June 24th, 2005


I think these are almost more fun to hack then they are to just take, y'know?

If LJ Were a High School by Karen_Walker
Your Status
Lunch Ladydanae
Head Cheerleadermaggiedemay
Prom Queenhuladavid
Gang Memberchibitoaster
Band Geekjolest
Theatre Geekwindelina
Chess Club Captainhyperblaster
Loner Goth Kidphoenixalpha
Class Clownchebutykin
Quiz created with MemeGen!

Gacked from qob; correct answers inserted manually. ^_^
  • Current Music
    Roxy Music - Both Ends Burning (live)
  • Tags
Boss Coffee

Burn, baby, burn!

Last night, having forsworn SMAC in the name of going to bed early and actually being able to sleep, I ripped a bunch of my CDs and burned some mixes. Nothing fancy; almost all of them were simply compilations of several CDs by one artist that will allow me to avoid skipping from track to track avoiding the songs I don't care for. I did combine the Judas Priest and Halford CDs on one mix, since that way it filled a whole disc, but the others - Roxy Music, James McMurtry and Cracker - are homogenous, though I was pretty tempted to mix some Cake in with the Cracker.

In the end, all this furious musical activity kept me up until about 0100, but I slept like a baby until a thunderclap went off outside the window at 0630. Yeow.
  • Current Music
    Roxy Music - Out Of The Blue

Not filling up the breach with our commissioned dead

There's an interesting post at the Canadian blog Flit, which often has stuff to attract the military-minded, and the post in question talks about the historically low rates of Army officer casualties in the Iraq War. According to the numbers they're using, these are running about 9%. As Flit points out, this is below the casualty rates from Vietnam, where the officer deaths were 11.3% of all fatalities.

The post goes on to speculate about the various reasons why the officers aren't dying like they used to (better technology, enemy attacks affecting NCO and enlisted troops more, structural reasons pushing more officers to CONUS, replacement of military leaders with managers) but misses the elephant in the living room.

The big difference between the Army that fought in Vietnam and the Army fighting in Iraq is that in Vietnam you had units primarily composed of draftees led by officers on six-month tours, whereas in Iraq there are no draftees and officers rotate with their troops in and out of the country. No military sociologist worth his salt thinks the former was a good idea; it did horrendous things to unit cohesion, morale, training and thus effectiveness, all of which are documented to a fare-thee-well. This is one of the reasons SecDef Rumsfeld and the generals have been so adamant about not bringing back the draft, even though recruiting is lagging this year. One of the clues that might have led Flit to the conclusion above is the fact that officer casualties in the National Guard are higher, almost certainly due to the lower readiness/training levels in Reserve units. (Been there, done that, so don't argue with me, mmmkay?) Also, the officer casualty rates in the Polish/Ukrainian units, which are still staffed by draftees in the finest traditions (sic) of the Warsaw Pact, are drastically higher than even Reserve/Guard casualties: 37% for the Polish & Ukrainian officers vs. 20.4 for Reserve Component officers of which 13% belong to the National Guard, which is contributing most of the combat forces.

The comparison of RC/Guard officer deaths in Iraq to those in Vietnam is just dumb; no significant RC/Guard units served in Vietnam due to political reasons, which is also something you can pull out of any half-ass history of the Vietnam War.
the mark

Tribal culture

Over at his blog The Long Tail, Chris Anderson talks about the fragmentation of American culture, Anil Dash's photohack of the New York Times, various memes that have become common in the internet culture (to the point where Slashdotters can post All your house are belong to us and everyone knows they're talking about the Kelo decision), and other factors that are leading to the replacement of what my fellow conservatives call "the Dominant Media Culture" with hundreds, maybe thousands of subcultures all coexisting and crosspollinating in a massively parallel megacultural mix.

We've seen that going on in fandom for quite a while, since fandom is itself a mix of subcultures. It started with SF fans, of course, way back in the 1930s, but ever since then other folks with related interests (horror fans, fans of particular TV series, etc.) have taken to showing up at SF conventions or organizing their own get-togethers where they can sit around/stand around and geek out about the things that excite them. The Internet has only accelerated the process by making it easier for people in widely-separated parts of the world to communicate with each other.

So are fans on the cutting edge of this phenomenon? Or is fandom just the part of this cultural shift most visible to me because I'm most familiar with it?