Buying American

A legendary “assault weapon,” often imported into the States, might some day be manufactured here:

AK-47s may soon be made in the United States, as the U.S. government is looking for sources of the ubiquitous assault rifle within the American manufacturing base.

The U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) announced in May it was conducting market research into making the Kalashnikov rifle on U.S. soil. In a notice placed on a federal opportunities website, SOCOM said it is soliciting manufacturers for the weapons or requesting proposals — which means it’s just looking, but not ready to buy.

The U.S. military does not regularly use AK-47s, but many of its allies and foreign partners rely on the weapon, along with similar arms developed by the Soviet-bloc.

“A U.S.-based source would be a good use of taxpayer funds, while also delivering the weapons our partners not only need to fight extremists, but also the ones they know how to use, know how to fix and have the supplies in their regions to maintain,” Lt. Cmdr. Matt Allen told the Tampa Bay Times Thursday.

The AK-47 is something less than a precision instrument: its 1940s Soviet design is the epitome of cheap and disposable. Probably explains why it’s still around after all these years.

(Via @Lee Harvey Griswold.)

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Improving precision

I’m sure you can see the necessity for this Wikipedia correction:

They should be so careful with all their entries.

(This is the Talk Page in question. Via Holly Brockwell.)


Moore than almost anyone else

By the numbers: Maya Moore is twenty-seven today, and wears number 23; after four years of utterly stunning numbers at Connecticut, during which time the UConn women won 90 games in a row, she was drafted Number One (of course) by the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx.

Maya Moore in uniform

Before you ask: she’s reported to be six feet tall.

Maya Moore out of uniform

And come to think of it, she’s produced rather a lot of amazing numbers:

Last night in a 110-78 win against the Atlanta Dream, she scored 19, with five rebounds and four steals.


There Armani here among us

Hillary Clinton's infamous jacket… who feel that this entire discussion of Hillary Clinton’s pricey Armani jacket is but a joke:

People are saying mean things about Hillary’s wardrobe, particularly the $12,000 coat she appeared in recently. I think that’s a cheap shot. The coat is not becoming — she can’t carry it off. She looks like she picked it up at some store that features garments for older women. I can just see some upper middle class woman wearing it to church or to a do at the Women’s Club, and looking better in it than Hillary.

No kidding, I think I would look better in that coat than she does; she is not interested in looking attractive, and I am. Surely the pantsuits she wore in office were dreadful, but so was everything she wore, including her ugly hairstyle, which made her look like someone who does not visit her stylist often enough, or maybe doesn’t even have a hairstylist. She does not place a high value on her appearance, having more worthwhile things to concern herself with, like how many bombs to drop on ISIS this week or what to do about hunger. I’m not saying she shouldn’t spend a lot of money on her clothes; no one expects a millionaire in public life to shop at JCPenney.

Best handwave I’ve seen so far: someone imported into my tweetstream who swears that this shapelessness of hers is caused by bulletproof vests.

There is, I suggest, no point in getting worked up over the price of Mrs Clinton’s garb; she’s a private citizen and can spend her money any damned way she wants, and those who feel like yelling “But inequality!” can go whiz up a rope. This is not Pat Nixon’s Republican cloth coat. And let’s face it, you’ve seen worse.

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Future pejorative

“You … you frozen Elsa head!”

What? You say I should let it go?

(Via James Del Rey.)

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Realer than thou

Lyman Stone weighs 20 sets of numbers from the American Community Survey in an attempt to find Real America, or at least Non-Weird America. And guess who’s the least weird?

Oklahoma City is less than 1 standard deviation from the mean on every single variable. It is exactly the mean for the poverty rate, and almost exactly the mean for educational attainment. Its biggest oddity is housing costs compared to income, which are a bit high, and the percent of households with a car, which is also just a teentsy bit high. Other than that? If you’re looking for “Normal America” then look to Oklahoma City.

I might have guessed a bit higher on that “households with car” business. The housing-costs number might surprise some of you, until you remember that you’re already being paid less because you live here. Or, looking at it sideways, housing is going up a bit faster than income.

And the weirdest? Austin? Portland? Nope. But you do know the way there:

San Jose tops the list as the weirdest city in the nation. This is driven by a very high foreign-born share, high white collar and educated shares, high annual earnings, high workers-per-household, a very low white share, and a low rural population.

Followed by New York City, home of perhaps the least inadequate transit system in the country, which means a lot more households without a car.

(Via Don Mecoy.)

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Score this as a W

A Swedish court has ruled that M&Ms have the wrong sort of M:

The Stockholm Court of Appeals has barred Mars from selling its candy-covered chocolates using the lower-case “m&m” name in the country, judging it resembled a local brand too closely.

If Mars doesn’t appeal the ruling granting exclusive rights to Marabou for its “m” chocolate-covered almonds and peanuts, it will have to use the capital M&M logo in Sweden starting in July, or face fines of up to $246,000.

The Marabou brand belongs to snacks giant Mondelēz, maker of Oreo cookies and Cadbury and Toblerone chocolates.

Said snacks giant defends itself well:

In January, Nestlé lost its case to trademark the finger shape of its KitKat bars as a British court ruled that a Norwegian bar, called Kvikk Lunsj — also owned by Mondelēz — was entitled to use the same shape.

(Via @fussfactory.)


Presumably an unhappy ending

Paracanthurus hepatus, we hardly knew ye.

(Via Laura Northrup.)

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And that’s just how they roll

I’ve never aspired to the life of an autojourno. Driving lots of cars might be a whole lot of fun, but that’s the part you hear about: all the little ancillary duties, I suspect, would turn things into work in a great big hurry.

That said, I get to envy Neal Pollack in the July Road & Track, partly because he gets some seat time in a Rolls-Royce Dawn, the new drophead (don’t call it a mere “convertible”) that costs only three and a half times as much as my house, but mostly because of the occupant of the Dawn’s second seat:

My drive companion for the day was a Spanish lifestyle journalist who is also an architect and a former ballerina. Done up in a headscarf and glamorous La Dolce Vita glasses, she sat beside me luxuriantly.

This sort of description, regardless of its level of accuracy, invariably drags my heart over to the nearest abandoned mineshaft, haunted by the ghost of Rick Springfield.

I’m allowing Jack Baruth 48 hours to tell me just how full of it I am.

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Real cheezy there, Herb

Same great taste, now at three times the price!

Downside: Not as tasty as Fritos.

Upside: Probably tastier than kale.

(Via Felix Salmon.)

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Clearly misaddressed

In a spamlet received last night, “Carley” (not her real name) asks if I have any interest in a “sexy depraved pussycat.”

More deprived than depraved, I am, but that’s another matter. Anyway:

Hi stallion, this is your girl. I am Lakisha.

I want you to bonk me as a little bitch. I bleed juice with desire to feel such sex!

Don’t forget that I’m waiting with impatience for a depraved man on this site.

Again: more deprived than depraved, “Lakisha” (not your real name).

The only really amusing aspect of this item, really, was the domain name used, or feigned, by the sender: Due to a most lamentable dearth of dubious sites — only one link offered, and it wasn’t even obscured — this thing failed to break 2.5 on Spam Score, where 5 is my normal threshold and 25-30 is entirely too common. To borrow a phrase, this thing doesn’t even leak juice, let alone bleed it.


Dying off the vine

The era of the Lone Blogger, says once and possibly future Lone Blogger Arthur Chrenkoff, is over and done with:

In line with the trend towards “magazination” of blogging, one recent survey by Orbit Media Studios has found that “the typical length for a post is about 900 words, up 100 words from last year’s survey.” When you are competing with “normal” media outlets, you need to try matching both quality and quantity. Blogging used to be called citizen journalism, but citizen or not, it had to become a lot more professional.

(Via Glenn Reynolds, who notes: “InstaPundit turns 15 in two months.”) Then again, Reynolds has help these days; still, I’d bet he turns out more than 900 words a day, even if it’s spread over several posts.

Come to think of it, I generally turn out more than 900 words a day, albeit spread over several posts. And this place turns 15 on, um, 9 April 2011.

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The incredible shrinking paper

It wasn’t that long ago that the Oklahoman decided to leave the Black Tower on the Broadway Distention to the printers and move the actual news-gathering operations downtown.

Evidently the printers weren’t far enough away to suit the publisher:

The Oklahoman will outsource its printing and packaging operations to the Tulsa World beginning in September, announced Chris Reen, publisher of The Oklahoman and President of The Oklahoman Media Group. The Oklahoman will close its printing and packaging facility at Britton and Broadway.

“We’re fortunate to have newer and more modern presses as close as Tulsa with ownership like Berkshire Hathaway who has a great deal of experience with these sorts of arrangements around the country. The move will create significant cost savings while not sacrificing quality,” Reen said.

Except, of course, for adding a minimum of two hours’ worth of lead time:

Reen said in order to ensure the same timely morning delivery of the newspaper, there will be earlier press times which will impact some late-night news stories and sports scores.

“Timely” is in the eye of the beholder, or maybe the subscriber. I consider delivery after 6:30 am (as it was yesterday) to be excessively late. (I am an afternoon-paper kind of person, but not the sort of afternoon paper that’s spent 11 hours turning yellow in the summer sun.)

Not mentioned in that NewsOK reveal:

I note for reference that GateHouse, under its post-bankruptcy name New Media Investment Group, bought the Dolan Company at the end of 2015, which owned, among other things, the Journal Record.

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Get lost, but stylishly

There’s no argument about Florence’s claim to being the Cradle of the Renaissance, but God help you if you’re looking for something other than the standard tourist traps:

Finding an address in Florence can be confusing. It has a unique address system with two number systems running side by side. Generally speaking, residences have a number in black or blue, while businesses have numbers in red (rosso in Italian), which is usually written with a little ‘r’ following the number. This gets confusing not only when the same number appears twice on the street (in red or in black) but also when you are trying to find an address and the door numbers appear mixed up.

For example, the office address of Walkabout is Via dei Neri, 30/32r (red) to signify a business and it is next door to number 6 (in blue on a white background), which is a residence.

This is about to change for the better, or at least for the easier:

The red numbers were introduced to Florence in the early twentieth century to differentiate businesses from houses. To this day they have remained one of the city’s curiosities, although twenty or so ‘red numbers’ are removed every year.

In an article in Corriere Fiorentino, city councillor Andrea Vannucci commented, “The city administration would like to do away with the red numbers … which complicate life for postmen, delivery men and taxi drivers, with red numbers that are sometimes hundreds of metres away from their corresponding black number. When new businesses open we assign them a black number accompanied by a letter: a ‘5 rosso‘ will always be next to a ‘5 nero‘.”

Vannucci continued: “Anyone can ask to change their red number into a black one. All you need to do is apply at the Comune. And I invite everyone to do so in order to speed up the process towards a more continuous and linear numbering system.”

There are about 23,000 “red numbers” still in Florence.

(Via Nicola Williams.)


Strayed away

And the owner, singer-songwriter SZA, was frantic:

My dog is my BEST friend in the WHOLE world. Please if anyone finds her PLEASE contact the Maplewood police dept.

Anyway, little Piglet was found within two hours:

Last I heard, Piglet was being fitted with a microchip for tracking purposes.


And oh, what heights we’ll hit

What we have here is “a story about a pair of flats that wanted to be a heel”:

Kind of heartwarming, or at least footwarming. There’s even a video on how it was done.