Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

National Geographic I.

This is coolbert:
The most recent issue of the National Geographic magazine [June 2006], for whatever reason carries a whole lot of items that are germane to recent blog entries of mine.

[I suggest to everyone that if there is one magazine you read once a month, and only one, make it the National Geographic. Has always had a good reputation, and over the years, has gotten only better. Covers items in a way that can be understood by the layman. And the photos, graphics, etc, have been and probably always be superb!!]

That these various items germane to my would exist in the most current issue was surprising to me! I had not read the issue first and THEN made the blog entries. It was the other way around!

These various items place some of the blog entries in a new perspective, while other items merely clarify and illuminate.

First is a one page graphic showing the "Hungry Planet".

A map of the world showing where human starvation and malnutrition are endemic. Sub-Saharan Africa is the one area where the problem is the most acute. Areas shaded on the map in RED indicate those nations of the region [what is normally called BLACK Africa], where the folks are in big trouble food wise. Further plots show where a "food emergency" has been in effect for ten years running!!

Overlays of this type would have been used by the British Admiral Parry when studying the potential flash and trouble points throughout the world. Trying to anticipate future developments in war and conflict the world over.

A whole series of overlays would have been made and superimposed over one another and on a map of the world. Overlays to include: [this type of thing is called in the military Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield.]

* Places in the world where starvation and hunger are endemic.

"endemic - - adj 1: of or relating to a disease (or anything resembling a disease) constantly present to greater or lesser extent in a particular locality; "diseases endemic to the tropics"; "endemic malaria"; "food shortages and starvation are endemic in certain parts of the world"

* Places in the world where rising sea levels threaten low lying nations.

* Places in the world with overpopulation.

* Places in the world with strong Islamic jihad fundamentalist movements.

[you could include more as well!!]

Places in the world where you have a complete "set" [an overlap] of conditions existing all at once are very volatile and very major potential "flash points" Unstable and dangerous areas prone to conflict. Threats!!

Bangladesh for instance is just one place. Others exist too. Perhaps Bangladesh is the most acute example. NO, Bangladesh IS the most acute example!!

Second is an entire article on nanotechnology.

Everything that the layperson wants to know about nano technology written in a form that is easily understandable. We hear about this stuff but do not always understand it.

"A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. That's like comparing the size of a marble to the size of the earth. Welcome to the world of nanotechnology." [!!!]

Keep in mind what Admiral Parry had to say about this topic:

"Parry . . . Foresees wholesale moves by the armed forces to robots, drones, nanotechnology, lasers, microwave weapons, space-based systems, "customized" nuclear and neutron bombs."

From the article in the Geographic:

"nano technology has been around for two decades, but the first wave of applications is only now beginning to break. As it does, it will make the computer revolution look like small change." [!!]

Whoa!! It is generally accepted that the greatest invention of the Twentieth Century was the computer. And nano-technology is going to vastly go beyond that!!!???

NO possible military applications of nanotechnology are mentioned in the article.

But this is said to be true:

"One reason for the rapid global spread of nanotechnology is that the entry cost is comparatively low. 'Countries that missed out on the computer revolution because they lacked the capital to build vast high-tech factories that make silicon chips are less likely to miss the nanotech wave.' 'It's science you can do in a beaker.'"


Third is an interview with an "old China hand".

"Who is an 'Old China Hand' and what is the 'Old China Hand Experience?'

According to A Concise Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, edited by Paul Beale, (Macmillan, 1989), this term has been in use since approximately 1910 and is applied to 'One who has spent many years in China in the commercial or civil service, or as a missionary.'"

[persons who have lived in China and have an intimate knowledge of China, the people, the history, etc.]

NOT actually an old man, a young man. Who has spent a number of years in China, first as a Peace Corps volunteer and then as a writer on China affairs. A man who if anyone knows anything about China, it would be this man. Sees things at the street level, knows the language, travels about and has a whole host of contacts, etc.

Regarding the future "threat" that China poses to the U.S., here is what this man has to say:

"I laugh sometimes when people talk about the threat of China, as if this is America's great threat or great challenge. Really, I think Americans should be grateful that this is the kind of place they're dealing with. This generation of Chinese - - you can pretty much predict how people respond because they tend to act in their own best interest. It's one thing that's made living here easier in some ways. It hasn't been that hard as an outsider to function here. People seem quite rational - - very , very pragmatic."

Well, I hope that means the Chinese will act in the manner they generally have in the last two millenniums. NOT extending power and reach on a global scale and intimidating those around them by the use of force. A totalitarian and expansive China would be bad for the world.

Fourth is an interview with Australian MYCOLOGISTS. [persons who study mushrooms and fungi!!]

Recall my recent blog entry concerning those most virulent and deadly poisons, mycotoxins:

"Reports exist of T-2 mycotoxin used as a biological warfare agent. The first suspected use was in the country of Laos during the Vietnam War. The report of "yellow rain" in remote sections of jungle in Laos (1975-81), which resulted in more than 6300 deaths, has been viewed as use of T-2 mycotoxin as a biological weapon. Evidence regarding the use of the toxin in Laos remains hotly debated. Other reported uses of T-2 mycotoxin as a biological weapon concern Kampuchea (1979-81) and Afghanistan (1979-81)."

Mycotoxins are very deadly. Among the worst poisons known to man. Derived from fungal type of organisms.

However, consider this irony:

"People don't realize that they're probably the most important organisms on the planet. Without them, trees can't extract nutrients, so they'd die. It they go, it's bad news for us."

The very thing [the fungi] that produces a very deadly poison with military applications, is also absolutely essential to the existence of life on our planet as we know it.

Is this not an amazing irony??!! Much like that without the normally existing background radiation in the rocks of our planet, there would NOT BE life as we know it either. Without the heat generated from naturally occurring radiation from elements such as radium and URANIUM our planet would be one big frozen chunk of ice at the surface. Life would not be possible as we have it now!! The same elements that we are so afraid of because they are used in atomic bombs are the very same elements that allow for life to be in the FIRST PLACE!!!

Life and the world is full of such amazing ironies.



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