Saturday, March 31, 2012

Honor, Not Law: an Article on Law and Battlefield Discipline

Armed Forces Journal published a very interesting article entitled
"Honor, Not Law: Rules of engagement are only a small part of battlefield discipline"
"...The military can and should do a better job teaching troops the law of armed conflict, but this would not have prevented civilian deaths in Haditha nor the abuse of enemy corpses in Afghanistan.
The problem of battlefield discipline goes beyond the law of armed conflict. The law is society’s response to undisciplined or unethical conduct. It does an OK job of sorting out the aftermath of an incident and categorizing the participants as either guilty or not guilty. But the law often falls short as a catalyst for ethical behavior, especially on the battlefield.
Law is the judgment of the community at large, but the impetus for ethical conduct among warriors must come from other warriors. The real challenge for commanders is not just to teach their troops about the law of armed conflict but to inculcate in their troops the ethos of the professional warrior — to instill an abiding sense of honor.
It is not enough for soldiers to know the rules, or even to follow them. Without deep reserves of character and psychological strength, troops in high-stress battlefield situations may fall prey to undisciplined impulses. Honor, not law, is the key to battlefield discipline...."
Read the whole article. We who are civilians may be thankful if we never need to understand the subject in practical terms, but when we, the civilian population, give directions to our military "Go there, do that!" we need to understand this stuff.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The World Avoided: The Good News about CFC Bans Saving the Ozone

Here's a pretty amazing article, that shows how smart we were to take action:

Summer ultraviolet (UV) index
used to alert people to the
intensity of sun-burning radiation
at the peak of the day
triples as ozone is depleted
in the "world avoided" scenario.
Credit: NASA/Paul Newman, et. al.;
published in 
Chemistry and Physics
"The year is 2065. Nearly two-thirds of Earth's ozone is gone -- not just over the poles, but everywhere. The infamous ozone hole over Antarctica, first discovered in the 1980s, is a year-round fixture, with a twin over the North Pole. The ultraviolet (UV) radiation falling on mid-latitude cities like Washington, D.C., is strong enough to cause sunburn in just five minutes. DNA-mutating UV radiation is up 650 percent, with likely harmful effects on plants, animals and human skin cancer rates.

Such is the world we would have inherited if 193 nations had not agreed to ban ozone-depleting substances, according to atmospheric chemists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, Bilthoven.

Led by Goddard scientist Paul Newman, the team simulated "what might have been" if chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and similar chemicals were not banned through the treaty known as the Montreal Protocol. The simulation used a comprehensive model that included atmospheric chemical effects, wind changes, and radiation changes. The analysis has been published online in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics...."

Read the whole thing:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Making Seafood Bisque for Soup Night At Big Al's

Big Al's has had a Soup Contest most Sunday's for about a year. Here, Kris faces the Challenge of Seafood Bisque!