A NYT piece by James Glanz on how the Iraqi army salvages 50-year-old tanks and creaky Soviet military vehicles once used by Saddam Hussein's forces:
The hulking machine – a T-55, named for the approximate year in the last century when the model went into production – could have been a museum piece. Iraqi mechanics are able to keep it running only by scrounging through scrap yards, local markets and the wrecked hulks on old battlefields for parts that Soviet factories once churned out by the millions but that no one makes – and few even remember – anymore.
But this tank is more than a relic: it is the building block of the new Iraqi Army's first and only armored division. Through an American-sponsored program, the division, with more than 200 old Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers, has been rumbling through villages and fields in this area, trying to dampen insurgent violence.
(...) "The problem is not with the tanks," Colonel Habib said. The right leadership, he said, will make the Russian machines run like "the best tank in the world."
That may be an overstatement. The tanks, though still a formidable threat to fighters on foot, are badly outdated. The remarkably cramped gunner's seat inside the T-55 driven by Mr. Kareem, a soldier in the Iraqi Army, is surrounded by a riot of old dials, switches, belts, wires, cables, leather straps and crude optics along with manual controls for moving the turret and the main gun. Shells must be loaded by hand into the breech of the gun.
. Image: Max Becherer/Polaris, for The New York Times.
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
CEO Dick Costolo will resign, to be replaced in the interim by Jack Dorsey
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