"Mass surveillance by America’s National Security Agency (NSA) and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) cast its net even wider than previously thought. The Intercept, a website that publishes stories based on documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, reports today that the two agencies hacked the networks of Gemalto, a Dutch company that is the world’s largest provider of SIM cards, and possibly other SIM makers too. According to the Intercept, American and British spies in 2010 stole thousands of encryption keys that keep communications between mobile phone users and their networks secure. Once they have these keys, the agencies can listen in on voice calls, read text messages and see all internet traffic between an subscriber and the network without the need for a court order and without any telecom operators or individuals being made aware of the fact that their communications had been compromised. Gemalto produces 2 billion SIM cards annually and supplies some 450 operators worldwide."
"The pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences sells sofosbuvir, marketed as Sovaldi, as a new cure for the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The results have reportedly lived up to the clinical testing. According to The Huffington Post, the FDA gave its approval for sofosbuvir in December 2013. Gilead Sciences sells a 12-week treatment of the medication for $84,000, which comes out to $1,000 per pill. However, researchers at Liverpool University wrote in the Oxford Journals that Gilead Sciences’ cost to produce a 12-week treatment of sofosbuvir is actually $68-$136 and added, “Within the next 15 years, large-scale manufacture of 2 or 3 drug combinations of HCV DAAs is feasible, with minimum target prices of $100–$250 per 12-week treatment course. These low prices could make widespread access to HCV treatment in low- and middle-income countries a realistic goal.”
"As a shooter, you should still understand and be able to use the many kinds of iron sights that have been used on rifles, pistols, and machine guns over the last few centuries. The shooting fundamentals work the same (with the self-evident exception of sight picture and sight alignment) regardless of what kind of sight you’re using, but the iron sight imposes physical, temporal and human factors obstacles that optical sights do not. The most important of these factors is that an optical sight, whether it’s a traditional telescope, a red-dot, or a holographic sight, puts the aiming point and the target in the same focal plane. How important is this? It’s vital. It reduces the time spent to align the shot (more than compensating for the initial delay imposed by a magnified sight with a limited field of view, it lightens the shooters neurocognitive load, and it reduces hit dispersion downrange."
"So much for protecting America and defending the homeland. According to Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson, protecting the plight of Islam and guarding against discrimination should now be part of the mission of the United States. No kidding. Here’s what he said – on video, no less:"
"Many potential issues can be resolved or avoided if they are identified before the trigger is pressed. Here are a few important steps to take before loading a new gun or a used gun you have never fired. In pursuing both personal and professional shooting endeavors over the last several years, I’ve prepared a fair number of new and used firearms for first-time trips to the shooting range. Experience has taught me that one can never assume a gun is ready to shoot until it has been thoroughly checked out. While some gun problems will not present themselves until the gun is fired, many potential issues can be resolved or avoided if they are identified before the trigger is pressed. Here are a few important steps to take before loading a new gun, or a used gun you have never fired:"
"Dogs are known as man’s best friend, and while it’s certainly arguable, many historians believe that dogs may have been the first animals to be domesticated by humans. Dogs have long been used to protect us, herd other animals, hunt with us, and just to serve as loyal allies. If you’re serious about security, having a good dog or two by your side will definitely be to your benefit. However, you can’t just select any breed you want, because not all dog breeds are the best choices to protect you."
"For us, building a self-reliant lifestyle has frequently involved doing more things for ourselves and/or finding new uses for stuff that we already have on hand (remember our SLAM series of posts?). Often, this just involves simple things that still make a significant difference. For example, we figured two ways to use the "ends" of our bar soap to extend their life:"
"If you are preparedness minded and a new parent, chances are you have already provided your infant with a 72 hour kit, including clothes and extra blankets. In fact, you have most likely stressed over preparing for your little bundle of joy. Here are a few other preps you may not have thought of yet for baby preparedness."
"Micro-Hydro systems are a great way to produce large quantities of electricity from moving water. If the right conditions exist significantly more kilowatt-hours can be made over solar, wind and other forms of small-scale renewable energy systems. This is because solar and wind power is intermittent. The sun shines only a few hours a day and wind patterns change constantly. For the most part, running water continues to run regardless of the weather outside or time of day. As a renewable energy system integrator I get many calls and questions about micro-hydro systems, how they work and what kinds of water resources are needed to turn moving water into electricity. Many people are surprised to hear that in order to generate electricity from water, the conditions must be favorable and not every site has this potential. The intention of this article is to clear up many of the myths around micro-hydro energy systems and shed some light on how they work and weather or not this kind of system is right for your needs."
"SIG SAUER, Inc. has issued the following statement relative to the January 2015 open opinion letter issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms regarding the SB15 and SBX Pistol Stabilizing Braces. BATFE Technical Branch issued an open opinion letter dated January 16, 2015 regarding the Pistol Stabilizing Brace (SB15 and SBX) which is marketed by SIG SAUER. Contrary to several statements subsequently made in social media, this opinion letter did not make or otherwise declare that the SB15 product is illegal. The BATFE letter stated that the SB15 is a product “which is legal to own, legal to purchase and legal to install on a pistol.” SIG SAUER believes that the PSB enhances the shooter’s experience and offers the products as an accessory and pre-installed on a number of pistols. In all of its opinions, BATFE has consistently stated that a pistol with a stabilizing brace attached remains a pistol under the Gun Control Act when used as designed."
"SureFire, LLC, manufacturer of high-end illumination tools and tactical products, has commenced sales of the latest, highly versatile member of its best-selling, ever-expanding family of LED Scout Light® WeaponLights. The new M600 AA Scout Light—for long guns equipped with MIL-STD-1913 (Picatinny) rails—can be powered by AA lithium or AA alkaline batteries, the latter of which are typically more readily available globally. “The M600 AA’s ability to be powered by two separate types of batteries is a key element to its anticipated success,” said SureFire Product Manager Chris Skahill. “For optimal performance, AA lithiums can be used. But it can also be powered by AA alkalines, which are more readily available and usually easier to find, particularly in remote or rural areas.”
"Gun owners in Tennessee may be to legally carry a gun without a permit if some state lawmakers get their way this legislative session. Rutherford County republican Rick Womick is pushing a bill that would allow legal gun-owners to carry their weapons without a permit, either concealed or not. People carrying without a permit would still have to follow laws that ban weapons in schools and businesses, or having a gun while drinking alcohol. The bill would need to pass both the House and the Senate and plenty of debate is expected."
"Nearly 80% of gun stores across the country report an increase in the number of women walking through their doors. The NRA website has a separate section for women. And manufacturers are designing guns for women complete with pink and purple accessories. For those thinking about buying a gun, walking into a store full of experienced guys can be intimidating for anyone, but especially for women. However in Sioux Falls there is another option and her name is Shelley Jacobson. She has learned a lot about guns in the last few years. "Guns are like cars, everybody has a favorite" she says. Shelley started out helping with paperwork in the office at Gary's Gun Shop. Then there was an opening and one of the owners asked if she would like to work behind the counter."
"When I mentioned I was writing a post on herbal coffee alternatives, my eldest quipped, “Isn’t that called, ‘tea’?” Not being a coffee drinker, the boy simply doesn’t understand the finer aspects of coffee drinking. There’s just something about that rich, earthy brew that calls to me on cold winter mornings. I drink plenty of regular and herbal tea, but coffee is an altogether different beverage category. In the interest of being a little kinder to my liver and adrenal glands, I’ve been experimenting with a variety of herbal coffee substitutes without caffeine. Do any of them taste exactly like America’s favorite morning caffeine hit? Nope. Are they reasonably tasty? You bet! Plus if you’re so inclined, they are a great way to help ween yourself off of your coffee habit. Just start with mostly coffee and a small amount of herbal coffee, and gradually increase the amount of herbal coffee while decreasing the amount of regular coffee each day until you’re switched over to herbal."