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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #157 - Protests, Pepin & Plasma


"Pepin & Plasma" sounds like a roleplaying game involving podcasting in the grim future.
  • Beth is on assignment and will return soon.
  • A Charlotte man who led police on chase is charged in Valentine’s Day homicide. Why did he run? Sean looks a little closer.
  • Barron is on assignment and will return soon.
  • Miguel puts together a grab bag of thoughts from his Flea Market of Ideas. He talks a little about cops getting denied service because they are armed, about Moms Demand blaming the NRA for car deaths, and about a liberal mugged by the reality of gun control.
  • Our Special Guest this week is competitive shooter and Pro-Arms Podcast hostess Gail Pepin.
  • Tiffany brings her unique perspective to the controversy surrounding the events in Charlottesville, VA.
  • It's just like a woman for Erin to be focused on what people should and shouldn't be wearing in the summer. Her position on white clothing after Labor Day is unclear, but she has some definite thoughts on cotton.
  • NPR held a Round-Table on gun control. Weer’d is here to take on the lies.
  • And our Plug of the Week is the Sparkr Mini by Power Practical.
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play Music!
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here.
Thanks to LuckyGunner and Remington for their sponsorship, and a special thanks to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.

Blue Collar Prepping Transcript -
Clothing for Hot Weather Survival
There’s a saying among campers, hikers and other survival buffs: “Cotton Kills”. This is because cotton loves to absorb moisture but hates to let go of it. In cold weather, if you get your cotton clothes sweaty, or you fall into water, you will likely become hypothermic if you keep them on because they will stay wet and cold -- but if you take them off to dry them out, you will also likely become hypothermic because you won’t have the insulation of clothes on your skin. 

This is why, if you watch a lot of survival TV, you’ll see people like Bear Grylls stripping naked before swimming through cold water. Yes, it’s uncomfortable, but it’s not like having wet clothing on while swimming would make it any more comfortable. And once on the other side, Bear will dry off with a towel and then put his still dry clothes back on. 

In fact, this is good advice regardless of whether or not you’re wearing cotton, so remember that trick. 

But if cotton kills in cold weather because it absorbs moisture and doesn’t let go of it easily, what about in hot weather? Specifically, what clothing should someone wear in a hot environment if they have to walk to safety?

As I mentioned last week when I answered Amy’s letter, hot weather survival is based on variables. In this case, the biggest factors are humidity and terrain.  If you’re in a dry environment, your biggest danger is from direct sunlight. Keep as much as your skin covered as you can, and cover the rest in sunscreen. Cotton is actually an acceptable choice of fabric for this situation during the daytime, because it will absorb your sweat and the low humidity and high heat will help it dry out. But that’s during the day. At night, it’s a different story. 

You see, hot-but-dry environments are usually deserts, and deserts have a distressing habit of becoming cold at night because there isn’t much in the environment to retain that heat. So the sweaty cotton clothing that’s fine to wear during the day can still result in you becoming hypothermic at night. Your options, then, are either to carry spare clothes that you change into at night, or to wear clothing made from synthetic materials such as Gore-Tex or microfiber. 

These materials are great because they wick moisture away from the skin and dry much faster than cotton does. Not only does this prevent chafing rash, which is why so many exercise fabrics (like Under Armor, are synthetic), but it also makes them excellent choices for hot and humid environments as well. 

Here are the materials you should avoid for hot weather survival:
  • All forms of cotton, including denim. 
  • Rayon, Lyocell, Tencel, and Viscose. 
    • While they are synthetic, these fabrics actually absorb moisture as fast or faster than cotton, and lose all insulation when they become wet. 
These are materials which are good to wear for hot weather survival:
  • Pertex
  • Supplex
  • Gore-Tex
  • Under Armor Heatgear
  • Cool Max
You will unfortunately pay more for these fabrics than you will with cotton. On the other hand, they will protect your skin from the heat of the sun and absorb your sweat without chafing or sticking. 

Regardless of whether your shirt and pants are cotton or synthetic, here are the four pieces of clothing you MUST have for comfortable hot weather survival:
  1. A wide-brimmed hat to keep your face and neck in the shade. Check last week’s show notes for a boonie hat I recommended. 
  2. Shoes which breathe but still protect your feet. There’s no perfect answer here; good protection (like boots) will make your feet hot, and feet which breathe aren’t going to be well-protected (think sandals). Take the terrain into account along with your personal preferences and find what’s right for you. 
  3. Spare socks. Unless you’re wearing sandals, your feet are going to get hot and sweaty. Take it from someone who has suffered Athlete’s Foot: the last thing you want for your feet in hot weather is for them to be wet as well. Change your socks often. 
  4. Spare underwear. This is for exactly the same reason as the socks, only moreso. Trust me, you really don’t want heat rash anywhere near your sensitive bits.
To answer the question on everyone’s mind: yes, companies do indeed make socks and undies in synthetic materials. I suggest everyone who is concerned about hot weather survival buy at least one pair of each.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Regressive Progressivism: A Case of Friendly Fire

Embedded journalist on the front
lines of the secret culture war.
Oh boy, do I get to talk about Anita Sarkeesian this week? I think I doOOoo!

I need to change my byline to "embedded journalist on the frontlines of the secret culture war." That would, of course, require having a byline to begin with, but considering the crazy things I find happening and the points of view that I find on them, it'd be worth it. Plus it sounds unbelievably cool.

(Editor's Note: Done.)

My Regressive Progressivism series has highlighted cases of hypocrisy, cultural cannibalism, and some spectacular own-goals in its time, but this one has to take the cake.

It's a special time of year, apparently. It's been so long that I actually forgot, despite being one of the few that witnessed and told the tale of, the original incident. That's right, it was recently the anniversary of Gamergate, specifically the "hate screed of the jilted ex-boyfriend" which was, in reality, an airing of grievances on a personal blog by a victim of domestic abuse. That'll be relevant shortly, I promise.

Kotaku UK recently interviewed prominent gaming YouTuber TotalBiscuit, host of possibly the biggest gaming podcast, professional Starcraft announcer, and all-around consumer advocate, on the topic of 'haters', which I assume means trolls and harassers. The discussion was around moderation tools and how to use them to guide discussion in the community. Overall, this was fairly tame stuff.

However, from the progressive side of the gaming eliterati, there were two problems with this. Firstly, Totalbiscuit was allegedly "pro-Gamergate" and the article was published on the anniversary of Gamergate. To a normal, sane, uninvolved person, this wouldn't have been an issue. However...
How many times have I said Twitter is a bad idea? 

Now, in isolation this isn't a big deal. Feminist Frequency (Anita Sarkeesian's project) disproves of an article. No big deal, right?

Wrong! Big deal. The article's author, a trans-woman named Laura Kate Dale, was met with a deluge of disapproval due to TotalBiscuit's support of  the ethics side (He disavowed any and all harassment while promoting the idea that there was a problem with videogame reporting) of the Gamergate debacle.

So, in a nutshell, what happened? A progressive trans-woman interviewed an internet personality with a solid take on moderating a community, which displeased a progressive cultural icon, which in turn resulted in harassment, threats, and (allegedly) doxing, resulting in Laura Kate Dale being chased off of Twitter. Granted, she said she wasn't leaving because of the deluge of negative attention, but that to me reads just like Joss Whedon's "I fell down some stairs" moment after Age of Ultron. 

You don't even get to explain yourself.
Kotaku all but retracted the original article. I'm surprised they even mentioned that Dale received threats. That's dangerously close to breaking the narrative. 
See the replies? It will never be good enough, no matter what. 

When even fervently progressive voices like Jim Sterling and Rhianna Pratchett call out how irresponsible and wrong it is to attack someone like this, you have to take notice. A group of people harassed a trans-woman off of twitter for talking about video game stuff, and yet this isn't about "evol right-wing gamers" or Brianna Wu; this is a progressive hate mob that attacked someone on their own side for talking to the "wrong" person about a relevant topic, and it's rather sickening.

You have to take this in perspective, and by the rules that have been laid forth:
  • Anita Sarkeesian is a cis-woman with over 700,000 followers who has spoken to the UN and appeared on Stephen Colbert's show. 
  • Laura Kate Dale is a trans-woman with less than 50 thousand followers who runs a podcast and writes for a site that's a bit of a joke. 
By nearly any definition, there's a clear power imbalance there, and I genuinely feel, no matter how much I disagree with Dale, that Anita acted irresponsibly and fanned some pretty hefty flames in her direction.

Oh, and anyone wondering why I haven't mentioned Charlottesville? Nazis and Communists are both bad. The ground could open up and swallow both the Alt-Right and Antifa and I wouldn't shed a tear. There, that's my community service for the week. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Templar & the Cloistered Cleric

Last month (before the entire country went mad), I complained that I thought clerics in pathfinder were too powerful and that they should be split up into two separate classes:
  1. The Templar, which is basically the traditional cleric except that it has reduced spell progression (like the Warpriest) and who casts spontaneously.
  2. The Cloistered Cleric, which is essentially a "divine wizard", giving up arms and armor in exchange for more knowledge and nine levels of spell progression. 
Well, it's taken me a while, but I've finally created Hero Lab .user files of both of these classes. I couldn't figure out how to force the Templar to start play knowing the various Cure spells like like Oracle does, so if you want to go that route you'll have to manually add them via the Adjustment tab.

If you use Hero Lab to play Pathfinder, please give these a look and tell me what you think. I've probably missed something important (the Hero Lab editor is very un-intuitive so I think it's likely I've overlooked something or made an error.)

Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The LGBTQ Sandwich

When I plugged yesterday's post on Google+ and Facebook, I introduced it with "I swear, I'm about ready to call us all 'sandwiches' because obviously we're some kind of BLT with Queso and Guacamole."

While that comment was made it jest, it sounded damn tasty. And many other people thought so as well. Therefore, I am Proud to present to you this recipe.

The LGBTQ Sandwich
(aka "the Queer")
(also aka "The Stonewall" if you want to sound classy)

Ingredients
  • toasted bread
  • Lettuce 
  • Guacamole
  • Bacon (1/4 pound minimum)
  • Tomato
  • 2.5 ounces Queso dip, spiced to your taste (go here for recipe suggestions)
  • mayo, mustard, or other condiments to your taste

Directions
  1. Cook bacon until crispy, then drain on paper towels.
  2. Toast the bread.
  3. Spread condiments on bread as desired. 
  4. Add lettuce. 
  5. Add 2 slices of tomato on top of lettuce.
  6. Arrange 3 slices of bacon evenly on top of tomato. 
  7. Spread guacamole over bacon. 
  8. Add more bacon so that the guacamole is layered between bacon slices. 
  9. Add top piece of bread. 
  10. Heat queso dip until it is nearly molten and serve in a ramekin
Dip the sandwich into the queso, fondue-style.
Enjoy the delicious flavor of gender and sexual diversity!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Scrabble Bag of Inclusion

For the past year I have been wracking my brain in an attempt to come up with a better term than LGBTQ. We need a better term because the current one is a mouthful and there's a creeping tendency for new letters to be added to it; the last time I checked, the "full and proper" version is LGBTQQIAAP (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Allies and Pansexual).

Look, I don't care how politically correct you are, you aren't going to say that name more than once a conversation, if that. LGBTQ is practically a full name by itself -- I once made a joke that you pronounce it like a Star Wars character, "Elgee Beeteeque" -- and so trying to pronounce Elgee Beeteecue Cueaiayaypee in standard conversation just isn't going to happen.

(This, by the by, is why I love the word "queer". It's short, it's easy to say, it encompasses everyone, and it's us reclaiming a word that was once offensive. Sadly, not everyone sees things my way.)

So I've been trying to brainstorm a new word for all us non-heterosexual and/or non-cisgender folks. It's more difficult than you'd think, because the  ideal replacement word is inclusive, evocative, memorable, easy to pronounce, and - most importantly - NOT SILLY.

I present to you as means of illustration two counter-examples that weren't made by me:
  • QUILTBAG: Queer/Questioning, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Transgender/Transsexual, Bisexual, Allied/Asexual, Gay/Genderqueer.  
    • Inclusive - yes. This word salad includes everyone. 
    • Evocative - kind of, but not in a good way. 
    • Memorable - sadly, yes. 
    • Easy to pronounce - absolutely. 
    • Not silly - OH HELL NO.
  • SAGA: Sexual And Gender Acceptance
    • Inclusive - no. Mainly because "acceptance" is an action and not a demographic. SAGA would be a great name for an initiative, but not a group. 
    • Evocative - absolutely. 
    • Memorable - sort of. I expect some humorous confusion where someone would mis-remember the name and try to make an acronym out of EPIC. 
    • Easy to pronounce - enviously so. 
    • Not silly - well, it's a bit camp in its pretension, but the word itself isn't silly. 
Not easy, is it? 

The best I've managed to come up with -- and I give you all blanket permission to laugh at it, because I know full well how silly it sounds -- is LABGASM (Law Abiding Gender and Sexual Minorities). 
  • Inclusive? Yes. Its strength is that instead of trying to pin everyone down, it just spreads an umbrella. 
  • Evocative? Yes. Unfortunately so. As a friend of mine remarked, "Sounds sterile, but with mice running in wheels running vibrators or something."
  • Memorable? Yes, but again, not in a good way. 
  • Easy to pronounce? I'm pretty sure people would be laughing too much to get past the "LAB" part. 
  • Not Silly?  Silly, campy, and straight-up ridiculous. 
Now one of you smart cookies will no doubt ask "Why not just use GSM, Gender and Sexual Minorities?" And that's a damn good question. The unfortunate answer is that, taken on its face, "sexual minority" could also be interpreted as encompassing illegal (non-consenting) sexual attractions. This is something to be avoided with extreme prejudice, because there are already people in the world who equate homosexuality with perversion and moral turpitude, and already one step away from bestiality, pedophilia and necrophilia. Why should I make it easy for them to say "Look! By their own words, they include such perversion! (point, hiss, shudder)"

I'm not really sure what to do at this point. We desperately need a new, abstractly inclusive, non-silly word, and I'm not sure if such a thing can be created. 

But damn, do I love the word "queer". 


Special Thanks to my friend Erin Smith, who coined the term "Scrabble Bag" to describe the collection of letters you get when you try to explicitly include everyone. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

"Gender As Social Construct" Revisited

I apologize for not getting to that RAND report in a timely manner. It's coming, I promise. 

In the meantime, here's a fine discussion I had with reader Paul Koning in the comments section of Words Have Meaning, So Use the Right Ones about "Gender as a Social Construct." Since you may not have read the comments, I'm posting this here. 

If you haven't read the aforementioned post, please do so; it's essential for the following conversation that you understand we are discussing the concept of gender and not sex

Paul: 
This is great stuff. But I have to pick on a few details.
"Since gender is not biological, it must be sociological" -- not necessarily. I agree it's not biological in the sense of genetic. It might be biological in the sense of brain operation. A more conventional way of saying that is "it's psychological". Part of the reason I'm reacting that way is: I would think that gender is a personal attribute, not dependent on what society you're in. Am I wrong there?

I take "gender expression" to be "the way a person chooses to use the gender symbols of the culture". A particular item of clothing is a female gender symbol in some societies but a male one, or an either one, in others. Take the skirt you mentioned: a female symbol in most of the west, but either a male or an either symbol in Scotland and Indonesia. My thinking is that gender expression means looking for items that have gender symbolism in the culture you live in, and choosing those that mark your gender identity. Or the identity you want people to see (Klinger effect, that's a nice term). A sarong wouldn't do much for Klinger, certainly not in Indonesia; he'd have to find a different marker there.

Me:
Here's my take on things, you are of course free to disagree.

A more conventional way of saying that is "it's psychological".
It is and it isn't. It isn't, because there are very few "inherently female" behaviors seen in nature. Those that are typically involve reproduction: nesting, caring for children, accepting or rejecting mates, that kind of thing. Sure, you can argue that women are more verbal and men are more visual/tactile, but I have yet to see anyone say "You like working with your hands? How unfeminine" or "You're such a good speaker, how unusual for a man."

Instead, I argue that a lot of these behaviors are deeply ingrained from childhood. Put simply, it's a case of "Society says that women act this way. I've been taught this all my life. Now that I'm entering puberty and becoming a woman, I need to start acting this way." A lot of it isn't even conscious, but it's there. Example: Think of a bad habit or dysfunctional behavior you learned from your parents. You may not even be aware that you learned it, but while growing up a part of your brain went "These are my role models. I should learn to act like them. How they react is how I should react." This is why children from abusive homes often end becoming abusers themselves.

That's what I mean when I say it's cultural or sociological. It's learned behavior, not biologically determined.

Paul:
I see what you mean now, and I agree with that.

I think what happened is that I thought you were talking about "wears a skirt" as a gender expression, which would have a different meaning in different societies. I got that backwards. Instead, a person, given the gender, adopts gender expressions that go with that (as you said "I need to start acting that way) -- and what those gender symbols might be is a social construct.


So I guess my conclusion is: the gender a person wants to express is a personal (psychological) question; the symbols used to make that expression are taken from the social environment that person lives in.

Me:
The social environment also shapes the psychology. It's a self-reinforcing system (this is neither a good or bad thing, it just is.)

Example: even if a typical Western man knows that gender expression is not associated with sexuality, he still does not want to dress as a woman because it makes him feel less manly and he does not want to be mocked.

Put another way, if high school is a microcosm of our society, then our society is high school writ large. Put that way, a LOT of social and cultural BS starts to make sense. 

Paul:
...does not want to dress as a women because ...
... or because he doesn't want to send a misleading signal.

Yes, I see what you're getting at. It all makes sense.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #156 - Will Shooting Gun Games Lead Sean to be Slain Upon the Public Thoroughfare?

"Despise not the racketeer. Instead, despise his sport."
  • USCCA held its first ever PolymerPalooza, a unique and fun shooting event! Beth talks about some of their sponsors and products, and what she did there.
  • A man bit and partially severed another man’s nipple. How does that happen? Sean digs in to discover what sort of person would act like this.
  • Barron is on assignment and will return soon.
  • We’ve all had that neighbor who’s not quite there. In fact, we’ve seen whole movies that revolve around the 'crazy neighbor' dynamic. But how do you deal with them? Miguel gives us some practical tips borne from 20 years experience with the crazy lady next door.
  • Our Special Guest this week is author and firearms instructor Grant Cunningham. Grant answers the important question: Will competition shooting get you killed on the streets?
  • Tiffany is on assignment and will return soon.
  • Friend of the show Amy asks, "I drive long distances in hot weather in an older car. What preps should I include for hot weather vehicle survival?" Erin's answer involves cold packs. 
  • NPR interviews the President of the Women’s March to talk about the NRA and its Dana Loesch video, and their bias is showing.  Weer’d takes them on.
  • And our Plug of the Week is for the MAG-20  Armed Citizen's Rules of Engagement class in Matthews, NC.
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play Music!
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here.
Thanks to LuckyGunner and Remington for their sponsorship, and a special thanks to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.

Blue Collar Prepping Transcript -
Hot Weather Car Survival
Listener Amy writes in with these timely questions: How should I modify my car prep kit for hot weather? What's the best/safest way to store water in that scenario? I drive 45 miles each way to work, in a fairly unreliable car, so getting stuck is more of a "when" and not an "if."

This is a great topic, because while I’ve addressed cold weather survival in a car back way in episode 15, I haven’t done anything specific on car-based heat survival - which is odd, considering that I live in Florida.

The problem with giving advice on heat survival is that in my experience, it has a lot more “Well, it depends” factors than cold weather. For example, regardless of if it’s 30 degrees or 30 below, snowing or not, blowing or not, you know that you need to have an outer waterproof shell, an inner insulating layer, avoid sweating, and stay out of the wind; everything else is just a matter of degree.

But hot weather forces you to ask questions like:
  • Is it a humid heat or a dry heat? 
  • How hot does it get?
  • Do you get a lot of reflected light due to terrain (like glare off a desert or water), or is it absorbed by vegetation or dark soil?
  • Are you going to be surviving in the shade, or out in the sunlight?
Plus there are the general questions of “Are you planning on waiting for rescue, or is this an "Ah crap, I gotta hike out of here" kind of situation?” and “Have you any health problems?” that I ask of anyone who comes to me for advice.

Here are Amy’s answers:
  • Humid. Gawd-awful humid. My poor curly hair...well, I just HATE summer.
  • Highs in the upper 80s/low 90s usually, late July we can see higher with sickening heat indexes. 
  • Not much reflected light...most is absorbed by the crops. Which is pretty much all the terrain in my area. 
  • It depends on where in my route I'm stuck. I probably wouldn't even call it stuck if my car died in town at either end, so we'll go with wait.
  • I'm that person who brings a separate list of medications to doctor appts and writes, "see attached." Soooo....asthma, insulin resistance, some random but serious allergies, chronic migraines, ADHD, social anxiety, OCD...blah, blah, blah. So, a mixture of some physical illnesses that could go downhill quickly in the heat with some mental illnesses that, while controlled well with medication, could make an emergency situation feel or appear (and, therefore, become) more desperate or crippling than necessary. I wear a medical ID bracelet, carry necessary meds with me, and keep extra epi-pens in my car.
So, first off: Good job on being prepared with medication and epi-pens! Now my advice is going to come with a few assumptions:
  • I assume you already have things like a first aid kit, battery backup for your cell phone, tools for basic car repair, etc.
  • I assume you have a reliable way to call for help and you don’t travel through dead zones. 
With those in mind, here’s what I would suggest you add to your car:

A wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun off your face and neck. The one I’ve linked in the show notes is a khaki boonie hat with detachable flaps for your face and neck to prevent sunburn.

Speaking of sunburn, carry the highest SPF sunblock you have.

At least one gallon of water, preferably more.
 The human body needs half a gallon of water a day, but that doesn’t take strenuous activity or dehydration into account. I’d buy plastic gallon jugs at the store and remove them at the beginning of winter (you don’t want them to freeze, burst the plastic, then thaw and leak everywhere). Make sure you keep them covered, or in the trunk, because water exposed to sunlight can start to grow algae. 

If the water does start to go bad, you can still use it for things like wiping your body down or pouring on an overheated engine. A thick washcloth will help with all of that.

Wiping sweat off your body with a wet washcloth is a good way to feel cool for a little bit, but it doesn’t last. For a longer-term solution, get some chemical cold-packs and keep them with your first-aid supplies. Not only can you use them to prevent swelling, but a cold pack on your neck, between your thighs or under your armpits can make you feel a lot better. You can get a 24-pack of them from Amazon with Prime shipping for $14.50.

Just in case you don’t have a space blanket in your preps, get one. Yes, most people use them to stay warm, but a reflective surface can help keep you cool by reflecting the heat away from you.

If you have to stay in the car for shelter -- and if you do, I assume you’ve rolled down the windows -- the windshield can be covered with a commercial sunshade, which usually costs between 8 and 15 dollars.

I also suggest the longest shovel you can fit in the car and can comfortably use. Don’t use a folding shovel unless you have no other choice; you can get plenty of nice 27-inch shovels at the hardware store if space is an issue, but get a longer one if you can. You can use this shovel for a variety of tasks, but the two that I’m thinking of are “digging your tires out if they get stuck” and “Digging a trench to lie down in because that will be cooler than inside your car.”

waterproof tarp with a reflective side will also be useful; not only can you use it as a sun shade, if you do decide to dig a shelter it can be used (reflective side down) to keep the dirt and bugs and yuck off you.

And, of course, ways to tie all this down. A 100-foot hank of paracord and a roll or two of duct tape will help immensely!

Finally, have a map of the area, the more detailed the better. If you know how far it is to the nearest aid station, that will do a lot for your peace of mind, and it will help you give navigation assistance to whomever is coming to help you.

The Fine Print


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License


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