The 8,000 Mile Sniper Shot

Sniping The 8,000 Mile Sniper Shot

tl;dr seeking help for PTSD is not weakness,


When you leave the military, your mind is usually filled with a range of emotions. There’s joy over your newfound freedom, sadness at leaving brothers behind, and anxiety over the unknown. In June 2010, when I picked up my discharge papers from the Marine Corps, I lived through it and felt them all.Now two years later, I am close to graduation from The University of Tampa, run a successful military satire website, and am lucky to continue working with military veterans. It wasn’t an easy road, and many times I felt alone and helpless.
For a heartbreaking and rising number of veterans, those emotions can lead to a devastating end: suicide.

Navy Cross recipient and former Corporal Jeremiah Workman, who dealt with his own emotional trauma and thoughts of suicide, refers to it as an enemy making an 8000-mile sniper shot.

That’s what happened with Seth Smith, from Kansas City, Missouri. I first met Seth on a training exercise in Okinawa, Japan with 3rd Marine Division. As one of a small handful of infantry Marines in a unit full of different specialties, it was a lonesome time for me. (more…)

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Tactical white rhino!

Tactical White Rhino 450x299 Tactical white rhino!

A four man anti-poaching team permanently guards a Northern White Rhino on Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, 13 July 2011. The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is an important “not-for-profit” wildlife conservancy in the Laikipia District of Kenya and the largest sanctuary for black rhinos in East Africa. It is also the home of 4 of the world’s remaining 8 Northern White Rhino, the worlds most endangered animal. (img Brent Stirton/Getty)

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What have you done to advance science lately?

For any aviation or car nut, the late 1940′s through to the late 1960′s are the heyday of mechanical development. Cars and planes were getting faster, more reliable, and more refined at a blistering pace. But these new developments brought new problems. As is typically the case, the mechanical engineering of faster vehicles massively out paced the development of safety measures meant to address the new dangers brought about when something went wrong.

After WWII the flying branches of the military got together to investigate the number of deaths they were seeing in non-combat aircraft accidents. While the flying service knew that the problem was related to sudden deceleration—it’s not the fall, it’s the sudden stop at the end—they didn’t really have a handle on what was a lethal g-load. They decided to study the problem and enlisted the help of Dr. John Stapp. Dr. Stapp volunteered to lead a group of human subjects in a series of rapid deceleration experiments.

Dr. Stapp and his team would strap themselves onto rocket sleds which rode on a special railbed built by Northrop Aircraft. They would then be shot down the track and decelerated rapidly by either massive mechanical brakes, or pits filled with water. The impacts were recorded on high speed cameras, and their injuries would be logged.

On December 10, 1954 Dr. Stapp was strapped into the Sonic Wind I test sled. For several minutes he sat, atop a sled which mounted nine rocket bottles, each capable of producing 5000 pounds of thrust. Two minutes before ignition two technicians left his side and ran for the safety bunker a few hundred yards away. Stapp had been injured in previous tests; hematomas, broken bones, sand imbedded into his skin. He knew that this test was probably going to hurt. For two agonizing minutes sat there, staring down the track, waiting.

When the countdown reached zero, the nine rocket bottles ignited and Sonic Wind I hurtled down the track. Col. Joe Kittinger, flying a chase plane along the track at 350 miles per, recalls, “he went by me like I was standing still.” Sonic Wind I topped out at 632 miles per hour before hitting the water brake. Stapp’s body was subjected to 46.2 Gs. The stop was so sudden the capilaries in Stapp’s eyes burst, and he was temporarily blinded (his vision would return the next day). He’d broken both of his wrists, several ribs, in addition to the retinal hemorrhages. Stapp was helped to a gurney and taken to the base hospital where he recovered.

Dr. Stapp’s findings not only shattered previously held misconceptions about how many G’s the human body could endure, but also exposed flaws in pilot and passenger restraint. Additionally, with the data collected engineers could develop reasonably realistic crash test dummies, preventing the need for anyone to ever have to endure this sort of testing again. Stapps’ results were also shared with the automobile industry and used to pass the laws making seat belt’s mandatory in all passenger cars. His shoulder restraint system is still used tin every car on the road today.

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Shrimp inspires lightweight body armor

490514284 9f170164e8 z 450x300 Shrimp inspires lightweight body armor

This shrimp is probably getting shot right now and doesn’t even realize it. (img by dave~)

@TG Daily:

Engineers are turning to a tiny crustacean for inspiration in creating military body armor and vehicle and aircraft frames.

They’re aiming to incorporate the unique structure of the club-like arm of the mantis shrimp, or stomatopod – a four-inch long crustacean found in tropical waters.

Its arm accelerates underwater faster than a 22-caliber bullet, and repeated blows can destroy mollusk shells and crab exoskeletons – both studied for decades for their impact-resistant qualities. In other words, it’s tough. (more…)

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Stunting for the sane

6287771281 de3624c065 450x299 Stunting for the sane

This girl ponders the start of her all-pigeon diet. (img by Beth Jusino)

When we think of stunts, we think of stuff like this:

It’s fun to watch, but most of us will never do anything like it. But there are other kinds of stunts. A.J. Jacobs pulls what book critics call “literary stunts”. In a literary stunt, the author does something weird, like living according to every single law in the Bible (including stoning adulterers), then writes about the experience.

Jacobs defends and explains literary stunting in Wired:

A successful stunt requires a writer who is passionate and open to change. In fact, change is crucial, almost mandatory—without it you won’t have much of a story. Luckily, if you take your stunt seriously you can’t help but change. When I was obeying the Bible, I came to realize how behavior shapes our thoughts: I forced myself to utter compassionate sentences, as the Bible instructed, and eventually I started to feel more compassion.

In fact, I think everyone—even those without book contracts—should do stunts. You don’t need to grow a beard and wear a linen robe, as I did. Try small experiments. Sample a new toothpaste every week. Swear off gossip for a day. Get your news from the opposition channel, be it Fox News or MSNBC. You’ll carve new neural pathways in your brain, which is always healthy.

I want to push things further. You don’t have to write to pull a stunt. Just pick a thing and a timeframe and do it. Blog optional. (more…)

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Best Made Brass Capsule

Brass Match Safe 450x450 Best Made Brass Capsule

Does not include matches. (img by Best Made)

Fitted with an ingenious self-tensioning lanyard, and no-fuss press fit stopper, our brass capsule is larger than most match safes, and infinitely more versatile. We boast to have the ultimate—water tight and indestructible—place to keep small valuables safe. And with a solid liquid-dampened, jewel bearing compass set into the stopper your headings will also be kept from harm’s way.

A wise man once told me that you should always camp with smokers, because you’ll always have a way to start a fire. But so long as you keep one of these match safes around, you won’t have to worry about packing smokers every time you leave the house. Really streamlines the EDC. Also you don’t have to have to use this for matches, it’s not like there are Brass Capsule rules.

Anyway, check out Best Made’s Brass Capsule, ($32).

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