The Pentagon’s decision to end its ban on women-in-combat — a change announced, formally, this afternoon — is simply a decision whose time, in many, many ways, has come. But it is also, importantly, a decision that technological advances have made easier: more sensible, more practical, more impermeable to objection. While some will still make social and cultural arguments against women serving on the front lines — most of which will boil down to the idea that it’s hard for “bands of brothers” to coalesce when sisters are part of the equation — most other objections are now, or will soon be, preempted. And that’s in part because of technology.
Read more. [Image: David Kamm, U.S. Army Natick Soldier RD&E Center]
Their industry rewards intimacy, often driving photographers closer to the sharp edge of conflict. But after capturing those last breaths and cities laid waste by violence, these photographers are left to scroll through the day’s shots before wiring the most gripping images to newsrooms around the world.
Some photographers try to lose themselves in the technical elements of their images: the exposures and f-stops, saturation and white balance. These aspects allow a modicum of control. The most successful are praised and rewarded for their work. The events that shock their humanity, serve as fuel for their professional career. But sometimes, when trauma weighs too heavily — when those recorded moments become too ‘decisive’ — photographers internalize what they’ve seen. Like soldiers, photographers can carry these wars home
Read more. [Images: Ashley Gilbertson]
On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched a surprise attack on the United States, bombing warships and military targets in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. More than 350 Japanese aircraft attacked the naval base in two waves, strafing targets, dropping armor-piercing bombs, and launching torpedoes toward U.S. battleships and cruisers. The U.S. forces were unprepared, waking to the sounds of explosions and scrambling to defend themselves. The entire preemptive attack lasted only 90 minutes, and in that time, the Japanese sunk four battleships and two destroyers, pummeled 188 aircraft, and damaged even more buildings, ships and airplanes. (Two of the battleships were later raised and returned to service.) Some 2,400 Americans were killed in the attack; another 1,250 were injured, and a huge shock was dealt to United States. After the attack, Japan officially declared war on the United States. The next day President Roosevelt delivered his famous “infamy” speech, and signed a formal declaration of war against the Empire of Japan. Within days, Nazi Germany and the Kingdom of Italy also declared war on the United States, and the U.S. reciprocated soon after. (This entry is Part 7 of a weekly 20-part retrospective of World War II)
See more. [Images: AP, U.S. Navy]
December 4th is National Cookie Day!
U.S. Marine Corps CPL. Victor Medrano prepares chocolate chip cookies for the crew of the aircraft carrier USS NIMITZ (CVN 68). Nimitz is deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch, 01/29/1998
Almost anyone is capable of cheating, given the right circumstances. The trick is to avoid compromising situations in the first place.
Read more. [Image: Christopher Berkey/AP Images]
A week ago today, superstorm Sandy powered ashore, making landfall in the U.S. and wreaking havoc across the northeast. Damage estimates now reach as high as $50 billion, which would make Sandy the second-costliest Atlantic hurricane in history. At least 113 lives were lost across 10 states, and more than 1 million people are still without power across New York and New Jersey. Where the damage was worst, aid workers, National Guardsmen, soldiers, and groups of civilian volunteers arrived, bringing supplies, beginning cleanup, providing what was needed — in many cases, neighbor helping neighbor. Collected here are images of Sandy recovery from just the past weekend, showing what has been accomplished so far and the massive amount of work that remains to be done. See also the earlier entry: Hurricane Sandy: After Landfall.
See more. [Images: AP, Reuters, Getty]
Looking back on the troubled wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, many observers are content to lay blame on the Bush administration. But inept leadership by American generals was also responsible for the failure of those wars. A culture of mediocrity has taken hold within the Army’s leadership rank—if it is not uprooted, the country’s next war is unlikely to unfold any better than the last two.
Read more. [Image: Darren Braun]
Advancements in robotics are continually taking place in the fields of space exploration, health care, public safety, entertainment, defense, and more. These machines — some fully autonomous, some requiring human input — extend our grasp, enhance our capabilities, and travel as our surrogates to places too dangerous for us to go. NASA currently has dozens of robotic missions underway, with satellites now in orbit around our moon and four planets — and two more on the way to Ceres and Pluto. Gathered here are recent images of robotic technology at the beginning of the 21st century.
See more. [Images: USMC/Sgt. Mallory S. VanderSchans, AP Photo/Yonhap, Park Dong-joo]
[Image: NATO via Wired]
Traditionally used for blind, deaf, or physically disabled patients, service dogs have only recently been trained to perform tasks that can improve PTSD symptoms, like wake a veteran from a nightmare or create a buffer in large crowds or public places.
Patients often experience dramatic improvement, say service dog experts. They feel renewed confidence in social situations, decrease medication use, and are less likely to startle. Some veterans say it’s the only treatment that ever worked so well.
Read more. [Image: Lucas Jackson/Reuters]