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Specialist last won the day on September 14

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About Specialist

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    Crazy Farang - Ask anybody!
  • Birthday 08/27/1955

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  1. Days since about Case #1 in the US.
  2. First, Tet in 1968 was a VC operation, not an NVA operation. It was a "last gasp", intended to convince the US that the war was unwinnable. IT DIDN'T WORK, and it finished the VC. They were never again a factor in "the" war. The US kept right on going, chewing the NVA into little tiny pieces. Second, the US wound down its involvement, and withdrew, in 1972. South Vietnam did not fall until 1974. In the 1972-1974 period, with heavy backing from the USSR and the PRC, the NVA built TWO of the largest mechanized armies ever seen on the planet, larger than anything Hitler ever fielded in World War II. (That's saying something. Germany fielded some BIG mechanized armies.) The ARVN, with US air support, reduced the first one to Brillo (tm) pads, and sent what was left (NOT MUCH) back to Hanoi. When the second one headed south, in 1974, the Democrat-controlled Congress voted the equivalent of ten rounds of ammunition and two hand grenades per ARVN soldier, which was not remotely enough. It should be mentioned. That was one of the most expensive Brillo pad orders the Soviets ever placed, and it was a chunk of why the Soviet Union fell some years later.
  3. Some data, as of a few days ago. The first chart is day-to-day new cases, 7-day moving average, for the US. The second chart is day-to-day deaths, 7-day moving average, for the US. Bluntly, the pandemic is dying out.
  4. FALSE, and badly so, but you have to read the history and look at the actual timeline. Full Disclosure: I am cribbing heavily from Jerry Pournelle's writings in this. First, it is necessary to recognize that there were in fact THREE wars being fought in Vietnam in the 1960s and early 1970s. The first was a revolt-from-within in South Vietnam, by the Viet Cong. The Viet Cong LOST that war in 1968: the Tet Offensive was their absolute last gasp. They were losing, they knew it, and the went for broke. They threw everything they had, including every kitchen sink and chamber pot they could find, at the US Army. The Army took it all, soaked it up, shook it off, and said, essentially "Is that the best you can do?" The VC were never a factor again in the hostilities after Tet. They were done. The second was a conventional land grab from North Vietnam, that had been flaring up periodically for some two thousand years, that usually fought itself to a standstill at about the DMZ. The VC made common cause with the North Vietnamese Army, who saw a chance to use a proxy to weaken the Army of the Republic of (South) Vietnam. Once the VC were off the board, the NVA continued the fight. The US essentially won that war, and withdrew from Vietnam in 1972, leaving only a commitment to provide air cover when needed. With air cover, the ARVN was quite capable of handling the NVA, and did so, handily. This included making Brillo (Tm) pads out of a larger mechanized army than Hitler's Germany ever fielded. Two years later, while hounding Richard Nixon out of the White House, the Democratic Party reneged on the air cover pledge, and South Vietnam fell. The US didn't lose; the Democrats THREW THE VICTORY AWAY. The third war is the interesting one. Vietnam was not just a stand-alone war: it was a critical campaign of attrition in the Seventy Years War between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In such a campaign, the trick is NOT TO WIN OUTRIGHT, but rather to keep the other guy thinking that he can win it if just commits some more resources to the meatgrinder. The object is to cost the other guy a lot more than he costs you, and, in this regard, the US was howlingly successful in Vietnam. When Vietnam finally fell, the next campaign was in Afghanistan, where all the US did was supply Stinger SAMs to the Afghans, depriving the Soviets of their air cover assets, and letting them learn why nobody in their right minds EVER gets into a serious fight with the Afghans. Bluntly, the US did not "lose" the Vietnam War. By any sensible set of victory conditions, the US won. The problem is that the Democrats then betrayed South Vietnam, and let them fall.
  5. False. Private citizens can own selective fire weapons (i.e., fully automatic), although the hoops are difficult to jump through. They can also own artillery pieces, and even fully operational tanks. There are "license fees", that are quite high, that being the closest the government can actually get to outlawing them. The M-16 and AK-47 are full auto. The AR-15 is the semiautomatic version of the M-16. As you correctly observe, it is quite easy to convert to full auto. The AR-15 is not popular because it is an "assault weapon" (There is NO SUCH THING as an "assault weapon" or "assault rifle".) It is popular because it is an extremely well-designed weapon, with a great deal of flexibility, that was designed with mission adaptation (adding gadgets as needed for special tasks) specifically in mind. It is in part popular because of the very unusual straight-line design, which eliminates muzzle climb. Flash, the Second Amendment was never about hunting. It was never about personal home defense. It was ALWAYS about ensuring that, when and if it became necessary for the people of the United States of America to overthrow the government AGAIN (recall that they'd just had to do that very thing!), they would have the weapons to do it. The other pieces are secondary, albeit absolutely necessary in some areas. (This is precisely why the Supreme Court ruled for Heller against the District of Columbia, and then for McDonald against Chicago.) It is also why the Ninth Circus Court of Appeals just threw out California's attempt to ban "large capacity" magazines.
  6. Nope. There is no law limiting magazine size. There was one for a while, the old Democrat assault weapon ban, from the Clinton Administration I think, but that particular law sunsetted a long time ago, and was not renewed. California recently tried to enact such a law, limiting magazine sizes. It would have banned fully HALF of the weapons in existence. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals just threw it out as an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment. When the Ninth Circus throws out a California law, and rules for a Conservative position, you KNOW the California legislature had to have screwed up royally. Things just haven't gone well for the anti-gun crazies ever since Heller and McDonald. District of Columbia v. Heller (2008): The Supreme Court ruled that the right to keep and bear arms is inherently an individual right. McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010) applied Heller to the several States.
  7. The problem will solve itself the moment Thailand reopens the border to Chinese tourists. The solution likely won't be pretty. I'm sitting on paid airline and hotel reservation for my 65th birthday party trip in late August. At this point, I strongly doubt that the trip will happen. The hotel has already agreed to treat the nonrefundable unchangeable reservation money as a deposit against my next trip, if I can't come in August. (They've been watching the coronavirus situation, and I am a LONG-term repeat customer, apparently well-liked by all of their people.) The airline tickets are "flexible" and covered by trip insurance. (My life would have been simpler if I'd thought to put the hotel reservations on the insurance as well. Oh well...)
  8. If he is currently working in Khlong Toei, he will probably learn firsthand where the problems come from, if he ever wanders north on Suk Soi 5 in the evening.
  9. Specialist

    The Covid-19 thread

    No, it doesn't. Full Disclosure: I've been on a ventilator twice. Once, I was conscious for a good part of the period I was on the machine. The second time, they kept me out the whole time. A ventilator assists the patient in moving air, by sucking and blowing. It has no direct effect whatsoever on oxygen absorption. Oxygen absorption is a function of oxygen content in the blood and unimpaired gas diffusion across the capillary (very fine blood vessels: they connect arteries to veins) walls in the pulmonary capillary beds (LARGE networks of LOTS of capillary beds in the lungs). Carbon dioxide buildup triggers the short-of-breath feeling and urge to breathe. The CO2 can only exit the body by gas diffusion across the capillary walls. Gases diffuse from higher concentration to lower concentration. The main muscle for breathing is the diaphragm. You pull the diaphragm down, it pulls a low-grade vacuum on the pleural chamber, that contains the lungs. The lungs try to expand, which requires air to flow in. You push the diaphragm up, it increases the pressure in the cavity, which forces the lungs to blow gas out to the outside world. If you are in trouble, for any of a number of reasons, you get tired doing this. Get tired enough, you pass out and stop breathing from the exhaustion. THIS IS BAD. It is, obviously, an immediately life-threatening emergency. Both times, it was because of bronchitis just getting going on pneumonia, that was also exacerbating asthma. If gas won't diffuse properly, the vent doesn't do any good, and the pressure cycles can damage the lung tissue. This is bad. I remember seeing somewhere that someone was working on some sort of lung bypass technology: they plumb something in, that oxygenates the blood externally to the lungs. Much more invasive than a ventilator, but it gives the healing processes a chance to repair whatever is wrong IN the lungs. The first time, the critical care doc saw that I was in trouble, headed downhill, and he made the decision to vent me before it became an emergency. I have a vague memory from Thursday night of red night light, having a REALLY hard time breathing, and about three or four people working VERY HARD AND FAST on me. (Some time later, my mother told me she woke up from a nightmare, at right about that time, in which she couldn't breathe, and just as she woke up, she heard the sound of a ventilator. She was a Registered Nurse back in the day, and she knew what a vent sounded like.) I woke up Friday morning and realized I was on a vent, because of the way it breathed. I'd once had a SCUBA regulator with a positive pressure inhale characteristic, and the feeling absolutely unique, unmistakeable, and unforgettable. The second time, it was already an emergency. They'd just unloaded me from the meat wagon, they were rolling me down the hall to an exam room. It was Sunday morning, about 1 AM. I closed my eyes for a moment. Next thing I knew, no dreams, no subjective time passed, I was on a different surface, and it was Friday morning. I found out later I'd passed out and stopped breathing there in the hallway.
  10. I'm waiting to see what happens. If the quarantine requirement is still in place as of a few days before I'm scheduled to travel, I'm going to have to call the airline and reschedule, and then call the hotel and see if I can work a deal with them, based on being a very good customer for many years. (It can't hurt to try. Worst that can happen is they say "No", and I suspect that may depend on who I talk to.) On the other hand, if the government figures out just how much tourism revenue they are losing because of the quarantine requirement, they may come to their senses, remove that requirement, and things will go back to normal. My crystal ball is out of order these days.
  11. I'm scheduled to touch down at Swampypoom on 23 August or so. I screwed up and did nonrefundable unchangeable hotel reservations, and forgot to put trip insurance on them. Probably wouldn't have done any good; the indications are that everyone in the industry is trying to call COVID-19 a "force majeur" (sp?) event, and duck out on paying claims. I'm hoping that the world comes to its senses before I'm supposed to go wheels-up on the first leg.
  12. Actually, the quote is "You get the government you deserve, and you generally get it good and hard." New York City and New York State appear to be the current poster children, with New Jersey in 3rd place.
  13. Specialist

    The Covid-19 thread

    You might find this page interesting.http://www.whiov.cas.cn/105341/It is a series of job postings for the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Among other things, it strongly suggests that the Institute has been working with bat coronaviruses for quite some time.
  14. Specialist

    The Covid-19 thread

    Trump is crazy like a fox. You may have missed it, but he just played the Democrats like a Stradivarius. By saying that he, the President, had the authority to tell them when they would release their lockdowns, he caused every Democrat state governor, not to mention the DNC and the Speaker of the House and the Senate Minority Leader, and their various henchmen and yes-men and sycophants, to scream "NO YOU DON'T! YOU AREN'T A KING! *WE*, THE GOVERNORS OF THE STATES, ARE THE ONLY ONES THAT GET TO SAY THAT!" And Trump immediately backed down and let them celebrate their "victory". What the Democrats completely failed to see coming is that they have now signed up for total and complete responsibility for all the damages done by the lockdowns, and by releasing them early or late. And the best laugh of all? All 50 states are now aiming to start reopening on May 1, the exact date Trump named. Some will get their sooner: Florida is scheduled to start reopening their beaches in the next day or three. Texas is about to start reopening on a similar timeframe. Even New York is now talking about reopening at the end of this month. You may love Trump or you may hate him, but the one thing you don't dare do is underestimate him.
  15. Specialist

    The Covid-19 thread

    Factually untrue, according to a primary source. Jerry Pournelle was a professor of political science at Pepperdine University back when Reagan was Governor of California. Reagan and his people came through on a "get acquainted" visit, and various professors presented talks on their work, Jerry among them. When Jerry got to the traditional "Are there any questions?" point, Reagan said "Yes, professor, I have two questions." Reagan asked the questions, and Jerry was shocked. Reagan's questions demonstrated two things. First, he completely understood everything Jerry had discussed, in detail, and second, Reagan's knowledge of that field was not far behind Jerry's. Jerry asked, unable to control himself, how Reagan had learned that much, and Reagan replied "There is a lot of downtime on a TV or movie set, and I'm a quick study, so I don't have to spend much time learning lines. So I read books, to pass the time. I daresay, Professor, I've probably read almost as many books as you have." Jerry wrote the story up, for his online column, years later, when Reagan became President.
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