Friday, February 19, 2010

Riot Control

Got a presentation from a police firearms instructor again. This time he showed us this target for firing riot-control ammo, namely shotgun-launched beanbags. Only the green areas are safe to shoot; hitting a red area might result in serious injury or even death. Doesn't leave a whole lot, does it? The instructor said cops prefer Tasers for exactly that reason.

Cops also prefer Tasers to pepper spray, because the spray gets all over, potentially affecting innocents and the officers themselves.

[Wikipedia articles on: bean bag rounds, Tasers, and pepper spray.]

Thursday, February 18, 2010

There but for the grace...

The plane a tax protestor crashed into a building in Austin today hit 9420 Research Blvd. In late 2000, I worked in 9430 Research Blvd., right next door. What are the odds?

Also, for about a year I was assigned to an IRS building in the Washington, DC area. It's covered by the post-9/11 restricted flight zone, however, so it's somewhat safer -- unless attacked from the ground. (D'oh!)

For that matter, I worked on Capitol Hill for a couple of years. Again, in the restricted flight zone and somewhat safer from the air (key word: "somewhat"), but a prime target for ground attack.

Now I work someplace no more likely to be attacked than any other office building, so all I have to worry about are floods, fires, power outages, tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, extreme heat and cold, chemical spills, train crashes, and disease. Oh, and a rising sea level due to global warming. (But not earthquakes or volcanoes!)

Update: Oops. Earthquakes too. Still no volcanoes, though!

Update #2: And sharks.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Coming Ice Age

"Snowmaggedon" doesn't just disprove Global Warming; it shows we're entering an Ice Age! :-)

The show "In Search Of," narrated by Leonard Nimoy, warned us of the coming Ice Age in a 1978 episode. (Available on YouTube.) Here are some excerpts:

[Scenes of blizzards, glaciers, and snow-capped mountains, and dramatic, axe-murderer-approaching-type background music.]

"Climate experts believe the next ice age is on its way. ... When the weather turns on us again, how thin is the margin between life and death?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Live-blogging Snowmageddon 2010

9:00 am
Running a Red Cross shelter. Awakened by a call at 7:15 saying they'd pick me up at 7:30. Fortunately, the shelter has plenty of coffee and cereal.

We've got two RC volunteers; a nurse and a social worker; two cops; and a few guys who shovel the sidewalks. Only missing one thing: clients.

9:30 am
TV reporter saw a guy come out to "go for a run," but he got scared and went home. Damn, it looked like such great jogging weather.

The rule (we tell ourselves) is that calories don't count on a DR (disaster response). So... lots of cookies, no jogging... I'll have some insulating padding when this is done.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Mad Cattlemen

From the NY Times:
The USDA will announce Friday that it is dropping a ... program in which each animal on a farm would be tracked with a unique identification number and stored in a federal database. The Bush administration created the program in 2004 after a report of Mad Cow Disease in 2003.

Government officials said the program would have made it easier to track disease outbreaks ... but critics said the program imposed costly and onerous requirements on small farmers and feared that the government would eventually make it mandatory and use it to pry into farmers' lives.
1) What happens between a farmer and his cattle is nobody's business but his own.

2) I've been right to avoid beef all these years. The government could have been tracking me, and my aluminum foil hat wouldn't have helped! (Remind me to make some shirts and underwear.)

3) What if terrorists spread Mad Cow disease? Why do farmers hate freedom?

Socked and Sacked

Liverpool Paramedics Upset Over Novelty Sock Ban

The Liverpool Echo -- Uniformed staff have been barred from wearing socks with images of cartoon characters, jokes and garish patterns after bosses branded them "unprofessional."

The strict uniform policy... also bans wrist watches, visible body piercing, excessive make-up and certain tattoos. And staff have been warned they could be disciplined and ultimately even sacked if they flout the dress code ...

Spokesman for the Association of Professional Ambulance Personnel, Jonathan Fox, said: "[They] should be addressing more important issues like why paramedic training has been stalled for months."
Whiners. Management has to have its priorities.