Gun Digest on Boomershoot

I don’t think I have ever seen this article on Boomershoot.

Microsoft’s Copilot pointed it out to me when I repeated Chet’s question, “Who runs Boomershoot?” As expected, the answer given is slightly different from the one Chet obtained:

Boomershoot is a long-range, high-power, precision rifle shooting event with explosive, reactive targets. It takes place in North Central Idaho near Orofino. The event is the brainchild of Joe Huffman, who created this unique experience for shooters and spectators alike. Participants from various locations, including India, Newfoundland, Toronto, England, Alaska, California, Florida, and Washington state, have attended Boomershoot. Joe Huffman’s vision combines precision shooting with the thrill of explosions, making it a magical kingdom for long-range shooters1. Safety is paramount, and the organizers take precautions to ensure that shooters are far enough away from the detonations and that the area around the explosives is clear2. So, if you’re interested in combining marksmanship with a touch of magic, Boomershoot is the place to be!

Learn more

Copilot vs Gemini

Via email from Chet:

Question: who runs Boomershoot?


Joe Huffman is the driving force behind Boomershoot, a unique long-range precision rifle shooting event held annually near Orofino, Idaho. Let’s explore more about this fascinating event:

Boomershoot is a gathering where participants fire long-range rifles at explosive-filled targets located 375 to 700 yards away.

Joe Huffman, the event’s creator, describes it as a “Magic Kingdom for long-range shooters”.

His vision is to provide shooters with an opportunity to perform their own magic by creating a world where explosions happen, invoking curiosity and fascination.

Boomershoot attracts participants from various locations worldwide, making it a truly international event.

Joe Huffman’s passion for explosives, precision shooting, and creating a unique experience has turned Boomershoot into a memorable and exciting gathering for shooting enthusiasts.

For more information, you can visit the official Boomershoot website.


Identifying a single individual responsible for an event like Boomershoot is complex. However, here’s some insight:

Organization: Boomershoot is primarily organized by the Boomershoot Committee, a group of individuals with expertise in long-range shooting and event management.

Land Use: The event takes place on private land with the permission of the landowner(s).

Safety and Regulations: Local authorities likely play a role in ensuring safety regulations and permitting for the use of firearms and explosives are followed.

Sponsors: The event might have sponsors who provide financial or material support, although attributing the entire responsibility wouldn’t be accurate.

Participants: Ultimately, the participants are responsible for their actions and adherence to safety regulations during the event.

Attributing singular responsibility to any one individual or group wouldn’t fully capture the complexities involved in organizing and conducting Boomershoot. It’s a collaborative effort involving various parties, each with their specific roles and responsibilities.

Microsoft’s chatbot is spot on.

Google’s chatbot is making things up.

I have avoided Google products for a long time.

A year or two ago I allowed Edge to use MSN as my start page. It has done a good job of automatically feeding me the types of things I am interested in. Here is a sample (click on  the images to embiggen):



Notice the gun stuff? As near as I can tell Microsoft didn’t put their thumb on the scale to send me communist leaning articles.

I get a Google news feed on my phone. There is seldom anything gun related and it has a definite bias.

An existing connection was forcibly closed by the remote host

The website for Boomershoot entries uses an email API to automatically send email to entrants and for sending out mass emails to the announcement list. This had worked fine for Boomershoot 2023. But as I was ready to announce Boomershoot 2024 in early summer it failed with an error:

Azure.RequestFailedException: The underlying connection was closed: An unexpected error occurred on a send. —>
System.Net.WebException: The underlying connection was closed: An unexpected error occurred on a send. —>
System.IO.IOException: Unable to read data from the transport connection: An existing connection was forcibly closed by the remote host. —>
System.Net.Sockets.SocketException: An existing connection was forcibly closed by the remote host at System.Net.Sockets.NetworkStream.Read(Byte[] buffer, Int32 offset, Int32 size)

I worked on the problem for quite a while (many hours off and on over several days). Then I tried using a different provider for the email service. The same exact error occurred.

Frustrated, I would set it aside for a month or so and worked on it again on some weekends. No luck.

People realized that the web site actually accepted entries even if it had not been announced. Then, a couple months ago, to my great surprise, I discovered that about 10% of the time the email did work. WHAT?!! Is it a timing issue? I did lots of experiments without success.

Yesterday, I started doing web searches with various search parameters to try and find the solution. Somewhat buried on one web page I found a suggestion, put this in your C# program anyplace before you attempt to make your connection with the other server:

ServicePointManager.SecurityProtocol = SecurityProtocolType.Tls12;

Since the web page was several years old I first tried using Tls13, newer is better, right?

No luck.

So I tried the original suggestion, Tls12. This worked.

There was great joy in Boomershoot land!

I’m making the blog post about this so perhaps other people can find the answer more easily than I was able to.

The complete error (exception call stack) is below the fold.

Continue reading

Bullet and Shell Casing Forensics Are a Coin Flip

Quote of the Day

In discussing the Ames II Study, he similarly opined that inconclusive responses should be counted as errors. By not doing so, he contended, the researchers had artificially reduced their error rates and allowed test participants to boost their scores. By his calculation, when accounting for inconclusive answers, the overall error rate of the Ames II Study was 53% for bullet comparisons and 44% for cartridge case comparisons—essentially the same as “flipping a coin.” Regarding the other two phases of the Ames II Study, Dean Faigman found the rates of repeatability and reproducibility “shockingly low.”

Fader, C.J.
June 20, 2023

Good to know if you are ever falsely accused and they are using firearm forensics against you.

Via David Hardy.

Skynet Smiles

Quote of the Day

I think our results indicate that we don’t currently have a good defense against deception in AI systems — either via model poisoning or emergent deception — other than hoping it won’t happen. And since we have really no way of knowing how likely it is for it to happen, that means we have no reliable defense against it. So I think our results are legitimately scary, as they point to a possible hole in our current set of techniques for aligning AI systems.

Evan Hubinger
An artificial general intelligence safety research scientist at Anthropic, an AI research company.
January 26, 2024
Poisoned AI went rogue during training and couldn’t be taught to behave again in ‘legitimately scary’ study | Live Science

They have concerns about AI deception, improper behavior, and if you read the entire article, hating humans. How many science fiction dystopian have something like that as a premise? We live in interesting times.

Prepare appropriately.

Quantum Drive Will Not Be Tested This Time

I mentioned this test a while back. I was looking forward to hearing about the test results. But that isn’t going to happen on the previous schedule:

Contact Lost With Spacecraft Carrying Experimental Quantum Drive

A test with the quantum drive, developed by IVO limited, was supposed to demonstrate whether the engine could alter the orbit of the satellite. But for some reason, after over two months in orbit, the test was never initiated, and contact with the satellite was lost on February 9 — an unceremonious end for a demo that was supposedly going to upend the laws of physics.

“Rogue’s Barry-1 satellite didn’t make it all the way through LEOP (Launch and Early Orbit Phase),” IVO founder and President Richard Mansell told The Debrief. “Sadly, we never even got to turn on the Drives!”

It is a little bit suspicious on such a controversial device. One could claim is the equivalent of a perpetual motion machine being “accidentally” destroyed just before the big demonstration.

I wish them luck, but if something similar happens after the second attempt, a lot of people are going to regard them as fraudsters.

Two Days to Mars and Floating Cities

DARPA Partially Funded Quantum Space Drive Orbital Test

IF the orbital test works then it will lead to interstellar travel and shrinking it down would give material that would have anti-gravity like effects. We would spend the money to make nanocavities so that we could have propellentless thrust for floating cities. All of space and propulsion related science fiction would become possible within about three decades short of faster than light. This drive is in orbit now for a few months. I think DARPA gave them more money to conclusively prove if it works or not. All of the ground tests show it might work. But if it proves out then we first get 1000 times better than a hall effect thruster but with no fuel limit. No fuel is used. So long as you have power, solar or nuclear the drive keeps working. So nuclear fuel supply for decades then thrust for decades. The theory proves out, then we make nanocavities which could act like antigravity then we get 1G or even 3G thrusters in space. This would be the Expanse TV show tech. 2 days to Mars using constant 2G acceleration.

The current version requires an energy source. The nanocavity version would not.

My first response is IF.

Less than a week, relatively inexpensive, trip to other planets and the asteroid belt opens up trade. It is a whole new frontier without having to suffer a technology starved frontier lifestyle.

I like living in the future.

Living in the Future

This is an interesting approach to the aging problem:

The study, led by Assistant Professor Corina Amor Vegas, utilized a technique known as CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T cell therapy.

This “living” drug is already known for its effectiveness in treating certain blood cancers, having received FDA approval in 2017.

However, Amor Vegas and her team are the first to demonstrate its potential beyond cancer treatment, showing its remarkable ability to rejuvenate and slow down aging in mice.

The results observed in mice were significant. They displayed a reduction in body weight, enhanced metabolism and glucose tolerance, and increased physical activity, all without any tissue damage or toxicity.

“If we give it to aged mice, they rejuvenate. If we give it to young mice, they age slower. No other therapy right now can do this,” said Amor Vegas.

Note that the FDA approved this in 2017. This could significantly reduce the time to market for use as an anti-aging drug. And it would seem that doctors could start prescribing it off label immediately.

I like living in the future.

Modeling Earthquakes

Quote of the Day

Earthquakes are difficult to forecast but we’ve made great strides with this new model. The update includes more faults, better-characterized land surfaces, and computational advancements in modeling that provide the most detailed view ever of the earthquake risks we face.


Mark Petersen
USGS geophysicist
January 16, 2024
New map shows where damaging earthquakes are most likely to occur in US 

When the validity or failure of your model won’t be known for another century or two it is reasonably easy to be confident enough to sell your services and act convincing.

I don’t know if Petersen and company are knowingly unethical, and perhaps they really do have an earthquake model that is worth more than the bits of memory used to store it, but I have my doubts.

I trust this model even less than the climate models. Many of the forces are deep in the earth acting on materials with unmeasurable characteristics over time periods of 1000s of years.

It does match the “gut feel” of what might expect. And that is probably all that is necessary to get paid and become an “expert in the field”.

Doomsday Cult Puzzled that the Earth Still Exists

Quote of the Day

The laws of thermodynamics dictate that a warmer atmosphere can hold more water vapor, but new research has found that atmospheric moisture has not increased as expected over arid and semi-arid regions of the world as the climate has warmed.

The findings are particularly puzzling because climate models have been predicting that the atmosphere will become more moist, even over dry regions. If the atmosphere is drier than anticipated, arid and semi-arid regions may be even more vulnerable to future wildfires and extreme heat than projected.

David Hosansky
January 17, 2024
Climate change isn’t producing expected increase in atmospheric moisture over dry regions: Study

After about the third paragraph I was laughing the rest of the way through the article.

There is no hint they would ever consider the possibility their climate heating models are flawed or that the mean global temperature is not increasing. It is like a doomsday cult predicting the end of the world on January 1, 2000 and when it doesn’t happen they don’t question the integrity of their prophet, but instead claim the destroyer gave them a second chance.

Read When Prophecy Fails: A Doomsday Cult on Alien Invasion for more insight on the behavior and psychology of these type of people. You might expect they would forsake their prophet when confronted with irrefutable evidence of the failure of the prophecies. But that is not what happens. Instead, most of the time, they will prophesize all the more vigorously.

I find the psychology absolutely fascinating.

And, of course, the same psychology exists within the gun grabber community.

The Point of Government

Quote of the Day

Because the point of government is to create social trust. I started this talk by explaining the importance of trust in society, and how interpersonal trust doesn’t scale to larger groups. That other, impersonal kind of trust—social trust, reliability and predictability—is what governments create.

To the extent a government improves the overall trust in society, it succeeds. And to the extent a government doesn’t, it fails.

But they have to. We need government to constrain the behavior of corporations and the AIs they build, deploy, and control. Government needs to enforce both predictability and reliability.

That’s how we can create the social trust that society needs to thrive.

Bruce Schneier
December 4, 2023
AI and Trust

Via a message from Stephanie.

Schneier raises my hackles. It seems to me, that far too often he concludes more government is the solution to problems he imagines. What would he have us do when it is extraordinarily clear that the government is less trustworthy than any corporation or AI?

I’m far more inclined align myself with:

The end of Law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge Freedom: For in all the states of created beings capable of Laws, where there is no law, there is no Freedom.

Chains are but an ill wearing, how much Care soever hath been taken to file and polish them.

John Locke
Two Treatises of Government

Explicitly and from a source far more important, just governments are created to protect the rights of individuals:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

To the extent that a government does not align itself with this goal is the extent to which it is unjust and illegitimate.

Living in the Future

Quote of the Day

Scientists have discovered a new way to destroy cancer cells. Stimulating aminocyanine molecules with near-infrared light caused them to vibrate in sync, enough to break apart the membranes of cancer cells.

Aminocyanine molecules are already used in bioimaging as synthetic dyes. Commonly used in low doses to detect cancer, they stay stable in water and are very good at attaching themselves to the outside of cells.

In tests on cultured, lab-grown cancer cells, the molecular jackhammer method scored a 99 percent hit rate at destroying the cells. The approach was also tested on mice with melanoma tumors, and half the animals became cancer-free.

David Nield
December 27, 2023
Scientists Destroy 99% of Cancer Cells in The Lab Using Vibrating Molecules

I like living in the future.

Living in the Future

The Jetson One is supposed to be available for sale next year at a price of just under $100K.

This craft avoids some of the roadblocks of other attempts to get into this (create is probably aa better term) market because it is classified as an ultralight.

The specs on the current version indicate it could carry me but not if I had a small bag of groceries with me.

The payload would have to at least 50% more and the cost reduced by a factor of four before I would give it serious consideration, but it would be very handy for a quick trip to and from town at my place in Idaho. Because of the long and winding road into the nearest town it takes 30 minute of driving time. It is less than eight miles as a VTOL would fly. That translates into eight to ten minutes instead of the 30 minutes driving time. And when the roads are hazardous because of snow and ice, this would save even more time and might even be safer.

The flight time without a recharge is 20 minutes so the trip into town would be at the edge of its range for a round trip. Still, that is very cool.

I’ve been causally looking at personal affordable VTOL craft for at least 35 years now. There have lots of promises and nothing of substance.

Mind Reading Tech

Living in the future has tradeoffs. This will be “interesting”:

In an unprecedented scientific achievement, experts have developed a system that is capable of reading human thoughts and converting them into text.

The core of this technology lies in its ability to record and decode brain activity through an electroencephalogram (EEG) cap. Participants in the study silently read texts while the cap captured their brain’s electrical activity.

This EEG data is then processed by an AI model named DeWave, a creation of the UTS team. DeWave distinguishes itself by translating EEG signals into coherent words and sentences, learning from extensive EEG datasets.

The current translation accuracy is around 40 percent on the BLEU-1 scale, with aspirations to reach the efficacy of traditional language translation or speech recognition systems, which hover around 90 percent.

The implications in multiple dimensions are staggering.

If someone were to read my thoughts they may not like what they read.

A machine reading the thoughts of a human

AI Insight

Quote of the Day

It doesn’t even take that much imagination to think of how it’ll go with a much smarter thing! Just think of the dynamics between you and a much less smart thing, and how dumb it would be if the less smart thing was so confident you could never outsmart them!

Aella (@Aella_Girl)
November 25, 2023
Post on X

Interesting insight. She has a point. If AI can develop real “smarts” and not just a really good memory things could get “interesting”.

Of course The Terminate series is the all-time best dystopian AI story. But the first one I read was The Forbin Project. Read the book (Ouch! $53.91 for a used paperback) or watch the movie. As an engineer I really liked the details in the story. And even though the story was set in the mid 1970s I didn’t really think I would see the day when we were seriously considering computers would be a threat to their creators.

Times change.

Prepare appropriately.

News You Can Use

The science on masks and viruses:

No mask is 100% effective. An N95, for example, is named as such because it is at least 95% efficient at blocking airborne particles when used properly. But even if a mask has an 80% efficiency, Marr said, it still offers meaningful protection.

Marr said her team aerosolized the coronavirus, pulled it through a mask, and then examined how much virus survived on the mask. The study reported some viral particle remained on some cloth masks, but no virus survived on the N95s or surgical masks.

Marr’s team also touched artificial skin to masks and looked at how many virus particles transferred to the artificial skin. No infectious virus transferred.

“I hope the study kind of shows that it’s something we don’t need to worry about as much as we were told,” Marr said.

15 Things You Should Never Say to a Legal Gun Owner

Quote of the Day

  1. ‘Why do you need a gun?’
    Imagine asking someone, “Why do you need freedom of speech?” Owning a gun in the United States is a constitutional right, not a “need.” People have various reasons for owning firearms, from self-defense to hunting and sport shooting. Questioning the “need” implies you know better than they do when it comes to their personal choices or safety concerns. A tad condescending, don’t you think?
  2. ‘You must be paranoid.’
    Paranoia? Really? Owning a gun doesn’t mean someone is donning a tinfoil hat and waiting for the sky to fall. For many, it’s about personal safety, the safety of loved ones, or even the enjoyment of shooting as a sport. Labeling someone as paranoid for exercising a constitutional right is a bit of a stretch.
  3. ‘Guns are the problem.’
    Ah, the reductionist argument that blames an inanimate object for the complexities of human behavior and societal issues. Gun violence is a serious matter but boiling it down to “guns are the problem” ignores the multifaceted factors like mental health, socio-economic conditions, and more. It’s not as black and white as some would like to believe.
  4. ‘Gun-free zones work.’
    Cute idea, except for the pesky detail that many public shootings occur in designated gun-free zones. The concept ignores the fact that those bent on doing harm are not likely to be deterred by a sign on the door.
  5. ‘The Second Amendment is outdated.’
    The notion that any part of the Constitution is “outdated” opens a can of worms. Are other rights outdated too? The Second Amendment exists for multiple reasons, and its modern applicability is still a topic of fervent debate. Dismissing it as “outdated” is dismissive of that ongoing conversation.
  6. ‘You’re compensating for something.’
    Oh, the classic Freudian jab. This cliché suggests that owning a gun is a form of overcompensation for personal inadequacies. It’s a cheap shot (pun intended) that does nothing to further a constructive conversation about gun ownership or gun control.
  7. ‘You must be a Republican.’
    Ah, yes, because only Republicans appreciate constitutional rights? Gun ownership exists across the political spectrum, and assuming otherwise only serves to perpetuate divisions and stereotypes.
  8. ‘Only the police should have guns.’
    Entrusting an entire society’s safety solely to the police assumes an infallibility that no institution possesses. It also ignores the importance some place on personal freedom and self-defense.
  9. ‘It’s too easy to get a gun.’
    Before making this sweeping statement, perhaps consider the background checks, waiting periods, and federal and state laws that exist. “Easy” is a relative term and assumes that current laws aren’t stringent or effective.
  10. ‘Assault weapon bans work.’
    Defining “assault weapon” is notoriously tricky, and evidence on the effectiveness of bans is mixed. Saying they “work” is a one-size-fits-all statement that ignores the complexities of the issue.
  11. ‘Only criminals have guns.’
    If this were true, we’d have a country full of criminals. Millions of law-abiding Americans own guns for a variety of legitimate purposes. Conflating legal gun ownership with criminal activity is not just inaccurate; it’s disrespectful to a large part of the population.
  12. ‘You shouldn’t have a gun if you have kids.’
    This one assumes that gun owners are inherently irresponsible when it comes to storage and safety. Many gun owners who are parents take extra precautions to ensure their firearms are stored safely, away from their children. Just like you’d childproof your home for other hazards, the same goes for firearms.
  13. ‘You must be a gun nut.’
    For some reason, an interest in firearms gets stigmatized as an obsession or a sign of paranoia. Let’s remember that owning a gun doesn’t necessarily make someone a “gun nut” any more than owning a car makes someone a “car nut.” People own guns for various reasons: sport, hunting, and self-defense, among others. Labeling someone as a “gun nut” simply for owning a gun is a dismissive way to avoid more nuanced conversations about individual rights and responsibilities.
  14. ‘Guns kill people.’
    This is the “IT argument” that gets rolled out in every gun debate. While it’s true that firearms can be used to harm others, placing the blame solely on the inanimate object oversimplifies a complex issue. Most legal gun owners would point out that a gun, like a car or a knife, is a tool; it requires a human to operate it. They argue that the focus should be on responsible ownership and usage, rather than demonizing the object itself. This phrase can shut down meaningful dialogue about issues like gun safety, mental health, and responsible ownership.
  15. ‘You’re part of the problem.’
    The ol’ blame game—a classic! By declaring a legal gun owner as “part of the problem,” you’re not just tossing a Molotov cocktail into a nuanced debate; you’re also casually ignoring the fact that many gun owners are fervent advocates for responsible gun use and safety measures. Way to lump everyone together! This kind of accusatory tone isn’t just an over-simplification; it’s a conversation ender. If the goal is to alienate someone rather than discuss the complexities of gun ownership and societal issues, then bravo, mission accomplished!

Casey Lee
November 7, 2023
15 things you should never say to a legal gun owner

This set of statements was suggested to me by Microsoft Start (the default startup page with the Edge browser). I am rather impressed with it. It frequently suggests interesting articles about selecting a gun or a change in guns laws. I used to have Google News as my startup landing page. I never saw articles which portrayed gun owners as reasonable people or gun ownership as a civil right.

I suspect Microsoft created an algorithm to show me things I have expressed an interest in and just let it do it’s thing.

I suspect Google puts their thumb on the scales of what they believe is appropriate for people to read and think.

I have long considered Google to be evil. Nothing has changed to suggest I should change my mind.

Anti-Aging Vaccine Failure?

This was almost a year ago. I wonder how it turned out:

Scientists will trial a new longevity drug in the UK next year that they say could increase the life expectancy of some people to up to 120 years of age.

Researchers are developing a treatment that could significantly increase a person’s healthy lifespan and, in turn, their longevity, by boosting their immune systems. This has been made possible after they found a way to slow down – and potentially even prevent – the natural ageing of T cells, a key part of our immune defences.

Professor Lanna has set up a London-based company called SentCell to develop the vaccine, which he says will be trialled in humans in 2023.

Asked roughly how long a person’s life could potentially be extended by this vaccine, if effective, he said “120 years”.

“[The trial] will happen in the UK next year and we expect the drug in the market as soon as possible. I cannot say more because it is confidential,” he said.

I can find lots of references in the 2018 to 2022 time frame, but nothing since then.

I asked Bing Chat for the results of the human trials and it responded with, “I’m sorry, but as of my last update in 2021, I don’t have the most recent information on the results of the human trials for the anti-aging treatment developed by Professor Alessio Lanna and his team at University College London.”

Their web site doesn’t have any information from 2023 either. I suspect things didn’t work out very well.

Plastic Stronger Than Steel

This was nearly two years ago. Where can I get a plastic gun barrel for my .300 Win Mag?

Using a novel polymerization process, MIT chemical engineers have created a new material that is stronger than steel and as light as plastic, and can be easily manufactured in large quantities.

The new material is a two-dimensional polymer that self-assembles into sheets, unlike all other polymers, which form one-dimensional, spaghetti-like chains. Until now, scientists had believed it was impossible to induce polymers to form 2D sheets.

Such a material could be used as a lightweight, durable coating for car parts or cell phones, or as a building material for bridges or other structures, says Michael Strano, the Carbon P. Dubbs Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT and the senior author of the new study.

“We don’t usually think of plastics as being something that you could use to support a building, but with this material, you can enable new things,” he says. “It has very unusual properties and we’re very excited about that.”

See also Irreversible synthesis of an ultrastrong two-dimensional polymeric material | Nature.