Adam Fieldson of WhipWorks makes beautiful bull whips by weaving nylon paracord. Here, he walks us through the painstaking process of making one of his whips – a gift he presented to Tested and Mythbusters star Adam Savage. You can purchase his work in his Etsy shop.
Tips: How to create a PDF of a webpage for offline reading in iOS 11
Though there are certainly alternatives like Pocket, often the simplest way of saving a single page of a webpage for later reading on an iPhone or iPad —especially if you want to annotate it —is saving it as a PDF.
In Apple’s Safari browser, the first step is to navigate to the page you want, then find the Share button. This is a square icon with an arrow, and will be located at the bottom or the top of the app, depending on your device and its orientation.
Tapping the button opens up the iOS share sheet. On the bottom row, swipe until you find the “Create PDF” option.
If you like, you can then make simple sketches and highlights using iOS’s markup tools, which are the same ones that pop up when saving a screenshot. Here, however, you will have to tap the pen icon in the upper-right to get started. Once you’re finished, or if you have no changes to make, you can hit “Done” to move on.
Select “Save File To…”, and you should see a list of possible destinations, including cloud services like Google Drive and iCloud Drive, and/or subfolders where relevant. If you go the cloud route, you may have to take extra steps —in Google Drive, for instance, you’ll have to open that app and specifically designate a PDF as accessible offline. To view a file you’ll need to load an appropriate app —often dictated by the destination.
I am an equal opportunity macaroni eater. I like it baked. I like it made with a roux. I even like it out of the blue box. You may think the convenience of Kraft can’t be beat, but you’d be wrong. This homemade recipe comes together in about 15 minutes, with only one pot (which you don’t have to drain) and no roux.
Two things make this recipe easy and effective. For one, the pasta is boiled in milk, not water, meaning the starch released is retained, not drained. Shredded cheese is coated with a bit of cornstarch to facilitate an even, not clumpy, smooth and rich cheese sauce. It’s easy. It’s creamy. It’s hard not to eat it all in one sitting. To make it, you will need:
- 2 cups dry macaroni
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 8 ounces shredded cheese (I used cheddar but feel free to mix it up)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon mustard of choice (yellow, Dijon, and stoneground all have their merits)
- Hot sauce (optional)
Pour the milk in a sauce pan and season it with salt. Add the butter, bring it to a boil, and add the pasta. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until the macaroni is tender and the milk has thickened. (If the milk evaporates too quickly, just add a little more.) While the pasta is cooking, toss the cheese with cornstarch so that each strand is coated. Stir the mustard and hot sauce (to taste) into the pasta, season with salt and pepper if needed, then stir in the cheese, handful by handful, letting each one melt completely before adding the next.
Consume the gooey, cheesy mass of carbs with gusto while you plan your next batch. Not only is this recipe super quick and easy, it adapts very well to variations, meaning you can churn our the cheesy experiments almost as fast as you can dream them up.
Your Customers Are the Key to Expanding Your Business
As a business owner, you know only too well that without your customers, your business would grind to a halt. Your customers are your business’s lifeblood.
You also know that the key to improving your bottom line is expanding your business.
Depending on the nature of your business, expansion could mean opening new stores in multiple locations or adding new products or services to your current offerings. However, regardless of your expansion strategy, one thing remains constant: Your customers make expansion possible.
Customers Are a Source of Revenue
Your business needs money not only to stay operational, but also to spread its wings.
There are multiple sources of business revenue. You can secure a business loan from a traditional bank, get a business cash advance from a specialist lender, run an online crowdfunding campaign, borrow from friends and family, or even make a deal with an equity investor.
While these are all ideal capital sources, none beats your customer as a source of revenue.
Except for your customers, all those other sources have a downside. When you take a loan, for instance, you’ll need to repay it with interest. If you go the equity route, you’ll need to dish out a share of the business, diluting your ownership stake.
But when it comes to customers, you get money when they buy your products or services. The more they buy, the higher your sales revenue, and the greater your profits. You can then use those profits to fuel your business expansion efforts. When you use profits to expand a business, there are no interest rates or share dividends to worry about.
Customers Can Be Your Brand Ambassadors
What if we told you that there is a way to market without spending a dime?
Don’t believe it? Listen up. Your existing customers can help you to market your business to the people in their social circles.
Did you know customers are 4 times more likely to shop from a certain brand when they have been referred by a friend? Clearly, word-of-mouth is still king when it comes to marketing. Therefore, you have to do all you can to leverage its power.
You already know that there are several other marketing options at your disposal. Digital marketing platforms such as Facebook and Google have proven effective, to begin with. Plus, good old television and print advertising still yield good results. But each of these options cost money, especially TV and print.
To turn a customer into a brand ambassador, you need to offer great products or services. Then, use loyalty programs to hook them in and get them excited. In time, they will naturally tell their friends about your business. As a result, you’ll get more customers. And more customers mean more sales!
RELATED ARTICLE: THE BEST WAYS TO BEGIN MARKETING YOUR STARTUP
Customers Are a Source of Information
A botched business expansion strategy can have disastrous effects. For one thing, you could lose a lot of money. For another, it could harm your brand’s reputation. It’s never a good sign when a store opens in a new location only to close down a short time later.
To plan and execute a perfect business expansion strategy, you must do your research and gather the right information.
For instance, if you’re planning to introduce a new product, it’s essential to forecast how your target market will receive that product.
One of the best ways to understand how customers will respond to a new product is to conduct a customer survey. This might involve giving product samples to some of your existing customers. Ask them to try the new product out and provide feedback.
Depending on the feedback you receive, you can gauge whether to launch the product as is or make improvements before launching.
The gist of it all is that customers are a valuable source of data. They understand your brand better than anybody else, so they’re well placed to offer information that can help you execute a successful expansion.
Need to Crowdfund? Your Customers Have Got Your Back
In 2017, businesses in the UK raised more than 60 million pounds through crowdfunding. This shows that crowdfunding is quickly becoming a go-to source of capital for many business owners.
However, the untold story is that for every business that holds a successful crowdfunding campaign, there are many others that fail at it.
So, what contributes to the success of a crowdfunding campaign?
There are many factors, but you generally need to craft a moving story about your product or business. Then, you need to widely share the campaign on social media. Importantly, you need people to believe in what you’re selling them.
When you already have existing customers who love your brand, you’ll have a head start with your campaign. Many of these customers know your potential. They therefore won’t hesitate to contribute to your campaign, especially if you’re raising money to develop an even better product.
Customers Can Fuel Business Expansion
As we have illustrated, customers have the potential to drive your business expansion efforts. However, as a business owner, you need to know how to tap into this potential.
Do so by offering excellent customers service, ensuring that your existing products provide value, and always going the extra mile to put a smile on a customer’s face. Remember, one loyal customer is far more valuable than two new customers. The happier your existing customers are, the more they will buy your products and spread the word about your business.
The post Your Customers Are the Key to Expanding Your Business appeared first on Business Opportunities.
There’s been a lot of excitement lately about the Hearing Protection Act making silencers more accessible and less regulated, but silenced or not, the crack of gunfire still deserves respect. After all, silenced isn’t really silenced at all.
What if I told you that the percussive vibrations of each gunshot actually kill vital little hairs deep in your inner ear? And then what if I told you that can open the door to a high pitch ringing or humming noise that can last forever?
No, I’m not your mom, but I am doing this for your own auditory well-being. And if you’re good—and you read on—you’ll never forget your ears again.
Shockwave, Meet Inner Ear
Everyone always talks about the middle ear. That’s mainly the eardrum and those three little bones with cool names: the hammer, anvil, and stirrup.
But what really causes hearing damage though is what happens in the inner ear.
You’ve seen the diagrams showing the cochlea. It looks like a delicate ivory nautilus suspended in a brain galaxy.
Inside, picture a spiral staircase. Only this passage is just 2 millimeters wide and maybe 30 millimeters long all coiled up.
Sound races along the outside of the staircase, but in the middle are the organ of Corti (yup, sounds ominous) and the basilar membrane. Both are long and thin, with the organ resting on the membrane. All along this little assembly are tiny little hairs. They register sound and transmit it through the auditory nerve to your brain.
But—and here’s the kicker—exposure to an intense sound—that’s 140 dB or more—can make segments of the organ of Corti separate from the basilar membrane. Portions of it actually tear away and float around.
So you end up with an inflamed lesion that causes an accompanying chemical reaction. Hairs die. Scar tissue forms, and even with rest, the tiny hairs typically continue to degenerate. A cascade effect takes over, and the entire auditory central nervous system goes deaf.
Researchers suspect that tinnitus—that high pitch noise inside your head that won’t go away—“begins as a result of the brain trying to regain the ability to hear the sound frequencies it has lost by turning up the signals of neighboring frequencies.”
One more thing: noise exposure is cumulative. Each loud sound is killing ear hairs, so you need to be thinking about total exposure over the course of days, weeks and years.
Ready for some hearing protection yet?
Proper Hearing Protection
First of all, forget cotton balls, tissue, packing peanuts, or my personal old-shooter favorite, cigarette filters. While they are better than nothing, they are also next to nothing. At best, you’ll get a reduction of maybe 7dB.
Effective choices for hearing protection come down to
- combinations of the two and
- some techy alternatives with sound-circuit technology.
There are so many options, there’s no reason not to protect your ear hairs. From neon foam-on-strings to high-tech headphones, there’s something for everyone.
What you should be looking for is a minimum noise reduction of 15dB, but 30dB is preferable. Pair a good set of plugs with muffs and you might shut out another 10 to 15dB or so.
You know the load you like to shoot, but a conservative 140dB is a common figure for an average muzzle blast. A .22 will be less, a magnum more. With quality protection, you can start approaching a range that’s still loud—as in chainsaw- or sandblast-loud—but may be up to 1,000 times quieter.
Pros and Cons of Hearing Protection Options
Hearing protection is an investment, but it’s a lot like exercise equipment—it’s productive only if you actually use it. It’s no use buying a $200 set if they’re always going to be somewhere else. Likewise, going cheap but getting something you hate isn’t going to work either.
So let’s take a look. There’s something for everyone—even the high-tech crowd.
Traditional earplugs fit inside the ear, forming a seal that blocks sound. They come in a range of sizes, configurations and materials—from foam to hypoallergenic rubber and moldable polymers. Earplugs tend to be more efficient at handling low-frequency noise.
- Least expensive option.
- Highly effective.
- Disposables available in bulk at pennies per pair.
- Some rated 30dB or better.
- Available strung or unstrung.
- Reusable models washable.
- Some models moldable for custom fit.
- Compact for transport.
- Good for tight spaces; no snagging.
- Fit constraints for narrow or wide ear canals.
- Comfort varies widely.
- Muffles all sound indiscriminately; works too well.
- Foam models require proper roll-down insertion, removal and reuse.
- Some models difficult to pair with muffs.
- Moldables more expensive; may be difficult to alter.
- Fumble-and-loss factor in dirty environments.
Traditional ear muffs come on a headband and have foam pads that cover and form a seal around the entire ear. For those who don’t like the over-the-head fit, a few versions have back-of-the-head wrap designs. Muffs typically are better at screening out higher frequency sounds.
- Convenient to put on and take off repeatedly.
- Comfort level.
- Easily paired with earplugs.
- Relatively inexpensive.
- Foldable models compact.
- One size usually fits all.
- Can be bulky, heavy.
- May snag or bump in confined spaces.
- Comfort issues, especially in humidity, hot or wet weather.
- Can interfere with proper cheek weld.
- Issues with safety or prescription glasses and proper ear seal.
- May not provide as much noise reduction as earplugs; can require pairing with plugs.
- Hats or long hair, anyone?
Hybrids—also known as semi-insert earplugs—may be an option if you can’t stand stuff jammed in your ears or the spatial interference you can encounter with muffs. Basically, they’re “sort-of” earplugs, that sit at the entrance of the ear canal rather than inside it, usually (but not always) on a streamlined headband.
- Comfort of soft tips held in place rather than wedged in.
- Allows easy, quick, and repeated donning and removal.
- Light and compact.
- Available with passive sound-reducing and dampening technology; requires no batteries.
- Typically may not offer efficient noise reduction due to lack of seal on ear canal or around ear.
High-tech electronics are stepping up the game for earplugs, ear cuffs, ear muffs, and every smart device in between. These focus on screening out the loud booms while letting you still hear conversations and the sounds of the great outdoors.
- Noise filtering; loud noises muffled but conversation and subtle noises amplified.
- Small, compact.
- Lots of options, including Bluetooth to enable smartphones.
- Available in stereo.
- Variety of formats—muffs, earplugs, semis and cuffs.
- Price point—usually $100 and up, up, up.
- Batteries required.
- Not always water-resistant.
- Expensive to lose; fallen electronic cuffs and earplugs hard to find in the field.
- Some models are bulky, heavy.
The Brand Tour
Like any industry, certain manufacturers have mastered hearing protection. Some are selective specialists while others offer a range of options from foam to smart. FYI, NRR stands for noise reduction rating. It’s a spec that should be printed, stamped or stickered somewhere on every package.
Walker’s Game Ear
If you like digital gadgets and nano tech, Walker’s will at the very least give you something to talk about. This company is fully focused on hearing protection. Yeah, they offer the little disposables and muffs for kids, but their target audience is techie shooters:
- Pro Low-Profile or EXT Folding Muffs: Coming in at $15 to $20, these two models deliver 31dB and 34dB NNRs, respectively. That’s a solid NNR value for a really reasonable price—good enough to pick up more than one.
- Razor Series Ultra-Low-Profile Muffs: For a hot range, these electronic muffs have an NNR of 23 dB, two omnidirectional mikes and “full dynamic-range HD speakers.” They automatically muffle gunshots while allowing you to hear range commands and conversations. They have an audio jack too. All you need are three AAAs and about $70.
- Digital HD X Game Ear: This little cuff has an NNR of 29dB and a Sound-Activated Compression circuit. Water-resistant and less than a quarter of an ounce, it’s got an “8-band graphic equalizer, four digital sound processing channels, volume and automatic feedback control, and a low-battery tone indicator.” You can get this in versions like Elite, Power Elite and Pro, but prices start around $150 an ear.
- Silencer Ear Buds: Tiny but mighty, these may be the coolest thing yet. These ear buds protect your hearing while also enhancing it—without sacrificing directional hearing. And you get both the left and the right in a slick little case with lanyard for about $175. They’re designed to give a perfect fit and seal every time, giving you 80 hours of protection from four little #10 batteries.
Howard Leight by Honeywell
This brand offers everything from earplugs to some pretty sophisticated electronic headphones:
- Disposable Earplugs on a String: Convenient, with an NRR of 33dB, the only complaint was that they worked a little too well! You can buy ‘em by the bucketful. The brand also makes versions for ladies and for tiny ears. They’ll run you about a dollar a pair.
- L1, L2 and L3 Leightning Series Muffs: Model NRRs range from 23 to 30dB, and prices go $15 to $25. These are traditional-style muffs with padded headbands, yet they’re noted for being lightweight, foldable, comfortable and low-profile.
- Impact Sport and Impact Pro Series Muffs: These will cost you more—$60 to $85—but they’re a different kind of tech . These will suppress sounds over 82dB yet let you turn up the volume on conversations or nature. Impact Sport is more low-profile. Impact Pro has an audio jack and input cord.
Known for quality, Pro Ears does passive, electronic, custom-fit, in-ear hearing enhancement and everything in between.
- Ultra Pro Muffs: We’re talking leather ear cushions here, 30dB NNR and noise-dampening dielectric construction. They’re sturdy, with snap-in ear, and you can probably pick up a set for under $40.
- Stalker Gold Muffs: It’s hard to go wrong with anything from the Pro Ears Gold Series. With Dynamic-Level Sound Compression™ technology, amplifying Automatic Gain Control and a built-in microchip processor, what’s not to like . Add stereo, onboard diagnosis and 80-percent white noise elimination and these appeal to hunters, professionals and competitors alike. You’ll need about $300 to call a pair yours.
- ProHear IV: About as low-profile as a behind-the-ear rig gets, the ProHear combines sound amplification and suppression while aiding hearing. It’s especially helpful if you’ve already suffered some hearing loss but want to keep shooting and be able to hear while you do it . The tech will cost you about $450 an ear.
- Pro Fit: The Pro Fit is a custom-molded in-ear “hearing amplification/compression Ear Plug good enough to be called Pro Ears.” It does everything—period. As these are the saltiest of the bunch, you’re looking at around $800 an ear.
I know, the price point on some of these hurts, but quality hearing aids run in the thousands each. What’s really important is that you preserve every little inner-ear hair that you’ve got, so have hearing protection that you’ll use with you when you need it.
But wouldn’t it be nice if the guns were just quieter?
Silencers and The Hearing Protection Act
The idea of quieter guns has been gaining traction in recent years.
The Hearing Protection Act would remove suppressors from the list of NFA-regulated firearms. Under this simple bill, suppressors would be treated as nothing more exotic than long guns. What would that do?
For one, as long as you’re a law-abiding citizen in a state that allows them, you’d be able to walk into any firearms dealer, show your ID, fill out a little paperwork, pass the NICS background check and walk away with a suppressor.
And you could skip the $200 transfer tax and 9-month paperwork waiting period.
Now, while suppressors will not silence anything, they will take the edge off a gunshot. And they’ll average a reduction of about 30dB—equating to pretty much the best hearing protection on the market.
Got a magnum? Imagine taking 30 dB right off the top. A little quality ear protection would take it down another 30, maybe more. Suddenly, you’re looking at a sound profile of under 100dB—for a magnum!
As for suppressors, there’s plenty already—for shotguns, rifles, and pistols from brands like Salvo, Omega, Harvester, Saker, Hybrid, Osprey, Octane, Sparrow, Warlock, Spectre.
- going to the outdoor range and being able to hear commands or conversations,
- going to the indoor range and being able to stand it,
- hunting and being able to hear the gobble of a turkey or the snort-wheeze of a deer in rut,
- spending all day without a hearing protection-induced skull ache,
- target shooting on your 100 acres without everyone wondering what—or who—you’re killing, or
- having the batteries go dead in your muffs and it not being the end of the world.
Dare to dream of a kinder, gentler world, where all hearing is protected, and the only suppression in sight is right on the tip of your very own barrel.
Until then, don’t forget to protect those ears.
The post Best Shooting Hearing Protection : Passive to Electronic appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.
If you’re a Google user, learning the ins and outs of its many apps can make you a power user on the internet. But who has the time? Psst, instead of a crash course, peruse these cheat sheets to level up.
These aren’t necessarily printable cheat sheets, and they come in all forms. Some of them are extensions that teach you as you use apps. Others are condensed guides to shortcuts and features.
Surprisingly, some of these shortcuts come from Google itself, perhaps from realizing how much its users need an easier way to learn its products. Others are made by fans, journalists, and anyone else willing to help.
Google has made an official mini-site for the new Google Assistant to find out everything you can do once you set up Google Home or Home Mini. Trust me, you’ll be shocked by the number of various apps and services that plug into it.
Largely, the site shows you new and trending commands, services you can use like food delivery, quick updates for things like directions, and how to use it as a media player, among other things. To know everything possible, the left sidebar is a list of categories such as arts and lifestyle, home control, productivity, shopping, food and drink, games and fun, movies, photos, TV, music, sports, travel, weather, and so on. And of course, since this is a Google product, it features a strong Search feature to find anything you want quickly.
But really, take your time in browsing and exploring the site, more than searching. It’s amazing to see how many services are available in Assistant beyond the Google apps.
“Ok Google,” you say to your phone, “Who is Jay Z married to?” And right on cue, Google will tell you the answer. It’s Beyonce, of course, but the point is that Google is able to give you a lot of information if you ask.
The “OK Google” commands on your smartphone are almost as useful as the questions you ask Google Assistant. And this nifty site has a full list of every single command you can ask, from information about relationships and movies to setting an alarm and calculating a quick tip. The point is to know each command’s phrase and use it effectively.
It’s not easy to know these commands given how varied they are. But use a few memory boosting tricks to remember anything and you’ll soon be maximizing your Android phone’s abilities.
3. Google’s Official G Suite Training
Without much fanfare, Google has launched a massive online tutorial to learn all of its apps. G Suite Training is excellent to learn the basics of any major Google app, and to also get a few hints.
Specifically, you should check out the G Suite Training extension for Chrome. This extension monitors when you are using any Google app, like Gmail, Search, Docs, and so on. And when you miss a shortcut, it helpfully points out how you could have saved time or energy.
Download: G Suite Training for Chrome (Free)
Apart from the extension, the G Suite Training app hosts a bunch of cheat sheets made for each Google app. These are all downloadable, printable PDFs featuring basic tips and tricks for each service. Perfect to stick one up in your cubicle:
Google search operators, or search operands, can make a huge difference in the quality of results you get. And they aren’t that difficult to learn. You usually only need a quick reminder, which this printable cheat sheet will do.
It includes a lot of the simpler stuff that you remember on a daily basis, like using quotes to search an exact phrase or minus to remove mentions of a particular phrase. But it’s the slightly more advanced stuff that helps, like using “inurl” to find posts with your search term in the page’s URL.
There are also the shortcuts you can use, like “Define:” to look up a word’s meaning or “movie:” to find which cinemas are showing that film and at what time.
For a lot of us, Gmail is the default email app. And if you really want to be proficient with it, you need to learn its keyboard shortcuts. Shortcuts are a pain to learn and remember, so here’s a quick cheat sheet to print and hang.
The minimalistic Gmail cheat sheet’s biggest feature is how beautiful it looks. And the tiny graphics are excellent to draw your eye towards what you’re trying to do and check the shortcut for you. Sure, you can learn those shortcuts through an app, but who wants to add more bulk to your already slow Chrome browser?
Are Cheat Sheets Enough?
In case you want more details than a cheat sheet, MakeUseOf has our own list of in-depth guides. You can become a power user on Gmail, learn the ins and outs of Chrome, or find out everything you need to know about Forms.
Are cheat sheets enough to become an expert in an app, or do you need more? Are you proficient with Google apps and services without an actual tutorial?
Martin Luther King Jr. would have been 89 years old today, were he not assassinated in 1968. On the third Monday in January we observe MLK Jr. Day and celebrate his achievements in advancing civil rights for African Americans and others. While Dr. King was a big advocate of peaceful assembly and protest, he wasn’t, at least for most of his life, against the use of firearms for self-defense. In fact, he employed them . . .
If it wasn’t for African Americans in the South, primarily, taking up arms almost without exception during the post-Civil War reconstruction and well into the civil rights movement, this country wouldn’t be what it is today.
By force and threat of arms African Americans protected themselves, their families, their homes, and their rights and won the attention and respect of the powers that be. In a lawless, post-Civil War South they stayed alive while faced with, at best, an indifferent government and, at worst, state-sponsored violence against them.
We know the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision of 1857 refused to recognize black people as citizens. Heck, they were deemed just three-fifths a person. Not often mentioned in school: some of that was due to gun rights. Namely, not wanting to give gun rights to blacks. Because if they were to recognize blacks as citizens, it…
“…would give to persons of the negro race . . . the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, . . . and it would give them the full liberty of speech . . . ; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went.”
Ahha! So the Second Amendment was considered an individual right, protecting a citizen’s natural, inalienable right to keep and carry arms wherever they go. Then as now, gun control is rooted in racism.
During reconstruction, African Americans were legally citizens but were not always treated as such. Practically every African American home had a shotgun — or shotguns — and they needed it, too. Forget police protection, as those same officials were often in white robes during their time off.
Fast forward to the American civil rights movement and we learn, but again not at school, that Martin Luther King Jr. applied for a concealed carry permit. He (an upstanding minister, mind you) was denied.
Then as in many cases even now, especially in blue states uniquely and ironically so concerned about “fairness,” permitting was subjective (“may issue” rather than “shall issue”). The wealthy and politically connected receive their rights, but the poor, the uneducated, the undesired masses, not so much.
Up until late in his life, MLK Jr. chose to be protected by the Deacons for Defense. Though his home was also apparently a bit of an arsenal.
African Americans won their rights and protected their lives with pervasive firearms ownership. But we don’t learn about this. We don’t know about this. It has been unfortunately whitewashed from our history classes and our discourse.
Hidden, apparently, as part of an agreement (or at least an understanding) reached upon the conclusion of the civil rights movement.
Sure, the government is going to protect you now and help you and give you all of the rights you want, but you have to give up your guns. Turn them in. Create a culture of deference to the government. Be peaceable and non-threatening and harmless. And arm-less, as it were (and vote Democrat). African Americans did turn them in, physically and culturally.
That, at least, is an argument made late in Negroes and the Gun: the Black Tradition of Arms. It’s a fantastic book, teaching primarily through anecdotes of particular African American figures throughout history just how important firearms were to them. I learned so-freaking-much from this novel, and couldn’t recommend it more. If you have any interest in gun rights, civil rights, and/or African American history, it’s an absolute must-read.
Some text I highlighted on my Kindle Paperwhite when I read it in 2014:
But Southern blacks had to navigate the first generation of American arms-control laws, explicitly racist statutes
starting as early as Virginia’s 1680 law, barring clubs, guns, or swords to both slaves and free blacks.
“…he who would be free, himself must strike the blow.”
In 1846, white abolitionist congressman Joshua Giddings of Ohio gave a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, advocating distribution of arms to fugitive slaves.
Civil-rights activist James Forman would comment in the 1960s that blacks in the movement were widely armed and that there was hardly a black home in the South without its shotgun or rifle.
A letter from a teacher at a freedmen’s school in Maryland demonstrates one set of concerns. The letter contains the standard complaints about racist attacks on the school and then describes one strand of the local response. “Both the Mayor and the sheriff have warned the colored people to go armed to school, (which they do) [and] the superintendent of schools came down and brought me a revolver.”
Low black turnout resulted in a Democratic victory in the majority black Republican congressional district.
Other political violence of the Reconstruction era centered on official Negro state militias operating under radical Republican administrations.
“The Winchester rifle deserves a place of honor in every Black home.” So said Ida B. Wells.
Fortune responded with an essay titled “The Stand and Be Shot or Shoot and Stand Policy”: “We have no disposition to fan the coals of race discord,” Thomas explained, “but when colored men are assailed they have a perfect right to stand their ground. If they run away like cowards they will be regarded as inferior and worthy to be shot; but if they stand their ground manfully, and do their own a share of the shooting they will be respected and by doing so they will lessen the propensity of white roughs to incite to riot.”
He used state funds to provide guns and ammunition to people who were under threat of attack.
“Medgar was nonviolent, but he had six guns in the kitchen and living room.”
“The weapons that you have are not to kill people with — killing is wrong. Your guns are to protect your families — to stop them from being killed. Let the Klan ride, but if they try to do wrong against you, stop them. If we’re ever going to win this fight we got to have a clean record. Stay here, my friends, you are needed most here, stay and protect your homes.”
In 2008 and 2010, the NAACP filed amicus briefs to the United States Supreme Court, supporting blanket gun bans in Washington, DC, and Chicago. Losing those arguments, one of the association’s lawyers wrote in a prominent journal that recrafting the constitutional right to arms to allow targeted gun prohibition in black enclaves should be a core plank of the modern civil-rights agenda.
Wilkins viewed the failure to pursue black criminals as overt state malevolence and evidence of an attitude that “there’s one more Negro killed — the more of ’em dead, the less to bother us. Don’t spend too much money running down the killer — he may kill another.”
But it puts things in perspective to note that swimming pool accidents account for more deaths of minors than all forms of death by firearm (accident, homicide, and suicide).
The correlation of very high murder rates with low gun ownership in African American communities simply does not bear out the notion that disarming the populace as a whole will disarm and prevent murder by potential murderers.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated 1,900,000 annual episodes where someone in the home retrieved a firearm in response to a suspected illegal entry. There were roughly half a million instances where the armed householder confronted and chased off the intruder.
A study of active burglars found that one of the greatest risks faced by residential burglars is being injured or killed by occupants of a targeted dwelling. Many reported that this was their greatest fear and a far greater worry than being caught by police.48 The data bear out the instinct. Home invaders in the United States are more at risk of being shot in the act than of going to prison.49 Because burglars do not know which homes have a gun, people who do not own guns enjoy free-rider benefits because of the deterrent effect of others owning guns. In a survey of convicted felons conducted for the National Institute of Justice, 34 percent of them reported being “scared off, shot at, wounded or captured by an armed victim.” Nearly 40 percent had refrained from attempting a crime because they worried the target was armed. Fifty-six percent said that they would not attack someone they knew was armed and 74 percent agreed that “one reason burglars avoid houses where people are at home is that they fear being shot.”
In the period before Florida adopted its “shall issue” concealed-carry laws, the Orlando Police Department conducted a widely advertised program of firearms training for women. The program was started in response to reports that women in the city were buying guns at an increased rate after an uptick in sexual assaults. The program aimed to help women gun owners become safe and proficient. Over the next year, rape declined by 88 percent. Burglary fell by 25 percent. Nationally these rates were increasing and no other city with a population over 100,000 experienced similar decreases during the period.55 Rape increased by 7 percent nationally and by 5 percent elsewhere in Florida.
As you can see, Negroes and the Gun progresses more or less chronologically, spending the last portion of the book discussing modern-day gun control. It’s an invaluable source of ammunition (if you’ll pardon the expression) against the fallacies of the pro-gun-control platform. It sheds light on a little-known (if not purposefully obfuscated), critical factor in the history of African Americans: firearms.
On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I highly recommend you — yes, you — read Negroes and the Gun: the Black Tradition of Arms.
Nerf’s Rival blasters, which can fire small foam balls at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour, already make you a formidable opponent when office battles erupt. But it wasn’t enough for YouTube’s Captain Xavier, who hacked his Nerf Rival into a spinning minigun fed by a 2,000-sh0t backpack.
It’s a mod that’s as amazing as it is terrifying, because Captain Xavier’s Rival can now blast up to 20 foam balls every second, for a over a minute and a half without needing to top up his ammo supplies. What’s less impressive is the time it will take to find and collect 2,000 tiny foam balls once the battle is over.
She’s looking for Tom Riddle. She thinks she can save him.
That’s the premise behind Voldemort: Origins of the Heir, a stunning hour-long fan film devoted to filling in some of the gaps in Voldemort’s origin story. Like, what was he really like as a peer, and why didn’t anybody notice his growing, y’know, maniacal villainy?
The film, directed by Gianmaria Pezzato, stars Maddalena Orcali as Gricha McLaggen, an original character and former classmate of Riddle’s, now hunting him down after she suspects he’s involved in a murder. It’s an impressive work, with sharp special effects and a compelling storyline. It has some of the problems typical of fan films—the acting isn’t, like, stellar—but it takes unexplored ideas from the Harry Potter mythos and dives into them with aplomb, thoughtfulness, and some surprises.
Fan works don’t get much better than this. And it especially beats having to watch Johnny Depp as Grindelwald.
Check it out below.