Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Bunch o' links and thoughts

Been a tad busy of late so here are bunch of links that caught my interest over the last two weeks. A feast for the tactile mouse-clicking fetishist.

Definitions Yo!

Defining methods of conflict is in the house! Purpleslog is defining. Abu Muqawama is defining. It'd be cool if there was a taxonomy of war. Does such a project exist? If I raised that question in a Sergeants mess (or the small wars discussion board) I'd be met with the following "War is war you jackass" and I'd be thrown out quick smart. Although, it'd be quite useful to collate the differing classifications out there. Perhaps an industrious PHD student will do such a thing one day (unless I'm completely ignorant on the subject and it already exists! If so, please link me up before I go go).

Update on Taxonomy: I knew I'd seen something similar before. I just consulted my bookshelf of love. Harkavy and Neuman's 'Warfare and the Third World' has a round up of typologies of war from a collection of sources on page 18. Perhaps fodder for a future blog post. Colin Gray's chapter on Small Wars in 'Modern Strategy' also has a bunch of differing small war types. Hurrah for well stocked personal libraries!


Kristan Wheaton has a number of blog posts on play on the front page of his blog. Interesting stuff for those interested in creativity.

Coups and Killers.

For those of a conspiratorial bent I bring you two conspiracies this week and a paper on conspiracy theory. Firstly, rumours abound of a nation wide serial killer who has a 'drowning drunk college males' fetish. There is a good discussion on metafilter of the merits and refutations of the theory in the link's discussion.

Secondly, is this link on the foiling of a supposed coup in Turkey (via metafilter also). Those interested in 5GW should have a look at this wikipedia article on the subject.

'All Embracing,' a blog about the philosophy of conspiracy theory, kindly linked to a post of mine (cheers!). He has a recent paper on what conspiracy theorists believe in the link above.


Via mindhacks comes this page on Psychological operations and sex. Plenty of crazy posters and good discussion.

Lingua Franca has a podcast that ties together Israeli military operations, operations security, and journalistic self-censorship. Lingua also link to the London Review of books article which discusses the same.

Religion and Law

The Man who is Thursday has an stimulating post on the supernatural and policy. Quote:

Ever notice how weird it is that you can believe any crazy shit you want, implement it as government policy, teach it in public schools or whatever, so long as you scrupulously avoid referring to a supernatural being. Such a belief doesn't have to actually be rational or scientific, so long as you claim that you arrived at it through purely rational or scientific means. Conversely, if you want to enact a sensible policy, but make your appeal to the people on the basis of traditional attachment to some supernatural entity, you are an enemy of peace, order, and good government.
Unrestricted Warfare

NPR has a podcast on Chinese hackers targeting journalists.

War as a paraconsistent logic

Justin Boland replied on my anonymous trickster collective post regarding the mention of paraconsistent logic and war. This is something that I haven't fully looked into to know if it follows that type of thinking. I don't know if it does or not (pure conjecture ol' chap!). I was kinda thinking out loud. Luttwak's book on strategy certainly resembles that species of logic by stating war from the grand strategic to the tactical follows a lot of paradoxical logic e.g. that nice flat road, the easy way for a tactical advance to battle, is often mined, so climbing that cliff face through the wait-a-while vine, the hard way, is a good, but somewhat paradoxical option as it also leaves you open to a massive weakness (but with a big payoff in surprise). Hopefully I haven't made a strawman of Luttwak's account. He doesn't mention anything about specifically about non-classical logics. I sorta just knew that the name of the species of logic he was talking about. Something else I guess myself, or others, could look into is if grand strategy, or the ethics of war, resemble a subset of paraconsistent logic - dialetheism. This is where there are true contradictions, for instance some individuals who are quite aware of the massive destructiveness of war also argue for its use in achieving positive goals.


Jay@Soob said...

Odd bit about the "drowning drunk college males" bit. A Middlebury College kid slid of the face of the earth back in February here in VT and has yet to be found. One hypothesis, put forward by the family, is the serial killer you mention. Despite FBI resistance there remains a "folklore" of the "Smileyface gang." So named by the illustrations of a smiley face that they left behind after various murders.
Thus far authorities have failed to turn up neither the body nor evidence of a smiley face, though hi-tech photo evidence suggests the poor bastard's remains are in a local river at the base of a falls, twisted and jumbled within the drift wood below. Plays right into the MO of the "Smileyface" hypothesis.

G said...

Yes, it certainly is bizarre. At first, I thought it sounded like utter crap, so did a lot of persons arguing on the metafilter site that I linked to. Yet there are a number of anomalies as well that makes me think it isn't as clear cut as "drunk frat boy fell in the river by himself." A number of them were definitely murders and match the drowning and victim-type MO. A geographic analysis also brought up that they were all within a particular range of a major highway. The "John Doe" guy that likes drowning young men the article talks about is also kinda bizarre. I had no idea there was such a fetish as drowning people.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't have to be a fetish, it could just be a good SOP for avoiding detection. I'm still wondering if the Smileyface Killer isn't just a viral ad campaign for the next batman film. Have you seen the promo poster where the bat symbol is being blown out of a huge skyscraper while Christian Bale stands in front? After Cloverfield, everyone is trying to step their game up and shock marketing has diminishing returns. (Kind of like terrorism and "shock doctrine" U. Chicago economics.)