Thursday, February 28, 2013

-96.1°F - That’s Frickin’ Cold!

Northern Hemisphere Sets New, All-Time Record Cold Temperature: -96.1°F In Oymyakon Siberia !!

Via Small Dead Animals.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/28 at 05:17 PM
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The Golden Age of Caddisflies

While the various genera of mayflies garner most of the attention of fly fishers, if one is not paying attention to the caddisflies, more than likely opportunities to land a trout will be missed.

Often, when I’m waiting for a hatch to commence, and the rise to begin, you’ll find me wading around in the shallows by the bank of the streams I frequent, picking up rocks and turning them over to see what is hiding beneath.  In many instances, there will be mayfly nymphs tenaciously clinging to the bottom of the rock, waiting for their metamorphosis clocks to strike and call them to the air as winged mayflies, to molt, mate, and die.

While searching for, and finding, mayfly nymphs is a pleasant pasttime when waiting for the rise, finding a gathering of caddisfly larvae is not without its own excitement.  You see many caddisfly larvae build cases out of stream debris, such as pictured here, and finding a gathering of them clinging to a submerged log, as if they’re having some sort of conclave, is kind of exciting, for a fly fisher at least.

I’m thinking of caddisfly larval cases this morning after looking at French artist Hubert Duprat’s caddisfly larval cases.  These caddisfly larval cases are not constructed out of mere stream debris, but rather gold, turquoise, pearls and beads, and they are quite something to look at.  It would be quite something to find caddisfly larvae such as Duprat’s while taking a wade.

French Artist Gives Caddisfly Larvae Gold & Jewels to Build Their Protective Cases

Posted by John Venlet on 02/28 at 08:39 AM
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600 Rounds 3D

Defense Distributed’s new demonstration of their improved 3-D printed gun with a large capacity magazine seems designed to confound—and throw a middle finger to—Congress, which is trying to ban high-capacity magazines.

Watch This Guy Fire 600 Rounds With A Partially 3-D Printed Gun

Video embedded in article runs 2:57.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/28 at 08:00 AM
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Monday, February 25, 2013

A Bit of Tech Work Goin’ On

If you notice a paucity of posts, and an intermittent ability to access Improved Clinch in the next few days or so, it’s because a bit of tech work will be goin’ on, here.  Just so you know.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/25 at 07:42 PM
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Only 65 Days Until Trout Openers

image

My trout camp looks rather forlorn, not to mention cold, during the winter months.  There are 65 days until trout season opens here in the State of Michigan, on the last Saturday in April.  This does not mean one cannot fly fish during the winter months, and the most recent fishing report for my neck of the trout fishing woods attests to this, and there are a good number of waters which are open year round for trout fishing here in Michigan, if you can contend with very cold toes.

I’m thinking about fly fishing, right at the moment, because I just read a post titled It Ain’t Easy, which was linked to by the folks at Moldy Chum, and this portion of that post articulates some of what I appreciate most about spending time chasing mayflies and trout.

Fly-fishing has taken me to places that few other ventures could have.  It’s been a life long learning experience that I now have the fortune of sharing with others.  Over the years I’ve put a lot into learning to fly-fish.  On many fronts I still do and often I’m still not where I would like to be.  There has been frustration along the way, and I still have moments where it all goes helplessly wrong. All said and done, fly-fishing can be quite simple,  that’s its beauty. As long as your fly is in the water you have an opportunity to catch a fish regardless of your abilities.  In the grand scheme of things, if you are having fun that’s what matters most, yet if you want to truly reap the sports greatest rewards you’ll need to put your time in.  The fact that it is challenging has a great deal to do with its appeal.  Personally I can think of few things in life as enjoyable as spending time on the water, playing this game, casting fur and feather to lure a fish to take a fly, and when that happens because of the essence of it all its magical.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/21 at 02:40 PM
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Breath of Fire

Interesting post at the blog Letters to Nature, written by Luke Barnes, titled Why science cannot explain why anything at all exists, which delves into the question “why is there something rather than nothing” as posed and considered by Lawrence Krause.

As I read through Barnes’ post, I recalled the consistent response of scientists in many fields of study as presented in Bill Bryson’s book A Short History of Nearly Everything, when confronted with deeply probing questions about their field of study, “I don’t know,” an answer we are less and less inclined to give, or admit, in this day and age.

Though Barnes does not answer Krause’s question directly, he does lay out, in readily understandable fashion, some of the various conundrums required to be considered to approach the question openly, and his post is well worth reading.

Link to Barnes via Donald Sensing.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/21 at 01:47 PM
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“Gravity Glue”

As I’ve previously mentioned, I enjoy messing around with stacking rocks.  Here’s a gentleman who has taken the stacking of rocks to a level far beyond what I have messed around with.  He runs a blog called Gravity Glue, and his rock stacks beggar the imagination.  Here’s a portfolio of clickable thumbs.  I need to set my sights a bit higher.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/21 at 09:06 AM
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Christianity Is Not Groupthink, Nor A Religion

Joan of Argghh! links over to a Sultan Knish essay, on the subject of the Muslim world, titled Saving 1 Billion People From Themselves, which elicited a number of comments from her readers.  This comment, caught my eye, especially the first sentence.

I can’t pretend that Christianity is any better of a religion.

The comparison being made by the commenter, of course, is between Christianity and Islam, as religions, as groupthink entities subject to the groupthink symptoms, and both the Christian and Muslim “religions” suffer equally from the problems of groupthink, to this very day.

The problem that most practitioners of Christianity seem to suffer from is their consideration of the teachings of Jesus Christ as being applicable to the group, or, a group, rather than the individual.  The teachings of Jesus Christ are not meant to be applied wholesale, they are meant to be applied to single, individual lives.  Though today most practitioners of Christianity are not jihadists, enough numbers of them suffer from groupthink that they are willing to coerce perceived non-believers into behaving in such and such a way by utilization of the power of the state, which could be referred to as Christian sharia law.

Christianity is NOT Religion, it is a most powerful self improvement tool, and using the teachings of Jesus Christ for any other purpose than self improvement leads to problems.

The Latin word from which the English word “religion” is derived means “to bind up.” Jesus did not come to bind us up in rules and regulations or rituals of devotion, but to set us free to be man as God intended.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/20 at 12:22 PM
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Reason.com Two-fer and They ARE Related

Here’s a couple of links from Reason.com, and they are related (definition 1).

Is Your Local Police Department Using Pictures of Pregnant Women and Children for Target Practice?

Dorner Manhunt Reveals Police Contempt for Public Safety

Posted by John Venlet on 02/19 at 07:38 PM
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Reclaim Your Honorable Heritage

Americans were born a rebellious, nearly ungovernable bunch of independent individuals, and we need to reclaim that honorable heritage. We have to decide once and for all whether we are going to remain free citizens who answer to no one but God, or become a sad selection of submissive serfs living out our collective political daddy issues.

Kurt Schlicter in a Townhall piece titled No, Obama Is Not My Daddy – He’s My Employee

Via Otto Odecker.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/19 at 09:16 AM
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Monday, February 18, 2013

Freedom Quote of the Day

If you don’t want freedom for people you despise, you don’t want freedom. And if you’re not banding together with the ones you don’t despise, even the ones you think are maybe being a little wrong-headed or silly, you’re missing a great bet for safeguarding your own kind of freedom. Because it’s not a question of who’s right or who’s wrong in the greater freedom movement. They’re all right. And the ones oppressing them are all wrong.

Joel.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/18 at 05:48 PM
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Rising Voices of Civil Disobedience

In a piece penned for PJ Media, Paul Hsieh asks, Would New Gun Laws Spark Widespread Civil Disobedience?  Hsieh cites numerous sheriffs, sheriff associations, and a number of state legislatures which appear to support an answer in the positive to the question, which is also a positive.  Towards the end of his piece, Hsieh states the following.

No one can know exactly how this will play out. This will depend on how strongly the central authorities wish to enforce the law in the teeth of the defiance, and how committed gun-rights supporters are to sustained civil disobedience. If history is any guide, violence is not out of the question, even if cooler heads on both sides do not wish it. New gun laws could be the political equivalent of a spark thrown onto dry tinder.

Violence is indeed a possibility if the government moves forward in attempts to strengthen legislation to solidify their position that guns should only be in the hands of the government, and certain chosen elitist bodyguards, all in direct violation of the Second Amendment, an amendment that allegedly guarantees an inalienable right, which quite evidently, in the eyes of the state, is alienable.

While I am pleased to note rising voices of civil disobedience in this matter, a more principled reason for the right to keep and bear arms is stated clearly by Billy Beck in a post from June 10, 2009 titled “Why Do I Fight For 2A Rights?”, which was written in response to a comment by an individual who lived under communism.

I have more principled reasons for my stand on owning firearms, and I don’t care one whit in the world for the Second Amendment. It means nothing to me. My rights have nothing to do with the U.S. Constitution, and when it dawns on people that it has finally been erased—the principal danger of all political premises posed as “social contracts”—my rights will still validly exist, even if I die defending them. I own firearms because I have a right to private property. That is the First Thing.

As Billy states in closing, toujours l’audace.”

Posted by John Venlet on 02/18 at 11:04 AM
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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Around The Family Table

The last time I linked over to an essay of Brigid’s, I noted that Brigid’s parents, and my parents, would have gotten along quite well together.

Brigid’s most recent essay, Posts From the Road - My Brothers Keeper, reminds me that my family is larger than just my parents and siblings, and I thank Brigid for this reminder, because I have experienced the caring of this larger family.

...I think of this blog community, many of you here that I have met, thousands I have not. Yet when a blog goes silent, usually because someone did the ring of salt wrong when setting up their new blogger template, someone always speaks up. “What happened to Matthew, his site is down?” Someone else, “he’s fine, just not going to maintain a blog”. Others offering help if the issue IS technical. Well wishes for the new parents, condolences for our losses, support during illness. Some cash in a tip jar for an unexpected emergency in a working family. Rituals from those who remember the divinity of rituals, a few minutes each day we rescue each other deep in the middle of an anonymous web.

We read the news, we surf the web, just as we walk the streets, motion, stopping, pausing, looking, the whole world moving with the click of a heel, the click of a mouse, so much dependent on how quickly we come into view and move out again, how much we really are aware of in that moment. But we watch, we listen, we think, we prepare to survive, we prepare to defend. We are less strangers than you think, this tribe of bloggers.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/17 at 09:30 AM
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But It’s Not About Power - Rehabbing Jesse Jackson Jr.

A news article on Jesse Jackson Jr.‘s downfall from potential future political power broker to soon to be incarcerated inmate muses on Jackson Jr.‘s problems as follows.

For all the talk of Jesse Jackson Jr. aspiring to be a U.S. senator or mayor of the nation’s third-largest city, his career wasn’t ended by attempts to amass political power.

Instead, it was the former congressman’s desire for flashy items — a gold-plated Rolex watch, furs and collectibles, such as Eddie Van Halen’s guitar.

In a state where stop-at-nothing political ambition has been well documented — and often rewarded — the seemingly frivolous cause of Jackson’s undoing is seen by political observers and former colleagues as both nonsensical and sad.

What’s nonsensical and sad is the total inability of the reporters who wrote the story; not to mention the political handlers, pundits and former political colleagues whose soundbites appear within the story; to understand that Jesse Jackson Jr.‘s downfall was and is about power.  They can opine all they’d like that Jackson Jr.‘s downfall was related to his penchance for acquiring expensive geegaws, but the fact of the matter is Jesse Jackson Jr.‘s ability to acquire expensive geegaws is only the result of Jackson Jr. trading on the faux power of his father’s name.  A name which greased and gassed Jr.‘s rise to prominence in the first place.

Articles such as this are simply the initial attempts to rehabilitate the name of Jesse Jackson Jr.  My bet is the Jackson Jr. will do his time, uttering mea culpas all the while, and that soon he’ll be gladhanding with all his former political cronies, and return to the political spotlight ala Marion Barry.

Jackson Jr.‘s downfall tied to objects, not power

Posted by John Venlet on 02/17 at 08:54 AM
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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Richard Dawkins’ Flatulence

Upon news of the Pope’s resignation, Richard Dawkins, unwilling to concede his utter lack of understanding of a life of faith, tweeted the following.

I feel sorry for the Pope and all old Catholic priests. Imagine having a wasted life to look back on and no sex.

Francis J. Beckwith, Professor of Philosophy and Church-State Studies, and Resident Scholar in the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University addresses Dawkins’ dismissal of a life of faith in a concise essay titled Benedict, Dawkins, and the Fullness of Reason, and does so adroitly.  Beckwith ends his essay as follows.

But given his diminished understanding of reason, Dawkins must deny that even he can issue such judgments by means of his rational powers. Consequently, on Dawkins’ own account of reason, his verdict on the pope’s life is the cerebral equivalent of covert flatulence gone terribly wrong: not silent and not deadly.

Via Keith Burgess-Jackson.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/16 at 09:55 AM
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