Looks as though Lex is coming to a similar conclusion. A million words or so and I was not having as much fun any more either.
July 24, 2010
December 16, 2009
December 14, 2009
Good food writing is hard to do, particularly in a smaller field like describing booze. I have just discovered the writing of Lew Bryson from a post on John Hansell’s blog, and quite like the style of both men’s work. Bryson’s the managing editor of one of my favorite magazines, Hansell’s Malt Advocate, and also has a blog here.
Now if we can only get John Hansell to know that a post is an entry on a blog and not a “blog” on a blog…oog…
Update: Chris and Ken in comments below reveal that the actual writer was a bubblehead: Dex Armstrong wrote the story first.
I’m glad the Galco pop shop, which I’ve been lucky enough to have known about for a while, is getting some attention. Cobb has a lovely description of a visit there. I’ve only known about them through their internet sales, and it would be a blast to visit the actual shop.
As good a short description of Lysenkoism in a polemic I’ve seen in the last five minutes.
December 10, 2009
Brit ship is very capable as long as you don’t need to, uh, kill anything.
HMS Daring, first of the Type 45s, will have been in Navy hands for a year in eight days’ time. She is armed with nothing but a 4.5-inch “Kryten” gun turret and a pair of light 30mm cannon, suitable for shooting up pirate dhows and the like. This is an utterly pathetic amount of punch for a £1.1bn (at the latest estimate) warship with a crew of 200. Her first captain has already been and gone; the second, it now seems certain, will also depart before the ship is capable of achieving anything even vaguely in proportion to her cost or even vaguely worth his time commanding her. It won’t be at all surprising if the same thing happens with the second Type 45, Dauntless, which has just arrived in Portsmouth ahead of handover to the Navy tomorrow.
The whole saga is made even more depressing by the fact that it is very largely the vast expense of the Type 45s which has led to the swingeing cuts to the rest of the British fleet seen in recent years, and which is imperilling the future of the new carriers which would be so much more useful.
December 6, 2009
Afghan Quest proves Twain’s aphorism that a lie gets halfway around the world while the truth is still getting its boots on.
The French had found rocket fragments from two rockets. One was Chinese and the other of Russian manufacture. They did not get the word out immediately. In fact, the reaction of the French leadership was to cancel a mission that they had planned and “wait it out.” They did not hit the streets immediately, telling the story and showing the rocket fragments to everyone they could find. This gave the Taliban time to concoct a ludicrous lie that, in the absence of any information to the contrary, some people were believing.
How many years in and we still haven’t figured out that the first lie wins the mindshare? That if you don’t push truth out there quickly, you’ll get your hat handed to you by people who are building a win out of any BS excuse story that sticks?
Months after telling a guy to do a job, everyone gets in a room to discuss how he’s going to do it…and immediately begin disagreeing as to what the job is.
…a mission statement on a PowerPoint slide: “Defeat the Taliban. Secure the Population.”
“Is that really what you think your mission is?” one of the participants asked.
In the first place, it was impossible — the Taliban were part of the fabric of the Pashtun belt of southern Afghanistan, culturally if not ideologically supported by a major part of the population. “We don’t need to do that,” Gates said, according to one participant. “That’s an open-ended, forever commitment.”
But that was precisely his mission, McChrystal responded, enshrined in the Strategic Implementation Plan — the execution orders for the March strategy, written by the NSC staff.
“I wouldn’t say there was quite a ‘whoa’ moment,” a senior defense official said of the reaction around the table. “It was just sort of a recognition that, ‘Duh, that’s what in effect the commander understands he’s been told to do.’ Everybody said, ‘He’s right.’”
You’d think someone between the staffs would have figured this out in the half a year interval between assignment and briefing. And “impossible”? Come on. That may be hard, it may be not what we want to do, but impossible?
Update: Weekly Standard blames the NSC.
December 4, 2009
This is the kind of Wired story I like the best: following a group of people doing something very interesting as they do the job. It’s that great mix of nerdery and Boy’s Own adventure stories, with high seas exploits and a band of adventurous types rappelling down the inside of a darkened, stricken ship doing…math?:
While Johnson does some trigonometry on a small pad of paper, Habib accidentally steps on one of the straps securing a car, and the Mazda lurches downward with a screech. Trepte looks up with a start and realizes that he’s at the bottom of a suspended automotive avalanche. Dozens of cars hang over his head. If one broke its straps, it would trigger a domino effect, sending a pile of Mazdas down on top of him.
“Ay, mate, try not to kill me down here, won’t ya?” Trepte shouts up to Habib.
“Rog-o,” echoes the response from the shadows.
It ain’t how a submariner would do things, though…
…by forcing useful assets out of position, and hounding people out of the job they needed to do.
Great work. I see why the New York Times won’t report on the Climategate emails, now; revealing confidential information is reserved for destroying Americans acting in the national interest.
December 2, 2009
Update: Phyllis Chesler doesn’t like some comparisons used in the piece. Good point.
The correctness of the statement is damning.
It is 150 years to the day since John Brown was hanged, and more Africans are being enslaved today than at the height of the infamous Atlantic slave trade.
I like Iowahawk’s explanation of the global warming fraud–it’s succinct and useful, and a rare non-funny outing from him.
December 1, 2009
Why is Cracked magzine, of all places, so good at stuff like “5 Battlefield Screw Ups That Were Hilarious (Until People Died)”?
Bonus points for the submarine story.
Also, I once met a Japanese officer who was part of the Kiska evacuation–he missed a beatin’ and was alive to tell the tale because he left in a timely manner.
November 29, 2009
We’ve never been that good at information warfare, I suppose.
But it was the Soviet Union, in its day, that was the master of this game. They made dezinformatsiya (disinformation) a central weapon of their war against “the main adversary”, the U.S. They conducted memetic subversion against the U.S. on many levels at a scale that is only now becoming clear as historians burrow through their archives and ex-KGB officers sell their memoirs.
The Soviets had an entire “active measures” department devoted to churning out anti-American dezinformatsiya.
This Mark Steyn indictment of our enablers to MAJ Hasan’s act of war reminds me that we used to have a reasonable concern for actors who wanted to overthrown our government by force.
November 24, 2009
Here’s a verrry interesting link: the Arms Control Wonk starts looking at submarine radiated noise, using US unclas documents. He comes to a conclusion I disagree with and overcompress to: because Chinese boomers are noisy, no biggie, really.
A two of trumps beats an ace of any other suit. If there’s nothing there to stop a boomer, the boomer can do what it wants. It’s a big ocean, and we don’t have the numbers we had in the 60’s. So, yeah. Useful deterrent.