Saturday, July 28, 2012

TTAG on the Saiga Shotgun

One of the reasons I read The Truth About Firearms blog is because they don't appear to pull the punches when reviewing firearms. So, here is what they said recently about the Saiga shotgun:
The Saiga shotgun is built roughly on the same design as an AK-47 – very roughly. Like, “I saw it on the internet and I think it works like this” rough. Some of the features are pretty close to the original design, but the gun had to be drastically modified to operate with shotgun shells.

The gas system, for example, uses a “gas puck” that functions much like the short stroke recoil design used in the M1 carbine from WWII instead of the direct gas operated piston system in the original design. And the bolt design uses a rotating shaft ... but a stationary bolt face in order to properly chamber a round.

Other additions like a bolt hold-open feature are unique to the Saiga design entirely. These modifications have introduced a number of areas where serious malfunctions can occur. And more often than not, they happen at the most inopportune moments.

In addition ... the build quality on Saigas is generally piss poor compared to other shotguns in the same or even lower price ranges (not even the Norinco 870 ripoff is as rough around the edges). ... Besides the finish being incredibly rough (and therefore rather abrasive to the moving components of the gun) the original parts themselves seem flimsy. It just feels like they cranked these guns out without the polish that their line of rifles gets.

... I asked around, and every single person I saw who was running a Saiga shotgun at the recent CT match had a major malfunction (“major” defined as taking 10 seconds or more to clear). One shooter’s shotgun even decided to disassemble itself in the middle of a stage, something that happened the day before at the practice range and was captured on film by yours truly (notice anything about that dust cover?).

Whatever speed bonus competitors gained by having detachable magazines was more than outweighed by the extra time needed to actually make the thing work. And before you say it was only the “bad” competitors that had malfs, I watched Jerry Miculek’s legendary Saiga shotgun have a meltdown in the middle of a stage that probably cost him a few positions on the leaderboard.

That’s the reason I ditched the Saiga shotgun when I did. I could see the writing on the wall — getting it “up to spec” was going to cost thousands of dollars and even then, the design was so inherently shitty that it probably was still going to malfunction on me. So instead of wasting money on the “upgrades” I bought a Mossberg 930 and haven’t looked back. The lesson: caveat emptor. If you buy a Saiga shotgun, be aware that you’re buying a project gun that even the best shooters of our day have tried — and failed — to make work in a competition setting.
C'mon. Tell me how you really feel.

FerFal -- 5 "Awkward" Items to Have in a Survival Kit

Interesting article from FerFal's blog on why to include condoms, tampons, an emery board, pantyhose, and breast milk bags in a wilderness survival or bug out kit.

The Door to Hell

Soviet geologists were drilling at the site in 1971 and tapped into a cavern filled with natural gas.

But the ground beneath the drilling rig collapsed, leaving a hole with a diameter of 70 metres.

Fearing that the hole would lead to the release of poisonous gases, the team decided to burn it off.

It was hoped that the fire would use all the fuel within days, but the gas is still burning today.

The flames generate a golden glow which can be seen for miles around Derweze, a village with a population of about 350.

The site is about 260 kilometres north of Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan.
More photos and a video at the link.

Lotsa Ruins

This past week apparently has been "modern ruins" week at the Daily Mail.

First up,"Haunting images of America's abandoned cities paint picture of nation's forgotten struggles...." This is a potpourri of ghost towns and abandoned buildings from around the U.S.:
Shops sit in neat lines, a pool table waits for the next player and cars queue for their turn at a gas station - but there will be no customers, no patrons and no drivers here.

These haunting images reveal America's abandoned cities, the nation's once bustling communities now dilapidated, cobwebbed and eerily silent.

While they all share the same conclusion, each city has a different story leading to its demise - tales of raging fires, devastating floods or simply overspending during the copper, mercury or gold rushes.
One of the featured buildings:
Fall of a city: The Cook Bank Building in Rhyolite, Nevada was filled with marble staircases and imported stained glass and cost $2.3 million to build in today's money. It is pictured [bottom] in 1908 but just two years later, the town's mines were operating at a loss. It is pictured [top] in 2009

The next article has photos and story about the abandoned "Enchanted Land" theme park in Rio de Janeiro. A couple photos from the story:

It actually doesn't look in too bad of shape....

The third article has photos and bit of information on abandoned railway stations from around the world, including the Michigan Central Depot in Detroit:

 Check 'em out.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Zombie Manor House

Some time ago, I had noted a CNN story about prepping for the zombie apocalypse. The story included the following bit:
For about $100 and a plane ticket to England, you can attend’s Zombie Boot Camp in Droitwich, Worchestershire, for training with military instructors. Utilizing body armor and weaponry, you learn battle tactics and unarmed combat and sniper skills as you train for an attack on a zombie den. Tea, coffee and light snacks are available for nonzombies to eat during training.
I recently received an email from the same outfit letting me know about their Zombie Manor House they run. I don't have the extra money for a plane ticket to England, but thought I'd pass it along.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Baltic Sea "UFO" May Be Nazi Secret Weapon

Divers exploring a 'UFO-shaped' object in the Baltic sea say that the strange, curved object might be a Nazi device lost beneath the waves since the end of the Second World War.

Sonar scans have shown that the device, raised 10ft above the seabed and measuring 200ft by 25ft, could be the base of an anti-submarine weapon.

The weapon was built with wire mesh which could have baffled submarine radar, leading enemy craft to crash - much in the same way as turning out a lighthouse could be used as a weapon against shipping.

But now former Swedish naval officer and WWII expert Anders Autellus has revealed that the structure - measuring 200ft by 25ft - could be the base of a device designed to block British and Russian submarine movements in the area.

The huge steel-and-concrete structure could be one of the most important historical finds in years.

Autellus claims it would have been built of double-skinned concrete and reinforced with wire mesh to baffle radar - which could explain why the dive team's equipment repeatedly failed near the mystery object.

‘The area was vital to the German war machine because most of the ball bearings for its tanks and trucks came from here. Without them the German army would have ground to a halt,’ explained one expert.

‘This device dwarfs anything ever found before and is an important weapons discovery,’ they added.

Explorer Stefan Hogeborn - who is studying the images for the Ocean X diving team - agreed: ‘It is a good candidate for the answer to this mystery. The object lies directly underneath a shipping route.’

‘It would be of enormous weight in steel and concrete. Other Nazi anti-sub anchoring devices were nowhere near as large,’ he added.

Another Zombie Attack?

The July 10, 2012, Daily Mail reported:
A naked man allegedly flew into a violent rampage, biting a chunk out of another man's stomach after leaping from his roof onto a truck and urinating inside his home.

Officers responding to the scene needed backup to restrain Jeremiah Aaron Haughee with leg shackles, a spit hood and handcuffs after he continued fighting despite being Tasered five times.

Authorities did not carry out tests on Haughee to see if he was under the influence of any drugs.

Police first arrived at the home in Flagler Beach, Florida at 4.30 a.m. to find two men restraining the naked 22-year-old in a puddle of urine and glass.

Zombie Elantra Coupe


The cow-catcher (or some sort of grill) would be a good idea to help drive through a pack of zombies without throwing them up and through the windshield or crumpling the front of the car. However, it needs to lose the spikes. Also, the spikes on the wheels is a bad idea. It limits the manoeuvrability of the car, its going to catch on other vehicles or the sides of buildings (i.e., when you have to race down a narrow alley), and I can see someone tripping over them as they race back to the care for a quick getaway. The grills over the window are a good idea, but I would use a mesh grill so the zombies can't their hands through.

Why Is America Hooked on Zombies?

Cliff Courtney, EVP and chief strategy officer for Zimmerman Advertising, said America as a society loves to “resurrect the dead.” Not in the zombie sense, per se, but as far as trends go, Zimmerman said we need to only look to the past to see what will be popular again the future.

The zombie and vampire craze that has been sweeping the country for the past several years now is just one example.

“Zombies were movie staples in the 1950s and 1960s, and basically everything old is new again,” he said. “We milk something to death and move on.”

Advanced CGI technology has only made the trend even more popular, Zimmerman said, because today’s zombies look even more real and terrifying, making the representations we see on television and in movies even more fun to watch.

And, as far as participating zombie races and the subculture that is seriously preparing for the zombie apocalypse? Zimmerman said this is all about making things more interesting for consumers. Take running, for example, which can be mundane and repetitive. Throw some zombies and obstacles into a 5K race and you will attract even more runners than you would for a standard race.

“It’s all about how can we make it more interesting,” Zimmerman said.

The Ruins of Gary, Indiana

Once the centre of the country's booming steel industry and known as the City of the Century, Gary, Indiana now lies in ruins as a sad example of American industrial decline.

Founded in 1906 by the US Steel Corporation, Gary's heyday was in the post-war boom of the 1950's when almost 200,000 people lived and worked in the bustling city, 25 miles from Chicago.

As the American manufacturing sector contracted, Gary's population fell by over 50 percent and no one now uses the once bustling train stations, church's and auditoriums that are now decaying as they are left to the elements.

. . . the flight of people away from Gary led to whole swathes of buildings being abandoned such as the once proud City Methodist Church which was built in the 1920's.

U.S. Steel paid $385,000 towards the $1 million construction costs of the church, which used to hold 950 people every Sunday and boasted a total congregation of 3,000.

The church also had a large school, gymnasium and an auditorium named the Seaman Hall where the city would hold community meetings, plays and musical events.

By 1970 the number of attendees for Sunday mass had fallen to 100 and in 1975 the church closed for good and began its long decent into despair.

Lying dormant and unused since then, many plans have been mooted to restore the place of worship including turning the vast empty spaces into a centre for performing arts or even to gracefully culture the ruins into an open garden.

However, with no funds and no concrete interest, the City of Gary has allowed the crumbling building to become a symbol of the decline of northwest Indiana and American industry.

Other building's such as the city's Union Station are potent reminders of the heights that Gary has fallen from.

Constructed to feed the growing city in 1910, the station lasted only another five decades before being closed and left to nature to take its course.

"Run for Your Lives"

Daniel Smith had run over hills, scrambled through streams and climbed over walls on a recent hot Saturday here, when he came face-to-face with his greatest obstacle yet: a field full of zombies.

He dodged through about 20 groaning, glassy-eyed antagonists with oozing facial wounds and streaks of red splattered across their clothes. "I felt like it was just nonstop sprinting for my life," said the 18-year-old from nearby Yorktown.

Mr. Smith, who runs high school track and cross-country, paid $87 for the privilege, while the zombies chasing him paid $25—and got a free makeup job and, for those over 21, a complimentary beer at the end of the race.

Obstacle-course races and zombie-themed events—from proms to marches to film festivals—have been spreading across the country like a flesh-eating bacteria. Now, a series of races called "Run For Your Lives" are bringing the two together.

Runners wade through pools of fake blood, duck under electrified wires and try to avoid letting zombies steal their "health flags" worn on a belt around the waist. A runner with no flags left is ruled dead—or is it undead?—and isn't eligible for awards at the end of the five-kilometer race. Crossing the finish line alive is no small feat: Only about 20% of racers make it with at least one of their three flags left.
(Full story here). A lot more fun than just going for a jog, or entering a foot race.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Walking Dead Escape... Petco Park in San Diego, July 12-14.

More information (including ticket information) at the link, above, and here.

A Collaborative Zombie Bible

You know about "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" and other classic stories incorporating zombies. How about the greatest story ever told? At the risk of being damned for blasphemy, a group of zombie fans have started a site to produce a collaborative zombie-fied version of the Holy Bible--the Stinque Zombie Bible. (H/t Huffington Post).

Building the "Walking Dead" Zombie Apocalypse Car

Story and video at the link.

Last Chance to Check for DNSChanger

Technology Review reminds us that, as of Monday, if your computer is infected with DNSChanger, you will not be able to connect to the Internet.
Hundreds of thousands of people are likely to be confused on Monday when they fire up their home or office computers and can't connect to the Internet. Their network connections will be fine, but attempts to visit their favorite domains will be fruitless.

These people will be the unfortunate leftover victims of the DNSChanger botnet. Between 2007 and October of last year, the DNSChanger virus infected four million computers in 100 countries, according to the FBI. Often without the victims' knowledge, the computers were turned into drones that were instructed by rogue servers to visit websites and click on ads in a scheme to generate fraudulent advertising revenue.
You can check your computer by going here.  If your computer is infected, this site has information on fixing it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

DIY Motorcycle

 A couple weeks ago, I posted about a man that had built a motorcycle out of the parts of his car after breaking down in the Sahara. Now for the rest of the story:
When Frenchman Emile Leray became stranded in a Moroccan desert [in 1993] with a badly damaged car, his ordeal was one which would have left most men helpless and desperate.

But after his Citroen car ground to a halt, the enterprising electrician would not be denied in his quest to find his way back to civilisation.

His amazing escape from the barren terrain saw Mr Leray singlehandedly rebuild his Citreon into a makeshift motorbike, in a dramatic escape which has seen him dubbed the most 'extreme' mechanic in the world.

* * *

The 43-year-old had been driving his Citroen 2CV across the desert from the Moroccan city of Tan-Tan.

However, along the way he was stopped at a military outpost and was informed that he couldn't go any further.

Faced with prospect of returning to Tan Tan, Emile decided instead to go off road to navigate around the restricted area.

Unfortunately the rocky and bumpy terrain soon caused problems and he lost control of his car before crashing into a rock.

The impact caused the Citroen's swing arm and wheel axle to snap - leaving the car undriveable.

With the nearest village at least 20 miles away, Emile didn't feel he would be able to make it on foot.

Luckily, he had a small cache of supplies, water for several days and a few tools, including a hacksaw.

After considering his options, Emile decided that his best course of action was to use parts from his car to create a makeshift motorbike.

Mr Leray told the Sunday Times: 'I wanted to do it off road because I had travelled round Africa about 10 times, so I knew the region well and therefore had no concerns.

'I decided to do it in a 2CV because, although it is not a 4x4, it is tough. In Africa they call it the ‘Steel Camel’ because it goes everywhere — provided you drive it gently. One must not be rough.

'I obviously was too rough because I broke it.

'I could not have gone back on foot — it was too far. I put myself in what one calls survival mode. I ate less; I monitored my supplies of water and of food to make them last as long as possible.'

He started by removing the Citroen's body, which he then used as a shelter to sleep under.

To build the bike he shortened the car's chassis before reattaching the axles and two of the wheels, as well as installing the engine and gearbox in the middle.

He had thought that it would take him just a few days to construct the motorcycle, but in the end it took 12.

Eventually, however, it was complete and, with just half a litre of water left, Emile started his ride back to civilisation.

The going was easy and he regularly fell off the seat, which was made from part of the car's rear bumper.

After a day of riding Emile was picked up by the Moroccan police who drove him to the nearest village.

They also handed him a hefty fine because the registration documents for his car no longer corresponded to what he was driving.
Read the whole thing (also, many more photographs).

Massad Ayoob Discusses Barrel Length... Backwoods Magazine.

Zombie Theme Park in Detroit?

Those of you that have followed my blog for a while have seen me post pictures of modern ruins, and know what horrible shape Detroit is in. Somebody wants to turn the "wastelands" of Detroit to good use as a zombie theme park.
Derelict areas of Detroit face being taken over by hordes of 'flesh and brain-eating zombies' if an ambitious business plan takes off.

Entrepreneur Mark Siwak wants to create live-action terror theme park 'Z World' on Motor City's run-down and abandoned streets.

Customers would pay to be chased by professional actors and try to seek shelter in ghostly homes, factories and businesses.

* * *

Detroit has become known in recent years for pioneering 'creative solutions' like urban farming and pedestrian-friendly greenway trials.

Soaring budget deficits and a declining population has forced businesses and the authorities to 'think outside the box'.

And Siwak, who has raised $2,200 of the $140,000 needed through fundraising website IndieGoGo, said his theme park could be the perfect solution.

He told CBS Detroit: 'The city can only have so many urban farms or similar uses for vacant plots.'

And he revealed he is already receiving CVs from hundreds of residents keen to work at the tourist attraction.

He added: 'While zombies are great, the real neat thing about this project is the potential to inject some life into a forgotten neighbourhood - with the opportunity to work with neighbourhood groups and organisation'.

The project would follow in the footsteps of Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse, where thrill-seekers wield paint ball guns to play hide-and-seek with undead zombies in a formerly abandoned truck stop.

Mysterious Meteor Trail Over Australia

That people saw the trail is not what is unusual. What is in unusual is that the trail was visible for 20 minutes. (Full story here).

More Zombie Cannibal Attacks

From yesterday's Daily Mail:
A 'zombie cannibal' was tasered by police after he charged at them wielding a golf club.

Karl Laventure, 21, was believed to be high on bath salts when he tried to attack the officers in Lilburn, Georgia.

And after they had managed to subdue him he began threatening to eat them.

Laventure appeared out of some woods and was seen running naked around a golf range near Atlanta, swinging a club around his head and screaming.

Police said that it took several officers to subdue the man who had 'super-human strength'.

'He came running at us out of the woodline,' officer Ross Hancock told local station WSBTV.

At first, they tried using pepper spray to stop him, but that left him undeterred.

'He didn't even wipe his eyes, he just kept them open,' Mr Hancock said of the pepper spray.

They then turned to their Tasers and though that momentarily shocked Laventure to the ground, it did not stop him.

'We had to Tase him approximately five more times on scene to get him down. It took several officers to hold him down to get him cuffed,' Mr Hancock told the station.

A video clip of the June 14 arrest shows Laventure lying face down on the ground, shirtless, mumbling seemingly disconnected thoughts and threatening to eat the faces of the officers.

* * *
His behavior is being blamed on the use of the synthetic drug called bath salts, which was also linked to previous violent outbursts throughout the country.

'I've never had to encounter somebody who acted like this before, so there's no telling what they may do when they are high on this drug,' Mr Hancock said.

There have been a number of 'cannibal' incidents linked to bath salts in recent weeks.

Bath salts, a synthetic amphetamine cocktail known as 'the new LSD', was the believed drug of choice for Rudy Eugene, who he chewed off homeless man Ronald Poppo's face in Miami in May.

While a man in Louisiana, Carl Jacquneaux, was arrested when he bit off a piece of his neighbour's cheek, which a friend blamed on bath salts.
Although the headline to the story indicates that he was high on "bath salts," I would note that the Miami zombie cannibal attacker was initially reported as also being high on "bath salts," but that turned out to be incorrect as tests showed that he only had marijuana in his system.

Oh, and before I forget again, there was this recent attack as well:
Cops arrived at a home in Waco, Texas, on June 14 after a man called 911 to report a man living in his house that was 'going crazy.'

Police said that Michael Terron Daniel told his housemates that he was 'on a bad trip' after taking the synthetic drug K-2 and began attacking them.

Outside the home, Daniel allegedly assaulted another man who lived at the home.

Sgt W. Patrick Swanton of the Waco Police Department told MailOnline that when a neighbour tried to intervene, Daniel got down on his hands and knees and 'began barking and growling like a dog.'

He then chased the neighbour, who ran into his house.

As horrified witnesses watched, Daniel allegedly turned his drug-fuelled rage to a medium-sized Spaniel mix, who belonged to one of his housemates, beating and choking the animal.

Sgt Swanton said that Daniel then 'took a bite out of the dog, ripping pieces of flesh away and eating them.'

Police showed up to find Daniel sitting on the front porch with the dog's carcass on his lap.

Sgt Swanton said: 'There was blood and fur around his mouth, blood and fur on his clothing.'
Meanwhile, the attacks have spread to other countries, including China:
The recent terrifying spate of 'cannibal attacks' seems to have spread to China, as a drunk bus driver was caught on camera gnawing at a woman's face in a horrific random attack.

The unfortunate woman will apparently require plastic surgery to repair the damage done by her crazed attacker.

According to local news reports, the driver, named Dong, had been drinking heavily during lunch with his friends before the outburst on Tuesday.

He then ran on to the road in the city of Wenzhou, in south-east China, and stood in front of the car being driven by a woman named Du, stopping her from moving.

Dong climbed on the car's hood and started beating the vehicle while the panicked woman screamed for help.

When she left the car and tried to escape, the bus driver leaped on top of her and wrestled her to the ground.

It was then that Dong started biting Du's face, leaving her covered in blood and weeping as passers-by tried to pull the attacker off his victim.

Witnesses said that the bus driver had gone 'crazy' and was successfully resisting attempts to subdue him.
I'm not sure where I originally saw it, but I remember a documentary about research into overcrowding. The scientists placed rats in a dormitory style cage (i.e., a bunch of interconnected cages) and then started adding rats. Up to a certain point the rats lived peaceably with one another. Then, when the population density reached a certain point, the rats just went crazy, killing and eating each other, even their own young. Maybe that is the real zombie apocalypse.

Taste Test of Dehydrated and Freeze Dried Foods

Over at the Preparedness Advice Blog, they conducted a taste test of dehydrated and freeze dried foods of different types and from various manufacturers. (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). They describe the test:
A panel of five people was chosen that were not overly familiar with any of the brands of food that were in the test. The panel met at one location and was given the foods without any information. They were not told either the product or brand. After tasting the products, they then scored them on a scale of one to ten. The foods were judged on four factors, taste, texture, appearance and an overall score. They were instructed to use five as a base line for average and if they varied from this to make comments as to why.

The panel tested fifty items and did a great job. As you read the results, you will see that on occasions there were great variations in the judging of a product by them. Most products received some good and bad reviews depending on the tastes of the individual panelist. Below you will find the list of individual items. They are divided into groups such as entree and dairy. Under the name of each item you will find the following information. The average score of all five panelists for taste, texture, appearance and overall. In addition, you will find calories per serving, sodium and a remarks section.
I don't recommend freeze dried foods for anything but an short term emergency supply (such as a bug-out bag) just because of the cost. However, I have used freeze dried food for camping/hunting trips. Its always good to get reviews of the different foods.