sig p210 trigger function

The SIG S.P.47/8 was developed to compete for succession of Georg Luger’s Parabellum pistol that had been adopted by the Swiss Army in 1900 as the first automatic pistol to be issued in military service. Although the Luger has been simplified, and arguably perfected in its 1929 embodiment by the Waffenfabrik Bern (W+F), it was deemed too expensive for continued production. Its successor was to cut down on the costs while maintaining its stellar accuracy. The legacy of the Luger is clearly seen in one of the modifications of the Charles Petter design that SIG licensed for that purpose in 1937. While Petter’s Modèle 1935A pistol imitated the M1911 in its slide rails riding on tracks in the frame, SIG replicated the Parabellum arrangement that made the upper assembly reciprocate inside the frame tracks. Sig also designed a two-stage trigger that imitated the trigger pull of the Luger, while decreasing its trigger weight, as witness the following test results.
    On the Lyman electronic trigger gauge, the trigger of a heavy frame SIG P210-6, serial number P79608, yields a weight of 1.2kg, averaged over 10 pulls. Its immediate heavy frame successor, P79609, fitted with a National Match hammer, releases the sear at an average of 1.23kg. Likewise the heavy frame P210-6, serial number P79103 in 7.65 Para, at 1.24kg. That’s about as good as you can get in a tuned service grade self-loading pistol, and much lighter than Swiss pistol target shooting competitions allow, by requiring a trigger weight above 1500 grams. More typical are the measurements of the heavy frame SIG P210-6, serial number P79136, which yields a weight of 1.82kg, averaged over 10 pulls, the Borchardt C93, serial number 1774, releasing the striker at 2.59kg, and the Krieghoff P08, serial number 3249, weighing in at a hefty 3.48kg.
    More Swiss service pistol trigger pull weight measurements follow:

  • P06/1929 SN 71644: 3.80kg;
  • P06/1929 SN 77493: 2.57kg;
  • P06/1929 National Match SN 59951: 2.64kg;
  • P06/1929 National Match SN 65721: 2.15kg;
  • P210-6 SN P86618: 1.78kg;
  • P210-2 SN P79980: 1.67kg;
  • P210-1 SN P77209: 1.94kg;
  • P210-2 SN P74064: 1.86kg;
  • P49 SN A204931: 2.88kg;
  • P49 SN A156213: 2.90kg;
  • P49 SN A107159: 2.75kg;
  • P49 SN A105553: 2.56kg.

All are two stage, with a very crisp stage transition (Druckpunkt). It is obvious which pistols have been resprung. As witness P06/1929 National Match SN 59951 and 65721, W+F was either unwilling or unable to equal, let alone best the measurements of a factory tuned P210, in preparing for the 1949 ISSF competition in Buenos Aires.
    The double pull lever is the part responsible for regulating the transition between the two stages of the trigger pull of the P210. After the trigger, part #28, takes up the slack to engage the sear, part #23, by way of the trigger rod, part #26, the first stage of the trigger pull is determined mainly by the weight of the trigger spring, part #31, with additional resistance provided by the sear spring, part #24. As the sear rotates around its pin, part #22, it brings all the way back the hammer, part #14, and contacts the double pull lever, part #21. At that point, the double pull lever connects the sear with the mainspring, part #20, providing considerable additional resistance in the second and final stage of the trigger pull, just before the release of the hammer by the sear.

    Double pull lever adjustment method
click on the picture for higher resolution

    The double pull lever is individually hand-fitted to the sear and the hammer to regulate the pressure point (Druckpunkt) of the two-stage trigger pull system. If the pressure point is too soft, i.e. if the second stage of the trigger pull has to be strengthened, the top surfaces of two support arms furthest away from the pivot pin of the double pull lever, part #22, must be evenly worked down with an oilstone at the point of their contact with the hammer action housing, part #13. This operation brings the body of the double pull lever closer to the sear. In performing this operation, both sides of the double pull lever must remain perfectly square at the points of their contact with the hammer action housing. The hammer action housing itself should not be modified. If the pressure point is too hard, i.e. if the second stage of the trigger pull has to be weakened, the two projections in the middle of the double pull lever located on either side of the stirrup, part #16, must be evenly worked down with an oilstone at the point of their engagement by the sear, part #23, in the course of the trigger pull. This operation postpones the engagement of the double pull lever by the sear. In performing this operation, both projections on the double pull lever must remain perfectly square at the points of their contact with the sear. The sear itself should not be modified. Never attempt any modification of these parts, unless you are certain of your gunsmithing competence.
    In late production, forged and deep hardened milspec sears and double pull levers were gradually replaced by metal injection molded (MIM) parts of slightly modified profiles. This image is taken from Armbruster, p. 193:

    Double pull levers used during the SIG P210 production runs. Nos. 1-4 are milled and hardened. From No. 2 the area between the anterior and posterior pressure ridges was reinforced by adding material. No. 5 is the latest version, produced by metal injection molding.
click on the picture for higher resolution

As with all MIM components, these parts are superficially case hardened. They are therefore unsuitable for hand fitting that is liable to cut through the hardening and expose soft core metal in the working surfaces.

manurhin mr73


Writing a year after the end of WWI, prewar Olympic gold and silver pistol shooting medalist Walter Winans began Chapter I of his treatise The Modern Pistol and How to Shoot It with a bold pronouncement: “There is now no use learning revolver shooting. That form of pistol is obsolete except in the few instances where it survives for target shooting, or is carried for defense; just as flintlock muskets even now survive in out-of-the-way parts of the world. If a man tries to defend himself with a revolver against another armed with the automatic pistol he is at a great disadvantage. […] The automatic is more accurate than a revolver [and has] a much longer range than the revolver.” This article is concerned with technical features of the most conspicuous exception to Winans’ pronouncement, the Manurhin MR73, the last revolver developed and fielded forty years ago as an offensive sidearm, a capacity in which it continues to excel to this very day.
    But first, a few words about its precursors. Continue reading manurhin mr73

michael crichton: why speculate?

July 2005 № 332

A talk by Michael Crichton

There are two times in a man’s life when he should not speculate: when he can’t afford it and when he can.
—Mark Twain

My topic for today is the prevalence of speculation in media. What does it mean? Why has it become so ubiquitous? Should we do something about it? If so, what? And why? Should we care at all? Isn’t speculation valuable? Isn’t it natural? And so on.

I will join this speculative trend and speculate about why there is so much speculation. In keeping with the trend, I will try to express my views without any factual support, simply providing you with a series of bald assertions.

This is not my natural style, and it’s going to be a challenge for me, but I will do my best. Some of you may see that I have written out my talk, which is already a contradiction of principle. To keep within the spirit of our time, it should really be off the top of my head.

Before we begin, I’d like to clarify a definition. By the media I mean movies, television, Internet, books, newspapers and magazines. Again, in keeping with the general trend of speculation, let’s not make too many fine distinctions.

First we might begin by asking, to what degree has the media turned to pure speculation? Someone could do a study of this and present facts, but nobody has. I certainly won’t. There’s no reason to bother. The requirement that you demonstrate a factual basis for your claim vanished long ago. It went out with the universal praise for Susan Faludi’s book Backlash, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction in 1991, and which presented hundreds of pages of quasi-statistical assertions based on a premise that was never demonstrated and that was almost certainly false.

But that’s old news. I merely refer to it now to set standards.

Today, of course everybody knows that “Hardball,” “Rivera Live” and similar shows are nothing but a steady stream of guesses about the future. The Sunday morning talk shows are pure speculation. They have to be. Everybody knows there’s no news on Sunday.

But television is entertainment. Let’s look at the so-called serious media. For example, here is The New York Times for March 6, the day Dick Farson told me I was giving this talk. The column one story for that day concerns Bush’s tariffs on imported steel. Now we read: Mr. Bush’s action “is likely to send the price of steel up sharply, perhaps as much as ten percent…” American consumers “will ultimately bear” higher prices. America’s allies “would almost certainly challenge” the decision. Their legal case “could take years to litigate in Geneva, is likely to hinge” on thus and such.

Also note the vague and hidden speculation. The Allies’ challenge would be “setting the stage for a major trade fight with many of the same countries Mr. Bush is trying to hold together in the fractious coalition against terrorism.” In other words, the story speculates that tariffs may rebound against the fight against terrorism.

By now, under the Faludi Standard I have firmly established that media are hopelessly riddled with speculation, and we can go on to consider its ramifications.

You may read this tariff story and think, what’s the big deal? The story’s not bad. Isn’t it reasonable to talk about effects of current events in this way? I answer, absolutely not. Such speculation is a complete waste of time. It’s useless. It’s bullshit on the front page of the Times.

The reason why it is useless, of course, is that nobody knows what the future holds.

Do we all agree that nobody knows what the future holds? Or do I have to prove it to you? I ask this because there are some well-studied media effects which suggest that simply appearing in media provides credibility. There was a well-known series of excellent studies by Stanford researchers that have shown, for example, that children take media literally. If you show them a bag of popcorn on a television set and ask them what will happen if you turn the TV upside down, the children say the popcorn will fall out of the bag. This result would be amusing if it were confined to children. But the studies show that no one is exempt. All human beings are subject to this media effect, including those of us who think we are self-aware and hip and knowledgeable.

Media carries with it a credibility that is totally undeserved. You have all experienced this, in what I call the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. (I refer to it by this name because I once discussed it with Murray Gell-Mann, and by dropping a famous name I imply greater importance to myself, and to the effect, than it would otherwise have.)

Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

That is the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. I’d point out it does not operate in other arenas of life. In ordinary life, if somebody consistently exaggerates or lies to you, you soon discount everything they say. In court, there is the legal doctrine of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, which means untruthful in one part, untruthful in all. But when it comes to the media, we believe against evidence that it is probably worth our time to read other parts of the paper. When, in fact, it almost certainly isn’t. The only possible explanation for our behavior is amnesia.

So one problem with speculation is that it piggybacks on the Gell-Mann effect of unwarranted credibility, making the speculation look more useful than it is.

Another issue concerns the sheer volume of speculation. Sheer volume comes to imply a value which is specious. I call this the There-Must-Be-A-Pony effect, from the old joke in which a kid comes down Christmas morning, finds the room filled with horseshit, and claps his hands with delight. His astonished parents ask: why are you so happy? He says, with this much horseshit, there must be a pony.

Because we are confronted by speculation at every turn, in print, on video, on the net, in conversation, we may eventually conclude that it must have value. But it doesn’t. Because no matter how many people are speculating, no matter how familiar their faces, how good their makeup and how well they are lit, no matter how many weeks they appear before us in person or in columns, it remains true that none of them knows what the future holds.

Some people secretly believe that the future can be known. They imagine two groups of people that can know the future, and therefore should be listened to. The first is pundits. Since they expound on the future all the time, they must know what they are talking about. Do they? “Brill’s Content” used to track the pundit’s guesses, and while one or another had an occasional winning streak, over the long haul they did no better than chance. This is what you would expect. Because nobody knows the future.

I want to mention in passing that punditry has undergone a subtle change over the years. In the old days, commentators such as Eric Sevareid spent most of their time putting events in a context, giving a point of view about what had already happened. Telling what they thought was important or irrelevant in the events that had already taken place. This is of course a legitimate function of expertise in every area of human knowledge.

But over the years the punditic thrust has shifted away from discussing what has happened, to discussing what may happen. And here the pundits have no benefit of expertise at all. Worse, they may, like the Sunday politicians, attempt to advance one or another agenda by predicting its imminent arrival or demise. This is politicking, not predicting.

The second group that some people imagine may know the future are specialists of various kinds. They don’t, either. As a limiting case, I remind you there is a new kind of specialist occupation—I refuse to call it a discipline, or a field of study—called futurism. The notion here is that there is a way to study trends and know what the future holds. That would indeed be valuable, if it were possible. But it isn’t possible. Futurists don’t know any more about the future than you or I. Read their magazines from a couple of years ago and you’ll see an endless parade of error.

Expertise is no shield against failure to see ahead. That’s why it was Thomas Watson, head of IBM, who predicted the world only needed 4 or 5 computers. That is about as wrong a prediction as it is possible to make, by a man who had every reason to be informed about what he was talking about. Not only did he fail to anticipate a trend, or a technology, he failed to understand the myriad uses to which a general purpose machine might be put. Similarly, Paul Erlich, a brilliant academic who has devoted his entire life to ecological issues, has been wrong in nearly all his major predictions.

He was wrong about diminishing resources, he was wrong about the population explosion, and he was wrong that we would lose 50% of all species by the year 2000. He devoted his life to intensely felt issues, yet he has been spectacularly wrong.

All right, you may say, you’ll accept that the future can’t be known, in the way I am talking. But what about more immediate matters, such as the effects of pending legislation? Surely it is important to talk about what will happen if certain legislation passes. Well, no, it isn’t. Nobody knows what is going to happen when the legislation passes. I give you two examples, one from the left and one from the right.

The first is the Clinton welfare reform, harshly criticized by his own left wing for caving in to the Republican agenda. The left’s predictions were for vast human suffering, shivering cold, child abuse, terrible outcomes. What happened? None of these things. Child abuse declined. In fact, as government reforms go, its been a success; but Mother Jones still predicts dire effects just ahead.

This failure to predict the effects of a program was mirrored by the hysterical cries from the Republican right over raising the minimum wage. Chaos and dark days would surely follow as businesses closed their doors and the country was plunged into needless recession. But what was the actual effect? Basically, nothing. Who discusses it now? Nobody. What will happen if there is an attempt to raise the minimum wage again? The same dire predictions all over again. Have we learned anything? No.

But my point is, for pending legislation as with everything else, nobody knows the future.

The same thing is true concerning the effect of elections and appointments. What will be the effect of electing a certain president, or a supreme court justice? Nobody knows. Some of you are old enough to remember Art Buchwald’s famous column from the days of the Johnson Administration. Buchwald wrote a “Thank God we don’t have Barry Goldwater” essay, recalling how everyone feared Goldwater would get us into a major war. So we elected Johnson, who promptly committed 200,000 troops to Vietnam. That’s what happens when you choose the dove-ish candidate. You get a war. Or, you elect the intellectually brilliant Jimmy Carter, and watch as he ends up personally deciding who gets to use the White House tennis courts. Or you elect Richard Nixon because he can pull the plug on Vietnam, and he continues to fight for years. And then opens China.

Similarly, the history of the Supreme Court appointments is a litany of error in predicting how justices will vote once on the court. They don’t all surprise us, but a lot of them do.

So, in terms of imminent events, can we predict anything at all? No. You need only look at what was said days before the Berlin Wall came down, to see nobody can predict even a few hours ahead. People said all sorts of silly things about the Communist empire just hours before its collapse. I can’t quote them, because that would mean I had looked them up and had facts at hand, and I have promised you not to do that. But take my word for it, you can find silly statements 24 hours in advance.


Now, this is not new information. It was Mark Twain who said, “I’ve seen a heap of trouble in my life, and most of it never came to pass.”

And much of what politicians say is not so much a prediction as an attempt to make it come true. It’s argument disguised as analysis. But it doesn’t really persuade anybody. Because most people can see through it.

If speculation is worthless, why is there so much of it? Is it because people want it? I don’t think so. I myself speculate that media has turned to speculation for media’s own reasons. So now let’s consider the advantages of speculation from a media standpoint.

  1. It’s incredibly cheap. Talk is cheap. And speculation shows are the cheapest thing you can put on television, They’re almost as cheap as running a test pattern. Speculation requires no research, no big staff. Minimal set. Just get the talking host, book the talking guests—of which there is no shortage—and you’re done! Instant show. No reporters in different cities around the world, no film crews on location. No deadlines, no footage to edit, no editors…nothing! Just talk. Cheap.
  2. You can’t lose. Even though the speculation is correct only by chance, which means you are wrong at least 50% of the time, nobody remembers and therefore nobody cares. You are never accountable. The audience does not remember yesterday, let alone last week, or last month. Media exists in the eternal now, this minute, this crisis, this talking head, this column, this speculation.

One of the clearest proofs of this is the Currents of Death controversy. It originated with the New Yorker, which has been a gushing fountainhead of erroneous scientific speculation for fifty years. But my point is this: many of the people who ten years ago were frantic to measure dangerous electromagnetic radiation in their houses now spend thousands of dollars buying magnets to attach to their wrists and ankles, because of the putative healthful effects of magnetic fields. These people don’t remember these are the same magnetic fields they formerly wanted to avoid. And since they don’t remember, as a speculator on media, you can’t lose.

Let me expand on this idea that you can’t lose. It’s not confined to the media. Most areas of intellectual life have discovered the virtues of speculation, and have embraced them wildly. In academia, speculation is usually dignified as theory. It’s fascinating that even though the intellectual stance of the pomo deconstructionist era is against theory, particularly overarching theory, in reality what every academic wants to express is theory.

This is in part aping science, but it’s also an escape hatch. Your close textual reading of Jane Austen could well be found wrong, and could be shown to be wrong by a more knowledgeable antagonist. But your theory of radical feminization and authoritarian revolt in the work of Jane Austen is untouchable. Your view of the origins of the First World War could be debated by other authorities more meticulous than you. But your New Historicist essay, which might include your own fantasy about what it would be like if you were a soldier during the first war… well, that’s just unarguable.

A wonderful area for speculative academic work is the unknowable. These days religious subjects are in disfavor, but there are still plenty of good topics. The nature of consciousness, the workings of the brain, the origin of aggression, the origin of language, the origin of life on earth, SETI and life on other worlds… this is all great stuff. Wonderful stuff. You can argue it interminably. But it can’t be contradicted, because nobody knows the answer to any of these topics—and probably, nobody ever will.

But that’s not the only strategy one can employ. Because the media-educated public ignores and forgets past claims, these days even authors who present hard data are undamaged when the data is proven wrong. One of the most consistently wrong thinkers of recent years, Carol Gilligan of Harvard, once MS Magazine’s Scientist of the Year, has had to retract (or modify) much of what she has ever written. Yet her reputation as a profound thinker and important investigator continues undiminished. You don’t have to be right, any more. Nobody remembers.

Then there is the speculative work of anthropologists like Helen Fisher, who claim to tell us about the origins of love or of infidelity or cooperation by reference to other societies, animal behavior, and the fossil record. How can she be wrong? It’s untestable, unprovable, just so stories.

And lest anyone imagine things are different in the hard sciences, consider string theory, for nearly twenty years now the dominant physical theory. More than one generation of physicists has labored over string theory. But—if I understand it correctly, and I may not—string theory cannot be tested or proven or disproven. Although some physicists are distressed by the argument that an untestable theory is nevertheless scientific, who is going to object, really? Face it, an untestable theory is ideal! Your career is secure!

In short, the understanding that so long as you speculate, you can’t lose is widespread. And it is perfect for the information age, which promises a cornucopia of knowledge, but delivers a cornucopia of snake oil.

Now, nowhere is it written that the media need be accurate, or useful. They haven’t been for most or recorded history. So, now they’re speculating… so what? What is wrong with it?

  1. Tendency to excess. The fact that it’s only talk makes drama and spectacle unlikely—unless the talk becomes heated and excessive. So it becomes excessive. Not every show features the Crossfire-style food fight, but it is a tendency on all shows.
  2. “Crisisization” of everything possible. Most speculation is not compelling because most events are not compelling—Gosh, I wonder what will happen to the German Mark? Are they going to get their labor problems under control? This promotes the well-known media need for a crisis. Crisis in the German mark! Uh-oh! Look out! Crises unite the country, draw viewers in large numbers, and give something to speculate about. Without a crisis, the talk soon degenerates into debate about whether the refs should have used instant replay on that last football game. So there is a tendency to hype urgency and importance and be-there-now when such reactions are really not appropriate. Witness the interminable scroll at the bottom of the screen about the Queen Mother’s funeral. Whatever the Queen mother’s story may be, it is not a crisis. I even watched a scroll of my own divorce roll by for a couple of days on CNN. It’s sort of flattering, even though they got it wrong. But my divorce is surely not vital breaking news.
  3. Superficiality as a norm. Gotta go fast. Hit the high points. Speculation adds to the superficiality. That’s it, don’t you think?
  4. Endless presentation of uncertainty and conflict may interfere with resolution of issues. There is some evidence that the television food fights not only don’t represent the views of most people—who are not so polarized—but they may tend to make resolution of actual disputes more difficult in the real world. At the very least, these food fights obscure the recognition that disputes are resolved every day. Compromise is much easier from relatively central positions than it is from extreme and hostile, conflicting positions: Greenpeace Spikers vs the Logging Industry.
  5. The interminable chains of speculation paves the way to litigation about breast implants, hysteria over Y2K and global warming, articles in The New Yorker about currents of death, and a variety of other results that are not, by any thoughtful view, good things to happen. There comes to be a perception—convenient to the media—that nothing is, in the end, knowable for sure. When in fact, that’s not true.

Let me point to a demonstrable bad effect of the assumption that nothing is really knowable. Whole word reading was introduced by the education schools of the country without, to my knowledge, any testing of the efficacy of the new method. It was simply put in place. Generations of teachers were indoctrinated in its methods. As a result, the US has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the industrialized world. The assumption that nothing can be known with certainty does have terrible consequences.

As GK Chesterton said (in a somewhat different context), “If you believe in nothing you’ll believe in anything.” That’s what we see today. People believe in anything.

But just in terms of the general emotional tenor of life, I often think people are nervous, jittery in this media climate of what if, what if, maybe, perhaps, could be—when there is simply no reason to feel nervous. Like a bearded nut in robes on the sidewalk proclaiming the end of the world is near, the media is just doing what makes it feel good, not reporting hard facts. We need to start seeing the media as a bearded nut on the sidewalk, shouting out false fears. It’s not sensible to listen to it.

We need to start remembering that everybody who said that Y2K wasn’t a real problem was either shouted down, or kept off the air. The same thing is true now of issues like species extinction and global warming. You never hear anyone say it’s not a crisis. I won’t go into it, because it might lead to the use of facts, but I’ll just mention two reports I speculate you haven’t heard about. The first is the report in Science magazine January 18 2001 (Oops! a fact) that contrary to prior studies, the Antarctic ice pack is increasing, not decreasing, and that this increase means we are finally seeing an end to the shrinking of the pack that has been going on for thousands of years, ever since the Holocene era. I don’t know which is more surprising, the statement that it’s increasing, or the statement that its shrinkage has preceded global warming by thousands of years.

The second study is a National Academy of Sciences report on the economic effects to the US economy of the last El Nino warming event of 1997. That warming produced a net benefit of 15 billion dollars to the economy. That’s taking into account 1.5 billion loss in California from rain, which was offset by decreased fuel bills for a milder winter, and a longer growing season. Net result 15 billion in increased productivity.

The other thing I will mention to you is that during the last 100 years, while the average temperature on the globe has increased just .3 C, the magnetic field of the earth declined by 10%. This is a much larger effect than global warming and potentially far more serious to life on this planet. Our magnetic field is what keeps the atmosphere in place. It is what deflects lethal radiation from space. A reduction of the earth’s magnetic field by ten percent is extremely worrisome.

But who is worried? Nobody. Who is raising a call to action? Nobody. Why not? Because there is nothing to be done. How this may relate to global warming I leave for you to speculate on your own time.

Personally, I think we need to start turning away from media, and the data shows that we are, at least from television news. I find that whenever I lack exposure to media I am much happier, and my life feels fresher.

In closing, I’d remind you that while there are some things we cannot know for sure, there are many things that can be resolved, and indeed are resolved. Not by speculation, however. By careful investigation, by rigorous statistical analysis. Since we’re awash in this contemporary ocean of speculation, we forget that things can be known with certainty, and that we need not live in a fearful world of interminable unsupported opinion. But the gulf that separates hard fact from speculation is by now so unfamiliar that most people can’t comprehend it. I can perhaps make it clear by this story:

On a plane to Europe, I am seated next to a guy who is very unhappy. Turns out he is a doctor who has been engaged in a two-year double blind study of drug efficacy for the FDA, and it may be tossed out the window. Now a double-blind study means there are four separate research teams, each having no contact with any other team—preferably, they’re at different universities, in different parts of the country. The first team defines the study and makes up the medications, the real meds and the controls. The second team administers the medications to the patients. The third team comes in at the end and independently assesses the effect of the medications on each patient. The fourth team takes the data and does a statistical analysis. The cost of this kind of study, as you might imagine, is millions of dollars. And the teams must never meet.

My guy is unhappy because months after the study is over, he in the waiting room of Frankfurt airport and he strikes up a conversation with another man in the lounge, and they discover—to their horror—that they are both involved in the study. My guy was on the team that administered the meds. The other guy is on the team doing the statistics. There isn’t any reason why one should influence the other at this late date, but nevertheless the protocol requires that team members never meet. So now my guy is waiting to hear if the FDA will throw out the entire study, because of this chance meeting in Frankfurt airport.

Those are the lengths you have to go to if you want to be certain that your information is correct. But when I tell people this story, they just stare at me incomprehendingly. They find it absurd. They don’t think it’s necessary to do all that. They think it’s overkill. They live in the world of MSNBC and The New York Times. And they’ve forgotten what real, reliable information is, and the lengths you have to go to get it. It’s so much harder than just speculating.

And on that point, I have to agree with them.

Thank you very much.

– International Leadership Forum, La Jolla (26 April 2002)

tolerance at home and abroad

13 février 1900.
Claudel déjeune. Il parle du mal que l’affaire Dreyfus nous a fait à l’étranger. Cet homme intelligent, ce poëte, sent le prêtre rageur et de sang âcre.
—Mais la tolérance ? lui dis-je.
—Il y a des maisons pour ça, répond-il.

Ils éprouvent je ne sais quelle joie malsaine à s’abêtir, et ils en veulent aux autres, de cet abêtissement. Ils ne connaissent pas le sourire de la bonté.
Sa soeur a dans sa chambre un portrait de Rochefort et, sur sa table, La Libre Parole. Elle a envie de le suivre dans ses consulats.
Et ce poëte affecte de ne comprendre et de n’admirer que les ingénieurs. Ils produisent de la réalité. Tout cela est banal.
Il a le poil rare et regarde en dessous. Son âme a mauvais estomac. Il revient à son horreur des juifs, qu’il ne peut voir ni sentir.
13 February 1900.
Lunch with Claudel. He speaks of the harm that the Dreyfus affair caused to us abroad. This man, this poet, smells of a fanatical priest and acrid blood.
—What of tolerance? I said.
—There are houses for that, he replied.

They feel some unhealthy joy at dumbing themselves down, and they want others to follow suit. They do not know the smile of kindness.
His sister has in her room a portrait of Rochefort and, at her table, La Libre Parole. She wants to follow his consular appointments.
And the poet affects a failure to understand and admire anyone but the engineers. They produce reality. All this is commonplace.
He has thinning hair and a downcast gaze. His soul has indigestion. He returned to his horror of the Jews, whom he cannot suffer to see or smell.
13 февраля 1900 года.
Обед с Клоделем. Он говорит о том, какой вред нанесло дело Дрейфуса нашей репутации за рубежом. От этого человека, этого поэта, исходит душок изувера-священника и едкой крови.
—Ну а терпимость? спросил я.
—Есть для этого дома, ответил он.

Они испытывают какое-то нездоровое удовольствие от самоотупления, и подстрекают других к тому же. Им неизвестна улыбка великодушия.
Его сестра повесила в своей комнате портрет Рошфора, а на стол положила «Ля Либр Пароль». Она хочет следовать за ним в его консульствах.
А сам поэт делает вид, что не понимает никого кроме инженеров. Они производят действительность. Всё это пошло.
У него жидкие волосы и потуплённый взор. Его душа страдает несварением желудка. Он возвращается к своему отвращению к евреям, которых он не в силах ни видеть ни обонять.
—Jules Renard, Journal 1887-1910, Pléiade, 1986, p. 570

the best things in life

Barack Obama [on TV]: It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled…
Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt): Ah, yes, we’re all the same. We’re all equal.
Obama [on TV]: … that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states. We are and always will be the United States of America.
Cogan: Next he’ll be telling us we’re a community, we’re one people.
Obama [on TV]: In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people.
Driver (Richard Jenkins): Had yourself quite a party.
Cogan: I do the best I can. [to the bartender] Beer.
Driver: So everything is under control, I take it, at long last?
Cogan: You know, for someone I’m trying to help out and everything, you’re awful hard to get along with. Could’ve made you drive up to see me, I didn’t have to come down here. I’m trying to be nice to you.
Driver: You’re trying to be nice to me?
Cogan: Sure, I’m a nice guy. I like to make things easy on people, do people favors now and then.
Driver: Do me a favor: don’t do me any favors. I see how you work.
Cogan: Tell you what, just give me the money.
[Driver hands Cogan an envelope.]
Cogan: Excuse me.
Driver: Are you gonna count it?
Cogan: I gotta take a leak. Leave me alone, all right? Have another ginger ale, for Christ’s sake.
Obama [on TV]: … from beyond our shores, parliaments and palaces, those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared. Tonight we’ve proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope. [crowd cheering]
Crowd chanting [on TV]: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!
Driver: Feel better?
Cogan: No. There’s only 30 in there.
Driver: Three guys. Yeah, I had to ask them if I should pay you for the kid. But, you know, they said I should, so.
Cogan: They were right too. That’s only ten a piece.
Driver: Correct.
Cogan: The price is 15.
Driver: Dillon charges 10. Recession prices. They told me to tell you that too.
Cogan: I made a deal with Mickey for 15.
Driver: Yeah, yeah, but the way they got it, Mickey got in a fight with a whore, the dumb shit, and now they got him in the can, and you’re filling in for Dillon and you get what Dillon gets, no more. Talk to Dillon. Take it up with him.
Cogan: Dillon’s dead. Dillon died this morning.
Driver: They’re going to be very sorry to hear that.
Cogan: Sure, sure, they are. It’s gonna cost them more.
Driver: You know, this business is a business of relationships.
Cogan: Yeah, and everyone loved Markie.
Driver: You are a cynical bastard, you know that?
Obama [on TV]: … to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that out of many, we are one.
Driver: You hear that line? Line’s for you.
Cogan: Don’t make me laugh. We’re one people. It’s a myth created by Thomas Jefferson.
Driver: Oh, now you’re gonna have a go at Jefferson?
Cogan: My friend, Jefferson’s an American saint because he wrote the words, “All men are created equal”, words he clearly didn’t believe, since he allowed his own children to live in slavery. He was a rich wine snob who was sick of paying taxes to the Brits so, yeah, he wrote some lovely words and aroused the rabble and they went out and died for those words while he sat back and drank his wine and fucked his slave girl. This guy wants to tell me we’re living in a community. Don’t make me laugh. I’m living in America, and in America, you’re on your own. America’s not a country. It’s just a business. Now fuckin’ pay me.
[♪ Barrett Strong: “Money (That’s What I Want)”]
♪ The best things in life are free ♪
♪ But you can give them to the birds and bees ♪
♪ I need money ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ Your love gives me such a thrill ♪
♪ But your love don’t pay my bills ♪
♪ I need money ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ Money don’t get everything, it’s true ♪
♪ But what it don’t get I can’t use ♪
♪ I need money ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ Money ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ Lots of money ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ Whole lot of money ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ Uh-huh ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want… ♪
♪ That’s what I want… ♪

last rites, first aid

A man walks into a backwoods bar in Kentucky and orders a cosmopolitan. The bartender looks the man over and says, “Not from ’round here, are ya?” “No” replies the man, “I’m from Providence, Rhode Island.” The bartender looks at him and says, “Well what do ya do in Providence?” “I’m a taxidermist,” says the man. The bartender looks bewildered, so the man explains, “I stuff and mount dead animals.” And the bartender stands back and hollers to the whole bar full of hilbillies, “It’s OK, boys! He’s one of us!”

So the man gets comfortable and sips his cocktail. And by and by he becomes peckish, and asks the bartender for a bite to eat. All the bartender can offer him is pork rinds, so that’ll have to do. So the man chomps down on those salty, crunchy pork rinds. And he likes them. In fact, he likes them so much that he gets a pork rind lodged in his throat. After a minute or so he is in real distress. So one of the barflies walks up to him and says, “Kin ya swallar?” The man shakes his head. And the hillbilly follows up, “Kin ya breathe?” The man shakes his head as he begins to turn blue. And the hillbilly reaches around the man’s waist, unbuckles his belt, drops his breeches, yanks down his briefs, and sticks his tongue up his ass crack. The man is so shocked that he has a violent spasm, which causes the pork rind to fly out of his mouth. As he begins to breathe again, he struggles to express his gratitude to the good Samaritan. And the hillbilly goes, “Hit don’t mean doodley squat. Ackshly, I’m much obliged to ye. Ya know, I’d heerd of that there ‘Hind Lick Maneuver’ but I ain’t niver had no chance to do it to anyone before!”

exit pp41; enter pp14

SIG P210 barrels are designed to shoot standard Swiss Army pistol ammunition, the Pistolen Patrone 41, made by RUAG in Thun. This 124gr. NATO-spec FMJ 9x19mm round originally came in 24-round boxes, which sufficed to load three magazines. Like the RUAG rifle ammunition, it has replaced its original nickel alloy bullet jacket with a jacket made of copper. Its headstamps are the same as for the RUAG GP90 rifle round, comprising a T for the factory location in Thun, placed above the last two digits of the year of manufacture. The Pistolen Patrone 41 was originally produced for the P49, loaded with WIMMIS, a slow burning pistol powder. According to the KTA Reglement 53.103 d, it develops 2600 bar chamber pressure. (The published maximum chamber pressure for 9mm Para per CIP is 2350 bar.) Available for purchase at pistol ranges throughout Switzerland, and distributed to Swiss citizens during Schützenfesten, unlike other RUAG ammunition, it is restricted from export, but may be found in small quantities on the collector market. It is a high-pressure combat round, accurate albeit not optimized for target shooting.
The PP41 was originally meant to be used with the then newly introduced, toggle-operated W+F MP Model 41 (Furrer Model 1941) and the Solothurn MP 41 (Suomi Model 1931) submachine guns, at the time when the standard issue KTA pistol round was 7.65mm Para. The idea to adopt the Pist Pat 41 as the new standard issue came up at the pistol trials held in 1942, in connection with the ill-fated W+F 9mm Pistol 29 prototype. The Furrer 41/44 SMG was gradually decommissioned after WWII, but the Suomi lingered until at least  the late Eighties. It's likely that the pressure of the Pist Pat 41 was kept well above the CIP and NATO standard for SMG compatibility, which probably also accounts for KTA proving 9mm Para arms at 50% overpressure instead of following the CIP practice of 30% overpressure proof loads.
pp 41 14

Earlier in this year, RUAG introduced the PP14 under the brand Geco Sintox as the cartridge meant to succeed the PP41. It is currently manufactured in Switzerland and copied under license by MSF in Hungary. Accordingly, the current 50-round boxes are labeled EU or Switzerland.

the texas defense

In criminal law, the claim that the deceased victim “needed killing” is known as “the Texas defense”, also designated as “misdemeanor homicide”. On Wednesday, 27 August 2014, a jury acquitted David Barajas of murder at the Brazoria County Courthouse in Angleton, Texas. Barajas had been accused of fatally shooting one Jose Banda in December 2012 near Alvin, minutes after a car driven by Banda hit a truck that Barajas and his two sons were pushing after it ran out of gas, killing twelve-year-old David Jr. and eleven-year-old Caleb. Although Banda was found slumped in his seat at the crash site, with a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit and a bullet wound to the head, no witnesses saw a shooting, and no weapon was ever recovered. As the case was about to go to trial, Texas media picked up an analysis by kibitzing Houston defense attorney Joel Androphy: “It’s not the right way to do it, but jurors a lot of times make judgments based on moral responsibility, not legal responsibility.” Amplifying this point, the commentariat cited a case two years earlier, when the grand jury in Lavaca County, Texas, declined to indict the man who admittedly pummeled to death the alleged molester of his 5-year-old daughter.

The Texas defense is arguably a misnomer, given that its definitive statement is found in a 1870 appellate court ruling in Kentucky:

Speaking of assured and continual danger to life, this court, in the case in 2 Duvall, defined the principle of self-defense as follows: “Like the sword of Damocles, the threatened danger is continually impending every moment and everywhere. The threatened man may be waylaid or otherwise attacked unawares without the possibility of defense or of escape, and may never, day or night, feel safe, or actually be so, while his enemy lives, who whenever he may see him or wherever he may find him may be anxious and able to kill him. And does either human or divine law require such prolonged agony and peril; or can the best and most prudent men suicidably forbear to strike for riddance, if they have the courage to defend themselves, in the only way of secure and lasting escape?”
    Now if a man feels sure that his life is in continual danger, and that to take the life of his menacing enemy is his only safe security, does not the rationale of the principle as thus defined allow him to kill that enemy whenever and wherever he gives him a chance and there is no sign of relenting? But before a jury should acquit they should be well satisfied that the killing was not the offspring of bad passion, but solely of a thorough and well-founded belief that it was necessary for security. And here lies the danger of misapplication. It is difficult to be assured that the act was thus necessary and done in good faith. Of that, however, the jury and not the court must judge; and in that judgment they can not be too self-poised and careful before they conclude that the peril of the accused was imminent and incessant, and that he, well assured of it, honestly believed that his only safe remedy was to destroy the power to execute the threats. And if he was authorized to believe and did considerately apprehend that his own exile or the death of his persevering enemy, watching to kill him, was, like the tabula in naufragio, the only safe mode of rescue, might he not lawfully choose his remedy and throw his enemy overboard? Why should he be required still to wait an assault and to endure longer haunting and hazard when he might at any moment become the victim of his own forbearance, and when self-defense might be impossible or unavailing? Why let the sword still hang over him? Why not remove it out of sight when he may, and not passively linger until it unexpectedly falls and strikes his heart unresisted? The recognition of the perfect right to do so in such a crisis appears to us consistent with both principle and policy. It seems to us conservative. It might afford more security and prevent more assassinations than the lame law of punishment ever could, and the manly and opportune assertion of this universal birthright may teach the reckless who thus maliciously beset the pathway of the peaceable that they will be likely to bring destruction on their own heads. This preventive principle will go hand in hand with civilization and philosophical jurisprudence as a palladium of personal security and social order and peace. Properly guarded, it may do more good than harm.

Carico v. Commonwealth, 70 Ky. (7 Bush) 124 (1870)

A more casual application of the same principle took place in the same year, well above the Mason-Dixon line in Anderson, Indiana:

    Louis Titherington was a cab driver who lived in the house now occupied by Dr. J.W. Fairfield as a sanitarium at the corner of Meridian and Thirteenth streets.
    Titherington went to his home on the 19th of October, 1870, in an intoxicated condition and became engaged in an altercation with his wife and sister-in-law, a Miss Jenkins, who lived in the family. He was in the act of severely chastising Miss Jenkins, and, it is said, had whipped his wife, when Daniel Jenkins, her brother, came into the house and ordered him to desist in his abuse, when he turned upon Jenkins and made threats of violence, whereupon Jenkins drew a revolver and opened fire upon Titherington, filling his body with leaden missiles, causing almost instant death. Jenkins was placed under arrest and indicted by the Grand Jury, and on a trial in the Circuit Court was acquitted on the ground that the killing was justifiable.
    On the trial was exhibited a large lock of hair which Titherington had pulled out of the head of one of the women. Titherington was a familiar personage on the streets of Anderson for a quarter of a century, having been at one time a half owner of the bus and transfer line, which was a good paying property.
    “Lew,” as he was known by the people, was not a bad man when not drinking, but disposed to be unruly when imbibing to excess. He was mixed up in a great many street fights and other troubles, the result of too much liquor. His headquarters for many years before his marriage was at the old United States Hotel. He was known by every traveling man from New York to San Francisco who stopped in Anderson.
    John Alderman was for many years his partner and they made money fast and spent it with lavish hands. One of the jurors who tried Jenkins said after the trial was over that “the jury thought that he was not exactly justified, but that Titherington needed killing anyway, and that they just voted to let him off.”
    Neal Daugherty was City Marshal at the time of the killing and arrested Jenkins. Andrew J. Griffith was Sheriff and Randle Biddle his deputy.
    Titherington left a widow, but no children. He was a brother to Robert Titherington, who yet lives in Anderson.

—John La Rue Forkner and Byron H. Dyson, Historical Sketches and Reminiscences of Madison County, Indiana, 1897, pp. 511-512

    Unsurprisingly, the Texas defense was popular with the Texas Rangers. In his memoirs, James B. Gillett describes its application to a fellow Ranger:

After our return from our month’s scout in Mexico, Captain [George W.] Baylor received a new fugitive list from the Adjutant-General, and in looking over its pages my eyes fell on the list of fugitives from Hamilton County, Texas. Almost the first name thereon was that of James Stallings with his age and description. I notified Captain Baylor that Stallings was a fugitive from justice. Baylor asked me what Stallings had been indicted for and I replied for assault to kill.
    “Well, maybe the darned fellow needed killing,” replied the captain. “Stallings looks like a good ranger and I need him.”
Not many days after this I heard loud cursing in our quarters and went to investigate. I found Stallings with a cocked pistol in his hand standing over the bed of a ranger named Tom Landers, cursing him out. I could see Stallings had been drinking and finally persuaded him to put up his pistol and go to bed. The next morning I informed Captain Baylor of the incident, and suggested that if we did not do something with Stallings he would probably kill someone. The captain did not seem inclined to take that view. In fact, I rather believed Captain Baylor liked a man that was somewhat “on the prod,” as the cowboys are wont to say of a fellow or a cow that wants to fight.

—James B. Gillett, Six Years with the Texas Rangers, 1875-1881, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1925, pp. 264-265

Melville Davisson Post, a prolific chronicler of crime in Harrison County, West Virginia, provided a popular account of the Texas defense in 1897:

If a Mexican was so short-sighted as to slip his knife into a tenderfoot, some one shot the Mexican, and the crowd “lickered up.” If the faro dealer killed his man, it was usually because the man needed killing, and certainly the faro dealer was the best judge of this. On the contrary, if one shot the dealer, this was considered a public calamity, demanding an explanation, since the dealer was a quasi public functionary, and the convenience of the citizen required that the game should continue. One’s life was perhaps the cheapest thing below the Central Pacific Railroad, and it was entirely the duty of the individual to see that it was maintained. If one was unsteady on the trigger, or caught napping on the draw, one was held to have died by virtue of contributory negligence.
    To be sure there was law, and machinery for its execution; but the machinery was liberal, and had ideas of its own, and the law adhered with supreme unconcern to its maxim—De minimis non curat lex.

—Melville Davisson Post, The Man of Last Resort, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1897, pp. 62-63

In 1906, Ambrose Bierce pointed out the deficiency of the underlying principle: “HOMICIDE, n. The slaying of one human being by another. There are four kinds of homicide: felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy, but it makes no great difference to the person slain whether he fell by one kind or another—the classification is for advantage of the lawyers.” And yet no advantage of the lawyers is to be lost on the blameless slayer. As a red-blooded American, I wish and hope for naught but praiseworthy homicides to take place in our fair land. Short of that, may all our righteous homicides be found praiseworthy by the juries of our peers.