Kind of out my expertise. I am an antiquer, my knowledge is in old guns, typically pre-1900
He is a former marathon runner and adventure racer. On his most grueling race he covered something like 100 miles in 10 hours (running, biking, kayaking). He had to stop his races because it messed up his joints, and he had to get hip replacements. He’s still in really awesome shape though.
Anyway I wanted to see what the vital signs of a superhuman would be.
Heart Rate: 52 (normal is 70-100)
Respiration rate: 6 (normal is 10-20)
Blood Pressure: 80/60 (normal is 120/80)
Pulse Oximetry: 99% (I rarely see anyone break 98%)
Not something I usually blog about, but since I am getting healthy and all so “I don’t have a stroke and die” as my doctor puts it, I figured I should pass on this knowledge.
Everyday I check my own blood pressure. Due to excercise, diet, and the help of BP meds, it has slowely been going down and returning to normal. Everyone who is a hypertensive, has high cholesterol levels, or is at risk for heart disease should learn how to do it. It is easy, I do it every day!
Step 1, Buy a bloodpressure cuff and kit.
You don’t need anything fancy, high tech or expense. Often in drug stores or Walmart you find BP cuff and stethoscope kits for around $25. Since I am studying for medicine I use a much better stethoscope, but the cheap one that comes with the kit will suffice.
Step 2. Place stethoscope on brachial artery.
Your brachial artery runs down the inside of your arm. Place the bell of your stethscope on the red circle on the picture below.
Step 3. Put on BP cuff.
Place cuff on upper arm. You want the bottom of the cuff to be right above the kink of your arm/elbow. Typically the cuff has a line on it that should be lined up with your brachial artery. It should be snug but not tight. It is best to have someone help you. However if you are doing it yourself you will eventually figure out how to do it.
Some things to know before next step.
This is the BP gauge, it is measured in mmHg (millimeters mercury, don’t worry it doesn’t contain mercury), typically in increments of 10
This is the valve , this releases pressure in the cuff after it has been filled with air (red arrow below).
Step 4. Pump up cuff until pressure reaches roughly 200 mmHg.
Step 5: Release valve, release pressure.
When you release the pressure the arrow will drop. Release the valve just a tiny bit so that the needle drops very slowely.
Things to know before next step
When your blood pressure is taken, blood flow through the artery is completely cut off. As pressure is released blood flow will return. This is where the stethoscope comes in. Listen to the pulse, when blood flow returns you will hear a loud series of “bumps” or “thuds”. It will sound like “bump, bump, bump, bump” until it becomes faint and can no longer be heard.
Step 6: Listen to the “bumps”
As pressure is released and the needle goes down, listen for the bumps while watching the pressure gauge. Take note of the pressure when you hear the first bump. Keep listening, then take note of the pressure when you hear the very last bump, right before you can no longer hear your pulse.
- The first bump is your systolic blood pressure, which is the pressure needed for your heart to pump the blood out. Normal Systolic pressure is around 120.
- The last bump is your diastolic blood pressure. This is the pressure needed for your heart to refill with blood. Normal diastolic BP is around 80.
- Blood pressure is expressed as a fraction of systolic over diastolic. Thus normal blood pressure is 120/80.
- If your BP is 130/90, you have slightly high blood pressure, if above 140/100, you have very high blood pressure. In any case if you BP is high you should see a doctor. If it is below 110 you have slightly low blood pressure, below 100 you have very low blood pressure. See a doctor.
- Note that athletes who are involved in a lot of intensive cardio exercise often have low blood pressure. My dad for instance, who is a former marathon runner and adventure racer has a BP of 80/60. This is normal for him since he has a much more efficient heart and set of arteries than most humans. Elderly people who are in healthy condition also tend to have slightly lower blood pressure.
- If you hear weird sounds other than “bumps” or your heart rate sounds out of rhythm, see a doctor.
A German breechloading single schuetzen target rifle crafted by A. Frieberger of Augsburg, Germany, late 19th century.
George Washington, Father of our Country, father of the modern expense account.
One of the great myths of American history is the notion that George Washington was a very humble man, a man who very reluctantly had power thrust upon him. While there are varying degrees of truth to this notion, there is also a lot of humbuggery. One anecdote that is often touted by modern patriots and proud Americans is the fact that George Washington never accepted payment for his services as commander of the Continental Army. This gives the impression that Gen. Washington was so patriotic he was willing to take a big financial hit for the cause of freedom; he was offering his services for free. Nothing could be so far from the truth.
It is true that George Washington did not accept a salary for his services as Commander of the Continental Army. Washington himself addressed the Continental Congress, “Sir, I beg leave to assure the Congress that as no pecuniary consideration could have tempted me to have accepted this arduous employment, I do not wish to make any profit from it.” So yeah, Washington was refusing a salary, however he humbly stated, “I will keep an exact account of my expenses. Those I doubt not they will discharge, and that is all I desire.” In others words, Washington was asking for an expense account, quite possibly the first person in history to do so. Today, expense accounts are very common, especially among businesspeople that are required to travel as a part of their jobs. So a company will reimburse them for their expenses such as food, mileage, airline travel, rentals, lodging, etc. However, it is not uncommon for an expense account to be abused, with a company paying out for employees expenses that are questionable as to the purpose of their work. G. Washington was also the first person to take advantage of the expense account.
While an expense account may be all Washington desired, it later turned out his desires were great. In the eight years he served as head of the army, he charged $449, 261.51 in 1780 valued money to his personal account. When adjusted for inflation that amounts to around $4.5 million today. In contrast a general at the time typically earned a salary of around $2000 a year. Obviously choosing an expense account turned out to be a pretty damn good deal for Gen. Washington. So what did he spend all that money on?
Food and drink: Gen. Washington ate and drank a lot during his service. He often hosted grand dinners and feasts for his officers and friends. All kinds of pigs, cattle, sheep, lamb, and fowl were bought to feed the Washington family and their guests. For example, on July 21st, 1775, the Washington purchased “a pig, an unreadable number of ducks, 1 dozen pigeons, veal, 1 dozen squash, 2 dozen eggs, hurtleberries, biscuit and a cork cask”. On October of the same year he purchased 32 dozen eggs. He often bought large crates of limes, sometimes even 400 at a time, that’s a lot of limes! Medeira Wine, a rare and expensive Spanish wine grown on a small island off the coast of Africa was one of his favorites, and Washington notes no less than three times that he had to change his wine supplier while on campaign. Between September 1775 and March 1776 he spent over $6,000 on booze. He continued to buy tea, though expensive due to the British blockade. During Washington’s command, he gained around 30 pounds.
Entertainment: Washington often hired bands, theater groups, and other various entertainers on Continental Congress’s dime.
Transportation: Lots of horses, a new carriage, he bought a new saddle which cost $800, he purchased a letter container made of fine Russian leather for $81 (an enlisted soldier made that amount in a year). In 1777, during the retreat from New York to Pennsylvania, he charged $3,776 on personal transportation costs.
Very Questionable Charges: One common thing Washington would do is lend money to his friends and charge it to the account. His friends usually never repaid the loans. Throughout his statements Washington would often list “various sundry items” or “for the use of my own command”. Often these ambiguous charges amounted to hundreds or thousands of dollars each. One such whopping charge was for $20,400, Washington left a short note in the ledger stating that he had lost the receipts for this charge and forgot what it was. Today any accountant who noticed such a ledger would suspect fraud or embezzlement.
Some Necessary: To be fair to Gen. Washington, he did sometimes use his account as intended. One common charge was for cash to pay spies. During the winter at Valley Forge he hired a theater group to perform plays in order to keep up his men’s spirits. The staunch New England Puritans in the Continental Congress, who thought plays to be sinful, passed a law forbidding those in the military from attending theatrical performances.
When Washington submitted his ledgers the Continental Congress accepted every single charge without question or scruple. In the end the accountants of congress actually found that the government owed Washington 89/90ths of a dollar. When Washington became the first President of the United States in 1789, he again tried to pull his, “just cover my humble expenses” jive. This time congress wasn’t buying it. They rejected his humble offer and forced him to receive a “modest” $25,000 yearly salary.
While today we may look down upon such practices, at the time it was perfectly acceptable. I hate to break it to everyone, but the founding fathers acted like gentleman pirates when they held public office. Almost all of them used their power and position to dip into the public treasury and better their wealth. Not only did people turn a blind eye to such corruption, it was something to be expected. In 1779 Benedict Arnold was military commander of Philadelphia. He had alienated many people with his ambitious personality, so they squealed on him making handsome profits by overcharging Congress for war supplies and pocketing the surplus. At his court martial his defense basically was, “hey, everyone else is doing it, why single me out”. Unable to plunder the Continental treasury, Arnold resigned his commission, switched sides, and proceeded to plunder the British treasury.
It’s important to remember that great historical figures were still human beings, they had their faults, they had their prejudices, and more importantly they lived in a time that had drastically different standards than what we have today. Even a great man like George Washington would seem vile to modern standards, someone you wouldn’t want to stay overnight in your home, someone not fit for modern civilization. Despite their flaws it is important to remember that because of their ideals and accomplishments, they were able to further society and mankind. They were able to create a new system that changed peoples attitudes about human rights and civil society in general.
Today, however, it is still an American tradition for politicians to suckle at the bosom of the public treasury by charging questionable expenses in an expense account.
The Billinghurst Requa Battery Gun,
Manufactured by the Billinghurst Company of Rochester, New York, the Billinghurst Requa Battery Gun was a type of volley gun commonly used by Union forces during the American Civil War. Featuring 25 barrels that fired simultaneously, the Billinghurst actually was not a muzzleloading device like early volley gun designs. Rather it was loaded from the breech with .58 caliber metallic self contained cartridges. Each cartridge lacked a primer, but were discharged simultaneously through the ignition of one central percussion cap. Furthermore, all 25 chambers of the gun could be loaded simultaneously using a special 25 round clip which held the cartridges. Using this system a crew of 3 could fire 7 volleys a minute, discharging 175 rounds.
On the battlefield the Billinghurst saw little action. Drawn on a carriage by horse or mule, it was very immobile. All enemy soldiers had to do to avoid its deadly volleys was stay out of its way. However, the Billinghurst had a very specific role where it excelled; in tight spaces where soldiers could not maneuver, such as narrow bridges, river crossing, and small paths. The Confederates made their own copies, but of lesser quality.
The violence had been building in Massachusetts since the arrival of the unwelcome British troops in the late 1768. Tension between the British Americans of Massachusetts and the solders lead to occasional beatings of British solders by Bostonian men. British solders aggressing against citizens were swiftly brought into court. And solders where largely rendered ineffectual at enforcing the trade acts do to Bostonians persistence and fortitude. Wary of upheaval, civil authorities feared calling upon solders for support. In october 1769 Gov. Hutchinson wanted to use troops against a mob that had seized a hated customs informer, but was warned off by the advice of the Council, sheriff, and justices of the peace.
In late october1769, a crowed attracted a British troop with sticks and stones and forced it to disperse.
Colonel William Dalrymple, Commander of the, troops blustered that this incident was “but a prelude,” and that “never was the popular insolence at such a pitch!”
Non-importation, British troops, Liberal agitation, the mounting climate of violence, the increasing edginess and ineffectuality of the solders—- all culminated and came fatefully to a head in early 1770.
The culminating crisis unsurprisingly arose out of from the pressuring of the four mercantile holdouts against non-importation: John Taylor, Theophilus Lillie, William Jackson, and Nathaniel Rogers, (nephew of Gov. Hutchinson)
On february 22, some schoolboys led a crowd in placing an effigy of the four importers at the door of Theophilus Lillie. Seeing this the infamous informer Ebenezer Richardson denounced the boys and tred to destroy the effigy. The appearance of the reviled customs informer was just what was needed to inflame the crowd, which pursued him to his house crying, “INFORMER! INFORMER!” There the boys threw rocks at his house where upon the panicky Tory Richardson fired repeatedly into the crowd, killing 11 year-old Christopher Snider and wounding the 11 year-old son of Captain John Gore.
The effect that the killing 11 year-old Christopher had on the Bostonian public opinion is easy to imagine. Richardson barely excepted being hanged on the spot, and the four miscreant importers ether left town or mounted an armed guard.
The funeral procession for little Christopher, organized by the Sons of Liberty, was two miles long! Perhaps the largest ever gathered In colonial America.
The huge funeral was patterned after the Wilkite funeral in England for the innocent victim of the Massacre of St. George’s Fields, William Allen.
Although I feel I’m getting slightly away from the topic of the Boston Massacre, it is important for me to momentarily make note that the Wilkite movement in England was an important source of inspiration for the British American liberal movement in Massachusetts and the rest of the American colonies. Colonial heats had bled for the Massacre at St. George’s Fields and the incarceration of John Wilkes. And as early as the first Wilkite agitation in 1763, Americans recognized the righteous struggle taken up by their brethren in the motherland as a testament to their kinship to liberty and their enmity to tyranny. And on June 6, 1768, a committee of the Boston Sons of Liberty, including John Adams, Benjamin Church, Joseph Warren, and others, wrote to Wilkes as “The Friends of Liberty, Wilkes, peace, and good order.” The Bostonians hailed Wilkes’ fight for the true British constitution, commended John Dickinson’s pamphlet to his attention, and sent a monetary token of their esteem.
On July 19, Wilkes significantly replied from prison that his dedication to liberty had no local confines, and that he was “a friend to Universal liberty.” Wilkes warmly commended Dickinson’s “generous and rational Farmer’s Letters, in which the cause of freedom is perfectly understood,” and never so ably defended. Such was the beginning of a more formal linkage between the Liberty movements in Britain and America, and a voluminous correspondence between John Wilkes and the Boston Sons.
Returning now to the Boston massacre.
To the Boston liberals the murder of young Snider also recalled the tragic assault on James Otis, a leader in the non-importation movement in Massachusetts, who was beaten viciously on the head with a cane by a custom-house official who had been angered by a newspaper attack. Otis never recovered and for the rest of his life was plagued by bouts of mental instability which then on prevented him form acting in the moment.
Tragic as the attack on Otis was, the 11 year-old Snider was “the first, whose his life has been a victim to the cruelty and rage of the oppressors!” The Boston Gazette thundered that “the blood of young Allen (the innocent victim at St. George’s Fields) may be covered in Britain. But a thorough inquisition would be made in America for that of young Snider, which crieth for vengeance, like the blood of the righteous Able!”
In less than two weeks clashes occurred on March 2, and 3rd, between Bostonians and the troops. British complaints were to draw retorts by the Massachusetts Council that the evident solution was to withdraw the troops. For their part, the populace believed the customs commissioners (the bosses of Richardson) to be implicated in the child murder, and where indignant at the solders being used to guard the hated commissioners at the customhouse.
The crisis arrived on the night of March filth. The troops began the day by printing an insulting hand bill. A small Riot was precipitated by a fist fight between a solder and ropewalk worker; there had been bad blood between ropewalk laborers and the troops before. As night fell, a soldier struck, with his musket, a young appearance, who had been denouncing British officers and rousing ugly memories of the child killing of two weeks before. A crowd now gathered before the barracks of the Fourteenth Regiment and pelted the sentries with snow balls.
Meanwhile, the meeting bell was rung and a crowed gathered at the customhouse on King Street, where the main body of troops was stationed. Someone recognized the solder who had assaulted the young apprentice—-a sentry at the customhouse—-and the crowd attacked him with snowballs and sticks of broken ice.
At this critical juncture, the customs officials at customhouse called for the main guard headed by a Captain Thomas Preston to come to the rescue of the honor of the sentry, the army, and the commissioners who had brought the troops to Boston in the first place. Captain Preston and his guard confronted the mob with fixed bayonets. The crowd pressed on the bayonets and when the gun of one solder was knocked to the ground the solders fired into the crowd. Joined by the customs officials who shot at the crowd from the upper floor of the customhouse. Five men fell dead form the murderous volley. The first man to die was Crispus Attucks, a tall black sailor, who had been one of the most zealous front-fighters in the Sons of Liberty.
At the sound of the muskets the Bostonians fell back, but soon advanced again to take away their dead. The panicked soldiers got ready to fire again, but Captain Preston struck their guns out of position. Soon the Boston crowd began to form in the earnest, and the streets rang with the cry of,
“TO ARMS! TO ARMS! TURN OUT WITH YOUR GUNS!!!
Nearly 500 people of Boston assembled swearing to kill every British solder who had fired upon the crowd. Preston and his men where forced to retreat to the safety of the guard house..
A combined halberd, fork, and wheel-lock pistol. Made in Germany circa 1580.
Currently on display with the Wallace Collection in London.
Empress Josephine’s shell cameo diadem, presented to her by her brother-in-law Joachim Murat. Empire period 1804–15 gold, shell, mother-of-pearl, cameos, pearls, precious and semi-precious stones.
Here’s a very odd one. A prototype automatic (maybe .45 acp) single action / double action pistol that looks quite a bit like a revolver (or sci-fi movie gun).
In other places on the internet this is listed as actually being a semi-auto revolver but I don’t think it is: It looks to me like the “cylinder” is actually just a rotary magazine, making this a more or less conventionally fed semi auto pistol, with respect to the magazine-chamber relationship. Of course that leaves the particulars of the action and a lot of other things up in the air, certainly something very interesting is going on here.
Apparently “THIS one is pictured in a 1930’s catalog WORLD’S GUNS, an advertisement catalog by Golden State, page 192.” and perhaps the catalog entry includes a bit more information.
A Boer Wars vintage Lee-Enfield Cavalry Carbine.
Belongs to a user on britishmilitaryforums. On the stock is carved the initials “E.B. Cecil” (an Australian private) and insignia of the 6th Queen’s Imperial Bushman.
Remember that the Russian M1895’s were military contract rifles while the rest were sporting rifles. Sporting rifles last much, much longer than military rifles. The other civilian M1895’s were used by hunters and sport shooters, they took care of their rifles, they protected them, and the rifles weren’t exposed to the rough conditions that military firearms generally are. Whereas the military models went into combat, were broken, were blown up, were shot out, were buried in the snow, etc. Plus many may have been torn apart and melted down to make receivers for Mosin Nagants later on. Not to mention 300,000 is not a lot of rifles, not when Mosin Nagants, Enfields, Mannlichers, and Mausers were produced by the MILLIONS.