Posts Tagged ‘military science’


Running Title: Grunt – The Curious Science of Humans At War.

Aye, it is that time of the year. We cave into our materialistic lust as we answer the Siren call of Black Fridays, and tons of sales “events” … and other such bollocks. It is also that time of the year when we look forward to drinking eggnog, with our our bearpaw slippers on as we curl up and watch another screening of Love Actually. Oh wait, that’s just me. Hey mates, don’t judge me. But enough with the bollocks and one with the review. Shall we begin?
When you combine the sciences with … well … war, you are bound to capture my attention, so with a running title like “the curious science of humans at war”, it was only a matter of time before this poor book was plucked from the stacks and nestled in my grasp for a few days. Yes, as you can easily surmise that Grunt does something is not so often reported when it comes to the world of war. Sure, we’ve read many books written by Special Operations warriors and military personnel about their brave and valiant deeds, but how often do you get to read about the science that goes into war that not only helps and protects our brave soldiers, but sometimes even save or heal them. Roach’s Grunt does an excellent job of this, though I must warn those who don’t have a strong stomach that they may want to reconsider reading this book during … say … eating times. Sure for the inwardly forensic fans such, such as yours truly, this great reading even whilst scarfing down mounds of lasagna. Others, maybe not so much. There is a lot of science that goes into war, and I really mean A LOT. Some of it may seem trivial, but to the folks downrange it is a big deal, such as zippers being a no-no on sniper clothing. Trust me on this one. Or (the best one) diarrhea being a threat to national security (hint: it’s every SEAL’s worst nightmare when on a mission). I bit you didn’t know that scientists have built a chicken gun that is used to propel dead chickens at turbines to test the effect of birds on aircraft engines. Some folks have all the fun. And then Roach hits you with the a literal blow to the minerals: penile reconstruction. Yes, many times when an IED goes off more than just arms and legs get injured. And for several chapters Ms. Roach explains this in great but understandably cringe-worthy detail: apparently strip of mucus membrane from the inner cheek is used to recreate urethra in penile reconstructions. There is a really dirty joke somewhere in that fact, but the science behind is amazing, and apparently it is doing wonders many of our soldiers’ lives. Occasionally, we are treated to some historical tidbits such as the REAL use of codpieces, and …no … it was not about enhancing or even protecting one’s manhood. In fact it actually stored materials that soaked up syphilitic discharges of blood and pus you get from sleeping around with wenches after beheading your wives. Yummy. I guess that explains why they were popular with hair bands in the 80s. Paging Lawless from WASP. And yes, I’ve seemingly gone there. Astounding fact: the scent of a seal and used tampon has the same effect on polar bear salivary glands. I kid you not. So ladies, be a bit wary if your mate is planning trips to the Polar-type regions and is somewhat inquisitive about your cycles. I’m afraid the love may not be there anymore and his plans for you may be malevolent. Slight detour there, everyone.
Roach’s Grunt is a fascinating read about the sciences that impact our soldiers both on and off the frontlines. If your fascinated with the sciences or just curious about what is going with our men and women in battle, Grunt is a delightful read. For the curious in mind that are not so scientifically-minded, fear not, for Roach practically keeps at a layman’s level that can be enjoyed by all but well appreciated by us nerd-types. Plus she’s got a scorchingly delightful wit that makes me wish I could marry … um, never mind. And I’ve said that too loud. Ignore that part. Please.

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Running Title – Wired For War: The Robotics Revolution And Conflict In The 21st Century

I’ve always been fascinated with robots. From the day my parents bought that lame “Made In Japan” toy robot in the 70s to seeing Johnny 5 on Short Circuit, it was love at first sight. So much that I got my undergrad in Electromechanical Engineering (and there you thought I was some Liberal arts major … shame on you). I’m also fascinated with weapons ( I know … you didn’t see that coming), to a high degree that can be classified as … well … unnerving to some. Here’s a typical example: I might be one of a few librarians (and I’m being generous) who knows what a kriss xv is (it is a recoiless .45 caliber assault pistol). So needless to say, I am extremely fascinated with unmanned/robotic technology that is currently in operations in the war on terror. Price’s Wired examines the growing roles of robots in our lives but specifically in the military. It is quite an eye-opener especially when you begin to realize that this technology is not only used exclusively by the US but also by many others and in areas of the world that we’d least expect.

Though Wired starts out, seemingly, as a gushfest and technolust that may warrant the service of hand lotion and paper towels, it more or less becomes a cautionary exploration in the use of military robotics. The book is well-written, well researched, and does give the reader much to ponder. It is in my honest yet humble opinion that if such a book was written on nuclear energy many decades ago, the world would have possibly fared better without dealing with nuclear bollocks that we’re confronted with today. Note that this book is not a cause for alarm but merely an imploring to deploy technology with some regulation and discretion. Does this mean that there is a possible Skynet future to deal with? Will I have to go and run off into the desert with Linda Hamilton and learn survivalist stuff? Seriously, no … but I wouldn’t mind running off into the desert with Linda Hamilton. Bloody hell, I wouldn’t mind running off with her into an active volcano. I have detoured. Wired gives us lots to ponder and merely states potential consequences should we not heed the warning signs … on the wall … the leads into the future. Still it is quite a thrilling and extremely educational read.

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