New toy…

Picked up a new toy recently… a gas blowback airsoft Beretta M9A1 (pictured top). It compares very well up against a real Beretta Model 96 in .40 caliber in terms of realistic weight, size, and function. I was able to interchange the Hogue wrap-around grips from the Model 96 to the M9A1. It was a perfect fit. The only real difference in appearance between the two weapons, aside from the color, is the safety orange barrel tip and the accessory rail on the underside of the M9A1.

 

A side by side comparison of a Model 96 and a M9A1 magazine.

 

 

The single shot fire mode is pictured below. Pushing the mode select all the way down, renders the airsoft firearm safe. Interestingly, if you place the mode select partially between the single shot and the safety position, there is a discernible ‘click’, which in reality… is the full auto mode. 

 

The magazine has a stackable 26 round capacity, holding 6mm BBs. The BBs can range in weight from 12 grams up to 28 grams. The lighter weight BBs shoot much faster but lack the ‘punch’ a heavier round would deliver. The lighter rounds also tend to decelerate more quickly and swirl while in flight, making for less accurate shots. 

This M9A1 was manufactured by WE and uses ‘green gas’ as its power source. Green gas is nothing more than propane gas mixed with a little silicone lubricant and lightly scented to mask the propane odor. Green gas costs about $11 – $14 dollars per 8 oz can. Green gas powered airsoft weapons are expensive to operate, and not easy to use. They require recharging constantly. That’s especially true if you’re using the weapons on full auto.

I experimented using CO2 cartridges in place of the typical green gas with some success. The cost for CO2 cartridges is more affordable than green gas but they still require constant recharging. The only upside to using CO2 is that the cost is more affordable. The downside in using CO2 is that the pressure placed upon the air reservoir built within the magazine is not controllable. That can lead to the magazine rupturing its seals and damaging your weapon.

The solution? Use the same type of air cylinders that paintballers use. The one I purchased has a 3,000psi rating and can… utilizing a quick-disconnect fitting that replaces the normal green gas charging port… quickly be attached to the magazine reservoir. The pressure is dialed down to approximately 150psi from the tank, through the regulator, so as to not rupture the magazine.

The rig below can be purchased from either your local paintball, or an airsoft store. The tank runs about $65 and the regulator gage assembly with hose is about $85. 

 

You’ll still need to build a quick-disconnect air linkage from the quick-disconnect hose assembly to your weapon’s magazine or charging port. Mine is pictured below with the green gas port changed out to a quick-disconnect fitting…

 

One advantage you gain by converting the green gas system to an air tank system is that you can switch your weapons out from sidearms, to assault weapons, to sniper rifles, simply and more efficiently than relying on green gas based systems. You’re able to carry less equipment because you’re not having to haul around a lot of 8 oz green gas cans, or handfuls of CO2 cartridges. This frees up valuable space in your tactical pack for ammo, medical kits, etc. And in the long run, it’ll save you a ton of money.

 

Here’s my M9A1 in action using the paintball air tank… Full auto Beretta M9A1 airsoft pistol  

Man club tips!

 

I was chatting recently with a friend of mine. He’s a single guy and was lamenting about how difficult it was to find available women. After making a few sarcastic jabs at him… because that’s what close friends do… I gave him a few pointers. Now keep in mind, guys being guys, we tend to be more caveman-like when we are talking amongst ourselves and full knuckle dragging usually ensues!

Here are a few ‘pearls of wisdom’ I bestowed upon him…

Bar name

If you’re just playing the field and not interested in an ongoing relationship, you may want to consider using a bar name. A bar name is nothing more than made up name that you go by when doing the bar scene. If someone tries to track you down using the internet, etc., you won’t be found. If you want to be a true player, you have to up your game with fictitious business cards containing your bar name and some sort of believable business title, a burner cell phone number, and an email address (used only for dating purposes). Keep it simple.

Booger-Bear

A Booger-Bear is someone that hangs on you in a bar that you’re really not interested in pursuing romantically. You don’t want to be blunt and hurt this person’s feelings, but at the same time, don’t want to continue talking to them. What to do? Well, you walk the person over to a group of other people you casually know and introduce her to them. As they’re exchanging pleasantries, you step away quickly and ditch her. This is in effect, wiping her off on someone else… hence the term Booger-Bear.

Produce aisle

So, where should you look for women? Most men do not like to shop. Consequently, women are typically the ones that dominate the male-to-female ratios in most shopping environments… with a few notable exceptions. The produce aisle is a prime location to find women. ‘Why?’, you ask. Well, think about it… if they’re in the fresh produce aisle 1) they’re probably a good cook, 2) are into a more healthy lifestyle, 3) depending upon the time of day, are single, a stay-at-home mom, or retired. Pick the one that suits your needs.

How does one approach a female in the produce aisle? Here’s the cave-man answer… ask for her opinion about produce selection. Women like having their opinions valued. When a man timidly smiles and asks her opinion, it places the woman in a position of dominance. She has the upper hand in this situation. Depending upon how she responds to you (if she smiles, turns red, plays with her hair, etc.), you’ll know if she’s receptive to you. It’s now up to you to go forward, soldier! Just don’t overplay your hand.

Ice cream aisle

Much like the produce aisle, we have the ice cream aisle. The difference here is that this is the aisle you want to leave alone. The women here are divided into two primary groups. One group is just there to grab ice cream and be on their way. The second group is looking to fill an inner void. Let’s examine this exotic creature in her habitat.

First group

Lady is passing through the aisle and very briefly looks at the ice cream before tossing a container or two into her shopping cart and is merrily on her way, quick and efficient! Clearly she has no time to waste on deciding what flavor she wants. Most likely, she’s grabbing either chocolate or vanilla ice cream, no frills or thrills here.

Second group

This lady may be nicely dressed but usually looks like she just crawled out of bed. Perhaps she’s still wearing sweat pants and not wearing make-up. She spends a fair amount of time looking at all the varieties… contemplating which flavor would best fill her particular sorrow. Sure, she may still look kind of attractive at this point, but in a few short months…! Jenny Craig will come to know her on a first name basis. Give her time. Let her work through her demons. Perhaps, if you’re lucky, you’ll see her soon in the produce aisle.

Now, I do want to be fair. A lot of this can also apply to men. Women look for men in hardware stores, and sometimes in auto parts stores. Logic would dictate that men found in these locations, know how to fix things. What woman doesn’t like a man who can do chores around the house?

 

 

 

 

Non-thinkers…

Have we become a society of non-thinkers? Or, collectively, have we always been shallow in our thinking and reasoning processes? With the advent of social media, has this phenomenon just been more evident?

I dare say, we’ve all seen a sensational, attention grabbing headline online, or in the news. But upon reading the news article, we discover that the story behind the headlines, sometimes has little to do with the original impression the headline had given. The headline was nothing more than a ‘hook’, to get the audience to read the article. The problem in that, is a substantial portion of the general public, won’t bother to read the article. But, they will regurgitate the misleading headline as if it were gospel. Maybe they do this because it somehow fits into their political agendas? Into their limited world views? In other words, it fits into their confirmation bias.

One would think, with the world wide web at our disposal, people would take the time to at least do a Google search and gather additional information about a subject matter. Sadly, that usually isn’t the case. 

 

 

What is Time?

Q: What is time?

A: Time is movement (distance), divided by intervals (units of measure).

Just a thought… Time is a human construct. Time is only the measurement of distance or expansion, as it pertains to the universe. Is time constant? Maybe, but if time also has to do with expansion, and the expansion of the universe is accelerating, then I would hazard to guess that time is not constant.. at least in that case.

Evolution of the Universe

 

 

By figuring out how fast the universe is expanding, scientists can calculate when the Big Bang occurred.

The universe was created from a super dense spect of pure energy, the size of a single atom. In a fraction of a second, the size of the universe grew from the size of an atom to the size of a baseball. In another fraction of a second, it grew to the size of the Earth.

When our universe was only 380,000 years old, it was trillions and trillions of miles across. It would take another 200 million years before the first stars were created. One billion years after the Big Bang, the first galaxies formed. Nine billion years after the Big Bang, our solar system comes into being.

Our universe had a beginning, and at some point, it will come to an end.

 

Our backyard, our Universe

The heavens have fascinated mankind since the dawn of time… well, at least for the last 240,000 years after man evolved enough to climb down from the trees. But I digress. 

This past century has unquestionably added to our knowledge of our solar system and the cosmos. What have we learned? I’ve compiled a few things that I find interesting. 

-Patrick

A forming planet has to reach about 500 miles across in order to have enough gravity to crush itself into a sphere. Four and a half billion years ago, roughly 100 baby planets were circling our Sun. In time, they slammed into one another, resulting in the formation of our current four rocky planets of Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.

All four of our gaseous planets have rings. Jupiter has thousands of ringlets, many only a few miles wide. Gas planets also have magnetic fields. The auroras at their poles are proof of this. So, how does a gas planet, without an iron core, create a magnetic field?

Scientists have tried to recreate the core of Jupiter in order to study why it has a magnetic field. In the lab, scientists used an array of 192 laser beams focused on a sample of hydrogen gas, to simulate the pressures of Jupiter. As the pressure upon the sample reached over a million times the pressure on Earth, the hydrogen becomes a liquid. But, upon reaching tens of millions the amount of pressure, similar to that of Jupiter’s core… the resulting pressure changes the structure of the hydrogen atoms into a metallic form. Scientists think that this is what is happening within Jupiter’s core. In January of 2017, a scientist at Harvard University successfully created metallic hydrogen. 

The moons of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are at least 50% water. Nearly 4 billion years ago, asteroids delivered the water we now have on Earth. Seventy-one percent of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. Still, water only makes up 0.05 percent of Earth’s mass. We enjoy just the right amount of water. Less, and we would be a dry planet with the land masses soaking up the water. More water, and the Earth would be a water world. 

The average galaxy may contain 100 billion stars. Until a hundred years ago, scientists believed the universe contained only the Milky Way galaxy. Scientists of the day called it our ‘island universe’. In 1924, Edwin Hubble discovered other galaxies outside our own. In that year, our knowledge of our universe went from just knowing about the Milky Way galaxy, to realizing that there were billions of galaxies out there.

Galaxies are massive. On Earth, we measure distance in miles, kilometers, or leagues. In space, we measure using astronomical units (1), parsecs (2), and light years. A light year is just under 6 trillion miles. Earth is 25,000 light years from the center of our Milky Way galaxy, and our galaxy is over 100,000 light years across. Andromeda, our nearest galactic neighbor, is over 200,000 light years across. Our universe is estimated to be 93 billion light years across.

  1. Astronomical Unit = Approximately 1.5 million kilometers
  2. Parsec = 3.26 light-years (30 trillion km or 19 trillion miles)

The Big Bang occurred about 13.7 billion years ago.

IC-1011 is the biggest galaxy yet found. It is 60 times larger than the Milky Way and extends six-million light years across.

Studying the center of our own galaxy, scientists discovered that the stars revolving around the center, were moving at speeds of several million miles an hour. The only force powerful enough to sling stars around at those speeds had to be a super massive black hole.

Even with super massive black holes at the center of all galaxies, it doesn’t exert enough gravity to keep the galaxies together. So, what keeps galaxies together? Dark matter. Dark matter makes up roughly six times as much matter as regular matter that exists in the universe. We know dark matter exists because of what it does to light emanating throughout the universe. Dark matter bends light in a process called gravitational lensing. It does this by magnifying the brightness of the light but also distorting the image. We cannot see or directly detect dark matter, but we know it exists. Without it, galaxies would fall apart. Dark matter is the glue holding together the whole structure of our universe.

So why is dark matter important? Scientists believe that dark matter slowly created strands of itself across the universe. Dark matter are the building blocks for our universe. Upon these weblike strands, are built the galaxies. Of all matter comprising the universe, dark matter makes up 23%. Regular matter accounts for only 4%.

As you’ve probably noticed, both dark matter and regular matter together, makes up 27% of the universe. What comprises the rest? Dark energy… it makes up roughly 68%.

Using type 1 supernova to measure distances, scientists found that galaxies weren’t slowing down due to gravity after the Big Bang, but rather they were accelerating. How could this be? The answer, dark energy.

Dark matter checked dark energy until about 5 billion years ago. Dark energy started winning the tug of war with dark matter. From that point on, the growth of the universe started speeding up. Dark energy was, in essence, stretching space.

Nature vs Nurture

On occasion, I’ve been asked “What is I.Q.?” Is it nature, nurture, or some combination of the two? I make no claim knowing the answer to this question. But, I do think it’s both nature and nurture… mixed in with a bit good fortune.

People all have their own personal experiences. I like to think, that maybe having such a spread of years within my own family’s generation, contributed to my knowledge base. My generation, on my mother’s side of the family tree, spans more than 100 years. My eldest cousin was born in 1915, two years before the United States entered the first World War.

Having such a wide span of years, does have a few benefits. For instance, many of my family members were witness to events of historical significance. Some have even participated in, and can give a first-person account of, those events. I didn’t have to run to the library to read war stories, or how rough living through the Great Depression had been. I had a rich source of information… all I had to do was ask a close relative.

So, I can see how nurture can have a great impact on a person’s I.Q. Nature, admittedly, must also be a major player in the I.Q. debate.

 

OBDEleven

I’ve been an Audi enthusiast for many years. But, as any Audi guy knows, Audis can be problematic at times. That’s very true when it comes to clearing alarm codes on the more recent models. In my search, I’ve found a device that gives the end user the flexibility to clear those pesky alarm codes and even modify how your Audi is set up. That device is OBDEleven.

OBDEleven is awesome! It’s simple to use and is wi-fi based, easily connects to your laptop or smart phone… no cables required! No more going to the dealership to clear the yearly maintenance code or the occasional ‘check engine’ codes, saving you time and money. It gives you the ability to chart what your Audi is doing in real time. Checking misfires, torque, etc., it’s just a few clicks away. And you can store those charts on your smart phone for future playback. You have the option to send all sorts of data to anyone via email as well.

 

Aside from clearing ‘check engine’ codes,  OBDEleven enables the user to modify their Audi to fit their individual personalities. You may want your car to always have the running lights on when the ignition is on… no problem. Maybe you want to adjust the illumination of your inside lights or external lamps? Still, no problem. Utilizing the many options available on the OBDEleven app, you can change these settings and many more with just a few clicks.

 

One really nice feature that I like with this device is that you can check your lighting systems right from your laptop or smart phone. You can walk around your Audi while checking the blinkers, parking lights, etc. No need to have someone sitting inside the car to step on the brake pedal or to switch on the turn signal. It can all be done by clicking through the OBDEleven interface.

The device works on 1991 – 2018 models of Audi and VW. The Pro model unlocks several features that the regular model restricts. Cost is about $75 on Amazon at the time of this publication.

 

Gratuitous pics of my current Audi A4 Quattro…