Dispatches, October ’16

10.1.16

I’m not dead. At least, not yet.

10.7.16

When climate activists say, “We have the technology; all we need is the political will,” they act like that’s good news. But think about the political will we need: to immediately cease fossil fuel exploration, start shutting down coal mines, and put in place a plan for managed decline of the fossil fuel industry; to double or triple the global budget for clean energy research, development, and deployment; to transfer billions of dollars from wealthy countries to poorer ones, to protect them from climate impacts they are most vulnerable to but least responsible for; and quite possibly, if it comes to it, to limit the consumptive choices of the globe’s wealthiest and most carbon-intensive citizens.

That level of political will is nowhere in evidence, in any country.

So for now, it’s cognitive dissonance. –David Roberts, “No Country On Earth Is Taking The 2 Degree Climate Change Target Seriously”[1]

Hmm.

Hmmmmmmm.

That article is a good one, if you’re interested in a particular flavor of despair. There’s very little like seeing the “what’s the point”-ness of clinical depression acted out on a geologic stage. It’s certainly one thing to think that there’s no reason to go on because you can’t quite summon the motivation to move; it’s another to see scientific proof of it.

There’s a bit of 10th-manning here, a little worst-case-scenario paranoia, but I leaned into that role a long time ago. So bear with me as I burrow down a few rabbit holes.

Global geopolitical events: the rise of ISIS, a group which is based on fundamentalist Islamic beliefs on the apocalypse. The ascendance of Trump, le Pen, Farage, whoever’s goosestepping in Germany and Hungary, politicians who spew toxic bile reminding us that the barbarians are at our doors, that this is the last election that matters, that if you don’t vote for them, it’s all over. The Purge, World’s End, Snowpiercer, This Is The End, Mad Max, all of the film and literature based around our shared awareness that something’s vibrating on the end of the string.

Dogs howling at the moon. We know more than we think. We feel that something is changing. It’s like a hot day before the rain. Pressure in the air, the humidity. Storm coming.

There is a storm coming, and everyone feels it.

Putin feels it. That’s why he’s kicking in doors in Syria, middle fingers extended to Kerry and the rest of them. It’s why Trump is stomping up and down the electorate. It’s why the Aussies are keeping their refugees on an island in the middle of the Pacific, and why white cops keep shooting unarmed black dudes. We feel that there’s a change in the air.

There’s an important question here, buried in the muck and the slime, a very old question that goes back to Revelation: “If you knew the world would end tomorrow, what would you do?”

A curious thought experiment, but never one that ever really gained a lot of purchase on my psychic real estate. These sorts of questions require a degree of certainty, or else they’re just theoretical. But I, like that thick-eyebrowed troglodyte Augustus, believe that rhetoric must match action, that words divested from deeds are the worst kind of hypocrisy.

Thus: if you believed, if you had reason to believe, that the entirety of the human race would be trapped in a cycle of monstrous violence over the world’s dwindling resources within sixty years, how would you live your life? How would you be required to live your life in order to be acting in the fullness of your conviction?

Well, not planning to live to see 2068 is a start. It’ll suck missing the tricentennial, but not as much as getting garroted by a sand mutant.

10.8.16

Bad craziness this morning. I checked on Reddit today, which I haven’t done in quite some time, and boy, that was a mistake. I had forgotten that I was subscribed to more than just r/writingprompts. A representative sample:

  • r/Collapse
  • r/DarkFuturology
  • r/economicCollapse
  • r/globalcollapose
  • r/privacy
  • r/StormComing

That’s not the kind of thing anybody needs to read at 7 in the morning, let alone a twitchy paranoiac drinking a pot of coffee.

This isn’t good for my psychic health.

Then again, spending over a thousand dollars American on a Modern Sporting Rifle I’ve shot exactly once probably isn’t super beneficial either. That said, only one of those is likely to drive me to a nervous breakdown, and it probably isn’t the one that has me spending hours looking up charging handles. Thus:

AR Build Specs, Updated
Model DPMS™ Recon RFA3-REC
Caliber .223/5.56 NATO
Barrel 16” Midlength HBAR Bead-Blasted 416 Stainless Steel
Upper Receiver Forged 7075 T6 A3 Flattop w/ BCM Charging Handle, Large
Barrel Twist 1:9
Lower Receiver Forged 7075 T6
Stock Magpul™ STR® Carbine Stock, Mil-Spec w/ .55” Extended Rubber Butt Pad and DS Arms Mil-Spec Buffer Tube
Fire Control Standard AR-15
Handguard AT3™  Tactical 14.5” Free-Float Quad Rail
Gas Block AT3™  Micro Steel, Midlength Gas Tube
Grip Magpul™ MOE+® Grip w/ Tapco™ Intrafuse® Stubby Vertical Grip
Sling Magpul™ MS3® Sling GEN2 w/ ASAP® QD
Optics SPARC™  AR 2 MOA Red Dot w/ Vortex™  VMX-3T Magnifier
Iron Sights Magpul™  MBUS® Pro Sights
Accessories Magpul™ B.A.D.  Lever®; Magpul™ P-Mags® w/ Magpul™ Ranger Plates®

The current optic is nothing so fanciful, and is, in fact, a 20 USD micro red dot from Field & Sport. However, I was duly impressed by a video[2] that featured an excitable young man subjecting the device to a great deal of punishment, without it even getting wobbly on the rail.

10.18.16

My absence lately has been inexcusable, especially considering that my mood has been generally more stable lately. The reason, of course, is chemical; a new regime of pharmaceuticals has buoyed my spirits, provided additional energy, and prodded my loutish and flabby work ethic towards actual, genuine productivity.

I give it a week.

The 2016 Electo-pocalypse is proceeding apace, and I actually have no desire to say anything about it. The entire thing is dissolving in front of us. There’s nothing but uncertainty in the days ahead, and I can only say that I’m happy I’ve got a working evil black rifle and 900-odd rounds of .223. I don’t anticipate trouble in the South—I’m more worried about border country. But we’ll be ever vigilant all the same. On the day of the election, I plan on withdrawing all of my assets and holing up inside my house, barricaded behind sandbags and piles of old video game magazines. I’ll drink until everything blows over.

On a more serious note, I want to register my disgust with the GOP. I mentioned to a good friend of mine that I can’t vote for Paul Ryan, should he bow to the inevitable and run for office in 2020—the man is a spineless coward for refusing to denounce Der Fuhrer and his toxic rhetoric. All of the leadership is culpable as far as I’m concerned. When Lindsay Graham and Eric Erickson are the most morally upright members of your party, what does that say about you?

Oh, signs and wonders, wonders and signs. Russians in Syria. Duterte is in China. Erdogan and Putin, hand in hand. Everyone is turning against us. So be it. We’ll make it on our own.

Name Bullet Type Bullet Weight Muzzle Velocity Muzzle Energy
.204 Ruger[3] V-MAX 40 gr. 3806 ft/s 1195 ft/lbs
.204 Ruger SP 45 gr. 3625 ft/s 1313 ft/lbs
6.5 Grendel TNT 90 gr. 2880 ft/s 1658 ft/lbs
6.5 Grendel FMJ 120 gr. 2700 ft/s 1642 ft/lbs
.277 Wolverine 95 gr. 2650 ft/s 1480 ft/lbs
6.8 SPC FMJ 115 gr. 2575 ft/s 1694 ft/lbs
6.8 SPC SST 120 gr. 2460 ft/s 1612 ft/lbs
.300 AAC BLK CQ 78 gr. 2800 ft/s 1358 ft/lbs
.300 AAC BLK OTM 220 gr. 1010 ft/s 498 ft/lbs
.458 SOCOM SP 250 gr. 2150 ft/s 2565 ft/lbs
.458 SOCOM RN 600 gr. 1000 ft/s 1336 ft/lbs
.50  Beowulf JHP 300 gr. 1870 ft/s 2330 ft/lbs
.50 Beowulf Plated FP 335 gr. 1771 ft/s 2333 ft/lbs
.50 Beowulf JHP 400 gr. 1880 ft/s 2878 ft/lbs

10.29.16

Let’s get drunk and talk about taxes basic income.

The EITC provides assistance to…a number of people, I guess. The CBPP says that the EITC and the CTC have, between them, touched some 9 million people[4], which is a lot. Now, obviously we know that the EITC is a big help to people with children (over $3,000 with one qualifying child, over $6,000 for three or more), but less so for people with no children; although the IRS permits anyone who has lived in the US for more than half a year and is between 25 and 65 to claim the credit, the maximum you can receive if you are childless is about $500[5][6].

Ulf. The Sick is on me. No work right now.

[1] http://www.vox.com/2016/10/4/13118594/2-degrees-no-more-fossil-fuels

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1Ej1unT0mQ

[3] At the time of its introduction in 2004, the Ruger .204 was the fastest commercially-available cartridge in production.

[4] http://www.cbpp.org/research/various-supports-for-low-income-families-reduce-poverty-and-have-long-term-positive-effects

[5] https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/individuals/earned-income-tax-credit/eitc-income-limits-maximum-credit-amounts

[6] https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/individuals/earned-income-tax-credit/eitc-earned-income-tax-credit-questions-and-answers

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