Quotulatiousness

January 14, 2018

Prologue 2 Cuban Missile Crisis – The Cold War Heats Up

Filed under: Americas, History, Military, Russia, USA — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

TimeGhost
Published on 19 Oct 2017

For 13 days in October 1962 the world came closer to nuclear holocaust than ever before, but the Cuban Missile Crisis didn’t start in Cuba – it had its roots in Berlin, Italy and Turkey, the domestic political situation in the US facing the newly elected President John F Kennedy, and in the USSR, where Premier Nikita Khrushchev had taken leadership of the Soviet through a harsh four year power struggle after Stalin’s death in 1953.

Hosted by: Indy Neidell
Written by: Spartacus Olsson
Produced and Directed by: Astrid Deinhard
Executive Producers: Bodo Rittenauer, Astrid Deinhard, Indy Neidell, Spartacus Olsson
Camera and editing by: Jonas Klein

A TimeGhost chronological documentary produced by OnLion Entertainment GmbH

POWs in Japan – Great War Remembrance – Marasesti I OUT OF THE TRENCHES

Filed under: Europe, Germany, History, Japan, Military, WW1 — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

The Great War
Published on 13 Jan 2018

Ask your questions here: http://outofthetrenches.thegreatwar.tv

In today’s episode, Indy answers questions about the state of the prisoner of war camps in Japan, the ways in which WW1 is remembered in Germany and the food shortages in the Ottoman Empire, plus he takes a closer look at the Battle of Marasesti.

Google’s unhealthy political monoculture

Filed under: Business, Law, Technology, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Megan McArdle doesn’t think that the lawsuit that James Damore is pursuing against Google has a lot of legal merit, but despite that she’s confident that the outcome won’t be happy for the corporation:

The lawsuit, just filed in a California court, certainly offers evidence that things were uncomfortable for conservatives at Google. And especially, that they were uncomfortable for James Damore after he wrote a memo suggesting that before Google went all-out trying to achieve gender parity in its teams, it needed to be open to the possibility that the reason there were fewer women at the firm is that fewer women were interested in coding. (Or at least, in coding with the single-minded, nay, obsessive, fervor necessary to become an engineer at one of the top tech companies in the world.)

That much seems quite clear. But it’s less clear that Damore has a strong legal claim.

I understand why conservative employees were aggrieved. Internal communications cited in the lawsuit paint a picture of an unhealthy political monoculture in which many employees seem unable to handle any challenge to their political views. I personally would find it extremely unsettling to work in such a place, and I am a right-leaning libertarian who has spent most of my working life in an industry that skews left by about 90 percent.

But these internal communications have been stripped of context. Were they part of a larger conversation in which these comments seem more reasonable? What percentage did these constitute of internal communications about politics? At a huge company, there will be, at any given moment, some number of idiots suggesting things that are illegal, immoral or merely egregiously dumb. That doesn’t mean that those things were corporate policy, or even that they were particularly problematic for conservatives. When Google presents its side of the case, the abuses suggested by the lawsuit may turn out to be considerably less exciting — or a court may find that however unhappy conservatives were made by them, they do not rise to a legally actionable level.

Google, for its part, says that it is eager to defend the lawsuit. But lawyers always announce that they have a sterling case that is certain to prevail, even if they know they are doomed. And unless they can present strong evidence that there were legions of conservatives happily frolicking away on their internal message boards while enjoying the esteem of their colleagues and the adulation of their managers, there is no way that this suit ends well for Google. If the company and its lawyers think otherwise, they are guilty of a sin known to the media as “reading your own press releases,” and to drug policy experts as being “high on your own supply.”

There are expensive, time-consuming, exasperating lawsuits, and then there are radioactive lawsuits that poison everyone who comes within a mile of them. And this lawsuit almost certainly falls into the latter category.

M4 Sherman Tank – Crew tell how shocking it was

Filed under: History, Military, Technology, WW2 — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

spottydog4477
Published on 18 Sep 2011

Doctrine

As the US approached entry in World War II, armored employment was doctrinally governed by FM 100-5 Operations (published May 1941, the month following selection of the M4 tank’s final design). That FM stated that:

    The armored division is organized primarily to perform missions that require great mobility and firepower. It is given decisive missions. It is capable of engaging in all forms of combat, but its primary role is in offensive operations against hostile rear areas.

In other words, the M4 was envisioned to primarily fill the role of a cruiser tank — although the US Army did not use that doctrinal term. The M4 was not primarily intended as an infantry support tank; in fact, FM 100-5 specifically stated the opposite. It placed tanks in the “striking echelon” of the armored division, and placed the infantry in the “support echelon”. Neither was the M4 primarily intended for tank versus tank action. Doctrinally, anti-tank engagements were the primary role of tank destroyers. The field manual covering the use of the Sherman (FM 17-33 The Tank Battalion, Light and Medium of September 1942) devoted one page of text and four diagrams to tank versus tank action (out of 142 pages). This early armored doctrine was heavily influenced by the sweeping initial successes of the German blitzkrieg tactics. Unfortunately, by the time M4s reached combat in significant numbers, battlefield demands for infantry support and tank versus tank action far outnumbered the occasional opportunities for cruiser tanks.

Although envisioned primarily as a cruiser-type tank, US doctrine did also contemplate the M4’s use in other roles. Unlike some other nations, which had separate medium tank designs tailored specifically for anti-tank roles (e.g., the German PzKfw III) and support roles (the PzKfw IV), the US intended the M4 to fulfill all roles. Although not optimized for tank versus tank engagements or infantry support, the M4 was capable of performing these missions to varying degrees. In the Pacific Theater, the Sherman was used chiefly against Japanese infantry and fortifications; in their rare encounters with lighter Japanese tanks with weaker armor and guns, the Shermans were vastly superior.

The doctrine of the time had Shermans as a sort of infantry tank. All anti-tank work was supposed to be done by tank-destroyer crews. Speed was essential in order to bring the tank-destroyers from the rear to destroy incoming tanks. Thankfully, for Sherman crews, this doctrine was not entirely used as it would create a small window of time of weakness in the armored battalion until tank destroyers moved to the front. Obviously this would make it harder for an armored force to achieve a breakthrough, a main objective of armor, if the enemy had tanks. It would also be easier for an opposing armored force to achieve a breakthrough against an American tank battalion which would not have all of its anti-tank assets at the front during the beginning of any attack.

QotD: The Cultural Revolution of 1966

Filed under: China, Politics, Quotations — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was proclaimed by Chairman Mao Tse-tung (as he was then spelt) on the 16th of May, 1966. […] It continued ten years, until its author’s death. It was one of the greatest continuing massacres of history — a work of incredible destruction through which most of the surviving cultural monuments from China’s civilized past were also wiped out. The Chinese Communist Party, which still rules this immense nation or empire, no longer wishes to talk about it. The anniversary has been suppressed, and even in Hong Kong, where media retain some fraction of the freedom they enjoyed under British colonial rule, Internet links to the anniversary have been frozen.

Led by young, psychopathic Red Guards, it was an unrestrained obliteration of what Mao called “The Four Olds” — old habits, old customs, old ideas, old culture. His satanic dream was of a “perpetual revolution.” His principles were ultimately those of the French Revolution — “improved” by the models of Leninism and Stalinism, the Hsin-hai Revolution of 1911 (in which the Chinese emperor was deposed), and the imagination of a petty bourgeois from a rural backwater in the province of Hunan (Mao himself). At this day, nothing like an adequate historical accounting can yet be attempted of the Cultural Revolution; nor of Mao’s previous iconoclastic essays; nor of the ways in which subsequent economic accomplishments have depended on them. Crucial sources for such a history remain under the control of the Politburo; and travel within their empire is still regulated by their “guides.”

The personality cult Mao launched, for the worship of himself as living god, exceeded that of Hitler or of Stalin. (At one point nothing was allowed in print that was not either by or about him.) I note that his image yet adorns Chinese banknotes.

[…] I had skirted China by then in my own travels, and read other newsy-historical works, and chatted with more than one acknowledged “China expert” in my quasi-vocation as a hack journalist; and thereby been fed almost entirely with lies. I knew that Maoism was evil, but could not begin to compass how radically evil. A growing appreciation of the grandeur of the ancient Chinese civilization accentuated this. For what was destroyed, in addition to the bodies corresponding to tens of millions of human souls, was of tremendous value, not only to China but to the legacy of the planet.

To my mind looking back, the Cultural Revolution may be the most sustained and thorough exercise in the cause of “progress” that men have yet performed.

David Warren, “Creative Destruction”, Essays in Idleness, 2016-05-16.

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