Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Excellent Speed Reading App

Amongst the many things necessary for a successful hunt is detailed background information. Unfortunately the taxonomical notes, regional analysis, individual histories, techniques, research notes, etc. can be quite extensive and force a hunter to dedicate hours to reading documents that may or may not be useful.

Unfortunately a lack of information will more often than not prove more fatal than not. Not properly reading a document linking the weather conditions with a Snow Maiden's hunting habits may result in a cooling body where once a warm blooded hunter rested.

Yet the very quantity of information can often overwhelm DPRCD field operatives, especially the young and impatient.

That's where an app such as Spreeder comes in. To see the benefits first hand copy the rest of this article below this paragraph, go to the spreeder link and paste it into the text box. Then click the spreed button. For the best use go to settings and adjust it to the fastest you feel comfortable with. (This author feels comfortable all the way up to 600 words per minute, after that point I begin missing words, I have been playing around with the app for about a week now.) You can also adjust the chunk size (How much is displayed on the screen at one time.)

One of the largest impediments to reading is the micro movements of the eyes themselves. While you have read this word and are ready for the next one the eye will jump around the paragraph moving backwards and forwards every now and them. This is known in academia as "regression"; a person won't notice these jumps and the brain will appear to continue reading normally. However while you might be ready for the next paragraph your eyes have jumped backwards and gone back over the sentence you just read, even worse sometimes it will jump back two or three lines and reread them.

One of the techniques that speed readers use is to take the finger and move it along and under the words as you read them. This helpful pointer focuses the eyes on only the word being read rather than what is coming before or after. Using this a person can increase the number of words per minute as it prevents regression.

Now the normal range for college-level educated readers is between 200 to 400 words per minute. Using speed reading techniques it was found that a person can improve their performance to 600 words per minute. The only issue is the faster a person reads the less comprehension is found. Anything above 700 words is considered skimming as you begin skipping over words and sentences to get the gist but not the information.

Certain speed readers claim to be able to achieve over 1,000 words per minute, but the studies show that this causes a loss of comprehension.

There are two settings which I find help. To speed up the process you can go to advanced settings and have it get rid of filler words such as "the, an, a, etc". I have yet to lose comprehension from the loss of these words and depending on what you are reading it can cut a significant number of words out of the sentence. If you were reading normally in paragraph form these lost words would be glaring omissions, but speed reading your brain will either automatically add them or adjust without them.

The second setting that I take advantage of is the pausing after sentences, the extra moment of pause that it gives to the punctuations allows for better comprehension.

If you have a digital reading list this program definitely helps you get through it. An important note however. You will not be achieving the much talked about 1,000 words per minute due to an important distinction. Those people who claim to be doing over 1,000 words per minute are not reading, they are skimming. Instead of reading all the words they will take just enough to get the general gist of a paragraph or page and move on. The studies done into this generally show that once you go above the hundreds to thousands comprehension drops off quickly.

A good example of this would be the following paragraph.
"We went out hunting werewolves in the Rhine forest today October 15th, 2012. The pack which we had been hunting for the last five days continued to elude us. They had attacked a small child in berlin the month before and we were going to ensure that they would not have another chance. On the fourth day of the hunt we picked up the trail of a different pack and stalked them to their lair. We eliminated them without incident and headed home successful."

While speed reading you were able to get the important details from this story. The 10,000 words per minute skimmers however would pick up that the team were hunting werewolves and that they were successful. They would not be able to recall details such as when, where, why. Most importantly they would miss that the operatives eliminated a different pack than the one they were hunting.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Taxonomy: Sphinx

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Paradoxa
Order: Mutanid
Family: Chimidae
Genus: Sphinx
Sphinxes are creatures that exist in the old world, while the majority of Sphinxes are found around the Mediterranean from Greece to Egypt, there are species of this chimera found all around the world.
The sphinx belongs in the family Chimidae due to the seeming mixture of different creatures. Including but not limited to Human, lion, and eagle.

The key feature of this genus is the human like heads that they possess and their intelligence. Historical records back up modern accounts of the high intellectual capacity of these creatures. It has even been theorized that the only thing that prevented Sphinx from becoming the dominant creature on this planet was the mixture of their solitary natures and their lack of opposable digits.
A Sphinx depicted in Fernand Khnopff's The caress
In the most general terms the sphinx appears as a large lion (or other leonine) with the head or face of a human. Some have wings and are capable of gliding and limited aerial ability.
The Statue of the Great Sphinx in Giza is probably one of the most famous representations of the Androsphinx known.
While commonly used as a catchall the name Sphinx actually refers to the females of this genus. The title for males is Androsphinx. Editor’s Note: An Androsphinx will consider it the height of rudeness to refer to them in the feminine and will often warn those they engage in discourse. If their advice is ignored the Androsphinx will often eat the offender as a second warning.
The true origins of this genus are lost to history, what archaeological evidence is available, points to this creature developing south of the Fertile Crescent alongside humanity. DNA sequencing has revealed that the closest genetic relative seems to be the Ethiopian Lions. Unfortunately due to the tenuous relationship between human and Sphinx the majority of Sphinx residing in Ethiopia are hard to meet and very aggressive. Inquiries into their past has been met with riddles, aggression, or a refusal to answer.
The greatest concentration of sphinxes reside around the Aegean Sea in modern day Turkey and Greece. While there are several species of Sphinx in this area the most common by far is the Sphinx Ainigman or Riddle Sphinx. The most popularly known story of this species comes from its love of riddles as one particular creature haunted the outskirts of Thebes challenging prey to a riddle. While this species actually originated from modern day Ethiopia they found the climate of Greece much more pleasing and the majority of this species can be found there to this day.
The second widest spread species of Sphinx is the Sphinx Aves or flying Sphinx. This species is made up of those sphinxes with the capacity for limited flight. They are generally characterized by their large eagle like wings.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Legality of Hunters: Equipment Laws

A wide variety of equipment is also available and can be used during operations. Ranging from portable electronics to armor there are limitless possibilities to be added to one’s kit. A hunter might decide to make use of something such as a thermal sensor to detect exceptionally warm or cold blooded creatures, many wear bullet proof or stab proof vests to protect themselves from attack, and most teams will make use of cell phones and/or radio to communicate.

Holy Ammunition is creating a database for those who work to protect humanity from monsters independently and may not have access to the same depths of information as those with more resources at their disposal.

In this regards HA divides areas up by Category with 0 being the least restrictive and 5 being the most restrictive.

Equipment law will be listed slightly differently than other laws. Herein unless listed as more restricted all classes of equipment shall have be set as Category 1 by standard.

Category 0:

In these areas there are no limitations on that equipment type. Anyone can own and use it.

An example of this would be handheld radios in the United Kingdom. There is a small limitation when it comes to larger sets and certain rules associated with emergency channels, but they are so inconsequential as not to count.

Category 1:

There are very few rules in these areas. The majority of people can own and use these with few requirements.

Cell phones within Australia would qualify. They are easily available for purchase however you have to give proof of identity documents and have a credit history to be able to acquire even a pay as you go phone.

Category 2:

Equipment falling within this category can mean that either a law prevents certain people from owning an item or there are licensing requirements to their use.

Body Armor within the United States would qualify as Category 2 equipment. While a normal person can own and even wear Body Armor those, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony from wearing Bullet Proof Vests.

Category 3:

Items within category 3 are licensed or restricted from the general population or have use restrictions in place.

Within Canada, low powered radio equipment such as walkie-talkies and baby monitors are considered Category 1 items, however medium to high powered radio equipment such as long range and Ham radios are licensed and require permits to operate and only within certain ranges.

Category 4:

Category 4 equipment is generally reserved only for those who go through special licensing and equipment certification or has strenuous use restrictions placed upon it.

In Poland it is legal to own a Mobile Phone Jammer; however the use of it in public with special licensing and permission is illegal.

Category 5:

The highest category, this equipment is illegal to own and use. These items are generally reserved for the government only. Operatives are encouraged to use great discretion and forbearance before using any Category 5 equipment and even then only if absolutely necessary.

Wiretapping equipment in most countries is considered Category 5 equipment. Most governments reserve the right to spy on their and others citizens and take great umbrage at anyone else treading on their territory.

It is important to pay attention to the law when tracking your prey from one country to another. This is very true within the European Union which has very close borders and a hunter may have to cross through several countries while in pursuit. Night Vision devices, while considered a Category 1 device in many countries, within certain European Union countries, are a category 4 item. In Germany they are classified as a Category 5 item if they are attached to a firearm, but a Category 2 item if not.

In this way both what the item is and how it is used play a factor. Bullet Proof vests are legal to own in Australia which would nominally make them a Category 1 Item, however if you wear it and do not have a need and agreement from the police it is illegal, pushing the item up to a Category E charge, the same as having an illegal concealed weapon. This makes Bullet Proof Vests in Australia a Category 4 item.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Silver Ammunition Hardness

A very common trope in movies about werewolves and vampires is for an individual to grab a handy piece of jewelry or silverware and melt it down into a bullet mold. They then load the bullet and defeat the rampaging beast which is terrorizing them and their community. While this makes for an amusing piece of McGyvering it leads to the spreading of misinformation that may cost an individual their life in the real world.

The hardness of a regular bullet has a large range which helps determine its performance. When the pressure wave of the expanding gas hits the bullet it will obdurate, the official name for its expansion into the rifling grooves. If the bullet is too soft it will allow some of the gas to escape past it, reducing the energy imparted to the bullet. If the bullet is too hard it will fail to engage the rifling properly, this will also cause the gas to escape.

As the heated gas rushes past the bullet part of it will melt. The melted lead will be left on the barrel and lead to inaccuracy and partial blockage of future rounds. This is known as leading and is very detrimental to the weapon’s performance.

Pure lead has a hardness of 5 BHN (Brinell Hardness Numbers), original smoothbore and muzzle loading rifles were made with rounds anywhere from 5 to 10 BHN, handgun rounds may be anywhere from 10 to 18 BHN range, rifle rounds made from Linotype will generally be about 22 BHN. The hardest round used in rifles is 30 BHN.

There are two methods that may be used to determine the hardness needed for any bullet. They correlate to pressure and speed.

The ideal hardness for a round based off the pressure in pounds per square inch is:

While the maximum hardness a bullet should ever have for that pressure is determined as:
Max BHN=Pressure/1,422
This can be seen as the do not exceed number, it is the highest BHN a bullet can have and still properly obdurate.

The .45 ACP is rated to 21,000 PSI.
This means that the ideal BHN for the .45 ACP round is 11 while the do not exceed number is 15.
The 9mm parabellum has a max pressure of 37,500 psi this gives it a much wider BHN rating of 19.5-26 BHN

The Velocity rule is even simpler.
800-1000 fps 10-12 BHN
1000-1400 fps 12-16 BHN
1400-1700 fps 14-20 BHN
>1700 fps 20-30BHN

Using this chart a .45ACP will fall into the range of 850-1,250 fps based on the bullet weight (hollow point vs ball) and powder charge. Using this as reference this gives the BHN range of the .45ACP to be between ~10.5-14.5 BHN. This closely correlates to the Pressure rule and allows the loader to base the hardness off of the speed of the round for greatest effect.

The 9mm parabellum’s velocity falls into the range of 1,000-1,450 fps giving it a range of 12-16 BHN. This is obviously a much lower number than the pressure rating, but it is also the more accurate one and the range that a ammunition smith would ideally use.

If there is a disagreement between the pressure and fps chart the fps chart should take priority as it will be the more conservative estimate.
These numbers bring the issue with silver bullets to light. Silver is considerably harder than lead. Elemental Silver has a hardness of 24.5 BHN as opposed to lead’s 5 BHN. This makes it an option for most rifles and some handguns. Through the process of annealing the silver can be reduced to as low as 20.5 BHN. Unfortunately for the average movie hero/heroin, Elemental silver is too soft for the majority of uses such as eating utensils and jewelry. As a result other elements are added in to increase the hardness. Sterling silver can end up with hardness anywhere between 100 and 185 BHN. This means the minimum pressure that would be needed to force the bullet to obdurate can be anywhere between 142,200 to 263,070 psi. Even the highest rated +P rounds will only achieve 50-65,000 psi. This means that the absolute highest BHN a bullet can achieve and still obdurate is 45 BHN.

As a result any attempt to shoot a bullet such as this would result in the bullet either jamming in the gun or exiting with very little velocity. (Editor’s Note: In actuality the bullet will most likely hurtle out of the gun without any rifling benefit as silver has a much higher thermal expansion than lead so if you put a silver bullet into a normal bullet mold the bullet will be drastically undersized.)

For this purpose all bullets produced by HA use pure silver shot in anything but custom requested rounds (HA will produce up to 30BHN rounds by mixing precious copper with the holy silver).

Monday, February 3, 2014

Legality of Hunters: Weapons Laws

One joy that most hunters share is their love of their equipment, specifically their weapons. Each and every hunter has a preferred weapon or weapons that they use to vanquish the creatures which prey upon mankind. Some such as the Vampire hunters will stick with a small proven array of tools whereas the rapid response teams that the DPRCD, Department of Paranormal Research, Containment, and Destruction employs are trained in a wide variety of weapons; including standard weapons such as Shotguns and rifles, to the arcane fire casters, and other stranger weapons such as super soakers filled with Holy Acid (Editor’s Note: Works like holy water but on a wider variety of creatures).

Yet many areas do not differentiate between those hunters who protect humanity and the average citizen. For this reason it is important to pay attention to the limitations an area may impose upon weaponry and equipment. Holy Ammunition has created a 5 category system to define the laws of a location in regards to what weapons a hunter can carry.

Category 0:
A Category 0 area has no limitations to what can be used and carried. All manner of devices and weapons are allowed within the area, be it a pocket knife or a rocket propelled grenade.

As one can imagine these areas do not exist in the majority of the planet. There are only two places in the world that contain Category 0 areas, Africa and parts of South America. Somalia would count as a Category 0 area, despite having gun laws the enforcement is so minimal as to be non-existent.

Category 1:
Category 1 areas have few limitations on ownership however they do have some. In general weapons such as Rocket Propelled Grenades and other heavy ordnance are either banned, heavily restricted, or limited to authorized organizations only. Like Category 0 this designation is rarely used outside of South America and Africa, although some parts of Asia.

Category 2:
Category 2 cities, counties, states, and countries have further limitations on weapon ownership. In these places the purchase of automatic weapons is restricted or banned. Explosives are generally also banned or with extremely heavy restrictions as well. Regular firearms and weapons are either not regulated or have very limited regulations.

South Africa would qualify as a Category 2 location. While it has extensive firearms regulation these are able to be navigated with a modicum of effort allowing the ownership of just about any weapon.

Category 3:
Category 3 places further limitations on the ownership of firearms. It restricts them from many members of the public based on conditions or locations. High explosives and Automatic weapons are both illegal or require extensive contacts or work to acquire.

The United States is a Category 3 Country. While the federal laws qualify the country as a Category 2, once the state and local regulations are factored in it places the country at a solid Cat 3.

Category 4:
Category 4 regions have bans on most firearms. Ownership is generally limited to police and a privileged few.

North Korea would qualify as a Category 4 country as only the military or political elite are allowed to own weapons.

Category 5:
Category 5 sectors have the most restrictive personal weapon ownership of any areas. In these locations even basic personal defense tools such as knives are banned.

The United Kingdom is a Category 5 which functions closer to a Category 4. You have to show ID to purchase steak knives and the carrying of any type of weapon is banned. However due to the fact that their laws are impossible to enforce and the availability of these weapons it is functionally a Category 5.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Chinese New Year

Long ago in China there was a sea dwelling monster called the Nian. During the year it would slumber beneath the waves.

On the 1st day of the New Year however it would rise from the waves and descend on villages eating livestock and even people.

Now the tales differ depending on location, as with most things that are lost in the mists of antiquity. Our scholars researching the event have found that each is true in its own way and that the tales result from the distance and insularity of the villages. This great creature would terrorize a village until they finally drove it away before moving on to another area, often hundreds of miles away.

A very common legend is for the villagers to figure out a technique for driving it away. Sometimes it is a single young girl, other times it is the entire village coming together. One of the most famous tales involves a traveling old man or monk who comes to the village and drives the creature away.

In some of the tales that monk is none other than the monk Hongjun Laozu. In yet more the person is shrouded in mystery however he leaves the tools needed by the people to drive the Nian back.

The methods used to drive it away however all confirm each other as reasonable methods:

The Colour Red: When Hongjun Laozu tricks the Nian into clearing the surrounding country of poisonous snakes and dangerous creatures it is all part of a cunning ruse to show off his underwear. Upon stripping out of his “bad tasting” clothes Laozu is wearing red undergarments. A colour the Nian fears and will flee from.

Editor’s Note: A good way to surprise the Nian is to wait for it to be eating a colleague or other victim. Given the colour of the majority of what is in our body the Nian can only consume its prey with eyes tightly shut. Before planning this method it should be noticed that if the Nian eats the bait whole this technique can backfire.

Bright Flashes: The bright flash of fireworks exploding also causes fear in the Nian, it will flee the sight exploding gunpowder.

Loud Noises: The loud noise generated by gunpowder and fire crackers is more than the sensitive hearing of the Nian can take and it will flee.

Editor’s Note: Such unusual weaknesses can be a boon and hindrance to hunters. If one is merely seeking to drive the beasts away then this presents no difficulty. However if attempting to capture one then only the most primitive weapons and technology can be employed in hunting it. Despite the DPRCD’s Yearly hunt for the beast it has never been captured since the ancient monk’s time.

It has been theorized that the Nian will never return to a village from which it has been successfully driven away. This has been shown to be technically true; however villages visited by the Nian generally continue the fireworks, red paper, and firecrackers each year. While this works as a preventative measure it does make researchers wonder on the accuracy of the claim. Efforts to get villages to cease their celebrations as a test group have been met with a mix of staunch refusal.

In this way not only is the Chinese New Year celebrated in a bright and colourful manner, but it also keeps people safe.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Prepare for the Worst

As long as there has been the darkness, brave men and women have stood against its depredations. Sometimes they wane as what lurks behind the veil consumes them in place of the innocents they protect. Other times the forces of light wax and push back the darkness to wait in only the deepest shadows. The life of a hunter is a harsh one and many are slain for a myriad of reasons.

However it is the life of those they protect which truly matters. Each and every human life is special and the last thing anyone wants is to see them snuffed out. For this reason the ability of an individual to protect themselves is of paramount importance.

When a hunter is minutes away seconds can matter. In this regards the best thing a person can do is be ready to survive and protect them self in any situation. For this reason this will be the first post in a series on personal survival and proper preparation.

Minimum needed for survival

This is a rather simple issue that goes in the rule of threes. This is the longest average a person can go without something important. Some people can survive for longer times and some for shorter, but the Rule of 3 for survival is a good starting point for an average person.

A person can survive and function:
3 Minutes without breathing
30 minutes in freezing water without protection
3 Hours without shelter
3 Days without water
3 Weeks without food

It is important to note that in each of these cases we mean survive and function relatively normally. This means the ability to move around and perform general tasks as normal.

Similarly those who are in warm or tropical water have survived much longer than 3 hours. However water any colder than ~20°C (~65°F) will result in a survival time that can be measured in hours. Water temperature less than 25°C (~78°F) will eventually prove fatal from hypothermia in no more than 3 days.

For air temperature it depends greatly on the person, what they are wearing, and their body type. However for freezing weather a person can expect to survive a very short time as their external heat is leeched away from them.

There are plenty of cases of individuals surviving for more than 3 days or 3 weeks without water or food. However in each of these cases the person had to reduce their activity level greatly. There are cases of individuals surviving 5 or more weeks without food, but they were generally stranded and remained in a location not moving or expending any extra calories.

In each of these cases this is a single unprepared person. Every step you take can extend your survival time. With the right equipment you can survive hours underwater and for as long as is needed in other situations.

Over the coming posts we will present survival and prepping techniques to increase the odds of a human surviving under any circumstances.