Some randomly interesting things for your Monday morning reading
- Best article of the year about use of US navy (added as an update)
- Animated map of Middle East history
- Good news about the environment!
- The War Nerd is back
1. Best article of the year about use of US navy
“From the Desk of the Armchair Admirals“, by Galrahn at Information Dissemination (A professional Navy centric blog), 25 August 2008 — Opening
Since the American navy now possesses command of the sea, however, and since the Soviet surface navy is in no position to challenge this except in struggles for local supremacy in the Baltic and Black Seas, the Navy can no longer accept this Mahanite definition of its mission. Its purpose now is not to acquire command of the sea but rather to utilize its command of the sea to achieve supremacy on the land. More specifically, it is to apply naval power to the decisive strip of littoral encircling the Eurasian continent.
This means a revolution in naval thought and operations. For decades the eyes of the Navy have been turned outward to the oceans and the blue water, now the Navy must reverse itself and look inland where its new objectives lie. This has, however, been the historical outlook of navies which have secured the uncontested control of the seas, and as Admiral Nimitz has pointed out, during the period of British domination “it is safe to say that the Royal Navy fought as many engagements against shore objectives as it did on the high seas.” It is a sign of the vigor and flexibility of the Navy that this dificult change in orientation has been generally recognized and accepted by naval writers and the leaders o fhe naval profession.
The application of naval power against the land requires of coarse an entirely different sort of Navy from that which existed during the struggles for sea supremacy. The basic weapons of the new Navy are those which make it possible to project naval power inland. Those appear to take primarily three forms: …
2. Animated map of Middle East history
Who has controlled the Middle East over the course of history? Pretty much everyone. Egyptians, Turks, Jews, Romans, Arabs, Persians, Europeans…the list goes on. Who will control the Middle East today? That is a much bigger question.
3. Good news about the environment
“Coal Burning Leaves Toxic Heavy Metal Legacy in the Arctic“, Joseph R. McConnell and Ross Edwards, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 26 August 2008, 5 pages, PDF. The study was conducted by the Desert Research Institute (DRI), Reno, Nev. and partially funded by the National Science Foundation.
Excerpt (bold emphasis added):
Toxic heavy metals emitted by industrial activities in the midlatitudes are transported through the atmosphere and deposited in the polar regions; bioconcentration and biomagnification in the food chain mean that even low levels of atmospheric deposition may threaten human health and Arctic ecosystems. Little is known about sources and long-term trends of most heavy metals before 1980, when modern measurements began, although heavy metal pollution in the Arctic was widespread during recent decades.
Lacking detailed, long-term measurements until now, ecologists, health researchers, and policy makers generally have assumed that contamination was highest during the 1960s and 1970s peak of industrial activity in North America and Europe. We present continuous 1772–2003 monthly and annually averaged deposition records for highly toxic thallium, cadmium, and lead from a Greenland ice core showing that atmospheric deposition was much higher than expected in the early 20th century, with tenfold increases from preindustrial levels by the early 1900s that were two to five times higher than during recent decades. Tracer measurements indicate that coal burning in North America and Europe was the likely source of these metals in the Arctic after 1860.
Although these results show that heavy-metal pollution in the North Atlantic sector of the Arctic is substantially lower today than a century ago, contamination of other sectors may be increasing because of the rapid coal-driven growth of Asian economies.
4. The War Nerd is back
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Archives of other posts on these subjects
- Science, Nature, and Geopolitics
- Iraq & Afghanistan Wars – my articles
- Iraq & Afghanistan Wars – other valuable reports