A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Ranting’ tag

Branding

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Hoping everybody will forgive it for the R51 fiasco, Remington has unveiled two newly designed handguns, the RP9 and RP45.

The RP9 and RP45 are Remington’s entry into the striker fired polymer framed handgun market. Here are two renders borrowed from the linked Firearm Blog post. Tell me if you notice anything.

remington-rp45-right-side

remington-rp45-left-side

Remington appears to be worried that users of its RP9 and RP45 pistols will forget who made it because the company’s branding appears to cover every single available surface. Big Remington logo on both sides of the grip? Check. A big Remington logo on the right side of the slide? Check. The word Remington on the left side of the slide? Check. Even the magazine floor plats have the Remington logo imprinted into them. I wouldn’t be surprised if they engraved the word Remington on the inside of the slide as well.

Compare the RP9 and RP45 to either a Glock or Smith and Wesson M&P pistol. Glock engraves its logo on the front lefthand of the slide and imprints a small logo on the lefthand side of the grip. Smith and Wesson is slightly more pretentious in that it imprints a small company logo on both sides of the grip and also engraves the company’s name on the righthand side of the slide. Still, the logos aren’t huge and gaudy. Remington, on the other hand, seemed to have some mandate that every available surface must be as covered as possible by either the company name or logo. I’m almost shocked that they didn’t just forego slide serration so more logos could be engraved on the slide.

Gaudy branding is a particular pet peeve of mine. When I was building my AR-15 I actually had a somewhat difficult time finding parts that weren’t covered in the manufacturer’s branding. BCM and Fail Zero (and others whose names escape me at the moment), for example, have their logos printed on the front of their bolt carrier groups (so everybody is sure of what brand of bolt carrier group you’re using when its locked forward).

I get it, companies need to advertise. But if you expect me to be a walking billboard for your company then I want something in return. For example, if a gun manufacturer did something similar to Amazon with its Kindle line where it charges you slightly more to not display ads (which is what company branding is) plastered everywhere on the gun I’d consider paying (or, more likely, going with a less pretentious manufacturer). Or the company could pay me a minute monthly or yearly fee to use the gun I purchased as a billboard.

I greatly appreciate companies that keep their branding on their products to a tasteful minimum.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 26th, 2016 at 10:00 am

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Lower Your Expectations

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Rant time. The education system in this country is fucking terrible. A lot of people blame the teachers but it’s not their fault. They are, after all, victims of the education system themselves who were taught by previous victims of the education system. The blame goes to the policy makers who believe the solution to every embarrassing statistic is to dumb down the curriculum:

In his new book The Math Myth: And Other STEM Delusions, political scientist Andrew Hacker proposes replacing algebra II and calculus in the high school and college curriculum with a practical course in statistics for citizenship (more on that later). Only mathematicians and some engineers actually use advanced math in their day-to-day work, Hacker argues—even the doctors, accountants, and coders of the future shouldn’t have to master abstract math that they’ll never need.

You see? Math is hard so we should dumb it down. In a rather ironic twist, Hacker proposes replacing algebra II and calculus with statistics and statistics is part of what’s fueling the deterioration of the education system. Statistics itself isn’t bad but when it’s placed in the hands of policy makers it because a weapon of mass destruction. Hacker, probably unknowingly, makes this point perfectly:

Unlike most professors who publicly opine about the education system, Hacker, though an eminent scholar, teaches at a low-prestige institution, Queens College, part of the City University of New York system. Most CUNY students come from low-income families, and a 2009 faculty report found that 57 percent fail the system’s required algebra course. A subsequent study showed that when students were allowed to take a statistics class instead, only 44 percent failed.

His argument is based on statistics surrounding student failure rates. An intelligent person would look at such statistics and try to investigate the causes (there are likely numerous interacting causes involved here). But Hacker, like most policy makers, isn’t an intelligent person. He looks at the statistic and decides the only option is to make the hard classes easier. The problem with his attitude is that it can only lead to one outcome in the end: Idiocracy.

I’m not going to lie, math kicked my ass in school and college. Young me would have loved to hear that algebra II was being replaced by something far easier. But old me understands the value of higher level math. While I don’t use it in my daily life it taught me logic (as in reasoning, not as in a word to throw around when I’m losing an Internet argument and have nothing to resort to other than telling the other person they’re not logical), which I do use every day. And that’s the point. Many subjects themselves aren’t obviously useful in our day to day lives. But they do teach us how to learn, which is tremendously useful. Without understanding how to learn we’re relegated to memorizing information so we can regurgitate it later. In fact that’s the state of education in this country in a nutshell: memorize information so you can regurgitate it on a standardized test.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 4th, 2016 at 11:00 am

If It Walks Like Racism, Quacks Like Racism, And Looks Like Racism It Could Be Racism

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I understand that libertarians are supposed to be on the right side of the political spectrum. And I understand that what defines the right side of the political spectrum is an abject hatred of everything on the left side of the spectrum. But sometimes when the left side of the spectrum makes a point it doesn’t have to be immediately shouted down.

Case in point, the police who terrorized of Ahmed Muhamed. Here we have a child with a very Middle Eastern name and a very Middle Eastern appearance who was accused of building a bomb, which is an activity very much associated with terrorism, which is very much associated with Middle Easterners in this country. The officer even said “Yup. That’s who I thought it was,” when Ahmed was brought to him, which suspiciously sounds like the officer was expecting a Middle Easterner when he received a report that a student had possibly built a bomb.

The political left, at least left as far as this country is concerned, quickly raised the issue of racism. So, naturally, the political right had to flip its shit and say that Ahmed’s situation couldn’t possibly be racism (or if racism was involved it was a minor point that really played no important part in the matter at all):

I bring up his race for one reason, and one reason only: Some are suggesting that Ahmed’s race is the only reason he was treated so badly. This is the obvious, inescapable conclusion, according to many left-leaning pundits: school officials identified a kid with an Islamic-sounding name, saw him carting around a device he had built, and cried terrorist!

I’m really fucking tied of the political right, especially self-proclaimed libertarian rags, jumping on any situation that appears to be fueled, at least in part, by racism and screaming “But it happened to a white person that one time so it’s obviously not racism!” Guess what? If it walks like racism, quacks like racism, and looks like racism it very well could be racism.

The political right, libertarians especially, need to get over this knee-jerk reaction of immediately disagreeing with anything the political left says. Sometimes you intellectual opposites make valid points.

In this case the author attempts to downplay racism so he can make a bigger issue of his pet peeve: zero tolerance policies. It doesn’t have to be either racism or zero tolerance policies; it can’t be both. In its zeal to shout down everything the political left says, the political right is missing some prime opportunities to make cases both sides should be able to acknowledge.

Zero tolerance policies and the war on unpatentable drug are two prime examples of seemingly fair, at least as far as race is concerned, laws can be used to target a particular group. If you read any school’s zero tolerance policies or any law related to the war on unpatentable drugs you will find no languages whatsoever that could be construed as racist. To many people that means these laws are fair and cannot be used for racist purposes. That’s an assumption that needs to be corrected.

There are two parts to every law: the law itself and the enforcement of the law. A broad law that appears to apply equally to everybody can be enforced selectively against targeted groups. Laws related to the war on unpatentable drugs are enforced more often against minorities than whites. The political right will argue that this simply means that minorities commit more drug offenses but a whole lot of evidence points to the contrary. Zero tolerance policies are no different. They can be written to apply equally to all students but may only be enforced against a targeted group.

A great deal of evidence supports claims that Ahmed was only treated the way he was because of his race. So immediately shouting, “It can’t be about racism because zero tolerance policies were used against this white kid,” makes you sound like a putz. Instead of immediately refusing to believe anything the political left says it would be much more productive for the political right, especially libertarians, to consider the evidence that supports the charges before responding. Who knows, both of you may be seeing the same problem from different angles and might stand a chance of addressing it if you worked together even if it was for a very brief period.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 18th, 2015 at 10:30 am

If You’re Good At Something Never Do It For Free

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I know the Joker is supposed to be the bad guy in The Dark Night and probably serves as some sort of metaphor for the evils of capitalism but he had some goddamn sage advice:

if-you-re-good-at-something-never-do-it-for-free

As I’ve mentioned previously I hate the “giving culture.” Unfortunately most of us have been inflicted with this giving nonsense since our impressionable youths. Teachers harp on students to “share” (usually a euphemism for give away) their toys, pencils, and other earthly possession to any student who asks. In college students are suckered into working for free, often under the guise of an internship, because it will “help them build a resume.” Then when you get into the professional world you might be asked to work longer hours for no additional pay and be accused of not “loving your work” if you decline. Fuck. All. Of. That.

Let’s consider how you get good at something. Although there are a handful of anomalies that seem naturally gifted at whatever they pursue most of us only become good through seemingly endless practice. Successful authors? Almost all of them have written a lot. Skilled programmer? Almost all of them have years of programming under their belts. Bad ass martial artists? Almost all of them have been practicing their art(s) for years. There’s a reason the phrase “Practice makes perfect,” is so popular.

Why should you invest years of your life into developing a skill set and not expect some benefits? And why should you tolerate people belittling your investment by demanding you to give your skills away? The idea of investing is to see a return. That’s why, if you’re good at something, you should never do it for free. You put in the effort where others did not. Likewise, when you want somebody to do something for you then you should recognize their years of effort and not demean them by demanding they do it for free.

Exchange isn’t an evil plot for the haves to steal wealth from the have nots. It’s a mutual respect and acknowledgement of accomplishments. For example, I respect and acknowledge that a automotive engineer has invested years of their life in developing a skill I haven’t so I pay them to build me a vehicle. Likewise, many people seem to respect and acknowledge that I’ve invested years of my life in developing computer science skills and pay me to utilize them.

If you’re good at something you shouldn’t feel ashamed or awkward commanding a price for it. And you should feel free to tell anybody who tells you otherwise to go pound sand because there’s no reason for you to put up with that kind of insulting bullshit.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 16th, 2015 at 10:30 am

Being A Good Skeptic

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I enjoy a good conspiracy theory. While I don’t subscribe to the idea that the 9/11 attack was really perpetuated by shape-shifting lizard people cleverly using high explosive and holograms I enjoy hearing about it. But I seldom enjoy the presence of hardcore conspiracy theorists. This is because of their religious belief in questioning everything.

Questioning things is a great practice but often a futile one when you don’t know what you don’t know. A classic example is the “all natural” crowd. You know the type. They can’t help but bitch about whatever you’re eating because it’s not organic, fair-trade, all natural, non-GMO, grass-fed, and locally grown. According to them all of humanity’s problems are caused by “unnatural” foods. Unnatural, in this case, means pretty much anything that has been genetically modified. Credit is deserved for not taking the statements of geneticists at face value. After all, no geneticist takes the claims of another geneticist at face value. But most of the “all natural” crowd has almost no background in genetics or biology so they tend to base their claims on pseudoscience. Because they lack a background in genetics and biology they don’t know what they don’t know.

This is a characteristic common amongst the “question everything” crowd. More often than not they lack even a basic understanding of the science behind what they’re questioning. Because of this their attempt to question everything quickly becomes an exercise in making up an alternative explanation for commonly accepted beliefs. Meaningfully questioning things requires having an understanding of the topics being questioned.

So how does one become a good skeptic? By asking meaningful questions. How does one ask meaningful questions? By researching and experimenting. If you question whether genetically modified crops cause cancer you should research biology, namely the field of genetic modification and cancer. Without that knowledge you will likely make assumptions that subject matter experts refuted ages ago.

Being skeptical is good but there’s a world of difference between somebody whose skepticism is based on a scientific understanding of the subject matter and people who just want an alternative explanation to be true so they can feel superior to all the “sheep” who are too dumb to know the truth. Be the former. If you want to question something, which you should, spend time researching it instead of parroting some bullshit vomited out by Alex Jones.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 1st, 2015 at 10:30 am

Posted in News You Need to Know

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Screw Your Politics

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As I’m sure most of you have heard by now there was a shooting yesterday. This one was different because it happened on live television and the shooter tweeted about it. There isn’t much to say about the event itself. Two people, Alison Parker and Adam Ward, were gunned down by a piece of shit who shall go unnamed here. But the event itself lead way to disgusting politicking.

Before the blood had a chance to dry I saw anti-gunners swooping in to exploit everybody’s emotions to demand gun control. I saw pro-gun people bitch about the two victim’s lack of situational awareness. Some neoliberals first blamed the event on racism and some neocons responded by posting #WhiteRightsMatter (I’m not even fucking shitting you).

Nobody could wait even one goddamn day before exploiting this tragedy for personal gain. If you were one of these people I have only one thing to say: fuck you.

There’s no need to insert your political bullshit into this and there’s no reason you need to rebut your opponent’s political bullshit with your own.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 27th, 2015 at 11:00 am

There Shouldn’t Be A Law

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If I received a dime every time somebody said, “There ought to be a law,” I would be sitting on my mega yacht in some tropical location drinking expensive booze and watching the world lose its collective shit from my overpriced satellite Internet connection. But I don’t so it’s an entirely worthless phrase. I know somebody is out there right now saying that phrase in the sincere hope some political body will pass some law in a futile attempt to fix some perceived problem and it pisses me off. Why? Because legislation doesn’t accomplish anything other than wasting time and resources that could be put towards far better things.

Let’s consider what a law is. Unlike physics, where the term refers to an immutable rule, a law in regards to American politics is nothing more than words that have been written and voted on by a body of politicians. That’s it. And that’s the problem.

Laws are usually written and passed in response to a perceived problem. But that very fact creates a major problem in of itself. People believe laws fix problems but in reality they do nothing of the sort. Words written on paper are impotent. That goes double for words that have been voted on. Even after a law is passed the perceived problem still exists. The only difference is a large number of people no longer believe the problem exists.

Laws create a false sense of security. Consider the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). It was passed in 1984 when people first started realizing how important computer security is. The bill criminalized unauthorized access to protected systems. After the passage was everybody able to sleep soundly? Did unauthorized access to protected systems suddenly stop? No. Computers considered protected systems still had to be secured. The only difference between the time before the law was passed and after was that a bunch of politicians received paychecks and benefits for writing, debating, and ultimately passing the CFAA. Besides that it was business as usual and everybody had to continue implementing, maintaining, and improving security strategies.

And therein lies the problem. Laws are worthless. They don’t actually solve anything. People still have to operate under the assumption somebody will break the law. Assault is illegal but people still need to have a means of defending themselves because somebody may assault them. Theft is illegal but people still need to secure their property because somebody may try to steal it. Hacking into a bank computer is illegal but information technology employees still have to secure computers at every bank because somebody may try to hack into them.

When there’s a problem don’t say, “There ought to be a law.” Say, “We need to solve this problem.” Those two phrases have entirely different meanings. The first means a problem exists, needs to be solved, and involves politicians not solving it. The second means a problem exists, needs to be solved, and implores individuals to act directly towards solving it. Don’t write to some politician asking them to solve a problem with legislation. Roll up your sleeves and start working to actually solve the problem. Doing the former still requires you to do the latter but wastes resources, especially time, by involving middleman who don’t actually do anything.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 23rd, 2015 at 10:30 am

On Brad Spangler

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Those of you knee deep into liberty advocacy may have heard of Brad Spangler. If you haven’t heard of him then this post probably won’t be of much interest to you. But those of you who have heard of him probably now know that on Thursday he made a post on Facebook admitting that he molested his daughter. Just in case the post goes away I will include a screenshot of his confession.

brad-spangler-admitting-he-is-a-child-molester

I don’t have much to say about Brad Spangler himself. His admission to molesting his daughter is enough for me to deem him a terribly human being, a disgusting piece of shit, and a man the world would have been better without. However I do want to talk about some of the discussion that cropped up in the aftermath of his admission. Namely the fuckwits who have deemed it necessary to use this to host the mother of all philosophical dick measuring contests. As of this writing there are about 2,200 comments on his Facebook post. If your faith in humanity is shaky I wouldn’t advise venturing through the comments because it will only show you that there are a lot of shitty people amongst anarchists and statists.

Pretty quickly after the post went up there were anarchist urging Spangler not to turn himself in to the state’s police and statist using Spangler’s confession as proof that anarchism can’t work. One guy even decided to use the confession as a platform to bitch about male circumcision. That’s right, a child was molested and the only thing these people can think about are arguments against each others’ philosophies.

Perhaps I’m not a zealous enough anarchist but I don’t think a child molester’s confession is the place to have a philosophical argument. I mean, come the fuck on. A man admitted to molesting his child and said he is going to turn himself into the police and your reaction is to urge him not to because the state doesn’t dispense justice. Then some statist arrive and say, “An anarchist molested his daughter therefore all anarchists are child molesters or sympathize with child molesters har har har LOLOLOLOL!” There are also right-libertarians laughing about this because Spangler is a left-libertarian and that somehow reflects on all left-libertarians because individualism is only a thing when you’re not trying to lump everybody you hate into a fucking box.

How about everybody take a few steps back and find somewhere else to debate philosophy? Is that too much decency to ask for? If so, could somebody stop this planet for a second so I can get off?

Written by Christopher Burg

January 26th, 2015 at 11:00 am

Testosterone So Thick You Need a Knife to Cut It

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When somebody criticizes your friend what’s the appropriate response? If you said, “Beat the shit out of them!” then you are a psychopath. Congratulations, you can now join the fraternity of people who get bent out of shape whenever Seth Rogen opens his mouth. It’s true, Seth Rogen insulted Chris Kyle. I don’t pay any attention to what Rogen says because I don’t find his movies funny nor his statements thought provoking. But there are a lot of people who do pay attention to what he says and get really bent out of shape whenever his words disagree with their world view. Take Dean Cain, who is an actor I’ve never heard of before (which isn’t to say he’s not famous, I don’t pay much attention to actors). He’s publicly stated a desire to kick Seth Rogen’s ass for insulting his best friend forever, Chris Kyle:

Actor Dean Cain, who was paired in 2012 with slain Navy SEAL Chris Kyle on NBC’s “Stars Earn Stripes,” had some fighting words for Michael Moore and Seth Rogen after the two made controversial comments about the autobiography film “American Sniper.”

“Seth…I like your films, but right now, I wanna kick your ass,” the former Superman wrote in defense of his friend Monday. “Chris is an American Hero. Period. Go to war. Then we’ll talk.”

The only reason I’m writing a post about this is because I want to address two things. First I want to address the concept of violence as a method of dealing with criticism. Most of the people who see Chris Kyle as a paragon of America have resorted to either threats of violence against or wishing tragedy on his critics (not in jest, mind you). Nothing shows that you’re a mature, well-adjusted adult like threatening violence and wishing tragedy on others who have nothing more than disagree with you.

Second I want to address the whole “Go to war.” comment made by Mr. Cain. This is an idiotic rebuttal. It doesn’t refute Rogen’s criticisms. And saying critics of war need to go to war is the same as saying critics of murder need to commit murder. You can criticize something that you haven’t directly participated in. In fact almost everybody does. How many people who bitch about homosexuals have actually had sex with somebody of their own gender (come to think of it, many of them probably have and feel ashamed that they enjoyed it)? How many people have criticized referees at professional football games but have never been a referee at a professional football game? How many people criticize rapists but have never raped anybody? Saying somebody can’t criticize war or soldiers because they’ve never gone to war is fucking pathetic. It’s not even an argument. If you’re that butthurt over something that somebody has said and can’t come up with a good counterargument then maybe you should consider reevaluating your life.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 21st, 2015 at 10:30 am

A Discriminatory Gun Range

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I’m sure you’ve heard about the gun range that decided to ban Muslims from its property. If you want a writeup that includes the names of the range and its owner you can find a good one over at Gun Nuts Media. Needless to say I’m not going to provide the name of the range because I don’t want to give free publicity to a range operated by bigots. In fact I feel kind of dirty even bringing this up because I know the owner is reveling in the publicity stemming from this stunt.

As you know I don’t really care about the legality of this or what the courts might do. The state isn’t in my pantheon of gods so what it might do is irrelevant. What I will say is that this is the kind of shit gun control advocates love to read about. Here we have a story involving a gun owner being a bigot towards and entire group of people. Besides this being a propaganda wet dream for anti-gunners it’s also an example of how fucking gullible some people are.

If you’ve been watching the daily Two Minutes Hate, and I know you are all good citizens of Oceania so you have, you know that Emmanuel Goldstein is a Muslim and therefore we must all hate Muslims. Most of us who have enough intelligence to discern propaganda from reality give little heed to the Two Minutes Hate. But a lot of people, especially self-proclaimed conservatives, lap this shit up and ask for more. They’re probably working on designs for the arm bands they’re planning on making every Muslim wear as a demonstration of their hatred of Goldstein and his religion.

But the truth is that there are roughly 7 billion people on this planet and 1.6 billion of them are Muslim. That’s right, almost a quarter of the entire population of this planet are Muslim. If Islam really was a religion of violence a huge number of us would be dead. But Islam is just like any other major religion, it has some crazies mixed in with a vast majority of good people. So when idiots ban all Muslims from their shooting range they’re really performing an act of collective punishment against a vast number of good people for the actions of a handful of assholes. I really hate bigots and that hatred makes me hope that that shooting range will go bankrupt over this.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 30th, 2014 at 10:00 am