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Monday, August 24, 2020

Cap Guns

   Cap guns were once a popular toy for boys. A cap gun is a toy gun that creates a loud sound simulating a gunshot and a puff of smoke when a small percussion cap is exploded. They were originally made of cast iron, but after World War II were made of zinc alloy and most newer models, yes, you can still buy them, are made of plastic. 
     They got their name from a “cap” which is a small disc of shock-sensitive explosive compounds roughly 0.055 to 0.063 inches in diameter that provide the noise and smoke. The noise and smoke actually mimicked the Maynard tape primer and percussion caps used in real firearms of the mid to late 1800s but they are smaller and made from cheap plastic or paper. 
     Some caps are arranged in plastic rings of eight or twelve. There are also single caps, roll caps (of 50 to 500), disk caps, and cap strips all of which are actually extremely small versions of percussion fireworks. The formula of the explosive has changed, but originally the powder charge was a simple mixture of potassium perchlorate, sulfur, and antimony sulfide sandwiched between two paper layers which hold in the gases long enough to give a sound report when the cap was struck. 
     The cap gun’s golden age was roughly a 20-year period following World War II when television became popular and the movie and television heroes were cowboys. Many cap guns were named after or endorsed by Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, The Lone Ranger, Tonto, Dale Evans, Marshal Matt Dillon and others. Cap guns were also named with western-sounding names, like Stallion 45, Pony, Mustang, Cowboy, Texan etc. When the Western television shows (aka cowboy shows) began to fade, cap guns continued to be produced in military and secret agent models. 
     Their popularity seriously waned after the assassination of President Kennedy and eventually all of the famous cap gun manufacturers either sold out to other toy companies or started manufacturing other types of toys. 
     Cap guns were offered in three types: the semi-automatic, the revolver (which actually had a revolving cylinder carrying a disk of caps), and the mock-revolver which looked like a regular revolver, but swung open to load a roll of caps. 
   Almost all of the early models used either roll caps or circular disks of caps, but in 1950 a large model called the Stallion 45, which had a revolving cylinder into which individual bullets were loaded just like a real revolver. A small circular cap was placed into a 2-piece bullet so that when the gun was loaded and fired, it was a more realistic effect. 
     Mattel produced an automatic firing cap gun styled after the Thompson submachine gun. Pulling back on a slide prepared the gun for firing and when the trigger was pulled the gun fired a series of up to ten caps. from a sprocket-fed roll. It was made initially for a Dick Tracy line of toys, then camouflaged for a Green Beret Guerilla Fighter line of weapons, then restyled again as a tie-in with the Planet of the Apes franchise. 
     These days caps are plastic and contain gunpowder and a zinc alloy that creates a smaller (puny, actually) explosion than those of the 1950s. I remember how we would place an entire roll of caps on the sidewalk and smack them with a hammer...the resulting explosion left our ears ringing. 
     Ring cap guns are usually modeled after revolver pistols, with the cap ring placed in the cylinder section of the toy gun. Like a real revolver, when the trigger is pulled, the cylinder rotates a new cap into place, the hammer is drawn back, and then released the shock causes the cap to explode producing noise and smoke. 
     Beginning in 1988, cap guns and other toy guns in the United States must be manufactured with a bright orange, red, or yellow tip placed over the muzzle or the entire gun has to be made in these or other bright colors. Laws requiring these markings were made because of incidents where children were killed by police officers who mistook cap guns for real guns. Even so, wave one around in  front of a policeman and you are likely to be shot and killed. 
     Legally if a toy gun is used in a robbery, most courts would consider it  to be armed robbery, assuming that the victim reasonably believed that the weapon was real. Additionally, if a toy gun is used o strike a victim, the toy gun then actually becomes a weapon by legal definition. Thus, robbery with a fake weapon is often treated exactly the same as a case involving a real weapon.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Carolina Ramblers String Band

    Charles Cleveland Poole (March 22, 1892 – May 21, 1931) was an American musician, singer and banjo player, as well as the leader of the North Carolina Ramblers, a string band that recorded many popular songs between 1925 and 1930.
     Poole and his brother-in-law, fiddler Posey Rorer, whom he had met in West Virginia in 1917 and whose sister he married, formed a trio with guitarist Norman Woodlief. The band was called the North Carolina Ramblers. They auditioned in New York for Columbia Records and made their first recording in July, 1925. For the next five years, Poole and the Ramblers were a popular although several members came and left including Rorer and Woodlief. 
     Poole had been invited to Hollywood to play background music for a film, but died before getting there. He died after a heart attack due to alcohol poisoning in May 1931. According to some reports, he'd been disheartened by the slump in record sales due to the Depression.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Disable PIN and Password at Windows 10 Startup

    Last year I received a small laptop with Windows 10 for Christmas and when setting it up a PIN number was required to sign in at startup. This really was no problem until a couple of weeks ago when things went haywire and I started getting messages that the PIN was invalid. This required an involved procedure of signing in to my Microsoft account on another laptop and getting e-mails with one-time codes, etc. Eventually I managed to eliminate the need for a PIN, but then my Microsoft password was required. Enough! 
     That’s when I discovered this Youtube How To video that describes a simple and painless way to eliminate the need for both PIN numbers and Passwords.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Mponeng Gold Mine

     The Mponeng (the name means look at me in Sotho) Gold Mine, located southwest of Johannesburg, South Africa, has been in operation since 1986, and it holds records as the world’s deepest mine, with depths reaching over 13,000 feet, or nearly 2.5 miles. 
     It’s deep enough to enough to stack 10 Empire State Buildings on top of each other. The mine also has 236 miles of tunnels which is longer than the New York subway system.
     Because of the mine’s depth, temperatures can reach up to 150 degrees F which is too hot for humans. Once your body is exposed to so much heat that it can’t regulate itself anymore, it’s called hyperthermia. 
     The human body is ill-suited to spend extended periods of time in temperatures higher than its own internal temperature, which on average clocks in at 98.6 degrees F. At that point you're on the cusp of heat stroke, which officially strikes when you reach 105 degrees. At 107 degrees, you're in serious danger because your blood flow slows and your organs sustain potentially irreversible damage. According to a Live Science article, most humans can endure about 10 minutes in 140-degree heat before suffering from hyperthermia. 
    To combat the heat in the mine a slurry of ice mixed with salt is pumped down from the surface, using fans to blow the air over the ice, creating its own internal weather system inside the mine. 
    A mixture of concrete, water, and rock is packed into excavated areas to act as an insulator and tunnel walls are secured by flexible shotcrete reinforced with steel fibers, which is held in place by diamond-mesh netting. 
    Approximately 4,000 miners work daily and to get to work they ride in a cage that holds 120 people at a time. The elevator takes them to the first stage of the mine located 1.6 mile down. A second elevator takes workers deeper and the last part of the mine is only accessible by foot or vehicle. The trip from the surface to the bottom of the mine takes over an hour. 
     It’s claimed that in order to steal gold illegal miners sneak into mine shafts and hide out for months and this, for some reason, causes them to turn ghostly white. 
     At a depth of 0.9 to 1.8 miles there is a rare bacteria that lives in the ground water which is one of the few known organisms that doesn’t require sunlight.
     Over 5,400 tons of rock are mined daily, but gold output has steadily decreased over the ten years which has resulted in the possibility of digging even deeper. The mine only needs to extract one third of an ounce per ton excavated to remain profitable. At today’s gold prices of about $2,035 per ounce, that’s approximately $678 per ton.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Funny Post On Yahoo Politics

In an article appearing on Yahoo News Politics it was with great delight that some fellow named Matt Mathers called out President Trump when he said that the flu pandemic of 1918 ended WWII. 

As the article gleefully pointed out, WWII didn’t even start until two decades later. Also, according to the Yahoo article the Spanish Flu began in 1918 and the pandemic lasted until 2020. The Spanish Flu pandemic lasted 102 years?! Question, Mr. Mathers: Are you stupid like you imply the President is or did you just misspeak?




Monday, August 10, 2020

What is a Troll?

When I was a kid we (my parents and me) went fishing up in northern Ontario, Canada my dad would often troll. 

Trolling is a fishing technique that employs dragging a hooked lure or bait through the water from a moving boat. It’s supposed to trick the fish to think that your bait is moving prey. 

Like many things, the word has taken on a different meanings today. Trolls are people who intentionally leave provocative or offensive messages on the internet in order to get attention, cause trouble or upset someone. 

Internet trolls hide behind their computers or phones and go out of their way to try and cause havoc online. There are two main types of troll, but both are like those who write on the walls of public bathroom stalls. 

The first type likes to target public figures on social media where they leave hateful, false or disgusting messages. Then their hateful messages keep getting more and more responses. 

Then there is another type who exhibit a psychological trait known as negative social potency which means they are sickos who enjoy causing harm to others. They get pleasure from upsetting those they target with abuse. If their victim responds it only encourages them to continue. 

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Behavioral Addiction at Nottingham Trent University said, “Most people troll others for either revenge, for attention seeking, for boredom, and for personal amusement.” He added that, “They want to lash out at people who are being successful, who are happy, who are enjoying their life because they can’t.” 

It may seem like there wouldn’t be any consequences of trolling, but there are. For one thing, it can cause heightened levels of anxiety and lower self-esteem for the target if they are unsure of who they are as a person. Trolls can highlight insecurities a person has and even create new ones. 

Trolls often use cyber-bullying. the bullying of another person using the internet, mobile phones, etc. Cyber-bullying can take the form of posts on forums or social media, text messages or e-mails, all with the intention of hurting the victim. 

Trolls want to provoke a reaction either because they enjoy seeing people hurt or because they want to be puffed up. 

In some case anonymity won’t protect a troll. People have been kicked out of school and college lost their jobs, their friends and a few have even been jailed for online abuse. 

What Makes Trolls Tick? A Psychology Today article

Internet Trolls Are Narcissists, Psychpaths and Sadists -  amother Psychology Today article.