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Syria, 2015.10.08

news dump

updated 2015.10.08 09:55 GMT-5:

heavy fighting near Hama, ongoing.

updated 2015.10.08 10:44 GMT-5:

updated 2015.10.08 22:10 GMT-5:

Seems to be an extensive battle. Videos showing anti-Syrian-government forces firing TOW’s and saying allahu akbar all the time, pro-SG. forces doing artillery and helicopter strikes (with the helicopters firing flares the whole time). Somewhat surprised seeing tanks without ERA. Also all those Mi24’s flying around are going to be in trouble as well once anti-Syrian-government forces get their air defense together…   I am concluding that without speaking Arabic, I don’t have the capacity to usefully sort through the videos.

Searching for map type websites:


Disclaimer! “Filter” is set to low. linking to all sorts of sketchy sources.I most definitely do not personally approve much of what you’d find in some of these.

Syria redux, 2015.10.07

news of the day

Russia launches cruise missiles

off the beaten path

2013 article on Syrian rebel MANPAD’s

The Boresight — blog on use of air power



updated 2015.10.08 00:06 (GMT-5)

Syria, meta-post

Ok, so with the recent entry of Russian forces in Syria, the stakes get bumped up a bit. Maybe. Maybe not.

In any case, in 2014 I made a project out of aggregating news sources on the war in eastern Ukraine, making a point to include separatist news sources to counterbalance to official storylines. I’m much less into doing that kind of thing now, but I have a feeling there’s interest.

However, I don’t speak a lick of Arabic. And this appears to be a less propaganda-centric event for Russian and English speakers. And I’m not particularly motivated — so I’ll just summarize what I found useful last time.


What I learned from brief experience aggregating Ukraine war news:

* make a list of sources you find valuable, sort by affiliation

* learn the vocabulary that people use to quietly but clearly identify their affiliation. Opposite sides typically use different words to describe each other. Sometimes euphemistically derogatory, sometimes not.

* search in local languages, if possible

* if it’s too hard, google Translate is improving, fast.

* on youtube, search for names of places, or type of military equipment being used, and sort by upload date. !! translate search terms into local languages !!

* find an obscure but relevant event that you already know about, search for it, to identify more sources you can use in the future

* skim, don’t read in detail. this is a dumpster-sorting job.

* propaganda. it’s all propaganda. don’t forget. what you really want isn’t going to appear on a website, but pieces make it into videos.

The rockets that took humans to space

Originally posted on Brobrubel's Blog:

Here they all are.

View original

Cultural values diagram [World Values Survey]

cultural stereotypes substantiated by research?


(click on Findings & Insights)

not-so-quick-thought: Time for a change of tone [ rambling ]


So every time I put a random photo in a post here, I save it from the web somewhere and leave a copy in a folder on this computer. Just went thru to delete the ones I don’t want any more. It was an interesting very-short-term time-travel experience. One by one, I looked at a pic for long enough to decide whether to keep it or not. I looked for just long enough to get a visual memory to put it in context, then I either hit the garbage can button to delete it, or went to the next one. Wasn’t thinking about it at all, there was a nice tune, mind was pleasantly off. So I didn’t realize it until it was all over, but during each of those moments, with the visual memory, the recollection I got was not of what I posted when I included each pic. The recollection was of whatever impression it was, at the time I selected that pic to be the one, chosen out of the google-image-search-smorgasbord. A series of visceral memories, wordless and a little bit intangible, each corresponding to one of several dozen blog posts, with subjects I thought need some eye candy.

After I deleted the last one I was going to delete, I realized I just had this train of all those visrecal / intangible / impressions. And what they added up to was a realization about how my tone or mood changed over the course of this blog. It’s become a sink for some very negative energy.

Too cynical now. A noticeable pinch too much of darkness, like, oh, a margarita you mixed with too pungent a tequila and/or liqueur. Supposed to be an unwinding drink, and it didn’t quite turn out that way. Except the thing you’re flavoring has maybe more permanence than a beach drink.

And, it doesn’t matter if I feel totally justified in that cynicism. It wouldn’t help anything to let the cynicism become so prominent.

Why is that?

Yea why? Does it really follow that the cynicism is a dead end, or that there’s something else wrong with it?

— rewind —

I just read this Howard Zinn piece. Don’t have to read it to explain what i’m going to say, although I definitely got a lot out of it.

In this piece, a quote stuck out, a line from the Washington Post in 1898. (yes, 1898):
“We are face to face with a strange destiny. The taste of Empire is in the mouth of the people even as the taste of blood in the jungle.”

and then it clicked

Is that quote snippet, that taste of blood for empire, how I am to undersatnd the NeoCon’s today?

Yes, I like it

— click —

— a contrast —

that taste of blood. sharp teeth. in the mirror? So that’s what sharp teeth look like?

— back

Oh such a nice way to get rid of the enigma behind the imagined “neo-con”, figurative placeholder for all the collective reasons for US foreign policy, as it is visible to the outside world.

— Something about the Howard Zinn —

cynically projecting “that taste of blood” which is presumed. I put that there. not what usually comes out of Howard Zinn. He has a warmth of tone. Whoa, he’s talking about such crazy subject matter. That’s what’s special about him. Warmth of tone? How did it get there?

de-humanizing —

Taste of blood? Animals then. No need to think further. Convienient but de-humanizing. Reading Howard Zinn doesn’t feel that way. Warmth of tone? Is that Hopeless?

— again —

If you run into an animal that wants to eat you, nothing to do but shoot it, right? Or is it if you got into that situation, you are already doing it wrong. Should have taken the time to curate the ecosystem a bit, do some bit of gardening, that there is some natural separation between the wild habitat and our human habitat.

— again —

limitless cynicism about others who dehumanize, to the point of dehumanizing myself, should be avoided with a little
more caring curation of the ecosystem of habits of thinking about things that I feel are wrong.

— rewind —

curate the ecosystem a bit…

So this is the cheesiest of metaphors now. Want to get it over with.

I’m not talking about the US, or any other country or organization doing the curating. not curating of some kind of just or unjust social structure, or a geopolitical garden, although that metaphor is definitely out there.

But for some things, the curators are “you and I”, for some things the curators are “they”. Let’s go for the situations where the curators are “you and I”, or even “just I”.

One of the things we actually get to curate is the way we look.

— so —

Does that change what I want to say? Not really. But it changes how I want to say it, a lot.

musical interlude CXXII

just another time warp


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