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  • Listening to: Hotline Miami Soundtrack
  • Reading: German grammar
  • Playing: Insurgency
  • Eating: Duenner
  • Drinking: Bier
I'm still around and coming up with occasional ideas for designs, stickers, morale patches, etc. Might upload more stuff regarding literature, but that'll probably be saved for when I finally get an actual website set up. Art will go here, boring word documents over there. That's the dust-collecting plan, at least.

Other than that, nothing to report. Besides my continued survival and newfound interest in CS:GO (yay or nay), it's been same shit different day.
  • Listening to: NPR
  • Reading: news
  • Watching: Colbert, lol
  • Playing: all the games
  • Drinking: water
Kony 2012
A viral campaign launched by the organization "Invisible Children" to bring awareness in the First World (namely; America) to a violent, causeless war criminal wanted by the ICC. A 30 minute video posted on YouTube kicked off the massive action, much like a political campaign, trying to rally people's voices together for the cause of pushing the government (namely; Washington) to take or continue actively opposing this warlord whose most notable terrorist action is the kidnapping, brainwashing, and using of child soldiers.
The video targets the native, and most capable of meme-generating, residency of the internet; the youth. The politics have been simplified and replaced with direct and easy actions people can take, and utilizes aesthetic art in their "make him famous" campaign. While a sizable portion of the internet community (Americas, Europe, China) has lit up in apparent support of this cause, thankfully there remain skeptics.
The easiest criticisms in the campaign lie in basic research. Fallacies contained in the video, and other generalized facts stand out. The focus of the video is aiding Uganda, however Kony himself is no longer active in the country, and has instead moved north. Uganda's current largest problems are disease, a lack of health services, and a lack of education. It's also implied that the sending of U.S. Army advisors to Uganda greatly helped the situation, but made no mention of the bureaucratic setbacks said soldiers have faced in dealing with the local government and military. Probably the hottest of all the criticisms is in the messenger; Invisible Children. It's been revealed that the organization spends less than half of its financial intake on charitable activities.
This is not to say the issue is without justice, nor that Uganda doesn't want foreign help. Ugandan officials have repeatedly and in the past said they require the assistance of the ICC and international community to fight this dangerous man, acknowledging their own inability to efficiently operate against this threat. (Bear in mind it was not through forceful foreign intervention that Kony's presence in northern Uganda was driven out, but through local efforts.) Invisible Children has also been proven to be actively working towards empowering the local population and peacefully fighting Kony in the past, such as with their mention of having created a radio tower to broadcast the terrorist band's movements.
The video, being geared to an audience with no attention span, poor critical thinking, and partial to instinctive emotional actions, leaves out the complicated affair of politics. Their call to the community is a massive campaign to raise awareness and have the populace force their leaders to act on this issue by showing that is what they want. Two problems exist here. In a world where information is free and popularity can be quantified, "awareness" and "support" become nothing more then the simple act of clicking on a button. In the sense of voting, that's all it takes to push for action. In the sense of a strong cause, people are required to put deeper mental effort to further it. The other problem is that people who do try to think about it haven't been given enough information, and don't fully understand exactly how this cause would be successful.
If Kony 2012 is a success, and the government(s) (of the U.S.) choose to take action against Kony, there is a very strict limit to what they can do, which would prove displeasing to many. Uganda, and the other nations Kony is currently "invading" and terrorizing, are all independent states. Their sovereignty cannot be infringed upon by a world superpower, no matter how loud the cry of the people is, for the life of one man. This has happened before: Colombia under the reign of Pablo Escobar, the worst drug lord in history. The United States intelligence agencies and military funcitons, motivated by the financially-backed "war on drugs", sought to help the Colombian government in secret against this international terrorist. (The loss of American lives in the bombing of an airliner also contributed to the devotion of the U.S.) However, American forces inside the country were limited strictly to advisory, training, and surveillance roles. Unless the entire government is hostile, as in Afghanistan, the U.S. cannot send in troops to fix the problem for these nations.
The greatest criticism to Kony 2012 is the goal: to kill or capture and try Kony himself. Some say another, possibly worse, man will take his place if he's killed. The same argument against fears of giving him sympathy with fame can be used to counter this: he represents no political cause, no larger agenda, outside his own power. It is possible a lieutenant could try to take his place, but without a strong and permanent power structure, his army would fall in upon itself. Others say the U.S. should not become involved in another international affair, draining tax dollars and spending American lives. This is impulsive isolationist rhetoric. As stated above, U.S. troops cannot politically be sent into combat roles, and international aid accounts for merely a drop in the bucket of American spending. Arguably, this money can be better spent than that kept stateside. More politically savvy audiences have misgivings about the ICC and its Western-backed intentions. It cannot be denied, however, that the ICC is best equipped to deal with international criminals of the caliber of Kony. Finally, many say that cutting off the head of this snake will not kill it. As mentioned above, Kony has no political agenda*, and only fights to keep his own power. This creates a structure of loyal lieutenants who also wish only to keep their power over the base of his pyramid, which is held intact by fear, ignorance, and savage control. If Kony is removed and his army left alone, it will either implode violently, or give birth to a new leader. If pressure is not taken off at the leader's capture/killing, his "army" will be vulnerable.
*It should also be noted that on the few occasions Kony has agreed to peace talks, he's only used them to regroup and resupply his army before returning to business as usual. Diplomacy has no effect on this man.
The real reason it should be supported and criticized equally: action. As stated at one point in the video, the campaign is designed to shift the power back to the base ("back", because the base has been active in the history of democracy, revolution, and political experimentation), and to push democracy back into the hands of the people. The issue of an apolitical, savage, sociopathic warlord is perfectly geared for this. The man himself cannot have any sympathy but from those to whom he delegates power. This allows the entire First World community to unite (not over the means, but the end goal), whereas other issues could and would polarize, creating radically opposed sides and instead splitting the base between revolutionaries and loyalists. This could allow the individual to realize how they are a part of a larger society that can work together, and use that cooperation to force their leaders to take action in the interest of their constituents, not their own agendas.
But just having people click "like" on a webpage, print off a letter and mail their congressman, or slap posters and stickers on town walls isn't going to accomplish this. That's where the criticism comes into play. There need to be critical and skeptical thinkers who confront the eager, but unfortunately ignorant activists, and force them to actually consider what they're supporting. This process encourages independent thought, as they'll not be supporting/opposing the cause because it's "popular" or some other petty reason, but because they understand it and have concrete reasons. It's the counterbalance, much like the artistic creativity of one half of the brain and mathematical logic of the other. Together, these two sides can push humanity into a globally-realized maturity devoid of borders, districts, and states. That global unity does exist at base-level, and everyone's the same.
  • Listening to: News
  • Reading: News
  • Watching: World Cup
  • Playing: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
  • Eating: Liquids
  • Drinking: Sips of Water
The easier you make the system, the dumber the people using it.

My metal shop teacher wrote his colledge study on this topic, and he cited many examples, most notably of which was the operations in several different restaraunts.

In restaraunts where the food was listed by names and written down (in person with pencil and paper) by order takers or waiters, people nearly always got what they ordered. Inversely, at fast food places where people would simply order a number and the order taker would punch a key on a computer for each condition, people got exactly what they wanted less than half the time.
In the hard system, where waiters would obtain orders verbally in complete sentences and write the orders down on paper, the system worked well. On the other hand, the easy system where order takers used computers to do nearly all the work for them, the system was heavily flawed.

This statement applies everywhere. Because if the system is doing more thinking, the user is doing less. Think of it as a percent: 100% of thinking/work needs to be done. In a 20th century car, the thinking/work was split close to 50%, as the driver needed to be vigilant, attentive, calculating and use good judgement, while the car obeyed the commands of movement. As we enter 2010, cars are doing more work by alerting drivers to rear hazards, stopping themselves short of front-to-rear end collisions, and even parallel parking themselves. This makes for a driver who has to do less and, conciquently, knows less.

What most people don't think (or want to believe) is that this also appies to the military. Armies have always perfected their weapons and technology to be more advanced than their enemy's. This, like with cars, results in the technology being smarter than the soldiers. This would be okay, if it were not for the fact that technology fails much more often then soldiers do. Take an M1 Abrams tank for example. Computers calculate target size and distance, wind speed and direction, ammunition power and speed, and countless other factors. Leaving the tank crew reliant on this technology to actually hit something. If, in a near worst-case scenerio (but modernly possible), an EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) bomb were to be set off in a combat zone, these crews would be without their computers and nearly all would probably abandon their machines, now being incapable of using them effectively.

Personally I'm a fan of low tech, just because it forces the users to think more. If the Viet-Cong had been just as equipped as we were, they wouldn't have pioneered low-tech methods of fighting, and perfected guerrilla warfare with boobytraps and weapons that could be constructed with little more than a shovel and a knife. All because their systems were hard, so they had to think more. The higher tech a military is, the greater potential for disaster (as we saw in Vietnam).

While technology does have its benefits, we should still equip and train our soldiers to do just (or close to) as much and as well without it as they can with it. Everything the computers in missiles, bombs, planes, tanks, vehicles and even small-arms should be able to be done by the soldiers operating them.

This reminds me of another phrase:
It doesn't matter how many fancy accessories you put on a rifle, the user still has to know how to shoot it right. They can have 20x scopes, night-vision, IR beams, laser sights, flashlights, quick-loaders, recoil-reducers, and so on, but if they jerk the trigger they won't hit their target.
All soldiers are heros
For risking their safety
And their lives
For those they care about
For those they love
For all they know

It is sad
That in my generation
In its ignorance
And its arrogance
Feels just to judge
With no experience
Those whom have survived hell
Just to be criticized

All soldiers are heros
For risking their lives
To protect all they care for
However misplaced or misguided that care may be.