Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mal de Mali

The United States is providing aerial refueling for France's military efforts in Mali and may start transporting troops from other African nations to support the effort.  The U.S. cannot provide direct support to Mali's government because it came to power in a coup, not through democratic means.

I find this deeply disturbing.  The U.S. is once again helping France to re-take one of her former colonies from insurgents and hand it off to an unpopular, inept dictatorship. The motive this time is to prevent Islamists from using Mali as a base to export jihad to other nations in the region. Fifty years ago, we were concerned about communism spreading from Indochina (Vietnam) throughout Asia.

While the French airstrikes have allowed the "government" to quickly retake urban bases, "The Islamists seemed to be pulling back further north into the trackless desert wastes and mountain fastnesses of the Sahara, from where some military experts fear they could carry on a hit-and-run guerrilla war against the government."

Sound familiar? 

Perhaps we should all learn the French word for quagmire: bourbier.  The venerable French newspaper Le Monde is already using it.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Quote of the Day

"Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?" - Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, responding to a petition calling for the United States to build a Death Star. (h/t, Greenlee Gazette)

Making the most of the opportunity to trumpet the technological accomplishments of our military, Shawcross goes on to brag about "the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is supporting research on building Luke's arm, floating droids, and quadruped walkers."

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Schoolhouse Rap

Math teacher Jake Scott from Silver Spring, Maryland, has come up with some well-produced rap videos to help his students learn about quadratic equations and trigonometry. I suspect these kids are too young to remember Multiplication Rock.
h/t NPR.