Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Wed, 17 Mar 2004 13:00:00 GMT
Last night I reloaded forty rounds of 444 Marlin. Fired twenty-five last Friday into an FBI "Q" target, and fifteen a couple of Fridays back, when I had to hike up to the range since there was a snowplow burm across the road. Found, the weekend before last, on the bare ground, two cases that I had lost in the snow earlier in the winter. Still haven't had a 444 Marlin case fail. Bought two hundred shortly after I got the gun, and have been reloading them, and forty or sixty from factory-loaded ammo, ever since.

# Robert X. Cringely at PBS - Prints of Darkness: A Year Into the E-voting Crisis, Shouldn't We Have Noticed the Printer That's Already Built into Each Diebold Voting Machine? - I referred a couple of days ago to a bill that would require a paper trail on electronic ballot machines. It seems that Diebold already built that into their machines. [odell]

Then this week I heard from reader Jed Rothwell, fresh from a day working the polls as a voting clerk. Jed says in the case of Diebold machines at least, there was a printer inside already.

Jed writes, "Meg Smothers of the League of Women Voters recently said that Georgia has 28,000 voting machines, and it would cost $15 million to retrofit them with printers to produce receipts. That comes to $535 per machine. Yet these machines already have printers. They produce a paper receipt at the end of the day showing the vote tallies. The printers are the kind used in cash registers, and they have large rolls of paper that would easily last through the 12 hours the polls remain open. It takes people about a minute to cast a ballot, so one machine would need to print at most 720 receipts per day. The printer and paper are located on the right side of the machine, under a locked metal cover. It would be a simple matter to fabricate a new metal equipment cover with an outlet above the printer, that would print a receipt for the voter. Based on the retail cost of similar metal computer equipment cases available in any computer store, this should cost approximately $30 per machine, not $500. The programming change would be trivial."

To Diebold, of course, no programming change is trivial. How could it be, since they forgot to offer up the services of the printer already inside the voting machines they build?

# Claire Wolfe at Backwoods Home Magazine - Miss Fitz' Guide to Guns, Part II: How to Make Sure You're Buying a Gun and not a Turkey - some good advice on safe gun handling and how to avoid an obviously bad used gun. Coming April 1: ammo, April 15: training (for shooting tax collectors). [claire]

Gun-Handling Etiquette

When a seller hands you a gun, he'll hand it to you with the action open. If it's a revolver, that means that the cylinder that holds the ammo will be pivoted outward from the frame. If it's a semi-auto, that means that the slide (the top of the gun) will be locked back.

In both cases, an open action enables you to look into the firing chamber and the ammo-carrying parts of the gun and verify for yourself that the firearm is unloaded.

Someone hands a gun to you, it's open. You look for yourself. Every time.

Then after you've inspected the gun, dry-fired it, or whatever else you do with it, you re-open the action and hand the gun back.

You hand the gun back to the seller open. He looks for himself. Every time.

If you hand the firearm to your companion, you hand it with the action open. Your companion looks for himself to make sure it's empty. Every time.

If you put the gun down on a table, you do it with the action open. Pick it up from the table, you look and make sure it's empty. Every time.

Any time that the firearm has been out of your control, even for a moment, you check it again when you pick it up to verify its loaded or unloaded condition.

If this little dance seems ridiculous to you, bear with it. Nobody, not the biggest Macho Man in all of Gundom, scoffs at these rules if he expects others to respect him. There is no such thing as being too scrupulous about safety when handling a firearm.

If this little dance seems so ridiculous to you that you absolutely refuse to bear it, then don't buy a gun. Don't even borrow one. And don't ever carry one around. Because you're not a safe gun handler.

Same with the four rules of firearms safety listed in the main article. If someone repeats them to you at the range, or in a firearms training class, and your response is, "Yeah, yeah, get off my case," then you're not grown-up enough to use guns. If you've already heard the safety rules 100 times, then be ready to hear them for the 101st. Or the 1,001st. And really hear them, every time.

# Yesterday afternoon I tried Safari, Apple's new web browser. I left work early to drive through the snow storm in the light. My 2.25 hour drive (usually 50 minutes) got me to the main buildings 45 minutes before dinner time, so I surfed the web on the library iMac. Safari perfectly rendered the CSS for this blog. I came away with nothing to say about Safari. It was invisible. It let me see the pages I wanted to see without being aware of the existence of the browser. And that's nice!

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