Monday, March 30, 2009

Why is war fought?

War! Huh! Yeah!
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing!
Say it again.

Recently I have been watching some shows on cable like Warriors on the Military Channel and Battles BC on the History Channel. I have always liked the history of WWI and WWII from a military aspect but now, seeing the wars and battles from ancient history, it got me thinking. Why are wars fought?

Since the beginning of sentient mammals on this planet, war has been about land[1]. Oh there are always other reasons that are used to go to war, the two most prominent being religion and revolution/independence. However, when you get to the bottom line it is always about conquest. The US War of Independence was a fight to determine who would "own" the land in North America. The Crusades, while being touted as a holy war, what simply about who would control the "Holy Land." Every war that has been fought anywhere has been about land. Until now.

In the last half of the 20th century, the tactic of organized, international terrorism as a means of combat became popular. The idea wasn't to fight a war but to cause so much fear that war would not happen. The terrorists could "win" without having to field and support an army. There were still wars, but after the fall of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Block nations, these became smaller and more localized. International war has now become passé. Conflicts are now fought with the weapons of terror.

Since September 11th, 2001, war hasn't been waged over land. The reasons most often used are religion, racial hatred and to "drive the evil ones from our land." However, when you dig through all the hype and rhetoric the only thing left is the need to kill the proverbial "Them." This makes countering the attacks difficult at best. In terror, there is no land to defend. There is no army to fight. There is no economy to build or destroy. How do you fight an enemy who is not trying to conquer you? What do terrorist groups really want? While they may claim this or that outcome as terms for a secession of violence, the only thing that will quench their fire is blood. For example, Al Qaeda is only going to stop killing when there's no one left to kill. So again, the question is how do you fight this kind of enemy?

I honestly wish I knew.

[1] Economy and money are just the fruits of conquering land.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Barbara Liskov Wins Turing Award

Barbara Liskov Wins Turing Award | March 10, 2009 - "Barbara Liskov has won the Association for Computing Machinery's A.M. Turing Award, one of the highest honors in science and engineering, for her pioneering work in the design of computer programming languages. Liskov's achievements underpin virtually every modern computing-related convenience in people's daily lives.

Liskov, the first U.S. woman to earn a PhD in computer science, was recognized for helping make software more reliable, consistent and resistant to errors and hacking. She is only the second woman to receive the honor, which carries a $250,000 purse and is often described as the "Nobel Prize in computing."

This is quite an accomplishment. It also reemphasizes the role women play in the computer world. Grace Hopper, Ada Lovelace, and now add to that Barbara Liskov.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

What's your favorite movie quote

"If we get separated, meet at the platform for Union Square. That's where we change trains."
The whole movie is a great quote.

It's hard to pick just one.

Three songs to get over a break-up

Gonna Hitch a Ride by Boston

Great head clearing music.

Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Cryin' at the beginning but kickin' ass at the end.

Paranoid by Black Sabbath

No one can feel down listening to Sabbath.

I'm going to try this Plinky thing out. Let's see if it's worth having.

In the mean time, what three songs would you pick to help get over a break-up?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My first 'F'

Well, ok... It's my first unintentional 'F'. Back some 25 or so years ago I would randomly (but rarely) fail classes just because. Call it the idiocy of youth.

Anyway, I did end up failing my Programming class. This isn't a catastrophe as I'll just have to retake it next semester. It will move my graduation back a semester, though. That's not a real problem either, just annoying. With Spring coming the weather should have less of an impact on my health so I have no real fear of not passing again.

But on the bright side I passed the other class I was taking.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Internet seen a growing weapon in Asian radicalization (Reuters)

Internet seen a growing weapon in Asian radicalization (Reuters) Posted on Fri Mar 6, 2009 8:32AM EST | "The number of radical and extremist websites in Bahasa and Malay rose from 15 in 2007 to 117 in 2008. Of those, sympathetic websites rose from 10 to 16 and sympathetic blogs and social networking rose from zero to 82.

Between 2006 and July 2007, radical regional websites have disseminated al-Qaeda and Southeast Asian militant group Jemaah Islamiah propaganda videos, pictures and statements, it said.

If only the "good guys" were as 'Net savvy. Instead of doing everything to effectively counteract the hatred and propaganda these sites spew the forces for peace and human advancement seem to prefer working with the governments, organizations and corporations only interested in attaining and keeping all the money and power they can get. How do you combat hatred and terror on the 'Net? By filling it with the antithesis of everything they are promoting.
  • Understanding instead of hatred.
  • Rational thought instead of mindless rhetoric.
  • Help and caring for others instead of pain and death.
We know places like China and North Korea are trying to lock down access to the world but when the Western nations inhibit communication and the exchange of ideas it is just as bad. It's the free flow of information that will bring down the terrorists and hate mongers.
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Friday, March 06, 2009

Alert First Grader Finds Mistake, Reaps Reward

Alert First Grader Finds Mistake, Reaps Reward Friday, March 06, 2009 - "Emilio Lemeni, a student in Marcie Abel’s first-grade class at Rosa Parks Elementary School, noticed an error in a book that he had borrowed from the school library. His mother confirmed the error in the book, “Scutellosaurus and Other Small Dinosaurs,” and notified the librarian, Jane Frowert. The error Emilio spotted was the wrong color of an icon on a page in the book."

A cute little story about a very observant kid. Just goes to show that if you pay attention you get rewarded.

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