The People’s Liberation Army and its constituent branches have undergone extraordinary change over the last fifteen years. Doctrine, equipment, training, and strategic orientation have all evolved to the point that the PLA, the PLAN, and the PLAAF have become nearly unrecognizable from the vantage of the 1990s, when they used antiquated equipment, concentrated on making money rather than preparing to fight, and still looked for threats from the north rather than from the east.
Internationally, there can be little debate; Harland Sanders is the face of Kentucky in a way that no other individual can match. Kentucky Fried Chicken (now known as KFC in most of the U.S.) has become one of the most successful fast-food brands in the world, and the commodification of Sander’s image and persona has been key to that success.
The six posts that constitute the series can be found here. It’s been fun to write, but back to aircraft carriers and such next week…
The end of last night’s England-Japan WWC match was about as devastating as anything I can imagine. I’m thinking through the classic catastrophic sports moments; Chris Webber’s timeout is the only thing that seems comparably decisive on such a large stage. I hope that the next thing is better for Laura Bassett; watching the team comfort her in the aftermath was the only thing that partially redeemed the moment.
[SL] A commenter beat me to it, but although its effectively one country big stage is a smaller one than Webber, an otherwise even better comparison is Steve Smith, the rookie defenseman who celebrated his birthday by eliminating his own team, the greatest regular season version of the Gretzky/Messier/Kurri/Coffey/Fuhr Oilers:
Was this moment of sheer misery one of the best days of my life? Well, yes. But Laura Bassett take note, and heart: the also-UK born Smith played 14 more years in the NHL and is now an assistant coach in Carolina.
I have a feeling that if I surveyed even the most hardcore sabermetricians out there, they would all acknowledge that ideas of chemistry and clubhouse presence aren’t silly. They’d probably push back against the common narrative that Team X won the World Series based on the shining light of justice that came from Smith’s locker. (After all, there were probably veteran guys on all the other 29 teams who did not win the World Series.) They’d probably say that it’s hard to measure. (It is.) But if Smith sits down with Jones, shows him a trick he’s learned over the years on how to hit a curveball and Jones turns from a one-win player to a three-win player, don’t we have to give some of that credit to Smith?
I’m going to start with the assumption that chemistry and clubhouse presence exist and that they can have real, tangible effects on players, making them either better or worse. We don’t know how it works. We don’t know who’s who. We don’t know what the effects are. But what if we could at least make some reasonable assumptions about what those effects might be? Actual data-driven ones. For example, we know that some managers seem to have a special talent for keeping their players from burning out over the course of a year, and that the effect might be as big as 30 runs from the best to the worst.
So, how much could these soft factors actually be worth?
I’d be interested in coming up with a list of things that we assumed-away-because-we-couldn’t-measure, then realized-had-an-impact-when-we-developed-better-tools. I’m guessing that the list would be longer in football and basketball than in baseball, but of course it would also be interesting to track down some examples from politics.
Every player of the popular video game Civilization knows to hit the save button before engaging in the risky, stupid invasion of foreign country. In the case of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, it became apparent after the first few months that the war was not working out as its framers had envisioned. The failure to find weapons of mass destruction was only the icing, so to speak, on the disaster of failed reconciliation, state collapse, and executive incompetence.
What if we had “saved game” before we invaded Iraq? What would America’s strategic options look like today?
Paul’s association with offshore balancing stems, in large part, from his father’s embrace of the concept. Ron Paul ran for President in 2008 on a non-interventionist platform, distinguishing himself from the rest of the GOP field. The elder Paul has made a career of arguing the quasi-isolationist (to borrow the term of his critics) position on foreign affairs.
But what does offshore balancing mean for the Asia-Pacific? We can imagine that a Paul presidency would resist the temptation and risk of commitment to Japan or any of the South China Sea claimants with respect to potential conflict with China. If offshore balancing can’t avoid war over a few rocks in the East China Sea, or a few piles of sand in the South China Sea, then it’s not worth very much as a strategic perspective.
Today, Apple decided to start yanking games that use the Confederate flag in any way (viaTouchArcade). For example, you can now no longer buy the strategy iOS games Civil War: 1862, Civil War: 1863, Civil War: 1864, and Civil War: Gettysburg, which, as you might guess, use the Confederate flag because they’re video games about the Civil War.
With any luck, this will work itself out in a couple of days, and the games will be restored. Right wingers are going apeshit, of course, but as far as I know there are no anti-flag activists of any standing who have decried the use of the Confederate flag in Civil War video games. Apple’s action stems from a misunderstanding of the arguments of activists, accompanied by a apparently complete disinterest in what they’re actually calling for. And to go out on a bit of a limb, this is a good example of why technology companies, and the corporate world more generally, should have an interest in supporting some degree of liberal arts education; it shouldn’t be difficult to sort through the differences between flying the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse, and depicting it in a video game about the Battle of Gettysburg.
The Supreme Court cemented President Barack Obama’s signature achievement on Thursday by affirming that the Affordable Care Act intended to help all Americans who need help paying for their insurance.
In their 6-3 majority in King v. Burwell, the justices ruled that Americans are eligible for subsidies regardless of whether their state set up its own exchange. The result preserves premium assistance for 6.4 million customers in the 34 states that rely on the federal marketplace. On a practical level, it also preserves the mandate, at the center of the law and of its controversy, that every American buy health insurance.
[SL] …hey, my prediction could have been worse:
The King plaintiffs in the new #Obamacare Sup Ct case will win 7-2 (RBG and SS dissenting). You heard it here first. @CatoInstitute
The education minister, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, quickly rejected the students’ pleas, saying: “In truth, I was quite surprised by the petition. Because ‘to cope with’ is part of the things one learns — and I am not fluent.”
But the students have their defenders. “This word ‘to cope’ is unusually hard to translate into French,” wrote Carol Just, a teacher of English in France, on the change.org website, “and the English notion is difficult to understand even for experienced adult learners because there is no real equivalent in the French language and in the French mind.”