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Gwen Patton
Works at Revolution Earth Press
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Cartoonist with a Disability
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Disabled webcartoonist on the East Coast
Introduction
I used to work at a company that did phone support for software, and did SF and fantasy writing on the side. Then I had a quiet argument with my trunk lid in a 40mph wind, and the trunk lid won.  I can't work anymore because I can't predict when I'm going to be in too much pain to do anything, and typing a lot is too painful.  So now I do a webcomic, Jenny Everywhere's Infinite: Quark Time, as my creative outlet.

I have also been an advocate for responsible self-defense and a firearms instructor.  My favorite martial art is Aikido, and I play Go.
Bragging rights
My webcomic is now a year old, and the first 28 weeks are out in print. Was International Media Spokesperson for the Pink Pistols for most of a decade.
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Gwen Patton

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Another way instead of filling with sand is to cap one end and fill with water, then put it in the freezer, open end up, until the water is frozen. Then bend. (Don't cap both ends, it may split the pipe as the ice expands.) This is one of the methods used in making brass instruments. Another is to melt pitch, cap one end of the pipe, and pour in pitch. Let it cool to become solid, then bend. Heat the pipe gently to melt out the pitch for reuse.
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Seems legit.
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Gwen Patton

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Whenever someone gets all exercised because I:

a) Hold an opinion contrary to theirs
b) Insist that science is not driven by consensus, but by proof
c) Prove them wrong
d) Require them to prove their assertions before I will stipulate they are correct
e) Any or all of the above

I am reminded of a TED talk  I once watched about the nature of being wrong, and why people go so totally bonkers when they just might not have the world all figured out.

I will be the first to admit that I could be wrong on just about anything.  But if someone just asserts that I am wrong, and not only doesn't prove that I'm wrong, but says something like "I can't prove it, but I feel that you're wrong," or worse "but the majority says that you're wrong," that only makes me stick to my guns that much harder.

Being factually correct means that what we believe accurately represents the current state of things, that our assertions match reality. This state cannot be altered by vote, consensus, feelings, or political position. If I am wrong, then it's not a matter of what race I am, or what gender I am, or what sexual preference I hold, or what political party I belong to -- it means, simply and solely, that my concept of reality does not match the actuality of reality. It also simply and solely means that I must modify my conceptualization.  It does not mean that I am bad, or mean-spirited, or politically incorrect, or that I am an "abomination".  It just means that what I thought was real ISN'T.

But all too many times, people go absolutely bonkers trying to convince me that I'm wrong and they're right...but they go about it in a fashion that will not have the result they wish. They browbeat me. They yell at me.  They call me names. They use the most blatant of logical fallacies. They make assertions they cannot prove, or worse, that I can prove are invalid, but they will not accept my proof.  Usually, because they feel that it's wrong, or that's not what this consensus believes.

Science is not determined by consensus. Science is determined by experiment -- which either proves or falsifies the hypothesis.  That's all.  I don't care if four out of five dentists recommend Trident gum for their patients who chew gum.  I don't like Trident gum.  I don't care if you think "meat is murder", and that "animal protein causes cancer in rats" because you read it in "The China Study" -- T. Colin Campbell did an observational study: giving amino-fortified casein (milk protein) to rats, and claimed it caused liver lesions. But that's not the whole story. The rats were treated with aflatoxin, a fungus-derived poison that...causes liver lesions in rats.  The casein was augmented with extra amino acids, to make it a "complete" protein...and when enough of it was fed to the rat, the poisoned rat developed the lesions, not because of the casein, but because instead of simply killing the rat, it had enough protein building blocks to FEED the cancer instead of the cancer killing the rat outright.  So saying that animal protein causes cancer is an invalid assertion based on Campbell''s study on rats...but I know vegans who go absolutely ballistic and won't listen because they don't want to be wrong.

Being wrong is the better part of science. The bad scientist goes around trying to prove things right. The good scientist goes around trying to prove things wrong...but accepting when instead, it's proven right.  The ability to "falsify" an experiment -- to prove the hypothesis incorrect -- is far more important than proving the hypothesis correct. If you are trying to prove your pet hypothesis right, there will be horrible pressure on you, through various forms of bias, to alter the resultant data to fit your preconceived assumptions. This happens all too often in scientific studies.

http://www.ted.com/talks/kathryn_schulz_on_being_wrong?language=en

https://youtu.be/y1RXvBveht0

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/308269/

http://www.doctoringdata.co.uk/

#LiesDamnedLiesAndStatistics  
Most of us will do anything to avoid being wrong. But what if we're wrong about that? "Wrongologist" Kathryn Schulz makes a compelling case for not just admitting but embracing our fallibility.
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Gwen Patton

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I use the back edge of my hacking knife. It's almost 3/8" (maybe closer to 1/4", but it LOOKS wider) wide on the spine, and the angle is damned near 90 degrees.  The corner on either side of the spine is a perfect striker.
Ferrocerium rods are a wonderful tool to have around. They last virtually forever, they really don't care if they get wet, and they weigh almost nothing. If there's one weakness to a ferro rod, it's that the strikers that shi...
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Gwen Patton

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I'm very fond of the various forms of pilot bread (aka ship's biscuit, pilot crackers, sailor bread, sailor crackers, hardtack, oh my dear and fluffy lord what did I just break my teeth on, etc.), both the slightly sweet and softer Mountain House variety, and the more savory and harder Sailor Boy brand out of Hawaii. It depends on what I'm going to eat along with them -- if it's peanut butter or jam or the wonderful sugar-free nutella clone I found, then I prefer the Mountain House. But cheese or meat or something else savory, give me the Sailor Boy.

But I found another use for the Sailor Boy pilot bread the other night.

Matzoh balls.

I guess you can't really call them Matzoh balls since they're not made from matzoh, but they are made from an unleavened cracker the consistency of a cedar roofing shake, so it's similar. They're not kosher, but then, neither am I -- I just love matzoh ball soup, especially when I'm not feeling well.

I had an unsettled tummy the other night and wanted some matzoh ball soup to quiet it, but I was out of matzoh mix. Now, I've done this trick in the past with hard sourdough pretzels (The Hanover brand is particularly good, though Utz is also good), but I didn't have those either. I did, however, have some Sailor Boy pilot bread crackers.  They come in little cellophane wrapped packages of five crackers in a larger box to keep them fresh, though how you can tell if they're stale I have no idea.  I broke them up into my food processor bowl, and pulsed it a few times until it was the consistency of, you guessed it, matzoh meal.

I added a couple of tablespoons of oil, a couple of eggs, gave it a stir to combine, and put it in the fridge while I got the soup stock ready. I put a pound of cut up boneless chicken breast in the stock and got it boiling, then hauled out the bowl and started forming little balls of the now well-hydrated and chilled stiff cracker mixture. They went into the boiling soup and turned it down to a simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes.  I like to throw a handful of elbow macaroni or egg noodles in with it too, because why not?  

They turned out perfect. I couldn't tell any difference between my Pilotzoh balls and Manischewitz. My tummy was very happy.
I'm actually rather proud of myself for this recipe. It took several days of experimenting, but now even my fiancé loves the end result.  But before we jump in, here are a few notes you need to read first: If you want to m...
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Gwen Patton

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In the late 80's, I worked for a systems integrator that supplied several hundred XT-class PC clones to the banking system of St. Petersburg. I probably built half of them with my own hands, and 2/3 of them had RAM I inserted on the boards myself. It took weeks. My fingers are STILL sore from rocking the DIP RAM into place in the sockets! grin
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Gwen Patton

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Don't forget the Australian Gympie Gympie tree. Just touching a leaf can cause pain greater than fire ants. They're covered with stinging spines finer than hairs filled with corrosively toxic venom.

“Being stung is the worst kind of pain you can imagine - like being burnt with hot acid and electrocuted at the same time..." said one researcher.

http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/science-environment/2009/06/gympie-gympie-once-stung,-never-forgotten/

Thankfully, they're in Australia and thereabouts, not around here.
Picture by KJ Photography & is used with permission. Pop quiz: How many "poison" plants are there? And by that I don't mean plants which are poisonous; I mean the ones which cause contact dermatitis after touching them? An...
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Based on your reply and the comments of others, I am compiling a list of "Nasty plants that are fortunately not around here."

Gwen Patton

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This is an older but still fascinating video on how a flintlock rifle was made. The video was done at colonial Williamsburg. I never visited Williamsburg, though I did visit Sturbridge Villiage in Massachusetts when I was very young.

I'm in awe of the amount of sheer skill involved in turning raw metal and wood into not only a highly-functional piece of ordnance but also a beautiful work of art.  Perhaps if we applied some of the same principles of form and function to "evil black rifles", we could take the whole "evil" and "black" thing out of those weapons and rework them into pieces of art so they aren't quite as intimidating. Perhaps the works of an AR-15 could be meshed with beautiful wood and metalwork to make it not only a superbly functional weapon, but a sculpture as well?  This would be more an exercise in combating fear stigma than anything else, a custom option for a very few exceptional pieces.

https://youtu.be/lui6uNPcRPA
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Well, do you see any polar bears in that picture?

There are no polar bears.  That proves that they are dying.

So there you have it.  You own data refutes you, ha ha

Gwen Patton

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This is sort of like watching a train wreck.  The famous last words of so many idiots are "Hey, y'all, watch THIS!"

http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2015/07/20/royal-nonesuch-proves-hes-an-idiot-again/
Royal Nonesuch, a home-made firearms YouTuber has continued to sink to lower lows of safety (although some may argue increases in ingenuity) through his various homemade firearms projects. The latest project show is a .50 Cal firing through a pipe. A preliminary analysis shows that this should have catastrophically failed (especially if the bullet had any … Read More …
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Ah, Dawinian selection in progress!

Gwen Patton

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When it comes to my coffee, I'm a tad paranoid. I don't want ANY sort of disaster, be it natural or man-made, to stand between me and my caffeine! 

"It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed, the hands acquire shakes, the shakes become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion."

So I have several different ways of brewing coffee, from high tech to low tech. I don't have a pour-over brewer...yet...but that could change. I've been looking at a collapsible silicone one for the emergency supplies.  I have my Aerobie aeropress, a stainless-steel Thermos French Press, multiple sorts of stoves, and even a supply of Vietnamese 3-in-1 coffee packets, just about the only instant coffee I'll drink.

But we use single-serve K-cup pods for our everyday coffee at home. We used to have a 12-cup Brewstation set up, and we wore out several of them over the years...but we found we were wasting huge amounts of coffee, pouring out old, dead brew at the end of the day. So we switched to single-cup brewing to cut back on coffee waste. We use a brand with the smallest environmental impact, being 97% biodegradable, including the bags used to store the pods to keep them fresh.

But what are we going to do with those pods, if there's a long power outage, from weather, social upheavals, or war? Are those pods just going to be wasted if we have to bug out?  And what about hotel stays? Will we forever be at the mercy of horrible drip pots in the rooms and bad, expensive room service coffee?

Nope.

I found a cheap (under $20) manual K-cup brewer! All you need is hot water (which I can make in a half-dozen ways with different fuels) and a few seconds of pushing a silicone pump. It's no harder than a French Press or an Aerobie.

It's the Presto "MyJo" Coffee Maker. I got it this morning from Amazon (it was on sale) and tried it out immediately. It worked with our K-cups flawlessly. I heated the water  in the microwave -- the reservoir is microwave safe -- because it didn't matter where the hot water came from in this test. Less than 30 seconds of pushing on the pump ran all of the hot water through the pod and into the mug. The coffee was no different from what an electric K-cup machine would make, and is far superior to hotel coffee.

So when we go to InterventionCon next month, we'll have this gadget and a supply of pods packed to go along. We'll use the horrible little drip brewer they put in each room just to heat the water, and will enjoy our favorite coffee each morning!

http://www.amazon.com/Presto-02835-Single-Coffee-Maker/dp/B00HIXSAXQ
https://www.myjocoffee.com/
http://www.rogersfamilyco.com/
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I've got one of these in storage.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004S1DB

Gwen Patton

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I'm sitting here looking at my UHF/VHF handi-talkie, an Elecraft K2, a Small Wonder Labs 20 meter CW QRP rig, and a 13AH USB power pack...and wonder if anyone has tried making some sort of ham rig using USB power levels? There are SO many 5.5v battery packs out there, some of them with enough power to jump-start a CAR, and it just intrigues the hell out of me. 

Unfortunately, I'm not a good enough electronics engineer to design the thing myself. But if someone else had a design already, I'd get it in a heartbeat, especially if it was some sort of low-power HF phone rig, like the Elecraft KX3. It'd go right in my go-bag!

#HamRadio   #USBPowered   #EMCOMM  
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Power is a bit lower than qrp.  More like qrpp. I guess it's a good driver for an amp, but it looks like any amp with even a watt or two is going to be 12vdc anyway. Sort of defeats the point of having the transceiver be USB powered.