward consisted of occasional gifts. While in New York his courier reported that Fuchs was fully aware of what he was doing. 
     On March 28, 1944, Fuchs complained to his handler that his work was being curbed by the Americans who neglected cooperation and did not provide information and suggested that he might learn more by returning to England. Frustrated at the lack of success in the United States in October 1944 Major Pavel Fitin to build up a network of atomic spies. By that time the Soviets were pleased to hear that Fuchs had been transferred to Los Alamos. 
     In 1946 Klaus Fuchs returned to England, where he was appointed as head of the theoretical physics division at the newly created British Nuclear Research Centre at Harwell. At that time, Fuchs approached members of the Communist Party of Great Britain in order to get back in contact with the NKVD. He finally met with NKVD agents in July of 1947 and explained the principle of the hydrogen bomb on which Enrico Fermi and Edward Teller were working on at the University of Chicago. By this time Fuchs’ father was his dependent and his brother had tuberculosis and so he was given £200. He returned £100 on the grounds that he could not explain the sudden appearance of £200. 
     In March 1948 Soviet agents were ordered to keep clear of Fuchs because the Daily Express had reported that British counter-intelligence were investigating three unnamed scientists who were suspected of being members of the Communist Party of Great Britain. Also, one of Fuchs' former contacts had been interviewed by the FBI. 
     In September 1949, MI5 was sent documents that suggested that Fuchs was a Soviet spy. His telephones were tapped and his correspondence intercepted at both his home and office. Concealed microphones were installed in his home and he was tailed by surveillance teams, who reported that he was difficult to follow. Although they discovered he was having an affair with the wife of his manager, the investigation failed to produce any evidence of espionage. 
     In January 1950, the head of MI5, wrote to Fuchs's boss pointing out that they had had Fuchs' activities under intensive investigation for more than four months and that his continued employment was a constant threat to security.
     Fuchs was interviewed by MI5, but denied any involvement in espionage and they did not have enough evidence to have him arrested and charged with spying. Fuchs was, however, under considerable mental stress, but told investigator that he could never be persuaded to talk to them. 
     Nevertheless, after having lunch with an investigator, Fuchs decided it would be in his best interests to answer questions. Fuchs explained the reason was that he had complete confidence in Russian policy and believed that the Western Allies deliberately allowed Russia and Germany to fight each other. Fuchs didn’t realize that, but for his confession, there would have been no case against him, and what they did have was unusable in court. 
     A few days later J. Edgar Hoover informed President Harry Truman that "we have just gotten word from England that we have gotten a full confession from one of the top scientists, who worked over here, that he gave the complete know-how of the atom bomb to the Russians." 

     Fuchs was found guilty in March 1950 of four counts of breaking the Official Secrets Act. After a trial lasting less than 90 minutes, he entenced him to fourteen years' imprisonment, the maximum for espionage, because the Soviet Union was classed as an ally at the time. Hoover reported that "Fuchs said he would estimate that the information furnished by him speeded up by several years the production of an atom bomb by Russia." 
     Fuchs was released on June 23, 1959 after serving nine years and four months and immediately joined his father and one of his nephews in what had become the German Democratic Republic, that is, the Communist East Germany. He was appointed deputy director of the Institute for Nuclear Research near Dresden. Fuchs married a friend from his student days and died on January 28, 1988. 

You can take a look at the FBI files on Fuchs on their records vault HERE
Spies Who Spilled Atomic Bomb Secrets 
Books on Fuchs at Amazon

Monday, April 15, 2019

Speaking Of Bullets...

     The current world-record for highest cannon projectile flight is held by Project HARP’s 16-inch space gun prototype, which fired a 397 pound projectile to record height of 590,550 ft, or 110 miles, in Yuma, Arizona, on November 18th, 1966. The projectile’s trajectory briefly sent it into space, making it the first cannon-fired projectile to exit the atmosphere. 
     Prior to that, the Paris Gun (German: Paris-Geschutz) was a German long-range siege gun used to bombard Paris during World War I. It was in service from March to August 1918. Its 234 pound shells had a range of about 80 miles with a maximum altitude of about 26.3 miles. 
WWI Paris Gun

     During World War II, the German V-3 cannon program (less well known than the V-2 rocket or V-1 flying bomb) was an attempt to build something approaching a space gun. Based in the Pas-de-Calais area of France, it was planned to be more devastating than the other Nazi weapons. The cannon was capable of launching 309 pound, 6 inch diameter shells over a distance of 55 miles. It was destroyed by RAF bombing using blockbuster bombs in July 1944.

     A space gun, also known as Verne guns because of its appearance in From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne, is a method of launching an object into space using a large gun. 
     Space guns could thus potentially provide a method of non-rocket space launch and it has been conjectured that they could place satellites into orbit. However, in order to escape the Earth's gravitational pull a velocity of about 25,050 mph is required, but that speed is too far fast for practical purposes and most likely the projectile would burn up due to aerodynamic heating or be torn apart by aerodynamic drag. The large g-force experienced by firing a space gun would be incapable of safely launching humans or delicate instruments. 
     In the 1960s Project HARP, a joint US and Canada defense project, a US Navy 16 inch, 100 caliber gun was used to fire a 400 pound projectile at 8,050 mph and reach a height of 110 miles, a suborbital spaceflight. A space gun has never successfully launched a projectile into orbit or out of Earth's gravitational pull. 

     Gerald Bull (March 9, 1928 – March 22, 1990) was a Canadian engineer who developed long-range artillery. He moved from project to project in his quest to economically launch a satellite using a huge artillery piece and designed the Project Babylon supergun for the Iraqi government. Bull was assassinated outside his apartment in Brussels, Belgium. His assassination is widely believed to be the work of the Mossad because of his work for the Iraqi government. Bull's story is a real life Whodunit that you can read about HERE.
     You can read the fascinating story of the space guns HERE and watch a documentary on them HERE.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

How High Will A Bullet Fired Straight Up Go?

     Its altitude depends upon the type of weapon and type of bullet. On New Year's Eve 2017, a member of the Texas House of Representatives, Armando Martinez, stepped outside and was slammed in the head and rushed to the hospital where it was found the fragment of a .22 caliber bullet had penetrated his skull and lodged itself in his brain, requiring surgery to remove it. The bullet had been fired as part of New Year’s celebration. After the accident, Martinez unsuccessfully introduced legislation raising the penalties for discharging a firearm without an intended target. 
     Such cases are rare, but a 2015 article described two cases of children killed by falling bullets fired during Fourth of July celebrations in 2011 and 2012. A 2004 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day of that year, bullets from gunfire caused 19 injuries and one death. Thirty-six percent of the victims were struck on the top of the head. 
     Ballistics researchers have spent a lot of time studying the performance of bullets fired horizontally, but when it comes to firing straight up there's not nearly as much data. 
     In the mid-1940s, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Julian Hatcher did experiments in Florida in which he fired various weapons, ranging from rifles to machine guns, straight up and tried to measure how long it took for the bullets to come down.
     In his 1947 volume Hatcher's Notebook, he calculated that a standard .30 caliber bullet fired from a rifle pointed straight up would rise to an altitude of 9,000 feet in 18 seconds, and would hit the ground in another 31 seconds. He also calculated that during the last few thousand feet it would attain a nearly constant speed of about 205 miles per hour. 
     Ballistics researcher James Walker, department director of engineering dynamics at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, says that the altitude attained by a bullet fired straight up would depend upon the type of weapon and projectile. For example, a .22 caliber cartridge is the same diameter as the bullet, doesn’t have much powder and has a relatively low velocity. Bullets fired from rifles with a much larger cartridge will go faster because there is more powder. 
     When fired horizontally, bullets tend to slow down rapidly due to air drag, so that a rifle bullet may be down to half of its initial speed by the time it gets to 1,640 feet.  When a gun is fired when pointed up, gravity will slow the bullet down even faster. Refer to THIS chart on the website of Close Focus Research, a ballistics testing company. Note: To convert feet per second to miles per hour multiply by 0.681818. 
     Of course, eventually the bullet’s velocity will be spent and it will begin to fall. The elevation from which it begins to fall back to Earth is a non-issue as to how fast it falls. As it is no longer spin stabilized, it will hit a terminal velocity based on its shape, orientation, and whether or not it is tumbling. Also, a bullet is unlikely to fall straight down, as wind can alter its path, so it’s difficult to predict where it will land.

Friday, April 12, 2019

The Geneva Bible

1582 Geneva Bible leaf
     All but forgotten today, the Geneva Bible was the most widely read and influential English Bible of the 16th and 17th centuries. This may come as a surprise, but it was the Bible that came to America on the Mayflower that transported the first English Puritans, known today as the Pilgrims, from Plymouth, England, to the New World in 1620. 
     Mary I was Queen of England and Ireland from 1553 until her death in 1558 and her executions of Protestants caused her opponents to give her the sobriquet "Bloody Mary." In 1555 she revived England’s heresy laws and began burning offenders at the stake, starting with her father’s longtime advisor Thomas Cranmer, the archbishop of Canterbury. Almost 300 convicted heretics, mostly common citizens, were burned. Dozens more died in prison, and some 800 fled to Protestant strongholds in Germany and Geneva.
     It was her persecution that caused the Marian Exile which drove 800 English scholars to Europe and a number of them gathered in Geneva, Switzerland. There a team of scholars led by William Whittingham, and assisted by Miles Coverdale, Christopher Goodman, Anthony Gilby, John Knox, and Thomas Sampson, produced The Geneva Bible. 
     The Geneva Bible became a symbol of the Protestant Reformation because when Protestants began being persecuted not only in France but also in England, many sought safe haven in Geneva, taking advantage of the opportunity to study under Calvin. It was based on Greek and Hebrew manuscripts and a revision of William Tyndale's New Testament, which first appeared in 1526. The Geneva Bible New Testament was published in 1557, with the complete Bible appearing in 1560. It became the Bible of choice for many of the greatest writers and thinkers of that time such as William Shakespeare, John Bunyan, and John Milton. 
     It was unique in that it was the first Bible to use chapters and numbered verses and its extensive marginal notes greatly increased its popularity. The notes were written by Reformation leaders including John Calvin and others and were intended to help explain and interpret the Scriptures for the average reader. The Bible also had study guides and aids which included cross references, introductions to each book, maps, tables, woodcut illustrations, indexes, and other features making it the first study Bible. It also used readable Roman typeface rather than the obscure Gothic black typeface. The Bible enjoyed immediate success which would continue for the next seventy five years and was the people’s choice even after 1611 when the King James Bible was released. 
     King James I rejected the Geneva Bible claiming it was the worst on the market. Actually, his problem with the Bible was not the translation but rather the marginal annotations which he saw as “very partial, untrue, seditious, and savoring too much of dangerous and traitorous conceits.” James’ rejection was rooted in his anti-Puritan and anti-Presbyterian beliefs. 
     For example, James disliked the marginal notes appearing in the book of Daniel which stated that the king must be disobeyed if he violates the will of God and commands others to do likewise. James I held that kings had been ordained by God to rule the nations of the world, to promote justice, and to dispense wisdom and it was therefore, imperative that kings should be respected and obeyed unconditionally and in all circumstances. The Geneva Bible taught otherwise. It seems King James I was unfamiliar with Acts 5:29 in which the Apostle "Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” 
     Despite King James I’s ridicule the King James version of the Bible was influenced by the Geneva Bible when it contributed more to the composition of the King James version of 1611, perhaps with the exception of the work of William Tyndale, than any other English version of the Bible. It’s ironic that even after publication of the King James Bible in 1611 English clergy, including James’ most trusted scholars, continued to use the Geneva Bible in their sermons. 
     The King James Bible took decades to overcome the more popular Geneva Bible. One of the greatest ironies of history, is that many Protestant Christian churches today embrace the King James Bible exclusively as the “only” legitimate English language translation, yet it is not a Protestant translation. It was printed by the Anglican church to compete with the Protestant Geneva Bible. 
     Most Protestants blame persecution on the Roman Catholic Church, but after England broke from Roman Catholicism in the 1500’s, the Church of England (The Anglican Church) persecuted Protestants throughout the 1600’s.
     Throughout the 1600’s, as the Puritans and the Pilgrims fled persecution in England they took with them the Geneva Bible and rejected the King’s Bible. In America the first settlers used the Geneva Bible, not the King James Bible.

    Protestants are largely unaware of their own history and that the Geneva Bible (which is textually 95 percent the same as the King James Version, but 50 years older) was not influenced by the Roman Catholic Rheims New Testament which the King James translators took into consideration. That said, the King James Bible was an excellent and accurate translation.
     One little-known fact is that for the past 250 years all King James Bibles are actually the 1769 Revised Oxford Edition of the 1611 King James Bible. Modern Bible publishing companies make no mention of the fact that they are actually publishing the 1769 version because that might hurt sales among those imagining that they are reading the original 1611 version.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Bibi Babka Song


Balki Bartokomous and Larry Appleton make Bibbi-Babkas and sing a song. 

When you rolling out the dough, 
Just make sure you roll it slow. 
If you make the dough too quick
 Bibbibabka make you sick. 
When you pour the filling in 
Just make sure you wear a grin. 
When you smile on what you bake 
Bibbibabka turn out swell.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Never Heard Of Him

     ...until yesterday. I'm talking about some guy named nicknamed Salt Bae whose real name is Nusret Gokce, a Turkish butcher, chef, and restaurateur, who owns Nusr-Et, a chain of steak houses. 
     His technique for preparing and seasoning meat became an internet sensation with videos showing him suavely cutting meat and sprinkling salt. In December 2017, he received criticism for a 2016 photo posing in front of an image of Fidel Castro and in September 2018, he and the president of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro also received criticism for their actions at Gokce's Istanbul restaurant due to the crisis and shortages in Venezuela. 

A Salt Bae meal that would make a dog puke...

Friday, April 5, 2019

One of My Favorite Dogs Died

     OK, so it’s a silly kid’s program and my 12 year old nephew thinks it’s funny that I watch the Disney Channel’s Dog With a Blog...but I like it. 
     Stan is the Dog with a Blog. He is the James-Jennings family's pet dog, but unlike other dogs, Stan has the ability to talk, a secret only shared with the family’s children. He also has a blog, but only uses it at night when everyone's asleep. 
     Stan was originally portrayed by a dog named Kuma and then a dog named Mick. Kuma, the original Stan, was a mutt with Golden Retriever, Husky and Australian Shepherd lineage. He was rescued from a shelter in South Los Angeles by his owner, Sarah Clifford, who taught him 75 different tricks which is more than I can perform. 
     His first role was in the 2005 tv movie McBride which was followed by appearances in 2007’s An American Crime and 2012’s Wrong. In 2012 he won the starring role in Dog With a Blog, though he left the show early for a bigger role in another program. 
     It was only yesterday that I learned Kuma had suffered complications from a recent stroke and had to be put away at the age of 16 (77 in human years) back in November of 2018. His final meal was his favorite foods: chicken and watermelon, which he ate with vigor. A good dog gone. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Drano Bombs

     When I read this on Facebook, naturally I was suspicious. The alert warns about neighborhood residents finding unexploded bottle bombs in their yards made from plastic soda bottles, aluminum foil, and Drano (or other brand of household drain or toilet cleaner). They were first reported back in 2010. THE THREAT IS REAL
     Homemade "bottle bombs" have been around for more than two decades and are known by a variety of different names, including "acid bombs," "Drano bombs," "works bombs," "pressure bombs" and "MacGyver bombs." Any number of YouTube videos demonstrate how to construct and detonate them. 
     Because they're made with common household ingredients they're a favorite of teenage pranksters, but police warn that the devices are unpredictable and dangerous. 
     Bomb makers need to be aware that if caught they can be charged with a felony. Penalties can be quite severe if injuries or property damage result.
     The bomb is made by simply filling a soda bottle with Drano with a little water and aluminum foil. The chemical reaction makes a volatile build up of gases and when disturbed detonates the bottle with a great amount of force.
     When the bomb explodes it spews out an extremely hot and caustic liquid that can cause serious chemical burns, eye irritation or blindness, limb and facial injuries and hearing damage. The amount of force generated by the explosion is enough to severe fingers and the toxic fumes can be harmful. 
     If you find a plastic bottle filled with liquid lying around, call 911 and let the police bomb squad handle it.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Pizza and 911 – Another Fake Public Service Announcement

     I see the misinformed folks on Facebook are posting if you need to call 911 but are scared to because someone is in the room, you can call 911 and ask for a pepperoni pizza and the police will come running. "Share this to save a life!!!" the meme urges. 
     As usual, it’s false. Nor is there a secret code in which different toppings have a meaning that alerts 911 operators of the exact situation the caller is in.
     The meme originated with a Reddit thread from three years ago. In 2015, during the Super Bowl broadcast an organization aimed at ending domestic violence and sexual assault named No More aired a public service announcement showing an example of woman in a dangerous situation at her home who calls 911 and orders a pizza to get help. “When it’s hard to talk, it’s up to us to listen,” the tagline at the end of the commercial reads. 
     First off, 911 operators would probably advise the caller that they have reached 911 emergency, not a pizza place and if the caller continues operators would consider it a prank call. They may eventually figure it out though because operators are trained to recognize voice inflection and odd conversations that would indicate a dangerous situation. 
     A better solution is text to 911 if possible and give your exact location and the nature of your emergency. If that is not possible make the call and set down the phone if they can’t speak safely to dispatchers. Dispatchers are trained to see with their ears. Everything that happens on the open line will allow the operator to keep the officers that are enroute updated on the situation.