Small Form Factor PC Build considerations

I recently completed a Small Form Factor computer upgrade for a family member. We tried assembling a computer based on used parts, but alas, the used parts included a DOA motherboard, so I went to a surplus store and picked up a HP 6200 small form factor PC for 50 bucks. You can get them for 70 bucks off of Amazon or Newegg right now if you are interested, but I’d recommend picking up an HP 8200 with the core i7 processor if you want a more “future proof” baseline. The core i3 processor in the 6200 isn’t bad, dual core with hyperthreading for 4 logical cores, it won’t win any frame rate battles, but does a lot better than any budget AMD alternatives in the same price range.

Now, the biggest upgrade you can give almost any PC with onboard graphics is an actual graphics card. The 6200 comes with a first generation PCIEx16 slot (not 2.0, 2.1, or 3.0) so clearly there was no point going for an ultimate gaming experience (especially not on an older business oriented LGA 1155 processor board). The 6200 is a small form factor computer, so that limits the graphics card options a lot.

So, what to do? Well, there are now a lot more half height compact video cards than there used to be. Nvidia puts out the 710, 750, and 1030 in half height form factor. AMD puts out the Radeon RX 460, RX 550, and a few others in half height form factor. Plenty of are “budget” cards out there, but really the RX 460 and GT 1030 were what I considered as they cost less than a $100.00 US with good performance. So which one is “better”?

Performance wise, the RX 460 is better in terms of frame rates and gaming. However, the RX 460 comes with a pretty big power draw (90 watts on the reference board), and therefore heat load. In fact, the RX 460 has a similar advantage over the GT 1030 that the Geforce 750Ti did in terms of framerate, and the 750Ti has that performance with a 10 degree Celsius increase in GPU temps. An additional 10 degrees C going into a stock HP chassis with only a CPU exhaust fan to cool the internals seems like a poor choice to me.

The 30 watts on the GT 1030 look REALLY good, along with the passive cooling option available from MSI. So that’s what I put in my brothers build, along with an extra 4 gig of RAM for a total of 8 gig system memory (with the ability to add on another 8 gig). With the SSD the user experience is plenty “snappy” for lack of a more descriptive term using Windows. The 3 to 9 frame rates lost over the RX 460 are traded off with more consistent performance as there is a much reduced possibility of hitting “thermal throttling” during heavy processing loads, even with the stock fans.

Random issue, the HDMI port on the video card is really tight up against the case, so shaving some plastic off the HDMI connector on the cable would make for an easier install. It works as is, but the cable must be inserted “forcefully” as the side of the connector rubs against the case.

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I’m done pretending women are safe, even my wife.

Pretty provocative title, isn’t it? Of course it is, and there are really only three possible reactions to such a statement; 1) Meh, who cares? 2) sure, technically nothing is “safe” just various degrees of relative safety or danger, and 3) WTF WHY ARE YOU MAKING BASELESS ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT AN ENTIRE GENDER?

I actually fall into category 2, I don’t believe that anything or anyone is truly safe, because “safety” isn’t a binary condition that someone/something is safe or unsafe, but really how we express that “safe” equals “acceptably low risk.”

Jodi Allard, who made some social media splashes when the Brock Turner rape case came out, wrote that she’s decided no men are safe: http://www.rolereboot.org/culture-and-politics/details/2017-07-im-done-pretending-men-safe-even-sons/

If the feminist men—the men who proudly declare their progressive politics and their fight for quality—aren’t safe, then what man is? No man, I fear.

She clearly falls into camp number three, that we can totally judge people on their gender. Because it’s totally progressive to judge people based on their gender, just as long as you are judging the right people. You can’t judge any of the the protected class, and all good progressives will be up to date on who is a protected class.

One of my sons was hurt by my words, although he’s never told me so. He doesn’t understand why I lumped him and his brother together in my essay. He sees himself as the “good” one, the one who is sensitive and thoughtful, and who listens instead of reacts. He doesn’t understand that even quiet misogyny is misogyny, and that not all sexists sound like Twitter trolls. He is angry at me now, although he won’t admit that either, and his anger led him to conservative websites and YouTube channels; places where he can surround himself with righteous indignation against feminists, and tell himself it’s ungrateful women like me who are the problem.

Really….this is a classic “mind reading” and “projection” problem. This is also not a sign of good mental health, it’s a classic symptom of borderline personality disorder, treating any sort of opposing viewpoint as “evil” rather than “different.”

I teeter frequently between supporting my son and educating him. Is it my job as his mother to ensure he feels safe emotionally, no matter what violence he spews? Is it my job as his mother to steer and educate, no matter how much that education challenges his view of himself? I think it’s both, but the balance between the two has proven impossible to pinpoint. When I hear his voice become defensive, I back off but question whether I’m doing him any favors by allowing his perception of himself to go unchallenged. When I confront him with his own sexism, I question whether I’m pushing too hard and leaving him without an emotional safe space in his home.

Really, how would YOU like it Jodie if someone out there decided that it was their mission in life to point out every single flaw they found in you because YOU weren’t ideologically pure enough? It would be petty, it would be irritating, and it wouldn’t be helpful on your “journey of discovery to being a better person.” It might turn you into a bitter middle age woman who has mental health and control issues… Sorry Jodie, it looks like you’ve turned into your mother.

As a single mother, I sometimes wonder whether the real problem is that my sons have no role models for the type of men I hope they become. But when I look around at the men I know, I’m not sure a male partner would fill that hole. Where are these men who are enlightened but not arrogant? Who are feminists without self-congratulation? If my sons need role models, they may have to become their own.

You are single because you don’t want a relationship. A relationship actually requires you to value, and work with, a partner. Jodie wants a “Stepford Husband” that conforms to her notions of what he should be, do, and fulfill in her life. And in doing so deprives her sons of the advantages of having a male role model in their lives.

And serious questions, about why there aren’t enough college educated men to provide spouses to all the college educated women can be summed up by Slate with…a masturbation joke: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/sandbox/2006/02/will_boys_be_boys.html

That’s right folks, the same left wing culture that tells women that there just aren’t enough college educated men for them to have a fulfilling family life are the same folks dismissing any notion that maybe we should actually address male educational needs with the same fervor that female educational needs are being addressed: http://www.thedailybeast.com/why-college-educated-women-cant-find-love

The final advice in all these “there aren’t enough college educated men” is always “well, either you’ll have to lower your standards or accept the life of a spinster with ten cats” is unfortunately the truth.

I know I’m not supposed to cast an entire sex with a single paint brush — not all men, I’m sure some readers are thinking and preparing to type or tweet. But if it’s impossible for a white person to grow up without adopting racist ideas, simply because of the environment in which they live, how can I expect men not to subconsciously absorb at least some degree of sexism? White people aren’t safe, and men aren’t safe, no matter how much I’d like to assure myself that these things aren’t true.

Jodie…you know you aren’t supposed to do something but you did it anyway. And it is possible for white people to grow up without adopting racist ideas, as long as you leftists would stop making everything you disagree with “racist.” Keep changing the definition of “racism” to suit your agenda that “all white people are racist” and eventually you’ll find that *gasp* even YOU are racist. Hell, even now “being white” is one of the definitions of “racist” that is bandied about by the Left. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/education/wp/2016/10/19/to-be-white-is-to-be-racist-period-a-high-school-teacher-told-his-class/?utm_term=.590ef6f19cd4

My sons won’t rape unconscious women behind a dumpster, and neither will most of the progressive men I know. But what all of these men share in common, even my sons, is a relentless questioning and disbelief of the female experience. I do not want to prove my pain, or provide enough evidence to convince anyone that my trauma is merited. I’m through wasting my time on people who are more interested in ideas than feelings, and I’m through pretending these people, these men, are safe.

Because talking about ideas = rape culture. Got it.

I don’t know what the balance is between supporting these men and educating them, but I know the toll it takes on me to try. I am too valuable and too worthy to waste my time on men who are not my flesh and blood. But as my boys grow into men, I wonder whether I’ve done enough to combat the messages they hear from everyone but me. They are good boys, and maybe that’s the best they can be in the system we’ve created for them.

Here’s a news flash Jodie, you are not valuable or worthy. Not any more than any other random person. You are not some unique special snowflake that should be celebrated. You are a bitter, insecure, and emotionally abusive woman who should be ridiculed, and probably have her children taken away for their own good (although if they are actively seeking out alternative viewpoints to yours they are probably going to be ok). As far as the “messages they hear from everyone but me” and “the system we’ve created for them” you really need to shut your whore mouth, since Leftist lunacy is spewing out all over the internet and mass media. Your boys are not getting any messages that it is ok to rape or objectify women, your boys are getting the message that they are damaged, horrible people simply because they are white men.

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Gear Review: ALG Quality Milspec Trigger

I gave the gift of a Palmetto State Armory “Freedom Rifle” kit to a family member, and we assembled it on his kitchen table then took it to the range the following day. We fed it  a steady diet of 75gr OTM bullets over 24gr of PowerPro 2000-MR powder lit off by Wolf KVBM primers in LC brass. From my 20″ AR with a Criterion barrel, that load did quite well accuracy wise even if not shooting through the same hole.

The good. It is decently accurate. The bad. The trigger is without a doubt the absolute worst trigger I’ve ever felt. Rusty barn door gritty and at least nine pounds. So, I pulled an ALG Quality Milspec Trigger out of my “box o’ parts acquired on sale” and we installed that.

Result? Amazingly better experience. Shorter take up, lighter break, better feel. It isn’t a Geissele, but for the price point it doesn’t have to be. It costs a tad more than a standard trigger, and performs much better, and since I got it on sale for less than the asking price, it was a very good deal.

In the same category Palmtetto State Armory’s own Enhanced Polished Trigger also meets the same low end upgrade, and if you can snatch one up on sale is probably a good thing to do. Here is someone else’s opinions on the matter: https://modernrifleman.net/2016/06/05/triggered-alg-defense-qms-vs-palmetto-state-armory-ept/

I don’t recommend one trigger over another as “better” in this price range because so much of “better” falls down to shooter preference, and either trigger is going to be better than the random trigger found in most lower parts kits. Although I do have a random DPMS parts kit trigger that feels really good, so every once in a while the tolerance will stack in your favor too (but I wouldn’t count on it). More consistent means better accuracy for you, so these cheap upgrades are a well worth it, even for a cheap AR.

 

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A possible tale of a sniper rifle

Imagine the possibility of a rifle in nearly continuous service for over a century, modified over the years but all built around the same action. It is possible, as the Mauser 98 is still in limited service. The first major purchase of Mauser 98’s was the “Gewehr 98″ standard, a long and ungainly rifle with a straight bolt.

The Gew98, originally chambered for a 8×57 0.318″ bore, later rebarreled to the 0.323” bore served the German military well through WWI and well into the 1920s (what limited arms Germany was allowed under the Treaty of Versailles) before being replaced by the Karabiner 98.  The Gew98 supplied more than a few actions for the “new” K98 standard, so it was quite possible that a rifle action that was manufactured prior to WWI saw service with the Wehrmacht in WWII that had already undergone a rebarrel from .318″ to .323″ and then cut down or rebarreled to the Karabiner barrel length. The last of the 0.318″ bores were made in 1905, so we will call that the “birth year” of our possible sniper rifle.

Gew98_A_Very_Long_Engagement

Screenshot from the French film “A Very Long Engagement” which is set in WWI.

A generation later the Karabiner 98 became the standard for the Third Reich as well as a large number of nations across the planet. The Mauser K98 was one of the most widely produced rifle military bolt action rifles in the world not only in shere numbers, but also by number of countries who manufactured the rifle.

IDF_K98

K98 Rifles armed the newly created nation of Israel after WWII. Countries from Brazil to Mexico, Czechoslovakia to China and Thailand all made use of Mauser 98 variants.

But the tale of this potential rifle doesn’t stop there. In WWII, the German military conquered Norway, and at the end of hostilities a large quanitities of K98 service rifles chambered in the respectable 8mm Mauser (8×57 or 7.92×57) were left behind. The Norse, not being a people to put such a resource to waste, began the process of rebarreling the rifles into the equally respectable 30-06 (or 7.62×63) as Norway was one of the founding member nations of NATO, and it made sense to use the ammunition common to NATOs largest member, the United States.

M59 Biathlon

Norwegian Biathlon Competitor in the 1962 olympics, holding what looks like an M59 rifle, most likely in 6.5×55 as it has less recoil than the larger 30-06.

The United States in turn, almost immediately pushed the 7.62×51 cartridge as “NATO Standard” and it was chambered in such famous battle rifles as the FN FAL, H&K G3, and later in Norway, once again the K98 actions supplied the bases for rifles rebarreled into 7.62×51.

So you now have the possibility of a German rifle, manufactured prior to WWI, being rearsenaled into a K98 configuration by Germany prior to WWII ending up in Norway, where they were rebarreled into 30-06 only to be rebarreled again into 7.62×51 a generation later (the 4th rebarrel into a new caliber). The 30-06 conversion had a distinctive half moon cut in the top of the receiver ring, but the current NM149 sniper rifle has a scope base covering where the cut would be, so I don’t know if any of the current serving sniper rifles in Norwegian service made this particular transition through the years, but it is an intriguing possibility.

NM149S-F1

NM149F1 Rifle in the hands of a Norwegian Sniper working with his Spotter to pose for the camera (as opposed to being in an established hide). Like the FN 30-11 sniper rifle it has a dedicated flash hider.

Now…the price of a K98 in original configuration makes it desirable enough that they should be left alone to preserve what history they have. But still, the possibility that a rifel action manufactured in 1905, and continually rearsenaled throughout history by at least two governments would make for a good story, from common Gew98 to K98 to Norwegian Sniper Rifle still serving after 112 years… Not bad for an action first commercially released in 1898.

 

 

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Value Computer Dilemma: Build Cheap or Buy Used?

Over a decade ago a lot of the small “white box computer store” mom and pop shops closed up because they realized they could no longer build a computer cheaper than the big boys like Dell, Lenovo, HP, or Acer. In fact, they could no longer build a better computer for the same price. This was a shift from computers as a major purchase like an automobile or household appliance, to something more like a phone that you upgrade every few years.

If you are NOT a gamer, then you probably still need to upgrade your computer every once in a while. Generally this “once in a while” is when the user experience gets so bad that the PC is almost unusable, so at that point when you do need a “new” computer, is it better to assemble one, or buy a used computer?

Right now, without a doubt, the better buy is the used computer, for MOST people. Anyone in the business of using their computer for work purposes (graphic design, science/engineering, etc) is better off spending the money to get the best tool they can afford. Anyone who prefers their gear to be on warrantee with on call support is better off buying new, especially if they don’t have decent computer skills. But for people who just need to check email, surf the web, and maybe run Skype and a few games not maxed on resolution, the used PC market is where the value is. People who have enough time to troubleshoot a random driver error, used is great.

Right now the second through fourth generation iCore systems are on the used market, often for way less than 200 dollars with sofware license for Windows already part of the purchase cost. When you take say a 165 dollar Dell Optiplex (a random number I pulled for a random Dell Optiplex with third gen i5 processor today) and subtract the 120 dollar Win10 license fee, that’s a pretty good discount on the hardware. Even Newegg has a second gen core i7 laptop with good specs and activated windows 10 for just under two hundred bucks.

New computers, in the budget friendly realm start off cheap and go up in price to the multi thousand dollar Macs. If you fall into the category where new is the best for you, by all means buy a new computer, even one “customized” by the factory to your tastes.

So that leaves the builders. So when should you build? When you are looking for something other than a basic computer and you have enough computer skills to plug cables and turn a screwdriver. If you want a gaming system, you should build since you can still eke out a gaming system cheaper than buying a pre-built gaming system if you shop around for parts and don’t mind trading some of your time for cost savings. You should also build if you have a specific need where a particular processor is worth the added cost to you (for example you need to use hashcat a lot as part of your business helping clients recover lost passwords).

The other “when to build” answer is if you are more paranoid than not. Building is no guarantee that you won’t get system parts modified by some intelligence apparatus, but if you get components at Fry’s the odds of being targeted for surveillance by your purchase is much smaller.

I apologize if this advice is repetitive, but right now we exist in a state where even ten year old CPUs can run the latest version of Windows OS. Between 1990 and 2000 you had the difference between the 386 processor and the Pentium III, which was an amazing leap in performance. The next decade beyond that saw the rise of 64 bit x86 processors and then multi-core 64 bit processors. But now if you go back a decade, you are still looking at multi-core 64bit processors in the 2 to 3 gigahertz range, and while top end processors will tap out in the 4 gig range now, most mid/value oriented processors are still comfortably in the 3 gig range. What has changed is more efficient instructions per clock and specialized instruction sets on the CPU itself, but really processor speeds have significantly slowed in advances with most performance gains coming from more cores, increased efficiency in instructions per clock cycle (IPC) and more dedicated instruction set circuits built into the silicon. In short, processors are still getting better, amazingly so. But if you sit down at an eight year old workstation with a 3.2 gHz Xeon CPU and a new Core i7 and just surf the web and maybe watch some youtube videos, odds are really good you won’t be able to tell the difference. Newer is still better, but how much better is a very qualitative answer.

Comments are open.

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Saving Free Speech from Trolls? But then who else would mock online stupidity?

What do you get when you cross an uninformed yet opinionated hypocrite (in this case Lindy West) with free speech? You get an editorial that boils down to “well it’s not trolling when our side does it!” https://archive.fo/S9f49

Criticism is not censorship, and no matter how insistent Twitter’s free speech brigade might be, I felt safe knowing that we could always go back to the text. The Constitution was on my side.

But that was when I thought facts had power, when what we think of as the truth was based more on observable reality and less on the incantations of paranoid uncles who would rather die of preventable diseases than let America’s first black president leave an intact legacy. When the “free speech” canard started nibbling away at me, around 2012 or so, it seemed as goofy as the idea of Donald Trump becoming president. Oops.

Yeah, you know what actually happened in 2012? President Barack Obama signed an anti-protest law that was an actual attack on freedom of speech: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2012/03/the_anti_protest_bill_signed_by_barack_obama_is_a_quiet_attack_on_free_speech_.html

The basis for that law, confining protestest to predefined areas in order to avoid the “heckler’s veto” or “rioters veto” which was most recently successfully used at Berkeley to cancel Milo: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/02/01/us/milo-yiannopoulos-berkeley/index.html and Ann Coulter: http://www.yaf.org/news/statement-young-americas-foundations-april-27-lecture-uc-berkeley/

Wow, so you’ve got Leftist rioters causing 100,000 dollars worth of damage in order to prevent Milo from speaking, because somehow his ideas are so incredibly dangerous as they expose Leftist Dogma for the idiocy that it is… Somehow Lindy West mentions none of this in her defense of free speech from the trolls.

So what does she spend her time on? Gamergate.

At the online video conference VidCon a couple of weeks ago, the feminist cultural critic Anita Sarkeesian took the stage for a panel on women’s experiences online, only to find the first two rows of seats stacked with her online harassers, leering up at her, filming her on their phones.

Ms. Sarkeesian has been relentlessly stalked, abused and threatened since 2012, when she started a Kickstarter campaign to fund a series of YouTube videos critiquing the representation of women in video games.

Notice what is lacking from this, any form of ACTUAL censorship. There were no riots to stop Sarkeesian from speaking to invoke the “rioter’s veto” and in terms of actual abuse and harassment, Anita Sarkeesian used her position on a panel to violate VidCon’s code of conduct to attack someone in the audience.

But hey, never let facts get in the way of a good story, right? Especially when Anita Sarkeesian can’t even get her story straight:

But enough about the failed feminism of computer games, on to Black Lives Matter!

If their goal was really to foster free public discourse, we would have seen deafening bipartisan support for Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, the Princeton African-American studies assistant professor and author of “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation,” who canceled two speaking engagements in late May after Fox News aired video of her calling President Trump a “racist and sexist megalomaniac.” Professor Taylor received more than 50 “hate-filled and threatening emails,” many racially charged, some containing “specific threats of violence, including murder,” she wrote in a statement.

Yup, totally 100,000 dollars worth of damage a la Milo. No, of course not.  But let us actually entertain the notion that Lindy West has an actual point here, so a quick google search brings up The New Republic which is a bit on the social conservative side, which had this to say: https://newrepublic.com/minutes/143064/outrage-keeanga-yamahtta-taylor

There are some distinctions to note: Taylor is not being no-platformed in the sense that we commonly understand it, and the fervor she now fights developed in response to a campus speaking engagement to which no one objected at the time.

Nevertheless, it’s striking that her situation has garnered almost no outrage from the usual free-speech defenders. There are no columns in The New York Times or The Atlantic or New York magazine. There are no fevered tweets, no hand-wringing on her behalf. Instead, we have yet another Times column about the excesses of college liberals.

In short, it seems nobody really cares about a paltry “50” threatening emails in the age of massive property damage, especially when the venues in Seattle and California would actually do their damn jobs to provide security to speakers. I just don’t see Berkeley having a “stand down” policy to not protect a leftist female black guest speaker, and evidently no one else does either. So Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor comes across as a distant runner up in the “victimization olympics” because she didn’t inspire any actual property damage or protests at the scheduling of her speech. So nice try Lindy, but even a casual analysis of the facts show that you are using someone else’s inability to gain greater victimhood status to try to prove that the inability to gain greater victimhood status is some sort of oppression… That level of social justice naval gazing utterly boggles the mind.

The election of Donald Trump and crying “free speech” to end any discussion of cultural sensitivity are not unrelated. Casting the dissent of marginalized groups as a First Amendment violation is the kind of pseudo-intellectual argument that seems reasonable to people who don’t have enough skin in the game to bother paying attention. “Discourse” is good! Sunlight is the best disinfectant! The more airtime we give to irrational bigots on high-profile platforms — the more assiduously we hear both sides, stay “fair and balanced” — the sooner they’ll be rejected by the public at large!

Unfortunately, as any scientist can tell you (for as long as we still have those), more often than not, sunlight makes things grow. Conflating criticism with censorship fosters a system in which all positions deserve equal consideration, no bad ideas can ever be put to rest, and lies are just as valid as the truth.

Oh boy… First off no one is censoring “marginalized groups” on the internet, or in mass media. What we are not doing is giving them a free pass and calling them out on their bullshit the very way this article is making fun of Lindy West for being an illogical blowhard.

And the second point, Lindy, please don’t comment on science any more. The reason sunlight is a sterilizing factor is because sunlight has a large amount of ultraviolet radiation that is the correct frequency and energy to destroy the covalent bonds in DNA. This is why you can sterilize clear water by putting it in a clear water bottle and leaving it under direct sunlight for twelve hours or so. This is also why too much sunlight will give you skin cancer. The reason plants grow in sunlight is that they use the photonic energy to fix carbon through photosynthesis, however plants that photosynthesize are NOT the infectious agents that need sterilization. In short, Lindy West you are scientifically illiterate and are suffering from the DK effect too badly to even understand the beginnings of the depths of your ignorance. Of course this is a great example of how a gender studies degree prepares you for nothing else in life but being outraged at everything.

It’s not hard to draw a straight line from internet culture warriors’ misappropriation of free speech to our current mass delusions over climate change, the Hyde Amendment, abstinence-only education, health care as a luxury and class as a meritocracy. “Free speech” rhetoric begot “fake news,” which begot “alternative facts.”

The right cannot lay claim to the First Amendment when its own president is actively hostile to it. Sometimes disinfectant is the best disinfectant.

Oh boy, this is the part of the article where random things get thrown together like a toddler throwing spaghetti at a wall just to see what sticks. No one can “misappropriate” free speech you twit, it is an inalienable right. I know inalienable is a big word, but use that gender studies degree to remember where the hell a library is and go look it up. The “current mass delusions over climate change” is literally a catch all phrase, but thankfully the mass delusion that we’d have no Polar Bears by now, and that Manhattan was supposed to be under water as of two years ago: http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/scott-whitlock/2015/06/12/flashback-abcs-08-prediction-nyc-under-water-climate-change-june It leads me to think that anyone who believes such incredibly wrong predictions on climate change is the one suffering from delusions (or a lack of scientific training, which Lindy has already demonstrated such a lack).

Free speech didn’t beget “fake news” any more than Dan Rather deciding to run a story with obviously faked documents was an exercise in “freedom of the press.” Sure his “alternative facts” supported the leftist narrative at the time, but the great thing about “facts” is that while everyone is entitled to their own opinion, they are not entitled to their own “facts.” And all those culture warriors on the internet that Lindy is railing against (and trying to lump part and parcel in with the religious right) are more than happy to take the creationists and abstinance only religious right to task. But Lindy doesn’t want to recognize that, because in doing so she would tacitly admit that the “internet culture warriors” have a real point about freedom of speech.

So…to Lindy West, please don’t breed. And to the internet culture warriors, keep on putting the REEEEEEEEE! in freedom.

 

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Shooter, the series first season, a short review

The book, “Point of Impact” became the movie “Shooter” starring Mark Walberg as “Bob Lee Swagger” aka “Bob the Nailer.”

The backstory for Bob Lee was updated from Vietnam to the “war on terror” but other than that the movie stayed pretty close to the storyline from the book.

The new series on Netflix, which has Mark Walberg as a producer and Ryan Phillipe playing the hero, diverges a bit more.

Spoiler alert, this is where I bitch about inconsistencies and factually wrong things…

The bullet in Bob’s hip goes from being “embedded” to destroying his hip leaving him with a titanium replacement. I think this eliminates the storyline of Bob having a veteraniarian pull the slug out of him and weigh it to find out that it was 168 grains, which given the switch from Vietnam and Cold War politics to the War on Terror with hundreds of different match bullets available on the commercial market, makes some sense for the writers.

Marine grooming standards don’t apply to Gunnery Sergeant Swagger, he has facial hair in all flashback scenes. So far that hasn’t been retconned into some sort of MARSOC modified grooming standards as everyone else in the unit is in compliance with facial hair shaving.

Bob goes from sending flowers to Donny’s widow to sending flowers to Donny’s Mother, because he’s already married to someone and has his daughter (which happens eventually in the books).

The “indestructible polymer bullet” is currently a bit of science fiction, it is in the realm of the possible but not with any known current polymer technology with which I’m familiar. Frangible polymer bullets are a reality, and there is company, Ecomass, that sells high density polymers to make frangible training bullets. At least one of the resin system polymers has a density equal to copper, and one equal to lead. But, for now the “indestructible bullets” will be lathe turned brass or copper since the tensile strength for the strongest polymer composite is about one tenth that of brass, although about five times stronger than pure unalloyed lead. So you could push a composite bullet a bit faster than a cast lead bullet, but not as fast as a jacketed or lathe turned bullet in terms of looking for accuracy nodes.

One thing that irks me about the show is how spotting scopes are used handheld. That’s NOT how you use a spotting scope, the magnification is just too much to get good observation with because humans wibble wobble and shake. That’s why people use spotting scope stands/tripods or even nest the scope on a sandbag for stability.

Interesting thing, the “sniper scope reticles” don’t always seem to match the scopes shown. The writers call this “custom optics” as a magic handwave.

Another complaint I have is the lack of recoil, which is always a Hollywood problem. Shooting a 338 Lapua Magnum even from a heavy tactical rifle is going to move you around some, no matter how stable your position. Even a 308 bolt action rifle is going to move you, so when they pull the trigger and you hear a bang but see no recoil it just kills your suspension of disbelief if you are an actual shooter.

Lastly, sometimes Bob’s tactics just absolutely suck. During multiple episodes he’s abandoned a perfectly good M4/AR-15 to run, essentially disarmed, back to a bolt action sniper rifle under enemy fire. The first because he had a bolt hold open malfunction which any Marine worth their salt could clear rapidly, and the second because an enemy sniper was closing in on his position, so he dropped his personal M4/AR which was the bulk of his ammunition, to run back to a gun with a total of 5 bullets…. Seriously bad tactics, and not something that a Marine would do in either of those situations.

And unfortunately we lost Nick Memphis, but gained Nadine Memphis. The backstory on Nick was that he was trained as a sniper for the FBI and screwed up a shot which hit a hostage, and Nadine’s backstory is that she shot a hostage but it is clear when Bob gives her some training that she isn’t familiar with being behind a long gun (which EVERY FBI agent should be fully trained on).

So there you have it, if you are shooter who can ignore the inconsistencies then it’s a pretty entertaining series, and I actually look forward to season 2 because for all its faults, it still did a darn sight better than most productions.

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