October 31, 2008

I Double Dog Dare Someone To Play The Toasting On This During Field Day

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:12 pm

Emerging from a multiday EMCON due to current employment. Freed from jail and back to work.

And this has been around for a few months but I don’t think the sub bloggers have picked up on it yet: if you see only one internet video of a cartoon based on a ska band’s pottymouthed ode to submarine ownership, this might be one of them. (Cursing like a sailor warning, but of course.)

October 27, 2008

Yes, Precisely

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:12 pm

A well deserved shellacking.

What a self-centered, self-serving little cat of a man. You are a soldier’s nightmare; not because you are a champion of the truth but because you are the duke of lies. Why would you lie? Why? We’ll ask that question again; but let’s table it for now.

For not wanting to dishonor him, you did a great job of dishonoring him and his team. I suspect this is a lie, too. The fact is, you never gave it a second thought. 1LT Bonanno pointed out in her letter to you that you wouldn’t even do the man the simple dignity of attending his ramp ceremony… but you did ask to film it. When you were denied permission to do that, you wanted nothing more to do with it. Class. Sheer, unadulterated class you demonstrated there.

Via Lex. It’s a damned shame such clear and powerful writing had to come from not only tragedy but also perfidy.

October 26, 2008

Oh, Yeah, Submarines

Filed under: — Chap @ 3:30 pm

Check out this post from Modern Mechanix: a 1930 submerged plane carrier. Funnily enough, it’s French.

As was our own third submarine (as far as I know). The first? Turtle was crewed by an Army sergeant. Hunley was Confederate. Then came the Alligator, which we didn’t even remember until the archaeologists figured it out…which was French.

At least our start wasn’t like the Russian one. Their first one right about 1905? American-made!

Hijacked from Modern Mechanix - check out their post!

60’s Earworm With Stylophone Solo, Coupled With Strangely Affecting Time Lapse Scenes

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:05 am

The video is using an effect called tilt-shift photography. It makes all the real life scenes look like toy models. Some good views in there.

The song has burrowed pretty deeply into my head after only one run-through. I think I’ll go hit the band’s Myspace and play it about six hundred times in a row.

Why Do We Need Media Gatekeepers Again?

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:38 am

So I saw the science article today about X-rays and sticky tape, and the article was the usual science reporting in newspapers: glib, written with lots of wow but no actual information. It did mention, like most of these, where the article came from. In this case the report was published in Nature. So I hopped over to that site to get the scoop: what da kine X-rays? What conditions, etc.?

Turns out the abstract is better than the news article, no surprise. The surprise was that has a pretty slick and actually interesting video with the guys that did it, explaining what got them excited about the idea, what the rig looked like, the energy they were putting out, and the X-ray photo of the finger they got from merely peeling Scotch tape in a vacuum. Pretty cool.

October 25, 2008

Filed under: — Chap @ 4:26 pm

Steve Forbes, of course, has a take on the current housing crisis. Not yet read but marked for future reading.

Filed under: — Chap @ 4:25 pm

I’m late to this story, but Nick Meo is indeed a poor example of “journalism”.

Thanks, B5, for keeping the watch.

Filed under: — Chap @ 4:23 pm

I like the way this guy rants about organizations and organizational thinking.

Conquest’s Laws Of Politics

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:15 am

I always have trouble finding these when I want them at hand, so here they are from Ed Driscoll:

1. Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.

2. Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.

3. The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.

I use #3 a lot, myself, reverse-engineered; it’s very useful when working with folks in a mindset that really really is fond of conspiracy theories to explain any and everything. Sometimes it’s harder to understand that it isn’t an Eviull Genius controlling everything, just a couple of fools who think they’re doing good…

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:12 am

I knew most of these had been sold off, but forgot a few: 10 “American” Products That Aren’t.

No, No, No, No….

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:11 am

A guy goes through a vasectomy, and supplies pictures and video of his experience. Thanks and now I have a new definition of too much information.

(Geez, b3ta!)

October 21, 2008

Marked For Later Viewing

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:54 pm

John Stossel explains why “planning for the outyears” might not be the best idea. I’ve not looked at this yet, but I bet it’ll be interesting. So far I hear it’s a bit like “I, Pencil”, always a good concept to consider…

October 18, 2008

Filed under: — Chap @ 5:17 pm

Interesting ramifications for information warfare with this thought.

Q. Do Christian principles require respect for the civil rights and human dignity of those who disagree with Christianity?
A. Yes.
Q. Did organized Christianity, in general, respect these principles before secularists dragged it kicking and screaming into doing so?
A. No.
Q. Does that mean that Christians who answered yes to Question One are lying, or at least engaging in highly convenient spin-doctoring?
A. No. As a matter of historic fact, it was secularists who forced Christianity to be truer to its own general principles. But, for believers, this can only provide evidence of God’s work in the sphere that calls itself secular. Believers need not erect a Manichean cosmology in which the “religious” are right about everything, and the “secularists” wrong. God is bigger than that.

Not sure how this comment is useful in IW, but it is an interesting observation. What’s the quote about not being able to reason someone out of something they weren’t reasoned into?

Filed under: — Chap @ 5:15 pm

Check out the comment trail over here; should be interesting.

So, which wrong is more right? A prosperous Rhodesia blackened by the stigma of segregation and white minority rule, or a failed state of Zimbabwe where black Africans hold -if nothing else- the lion’s share of political power*.

Filed under: — Chap @ 3:13 pm

I keep forgetting how entertaining Doctor Housing Bubble is. Although if you are moving to around Omaha I have a nice place for sale there…

October 5, 2008

Filed under: — Chap @ 5:52 pm

There are too many stinkin’ social network sites. I’m getting tired of even trying to figure out if I should care about updating a profile on FlickinTwittsOrkutASWFaceSpaceInterNoodleYarrMarhab as well as EveryAlumniAssociationAndOnlineStoreEverEverEver. Every single one of those separately try to reap your email addresses to link you together and et ceter et cetera.

So. Some enterprising guy, please invent for me something that does for all these sites what, say, Typepad does for blog comments or that avatar thingie that follows one around. Have it ready to import from one to the other without more than a “how public are you over here?” question, seize the new linkers that show up, and get it seamless as possible for when eventually a big pile of the social network sites fall apart.


October 3, 2008

One More Thing Before I Go Dark Again

Filed under: — Chap @ 5:26 am

Here’s the deal. I’m in a classroom learning a difficult skill with a bunch of eighteen year olds. Every student more senior is gone, with one diehard EDO senior enlisted still along for the fight beside me in another section way over there. The last three officers in the following classes took one look at this workload and bailed within about a month or so; one just couldn’t do it, one nearly broke himself, another left so quick he left skid marks. Everyone above E-6 is now gone…and I’ve just got the word I have to graduate early. So yeah, I’m not up on any military gossip–although I can tell you things about being an E-3 these days that would make you cringe to be a leader–and this blog will go back down to occasional links to puppies or whatever till about next year, then a blast of writing for a few months, then most likely dark dark until that job’s done.

But I told you that story to tell you this story. I had some free time because I had something spectacular and painful happen to my back, ouch thanks, and had one day of enforced free time with just enough neurons firing to talk in English but not in any other language. I’m thankful, and gratified, that so many people with better influence and writing skill and knowledge dropped by to hear me scream.

One reaction was fortuitous. An old friend actually called me on the phone on the one time in six months I’ve been near a telephone able to return a call during working hours. On the phone he promised to send me an email–I’m still waiting but what the heck–but he mentioned the public excitement over Petraeus’ selection to run the Army one star board this year. Now I get it that most of the published excitement over that event was manufactured because just enough journalists understood what the heck a one star board was, McMaster and Petraeus are both great at working the press, and anyone can see the drama involved. My friend mentioned this event in a Navy context.

You know what? It wouldn’t work. And you know why. Statutory boards are statutory but nobody gets selected there unless that guy’s warfighting union has already selected him in an administrative board. Like has been picking like for so long that I challenge you to find me a handful of guys who look different…with the exception of the long term goal of racist quotas for flag selection Phibian’s pointed out which does all of us, especially my shipmates who have an identity group with a month and an “association” and who would like to be treated just as well or as shabbily as any other comrade, a disservice. Back to the rant: Find me the guy who can think past being a CO and can articulate and more importantly implement that usefully. You’ll find that the ones we found before were not fit for polite company and didn’t get bonged aboard their own first of the line ships very dern often. We’ve gamed it so badly that putting Petraeus in charge of our own one star board wouldn’t identify the guys we’ve already gotten rid of. We’re even sounding like a broken record in our point/counterpoint arguments about the Navy: Who can disprove this, in a way that a civilian will understand? How did a Navy have influence in this war, or this, since we seem to have decided that piracy is somehow beneath us even though tanks are moving into Africa and pirates are dying mysteriously in ways that caused the Army colonel from Afghanistan I met to clam up and shiver a little? Who’s fighting riverine, and if riverine was relegated to the reserves scavenging boats in ’02, then NECC was sexy last year, then riverine is zeroed this year, why is that? Heck if I know any of this; we’re still relying on the same critics we had when I enlisted to tell us things we still aren’t following.

This is why I’m calling for more than just some good ideas. Usually losing in a war causes the stress required to make big change work–my favorite example being the fat submarine COs in WWII being allowed back on the ships because some of the pretty ones were having trouble–but we can’t afford that loss, and quite frankly we’re getting finessed such that we won’t realize we’re past the crisis point in some situations. I’m calling for shaking up the snow globe. I’m calling for just enough structural change that the guy in charge gets in all sorts of trouble (that happens with change; try to change a system and the guys affected try to get you tossed out for ethics violations–anything, just to ruin your honor and get you ignored–or put a horse head in your bed) but some good change stays in the system when you leave and the midgrade people carry on your changes.

I recently saw a Proceedings letter complaining about Zumwalt changing haircuts. It’s the freakin’ 21st century and haircuts are still rocking some retired flag’s circumspect little world. HAIR, people. How are you going to change the fundamentals when hair is a forty year battle?

We don’t have a deep bench for that kind of stuff. We don’t even have a night at a bar anywhere. I’ve found a tiny little spot where I might make a little change work for a little while after I leave; it’s small change, but not bad for a RL weenie. How are you going to do it?

October 2, 2008

It’s The Drugs Talking, But I’m Mad Already

Filed under: — Chap @ 3:00 am

Go read Salamander.

Now, what different have you heard from stuff like him and the five or six usual spots lately? We’re getting into a rut. You know as well as I do that a couple of retired O-6s have a plan, if unarticulated, to stir some stuff up, but that’s about all I see right now.

And the comment response to Phibian’s rant is to watch a movie?
Okay. Stop watching Vanderhoeven’s movie and READ THE BOOK. Quit looking for Boyd, a visionary who I might remind you didn’t get his big things done while he was busy being visionary, and look for a guy like Burke, who showed up in the job with a pre-written plan of what he was going to do and IMPLEMENTED THE PLAN. At least get a Galantin, who implemented his plan while in the shadow of Mister Nuclear Himself and had a team that made something spectacular and changed the world.

And why read the book? This is why:

If you load a mud foot down with a lot of gadgets that he has to watch, somebody a lot more simply equipped — say with a stone ax — will sneak up and bash his head in while he is trying to read a vernier.

We Have Lost The Bubble.

Maybe it’s time to discuss just-in-case versus just-in-time, and you could put Taleb in the discussion and ask if FFG-51 becoming DDG-51 was a case of talking turkey or not. But we’ve talked for a long. damn. time.

Panic is a logical reaction to the logical things not working. We are almost–not quite–at the point where panic is going to set in. (I might count that point as one of those days where some Brit will look at us and say “there must be something wrong with our bloody ships today”, and that might be the second flaming datum or it might be the loss of Houston to a nuke or it might be us finally realizing we’re being finessed to capitulation without even needing to have a navy to go up against.)

It is time to find the implementers in our navy, beat them on the head with a stick, and get them a-implementing. So. Let’s find these SOBs and force them to know each other–if Army can map the insurgents in Diyala, why can’t someone just use Facebook and get our insurgents a-plottin’? If Proceedings can spend a major part of an issue bragging about their access to the mailing list of a super secret elite cabal of military thinkers who get allowed to opine to each other by special invite only–see the issue two months ago because Proceedings‘ web interface is teh suck (and it ain’t Adelaide I’m talking about because those guys are rearguing the presidential election, or patriotism’s definition, or something for some reason this week)–who are these wonder menschen? Who’s got the book like Burke had written himself just to get his thoughts in order?

It ain’t me–I’m learning my new job with a bunch of kids straight from boot camp and then I get sandy for a year in the wilderness–but you know as well as I do that the guys in the big brain locker complain that their great ideas become buzzwords and then get lost in the shuffle…and that’s the problem. We need less buzzword more boom, even if the boom turns out to be just some guy employed on a music video in Palestine losing his job.

Why not stuff like: Completely redo the acquisitions system, suggestions available on request or search box, simple and painful but achieveable. Force everyone to work on time cards and pressure the boss who’s making his guys work the most on shore duty when the task is the same thing that’s been done for twenty years with the same ten percent bogies every single stinking year. If there’s people mining away in the “work-life balance” shop until 2000 every night, send them to the hospital for irony poisoning. Make the retiring guy take mister “ethos” and mister “creed” and the endorphin addict with the PT uniform and the officer photos rule along with him on the slug line to Poughkeepsie. Better yet: go completely gonzo, and put every single stinkin’ billet in the Palace and Crystal City and the rest of the NCR in the ‘Stan. Any ‘Stan. Just blow some organizations up until the squealing gets unbearable, then do it some more. SOMETHING. Put the NIE track record history up on the wall and run that through a filter so that every national wartime decision has to look at something like this just to remind them that in wartime none of us know what the hell we’re doing. And I’m not just picking on intel; this works for everything. What was in the outyears five, ten years ago? Why does Congressman Taylor’s staff tell you they know more than you do about what you ask for when you want a ship? What big thing is going to get done on your watch that means something?

The Army has a Small Wars Journal and an internal insurgency. They’re making some change happen the old fashioned way: a near death experience. Us? I count a couple of anonymous ranters, a restricted line guy in the wilderness, a Coastie bless his heart living inside the Beltway and going to monthly sessions on what used to be a magazine worth reading, and reports from smart but ignored contractors on Big Navy “listening sessions” in Durham North Carolina. Who’s the insurgency inside the Nav, folks? Who’s mapping it, who’s connecting them? I Cannot Do It Right Now: I have promises to keep. But SOMEONE has to.

Nobody puts up the stoplight until after the accident. Nobody cares about mine warfare until the second flaming datum. Nobody cares about ASW until someone gets fired. I can go on; you get the picture.

I need this:
–A couple of congresscritters willing to think that their pet navy dude is doing something worthwhile and sexy enough to talk up and protect when the feather bed of Big Navy tries to smother them.
–Gates’s staff, and the bossman himself, willing to bet chips on ’em and stifle his own internal staff dissent.
–One three star or higher, outside the joint world, ready to kill his job over big change. Has to be 3 or higher because if you die in the Pentagon hallway they don’t cart you away until you smell too bad or have three stars; has to be pure Navy with connections to joint instead of multiple joint tours because too much of the joint world is far far away and too many flags have reached escape velocity and won’t come back to being a glorified chop for Big Nav giving up time as WHATEVERCOM to sit in that uncomfortable chair listening to the newest member of the HASC opine about uniform changes.
–People outside DoD who mean something to their own home organizations and mean something to us. Politics is an extension of war by other means; the PLO and Jeane Kirkpatrick taught us that. How many brigades did the Pope really have in Poland in the eighties? It wasn’t zero, was it? Who’s going to make flag working at State…and more importantly, who’s going to get a plum ambassadorship after being a POLAD? How do we even get to play with Agriculture, since it might just be a matter of national security to figure out what the heck to do with places that grow poppies?
–One senior officer with too much personality and ready to get a following. Yeah, he’s going to suck up all the credit. So what. The flag is for top cover. This guy is going to build the important part.
–A snotload of field and company grades who understand the reason why Tom Barnett went to them (before Barnett blew up) and the SWJ’ers came from the guys in the field: because cultural change will happen with the midgrades. Get them power and a sense of mission and make them do pure magic.

But that’s only structure. I need substance. Problem is, there are several places with a little of the structure like that right now in DoD fibrillating because none of them have any ideas worth wiping with. You gotta have something like Burke’s book that he wrote to himself just to put his thoughts together.

And this is where I think I know what those two retired military contractor guys are up to. If they’re smart. Gates’s NDU speech is good–but remember what NDU was at the end of WWII? We had Marshall there. The most popular party in Egypt has a plan, too–how come they can integrate across skills and we can’t?

Argh. I’m too wound up on this. I get like ten hits a week nowadays since I killed the blog to study, but this had to come out or I was going to hurt something else. You have an idea? Got a gripe? Sure, drop a comment.

Better yet, maybe let this get in your craw and think about how to do something about it if you agree with any of it…

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