This makes me happy just by existing. It’s called “A Wicked Deception” and it’s quite fine good.
No, it’s not an Eddie Izzard routine. It’s the U.S. Army assigning social scientists to combat units in Afghanistan, and it’s awesome:
[Tracy] is a member of the first Human Terrain Team, an experimental Pentagon program that assigns anthropologists and other social scientists to American combat units in Afghanistan and Iraq. Her team’s ability to understand subtle points of tribal relations — in one case spotting a land dispute that allowed the Taliban to bully parts of a major tribe — has won the praise of officers who say they are seeing concrete results.
Col. Martin Schweitzer, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division unit working with the anthropologists here, said that the unit’s combat operations had been reduced by 60 percent since the scientists arrived in February, and that the soldiers were now able to focus more on improving security, health care and education for the population.
That’s more like it! Actually talking to (and listening to) people in the countries we “liberate”, who woulda thunk it? Let’s just hope it doesn’t become so successful they have to institute a draft for anyone with an anthro degree…
You read that right. Steven Pinker thinks so and I’m inclined to agree with much of his reasoning. “We’re Getting Nicer Every Day” is an html version of a pdf, so a bit messy, but you can always download it if you prefer…
My dad, Norman Weibel, who is an American Legion chaplain and does weddings in California’s Inland Empire has a new website! Beware the music (it can be turned off at the bottom of the page).
Ok, so this is the biggest, hairiest and cutest spider I’ve ever seen! (Unfortunately, the little freak is not long for this world; story link is here.)