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Showing content with the highest reputation since 03/29/2022 in Posts

  1. 10 points
    Interesting how "life" is defined by these folks as a "heartbeat" at this point, but "not alive" is measured by brain activity. If you have to terminate a pregnancy at the 20th week, it's usually because there is no (or will be no) brain activity, but women have been forced to carry a non-viable fetus for several days/weeks because it is "alive." These morons should first agree on a definition of "life" that covers the whole span. If a heartbeat (don't even get me started on what that zygote really has at 4 weeks past fertilization) is the definition of alive, then we can stop learning CPR and dispose of all defibrillators. They're already dead, so you just have to call it when the heart stops. If you pound on someone's chest, or shock them, after their heart stops, then you should be charged with mutilating a corpse.
  2. 10 points
    I hope you are trolling for the sake of spirited conversation, but I fear you are not.... Yielding to the lower jumper is NOT OBSOLETE! In fact, your suggestion is dangerous and I encourage jumpers to disregard it. The reasons we yield to the lower jumpers are simple. First, jumpers in the pattern are (correctly) focused on their landings, which dictates giving primary attention to what is BELOW them. Jumpers are ALWAYS responsible to clear the area in their flight path - like clearing the area to the left or right AND below before making a turn. This includes pattern flight and final approach. Second, it is often impossible to see traffic above us because our canopies block much of the view. Yielding to the higher jumper simply doesn't make sense and much of the time would be impossible because of the blocked view. It also distracts from the mission at hand - clearing the flight path ahead and below, and landing safely. The "low person has the right of way" is a basic premise in all of aviation. CFR 92.113.g states in part "When two or more aircraft are approaching an airport for the purpose of landing, the aircraft at the lower altitude has the right-of-way...". Additionally, the USPA Skydiver's Information Manual agrees with this rule. SIM Section 6-1.C.3.c states "the low person has the right-of-way both in freefall and under canopy". Deciding on our own to buck accepted practices leads to confusion, and that leads to problems. As for high performance canopies and the jumpers who fly them, they are ALWAYS responsible to yield to lower traffic. This makes perfect sense. The higher jumper has the best field of view of the jumpers below them, they can monitor lower traffic without looking away from their flight path, they have more altitude to make an avoidance maneuver if necessary, and it's consistent with aviation and skydiving norms. I am a former high performance canopy jumper (and still have a rate of descent faster than many others) and can say in practice that yielding to the lower jumper works. When I am descending faster than the jumpers below me, I have the best opportunity to observe what they are doing and have the best field of view to decide how to avoid conflict. There are a lot of great ideas out in the field. Suggesting lower jumpers attempt to yield to traffic above them is a really, REALLY bad idea. My suggestion to other jumpers - no disrespect intended - is to COMPLETELY ignore your advice.
  3. 9 points
    I'm glad I was able to remember my log-in! Thank you for flirting with me, all the way back in 2006. Have we ever paid Sangiro for his pimp fee? You had me at hello. Some of the best times of my life were with you in the sky, I miss it! I love you! Hi to anyone who remembers me!!
  4. 9 points
    I'd counter that there's a virtually limitless supply of tools chasing this Hunter Biden angle.
  5. 9 points
    The Republicans should be forced to carry Trump to term, even if it threatens the life of the Republican Party.
  6. 9 points
    Crimea river...
  7. 9 points
    You are WAY off base with that comment. USPA encourages skydivers to chase their passion, and promotes best practices regardless of the discipline. Is canopy piloting safe? Nope. Not even close. CP is dangerous - damn dangerous - but that doesn't mean USPA should discourage it. Is freeflying safe? Nope. How about CRW? FS? And then there's speed skydiving. Consider a premature deployment at 300 mph. Nothing we do is safe. The CP culture is the most peer-policed discipline in skydiving. Go to a CP comp sometime and observe. You will see the best pilots on the planet coaching, mentoring, and critiquing - all with the goal of keeping one another safe. CP has come a long, long way since the days of toggle hooks and ditch digging. Today's pilots have a deep understanding of the science behind the discipline and continuously hone their skills and education to stay as safe as possible. They are also acutely aware of the risks. From an organizational perspective, the ISC (International Skydiving Commission) and national-level organizations like USPA have and do modify competitions rules and practices to make safety a top priority. One great example is the change in distance rules that now require pilots to stay below a certain height for a portion of the run before climbing their canopies. This was done specifically because folks were getting injured by climbing so high that landings were becoming sketchy. I have been following the competition CP community for over a decade. My son is one of the top pilots in the world. Do I worry about him? Every single day. Would I ever dream of discouraging him from doing what he loves? Never. USPA does not "endorse canopy piloting competitions that encourage skydivers to land in very unsafe ways". USPA encourages skydivers of all disciplines to conduct their activities as safely as possible. Some disciplines are more dangerous than others, but none of them are safe. Canopy piloting is not safe. Neither is any skydive you have ever made or ever will.
  8. 9 points
    We are really in a crappy place today. Justice Clarence Thomas is arguably in cahoots with his Qanon and conspiracy theory believing wife who participated in the January 6 insurrection. Both Kavanaugh and Coney-Barrett apparently lied to get their seats and, by any honest rational opinion, Gorsuch sits in a stolen seat. If you read this and think "sucks to be you libtard" or "it's about winning and we won" you are no patriot. You are no true American. You are a traitor to our fragile constitution.
  9. 8 points
    A few months before I got out of the tandem game (after 10 years and probably 5000+ tandems): I exit on a handcam jump that had outside video as well, and right out the door I realize I didn't buckle my full face helmet. So I'm flying the entire jump with my right hand on my head, filming with my left, and cursing the camera flyer who decided (not for the first time) to film everything while carving around us on his head. Apart from that helmet annoyance and the freeflying camera guy, we get to 6000' uneventfully, whereas I reach back with my left hand (wasn't going to sacrifice my helmet for the opening shot), pull, and nothing happens. I switch hands, hold down my helmet with my left, and pull the right handle. Nothing. Now we're getting to 5000', and everything I know about release blockages and drogues in tow on Sigmas flashes through my head. I give the left handle another go, then say a quick prayer and fire the reserve past the trailing drogue. It clears, and we have a brisk, but totally manageable deployment, and I fly us down, hoping the people on the ground aren't too freaked out by the drogue dragging behind us, trying to get some good canopy HC footage to make up for what would definitely be suboptimal freefall. We land, and I look back to locate my drogue. And it's not there. And that's when I realize it's still in the BOC, where it's been the entire time because I was too busy holding down my helmet and filming the jump, and the camera guy was just trying to keep up with us, and we went straight to reserve from drogueless terminal. And I was generally pretty proud of myself for not being one of those TIs who need the drogue to get them stable, but the dumbfuckery I managed to cram into this jump still makes me a bit sick to my stomach.
  10. 8 points
    I've recreated all of the witness and crew testimonies in their unredacted format and put them all in one place. Many of the copies floating around the net look terrible and have gross watermarks, etc. norjak.org/testimony
  11. 8 points
    An excellent example. By reframing the Civil War as a "war of northen aggression" having nothing to do with slavery, whites in the south could avoid any residual feelings of shame associated with the position they took on slavery. They could instead take pride in their ancestors who stood up to an evil north, rather than trying to reconcile their heritage of slavery with a more modern view of civil rights. We are seeing the same thing happen today with the attempted cancellation of both CRT and the 1619 project. These studies of history make many white people feel bad, because it reminds them that a significant part of this country came from the labor of slaves. This make them feel - not bad, exactly, but like they cannot be as proud of their history as they otherwise could be. "Make America Great Again" doesn't work if those halcyon days included slavery (or enforced segregation, or redlining, or any of the other structural racisms that the early and mid US incorporated.) So they try to ban it. They realize that banning history is something of a bad look, so they dress up the ban in flowery language and mix in a few "won't someone please think of the children" memes. We've seen these a lot lately - "why are teachers teaching our children to hate themselves?" CRT teaches kids "to be ashamed that they are white." One theoretically real child tearfully asked her far-right mother "Why am I hated so much?" - and then supposedly needed therapy to overcome all the damage that CRT did. (How fortunate that that child did it just in time for Marsha Blackburn's political campaign.) Others spend thousands of words trying to define CRT to mean something other than CRT. It's an "unremitting attack on Western institutions." It teaches that "America is systemically racist and must be dismantled." It was created by Karl Marx to destroy democracy. It is a "monstrous evil" that gives black people "the whip handle" over white people. (That last was from Pat Robertson; what a fascinating metaphor to use when one is advocating ignoring what slavery did to the country.) Underlying all this blather is a simple belief common amongst the right - that education can and should be curtailed because it makes some people feel uncomfortable or threatened. We have seen several examples right here on this forum. George Orwell once said that "he who controls the past controls the future." Conservatives are trying to take control of the past and alter it to something that works better for them. The question is - will we let them?
  12. 7 points
    I also blame Newt for the first blatant telling of lies and starting the trend that it was somehow 'OK'. When confronted by a reporter during an interview with something that he said - it was patently false and the reporter outed him on it. Newt said something to the effect of "This is what our people believe." I was disturbed as was the reporter at the time. Honesty used to be a thing. Now we just openly lie and then double down on it when confronted.
  13. 7 points
    We shouldn't have for profit prisons either. More financial reasons than legal reasons seems to lead their thinking. Even some State guidelines on incarceration are odd. Unless it's been changed, Ii Florida, if you're taken to jail, you will stay there for a minimum of 48 hours in order for the county to receive State funds for the cost of housing you. This simple rule has cost people their jobs, which can create a cascade of financial disaster for them.
  14. 7 points
    It's a barbaric, mistake prone process that serves no real purpose other than to "punish" someone to make the victims relatives and bloodthirsty onlookers feel better. It's more expensive than life in prison I believe, It's irreversible and I suspect the wrong people get caught more often than they should. All civilised societies no longer do this..
  15. 7 points
    Penn & Teller are from this time period. If you're trying to use the "Well Regulated" meant "Well Organized" argument - I'm not even sure where that originated. The colonialists (the people) were the militia and not any part of a standing army (which caused Hamilton great concern for the US to have one - but we do). In his Federalist Papers No. 29, he outlines all "three sides" of the coin. The militia, a standing army and the people. "Well Regulated" meant training to a military standard. It was proposed, that the people from each state would gather once or twice a year and train to military standards, but make no mistake they were "the people" of each state - not a paid military. In fact, they could be made to support another state in the event that other state were invaded by a standing army. There is an ongoing myth about what the forefathers "meant" about a "well regulated" militia and "the people" being separate by a single comma. "The people" were "the militia." The right to bear arms was to allow the people to support the militia UNTIL a more formalized militia could be developed at a later date to protect these US from a standing (foreign) army. If you don't believe the government can regulate weapons and ammo, then how has the NFA stood as a law for so long. Did you know that the Supreme Court didn't acknowledge individual gun ownership as a right until 2008. 219 years after the US Constitution was adopted. If you don't think the US can ban certain weapons, then why is there still a ban on gravity knives. Why is there still a law on who can or can't own machine guns and a rather lengthy "well-regulated" process to own one. Having said all that, I personally, don't like the "left's" attack on the 2nd Amendment, but I also don't like the "right's" belief that gun ownership comes without some form of responsibility or accountability, or regulation. The "left" needs to agree to leave the 2nd Amendment alone and the "right" needs to agree that children getting killed in school warrants regulation of firearms to prevent it from happening again. We claim to be morally superior to other countries - let's start with protecting children from even having to have "active shooter" programs by regulating ownership - not banning guns, but banning nut jobs from owning guns AND ensuring everyone who owns a weapon gets the proper training as Hamilton outlined as "the People" being "Well Regulated."
  16. 7 points
    Intro As there are not a lot of ressources regarding a transition from skydiving to paragliding/speedflying available online, I decided to share my experiences and impressions in this post here. Even if you are not planning to get into paragliding yourself, it might still give some interesting insights. If you like, I can keep you updated on my journey. About my skydiving background Originally from Austria, I started skydiving in southern Germany back in August 2012 and got pretty hooked on it. After spending every weekend at the dropzone for about a year, I decided to quit my regular job, move to the dropzone and pursue a career there, although I always had to support it with at least a part time "normal" job. Living off skydiving alone is almost impossible within Germany. After about two years (as soon as legally possible) I got my coach and tandem instructor rating. I was able to earn money with skydiving from that point on, mainly doing videos, tandems and coaching jumps. My AFF rating followed soon after. My favourite discipline in skydiving has always been canopy piloting, why I invested lots of time, money and effort into that. I quit skydiving in the beginning of 2020 as I was starting to burn out after 7 seasons of 7-day-weeks during the summer and moved back to my origin in the Alps of Austria at the beginning of this year. Alltogether I did about 3500 jumps of which about 2000 have been on solo-canopies. My canopy progression was: * PD 170 (~150 jumps) * Pilot 150 (~150 jumps) - started working on high-performance landings with that canopy * Pilot 132 (~200 jumps) * Katana 120 (~200 jumps) * Velocity 96 (~300 jumps) * Valkyrie 84 (~1.000 jumps) - loaded with up to 35lbs of extra lead (total exit weight around 220lbs) (sample landing) Do not take my personal path as advice for your own downsizing. I went through some downsizing steps rather fast, but keep in mind that I did many of these jumps in shorter timespans than many other people and always had direct mentoring from more experienced pilots available. In retrospective I have to say, that the step from the Pilot 132 to the Katana 120 was the most challenging. My paragliding experience until now I started my training at Cloudbase, a professional, commercial paragliding school in Zell am Ziller (Tyrol, Austria) - huge recommendation by the way - last Saturday and completed my final exam yesterday. Usually training takes a bit longer (40 flights) but due to local regulations a shortcut for licensed skydivers is possible (15 flights, although practically not appropriate in many cases). Theoretical instruction is easy, but covers topics that many skydivers have likely never had any contact with. It might have helped that I also hold a commercial pilot license for airplanes and have quite some knowledge regarding meteorology and basic aerodynamics, but I doubt that my skydiving experience gave me an advantage in that area. During training (and some test flights today) I had the chance to fly the following paragliding wings (surface area in brackets although less relevant): * Mescal S (240 sqft) * Masala S (235 sqft) * Susi 23 (213 sqft) * Susi 21(190 sqft) * Kode P 18 (173 sqft) * Tonic 2 S (172 sqft) How do paragliding wings compare to skydiving canopies? I was surprised how much performance even large student paragliding wings offered in comparison to skydiving canopies for students. While a skydiving canopy for students (and to be honest - also most intermediate skydiving canopies) allows the pilot to hang in the harness like a bag of water and yank on the steering lines without any requirement for sensitivity, a paragliding wing requires immensely more coordinated inputs by harness and brakes to achieve an acceptable amount of control. I suppose a docile student paragliding wing would likely still not kill you, but it will be a very uncontrolled ride, if you fly it the same way a skydiving canopy allows you to fly. Techniques required to fly real high-performance skydiving canopies transition very well to paragliding. From the first flight on paragliding felt very natural and I had the feeling of having a good amount of control over the wing. I got lots of compliments to be the very first skydiver at the school with sensitivity for brake inputs. Aside from techniques like doing big ears, that are not used/available in skydiving, a huge difference is the possibility of (unintentionally) inducing extended rolling and pitching oscillations and the inputs required to stop these oscillations. Standard skydiving canopies do not really require such inputs and will quickly self stabilize (or at least keep the oscillations low). High-performance skydiving canopies require such inputs but still stabilize quicker than paragliding wings. While angle-of-attack control is not necessarily required to safely fly a skydiving canopy, like it is on a paragliding wing, it certainly allows much better flight path control even on less performant skydiving wings (Did you ever feel your controls become "mushy" after recovering from a turn input? Surprise! There's ways around that...). Some skydiving pilots might bring that skill, some might not. Paragliding wings are a lot easier to flare than their skydiving counterparts. I did not see a lot of really bad flares during the course on my coursemates without any pre-experience. That is likely due to the much lower sink rate and more lift that paragliding wings provide. I would not expect any skydiver to have much trouble correctly flaring a paragliding wing. Paragliding wings seem a lot less critical regarding low turns. While even very docile student skydiving canopies react with a good amount of dive to any turn, I have seen safe turns at heights that sent shivers down my former skydiving instructor spine during the past week. There are other dangers that come with paragliding wings, but the risk coming with low turns seem a lot lower with paragliding. I do not have any numbers on that feeling, so take it with a grain of salt. Conclusion I have a hand full of paragliding flights by now, so my opinion might either be false or have to be revised by myself in the future. High-performance canopy flying experience transitions very well to paragliding and should allow you to feel comfortable on a paragliding wing quickly. Controls are different but follow very similar principles. If you got the feeling for a high-performance skydiving canopy, you will likely have the feeling for a paragliding wing. At least a docile one (like to ones I used to fly during the past week) and at least in my case. I doubt that limited, other skydiving experience will give you a huge advantage on paragliding. Some things might feel similar, certainly taking away a good amount of stress. Some of your habits might be very counter-productive. And it is very well possible that you will have to seriously extend your "toolbox of canopy control". Recommendations In any case, do not assume that you know how to fly a paragliding wing, because you know how to control a skydiving canopy. It's different. I for my part decided to go with the Tonic 2 S for now. It's very slow in comparison to the Valkyrie 84 I used to fly, but it still behaves reasonably agile and I have the feeling that I got a good amount of work to do until I can fly it perfectly to its limits. It outperforms similarly sized skydiving canopies by far. Speedflying is my goal, but I do not see any reason to rush it. Doing some paragliding training could be a good addition to becoming a great skydiving canopy pilot. I can see paragliding skills and knowledge transition extremely well to skydiving canopy control, if you already bring some skydiving experience. Paragliding training is super cheap in comparison to skydiving. And it's a huge amount of fun.
  17. 7 points
    Got an official response, the FBI has nothing relating to Max Gunther.
  18. 7 points
    Wow. You are really out in left field. I didn't assume the conclusion; I provided it. You have been provided facts and your response is Twitter and YouTube opinions from those that align with your position. They are wrong. You are wrong. Try reading the depth of research rather than regurgitating the gospel of others who are wrong. It's like JohnRich and 100th Monkey had an illegitimate son.
  19. 7 points
    Most 12 year-olds will understand the context and will grasp the concept that she is trying to convey. The fact that you are unable to says a lot more about you than you realise.
  20. 7 points
    You have a common misconception that seems to be rooted in the right. The Constitution does not tell people what their rights are. The Constitution tells the government what rights they may take from people. For example, Article 1 Section 8 tells us that the Constitution can tax the people to provide for an armed forces and for the general welfare; that takes away the right to not pay taxes. If the Constitution does not describe what rights may be taken away, then those rights revert to the states or the people. In this case, women had the inherent right to an abortion, just as they have an inherent right to marry someone who is not their race, or get cosmetic surgery, or sue someone, or become pilots. None of those rights are called out in the Constitution, nor do they need to be States may on occasion try to take those rights away, The Supreme Court's primary job is to protect those rights. We are now entering a phase where the Supreme Court will begin removing those rights for people in pursuit of the politiical ideology of their benefactors. They have already removed the protection on a women's right for bodily autonomy. They have signaled that they will try to do something similar with other currently-protected rights, like the right of women to get birth control, and the right of black students to go to the same schools as white students. Other republicans have signaled that the right to marry someone outside your race will be reconsidered as well - and given the political connection between the SC and the republicans, it's fair to say that that right is at risk as well. The US has had a long tradition of increasing rights for all. We ended slavery. We affirmed that women have the right to vote. We said that blacks to attend the same schools as whites. We guaranteed the right for blacks to marry whites, for gay people to marry each other, and indeed for gay people to exist at all. We have now reversed this trend. And if you think that they are going to stop at abortion - or that they will never get to a right that you value - you haven't been paying attention.
  21. 7 points
    It's worth remembering that the only really consistent Trump policy was to cancel every program, treaty, policy, or law from the Obama administration, and replace it with nothing. He cancelled the CDC's collaboration with the Chinese to monitor for emerging viruses, with the result that we were unaware of the Covid outbreak for months. He ignored the national pandemic response plan that was developed after the H1N1 outbreak, and failed to develop any national plan of his own. He went so far as to tell states they had to order their own PPE, setting up a scenario where states had to bid against each other and drive up the price, then he seized shipments destined for blue states and sent them to states whose governors sucked up to him. It's true he did allow the government to fund fast-tracked vaccine development (though that was a "no-brainer") but then he failed to develop any sort of a plan to distribute the vaccines, and blocked the incoming Biden administration from getting the information they needed to develop their own plan. Apart from Covid, he cancelled the program for dealing with black lung disease, and replaced it with nothing. He withdrew the US from the WHO, leaving us with no mechanism for collaborating with other countries to deal with a world-wide pandemic. He withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and replaced it with nothing, with the result that Iran stopped abiding by the deal and is now closer to a nuclear weapon than the have ever been. I could go on and on and on. Hatred of Obama is not a substitute for a national policy on anything. Hundreds of thousands of people died as a result, and people will be worse off for a long time because of Trump's obsession with erasing Obama from history.
  22. 7 points
    Melania comforted the president by yelling him that when you're older it's harder to maintain an inserection
  23. 7 points
    I sent this to every member of the USPA Board on May 5, including Luke. (Luke was the only Board member to respond. The USPA Executive Director did respond.) The issue here is one of credibility for USPA, the Board and most importantly, the membership. The ability of the skydiving community to operate and conduct itself with little FAA involvement is key. If Luke does not resign, or the Board does not revoke or otherwise legally suspend his USPA membership, ratings and licenses, the FAA is going to assume we need more oversight. And, USPA will find it very difficult to impose enforcement action against any member without this issue rightly being used to stop that action. "May 5, 2022 To: Board of Directors, US Parachute Association 5401 Southpoint Centre Blvd. Fredricksburg, VA 22407 From: Ron Lee, Skydiving Innovations USPA Member # 34394 S&TA, PRO D-16357 Dear Board of Directors, I am an active skydiver, 40-year member of USPA and CEO of Skydiving Innovations, (www.skydivinginnovations.com), a San Diego-based professional aviation entertainment and event company founded in 1986. I am writing to you regarding the recent Red Bull/Hulu “Plane Swap” stunt that took place on April 24, 2022. I have no doubt I am not the first person to communicate with USPA and the Board of Directors regarding this event. While the event itself may not have been completely successful, it was unquestionably compelling, and no doubt was the result of endless engineering, development, and hard work. It was also, thanks to the decision by Board Member Luke Aikins to execute the stunt after receiving the FAA’s exemption denial, an undeniable middle finger to the FAA and USPA membership. (See further.) We all know that skydiving’s ability to exist, let alone thrive and conduct itself with little government oversight is thanks to the fact that the FAA can trust USPA and its members to operate according to the FARs and USPA BSRs: that we will abide by the regulations and police ourselves accordingly. If we do not like certain rules or regulations or feel they are unnecessary or onerous, we can lobby for change. What we do not do is simply ignore them for the sake of anything other than immediate safety – not a big streaming deal with a content provider or to further our relationship with our longtime product sponsor. (This is where I insist that no-one try to assert the nonsensical idea that this was a “STEM project. You don’t tell the FAA it is a STEM project then charge six bucks and change to watch the result of your STEM project on Hulu.) I have talked with many skydivers and pilots about this situation, and by a large majority they believe that Luke made make the decision to do the stunt without the FAA exemption knowing full well that the worst that could happen (from an FAA enforcement perspective) is that he (and fellow-stunt-pilot/cousin Andy Farrington) would lose their pilot’s certificates for a year. I do not know if that is what they were willing to accept in order to fulfill Luke’s commitments to Hulu, Red Bull and Honda. But I do know that when he published his admission of responsibility for not “sharing” the FAA’s exemption denial with his team, Luke was attempting to convince everyone that he did not share the exemption denial with even his cousin or the underwriters of his project. While I find that hard to believe, if it is true – it can only mean that he was certainly willing to risk the pilot certificate of his fellow pilot and close family member. That alone should bother everyone. If Luke did share the exemption denial with even one person involved in the project, then his mea culpa on Instagram was a blatant, very public lie. That is troubling as well. More importantly to USPA and its membership: Luke Aikins has damaged the bond of trust that exists between USPA and the FAA. He thumbed his nose at that critical relationship for the sake of his own personal and financial interests. Luke is not just a skydiver or USPA member. He is a very recognizable forward-facing Board member and representative for the interests of the skydiving community, including commercial skydiving entities. (Personally and professionally, I deal with the FAA on a very frequent basis. After 36 years of working with and cultivating a mutually trustworthy relationship with the FAA, no-one within or outside the USPA organization has the right to arbitrarily risk that trust, especially a Board member.) I know that many of you may be good friends with Luke Aikins, and this situation has made things difficult for everyone, especially Luke. However, you have a responsibility to the interests of the skydiving community and USPA’s efforts to protect and further enhance our sport. It is for this reason that I am calling for Luke Aikins to resign from the USPA board and vacate his position as a Regional Director. (He can run again, and will very likely be re-elected thanks to his very loyal following in his region.) If he does not resign voluntarily, he should be removed from the USPA board and his RD position at the earliest possible time. USPA (and Luke) must demonstrate to the FAA and membership that it will not allow anyone, even a highly accomplished and respected, extremely well-liked Board member to risk the critical trust USPA and its members share with the FAA. If you do not take meaningful action, or if you just give Luke Aikins a slap on the wrist you will be signaling to the FAA that further oversight or regulation may be required because even a Board member cannot be trusted to go by the rules. You will also be telling members that FAA regulations and BSRs can be ignored with little or no consequence, and that will open the door to legitimate challenges to USPA’s authority to exercise enforcement action against members when necessary. That is a can of worms no-one wants opened. Very respectfully, Ron Lee Skydiving Innovations"
  24. 7 points
    This trend - the dumbing down of discourse to the level of angry soccer fans - is something that was predicted years, even decades ago by authors like Al Gore, Mike Judge, Susan Jacoby and Carl Sagan. I'm sure you've seen Carl Sagan's quote from 1996: I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or my grandchildren's time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness. The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30-second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance." Replace that with "clutching our crystals and consulting our horoscopes" with "taking Ivermectin and reading Twitter" and you have today's level of public discourse. And 10 seconds? That's forever by today's standards. Today what people consider "substantive content" includes "Let's go Brandon" "Hunter's laptop" and "I did that!" Under a second.
  25. 6 points
    The only thing we know for sure is that whatever would have happened here, you would have blamed the Dem's....Suppose the Fed did nothing and SVB's collapse spurred bank-runs that tanked other small/mid-sized banks. You'd have been on here skewering Biden for not shoring up the financial system. Your one guiding ideology is 'Dem's Suck' and that makes it hard to take your schtick too seriously.
  26. 6 points
    It must be quite the burden for you, being wise beyond the comprehension of everybody else, and yet so deeply cynical. At least you are eloquent! BTW there is no compelling evidence to support the idea that Covid-19 is a bioengineered weapon. On the other hand there is very strong evidence that it is a naturally occurring virus, spilled over from a zoonotic reservoir (probably bats), likely through a secondary zoonotic host, and into humans. There are many related coronaviruses that cause occasional spillover infections in people, and it is only a matter of time before it occurs again in circumstances that support higher transmission to people, selection for adaptive mutations, and yet another pandemic. A spillover infection in a small farming community almost always burns itself out, but the same virus brought to a "wet market" in a densely populated city presents a vastly greater risk. A problem with the "bioengineered" mythology is that it discounts the role of spillover of natural viruses, encourages politicians to dismiss that threat, and discourages efforts to find and track these spillover events and prepare for future pandemics. Of course, it is politically expedient, in that it allows politicians of a certain inclination to blame China (or any other entity it is convenient to direct the base's hate towards) while slashing funding for efforts to deal with present and future pandemics.
  27. 6 points
    Dear sfzombie13, Sailors will tell you that you need a rag to inspect steel cables. There are two methods of inspection. First, you can slide the rag along the steel cable to check for broken strands. Secondly, you can slide your bare hand down the cable, then use the rag to staunch your bleeding hand. Hah! Hah!
  28. 6 points
    The state should not be in the business of killing people.
  29. 6 points
    We tend to treat our animals better than our elders. I am a strong proponent of Assisted Suicide.
  30. 6 points
    So, now you echo the infamous Jefferson quote. One problem. He never said that. (you're free to contact the Thomas Jefferson Foundation to confirm - they have nothing that states he said that). It was written by John Barnhill in 1914. The way the Constitution protects against tyranny is Separation of Powers. “Liberty requires that the three great departments of power should be separate and distinct.” ~James Madison. You've really got to stop using YouTube, Rumbl, Breitbart and other supposed media outlets to make your arguments and try picking up a book. Or two, or three.
  31. 6 points
    Yes, birds can fly, and I'm sure they're happy about that. But the reason they sing... is because they don't have to pack!
  32. 6 points
    How odd that you never took issue with a president who said that COVID would just go away in the spring, and that if people supported him they wouldn't wear masks. His lies led to about 400,000 excess deaths. Could it be that you have a double standard here? So here's a question for you. 80% of the people in the US are vaccinated against COVID to some degree. If 60% of COVID deaths are in vaccinated people (this is NOT an accurate number, it is an example) - does the vaccine reduce death rates or not? OK. So I went to the source for that. Here's the actual data: Infection rate: No/partial vaccination 20/100K Full vaccination 11/100K Full vaccination + boost 7/100K Death rate young No/partial vaccination.5/100K Full vaccination .1/100K Boosted 0/100K Death rate middle age No/partial vaccination 3.6/100K Full vaccination .6/100K Boosted .3/100K Death rate old Not fully vaccinated 32/100K Full vaccinated 5.7/100K Boosted 2.7/100K https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/stats/vbt.html So: 1) Yes you can conclude that vaccinations greatly reduce the incidence of both infection and death. 2) Given that you misrepresented the Minnesota numbers above, why should we take your OUTRAGE! over someone's dishonesty seriously? You did something very similar.
  33. 6 points
    That book emphasizes that so much of our economy is dependent on oil - not as a fuel but as a raw material. We make fertilzer, plastics, clothing, rope, paint, asphalt, lubricants, medicines, solvents etc etc from oil and gas. Which is the best argument that we should not burn it all as fast as we can.
  34. 6 points
    Clearly, this is not the place for reasoned analysis--and nor is pretty much any other place online, but is everyone really satisfied with their diatribes of "my side is right", "your side stinks..." or rather: you are "woke" commies (has there ever even been such a thing??) or racist fascists? Anyone interested in trying to figure out what's actually going on? Regarding inflation: I'd say it's completely valid to argue either side of "is Biden or the current government doing a good job reacting to the current economic situation?" Personally, I don't see neither genius, nor abject failure--but the real, scary truth for most people must clearly be that the all powerful president of the United States simply does not have much power to do anything about this. Here is a chart of current inflation rates, by country: The US is pretty much smack dab in the middle--doing a little better than the EU on average (again, in my opinion the most reasonable point of comparison). Who is most "successful?" China! So...we want to be more like them??? As for gas prices: Same applies here: They are up everywhere, but comparing them is even more pointless without a whole lot of additional information. I really wonder if most people are actually aware of the fact that these things generally don't mean sh..t in regards to which side is right, and just use it as cannon fodder anyway, because actually understanding stuff and looking for solutions is difficult and boring--or if most people actually think that this stuff proves their point...just like they write it. (seems hard to believe, to me) Another case in point: Ukraine: It's true that an invasion by a mentally ill dictator (Putin) cannot be tolerated and must be responded to in the strongest terms. It also seems to be true that the russian government is highly corrupt. Yet, if you just look back a little into historic articles--let's say in the New York Times--the same was true for Ukraine, and no: It wasn't just when the pro-russian leaders were in power...and yes: There were a series of articles about neo-nazi groups in the Ukraine, and their reach and almost popularity. These articles stopped right after Russia's invasion, because they don't fit the currently convenient narrative. These groups also seem to be very much involved in the resistance against Russia now. So: It's complicated, a complete mess, and never an easy story to be used to prove that MY SIDE IS RIGHT and YOU OTHER FOLKS ARE CRAZY AND EVIL. But, boy, is that a boring piece of information...
  35. 6 points
    Please don't blame President Biden for crack pipes. Crack was a major problem long before Biden got elected Vice-President. Conspiracy theorists will tell you that the CIA introduced crack to Los Angles many decades ago as a means to oppress the black population. I struggled with the whole concept of supervised injection sites when I moved to a suburb of Vancouver, Canada more than 20 years ago. Then I drove a city bus through the dilapidated Downtown East Side for a few years. I started with a conservative attitude towards street drugs, but my attitude changed as I learned more about addiction. Many times I saw ambulances in front of the Portland Hotel. That experience convinced me that supervised injection sites are a good idea. Yes, many tight-assed, morally upright citizens see drug addiction as a moral weakness. But, a small percentage (maybe 5 or 10 percent) of addicts are so emotionally or physically damaged that they will never be able to hold a steady job. They self-medicate with alcohol or marijuana or hashish or heroin or crack or .... I should know because I was a drunk for 20 years. After X-number of years of consuming street drugs, their minds are fried and they can barely function. They can only function in a gov't subsidized neighborhood with flop houses, single-room-occupancy hotels, warming centers, soup kitchens, supervised injections sites, etc. Vancouver's DTES is less violent - than many major American cities - because homeless addicts do not have to compete for scarce food, lodging, etc. Brown nuns, Mennonites, Portland Hotel Society, Sikhs, Union Gospel Mission, United Church of Canada, etc. all provide charity to the down-on-their-luck, homeless. Supervised injection sites are a public health matter, similar to regular health checks for prostitutes. ... and plenty of addicts in Vancouver's DTES turn tricks to support their drug habits. Public health nurses offer their services to prostitutes to limit the spread of AIDS, crabs, goneria, HIV, hepatitus, herpes, lice, syphillus, etc. to the general public who only venture into the DTES for a "bit of fun" on the weekend. Bottom line, offering free crack pipes is a short-term solution to a long-term problem with mental health. Until the developed world provides mental health support - to the bulk of their populations, right-wing critics have no right to criticize those medical professionals who hand out clean needles or clean crack pipes.
  36. 6 points
    Serious question, why isn't this dude booted already? Only two scenarios are possible: They are a troll deliberately spreading mis/disinformation They are genuinely this stupid and incapable of engaging in good faith Neither option provides any value, and as has been previously pointed out, their spam posting of links to extremely questionable sources helps boost those sites in the eyes of search algorithms. Allowing them to continue to do so is actively harmful in a broad sense, not just to us poor saps foolish enough to hang out here.
  37. 6 points
    Don't feed the troll. Demand that the moderators give him the boot.
  38. 6 points
    Why would the starting position be that you refuse to respect someone until they have shown to you they deserve it? Seems to indicate you see yourself in a superior position. As if they owe you something. Why not just respect individuals until they have shown they do not deserve that respect. Start on equal footing.
  39. 6 points
    Every time I see a chart like this I wonder about a couple of things: 1. The chart shows total migrant arrivals, which lumps together legal and "illegal" arrivals. As far as the Trump administration and its supporters are concerned there is no real distinction, they seem to hate everybody who wants to come to this country (with the possible exception of white Europeans especially from Norway). However it is perfectly legal to present yourself at a border crossing and ask for asylum. Your petition will be adjudicated and a decision made, but no laws have been broken just by asking for asylum. 2. The Biden administration (really, Biden personally) is being blamed for people trying to come to the US. What power does any administration have to force people to stay home and not try to come here? Does the US have police powers in Guatemala (as an example)? Do we run the military in Mexico? How, exactly, is Biden supposed to intercept people and turn them back before they reach US soil? Would it not be more effective to figure out why so many people are fleeing their homes to come to a distant country? Few people leave home on a whim, just for a change of scenery. The journey is incredibly dangerous, and they are not at all assured of success. They are fleeing out-of-control gang violence, largely fueled by American demand for narcotics. They are fleeing corrupt and violent military regimes, many with a history of being supported by the US. They are fleeing starvation brought on by natural disasters, such as a series of hurricanes that struck Central America and destroyed their food production several years in a row. If you and your family were facing starvation and being constantly threatened and robbed by gangs, and your own government and police were powerless to help, who would not try to run to safety? But, when Biden (or Obama before that) proposes to spend money to try to help deal with those problems so people will be able to stay home, all we hear from politicians catering to the Trump base is "America First" and complaining about spending money on other countries. When I hear the rhetoric from many conservatives I have to believe that they would force people back into a burning building rather that allow them to break curfew. I'm reminded of the M.S. St. Louis, a ship carrying 900 Jewish passengers trying to flee from Nazi Germany in 1939. The ship was refused permission to dock, first in Cuba, then in the US, and finally in Canada before being forced to return to Germany, where over 1/3 of the passengers ultimately died in concentration camps. Disclosure: I am an immigrant to the US. I came here legally. The process took a long time, it was not particularly pleasant (the "system" assumes you are a terrorist or a criminal it seems), and it was very expensive. I was able to do that because I came from a non-shithole country (Canada), I am educated (PhD), and it probably did not hurt that I am white and I speak English.
  40. 6 points
    What is stupid is making health insurance a "perk" offered through the workplace, and sometimes only to management. In the civilized world health insurance is universal. One consequence of that is that businesses are not burdened with having to pay for insurance for any of their work force.
  41. 6 points
    I haven't posted or even lurked on these forums for a number of years, but I was inspired to share a quick note today. My name is Scott Miller. A couple of decades ago I started something called The Canopy School at Skydive DeLand, which became the Freedom of Flight Canopy School. Later, in collaboration with some awesome gentlemen from the PD Factory Team, that canopy school was transformed into Flight-1. I've been away from the skydiving world for a while, but I still stay in touch with some old skydiving friends and visit DeLand from time to time. I'm always impressed to see what Flight-1 has become thanks to all of the work that Ian, Shannon, and the rest of the crew have done. Back when I was teaching my canopy courses, students would always fill out a registration form at the start of the day. For all of these years, I've had all of those forms sitting in a couple of boxes in a closet. It always seemed worthwhile to keep them around, but yesterday I decided to run them through a scanner so I can finally get rid of the paper copies. Looking through all of those forms—almost 3,000 of them, from 8 years worth of canopy courses—brought back a lot of memories and emotions. It's hard to describe what it was like to look back at all of the DZs that I visited and to see some of the peoples' names on the forms. There was one feeling that percolated to the top, though. Above all else, I felt very, very grateful. I was, and still am, grateful for everyone who supported me and believed in what I was doing back then. I'm grateful for all of the jumpers who signed up and attended my courses. I'm grateful to the DZOs who invited me to come teach at their drop zones. I'm grateful for the local jumpers who did all of the planning, organizing, and coordinating to make the camps happen at their DZs. I'm grateful for the manifestors, managers, and everyone else who made all the moving parts fit together during the courses. I'm grateful for the pilots who flew extra passes at 5000' even though it's extra work, and who were willing to drop people way the hell upwind when we did the "long spot practice" jump at the end of the day. I'm grateful to Bob Hallett for supporting this whole project from the very beginning, and throughout. I'm grateful to all of the Relative Work School, Freedom of Flight School, and Flight-1 coaches with whom I had the honor of working and collaborating. I'm grateful to John LeBlanc for teaching me most of what I know about how canopies really, actually work. Gratitude is powerful. Taking a few moments to be grateful for someone or something—to think and feel a deep, genuine sense of gratitude—can bring so much joy into our lives and put things in a very different perspective. If I could go back in time, back to when I was a kid or even when I first started jumping, and pass myself a note, it would say, "be grateful for the people you have in your life and for the time that you have with them." That's why I'm here today. To share something that I'm very grateful for, and to pass you that note. Be grateful for what you have in your life. Be grateful for the people in your life and for the time that you have with them. Take some time every day to think about what you are grateful for: in skydiving, but also in other parts of your life. Practice a little gratitude every day, and watch it transform your life. Thank you for letting me share this with you today. BSBD Scott
  42. 6 points
    Would it? For real? Surely even among the minority of the population who are regular, active Republican voters there is no mandate for this absolute madness? Am I giving them too much credit or do you think it would just be a reflexive ‘oppose anything the Democrats like’ move? Though I was giving them too much credit on the abortion. I cannot believe the ‘No exceptions’ laws that are being enacted. How can anyone who claims to be ‘pro-life’ support a law which demands that a non-viable pregnancy be left to kill the mother? These sanctimonious hypocrites are fucking disgusting.
  43. 6 points
    It says a lot about the Constitution that 5 justices appointed by two presidents who LOST the popular vote can overturn 50 years of precedent, upheld in a multitude of cases by justices just as qualified as they are, all appointed by presidents who DID win the popular vote. I used to have respect for the Constitution but I now believe it is a seriously flawed document and a major contributor to the problems facing the USA.
  44. 6 points
    Anyone seeking Trump's endorsement needs to have their motives, character, integrity, and intelligence called into question.
  45. 6 points
  46. 6 points
    It's worth noting at this point that we see similar discussions on the incidents forum fairly often. Someone will do a low turn and break or kill themselves, and discussion will ensue. Fairly often (twice I can think of on the forum and twice in person) a conversation like this happens: JoeNewbie:"Why are you trying to analyze this to death? He was an idiot and he turned too low. He shouldn't have been on that canopy." JimOldTimer: "Well Joe you have a tiny canopy and you've had some issues. Maybe you should get some coaching to prevent something like this." JoeNewbie: "I am NOTHING like that guy! That's ridiculous! I am far more competent/skilled/experienced. You're nuts." Then a week/a month/a year later we read about how Joe broke himself (or killed himself) under that too-small canopy. One guy (this was someone I knew at my DZ) was like this. He kept downsizing until he could barely land his canopy, then he'd crow about how he was a good canopy pilot because he successfully jumped a dangerous canopy. Someone else would break their leg; wouldn't faze him. "Well he was an idiot." Someone else would die. "Well I'm not going to make such a stupid mistake." He got grounded at his home DZ for one sketchy landing too many. Then we made a trip to Eloy, and he showed up, telling us triumphantly "I'm not grounded HERE!" He started jumping. On one landing he landed too close to the mockup and took out Airspeed. Bryan Burke yelled at him, but that wasn't enough. On the last load of the day we were on jump run and we got a hold due to an injury on the field. No one had to even ask who it was. He ended up with an ambulance ride and a badly broken thumb. That still wasn't enough. I didn't see his final jump, but it put him in the hospital for months. Last I heard of him, they think he will walk again with lots of rehab. And now he becomes the example that the next jumper can point at and say "I am NOTHING like him! I'm far more competent." These forums are largely bullshit - people getting into stupid arguments over abortion, or how other rigs are deathtraps but THEIR rig is super, or what would happen if you towed the DZ with a tractor. But occasionally (and mostly in the Incidents forum) there's something that happens that you can learn from. Even if you are positive that you are nothing like that poor former skydiver. If there's anything good that might come from Billy's death, it's that - a chance to reflect on how something like this can happen, even to someone who believes themselves to be a safe and competent gun owner, and regularly explains that.
  47. 6 points
    Welcome aboard. I, for one, am willing to register all of my guns, pay a fee for any new or used guns I buy, give up guns that I never use and will likely never use again and and submit to a psychological exam (provided it wasn't administered by woodpeckers or grey digger squirrels) if by joining in it kept just one parent from learning that their nine year old was murdered by a bullied, mentally tortured, maniac at school that day. Maybe it would be pointless, maybe it would be wrong. But it's time to do something, to give up something, even if it's wrong.
  48. 6 points
    A few years back I was one who sided with the anti gun control folks. I don't know the answer but this has to stop.
  49. 6 points
    Yes. It's so easy to observe that it wasn't seen coming. It causes me to think that there is more behind everyone here on SC that I interact with than I can ever truly know. I need to think about that truth.
  50. 6 points
    I have no problem with paying my taxes to support the nation. What I object to is that the ultra-wealthy have bought their way out of doing so.
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