Swen was talking about this one . . .
in a post here, describing it as the Colt IMP.
Bushmaster commercialized it briefly as the ARM Pistol. It is a bullpup design that rotates the whole weapon, minus the grip, about the barrel, so when fired right-handed it ejects to the right; fired left-handed, it ejects to the left, either way, it threw empties away from the shooter's body. It fired the full five-five-six from AR15 magazines. As the photo suggests, it borrowed many other parts as well from the AR15. Not so long ago, Bushmaster's catalog listed some few parts left for it, their website today does not.

When I was ready to get one in the pre-'94 AW Ban days, I had the three-hundred or so dollars that Shotgun News said the distributors wanted, and a dealer ready to order it for me with his nominal cut, but he could find none. I got a 9mm MAC-11 instead, and promptly regretted it.

Because the grip, with its trigger, moves with respect to the rest of the weapon and is also dislocated, so to speak, well forward of where it usually is put, it is difficult to make the trigger crisp. Maybe a solenoid affair can be made. Or hydraulics?
Verse of the day
The hearts of freemen are the tombs of secrets.

Courtesy of The Military Series of the Declaration of Jihad.
Land of a Thousand Pricks?
I drove my partner, Advon, to the MSP airport today. He goes home, I stay at Undisclosed Remote Location to roll up all of the workshop results and insert them into a new scenario for Cadre.

Took a delay en-route to the Mall of the Americas. While trying to merge with traffic to get into the West parking garage, two vehicles, not one but two, would not allow me to merge.

Side note on Mall of the Americas: it would be phenomenal if every store were something different. But there were at least three Victoria's Secret stores, for example, on separate levels. And nowhere for me to buy a bigger HD for the Clandestine Mobile Media Access Platform.

While leaving aforementioned huge repetitive Mall, another prick didn't realize that I was on the on-ramp, accelerating to highway speed, and that he should either accelerate so I could merge behind him, or decelerate so I could enter ahead of him, or change lanes so it would not matter.

I've driven this stretch of I-494 before; I used to report to headquarters of a beeg telecom company in Minnetonka. I just don't recall idiots on the road, though.

Please note, many of my best friends are from Minnesota. But a thousand pricks can go a long long way towards ruining it.


Who's this guy?

This lizard is about 8 cm head to tail. You see him here hiding under the arch of my boot. There are two blue stripes down the sides of his tail.

He escaped unharmed, I was not stepping on him.
Suffering, by a nation's leaders, because of foreign policy that requires one to make nice with the House of Sa'ud.
Guardbumming update
Our present undisclosed remote location is 15TYU20136769; we're here working with Cadre, to debug new USAF doctrine on how to operate an airbase after it has been attacked. Interesting work, with some of the best people in the business.


Emergent Behavior vs. The Power Grid. Guess Who Won?!?!...

Greetings from Emergent Behavior!! The Fusilier Pundit asked that I guest-blog on occasion and he prompted me last week to toss around a few well-chosen words about emergent behavior and the Northeast’s recent power grid woes. So here goes!!…

The study of emergent behavior – the concept, not me!! – has its roots in many fields: market/economic systems, biological systems, and distributed control systems to name a few. The definition of emergent behavior that I often use is this: a large system, comprised of N-units of smaller systems, can exhibit behaviors not specified by any definitions that apply to the smaller systems. In other words, the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. And sometimes this is A Bad Thing. Being an engineer, I’ll stick with what I know best and discuss emergent behavior in the context of distributed systems.

A distributed system is one in which a large task is accomplished by several semi-autonomous sub-systems – or “actors” – under the direction of a larger centralized controller. Each actor has some specialty that it contributes to the distributed system and, therefore, its scope within the larger system is intentionally restricted. Emergent behavior explains how a distributed system can fail while each and every actor is performing exactly as it was designed. (A better, albeit wordier, presentation of this concept can be found here.) What happened to the power grid in the Northeast last week is a fine example of emergent behavior in its negative connotation. As the backbone of the grid oscillated between being over-loaded (power drops) and under-loaded (power surges), each affected generator plant and sub-station did what it was expected to do: save itself by shutting down. From an engineering standpoint, the sub-systems in this distributed system performed admirably. In the process, the entire system, the larger system, the distributed system, failed. Miserably.

Why? Because each actor was unable to see – or understand – the entire scope of the distributed system. The central controller, in theory, should be able to see The Big Picture – or at least a high-level representation of it and its performance. In the case of last week’s grid failure, it appears that the central controller was not, uhhh, in control. It either couldn’t see the failure, couldn’t predict the failure’s propagating effects, or couldn’t control the sub-systems that ultimately contributed to the catastrophic failure. Then again, maybe the central controller did see the writing on the wall and was able to amputate enough of the failing system to keep the rest of us in our beloved air conditioning. Only time will tell. Until then, may the blamestorming continue.