Nobody snipes better

And no, I don’t mean strategic bidding on eBay either:

A sniper in the Canadian special forces now holds the record for the longest distance for a confirmed kill: 2.19 miles.

In an unbelievable display of accuracy, verified by video camera, the sniper, estimating the wind, ballistics and the curvature of the Earth, shot an ISIS fighter, breaking up an ISIS attack on Iraqi Security Forces.

The previous record was established by British Army sniper Craig Harrison, who shot a Taliban gunner with a 338 Lapua Magnum rifle from 1.53 miles away in 2009 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

The new record was set from a shot fired from a high-rise building in Iraq with a McMillan Tac-50 sniper rifle in Iraq, a military source told Toronto’s Globe and Mail.

Not one to brag, the spokesperson for the Canadian Special Operation Command said simply:

The Canadian Special Operations Command can confirm that a member of Joint Task Force 2 successfully hit a target at 3,540 metres. For operational security reasons and to preserve the safety of our personnel and our Coalition partners we will not discuss precise details on when and how this incident took place.

The Tac-50, made in the US, has been the standard sniper rifle of Canadian forces since 2000. It fires .50 BMG and has an effective range of 1800 m — unless you’re really, really good.


The Friday newsreel

Let it be noted that Rebecca Black’s 20th birthday was Wednesday, I didn’t mention it here on Wednesday, and Thursday I was quizzed by readers: what the heck happened?

How I should have responded: “Waiting for Friday,” to the tune of Lisa Loeb’s “Waiting for Wednesday.” Alas, I wasn’t quite up to that level of smartassery.

Said I last week, after mentioning that 20th birthday:

The Cover-A-Week scheme goes on, though this is the first time she’s done a song older than she is. (The original “Straight Up” was waxed by Paula Abdul in 1988.)

I can just about imagine her reading that and chortling: “You ain’t seen nothing yet, Chuckie.” And so, from 1967 (!):

If I catch her singing any Tony Bennett stuff, I’ll let you know.


Three-team rotation

During the Nashville-Oklahoma City game last night, Dodgers radio guy Alex Freedman mentioned that the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, which won three of four from the Dodgers earlier this week, are nearing the end of the world as we know it.

Oddly, the most concise explanation of what’s happening comes from an anonymous Wikipedia editor on the page of the Pioneer League’s Helena (Montana) Brewers:

Pending approval by the Pioneer League, Minor League Baseball, and Major League Baseball, the franchise will relocate to Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 2019, replacing the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, who will be relocating to San Antonio, Texas. The Brewers will remain a member of the Pioneer League after the relocation, but will compete as the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.

Old Sky Sox: PCL (Triple A). New Sky Sox: Pioneer League (Advanced Rookie).

It helps that the owner of the Old Sky Sox also owns the Brewers, and the San Antonio Missions of the Double-A Texas League. In effect, San Antonio is upgraded from Double-A to Triple-A. The Missions name will remain in San Antonio, but the current Missions will be getting a new home in Amarillo.

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Not at all a delight

Those of us of a certain age will hear “whipped cream” and think something like this:

Whipped Cream and Other Delights by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass

And then they’ll be horrified by this news:

A popular fitness blogger and Instagram model in France died after a pressurized canister used for dispensing whipped cream exploded, hitting her in the chest.

Rebecca Burger’s death from the Saturday incident was announced on social media Wednesday by her family, who warned of the potential risks of defective whip cream dispensers.

The post published on Burger’s Instagram page to her more than 150,000 followers read:

“Here’s an example of the cartridge/siphon for Chantilly cream that exploded and struck Rebecca’s chest, killing her. Take note: the cartridge that caused her death was sealed. Do not use this type of device in your home! Tens of thousands of these appliances are still in circulation.”

According to a leading French consumer magazine, two people were gravely injured by this sort of contraption in 2014. Turns out what makes it go is, um, nitrous oxide. Yep. The same stuff the kid two doors down spent the weekend installing in his Civic before he blew up the engine.

My advice? Stick to safer whipped cream, as offered by Herb Alpert and Allen Toussaint.

(Via Martin Lieberman.)

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As dry as we wanna be

It borders on the impossible, in fact, for things to get much drier than this:

On Tuesday afternoon at 12 UTC on June 20, 2017, the temperature at Safi-Abad Dezful, Iran hit 115.7°F (46.5°C) with a -27.8°F (-33.2°C) dewpoint, giving this city of 420,000 in western Iran a ridiculously low relative humidity of 0.36%. At that level of atmospheric moisture, the temperature would have had to plunge 143°F (80°C) in order for the moisture to condense out and form ground-level clouds. If one were to cry in joy (or more likely) in despair at the heat, I doubt those tears would reach your lips!

I asked weather records expert Maximiliano Herrera about the reading, and he stated that he confirmed the validity of the reading with Iranian meteorologist Sabit Siddiqi. This was the lowest humidity in world recorded history that Herrera was aware of; the previous lowest humidity he knew of was in Las Vegas, Nevada: a 0.6% reading on June 27, 2011.

There’s apparently one more reading in this ballparK:

[O]n May 4, 2014, Needles, California hit 102°F (38.9°C) with a -36°F (-38°C) dewpoint, which works out to a relative humidity of 0.33%. Given that we can’t really measure humidity to a precision of hundreths of a percent, the two readings are pretty much tied for the lowest humidity record.

And going in the other direction:

A dew point of 35°C (95°F) was observed at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, at 3:00 p.m. on July 8, 2003.

God bless you, Willis Carrier.

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This is probably not real

It does, however, have a point to make. Several points, in fact.

I suppose there’s a meme generator somewhere that can assemble things like this on the fly.


No hue, no cry

I am happy to endorse the following:

Gray Pride.  We're old.  We're tired.  Get off our lawn.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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Near-term de-weeding

It may be a while off yet, but I still believe in this combination: robots with weed-zapping lasers on their fricking superstructures.

For the near term, though, here’s a far more modest apparatus:

Franklin Robotics has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Tertill, their solar-powered, garden-weeding robot.

Tertill lives in your garden, collecting sunlight to power its weed patrol, and cutting down short plants with a string trimmer/weed whacker with almost no intervention required. Available for about $300 USD, the fully autonomous Tertill is the first weeding robot available to home gardeners.

Tertill is round, short, has four wheel drive and extreme camber wheels. It uses proprietary algorithms to ensure that it finds as many weeds as it can, using its sensors to distinguish between weeds and crops based on height. As Tertill sees it: small plants are weeds, big plants are crops. But what if you have seedlings? Simply place a plant collar around seedlings to inform Tertill that this plant is wanted.

The line of demarcation between “small” and “big” is about one inch of height.

Joe Jones, inventor of the Roomba, is on the development team. And we can reasonably expect this contraption to be built in mass quantities: the $120,000 Kickstarter goal has already been met and then some, with three weeks left to go.

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Always be closing

A little at a time, then a little more, until we get a handle on the situation:

A lot of ink and a great many pixels have been lavished on a phantasm: the “government shutdown.” Whenever Congress bestirs itself to limit federal spending in any way, we’re threatened with a “government shutdown” … as if the federal government would ever willingly shut down 100%. Note that in each of the “government shutdowns” of recent years, approximately 85% of all federal employees have remained at their jobs, guaranteed to be paid their full salaries.

The most recent “government shutdown” frightened Americans so little that Barack Hussein Obama had to make it irritating: he instructed Parks Department employees to prevent access to any federal park or monument, even though the Parks Department remained open and functioning.

Clearly, the “shutdown” wasn’t frightening enough … yet the phrase “government shutdown” remains a scare-staple of the Establishment, particularly among Democrats. They want us to think that calamity of some sort will ensue should we dare to deny them what they demand. It just isn’t so. In reality, the fear runs in the opposite direction: The Establishment and its minions fear that we’ll discover that we don’t need them and in fact would do better without them.

The phrase that pays here is “particularly among Democrats.” This implies that there are co-conspirators who are not Democrats at all. And when the chips hit the fan, it’s all the same, red or blue, Coke or Pepsi, VHS or Beta.

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Killers R Us

The Z Man tosses up some startling statistics:

Currently [Baltimore] is on pace for over 360 murders and we are just getting into peak killing season. Usually, the winter tamps down the murder rates as it is just not as much fun to pop a cap in an ass when it is snowing sideways. Similarly, the spring has been very rainy and gangsters tend not to like going out to murder people for their sneakers when it is raining. In other words, it’s possible there is a lot of pent up demand for murder that will now be unleashed with the summer weather.

To put this in context, Boston has about 650,000 residents. People think the city is much bigger, but that’s because of the surrounding cities and towns bunched in next to Boston give the feel of a much larger metropolis. Baltimore is around 600,000 people, if the census is correct, which no one thinks is true. Baltimore has a strong incentive to overstate their numbers as they get more Federal money as a result. Boston is on pace for about 40 murders this year, while Baltimore will have 350.

I looked at those population numbers, and I said to myself, “Self, can you name a city with a population between Boston’s and Baltimore’s?”

Of course I can. There were 78 homicides in Oklahoma City in 2016; right now, we’re on pace for 70 in 2017.

2016 Census estimates: Boston, 673,184; OKC, 638,387; Baltimore, 614,664.

For reference, 1950 Census figures: Baltimore, 949,708; Boston, 801,444; OKC, 243,504.

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Suitable for a saint

Annemarie Dooling comes face to, um, foot with the shoe of her summer dreams:

I looked at the sleek leather sandals with jealousy. I’d been searching for a supple brown leather pair just like this for weeks, with thin ankle straps and hearty soles to handle New York streets in the summer, and coming up empty, so I could hardly believe when another pair of feet strolled on next to these in the same sandals. What kind of impossibly, effortlessly stylish Italian women were these? I lifted my head to get a good look, only to come face-to-face with two nuns in full habit.

Now that’s “style” in the classic sense. This is the sort of shoe she had in mind:

Leather flats from Zara

From Zara to Brother Vellies to Jeffrey Campbell, every single shoe I want for this summer looks like something my nonna took off her foot to wave at me when I was a bratty child. It was a familiar summer scene in my neighborhood of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn: Wild children running amok down 18th Avenue, nonnas in tow, waving shoes and yelling for Gina or Anthony to get home for supper. And yet here those flat slippers are, appearing not in the hand of a curly-haired grandmother, but on the feet of the most gorgeous of fashionable New York ladies. And the stylish sisters of Assisi, Italy. And if we’re keeping score, St. Francis gets originality points for this one.

The sample above comes from Zara, and runs a mere $39.90.

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At least she’s smiling

You can’t swing a dead cat in this town without hitting someone who has a negative opinion of Chelsea Manning: there’s a definite sense of Local Girl (she was born in Crescent, one county north of me) Screws Up Royally, and that’s if you can get them to say “girl” at all. All I’m going to say is that she sure seems girly, just from sheer emoji overload:

Imagine the dialog she’d have with us, um, civilians. Or you can just read it here.

Me, I’m amused by her Twitter @-name. And I note that she kept the same middle initial, though now it stands for “Elizabeth.”

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Accelerated evolution

Or maybe that’s devolution, given the outcome:

Ohio is apparently on pace for ten thousand overdose deaths this year.

Ten thousand.

Bear in mind that Michael Bloomberg and all his concerned Mommy minions go completely off their nut at thirty-something thousand firearm deaths nationwide, and a good chunk of those are suicides who meant to die. Meanwhile ten thousand people in just one state inadvertently offed themselves trying to catch a buzz.

Solutions? What, are you nuts?

I don’t pretend to have a solution. We’re still warring on drugs as hard as ever, and the bodies keep piling up. It’s almost as much hassle to buy a packet of cold medicine now as it is to buy an AR-15, and that doesn’t keep the Montgomery County coroner from giving interviews in a walk-in fridge full of Fentanyled corpsicles.

At this point I’m half tempted to suggest we take all the money we spend on the War on (Some) Drugs and use it to buy narcotics. Pile the dope in every intersection in America, declare a one-week business holiday, and let America get all its fatal overdoses out of its system all at once.

Heck, half those deaths will come from traffic accidents, as all the methheads and such floor it on the way to pick up their share of the contraband.

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Impaired signal reception

Jack Baruth drifts into my territory:

I will forever remember San Francisco as the only city in America where a woman tried to pick me up. While I am sure that the average TTAC reader is a handsome, impeccably progressive feminist ally who is frequently the subject of overtures from empowered womyn, I’m a hideously ugly creature who walks with a pronounced limp and cannot help but maintain an expression of perpetual annoyance. Therefore, 99 percent of the time I have to actively, if not aggressively, sell myself to any potential paramours.

Except, that is, for that one night when I was drunkenly stumbling down some broad boulevard in downtown SF, feeling very sorry for myself, and an attractive woman in her early thirties, dressed for some sort of banking or C-suite work, walked right up to me and said, “Do you know where the nearest Bank of America is?” Even in my inebriated state I could see that it was three hundred feet behind her, and I said as much. “Gosh, thanks!” she chirped. “So … lovely night, huh? What are you doing this evening?”

“Madam,” I replied with all the 18th-century dignity I could muster, straightening my posture and inhaling deeply behind the lapels of my Brioni coat, “I am attempting to forget a woman from Tennessee.” And I trudged past her. Only the next morning did I realize that perhaps she had already known the whereabouts of the bank before asking. Oh well. Ever since then, however, I have assumed that the relatively low number of even remotely conventional men in that particular city drives women to make desperate choices.

If I read things right — and who says I do? — I think I’ve been the object of feminine overtures twice. Then again, I’m 20 years older than Baruth, and, perhaps more important in the grand scheme of things, I’ve never been to San Francisco.

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By almost any other name

Lyft, which is Uber except for being nothing like Uber, has added a new service, in beta in Chicago and San Francisco:

I take Lyft or Lyft Line [shared rides] a couple times a week, usually because I’m traveling with other people and it’s the same or cheaper (and much, much cleaner, faster, and more pleasant) than taking public transportation. But Lyfts can add up fast and Lyft Line, while less expensive, can take you out of your way and make your travel time much longer.

Lyft Shuttle addresses both those issues by having you walk to a nearby pick up spot, get in a shared car that follows a pre-designated route, and drops you (and everyone else) off at the same stop. So, basically, you share a ride with other people (most of the time) so your ride price is lower, but you know exactly how long the ride will take because you’re on a pre-designated route.

This is a bus, except for being nothing like a bus.

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Offensive pass interference

What’s a good way to ruin things with a girl? Trying for half a dozen more at the same time:

When a group of women can band together after some guy screws them over, it is truly a lemons-into-lemonade situation.

No, I’m not talking about the teen comedy John Tucker Must Die. But this is basically a 2017 version of that story, and of course that means social media is involved.

Here’s what happened: A group of seven (!) women found out through a Snapchat message that they were all dating the same guy. Nathan, the dude in question, created a group chat that contained the message “Hey beautiful.” It became clear he had no idea they all would be able to see that the message was sent to multiple women. Oopsie.

Oopsie indeed. Unsurprisingly, Nathan did not commit seppuku when he discovered his mistake. Surprisingly, the females seem to have found this situation amusing:

One of the gals quickly changed the chat name to “Nathan’s Beautiful Girls,” and then the ladies began to share their stories.

After Nathan was exposed, he blocked them from contacting him through social media or text, according to Charissa Harris, one of the women involved. She told Mashable that most of them had never met him in person, but he acted to all of them as though he wasn’t seeing anyone else.

The guy may think he’s got game, but this time he got a 15-yard penalty and loss of down — unless, of course, he can find someone else with whom to get down. I would rather not speculate.

(Via Martin Lieberman.)