Solving the "Longbow Puzzle": why did France and Scotland keep their inferior crossbows?

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The longbow was vastly, demonstrably superior to the crossbow, but only England adopted it as a common military weapon; the Scots and French stuck with the inferior crossbow for nearly a century -- why? Read the rest

Army decides to stop putting soldiers' Social Security numbers on their dog tags

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In a major policy change that sounds like a Very Good Idea, the U.S. Army announced today that dog tags will no longer include the Social Security numbers of the soldier wearing them. SSNs have been part of this identification system for over 40 years.

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Army says Petraeus shouldn't be punished under military law for leaking top-secret materials

Former General David Petraeus with lover-hagiographer Paula Broadwell

The Washington Post reports that the U.S. Army is recommending retired general David H. Petraeus not face further punishment for screwing his biographer and leaking top-secret materials to her.

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In historic shift, U.S. military to open all combat jobs to women

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter holds a news conference at the Pentagon.  REUTERS

The Associated Press is reporting today that U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter will soon announce a historic change: The military will open all combat jobs to women.

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Paid Patriotism: Pentagon spent millions bribing sports teams to recognize military service

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Army service members stand at attention and salute during the singing of the National Anthem on the field at Giants Stadium for a pre-game ceremony honoring veterans, Nov. 15. A Coast Guard detachment sang the National Anthem and were joined by a joint-service color guard before the New York Jets game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Chief Master Sgt. James A. Roy, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, presented the coin for the pre-game coin toss.(Official Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Randall A. Clinton)

Those big, splashy shows of gratitude to America's soldiers at halftime? They're the best patriotism the taxpayers' money can buy. Read the rest

US warplane shot at survivors fleeing Doctors Without Borders hospital bombing, MSF reports

Debris litters the floor in MSF's Kunduz Trauma center. [Photo: MSF]

Doctors Without Borders released an internal report today that claims a U.S. warplane shot at people who were trying to escape the international medical aid group's hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, after the building was bombed by American forces.

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A peek inside Iraq's most notorious weapons market

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The fun-loving Chinese journalists in this segment manage to out-VICE VICE. 侣行 On the Road is billed as “a homemade outdoor reality show” featuring an "extreme couple" who love adventure. The pair and their team got some great footage of an open-air weapons market in Sadr City.

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Army dudes in yoga poses: now an article of commerce

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Yoga Joes started life as a wonderful, weird Kickstarter to produce a set of nine "Green Army Men" in yoga poses; having raised over $100K in direct sales at $20/set ($10 for military personnel) Brogamats is now selling them in retail channels at a $28 premium, for all nine: "headstand, meditation pose, cobra pose, warrior one, warrior two, child's pose, tree pose, crow pose, and downward-facing dog." (via Canopy) Read the rest

GPS, Plan B: US Navy teaches celestial navigation as fallback for cyberattack

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The Naval Academy is digging sextants out of their storage spaces and asking the Merchant Marine Academy (which never stopped teaching celestial navigation) and training its students in celestial navigation so that the ships will still be able to find their way after their adversaries infect the GPS system with malware. Read the rest

Wacky dudes in Russia open 1940s war ration can and eat it because Russia

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According to the uploader's description, these jolly Russian gentlemen here are opening what is identified as a 70-year-old package of Soviet fighter pilot war chow.

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Video of Flimmer, the US Navy's new drone that flies and swims

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"Common across the services, autonomous vehicles are being seen as an effective projection of force, both above and below the water’s surface," according to the US Naval Research Laboratory. Read the rest

Stephen Harper will use 12-18 year old junior rangers to fight the Russians

The largely aboriginal youth club -- historically called upon to fight forest fires and volunteer in parks -- is now part of the Canadian Prime Minister's "arctic soveriegnty" plan. Read the rest

Scalzi's latest Old Man's War novel hits shelves today!

It's called The End of All Things, and it's book six in the series (here's my review of book one); he's touring it all over the USA. Read the rest

WWII slang from the front

As seen in War Slang: American Fighting Words & Phrases Since the Civil War: "Royal Order of Whale Bangers. An 'exclusive' club open only to airmen who have mistakenly dropped depth charges on whales, supposing them to be enemy submarines." Read the rest

Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking call for ban on “autonomous weapons”

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Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and hundreds of artificial intelligence researchers and experts have signed a letter calling for a worldwide ban on “autonomous weapons.” Read the rest

Word Wars: Daily war headlines transformed into an automated Star Wars intro crawl

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News from the Empire.

How you can contribute to whistleblower Chelsea Manning's legal defense fund

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Chelsea Manning's extraordinary act of whistleblowing continues to enrich journalism, the public, and the historic record to this day. Chelsea is currently appealing her unjust conviction and 35-year jail sentence under the Espionage Act, but her legal team is deeply in debt. Freedom of the Press Foundation is helping to raise money for her appeal by offering a way for people to donate to her legal defense here.

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