Archive | June, 2011

A few things from the bike shop.

30 Jun

A few things from the bike shop.

Date: 2009-05-27, 4:05PM PDT
[Errors when replying to ads?]

Whoo-hoo Seattle, the sun is out! Let’s discuss a few things before you fumble with swapping the unused ski rack for the unused bike rack on the Subaru.

So yes, you’ve noticed the sun is out, and hey!- maybe it would be cool to to some bike riding. Let’s keep in mind that the sun came out of all 600,000 of us, so for the most part, you’re not the only one who noticed. Please remember that when you walk into my shop on a bright, sunny Saturday morning. It will save you from looking like a complete twat that huffs “Why are there so many people here?”

Are we all on the same page now about it being sunny outside? Have we all figured out that we’re not the only clever people that feel sunny days are good for bike riding? Great. I want to kiss all of you on your forehead for sharing this moment with me. Put your vitamin D starved fingers in mine, and we’ll move on together to some pointers that will make life easier.


– I don’t know what size of bike you need. The only thing that I can tell over the phone is that you sound fat. I don’t care how tall you are. I don’t care how long your inseam is. Don’t complain to me that you don’t want to come ALL THE WAY down to the bike shop to get fitted for a bike. I have two hundred bikes in my inventory. I will find one that fits you. Whether you come from the north or the south, my shop is downhill. Pretend you’re going to smell a fart, ball up, and roll your fat ass down here.

– Don’t get high and call me. Write it down, call me later. When I have four phone lines ringing, and a herdlet
of people waiting for help, I can’t deal with you sitting there “uuuuhhh”-ing and “uuummm”-ing while your brain tries to put together some cheeto-xbox-fixie conundrum. We didn’t get disconnected, I left you on hold to figure your shit out.

-I really do need to see your bike to know what is wrong with it. You’ve already figured out that when you car makes a noise, the mechanic needs to see it. When your TV goes blank, a technician needs to see it. I can tell you, if there is one thing I’ve learned from you fucking squirrels, it’s that “doesn’t shift right” means your bike could need a slight cable adjustment, or you might just need to stop backing into it with the Subaru. Bring it in, I’ll let you know for sure.

– No, I don’t know how much a good bike costs. For some, spending $500 dollars is a kingly sum. For others, $500 won’t buy you one good wheel. You really need to have an idea of what you want, because every one of you raccoons “doesn’t want to spend too much”.


– Just because you think is should exist, doesn’t mean that it does. I know that to you, a 14 inch quill stem makes perfect sense, but what makes more sense is buying a bike that fits you, not trying to make your mountain bike that was too small for you to begin with into a comfort bike.

– If some twat on some message board somewhere says that you can use the lockring from your bottom bracket as a lockring for a fixie conversion doesn’t mean that A: you can, or B: you should. Please listen to me on this stuff, I really do have your best interests at heart.

– I love that you have the enthusiasm to build yourself a recumbent in the off season. That does not mean however, that I share your enthusiasm; ergo I won’t do the “final tweaks” for you. You figure out why that Sram shifter and that Shimano rear derailleur don’t work together. While we’re at it, you recumbent people scare me a little. Don’t bring that lumbering fucking thing anywhere near me.


-If you shitheads had any money, you wouldn’t NEED a vintage Poo-zhow to get laid. Go have an ironic mustache growing contest in front of American Apparel, so that I can continue selling $300 bikes to fatties, which is what keeps the lights on.

– Being made in the 80’s may make something cool, but that doesn’t automatically make something good. The reason that no one has ridden that “vintage” Murray is because it’s shit. It was shit in the 80’s, a trend it carried proudly through the 90’s, and rallied with into the ’00’s. What I mean to say is, no, I can’t make it work better. It’s still shit, even with more air in the tires.


Good for you! Biking is awesome. It’s easy, it’s fun, it’s good for you. I want you to bike, I really do. To that end, I am here to help you.

-Your co-worker that’s “really into biking” knows fuck all. Stop asking for his advice. He could care less about you having the right bike. He wants to validate his bike purchase(s) through you. He also wants to sleep with you, and wear matching bike shorts with you.

– You’re not a triathlete. You’re not. If you were, you wouldn’t be here, and we both know it.

– You’re not a racer. If you were, I’d know you already, and you wouldn’t be here, and we both know it.

– So you want a bike that you can ride to work, goes really fast, is good for that triathlon you’re doing this summer (snicker), is good on trails and mud, and costs less than $300. Yeah. Listen, I want a car that can go 200 miles an hour, tow a boat, has room for five adults, is easy to parallel park but can carry plywood, gets 60mpg, and only costs $3,000. I also want a unicorn to blow me. What are we even talking about here? Oh yeah. Listen, bikes can be fast, light, cheap and comfortable. Pick two, and we’re all good.


Your kids are amazing. Sure are. No one else has kids as smart, able, funny or as good looking as you. Nope. Never see THAT around here.

– I have no idea how long you kid will be able to use this bike. As it seems to me, your precious is a little retarded, and can’t even use the damn thing now. More likely, your budding genius is going to leave the bike in the driveway where you will Subaru the bike to death LONG before the nose picker outgrows the bike.

– Stop being so jumpy. I am not a molester. You people REALLY watch too much TV. When I hold the back of the bike while your kid is on it, it’s not because I get a thrill from *almost* having my hand on kid butt, it’s because kids are unpredictable, and generally take off whenever possible, usually not in the direction you think they might go. Listen, if I were going to do anything bad to your kids, I’d feed them to sharks, because sharks are FUCKING AWESOME.

I hope this helps, and have fun this summer riding your kick-ass bike!

Porsche GT3 @ Pikes Peak – in-car vid

25 Jun

FACTS about firearms in America

23 Jun

It’s been a few years since I compiled this… I’ll update as I get time but for now here’s some light reading.

Pass it on.

FACTS About Firearms in America


Assault Weapons Ban

Assault Weapons” are RARELY ever used in crimes

Top 10 Most Frequently Traced Guns Used In Crimes In 1994 (BEFORE the ’94 Federal “Assault Weapon” Ban):

1. Lorcin P25 (pistol)
2. Davis Ind. P380 (pistol)
3. Raven Arms MP25 (pistol)
4. Lorcin L25 (pistol)
5. Mossberg 500 (shotgun)
6. Phoenix Arms Raven (pistol)
7. Jennings J22 (pistol)
8. Ruger P89 (pistol)
9. Glock 17 (pistol)
10. Bryco 38 (pistol)
Source: US Dept. Justice.

“Assault Weapons” are RARELY ever used to kill police officers

Calibers Most Often Used To Kill Police Officers In 1994 (BEFORE the ’94 Federal “Assault Weapon” Ban):
1. .38 caliber handgun – 25.2%
2. .357 magnum handgun – 12.1%
3. 9mm handgun – 9.5%
5. 12 gauge shotgun – 7.4%
6. .22 caliber handgun – 5.4%
7. .22 caliber rifle – 4.4%
Source: US Dept. Justice.

According to the most recent detailed report, Dept. of Justice; Firearm Use by Offender…

“Assault weapons” are RARELY possessed by criminals during commission of a crime

State and Federal prison inmates armed during the crime for which they are being incarcerated: (table 2)
* 9.9% of state and 7.3% of federal inmates possessed “single-shot” firearms.
* 7.9% of state and 7.7% of federal inmates possessed conventional semiautomatic firearm.
* 1.5% of state and 1.7% of federal inmates possessed military-style semi-auto or full-auto firearms.

“Assault weapons” are RARELY involved in ANY crimes

State and Federal prison inmates who have ever possessed firearms during ANY crime: (table 2)
* 14.2% of state and 10.6% of federal inmates possessed “single-shot” firearm during ANY crime.
* 10.9% of state and 9.8% of federal inmates possessed conventional semiautomatic firearm during ANY crime.
* 2.5% of state and 2.3% of federal inmates possessed military-style semi-auto or full-auto firearms during ANY crime.

Assault weapons” possessed by criminals during crimes are usually obtained ILLEGALLY

Of State prison inmates who possessed military-style semi-auto or full-auto firearms in crimes for which they are incarcerated: (table 10)
* 48.5% obtained them through illegal sources (theft, drug dealer, black market, etc.)
* 25.2% obtained them from family or friend.
* 19.3% obtained them from retail sale.
* 1.9% obtained them from gun shows. (so much for that supposed gun-show “loophole” being a major source of “assault weapons” used in crime)

“Assault weapons” that are possessed during a crime are the LEAST LIKELY type of firearm to be actually discharged during the crime.

“Assault weapons” that are possessed during a crime are the LEAST LIKELY type of firearm to be used to injure the victim.

“Assault weapons” that are possessed during a crime are the LEAST LIKELY type of firearm to be used to kill the victim.


The “Assault Weapon” Ban Did NOT Reduce The Number Of Officers Killed In The Line Of Duty

Six years prior to “Assault Weapon” Ban:
Year….Total LEOs Killed…By Handguns…By Other Guns…By Other Methods
1988………………78…………………..63. …………………13………………..2
1989………………66…………………..40. …………………17………………..9
1990………………66…………………..48. ………………….9………………..9
1991………………71…………………..50. …………………18………………..3
1992………………64…………………..44. …………………11………………..9
1993………………70…………………..50. …………………17………………..3
TOTALS………..415………………….295….. ……………..85……………….35

Six years after “Assault Weapon” Ban:
Year….Total LEOs Killed…By Handguns…By Other Guns…By Other Methods
1995………………74…………………..43. …………………19……………….12
1996………………61…………………..50. ………………….7………………..4
1997………………70…………………..49. …………………18………………..3
1998………………61…………………..40. …………………18………………..3
1999………………42…………………..25. …………………16………………..1
2000………………51…………………..33. …………………14………………..4
TOTALS………..355………………….240….. ……………..92……………….26

Source: US Dept. Justice, Law Enforcement Officers Feloniously Killed
* The number of police killed by non-handgun firearms (which includes “assault weapons”) has NOT decreased since the passing of the “assault weapon” ban in 1994 but in fact has INCREASED since the passage of the AWB. And this comes despite the decrease in the number of LEOs killed by all other means INCLUDING handguns.

Studies demonstrated that the “Assault Weapon” ban “FAILED” to reduce gun-murders:

From The 1997 “Impact Evaluation” of the “Assault Weapon” Ban

“We were unable to detect any reduction to date in two types of gun murders that are thought to be closely associated with assault weapons, those with multiple victims in a single incident and those producing multiple bullet wounds per victim. We did find a reduction in killings of police officers since mid-1995. However, the available data are partial and preliminary, and the trends may have been influenced by law enforcement agency policies regarding bullet-proof vests.”
5.2.3. Assault Weapons and Crime
“…assault weapons do not appear to be used disproportionately in violent crime relative to other guns”
“Overall, assault weapons accounted for about 1% of guns associated with homicides, aggravated assaults, and robberies” and “only 2% of guns associated with drug crimes were assault weapons.”

5.2.4. Unbanned Handguns Capable of Accepting Large-capacity Magazines
“The ban on large-capacity magazines does not seem to have discouraged the use of these guns.”

6.2.1. Trends in Multiple-Victim Gun Homicides
“[Studies] failed to produce any evidence that the ban reduced the number of victims per gun homicide incident.”

6.3.4. Conclusions
“[Studies] failed to produce evidence of a post-ban reduction in the average number of gunshot wounds per case or in the proportion of cases involving multiple wounds.”

6.4.2. Assault Weapons and Homicides of Police Officers
“In sum, police officers are rarely murdered with assault weapons.”

From The 1999 “Impacts of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban” Report To Congress

“the weapons [“assault weapons] banned by this legislation were used only rarely in gun crimes before the ban”

“The ban has failed to reduce the average number of victims per gun murder incident or multiple gunshot wound victims.”

“…the banned guns are used in only a small fraction of gun crimes; even before the ban, most of them rarely turned up in law enforcement agencies’ requests… to trace the sales histories of guns recovered in criminal investigations.”

“The ban’s short-term impact on gun violence has been uncertain”

From The FINAL June 2004 “Updated Assessment On The Federal Assault Weapon Ban” Report To Congress
“AWs [Assault weapons] were used in only a small fraction of gun crimes prior to the ban”

“…we cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence.”

“These analyses revealed no ban effects, thus failing to show confirming evidence of the mechanism through which the ban was hypothesized to affect the gun murder rate”

“…there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence… as we might have expected had the ban reduced crimes committed with AWs (assault weapons) and LCMs (large-capacity magazines).”

“Thus, it is premature to make definitive assessments of the ban’s impact on gun violence.”


“Assault weapons” are NOT “machine guns”.

They are “semi-automatic” meaning one pull of the trigger=one bullet discharged while the next bullet is then chambered ready for the next trigger pull. “Assault weapons” are not full-auto firearms and they do NOT “spray” bullets with a single pull of the trigger.


The “Assault weapon” Ban had NOTHING to do with silencers.

One of the cosmetic features addressed by the “Assault Weapon” Ban included flash-suppressors which reduce the bright muzzle-glare ONLY in the eyes of the shooter in low-light conditions. Flash-suppressors do NOT “hide” the bright flash from any other observer and do NOT “silence” the very loud report of the gunshot sound.


The Columbine-Killers did not violate any provision of “Assault Weapon” ban.

The firearms used in Columbine included two sawed-off shotguns (already illegal), a pistol and a legally-produced TEC-9 “assault weapon”. The “assault weapon” ban did not stop those two UNDERAGE killers from illegally acquiring the guns, illegally modifying the shotguns, illegally bringing them to school or illegally murdering 13 people.


The 1994 Federal “Assault Weapon” Ban did NOT actually ban “assault weapons”.

The ban only prohibited the NEW PRODUCTION of certain firearms based on cosmetic features. There were hundreds of thousands of “assault weapons” legally owned, bought and sold BEFORE the ban was implemented and, DESPITE the overall drop in crime rates during the ban, there were STILL hundreds of thousands of “assault weapons” being legally, peacefully and safely owned, bought and sold during the 10 years of the ban’s existance.


The 2nd Amendment is NOT about “duck hunting”.

Military-style firearms (like “assault weapons”) are specifically protected by the 2nd Amendment according to the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in U.S. v. Miller (1939) and Lewis v. U.S. (1980).

* In the Miller decision the Supreme Court stated, “In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession of [a particular gun] has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument”.

* In the Lewis decision, the Supreme Court stated, “the Second Amendment guarantees no right to keep and bear a firearm that does not have ‘some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia'”.


**”A number of factors—including the fact that the banned weapons and magazines were rarely used to commit murders in this country…posed challenges in discerning the effects of the ban.”

**”…the banned guns are used in only a small fraction of gun crimes; even before the ban, most of them rarely turned up in law enforcement agencies’ requests to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) to trace the sales histories of guns recovered in criminal investigations.”

**There were several reasons to expect, at best, a modest ban effect on criminal gun injuries and deaths. First, studies before the ban generally found that between less than 1 and 8 percent of gun crimes involved assault weapons, depending on the specific definition and data source used.”

**”Given the limited use of the banned guns and magazines in gun crimes, even the maximum theoretically achievable preventive effect of the ban on outcomes such as the gun murder rate is almost certainly too small to detect statistically… National Institute of Justice report

Numbers from BEFORE the first AWB in 1994:

California. In 1990, “assault weapons” comprised thirty-six of the 963 firearms involved in homicide or aggravated assault and analyzed by police crime laboratories, according to a report prepared by the California Department of Justice, and based on data from police firearms laboratories throughout the state. The report concluded that “assault weapons play a very small role in assault and homicide firearm cases.” Of the 1,979 guns seized from California narcotics dealers in 1990, fifty-eight were “assault weapons.”

Chicago. From 1985 through 1989, only one homicide was perpetrated with a military caliber rifle. Of the 17,144 guns seized by the Chicago police in 1989, 175 were “military style weapons.”

Florida. Florida Department of Law Enforcement Uniform Crime Reports for 1989 indicate that rifles of all types accounted for 2.6% of the weapons used in Florida homicides. The Florida Assault Weapons Commission found that “assault weapons” were used in 17 of 7,500 gun crimes for the years 1986-1989.

Los Angeles. Of the more than 4,000 guns seized by police during one year, only about 3% were “assault weapons.”

Maryland. In 1989-90, there was only one death involving a “semiautomatic assault rifle” in all twenty-four counties of the State of Maryland.

Massachusetts. Of 161 fatal shootings in Massachusetts in 1988, three involved “semiautomatic assault rifles.” From 1985 to 1991, the guns were involved in 0.7% of all shootings.

Miami. The Miami police seized 18,702 firearms from January 1, 1989 to December 31, 1993. Of these, 3.13% were “assault weapons.”

New Jersey. According to the Deputy Chief Joseph Constance of the Trenton New Jersey Police Department, in 1989, there was not a single murder involving any rifle, much less a “semiautomatic assault rifle,” in the State of New Jersey. No person in New Jersey was killed with an “assault weapon” in 1988. Nevertheless, in 1990 the New Jersey legislature enacted an “assault weapon” ban that included low-power .22 rifles, and even BB guns. Based on the legislature’s broad definition of “assault weapons,” in 1991, such guns were used in five of 410 murders in New Jersey; in forty-seven of 22,728 armed robberies; and in twenty-three of 23,720 aggravated assaults committed in New Jersey.

New York City. Of 12,138 crime guns seized by New York City police in 1988, eighty were “assault-type” firearms.

New York State. Semiautomatic “assault rifles” were used in twenty of the 2,394 murders in New York State in 1992.

San Diego. Of the 3,000 firearms seized by the San Diego police in 1988-90, nine were “assault weapons” under the California definition.

San Francisco. Only 2.2% of the firearms confiscated in 1988 were military-style semiautomatics.

Virginia. Of the 1,171 weapons analyzed in state forensics laboratories in 1992, 3.3% were “assault weapons.”

National statistics. Less than four percent of all homicides in the United States involve any type of rifle. No more than .8% of homicides are perpetrated with rifles using military calibers. (And not all rifles using such calibers are usually considered “assault weapons.”) Overall, the number of persons killed with rifles of any type in 1990 was lower than the number in any year in the 1980s.

Police departments nationwide agree that criminals do not prefer these weapons:

** Police View: Over 100,000 police officers delivered a message to Congress in 1990 stating that only 2% to 3% of crimes are committed using a so-called “assault weapon.”

Congressional Record, 13 September 1990, p. E 2826, citing [Police Advertisement], Roll Call, 3 September 1990. Also, see Howard Schneider, “Gun Owners Take Shot at Schaefer Assault-Weapon Bill,” The Washington Post, February 15, 1991

** Florida study: In Florida, only 3.5% of the guns recovered by the police were guns that could loosely be defined as “assault weapons.”

State of Florida Commission on Assault Weapons, Report, 18 May 1990, pp. 34-41. State of Florida Commission on Assault Weapons, Report, 18 May 1990, pp. 34-41.


** California study: The California Department of Justice suppressed an official report showing that “assault weapons” comprised only 3.7% of the guns used in crime. While the report was eventually leaked to the media, it received little press coverage.

David Alan Coia, “Assault rifles said to play small role in violent crime,” The Washington Times, 27 June 92.


** Virginia task force: A special task force on assault weapons found that only 2.8 percent of the homicides involved “assault-type weapons” during 1992.

Mark Johnson, “Assault-type weapons rarely used,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, 4 August 1993.


** Knives more deadly: According to the FBI, people have a much greater chance of being killed by a knife or a blunt object than by any kind of rifle, including an “assault rifle.” In Chicago, the chance is 67 times greater. That is, a person is 67 times more likely to be stabbed or beaten to death in Chicago than to be murdered by an “assault rifle.”

FBI, “Crime in the United States,” 1994, p. 18. Matt L. Rodriguez, Superintendent of Police for the City of Chicago, 1993 Murder Analysis at 12, 13.

Brady Bill

Our analyses provide no evidence that implementation of the Brady Act was associated with a reduction in homicide rates. In particular, we find no differences in homicide or firearm homicide rates to adult victims in the 32 treatment states directly subject to the Brady Act provisions compared with the remaining control states.”

Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol. 284 No. 5, August 2, 2000)

Before Congress and President Clinton approved the Brady bill in 1993, laws delaying handgun purchases (imposed in 24 states) were known to have no effect on crime. During 1992, the most recent year of data available when the Brady bill was passed, California, the state with the most restrictive waiting period law (15 days on all firearm sales, retail and private) had total violent crime and murder rates 58% and 44% higher, respectively, than the rates for the rest of the country. (FBI) Anti-gun researcher David McDowell had concluded that “waiting periods have no influence on either gun homicides or gun suicides.”

(“Preventative Effects of Firearm Regulations on Injury Mortality,” prepared for the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology, 1993)

In 1992 states delaying the purchase of handguns and D.C. had higher violent crime rates overall, than states that did not delay handgun purchases. Additionally, states that delayed handgun purchases were more likely to have violent crime and murder rates higher than the national rates. Of the 12 states (and D.C.) that had violent crime rates higher than the national rate, eight (and D.C.) delayed handgun purchases. Of the 16 states (and D.C.) that had murder rates higher than the national rate, nine (and D.C.) delayed handgun purchases

Crime: 34.6% higher in states with a purchase delay.
Homicide: 3.7% higher in states with a purchase delay.
Robbery: 76.9% higher in states with a purchase delay.
Assault: 21.6% higher in states with a purchase delay.

Data: FBI, “Crime in the United States, 1992”

Only 7% of armed career criminals obtain firearms from licensed gun shops.

(Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms “Protecting America: The Effectiveness of the Federal Armed Career Criminal Statute,” 1992, p. 28)

85% of police chiefs believe that the Brady Act has not stopped criminals from obtaining handguns.

(Membership poll, National Association of Chiefs of Police, May 1997)

Violent crime has declined nationwide during the 1990s, but in the first two years of the Brady Act (before additional states subject to the Act`s five-day waiting period became exempt) violent crime and murder rates declined less, overall, in states subject to the 5-day wait. The overall violent crime rate in states the Brady Act`s five-day waiting period was imposed upon declined six percent versus a decline of 9.4% in “Brady-exempt” states. The overall murder rate declined nine percent in Brady states, versus 16.9% in “Brady-exempt” states.

(Data: FBI)

The General Accounting Office reported that during the Act`s first year, 95.2% of handgun purchase applicants were approved without a hitch. Of the denials, nearly half were due to traffic tickets or administrative problems with application forms (including sending forms to the wrong law enforcement agency)

(“Implementation of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act,” Report to theCommittee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, and the Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives, GAO/GGD-96-22, Jan. 1996, pp. 64-66)

Persons denied for violent and nonviolent crime-related reasons accounted for 2.4% of applicants; denials due to administrative errors, 2%; and denials due to traffic tickets, 0.4%. Only four jurisdictions–Ohio; South Carolina; and Harris (Houston) and Tarrant (Fort Worth) Counties, Texas–had records identifying denials for violent crime reasons, and 0.2% of handgun purchase applications were so denied.

General Accounting Office study

The average time between the purchase of a gun and its use in murder is more than six years. (For robbery and assault, 5.6 years.)

(Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms gun tracing statistics)

far less than 21% of criminal gun users would be affected by a background check. The 21% who obtained their last crime handgun at a gun store included 5% who had obtained the gun by theft, rather than by purchase. Of the 16% who had obtained the gun by purchase, at least some likely did not have disqualifying criminal records at the time of purchase.
Further, not all of the guns acquired by criminals are acquired for crime. (Many criminals live in neighborhoods with other criminals, and hence own guns for defense.) The more likely a felon was to be a serious gun criminal, the less likely he was to have acquired a retail gun. For example, of the criminals who specialized in unarmed crime, 30% obtained their most recent handgun at a store (by purchase or by theft). Of the “handgun predators” who specialize in handgun crime, only 7% had gotten a handgun from a store. For criminals as a whole, of the guns that had been obtained “to use in a crime,” 12% came from a store.

Wright and Rossi National Institute of Justice study

Concealed Carry Laws

For each additional year that a concealed handgun law is in effect the murder rate declines by 3 percent, rape by 2 percent, and robberies by over 2 percent.John R. Lott, Jr., More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws.

Florida adopted a right-to-carry law in 1987. Between 1987 and 1996, these changes occurred:

Homicide rate DOWN 36%
Firearm homicide rate: DOWN 37%
Handgun homicide rate: DOWN 41%

Homicide rate: DOWN 0.4%
Firearm homicide rate: UP 15%
Handgun homicide rate: UP 24% “1998 NRA Fact Card.”

221,443 concealed carry licenses were issued in Florida between October of 1987 and April of 1994. During that time, Florida recorded 18 crimes committed by licensees with firearms.

Lott, John R. Jr. and Mustard, David B. “Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns.” University of Chicago School of Law, 7/26/96.



Seven of every 10 violent crimes are not committed with firearms

29% of homicides, 90% of rapes, 59% of robberies, and 77% of aggravated assaults are committed with weapons other than firearms. Approximately 10,000 murders are committed each year with weapons other than handguns, most with weapons other than firearms.

(Homicides, robbery, and aggravated assault data, FBI; rape data, Nat`l Crime Victimization Surveys)


Despite over 200 million guns owned by between 76 to 85 million people, the children killed is much smaller than the number lost through bicycle accidents, drowning, and fires. Children are 14.5 times more likely to die from car accidents than from accidents involving guns.

John R. Lott, Jr., More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws.


In 1982, a survey of imprisoned criminals found that 34% of them had been “scared off, shot at, wounded or captured by an armed victim.” Study: “Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun.”

By Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (Northwestern University School of Law), 1995


Washington D.C. enacted a virtual ban on handguns in 1976. Between 1976 and 1991, Washington D.C.’s homicide rate rose 200%, while the U.S. rate rose 12%.

“TEN MYTHS ABOUT GUN CONTROL” January of 1999 – National Rifle Association

Lunar eclipse

18 Jun

The beauty of numbers and the elements of math

17 Jun

Most people really hate numbers and math, but there’s some real good shit in the nuts and bolts of it all.
These columns might present a different way of thinking for people who were taught in the “standard” way… or by a teacher who just didn’t know how to make the subject really available for consumption.

From the author:
I have a friend who gets a tremendous kick out of science, even though he’s an artist. Whenever we get together all he wants to do is chat about the latest thing in evolution or quantum mechanics. But when it comes to math, he feels at sea, and it saddens him. The strange symbols keep him out. He says he doesn’t even know how to pronounce them.
In fact, his alienation runs a lot deeper. He’s not sure what mathematicians do all day, or what they mean when they say a proof is elegant. Sometimes we joke that I just should sit him down and teach him everything, starting with 1 + 1 = 2 and going as far as we can.
Crazy as it sounds, over the next several weeks I’m going to try to do something close to that. I’ll be writing about the elements of mathematics, from pre-school to grad school, for anyone out there who’d like to have a second chance at the subject — but this time from an adult perspective. It’s not intended to be remedial. The goal is to give you a better feeling for what math is all about and why it’s so enthralling to those who get it.

On to the articles:

From Fish to Infinity
A debut column on math features an introduction to numbers, from upsides (they’re efficient) to down (they’re ethereal).

Rock Groups
Treating numbers concretely — think rocks, for instance — can make calculations less baffling.

The Enemy of my Enemy
The disturbing concept of subtraction, and how we deal with the fact that negative numbers are so . . . negative.

Division and its DiscontentsThis week, division — where many students hit the mathematical wall — is made less confusing.

The Joy of X
The series moves on to high school math, specifically algebra and formulas.

Finding Your RootsComplex numbers, a hybrid of the imaginary and the real, are the pinnacle of number systems.

Square Dancing
Geometry, intuition and the long road from Pythagoras to Einstein.

Think Globally
Differential geometry can show us the shortest route between two points.

Power ToolsIn math, the function of functions is to transform.

Take it to the LimitArchimedes recognized the power of the infinite, and in the process laid the groundwork for calculus.

Change We Can Believe In
Differential calculus can show you the best path from A to B, and Michael Jordan’s dunks can help explain why that is.

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The improbable thrills of probability theory.

Group Think
Group theory, one of the most versatile parts of math, bridges the arts and sciences.

Hilbert Hotel
An exploration of infinity as this math series, not being infinite, comes to an end.

Grandpa’s Tools

9 Jun

Shamelessly stolen from The HAMB.

My garage is full of tools that were once my grandpa’s, so maybe this hits close to home for me… but I have a feeling just about any gearhead who picked up their appreciation from a previous generation will love it all the same.

Grandpa’s Tools
A Short Story By Jason Friend

Alex was chasing daylight. And not just daylight, the weather as well. It was that time of the year when by 4 o’clock he had to be out of his driveway and back into the warmth of his house. It always amused him when people talked to him about living in California and how beautiful the weather must be there. They were all fooled. Everyone probably got the same postcard in the mail showing the Golden Gate Bridge all lit up in sunlight, no fog, no wind. Northern California was not the perfect 72 degree weather of Los Angeles. Tourists would hop off the planes in shorts and t-shirts and head right for the vendors selling hooded sweat shirts with cable cars on them. Be sure to put a flower in your hair, and bring your jacket.

Alex could see the huge wall of fog rolling in from the west as he knelt beside the old ’53 and figured he had about an hour left before it just wasn’t worth staying out anymore. His butt was cold and numb from sitting on the driveway, but he had to get these last two brake cylinders installed tonight so he could use tomorrow to bleed the brakes and work out any problems. Everything had to be done and working by Monday or he’d have to take another day off from work, which his boss would just love.

“Why don’t you just get yourself a more reliable car, Alex? We wouldn’t have these problems?” Alex would never respond with more than a shrug.

He couldn’t afford a new car, not that he’d want one. He could probably drop a grand down on some ten year old beater, but it just didn’t seem right. He loved his Dodge and couldn’t imagine having any other vehicle. There was no heat, no defrost, no radio, and it was still a 6 volt system. The charging system wasn’t working, but he had a system worked out of swapping batteries when one went dead (usually in the middle of driving). The interior was original and looked it. Duct tape held most of the seats together and a few blankets provided cushion while also keeping the hardened foam dust from flying around while he drove. The fuel gauge didn’t work but he was happy the speedometer was functioning, not that there was any real concern of being pulled over for speeding in this boat.

The old Dodge surely wasn’t practical, but it just made him happy. The windows rolled down, it ran, and it stopped. Well, it kind of stopped, which is why he was rushing to fix the brakes during the weekend. Alex wasn’t the best at making friends, so as usual, this was a one-man job. He had finished the front wheels and now the rear cylinders needed to be attached and plumbed. It would be close.

Down at the corner a blacked out sedan turned left and crept up the street, parking in front of the driveway. Alex looked up and recognized his father’s car, but kept working. He heard the door open, the dinging of the open door alert, and then the sound of a trunk popping. Alex tightened the bolt holding the rear passenger brake cylinder on, put down his socket wrench, and grabbed a rag.

“Hey pop.” He wiped his hands as best he could. He saw his father awkwardly lift a black box out of his trunk. “I didn’t know you were comin’ over today.”

His father slammed the trunk down and walked up the driveway with a strained grin on his face. “I brought you a little something.”

Alex watched his father try to balance himself as he carried the heavy box in his right hand. He was a 62 year old man, but still was stubborn and would refuse any help, so Alex knew better than to offer. It then dawned on him what his father was carrying and he jumped up to stand.

“Your mother and I just got back yesterday. We probably spent a week going through your grandpa’s things, most of it junk. We set aside anything we thought you might want to have, some old tools, that recliner of his you liked. The grandfather clock is going to your sister, though. You’ll just need to make a trip out to get what you want. The rest will go to auction.”

Alex wasn’t too interested in his words, just what he was carrying.

“But we did bring this back for you, your grandpa had specifically asked us to give it to you before he died.”

He recognized the box. It was his grandpa’s old toolbox. The old, black enamel was chipped and rusting, but it instantly flooded his memories of sitting beside his grandpa as they worked on his old truck. His grandpa had shown him how to rebuild his first carburetor with those tools.

His father plopped the box down and wiped his hands together. “Here ya go.”

“So how are you and mom doing?” Alex didn’t look at his father, just the tool box.

“We’re doing fine, we had been preparing for it for a while. Your mother is still a wreck, but she loved him just as much as I did. We brought his ashes back, and we’ll probably have some sort of ceremony soon. We need to get all you kids here, and we know how hard it is to do that.”

“I’d definitely like to help with whatever I can.” This time he looked his father in the eye.

“Alright. We’ll talk about it tomorrow. It’s getting late and your mother’s got dinner cooking. I just wanted to bring these by tonight.”

“Thank you, pop.”

Alex walked him back to his car. He’d have normally hugged him, but the grease on his shirt told him to keep his distance. He waved goodbye, still wiping his hands on the rag. There wasn’t much sun left. No real point in working any more tonight. He’d just get that fourth brake cylinder on tomorrow, there shouldn’t be a problem. Past experience told him otherwise, but he was tired and it was getting cold.

He stared at the old tool box, lifted it up by its well-worn wooden handle and carried it into the garage. He turned on the lights, picked up his tools from the driveway, and shut the garage door to keep out the cold and fog. Led Zeppelin was crackling on the speakers. “Raaa…mmble… on”

He pulled up a chair and slid the tool box in front of him. On the back was a faded stamp. “Kennedy Kits – Made of Metal – Patented – Van Wert, Ohio.” His grandpa grew up in Van Wert. Lived in Van Wert. Died in Van Wert. He had been a factory worker in midwest back when there was a huge industry boom. No problem finding a factory job back then. After the war he headed back with plenty of skills from repairing the planes on the aircraft carriers. He had done some time in Detroit working for Chrysler, but eventually settled back in Ohio where he worked the rest of his life as a machinist at a farm equipment manufacturer.

When Alex was looking for an old car to fix up, his grandpa helped him choose the Coronet. “Ya know? I probably helped make that one, Alex.” That’s all he had to say and he bought it from an old farmer in Napa.

He turned the tool box around a few times and then faced it towards him. He flipped the three latches open and delicately peeled the two top halves open. He could smell the old oil. His grandfather always had that smell. The smell of hot metal cooled by oil working the lathes and mills. The smell would stick to his clothes. It was a sweet smell, a pleasant smell. Whenever he would visit his grandfather he would hold his cracked, grease-caked hands as they walked to his garage. His young hands would have the same smell. It was comforting.

Alex sat there under the incandescent work lamp and let the memories flood back. His grandpa was the one who made him who he is. He was a quiet man. An honorable man. And good with his hands. Somehow the latter had skipped a generation with his father. His father couldn’t even unscrew a lightbulb. Maybe he rebelled against having a blue collar life. He had latched on to the flower-power scene in the late 60’s and made the pilgramage to San Francisco. He was a Class 1 Hippy, the works. The hair, the clothes, the VW bus filled with incense infused curtains and shag carpeting. But like many of his generation, after the hippy trend died off, he cut his hair and fell right into a dull desk job working for a chemical company in Monterey. Sure, he couldn’t repair a flat, but he could sell you 100 cases of petroleum based cleaner with a smile and a handshake.

It must have skipped a generation. Alex would spend his summers with his brother and sister at his grandpa’s. His parents would use the summer to go on some vacation to the British Islands or Corsica. This was fine with Alex. He loved just being in the presence of his grandfather. He was a kind man and spent every moment of the summer spoiling his grandkids. They spent most of the time at his house, but it was like summer camp. He’d always keep them busy with projects. And he made the best fried bologna sandwiches, cut like Pac Man, in the midwest on white bread; slightly greasy finger prints usually included. His brother was the artist, liked to draw, and his grandfather encouraged him by buying him pads of paper and paints and canvas. His sister hosted tea parties with her dollie; Grandpa always had a seat. But with him his grandfather recognized he was good with his hands. Many a day were spent rebuilding mower small gas engines and showing him how to do repairs on the house. Alex was too eager to help. And learn.

Alex got up and opened the garage door. The fog was rolling in and starting to fold around the Dodge and the neighbors’ cars. The windows were covered in condensation and it was chilly. He pulled the garage door back down and started up the electric heater in the garage. Creedence was on the radio. “I ainnn’t noo fortunate son, no!”

He went and sat back down in front of the tool box. The top tray was filled with standard 3/8″ drive sockets and an old Craftsman socket wrench. These were good tools. They didn’t make them like this anymore. These tools would last another 1000 years and were actually made in the U.S.A., not like the cheap Chinese shit of today. He was also impressed that it was a complete set of sockets. Try as he might, Alex could never keep a complete set. He’d always lose one or two somewhere. The biggest problem was the hill he lived on. If he accidentally set something on its side, it would just roll, roll, roll down the hill to god knows where. He couldn’t count the times he had to chase after sockets, rolls of tape, and spray paint cans. Occasionally something would get away from him.

He picked up the socket wrench. It almost felt warm. It probably was still covered in grease and palm oils from his grandfather. It felt good, solid. He attached one of the sockets and rotated it back and forth on the wrench listening to the “click.” It sounded like a clock ticking. It put his modern Craftsman wrench to shame. Mixed in with the sockets and wrench were some small screwdrivers and some spare fuses, automobile light bulbs, and various keys to who knows. Things like that always seem to somehow find there way to a toolbox. Whatever these keys belong to probably doesn’t even exist anymore. And he was sure the fuses and bulbs were blown.

The top tray lifted up with a little work and exposed the bottom section of the tool box. Laying in there was an assortment of wooden-handled metal working hammers, screw drivers, c-clamps, pliers, cutting shears, crescent wrenches, some worn milling bits, and a set of drill bits. Alex pulled each tool out and studied it, before carefully placing them in a pile on the garage floor. As he got the bottom, there were a couple rusty screws, an old fishing lure. “That will make a great little decoration for my Dodge’s sun visor.”

The tool box was empty of tools. But it wasn’t empty. On the bottom of the tool box there was a envelope, stained from oil and years of water moisture and covered in dust. Alex turned the tool box over and banged on the bottom, hoping it would dislodge the envelope. No luck. He turned the box back over and wiped the envelope with his rag.

“Alex” was written in pencil in a man’s cursive handwriting.

He felt a knot grow in his throat and stared at the writing for a few moments. “A letter? For him?” He slid a fingernail under the edge and carefully peeled the envelope off the bottom. It was held on by tacky residue of some sort, but it came off clean. Holding the envelope in his hands he sat back in the chair. He held it up to the work light and could clearly see a folded piece of paper inside. He tapped it a few times on one side and cut the other side open with his pocket knife (given to him by his grandpa). The radio crackled, America was playing. “This is for alll the lonely peeeeople…”

He turned it over and tapped it until the letter fell out onto the floor. He started to unfold it. It was folded twice, very neatly. He turned his body to get the light to shine on the letter.

Your parents just picked you kids up and I said good bye for the year. I just wanted to let you know how much I love you all and how much you mean to your ol’ grandpappy. I’m writing this letter as I know that someday you will read this. Probably not for many years. Probably not until I am long gone. It will get to you somehow. Alex, you and me, we’re the same. You have made this lonely old man happy. And probably added a few years to my life. I sure miss your grandma, but when you kids are around, I feel truly happy again. Just always remember that I love you and will always be with you.
Love forever,
September 1985″

Alex could barely read the last few sentences. His eyes were cloudy and filled with tears. A few drops had fallen over the bottom of the letter. He got up, sniffed in a few times, and folded the letter back and put it back in the envelope. He neatly repacked the tool box, placing the letter on the top tray, and closed the lid. He snapped all three latches back and lifted the tool box over to a shelf and slid it into an open space.

Wiping his eyes with his shirt sleeve, he turned off the light and the radio and went inside for the night. The garage went black. The only sounds were the wind whistling against the garage. Tomorrow he’d get that last brake cylinder on, bleed the brakes, and everything will be just fine. There won’t be a problem. His grandpa had taught him well. And his grandpa helped make a great car.

Nah, man, it’s cool… I have a helmet.

6 Jun

Balls of steel. I’m pretty jealous of this guy.

The Mountain

4 Jun

I guess this vid has gotten pretty popular lately. I saw it on the Vimeo front page a few days ago, and was even linked to it by my brother.

It’s pretty incredible work.

The Mountain from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

This was filmed between 4th and 11th April 2011. I had the pleasure of visiting El Teide.
Spain´s highest mountain @(3715m) is one of the best places in the world to photograph the stars and is also the location of Teide Observatories, considered to be one of the world´s best observatories.

The goal was to capture the beautiful Milky Way galaxy along with one of the most amazing mountains I know El Teide. I have to say this was one of the most exhausting trips I have done. There was a lot of hiking at high altitudes and probably less than 10 hours of sleep in total for the whole week. Having been here 10-11 times before I had a long list of must-see locations I wanted to capture for this movie, but I am still not 100% used to carrying around so much gear required for time-lapse movies.

A large sandstorm hit the Sahara Desert on the 9th April (​g3tsDW) and at approx 3am in the night the sandstorm hit me, making it nearly impossible to see the sky with my own eyes.

Interestingly enough my camera was set for a 5 hour sequence of the milky way during this time and I was sure my whole scene was ruined. To my surprise, my camera had managed to capture the sandstorm which was backlit by Grand Canary Island making it look like golden clouds. The Milky Way was shining through the clouds, making the stars sparkle in an interesting way. So if you ever wondered how the Milky Way would look through a Sahara sandstorm, look at 00:32.

This is El Teide and the observatories:

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