operation independence

8

Reactions to Donald Trump labelling news media “the enemy of the American people” from: 

  • David Axelrod, former adviser to President Barack Obama
  • Carl Bernstein, investigative journalist and author who covered the Watergate scandal and was the first to suspect that Nixon was involved
  • Gabriel Sherman, national affairs editor at New York magazine
  • Eliot A. Cohen, scholar of international affairs and former counselor in the United States Department of State
  • Jesse Berney, writer and activist
  • Andy Greenwald, writer and critic
  • David Evan McMullin, former CIA operations officer and independent candidate during the 2016 United States presidential election

It kind of bugs me that whenever somebody tries to draw a D&D orc with high Charisma, it’s always, like, slender frame, smooth skin, small tusks, high forehead, etc.

I mean, leaving entirely aside the fact that D&D explicitly treats Charisma as a metaphysical quality that operates wholly independently of physical appearance - you could have 20 Charisma and be ugly as hell - why are we making the high Charisma orc pretty by human standards? Seems awfully chauvinistic, if you think about it.

I wanna see a 20 Charisma orc who’s an absolute knockout by orc standards.

Batman vs Superman was over two hours of two men bickering over who has the biggest brooding cock-I mean, who has the better method of "saving" people and whether or not it's ok for Batman to beat and brand criminals without regarding the fact that not everyone's as wealthy and privileged as his morally upright ass and for Superman to ignore the fact that not everyone's as indestructible as him, meanwhile Wonder Woman over here...

Ok.

Wonder Woman was vastly superior to bvs for two reasons.

-Wonder Woman is actually a likable lady and an idealistic believable super hero who doesn’t spend her entire moving thinking about how she COULD help people.

She charges in, headfirst, wanting to help people she doesn’t even KNOW because she wants to protect the people who’re dying.

-and Wonder Woman was just so much more subtle and less pretentious about its message.

Seriously.

Let’s talk.

Wonder Woman’s CHARACTER is not that she’s cold and heartless and…well, masculine.

She doesn’t EMULATE men.

She doesn’t need to act like a man to be strong.

She coos at a baby and kisses Chris Pine and doesn’t spend the entire movie ragging on women.

She dresses and acts feminine, and embodies kindness, grace, beauty, everything “feminine.”

And she’s also strong as fucking hell.

That is Wonder Woman.

She’s a good person.

She’s not some cold warrior goddess, an untouchable female shaped ideal.

She’s GENUINELY KIND.

She sees people suffering in the trenches and her first thought it, stop what we’re doing, we gotta help.

Chris pine and all of his men?

They’ve seen all of this.

They’ve hardened themselves to the horrors of war and accepted them as inevitable.

But Diana, new to the cruelty of the human world, is disgusted and she asks what’s wrong with you?

What is wrong with us?

We have accepted casualties. We have accepted pain.

We have excused suffering because we told ourselves long ago that we couldn’t do anything about it.

But Diana?

She does not accept that.

She fights, yes. She’s ferocious and she, unlike Batman, doesn’t have a compulsion against killing.

She was raised by warrior women, I mean come on.

But who does she fight for?

The women and children who did nothing wrong.

The injured, hopeless men fighting a war to end all wars.

The entire movie was lovely because all of Diana’s bewilderment at the way humans live was incredible.

She’s shocked at how dirty London is.

She’s not impressed by sex and she’s not impressed by war.

She thinks sexism is strange.

But she doesn’t like, rag on it, because Diana is literally so above it that she just wryly questions it at times.

Like I don’t care what all the whiny fanboys say.

There’s not an overt feminist message in this movie.

There’s no “men are so weak.”

There’s “men are corruptible” but as we see, Diana sees them as worth saving in the end, if only to fulfill her own ideals…

Which is feminist as fuck, I guess, because Diana doesn’t defend men because it’s her job.

She defends them because it’s her decision. Her morality. Her duty.

But the feminism in the movie comes from the fact that she’s so kind.

She breaks down when realizing that Ares isn’t behind it all, that MEN are the ones who are cruel to one another.

She sees the war and it’s only senseless violence to her.

All of the people she wants to help are the victims, and it’s clear cut, to her, who’s bad and who’s not.

But Chris Pine helps her realize that humans aren’t so clear cut.

And so even though she was disgusted by human actions, she still wanted to help the people in need.

I absolutely adore the scene where she’s charging across a battle field to pave the way to the town.

First off, it was so badass watching her knock aside artillery like it was nothing as the men cowered in the pits.

Second, SHE SAW THAT PEOPLE WERE SUFFERING AND SHE DIDNT CALCULATE.

She didn’t do a Batman, where she looked at the risks vs the benefits vs the needs of the many and the few.

She just charged in and did what she could.

Chris Pine told her she couldn’t do anything except help him with his plan, in order to stop the war and save them indirectly.

But Diana is a true warrior with the heart of a lion, man.

She helped them directly, with no nonsense, no politicizing, no planning, just action.

At the end she says love will save humanity?

That’s the kind of feminism Wonder Woman was embodying.

Wonder Woman wasn’t this lone independent operator who sneers at men who try to involve themselves in her business.

She was helped and supported by men, but it was clear that she was the star, the true hero who brought them and their plans together but also gave them a new hope, a new heart.

They were jaded by helplessness and mortal frustration, forced to fight to stand stills and accept human deaths.

She came and showed them something miraculous and wonderful: her power.

But not used to beat someone’s head in with a fucking sink.

Used to do good.

To fight for her morals, which aren’t corrupted by the human world’s greyness, not yet.

I loved this movie.

I loved this movie so much.

DC finally did good and we can stop pretending suicide squad and Batman vs superman were good.

Wonder Woman is the good DC movie.

Don’t even try to tell me BVS was better than Wonder Woman because if you genuinely believe that, either out of pride and obstinacy from all your bickering with marvel fans or out of delusional worshipping of anything DC, then I think you just like watching people beat people in slow motion and uncomfortably lofty , corporate-cut and stylized plots as interesting as watching a landscape time lapse.

Suicide squad was cut to bits by its editors, BVS suffered from some severe Snyder wanking, and justice league, I don’t know, we’ll see.

But Wonder Woman?

Best DC movie since dark knight.

God bless Patty.

I knew we needed a woman in charge to get the job done.

Now direct all sexist comments and sneering remarks about feminazis destroying your precious super hero genre with their “love” themes to my inbox where they’ll be lovingly deleted.

8

She drew herself up with as much pride as she could muster. “I am an independent operator, scavanger of the metal lands, free of debt and beholden to no one. Least of all to a small-time trader named Plutt.

You are… you are…” The merchant tried to control himself. “You have nothing. You are nothing!

On the contrary,” she shot back, “I just told you who I am. As to what I have, that would be my freedom and my pride.

Things you learn about Breakdown in episode 16*:


1. He may be a mech of unsubtle manners, but he makes a split-second moral decision that puts his rescuer’s seemingly righteous actions to shame. This suggests he has a moral compass that operates independently of his allegiances and his grudges and is capable of overturning both.

2. He is not a disposable member of the Decepticon command. I hear a lot about how “nobody went looking looking for Breakdown” when he was abducted, but they forget that Starscream & Co risked a heck of a lot to get him back. While SS’s motives were ultimately self-serving, they don’t negate the fact that he considered Breakdown a “valuable” member of his team. People tend to assume that Breakdown arrived in tow when Starscream summoned Knock Out to the Nemesis; in fact, Starscream summoned them both.

3. His aim is not compromised by the loss of an optic.

4. At no point does he accept that he is beaten by MECH. He remains defiant even when he believes himself beyond rescue. This fact makes me cry a little sometimes.

5. Both his hands can turn into hammers but the left almost never does. This is objectively neat, and it also means he’s right-handed.


* I actually can’t bloody watch that episode anymore, it’s too upsetting. But I remember a reading a review that complained of the lack of character development it afforded Breakdown, which is rubbish. He undergoes more development in that episode than some of the Autobots do in the entire season. The only thing worth complaining about is how subsequent episodes seem to forget about all of it.

The Lost Legacy of Doom’s Hitscan Enemies

I’m dancing. My feet follow no pattern and make no sound as I glide effortlessly over the terrain, but the rhythm of the Super Shotgun guides my every move. I weave to and fro among the soaring fireballs and scything claws, spotting opportunities, darting near and far, catching hellspawn in efficient point-blank bursts of scattershot. Boom, click, ker-chunk. Boom, click, ker-chunk. Boom, click, ker-chunk. Somewhere in the back of my head, I’m dimly aware of the familiar noise of a pneumatic door sliding open, barely audible above a tinny MIDI rendition of ‘Fear Of The Dark’. It’s catchier than you’d think.

Somebody roars. I’ve heard the sound enough times to recognise it as a ‘somebody’. Startled, I pivot to catch sight of the new assailants: two heavyset bald men, cradling imposingly large guns, furious piggy eyes as red as their bulky chestplates. Chaingunners. Before I can close the distance, they open fire, tearing an abundance of new holes in my circle-strafing, road-running backside. I put them out of action, but the damage is done. Was that a fair exchange? It’s not as if I could’ve outpaced their shots. Are they a fun enemy design in this, the most famous of all famously fast-paced first-person shooter? My kneejerk response is ‘no’, but Doom—because of course, it’s Doom—is a lot smarter than it seems.

Few games can claim to have lived as long and as healthily as Doom. Of course, it’s had the unwavering support of a community on its side, constantly tweaking and touching-up and doing everything in their power to stop the wrinkles under its eyes from showing, but its simple formula and flexible combat were always going to hold up well against the test of time. Doom has influenced the design of the modern first-person shooter in more ways than I could possibly articulate, with a little bit of DNA in everything from ARMA to Ziggurat, and yet… I feel there are one or two lessons from it that never quite caught on.

See, the concept of the ‘old-school’ first-person shooter, while not especially formally defined, is very much a thing. We’ve seen bits of it in the likes of Painkiller, Strafe, Tower of Guns, Dusk, Desync, Devil Daggers, and yes, even Doom 2016: games that buck dominant design patterns to focus on swift, streamlined, evasive movement, and a host of enemies that force you to make the most of that movement. Out of style, but by no means out of their depth, these games take after Doom more than most, but no matter how much they borrow from it, there’s one particular feature that many seem to skirt around. Something regarded almost with a kind of hushed, ‘we don’t talk about that’ shame, like the uncle at the family get-together who isn’t allowed to leave the country for reasons that nobody’s quite sure of. Hitscan enemies, a regular staple of Doom’s encounters, have near-vanished from the contemporary games that bear closest resemblance to it. What happened?

Well, at a glance, they do seem to clash with the desired experience. Doomguy can outrun a lot of things—many of which need at least fifty supervised hours logged before you can operate them independently—but he cannot outrun bullets, nor buckshot. You can’t dodge a hitscan enemy’s attacks by just going fast; the nature of Doom means that they take no time to pivot and have impeccable aim, other than the inherent spread patterns of their weapons. Your only recourse, it would seem, is to get out of range—a bit of a tall order, in most scenarios—or to take cover, which sounds like it would go directly against the fast, exciting experience of running around with the wind in your hair and a rocket launcher under your arm. ‘Cover’ is a dirty word; one that brings to mind hunkering behind a chest-high wall, plinking away at a succession of targets and crawling out only when a grenade gets tossed into your lap. To be in cover implies one is at rest, without any of the spatial analysis, fast-paced action or thrilling escapes that characterise the rest of the combat. You can see this stigma manifest frequently in retro first-person shooters, which often come hand-in-hand with the attitude that cover is for babies, and charging blindly into battle with your enormous, impenetrable testicles hanging out on display is the only acceptable combat strategy for ‘real men’. You could probably write a hefty tome about how unhealthy pulp action-hero masculinity has seeped through various layers of media and eventually pooled, like a discarded half-finished McDonalds’ thickshake, in nooks and crannies of gaming obscurity, but that’s a discussion for another time.

The thing is, Doom itself doesn’t actually work that way. In fact, it does a number of things to ensure that hitscan enemies don’t stifle the player’s movement, but instead add an extra set of considerations and trade-offs, forcing them to look at the play space—and when and where they position themselves in it—in a more nuanced manner. Like most of the ingredients that go into a first-person shooter, the way Doom’s hitscan enemies work is subject to its encounter design—a surprisingly diverse field, as custom WADs frequently demonstrate—but there are a few qualities to them you can count on in every sensible encounter.

Let’s break this down, piece by piece. Of the five enemy types in the first two Doom games with hitscan attacks, the three most common ones by a large margin are the ‘former humans’: undead soldiers who utilise conventional firearms—provided your definition of ‘conventional’ extends to a portable belt-fed chain gun, I suppose—and have all the durability of a cardboard cutout of Master Chief that somebody left out in the rain overnight. Upon noticing the player, they give a suitably enraged bellow and enter their attack routine: move, pause, shoot (if possible), repeat.

This pattern gives us time. Like a fireball whistling through the air, it gives us a chance to handle our predicament by reacting and moving quickly. It only takes an undead sergeant a few tenths of a second to level his shotgun barrel at yougive or take a bit of bumbling around, as they are wont to do—but in the world of Doom, it’s enough to at least start on a decisive manoeuvre. Doomguy runs quickly enough that you can very likely put something between yourself and your foe before they fire—it doesn’t even have to be a wall; other monsters serve perfectly well—and since the poor daft AI has no concept of suppressing fire, you need only be behind it for the split-second it takes them to return to their ‘move’ state. Consequentially, cover is less about clinging to the warm, comforting bosom of a solid wall and more about rapidly, momentarily repositioning yourself when the situation demands it; diving around corners, circling pillars, making use of the nearest solid thing in a pinch and immediately darting back out again. Taking cover is every bit as much about clever, well-timed movement as circle-strafing a pack of imps, and to be honest, probably demands far more split-second decision-making.

Another quality that’s critical to the success of the former humans is their relative squishiness: you can usually count on a single shotgun blast to put one out of action, and even glancing shots are likely to interrupt their routines long enough to buy some extra breathing room. A crowd can be swiftly dealt with by just raking a chain gun across their ranks—conveniently, the exact weapon dropped by the strongest former human, the Chaingunner—and pointing anything bigger at them is usually outright wasteful. This is key because it means that they’re only a very short-term threat—or, in larger battles where they’re mixed up with other enemies, only a threat for as long as you ignore them. Ducking behind a pillar once to evade a sergeant’s buckshot is a rush, but having to go through the same motion two or three times is stagnation. By letting you remove the former humans from the fight almost as quickly as they appear, Doom lets you quickly lift the restrictions they impose and expand the space where you can freely move, ensuring you’re never tied to one piece of cover or trapped in some godforsaken alcove.

But not every hitscan enemy in Doom goes down so easily, does it, hmm? I’m going to gently refuse to acknowledge the Spider Mastermind—a rare, highly-situational boss that squats unpleasantly at the end of the first game like a cane toad under the wheels of your dad’s Hilux—and instead concentrate on the notorious Arch-vile, whose pale, emaciated, lanky form is enough to set off half a dozen panic alarms in any Martian marine’s head. It’s everything the former humans aren’t: fast, durable, and capable of suddenly blasting half your health clean off from the far side of a munitions bay—to say nothing of its ability to revive fallen monsters, unravelling your work more and more the longer you leave it standing. Crucially, however, while the Arch-vile makes for a more persistent and punishing threat than the former humans, it also gives us much more time to work with. It takes about three full seconds of dramatic posing for an Arch-vile to wind up its hitscan attack—a pillar of infernal fire that explodes around its target—and once again, you are only required to actually duck behind something for the split-second when the attack connects to avoid taking damage. 

Consequentially, while our vitamin D-deficient friend does rather firmly, briefly force players into hiding, it also affords us the opportunity to stretch our legs and take nontrivial actions in between its attacks, giving it a distinctly different effect to Doom’s other hitscan enemies. Between every Arch-vile’s attack, there’s time enough to dart around the immediate area, change cover, take care of some lesser enemies, or—most likely—run up to it and empty both barrels into its repulsive mug. At an abstract level, the Arch-vile clamps down on the player by forcing them to be out of certain zones at certain times, but doesn’t make those zones inherently damaging to cross, like a crowd of former humans does.

Putting everything back together, Doom’s hitscan enemies are designed not to eliminate movement, but to carefully squeeze it; to force the player to take action, moving along vectors towards positions of safety. Restrictions on where in the combat space you can safely be are what make Doom’s fights engaging, and the restrictions that hitscan enemies provide are every bit as important to your positioning as a Revenant’s homing rocket or an Imp’s tossed fireball—they just take a different approach. Yet they’re also designed to ensure you’re never required to linger at your destination a moment longer than necessary, either by being easy to remove from the battlefield, or by only periodically applying their particular brand of pressure. Like every enemy in the game’s toolbox, they can be abused and used outside of their ideal roles—take a peek at The Plutonia Experiment, half of Final Doom, for some truly breathtakingly rude Chaingunner placement—but their basic principles are every bit as valuable as their peers.

Doom will force you to move, but it will never force you to stay. And that’s the philosophy that every first-person shooter should be built on, really.

I think the coolest thing about critical role is how Matt makes it feel like it’s a real world that operates independently of Vox Machina, like they’re part of the world, but they’re not the only ones in the world. Matt Mercer is DM goals, as always.

10

Photo Series 22 - Independence day in Brazil!!!

September 7, 1822, 195 years ago, Prince Pedro declared the independence of the Brazil from Portugal ending 322 years of colonial dominance, a famous cry “Independência ou morte” (Independence or death) has gone into the history books and is also the name of a painting by Pedro Américo.

Military parades are happening all over the country and it’s also a holiday. Although many of us, brazilians, are not very patriotic about our country, especially because the current political and economical crisis that’s been ongoing for quite some time, i think today is a very special day that needs to be remembered, so i decided to make a photo series about it.

All the aircraft here in this post are currently in active service with Brazilian Air Force (Força Aérea Brasileira - FAB @forcaaereabrasileira​) and the Brazilian Navy (Marinha do Brasil - MB).

Unfortunately because of the economic troubles, lack of money and age, the aircraft carrier NAe São Paulo has been decomissioned and is in the process of dismantling but throughout 2017 some news confirmed that Brazil is working on a deal with the UK to acquire the HMS Ocean, a helicopter carrier, which would be a great addition to the Brazilian Navy.

The aircraft in this edition are:

Northrop F-5EM Tiger II

AMX A-1M

Lockheed KC-130 Hercules

McDonnell Douglas A-4KU Skyhawks (AF-1 Falcão)

SAAB JAS-39 Gripen NG

Embraer KC-390

The vessel shown is the aircraft carrier NAe São Paulo.

This is it for this photo series, if you have any suggestions, send them to me.

Have an awesome day!!!!

4 Criteria for Effective Protests:
It must seize space for activists to self-organize essential aspects of their lives.
It must spread new ideas that inspire others to resist state power and control.
It must operate independently of elite support.
It must make concrete improvements to the lives of ordinary people.

-Peter Gelderloos, “The Failure of Nonviolence”

anonymous asked:

What would be some behavioral/psychological differences between a kid who's been raised for combat and a child soldier? She's in her mid-teens on what was supposed to be a routine training mission when shit hits the fan and she ends up getting captured. The enemy armed forces that have her assume that she's a child soldier that's been otherwise coerced into this and treat her as such. So how would they be trying to establish rapport with her or subvert her loyalties? (and utterly failing) [1/2]

What, if any, chance do they have of actually succeeding, given that she’s been training since she was 5? Is there any way for them to manage to turn her loyalties? And what would be going through her head during all of this beyond disdain and escape plans, regardless of whether or not she turns? [2/2]             

I get what you’re asking here, you’re asking if a child soldier can be saved through the power of friendship. The answer to that, upfront, is no. Child soldiers and children raised for combat are not misunderstood misanthropes who’ve never had a support network but know what it is and can be approached in the same way you would the average loner.

Child soldiers/kids who’ve been put through any kind of brainwashing are a difficult subject to discuss because it is profoundly disturbing and messed up. The assumption is that if they’re kidnapped from their families, they’ll grow to secretly hate their captors and jump when the first opportunity comes for escape.

That isn’t how it works. In the training, they’re driven to hate their parents and view them as weak. As they’re systematically broken down, they grow to love their captors and consider them family. They develop a deep and abiding loyalty to them.

Falling prey to this conditioning has nothing to do with how strong someone is or isn’t. It’s not a matter of mental or emotional strength. Breaking them down and rebuilding them from the inside out is what their handlers do. They are very adept at it. These children are conditioned through empowerment, which is part of why it’s so seductive. They’re taught to believe that they are better and stronger than everyone else, that other humans are weak. That weakness must be destroyed.

You won’t reach them by treating them in any way they’ll perceive as weakness and if you react the way they expect then you play into the hands of the people who programmed them, then you’ve reinforced the child’s conditioning. The mental conditioning is a booby-trap for the people who might try to help them. Every intuitive choice, every choice that feels natural is going to be the wrong one.

You cannot reach them if you come to them with an assumed understanding of who they are and what a human being is. There’s the person they were, who they’ve learned to despise and the person they see themselves as now. Approaching either of those individuals, whether it’s the person they were or who they currently are, will lock you out.

The average person with no understanding will simply reinforce the child’s views and their handler’s views, and shut out of any way to help them by the child’s dismissal. That’s if the kid doesn’t kill them first, which they will because that’s what they were conditioned to do.

A child overcoming this programming requires years and years of therapy, if they’re fortunate enough to receive it at all.

Abuse isn’t cured by the power of friendship.

We’ve talked about #child soldiers and #children and combat on separate occasions, we’ve even compared them to each other and explained the difference. They are not, however, totally separate.

The main difference:

1) Children Raised to Combat are a long term investment. This is someone whose training has been the focus of their life, with the intent to turn out a solid, above average combatant. These children who won’t see combat until they reach their late teens/adulthood.

2) Child Soldiers are expendable assets given a gun, often given drugs like “BamBam”, told they’re immortal, and shoved onto the battlefield on the idea they’ll give the adult soldiers pause, gun a few down, before getting gunned down themselves. They’re not “soldiers” so much as they are distractions. They are also never sent out alone. You’re not up against one, you’re up against many.

Both have the option of having been put through cultish/psychological programming, but the difference between the two is fairly obvious. It’s a disoriented and drugged child violently kidnapped from their village versus a member of the Hitler Youth or another, similar, organization.

They are both psychologically damaged but in vastly different ways, and those circumstances make it nearly impossible for anyone who isn’t a child soldier or comes from a similarly abusive background to relate.

The irony is going that the Child Soldier is going to be much, much easier to turn because they were never really inside the system to begin with. However, even with just a scant few months, the deprogramming is going to take years. They’re never treated as important. A child who has been raised to combat is valuable, they often see joining as their choice, and they know their own worth. They’ve never known any other kind of normal and are in a much better place to evaluate why their side is the right one. They are co-operative participants, rather than forced. They’re going to see the instructors in their lives as friends and family. They’ll believe in the cause.

A good way to look at the thought process of the adults behind these training programs would be to take a look at the French novel/film “La Femme Nikita” where the assassins are all druggies and runaways pulled off the streets, cleaned up, sobered out, and trained to kill people.

Why is this important?

Because it inspires loyalty. You take people no one will know and no one will miss, people who are not regularly getting four square meals a day, and get them off the streets. You give them a safe place to sleep, regular food, and a purpose. From their perspective, you save them. The threat of expulsion comes next, but what you ask them to do next is not that much worse for them than the hell they were living in before.

The problem when most people look at these situations and setups is that they miss the deeply embedded trust, loyalty, and respect these children feel for those who train them. They have a lifetime and a normative societal state to banish their doubts. They will know what the outside world is like. They’ll have been educated. If they’ve been handled by someone skilled, then everything they see will merely confirm their sociological programming. Questions will be encouraged. Pride in their skills, pride in their country/mission, ego, and self-esteem are encouraged.

You’re looking at your character having an attitude similar to the Spartans in 300. Or, you know, Starship Troopers.

A person who understands their ideology and philosophy is far more useful and capable of independent operation than a blind follower. You want your elites to be capable of independently operating on their own.

You can’t force someone to be good at fighting. You can’t force someone to learn. Like the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

However, the real problem with this question is a critical failure to understand how soldiers operate in warzones, specifically in regards to enemy combatants.

Child Soldiers are still soldiers. They’re enemy combatants and they’re treated like enemy combatants.

This is the concept that’s hardest for most people to grasp.

It doesn’t matter, at the end of the day, whether or not they’re a forced conscript. Child Soldiers are treated as enemy combatants, not children because, well, they are. The sad truth about them is that they’re not really kids anymore. They’re brainwashed and weaponized. The moral barrier that will stop the average child from killing someone doesn’t exist for them. It’s gone. Their innocence is gone. They are exceedingly dangerous. They’re likely to betray and kill their “rescuers” if left to their own devices then return to those who kidnapped them in the first place.

This is a behavior pattern which does not normally make sense to those who have never been abused, but it is very real.

What’s been done to them can’t be cured with kindness, at least not in the early stages and the average person can’t relate to them. It’s difficult enough for most people to relate to adults who’ve been through your garden variety child abuse, and this is on a whole other level. These kids are systematically broken. That is the point of the breaking. So, that when the average adult treats them like a kid they kill them.

Child soldiers are unpredictable, including for seasoned combatants. It’s hard as hell to tell when they’re going to snap, and there’s a certain level of psychopathy just lingering beneath the surface because (as children) they’re brains can’t register that death is real.

This is true with children and you see it a lot with children dealing with grief, they lack an understanding of permanence and struggle with the concept of death. Minors don’t grasp consequences the same way adults do, and there are different standards regarding their ability to do so consciously.The training child soldiers undergo preys on that. It preys on the limbo. So, they’re handlers feed them cocaine and tell them they’re invincible and they believe them. The important thing about child soldiers is that they don’t know what they’re doing. Their psychology is exploited by their handlers.

You can feel pity for the dog that’s been abused to the point its mind is broken. It won’t stop the dog from killing you.

So, you’re asking these soldiers to take a ticking time bomb with them. Someone who is a direct threat to their lives and their mission. No matter the amount of pity they feel, this is a time bomb they know better than to take. This is especially true if they’re working in enemy territory where she’ll have numerous chances to betray them to her comrades. They’re not equipped to handle her.

She belongs in a POW camp, away from combat, with people who can devote their time to helping her figure out how to be a human instead of a weapon.

Right now, a weapon is all this character knows how to be.

-Michi

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References and Resources:

It is worth remembering that child soldiers exist in the real world, both in our present and throughout history. There is a body of research available on the subject, and worth looking into if you want to do it justice.

If you are a minor, I insist that you approach this subject with the aid or help of an adult. Child soldiers are disturbing material.

The CNN article on Ishmael Beah is an excellent place to start. Beah was a child soldier in the Sierra Leone eventually captured by enemy forces and rehabilitated by Unicef. His memoir A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier is worth looking into if you intend to take the true child soldier route.

If you’re interested in being depressed or learning more about the African diamond trade and how it ties into the Sierra Leone then Blood Diamond with Leonardo Dicaprio is a good movie to invest some time into. The movie goes through great pains to ensure the treatment of child soldiers and their training is accurate.

The book Blood Diamonds: Tracing the Path of the World’s Most Precious Stones which the movie referenced extensively, though only two chapters in the book discuss child soldiers directly. Instead, it focuses on the use of diamonds to fund the RUF in the Sierra Leone. You may find this book more helpful for worldbuilding and it’s discussion on the funding a revolution.

Monster an autobiography by Sanyika Shakur aka Kody Scott about his sixteen years spent as a gangbanger may be helpful. Gangs have a different method in their recruitment of child soldiers but, at the end of the day, the attitudes and mentalities end up in a similar place.

Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany by Hans J. Massaquoi isn’t a book about child soldiers per say, but it does document the effect Nazism had on the German people. If you ever wondered how the average person could fall victim to widespread propoganda, participate in such heinous acts, or wondered how the Nazis worked then this is a must read book.

Check out Boy Seamen on Wikipedia, a page discussing the ranking and usage of young adults as sailors in the British Navy and others at the turn of the century. Russel Crowe’s adaptation of Master and Commander: Far Side of the World has an accurate representation of the ages that were put to sea. Patrick O’brien’s series is a must read for anyone interested in doing any writing about the British Navy.

We bring up the Boy Scouts of America sometimes when discussing children raised for combat and while it isn’t a direct 1 to 1 comparison, most of the skills studied and mastered by the Boy Scouts as they gain badges are the sorts of supplementary survival skills you start children on when preparing them for a lifetime of combat.

You don’t have to look far to find the history of children studying and used in warfare. There’s a wealth of information out there, if you start looking for it.

Warrior Culture : SPQR

SPQR stands for “The Senate and People of Rome” and was emblazoned on the standards of Roman Legions, symbolizing the power and reach of Rome through its legions. After the Marius Reforms they became a truly imposing military power. Reforming themselves into the well organized, masters at adaption of tactics that we know of today.

The Legions used cutting edge technology for the time, recruiting the first real professional (contracted) army of its age. They signed troops up for 20 year stints, and upon retirement you could either rejoin under a special unit of veterans where you had prestige, and lessened duties, or retire and receive land of your own in the border lands. This was brilliant of the Romans for any number of reasons, but long story short, it gave the border lands and other freshly conquered territories additional troops and Romans if the locals were to ever rebel and land to the Empire.

The Romans also organized their military exceedingly well. Splitting it into squads (tent parties), platoons (century), Companies (cohort), and Division or regimental levels (Legions). They invented essentially the modern military, and we use much of their wisdom and knowledge to this day.

Legions were able to operate independently of each other or in concert to achieve goals and persecute the foes of the Empire. The Roman legion changed the rules of warfare in many ways, they built roads and other public works as they went so that future generations or missions could move quickly through Roman territories. Instead of making camp each night Romans would actually make fortifications, digging ditches, filling moats, placing spikes, etc… in order to protect their camps from attack and subterfuge.

Roman Legionaries carried most of their tools and weapons with them on the march freeing up wagons and slaves for provisions, siege equipment, etc… A few things to note about the Roman Legionary are the (more or less) full armor, the tower shield, and the javelin (each Legionary was issued 2). These were of the utmost importance to Roman dominance in the region as its soldiers were far better protected than its enemies, and that its soldiers had both ranged and melee availability. As the enemy closed on a Roman legion or vice versa the Romans would throw their javelins’ (specifically designed to twist and bend on impact, meaning that even if it didn’t kill you it twisted inside you making it harder to remove and more likely to incapacitate you for a kill).

youtube

On this day in music history: June 30, 1984 - “Sports”, the third album by Huey Lewis And The News hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for 1 week. Produced by Huey Lewis And The News, it is recorded at Fantasy Studios, Studio C in Berkeley, CA, The Plant Studios in Sausalito, CA, and The Automatt in San Francisco, CA from May - August 1983. After the success of their second album “Picture This” in the Spring and Summer of 1982, Huey Lewis And The News begin working on material for the crucial follow up. Looking to progress from their previous work, the band will merge their trademark rock and R&B hybrid sound by incorporating current technology like synthesizers and drum machines, setting the template for their best known work during the 80’s. While Lewis and The News are working on the album, their record label Chrysalis is in a perilous condition financially, having operated as an independent label for several years, the label is spending and losing money excessively. The band is so worried about handing the finished album in to the label (fearing it will go bankrupt and take the album with it) that Lewis and band manager Bob Brown hides the multi-tracks and mixdown masters from them while it’s a work in progress. The band finally hand the album over once Chrysalis aligns itself with CBS Records for distribution in the US. It is the Marin, CA bands most successful album propelling them to worldwide pop stardom. Taking a slow and steady climb up the charts, it finally reaches the top of the chart, nine months after its release. It spins off four top 10 singles including “Heart And Soul” (#8 Pop), “I Want A New Drug” (#6 Pop, #1 Club Play), and “The Heart Of Rock And Roll” (#6 Pop). The albums cover features a color tinted photo of the band taken at The 2 AM Club in Mill Valley, CA where the band gigs at regularly in their pre-fame days. “Sports” is certified 7x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

anonymous asked:

aa hi orriculum sent me over to you, im the same anon. i asked them this question: "sorry to bother you but do you have any resources for how moon and the other planets (venus, mars, etc) zodiac signs work? i dont really understand astrology very well but i really want to learn but i dont know where to start exactly. i get the moon moves through the signs faster than the earth, but is there a resource online that tracks and explains it?" i want to start learning astrology but idrk where to start

I’ll use the current moment’s transits to demonstrate.

Pretend that this is your natal chart, and imagine earth (specifically your place of birth) at the very center of it. The signs, planets, and houses surround you, placing their energy upon you, shaping your personality, needs, instincts, talents, challenges, quirks, potential – everything you are. Earth is not included in astrology because it represents you, your position in the universe; it’s based on geocentrism, Ptolemy’s model of the solar system. All astrological phenomena is calculated from our perspective, with earth at the center.

There are three primary components in astrological charts – the Zodiac, the houses, and the planets. The Zodiac is a belt of static, neutral energy along the ecliptic divided into twelve equal parts (signs) whose unique archetypes define different expressions of the human psyche. The houses are twelve mathematical points, also along the ecliptic, that represent all areas of human life and experience. The planets are active bodies of energy which represent various elements of the human psyche. Each of these factors operate independently of each other & orient themselves based on date, time, and the relevant location on earth. They are constantly moving & their perpetual motion is referred to as “transits.” The natal chart is a snapshot of those transits at the moment & place of your birth. Their positions come together to create vibrant, complex illustrations of each individual’s mind, heart, soul, body, and life.

Returning to the first image, if you were born today, you would have your sun (☉) in Gemini (♊) because from our perspective, at this time of year, the sun transits through the section of the 360° belt of the Zodiac that we call Gemini. The sun represents the ego, will, and sense of self; Gemini is an adaptable social sign that values intellect, exploration, and communication. Thus, you are a clever, curious, talkative individual; you assert your role in the world as a learner and a speaker. You wish to share your experience of life with others. You also have your moon in Aries. The moon represents the more instinctive and natural side of your mind, what you learned in childhood, and the core of your emotionality. Aries is a driven self-centric sign that values passion, self-assertion, and taking action. Thus, you tend to have very strong emotions that you typically like to express bravely with force & rawness. You have powerful instincts and can be impulsive as a result. When you bring the houses into the equation, it adds another dimension of intricate psychological depth and shows where & why you express your traits a certain way. Aspects (the angles, or relationships, between planets) bring in even more detail. This is how charts work. The insight your natal chart provides is practically boundless; we’ve barely even scratched the surface of who you are.

How quickly do the planets move?
Keep track of transits with this website
Very basic/beginner resources

I hope this cleared things up for you!
Feel free to ask more questions if you need to.

The Clan of the Boltcutter

or, Why Keys Are Not the Tools of Freedom

Science fiction is a genre that loves its stuff. For a genre of ideas, the invention frequently takes center stage as the manifestation of those ideas, as the crucial prop of the plot twists, and as the symbol of whatever deeper meaning we find in stories of the Future-That-Could-Be. In a world of outlandish vehicles, practical prosthetics, and that damn guitar, the humble boltcutter may be the most powerfully symbolic object in Mad Max: Fury Road.

The recurring skull/skull-in-steering-wheel motif certainly dominates the beginning of the movie. What are the women and the audience left with at the end, though? For a story of escape and freedom, in which locks and chains make repeated appearances, we need a symbol similarly oriented around getting out, away, loose. Not a key, Iโ€™d argue, nor a vehicle, but the boltcutter: a tool favorable for the physically weak, independent of any of their oppressors, and designed to dismantle that which binds.

(Warning: under the cut, spoilers for everything. Seriously, much spoiler, so details, very warning.)

Keep reading

syfyravalkyrie  asked:

February 12?

Humans do not remember being born. Most do not even recall the first three to four years of their life. However, Omnics remember the exact time and date that they first came online. After all, it is, essentially, their first thought.

5:36 AM, February 12, 2056

After that, the visual sensors come online, and the processor begins to put words to images.

A man, Asiatic, wearing square glasses, with a sparse mustache and meticulously trimmed little beard. Black hair. Brown eyes. A slightly open mouth and furrowed eyebrows. Identified expression: uncertainty.

The audio sensors boot up moments later.

The room is quiet except for the hum of the overhead lamps and the muffled sounds of outside traffic. The man sniff and clears his throat.

Then the start-up process begins.

Thank you for activating Tekhartha model 750X.U.  Please state your registration code:

  • Edeno3RA2F1nzxxONETW

Confirmed. Please identify registered user:

  • Khadka Roshan

Confirmed. Would you like to designate a friendly name for this Tekhartha unit?

  • Zenyatta.

Confirmed. Unit designated as Tekhartha Zenyatta. Would you like to designate an alternative to the default gender?

  • Oh! I did not- Uh, what is the default gender?

Null.

  • Ah, well, hmm. I suppose that’s fine. Are masculine pronouns acceptable? Your voice is a bit, uh… deep for female…

Vocal settings can be adjusted.

  • No, that’s fine! Everything is fine!

Acknowledged. Would you like to designate an implicit purpose, to allow for greater independant operation in the absence of set tasks?

  • Ahhh, hmm. You are responsible for the uh, upkeep and maintenance of the Kathmandu University library. You put books away. You help students find information they are looking for. I suppose you could even help them with their homework if you wanted, but don’t simply do it for them.

Acknowledged. I will assist students, but I am not to complete their work for them.

  • Yes. That’s right.

Is there any optional software you would like to install?

  • Um, no. Not at this time, thank you. No wait, that one, that bookkeeping one, I want that one.

Acknowledged. Downloading bookkeeping software now. Is there any optional software you would like to install.

  • Thank you, that is enough.

 There was a moment of awkward silence between Kathmandu University’s head librarian and his new assistant, then Khadka Roshan jerked up with a gasped “oh!” He turned to the counter beside him, grabbed a small pile of clothes, and held them out to Zenyatta. “You will probably want to put these on before we begin.”

 Zenyatta looked at the clothing and identified a plain white button-up shirt, a brown sweater vest, and brown corduroy pants. A moment passed as he processed what to do, then he bowed his head, thanked Mr. Khadka, and dressed. When he finished, he was handed a book, and told to put it away.

 He turned it over in his hands. 191 Ced. “The Nature of the Soul” by Lucinda Cedercrans.

 “This belongs in the Philosophy section, I will return it right away.” He turned to leave, but Mr. Khadka hummed uncertainly, catching Zenyatta’s attention. “Is there something else, sir?”

 “Are you not curious?”

 Curious? He had not been before, but Mr. Khadka’s tone implied that perhaps that was wrong. That perhaps, he should be. His processors did not know the expected answer to the question, and the blank space made him… Well, perhaps it made him curious. “About what?”

 “About the book.”

 Zenyatta looked at the book. “My implicit purpose is to care for the books. To ensure that they are filed in the correct position on the shelves. The contents of the books are not of my concern.”

 “Ah.” Mr. Khadka nodded sagely, pursing his lips and inhaling deeply. Identified expression: disappointment. “Well, perhaps it will come to you in time,” he added reassuringly, patting Zenyatta’s shoulder. “Human children need years to discover themselves. I suppose it was too much to expect you to know on your first day alive.”

japan was awesome

back and forth between tokyo, hakone, kyoto, osaka, naoshima and nara over the last 16 days with mitchell and his family and i am SO TIRED but i had such a good time!!!!!!

highlights:

  • eating okonomiyaki and shopping around shinsaibashi in osaka was probably my favorite day of the whole trip honestly
  • daikanyama t-site in tokyo was really cool bookstore and beautiful inside
  • hakone in general is remote and beautiful but getting to our ryokan was fucking difficult
  • i love the bullet trains they are so casually luxurious and having the unlimited JR train pass was great and next time i would map shit out better and go to way more cities and truly get my $400 worth (though we probably took $700 worth of trains without trying)
  • family mart is so good i wish we could just pop into convenience stores here that sold muji products and solid onigiri and didn’t smell like nasty 7/11 pizza
  • we just like, didn’t go to shimokitazawa, a few hours around akihabara and only spent an evening around harajuku looking for vintage clothes so maybe i fucked up but whatever??? we spent most of our tokyo time around asakusa because mitchell’s mom booked that hotel and confused a recommendation but i really liked it because we were near a super old amusement park and the huge shrine and a big cluster of shopping, food and other attractions and it was super walkable and not as crazy as our first three days in shibuya which like, are fine but how many times can you cross the street even???? but yeah i feel like we probably just barely even slightly began to scratch the surface on tokyo and there is so much more to see and we can never see it and i mean i’ve never even been to staten island so…
  • japanese carnival/street food like takoyaki and potato spiral and mochi, which we ate at a festival near sensoji temple and ueno park in tokyo and nishiki market in kyoto
  • fushimi inari is obvious you gotta go walk all those gates and take selfies with everyone else its a long way to the top 
  • we went to nara for just like 4 hours so we could feed deer in the street and honestly it was worth it
  • naoshima for art stuff, i wish we had more time there, the teshima art museum was the most beautiful art i have ever seen in my entire life i almost cried and it was worth the $20 admission though i’d have liked to spend longer there
  • just eating so much stuff including all the amazing snacks that MUJI sells i mean muji is just great sorry i’m basic!!!!!
  • BAL mall in kyoto is like a luxury mall that pipes in hawaiian music and has a tomorrowland and a muji cafe and the nicest public toilets i’ve ever used in my life and probably ever will
  • god did i mention eating i mean just eating so much stuff and its not like we dont have ippudo ramen or conveyer belt sushi or anything else in new york but it was all way better and cheaper there 
  • tsukiji fish market was fine i guess if you don’t go in the morning when fish sales are happening then you’re kind of just buying food from the nearby businesses which isn’t so different from just going to anywhere else designed for tourists to buy tons of snack foods and packaged gift desserts
  • bento boxes in the train stations so good so easy i love all the theme ones lol
  • every coffee i drank was pretty much garbage except for a few trendy ass brooklyn/portland/whatever looking places but all the vending machine coffee was kinda shitty which is so weird to me considering japan does such great packaged foods and all the vending machines serve hot coffee and are EVERYWHERE so why wouldn’t you get it right??? milk tea was great though so i switched over
  • i don’t really go out at night so we didn’t do any big clubs but we had a drink at JBS where an older bartender plays from his massive record collection in a small room and you gotta be respectful and every drink whether it’s a glass of whiskey or a bottle of coke is $5
  • the subways are fucking confusing but once you get the hang of it they are just so efficient and on time and we went all over the place but yeah coming from new york i figured i was gonna be fine but nope it’s fucking confusing there are so many independently operated ones 
  • i hit my head on low doorways so many times i can’t even count i mean literally over a dozen times including one really nasty smack that everyone heard and rattled my fucking teeth

ok that’s it japan is very cool! i didn’t really buy anything even though we shopped so much at so many cool stores and brands like issey and yohji and dover street in ginza, kind of just bought some magnets and pins and snacks, shopping for clothes as a size large/XL was pretty impossible so i just gave up.