28 August 2014

My Newest History Toy

Those familiar with this blog are aware of my passion for relic hunting and amateur archeology. It is a fascinating, hands on dimension of history. I've been interested in artifacts and archeology since I was a young boy, but only became a serious relic hunter about five years ago. Since that time, I've owned several brands of metal detectors and currently own a total of four machines. By Friday, that number will be five. While I've always made an effort to purchase American made equipment for this very serious hobby of mine, I could not help but be intrigued by a French manufacturer I started hearing about two years ago. About three years ago, they announced a new model of metal detector that was revolutionary in regards to technology and design. Of course, manufacturers make these claims with every new model, but there really was something quite different about the XP Deus - it is totally wireless. And that's just one aspect of the revolutionary design. Going into much more detail than that will just bore most folks, but the technology innovations with this new machine are truly cutting edge. There's nothing else out there like it or anything that even comes close.

So I watched to see how the reviews would come in and to see if it was, as I suspected, simply "all sizzle and no steak." Then I began to notice a number of experienced relic hunters begin to sing the new machine's praises. They were leaving their tested and reliable models and switching to the XP Deus in increasing numbers. I watched and listened more until, finally, about two weeks ago, I became convinced that this truly cutting edge machine was worth the investment. Yesterday, I took the plunge and negotiated a super deal on a unit which I should have by Friday - just in time to give it a test drive over the weekend.

I've agreed to write a review for the machine once I give it a thorough testing. I have high hopes.


For those more curious, here's the "sizzle":

The innovative design of DEUS is based on three elements communicating via a digital radio link. In this new design the coil, remote control and audio headphones have each been made independent through the integration of very compact, high-capacity lithium batteries.

An ultra-miniature electronic circuit, incorporated in the search coil, digitizes and analyzes the signals. Data is then sent to the headphones and remote control in real time via the digital radio link. With this method, the signal is processed at source and not conveyed via a wire link, which greatly improves data quality.

Incorporating components from leading-edge technologies such as scientific instrumentation has enabled us to produce a powerful, rapid, lightweight, compact and fully controllable digital detector.

If you are an experienced user or a beginner, DEUS lets you decide whether or not to modify any of its settings. Powerful pre-configured factory programs enable all users to get started immediately, while expert detectorists can choose more advanced parameters via the intuitive interface.

The 'Remote Control' is in fact the user interface, known as the 'control box' on conventional detectors. It enables the detector's many functions to be precisely adjusted via a graphical interface. It can also receive program updates (via internet) through its USB socket.

DEUS is also exceptional in being able to function without the remote control, with the ability to use just the coil and the wireless headphones, for an even more compact, lightweight configuration (just 2 lbs.)!

Like the remote control, the headphones contain all the components needed for detection — they are a genuine control unit in themselves, but on an ultra-miniature scale. They take over in the absence of the remote control for adjusting the detector settings.

With the headphones you can turn DEUS on and off, change the main detection settings such as sensitivity, discrimination, ground balance, tone, frequency (4 kHz, 8 kHz, 12 kHz, 18 kHz), volume, etc. as well as select the factory programs or those previously configured with the remote control! Performance is identical whether you are searching with or without the remote control!

Lastly, the XP stem has the combined advantages of an S-shaped stem and a straight telescopic stem. It enables you to deploy or fold away the device in just a few seconds, and to change the coil in an instant. Its user-friendly design ensures comfort and convenience for the user: length is fully adjustable by millimeter increments; improved operating angle and shaped rubber handle for a firm, controlled grip. Now you're ready for a new adventure!
And more detail here.

27 August 2014

Connecting World History & Current Events

Listen to an interesting discussion on this topic here:

HSLDA | Step Into A Larger World: An Interview with David Aikman

Pull quote from the above interview with Patrick Henry College Professor, Dr. David Aikman:
China is a country that is discovering that Christianity is actually a rather good way of running a country. I have had several books that have quoted conversations from my book, Jesus in Beijing. In particular, one conversation where a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences is saying, “We wanted to discover why the West was so successful. We thought it was economics, we thought it was democracy, we thought it was military technology, but then we realized that the core of the success of the West was Christianity, because the Christian spirit has enabled the development of science, the faith and exploration and so forth.” So, knowing what made America great is a good way of seeing how the Chinese are beginning to look at their own society.  

Godless In Wackydemia

Here's the latest from control freak central:
According to the #6 [rule] under the “Behavioral Deduction” section of the syllabus, students’ grades will be lowered for: “Saying ‘bless you.’ We are taught that it is polite to say ‘bless you’ when someone sneezes. However, if you say this while I am talking, it is NOT polite, it is very rude!”
Some folks just need a good dose of ego-deflating. More here.

26 August 2014

Politicizing American History Via The College Boards

Revealed even further by NRO's Stanley Kurtz's latest. Nothing really new here, despite the claims of the complicit and flat-earth society. Just another means to an end and ultimate goals of the "enemies of American Exceptionalism." Many modern historians have their preferred narrative that America is, to one degree or another, the focus of all evil in the modern world. These folks want:
. . . early American history to be less about the Pilgrims, Plymouth Colony, and John Winthrop’s “City on a Hill” speech, and more about the role of the plantation economy and the slave trade in the rise of an intrinsically exploitative international capitalism.
And if you doubt that, just surf academic history blogs.
How can American conservatives, moderates, and even traditional liberals trust an AP U.S. History redesign effort led by figures who were so deeply enmeshed in a leftist attempt to reshape the American history curriculum?
The short answer is, you can't - and you shouldn't.  Kurtz's piece is very good and goes into great detail as to how court historians are using College Boards to undermine our nation's history and distorting our founding and America's greatness.  

And the historians who so often deny this is actually happening are either complicit liars or ignorant; which is why many of them are less and less respected.

Robert E. Lee: "A Role Model For All"

Despite the opinions of lesser, agenda-driven men.

The latest from North South Trader's Civil War publisher, Steve Sylvia:
. . . Lee was a man defined by honor. His English ancestors fought beside William the Conqueror, another marched in the Third Crusade in the Holy Land, and one was knighted by Queen Elizabeth. In the context of both his lineage and his times, Robert E. Lee's choice to side with family, community, and state against the United States is understandable. His own father defied his ancestral England when he made the choice to join the Continental Army. Defense of hearth and home and resistance to injustice came naturally to men like the Lees.
From Lee's perspective, the US was about to wage war on his home, his people, and his family. Even though the basic principles of the Republic had been compromised, Lee agonized over the decision and made his choice reluctantly. Once committed, he fought like a lion. Once defeated, he was without rancor. Such a man is not a traitor but a role model for all.
More here.

25 August 2014

The Forgotten Man Of The West


The Black Cowboy . . ."let us all say amen." Amen.

22 August 2014

Metal Detecting Post #113

Found this morning on a Shenandoah Valley farm that dates to the mid 18th century: part of a colonial era silver spoon or fork handle.



19 August 2014

New Projects In The Works

Well, no sooner had I finished the book on the Battle of Waynesboro, I was contacted by a film producer about working together on a history related project. I'm also finishing up an essay for a Civil War website and a query for an article related to the BoW book has been accepted by a very prestigious military history related publication.

My wife is not happy about this.

Is "Anti-Intellectualism" Justified? (Part 1)

If, by "intellectualism", you mean an association with academia, then yes; as Dr. Walter Williams demonstrates:
At Georgetown University, there’s a course called Philosophy and Star Trek, where professor Linda Wetzel explores questions such as “Can persons survive death?” and “Is time travel possible? Could we go back and kill our grandmothers?”

At Columbia College Chicago, there’s a class called Zombies in Popular Media. The course description reads, “Daily assignments focus on reflection and commentary, while final projects foster thoughtful connections between student disciplines and the figure of the zombie.”

West Coast colleges refuse to be left behind the times. University of California, Irvine physics professor Michael Dennin teaches The Science of Superheroes, in which he explores questions such as “Have you ever wondered if Superman could really bend steel bars?” and “Would a ‘gamma ray’ accident turn you into the Hulk?” and “What is a ‘spidey-sense’?”

The bottom line is that many colleges have lost sight of their basic educational mission of teaching young people critical thinking skills, and they’re failing at that mission at higher and higher costs to parents and taxpayers.
And how can we forget hairy armpit credit at Arizona State University? If this is "intellectualism", I think I'll pass. 

More here.

17 August 2014

Metal Detecting Post #112 - 1864 Indian Head

The longer I relic hunt, the more I realize how important research is. My hunting partner recently discovered an old road bed in central Virginia which saw a lot of Civil War traffic. It was also a road dating to colonial days. Last week, we did a recon hunt there but just had a couple of hours. After hunting the road bed for a while, but not finding anything of interest, I wandered off to the side and soon found a 19th century brass candlestick holder. Within the same 5 foot area I also found what I think is a gun tool (will post pics after cleaned) some iron scissor handles, and a period civilian button. Very close by, my partner found some iron kettle pieces. Then, about 30 feet from where I found these items, I found this 1864 Indian Head and another coin (appears to be copper, but badly corroded ). I'm thinking we may have stumbled upon a camp (either civilian or military) or, at the very least, an old home site. But by then it was getting hot, the ground was very dry and hard so we packed it in with plans to go back in the fall. 

What's amazing is the number of cars that speed past this site every day, not knowing the history that lies just 100 feet from the current road. 



16 August 2014

Can We Understand The Course Of History?

I read some interesting commentary in a recent issue of North South Trader's Civil War magazine. As I've noted before, it is my favorite WBTS publication. One of the features I look forward to the most is the Publisher's Forum - an editorial which features the observations and insights of the publisher, Stephen W. Sylvia. Sylvia is not only a knowledgeable historian, he is a gifted writer as well. In the most recent issue, his editorial centers around a response to someone who mocked and ridiculed the Christian faith. His reflections regarding that subject reminded me of words spoken by John Adams to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts in 1798: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people."

George Washington said something very similar in his Farewell Address
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. . . . And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.
I was also reminded of something I once heard Professor James I. Robertson, Jr. say about moderns and how they view Robert E. Lee: "Robert E. Lee never existed [in the minds of some] because we don't have a Robert E. Lee today." 

Much of the reason for moderns' misunderstanding of Lee can be explained by Douglas Southall Freeman's observation regarding Lee:
Because he was calm when others were frenzied, loving when they hated, and silent when they spoke with bitter tongue, they shook their heads and said he was a superman or a mysterious man. Beneath that untroubled exterior, they said, deep storms must rage; his dignity, his reserve, and his few words concealed sombre thoughts, repressed ambitions, livid resentments. They were mistaken. Robert Lee was one of the small company of great men in whom there is no inconsistency to be explained, no enigma to be solved. What he seemed, he was — a wholly human gentleman, the essential elements of whose positive character were two and only two, simplicity and spirituality.
My point is that it is impossible to understand the course of history, shaped by human lives, without a firm understanding of morality, religion and spirituality. And, when it comes to American history, that religion is specifically Christianity. 
Would we have been able to sustain the sacrifices and risks of the Revolution if it weren't for our forefather's commonly held Christian beliefs and Christian-oriented cultural traditions? Would we have been able to recover from a horrific civil war if we hadn't held to a time-honored code of morals and ethical behavior?

Can any society persist without a strong moral compass? . . . I don't believe that those without respect for or even and understanding of traditional morals can grasp the character of those ancestors we so admire and commemorate. Without an understanding of the experiences and belief systems that informed their decisions, how can we hope to understand the course of history itself? ~ Stephen W. Sylvia

15 August 2014

Rand Paul On Fergurson, Missouri

The shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown is an awful tragedy that continues to send shockwaves through the community of Ferguson, Missouri and across the nation If I had been told to get out of the street as a teenager, there would have been a distinct possibility that I might have smarted off. But, I wouldn’t have expected to be shot. ~ Senator Rand Paul
Yeah, ditto that. If that is, in fact, what happened, then the officer should be charged, at the very least, with manslaughter - perhaps even murder.
Why armored vehicles in a Midwestern inner suburb? Why would cops wear camouflage gear against a terrain patterned by convenience stores and beauty parlors? Why are the authorities in Ferguson, Mo. so given to quasi-martial crowd control methods (such as bans on walking on the street) and, per the reporting of Riverfront Times, the firing of tear gas at people in their own yards? (“‘This my property!’ he shouted, prompting police to fire a tear gas canister directly at his face.”) Why would someone identifying himself as an 82nd Airborne Army veteran, observing the Ferguson police scene, comment that “We rolled lighter than that in an actual warzone”?
Paul calls for the demilitarization of local police. I agree. Read the whole article by Paul here, in Time.

Phil Sheridan's Views On Killing "Noncombatants"

Following the tactics he had employed in Virginia [the Shenandoah Valley], Sheridan sought to strike directly at the material basis of the Plains Indian nations. He believed—correctly, it turned out—that attacking the Indians in their encampments during the winter would give him the element of surprise and take advantage of the scarce forage available for Indian mounts. He was unconcerned about the likelihood of high casualties among noncombatants, once remarking that “If a village is attacked and women and children killed, the responsibility is not with the soldiers but with the people whose crimes necessitated the attack.” 

Well of course. 

As quoted from that hotbed of Neo-Confederates, PBS.

14 August 2014

A Southerner Experiences Boston

And, believe it or not, he has some nice things to say about Bean Town.
It probably compensates these men that New Englanders seem every bit as friendly as Southerners. This was a pleasant surprise, but it shouldn't have been. Markets place politeness and respect in the individual's self interest, and Boston, which is surely the capital of modern American liberalism, still has a private sector that perseveres in spite of the Bostonian embrace of various levels of government. If the American South is friendlier than the North (as the stereotype says), it is only because the public sector has not yet made as strong of a foothold in that region, allowing bourgeois values (like politeness and respect) to persist.