Thursday News Links


This will be a shorter one, since this has been a relatively slow week. I spent all of yesterday patching systems to deal with the Heart Bleed vulnerability in OpenSSL, including the system this blog runs on. People are saying it’s likely an accident, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it’s a deliberate fault injected into the source code by the NSA. Either way, the news:

What…. is the muzzle energy of an experimental Navy railgun that hurls a 20lb projectile at Mach 7? Sean got the right answer. About 21,201,337 ft/lbs. Wow. At that speed you don’t even need explosives. The impact energy is more than sufficient.

The truth accidentally slips out.

Civil rights victory in Tennessee. Knife rights!

Why are anti-gun activists so violent?

Bob Owens reviews the R51. I still want one, but I might wait until they work the bugs out.

PDB: Guns I Hate. I have a Mk.III that was also designed by lawyers. Note how successful the LCP has been? That was designed by George Kellgren rather than by lawyers.

Obama requests 1.1 billion of your tax dollars to promote gun control.

The Democratic candidate for governor in Idaho calls NRA’s questionnaire ‘biased and loaded’ and is refusing to answer it. OK, A.J., feel free, but we take question marks to be Fs, and good luck trying to win an election in Idaho with your attitude.

Charles W. Cooke: Smart Guns are a Dumb Idea.

MDA is fighting against legalizing open carry of pistols in Texas. In the vast majority of states, the only thing MDA has accomplished is to make them more pro-gun.

Eric Holder wants you to wear his special bracelet if you want to be able to use your firearm. No word on whether he’ll be smuggling smart guns and bracelets to Mexican drug cartels too.

Teacher suspended for starting a rail gun project with his students. I’ll believe we have a STEM shortage when the powers that be start acting like it.

Turns out MAIG isn’t all that helpful to associate with if you have higher ambitions for public office, even in Connecticut.

Your papers. Zeh are not in order. Cradle and grave of liberty, indeed.

10 thoughts on “Thursday News Links”

  1. Regarding Heart Bleed, I really doubt it’s a government ‘feature.’ From my understanding it returns more or less random data, just whatever happens to be in memory next to the heartbeat packet, and not anything targeted.

  2. Two responses:

    OpenSSL vulnerability: unlikely intentional. The code has been open for a while and the bug was not found despite lots of review. And frankly the issue is one every good coder has made several times. They are insidious (but common) bugs. Usually they are embarrassing but simple issues. It’s just that when dealing with shit like crypto, ‘small’ errors are magnified in effect. Good crypto has less to do with the algorithms than with the implementation. And yes – I know WTF I am talking about here. That said, the concern is valid but the panic is not. Change your certs, change your passwords and move on.

    NRA Idaho Questionnaire: This is a spoof questionnaire because it suggests the NRA cares about the NFA. I learned on the internets that the NRA secretly hates the NRA and all people who use it. Therefore I call bullshit on this survey.

  3. Also: Railgun

    I do work at Dalhgren, and when they fire that thing…”holy shit”. I’ve been within a few hundred yards when it goes off and your stomach turns. They have yellow flashing lights and flags raised every day they fire the thing. There are no Sci-Fi special-effects noises – it’s like a bomb going off. No matter how many times you feel it go off (and you will feel it), you gotta think “cool”.

    FWIW, they have set it off more than 1000 times. If you watch the video, you can see me waving (kidding).

    And school kids should be building them by the hundreds. One of those kids could be the next Browning.

    1. Heh. I’m in Q53, Patrick, and every time they fire it, my windows rattle in a cool buzz.

  4. I guess this smart gun crap is going to become a big deal in the deep blue states over the next few years.

  5. You are correct about not needing explosive projectiles for the rail gun. This leads to advantages in ease of manufacture and storage as well as a drastic reduction in mass. Of course if they tack a few kilo of depleted uranium to the front…

    And consider the possibility of the warhead splitting up after dropping a sabot. A shotgun spread of mini-warheads carrying about a mega-foot-pound each. A poor man’s MIRV

  6. If the “smart” gun is such a good idea it should go first to be used by LEO, who have more issues with close proximity to someone who should not be using the officer’s gun and who is likely to try to separate the officer and the gun prior to such use.
    And my uncle would not have carried lead in his body for 33 years from his own service revolver.
    I think the “smart” gun is just a way to try to get remote interdiction of civilian pistols (The simplest internal combustion engine). The unreliability is just a bonus.

    1. Yup, cops have more need for a “smart gun” than civilians. (Remember Mas Ayoob hawking Magna-rings?)

      if it’s not good enough for them, it’s not good enough for me.

    2. Keep in mind, Officer Friendly faces the very real chance of having to go “Paws On” a suspect in a wrestling match every single shift — that’s kinda part of teh job.

      As for smart guns because “It’s for the children!” or “It’s to stop gun thefts!”, well, Officer friendly and I both keep our handguns at home when we’re not wearing them, so those problems are roughly the same.

  7. To be fair to the candidate in Idaho, he’s right. The NRA’s candidate questionnaire is crap. They have a long history of being crap.

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