What I’m Reading — January 2017: Military, Media, Star Wars, and Beer

A wrap-up of articles I found most interesting this month.

(I promise few if any articles on the new American president.)

Why America is Self-Segregating — Data Society Points, 1/5/2017

I could write a lot about this article. Researcher Danah Boyd explores America’s drift into social segregation by using examples of the military, military contracting, and academia. Boyd postulates that the military is a mixing pot, but contracting has hurt diversity in the defense industry. She also states that college students are being allowed to circumvent easy diversity avenues in colleges, aligning themselves more and more with people like themselves.

Having been in uniform, worked as a contractor, and spent many years in academia, I agree with Boyd’s theory. While the military is diverse, government contracting is anything but. It is a breeding ground for groupthink, where retired military cycle back into the environments they are used to. There is also the conundrum of clearances, where the only way to get one is to have worked for the military. So those former employees are where contract companies look first to fill positions. Have clearance, have job. No matter how inept.

The Right Is Building A New Media “Upside Down” To Tell Trump’s Story — Buzzfeed, 1/23/2017

There has been a lot of discussion recently into how people get their news. Similar to a punk rock revolution, web sites that lean politically right sprung up in the last eight years and began getting followers and readers. These readers amplified their voices to the point that these news organizations now have sway in the media landscape. Their position has only increased with the election of Donald Trump, an admitted opposer of main more traditional outlets.

It is interesting to compare these political writers with the Deadspin and alternative sports bloggers from 10 years ago. They took on ESPN and mainstream sports news. Eventually those bloggers were incorporated into the mainstream sports media. Will that happen to Breitbart and other alternative news stations? What if CNN offered to buy Brietbart?

How the 24-Hour News Cycle Became the Latest Information Security Adversary — TripWire.com, 1/25/17

From the Information Technology realm, this article discusses the need for IT professionals to articulate the seriousness of possible breaches to an uneducated media. With cyber attacks a huge topic of concern, it is important for experts to drive the conversation before uneducated information spreads and panic possibly settles in. It is very difficult to put a panic genie back in the bottle.

20 Questions Smart Security Pros Should Ask About ‘Intelligence’ — Dark Reading, 12/1/2016

Intelligence is important to many organizations. How they gather intelligence varies, however. For Information Security professionals, there are challenges to meet intelligence needs. This article gives a good primer on intelligence questions for information security professionals. Many of these questions are useful for other organizations as well.

A Missing Shade of Gray: Political Will and Waging Something Short of War — War on the Rocks, 1/11/2017

This is a strong essay on the ability of a US president to engage in “less than war”. Phillip Lohaus writes in depth on the mechanisms of US war and the ability of the executive branch to send troops into battle. There are a lot of checks and balances in play even for the smallest deployment. Lohaus discusses the will of the people and the legislative branch to support and give leeway to the president to deploy troops for any mission and for how long.

Guest Post: Stormtrooper Performance in Contemporary Operations — Angry Staff Officer.com, 1/9/2017

I am a huge fan of mashups of my favorite things. And as evident by my Star Wars article index, I am a huge Star Wars fan. So when I see folks discussing military tactics through the lens of Star Wars, I have to read. In this article, an individual named PPTSapper writes about Imperial Officer life living with Stormtroopers. It is a fun read, taking the drama and stresses of our modern military personnel and transposing them into the world of Star Wars.

Star Wars Killed A Universe To Save The Galaxy — FiveThirtyEight.com, 12/16/2016

This article discusses the strategic move by Disney to divide the world of Star Wars. In order to have the room to create new vibrant stories, Lucasfilm had to categorize years of non-movie fiction into a “Legends” bucket. Gone where over 20 years of fan and author created stories and timelines. Lucasfilm kept the remaining stories in the category of Canon. Still, a few years later there are discussions as to what is canon or not.

From Disney’s perspective, it was a smart strategic move. While it upset many fans, Disney knew few if any would be lost forever if the sandbox was reset. The move to kill the “extended universe” did indeed save the Star Wars galaxy. Meanwhile, occasionally certain characters are brought back or nods given to the fans of the EU in new Star Wars material. It may be gone, but it is not forgotten.

Princess Leia’s Hairdo Didn’t Come From a Galaxy Far, Far Away — Global Voices, 1/17/2017

From Global Voices comes an article from Mexico in which a writer praises the iconic bun hairstyle of Princess Leia and notices their similarity to the hairstyle of women during the Mexican Revolution. According to the article, even George Lucas himself admitted to borrowing the look from the soldaderas.

The Women’s March And The Art Of Creative Resistance — Co.Create, 1/23/17

A very interesting look at the cottage industry of creative protest that has sprung up since Donald Trump took office. The speed in which art can be created is much faster than any time in history so artists and other creatives are using this speed to their advantage to promote their views. While these views are anti-Trump, these same creative methodologies could be used for any social movement. They galvanize, inspire, and in some cases, encourage social movement through art.

All-Woman Brewery Brings Craft Beer to Kyrgyzstan — Global Voices, 1/18/2017

A great article on a craft brewery in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Owned by two women, it is become an oasis of good beer in a city not known for its good beer. That it is all-women owned is also unique in the Central Asian country.

This Craft Brewery Infuses Its Beer with the Wu-Tang Clan — Munchies.Vice.com, 12/12/16

I’m not sure how this works, but according to this Vice article, brewers from North Carolina used Wu-Tang Clan songs to “stress out” yeast during the brewing process. This stressing process alters the flavor of the beer. And combined with the skill of the Wu-Tang, this beer must be a Triumph a drink for A Better Tomorrow.

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