I ate my wafer...


Website of the week #2: My Science Project

So, everyone needs to take a look at My Science Project, which features clever experiments on things as diverse as the Cheney quail hunt shooting and the economics of condom sales. Anyone interested in drinking should read the jello shots articles and anyone interested in shooting should read the ballistics gelatin articles.


So is .315" Indian equivalent to .303 British or 8x57mm?

So, Jinx Magazine has an article about Phoolan Devi that mentions her weapon as a .315" Mauser. Now, being curious about such things, I sort of assumed that .315" must be the Indian designation for 8x57mm. A couple of minutes on google churned up some fascinating links with information on civilian firearms in India, and interestingly, showed what appeared to be a new manufacture, sporterized No.1 SMLE in the .315" caliber. Now at first glance, the picture seems to show a regular looking SMLE magazine for .303 tapered cartidges as opposed the squared profile type on .308 (7.62x51mm) SMLE's. But then, reading the text, it clearly indicates that the magazine capacity is only 5 rounds.

Since I happen to have a .303 No.4 rifle magazine to play with, I checked and it appears that it would be possible to feed 5 rounds of 8x57mm from one. I've dug up a couple of references to conversions to 8x57mm, so it certainly is possible that the Indan .315" SMLE is actually chambered in 8x57mm.

Additionally, I know that it is possible to feed tapered rounds in a modified 98 Mauser action, like the Siamese 8x52Rmm which have been rechambered in everything from 45-70 to 7.62x54Rmm so it isn't beyond reason that there would be .303 chambered mausers floating around in India.

So...does anyone have any ideas?


Embryonic Stem Cells

Krupa has a post that touches on Stem Cell Funding that's drawing some comment attention from bright Hillsdale bloggers like Will. In this case, I think Will's guilty of some pretty heavy hyperbole about Embryonic Stem Cells (ESC), namely he's arguing that they haven't produced anything of value, and that the lack of private sector development indicates that ESC has no scientific value. To quote the philosopher Jagger, perhaps Will is blinded by love?

A. Science Successes:

Since ESC extraction has only been around since 1998, the technology is admittedly in its infancy. In contrast, research on adult hematopoietic stem cells has had a 40+ year head start. However, there have been a number of successful uses of ESC, from helping repair heart attacks in animal trials to growing human prostate tissue in mice. The most recent example that I know of is a recent piece in The Annals of Neurology about the successful use of ESC methods to restore muscle function in paralyzed rats.

At least politically, I suspect that the most critical success for ESC technology to date is the newly developed ability to extract stem cells without harming an embryo. Although the initial experiments discarded the embryos, it would appear that if enough women are willing to back their political convictions by donating their uteri, new ESC cell lines can be developed without any taint of discarded embryos.

B. Federal Research Funding:

Besides Will, I've heard a couple people argue that the lack of obvious private sector research funding for ESC somehow indicates a low scientific value for ESC technology. First, just to clear any misinterpretations that people might have, any current successes in adult stem cells have been backed by federal funding reaching back to the early 1960's. From a practical point of view, basic science research has long been heavily supported by federal funding, and at the very minimum it will slow research in ESC to require all funding to be raised from private sources.


Krupa returns.

So, Peter Krupa has once again returned to blogging, and I'm updating my links to reflect that. If you want your link changed to something different, or added, etc, drop me a line at my gmail account.


Website of the week: Eyewitness History

So, I accidentally discovered Eyewitness History the other day, and want to reccomend it. It is sort of like a quick, information dense version of a good History or Discovery channel program. For a couple of interesting articles to get started, I'd reccomend "Immigrating to America" and "Thoughts of a President".



Malawi politician victim of vampire rumors.

You know, I just spent 20 minutes trying to dream up a better introduction to the article than just hyperlinking the title, but I'm simply not eloquent enough. In all honesty, I think that Rousseau and Hume would have just given up on the whole Enlightenment and committed suicide if they had know that 200 years later, in a thriving multi-party democracy, politicians would be stoned for colluding with vampires. Then again, I suppose that those of us dwelling in North America really shouldn't laugh at the idea of politicians colluding with vampires when we have vampires threatening to protest and possibly sue White Castle for garlic based discrimination.

Since the white castle vampire lives in Ohio, I suppose I should buy my parents some silver bullets for Christmas?