Category: Science


PTSD, Interesting

ScienceDailyLogoThis links to an article on a study done in Denmark. The study was carried out on Danish soldiers who served in Afghanistan.

The main thrust of the article lines up with my own experience and gut feelings on PTSD.

Michael Yon brought it to my attention with this post.

I’ve done no actual research into the matter and, as I said, only post this because it lines up with my own gut feelings on the matter. I’d be interested in your thoughts on PTSD. Please, comment freely.

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My heart goes out to the families who lost loved ones in Aurora, Colorado this weekend. The kind of fear, pain, and horror their loved ones experienced in that theater, and the kind of fear, pain, and horror they are experiencing now in the aftermath have no place in a civilized world.

The urge to do something, anything, to prevent such a thing from ever happening again is a powerful and worthy one.

Like all such situations, allowing ignorance and fear to guide us in our decision-making is a bad idea.

I’ve been reading and reading and reading the internet’s response to the incident in Aurora and I see a lot of ignorance and fear that lead to statements I disagree with and which are, often, just plain wrong. The people making these statements are probably acting in good faith. They just don’t know what they’re talking about.

One of the best responses to most of the anti-gun arguments being raised can be found here at Larry Correia’s blog. I can’t add much to his words on the philosophical and legal side of the house.

However, there’s one aspect to this whole discussion that has bugged me more than any other: the idea that a CCW license holder in that theater would have just made things worse.

Idea 1: “A victim with a gun in that theatre would just have killed even more people with their wild shooting in the smoke and the darkness and the confusion.”

Wrong, and here’s why. Anyone with any familiarity with guns (I’m putting CCW holders in this group) won’t shoot unless they have a clear target and a clear backfield. In this case, if they didn’t have one because of the darkness or the smoke, they simply would not have fired their weapon until they did. You only see crazy undisciplined shooting in movie firefights, which is where the people raising the objection get their information about the use of guns.

Oh, terrorists and gangbangers also practice the “spray and pray” shooting style. Neither group equates, at all, with legal CCW holders, though most of the people objecting to the idea of defending oneself seem to conflate them.

Thus, if it were so dark, smoky, and confusing that a CCW holder would not have fired, we have no change in the outcome, certainly not a worse one. Psycho shoots who he will shoot.

Let’s say, however, that CCW holder did have a good shot. This takes us to…

Idea 2: “The shooter was wearing head-to-toe body armor so your pistols would not have worked. Duh, you scary-gun-people!”

Wrong again. People who get their information about the use of guns from the movies seem to imagine that this head-to-toe body armor granted Holmes invulnerability, the ability to walk unconcerned through gun fire like Arnie as the terminator.

Those of us who have some experience can tell you that being hit with a bullet while in body armor is like getting hit with a hammer while wearing a T-shirt. Not something you can ignore. While pistol bullets  may not have penetrated his armor, they sure as hell would have gotten his attention, knocked him off balance, possibly even knocked him down. Those precious seconds while he was dealing with hammer blows would, unarguably, have saved lives.

Please, let’s not allow ignorance and fear to rule our decision-making about guns.

 

 

 

Roswell-UFOI’m in Capitan, New Mexico right now. The birth and final resting place of Smokey Bear. (Not Smokey THE Bear just Smokey Bear. Get it right you soft-shoed urbanite.)

I’m learning  how to track people. When I’m done I’ll be able to wear a patch that say “Tactical Tracker” on it. My inner boy is so excited he can hardly breathe. I think it’s pretty cool too.

70 miles away is Roswell, NM, site of the infamous Roswell UFO Incident. The town apparently has no bars of note, and no clubs, so I will not be going.

I will, however, point out that an old religious leader of mine, a mormon bishop, claimed, in all seriousness, to have been one of the Air Force MPs mobilized to provide security around the crash site on that fateful day.

If the government really is covering up the recovery of an alien spaceship, well, somebody is going to pay, someday.

If by no other method than hordes of aging and disappointed SF fanboys hunting them through the streets like Han Solo after a TaunTaun on the Orient Express. There will probably be other groups involved in the gutting too.

More Climate Change Reading

Climate Scientist from MIT has this to say. Thanks to Jerry Pournelle for the link.

ALSO! Giraffes fighting!

Rather telling I think.

Or not. Do what you think is best. It’s a free country after all.

CreatingLiteracy-RichShoolsforAdolescentsJust read a very interesting rant by one Gayle Forman.  I have opinions on the same subject, Public Education in the United States, but I don’t pretend to be particularly well-informed.

My children are currently being homeschooled by my wife, which situation I am very happy with. They have attended public schools and charter schools in the past. So we are familiar with at least a narrow cross-section of education in our very tiny portion of the world. We chose home school for a variety of reasons.

I myself am a product of public education, as is my wife. I too had some good teachers and some bad. I would go so far as to say very bad and very good. It’s a mixed bag out there, which Ms. Forman is careful to point out.

One of the points that Ms. Forman makes so entertainingly is that standardized testing is bad and that No Child Left Behind is awful. Standardized testing stifles creative teachers by forcing them to ‘teach to the test,’ she says.  And frankly, I agree that teaching to a test is a bad idea. Mostly because it’s cheating if you’re teaching children to pass a test rather than master the skills that are tested therein. Such a teacher is lazily missing the point of their profession.

Ms. Forman cites a wonderful example of teachers who threw such practices into the trash and instead used their creativity and ingenuity to try and teach the actual skills their students needed in innovative and interesting ways. They even wrote a book about it: Creating Literacy-Rich Schools for Adolescents.

Of course, saying that such methods work better than whatever the other teachers are doing is one thing, proving it is quite another. Ms. Forman rose to the task, however, when she crowed about the success of this program.

She proved it by citing standardized test scores which rose in response to the innovative teacher’s methods.

Now why would she do that after castigating standardized testing as harshly as she does? I think it’s because she arrived at the same conclusion the politicians did. If you want to know how well education is being accomplished you must test the recipients. And those tests must be comparable from student to student, so they must be standardized. How else would one do it?

She actually, perhaps inadvertently, illustrates an argument against her position that, generally, teachers are not at fault for the sad state of our public education. As her example so clearly illustrates, teachers with drive passion and creativity can produce students who blow those heinous standardized tests out of the water.

So why don’t they then?

 

 

Evolution


“Not only could a million monkeys have turned out the works of Shakespeare, they actually did.”

Well, it definitely did not go to hell. I liked this book.

Everything I liked about it in the first 8 chapters: Hard SF sensibilities, a cool central premise, the fast moving short story pace, were maintained for the entire novel. All good. Highly recommended.

And in other news, Eric James Stone’s story “That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made” has been nominated for a Hugo award in the “Best Novelette” category. Huge congratulations, Eric!

I haven’t finished this book yet, so be warned that it may go completely to hell before I get there. I don’t think it’s likely but I’ll let you know either way. So far though, (I’m up to Chapter 8.) it’s a rocking good time with hard SF sensibilities striking sparks off of a whimsical  and amusing central premise.

Also, in the interests of full disclosure, Eric James Stone, the author, is my friend. I like his stuff in spite of that though, and I don’t think I’m in the minority.

Unforgettable

My Uncle!

That’s my uncle!

He presents a paper that is a brilliant examination of the relationship between the Indian Wars the United States fought in its early life and the current terror wars we’re fighting now.