Eve Online ("spreadsheets in space") is the infamously intricate massively multiplayer space trade/conquest game where real cash can be exchanged for in-game currency , making the battles fought there consequential in a way that sets it apart from other games. Read the rest
The Pentagon says U.S. forces have killed a top Islamic State commander in Syria, as part of a series of military actions targeting ISIS leadership and its storage sites for explosives. U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter delivered the news on Friday.
Boing Boing pal Isabel Lara writes to give us a heads up about a new NPR series, “Changing Minds.” NPR launched the project this week and it looks at stories of people who’ve changed their positions in what has become a cultural moment of partisan polarization and extremism. The stories so far focus on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
Last week, the United States Navy launched exercises at the new Ice Camp Sargo in the Arctic Circle. Seen above, the nuclear submarine USS Hampton surfaces through the ice. It's a majestic sight, but let's not forget the goal here:
"(This exercise) is our continued commitment to the development of undersea warfare capabilities and tactics in all areas of the world," said Rear Adm. Jeff Trussler, commander, Undersea Warfighting Development Center. "Our superiority in delivering effects in and from the undersea domain to the operational commanders is dependent on the regular exercise and demonstration of these capabilities."
I'd imagine that as the polar ice caps melt, and possible energy reserves are uncovered, the region will quickly become a new battleground. Sadly.
"Navy Submarines Arrive in Arctic for Ice Exercise 2016" (US Pacific Command)
Vladimir Putin says Russian troops will begin withdrawing from Syria starting Tuesday, the day which marks 5 years since the start of Syria's bloody civil war. Putin's pledge is a move to help advance U.N.-brokered peace talks that resumed today.
Author and former CIA officer Barry Eisler spoke at the Association of Former Intelligence Officers opposite ex-CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden on Monday. In front of about a hundred former CIA, FBI, and NSA operatives, Eisler talked about bulk surveillance, whistleblowing, and why intelligence professionals need to take especially great care not to let propaganda pervert their intelligence.
For 13 years, Iraq's post-Saddam elites have run amok, looting the country's riches while creating a pervasive culture of corruption that spreads all the way down -- only the continuous injection of new money from the country's oil-fields kept the whole thing from collapsing. Read the rest
Michael Hayden sure does love him some drone-killing.
Noah Scalin's "Anatomy of War" sculptures are polymer clay cutaway guns filled with colorful, wet-looking human viscera. Read the rest
People in ancient Greece used snakes as projectile weapons during sea battles, explains Gianni Insacco, a zoologist/paleontologist at Italy's Insacco Museo Civico di Storia Naturale.
Insacco's research team just reported that one of the weaponized species, the Javelin Sand Boa that was likely introduced to Italy by the Greeks during wartime, has survived in Sicily after not having been spotted for nearly 100 years.
In 1981, Harvard law professor Roger Fisher, director of the Harvard Negotiation Project, published a thought experiment in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists: what if the codes to launch nuclear war were kept inside the chest-cavity of a young volunteer, and the President would have to hack them out of this young man's chest before he could commence armageddon? Read the rest
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.
We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War is a new book by veteran Doug Bradley and Craig Werner, professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, about soldiers' musical memories and the impact of James Brown, Eric Burdon, Country Joe McDonald, and other popular artists on the Vietnam experience and our understanding of it.
At KQED's Next Avenue, Bradley shared the "Top 10 Songs of Vietnam" mentioned by the hundreds soldiers they interviewed for the book. Here are the top three with Bradley's comments on them:
1. We Gotta Get Out of This Place by The Animals
No one saw this coming. Not the writers of the song — the dynamic Brill Building duo of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil; not the group who recorded it — The Animals and their iconic lead singer, Eric Burdon; not the 3 million soldiers who fought in Vietnam who placed extra importance on the lyrics. But the fact is that We Gotta Get Out of This Place is regarded by most Vietnam vets as our We Shall Overcome, says Bobbie Keith, an Armed Forces Radio DJ in Vietnam from 1967-69. Or as Leroy Tecube, an Apache infantryman stationed south of Chu Lai in 1968, recalls: “When the chorus began, singing ability didn’t matter; drunk or sober, everyone joined in as loud as he could.” No wonder it became the title of our book!
2. I Feel Like I’m Fixin to Die Rag by Country Joe & The FishRead the rest
Misunderstood and misinterpreted by most Americans, Country Joe’s iconic song became a flashpoint for disagreements about the war and its politics.