For many years, scientists who studied biology, behavior, and ecology (under the name of various disciplines) looked at resources, including and especially food, as a major determinant of social structure in social animals, herd structure in herd animals, and so on. Then, there was a revolution and it quickly became apparent that sex, not food, underlies everything and is the ultimate explanation for the variation we see in nature. That pair of dimes lasted for a while, then the other penny dropped and thanks to key research done by a handful of people (including me, in relation to human evolution), it became apparent that there was a third significant factor, that ultimately trumped sex as an organizing force. Food. Continue reading Food Or War by Julian Cribb: Excellent new book
Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow (signed by the author!) and I’m reading it with great interest, even though I’m totally swamped with other things. Damn you Rachel Maddow for writing such an engaging book!
I’m just starting it but wanted to share a couple of observations.
Continue reading Drift by Rachel Maddow: Chapter 1
Iraq is now an “independent, free and sovereign” country according the the US Government which, for eight years, eight months, and twenty five days, has occupied the nation with a massive military presence.
The war officially ended this morning at 5:15 AM eastern time (1:15PM in Iraq) at a quiet ceremony.
All the troops are coming home before Christmas1.
4,487 US troops were killed and about 30,000 wounded. As usual, the number of others killed and wounded is in dispute and seems more a matter of politics than reality, despite the fact that they are actual people. More than 100,000 Iraqis were killed according to the Washington Post.
The total cost of the war was approximately $800,000,000,000. That’s less than $3,000 per person in the US, which isn’t bad, stretched out over several years, for a major war.
The Iraqis are very appreciative of the efforts. In Falluja, the site of one of the most significant battles in the early days of the war, thousands of Sunni Iraqi’s took to the streets and burned flags of Israel and the US.
Sectarian violence is expected to flare up soon after US troops have left.
1Except the ones that aren’t.
You’ve heard about this: The US Air Force, at Dover, has incinerated “partial remains” of nearly 300 American troops, and had the ashes carted off with medical waste to the landfill. If you have heard of this, you’ve also heard the indignation, the loathing, the accusations of inhumanity, and the verbal rending of cloth. If you have been observing this, have you also noticed how everybody has it wrong? Continue reading The disposal of human remains by the US Air Force