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September 20, 2014

Posts in "Pop Culture"

September 12, 2014

ISIS and Twitter

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McKeon delivers an address during a National Press Club luncheon in February. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Islamic State terrorist group will have no safe haven if they threaten America, President Obama said in address to the nation on Wednesday night.

But they have been threatening America, in particular by using social media. Full story

September 11, 2014

#ThrowbackThursday: the Red Baron

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Manfred von Richthofen, former President of the German Sport Federation and nephew of the Red Baron himself, attends the “Der Rote Baron” premiere in 2008 in Berlin. (Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Wired just had an interesting piece on the Red Baron and how the aircraft most famously associated with him is a ripoff of a British plane. It’s well worth reading, and a reminder about the power of stolen military technology — in the analog age, it enabled one of history’s most famous warriors, and in the digital age we’re only beginning to grasp what the effects of cyber theft might be.

It’s also an excuse to talk about the Red Baron, real name Manfred von Richthofen, on Throwback Thursday. Here are some random facts! Full story

September 9, 2014

Early Reviews, Clip of ‘Good Kill,’ First Major Film on U.S. Drone Strikes

Hollywood and the Pentagon might work symbiotically on some films, but “Good Kill,” a movie about about U.S. drone policy directed by Andrew Niccol and starring Ethan Hawke and January Jones, isn’t one of them. This clip hints at why.

Said Jones: “The fact that it even got financed was a miracle,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “When production went to ask for [Department of Defense] support, they very respectfully declined. They didn’t know if they wanted to lend their support. They’re just confused themselves as how to talk about it, so we’ll talk for them.”

So how well is doing at the talking as it makes the rounds at various festivals? Full story

August 12, 2014

Military Remembrances of Robin Williams

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Williams, center, laughs in the back stage during the entertaining 2010 performance of “Holiday Troop Visit” by U.S. celebrities for Christmas at boardwalk stage of the Kandahar Air Field. (Behrouz Mehri /AFP/Getty Images)

Legendary actor and comedian Robin Williams, who was found dead Monday from an apparent suicide, played an airman in “Good Morning Vietnam.” His connections to the military go beyond that, so much so that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and others have remarked upon his passing. Full story

July 31, 2014

#ThrowbackThursday: Emus Rout Australian Army

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Emus excel at soccer, war. One in his enclosure at the Serengeti Park in Hodenhagen, central Germany on April 13 (Peter Steffen/AFP/Getty Images)

Back in 1932, emus were overrunning Western Australia to the point of plague. The military was called in to help. The emus pwned the military, the subject of this week’s Throwback Thursday. Full story

July 30, 2014

Pentagon Liaisons to Hollywood Have Some Great Stories

92770170 445x296 Pentagon Liaisons to Hollywood Have Some Great Stories

Transformers robot Bumblebee tours Sydney harbour by barge to launch the DVD of “Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen” at Mrs Macquaries Chair in 2009. (Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

“Top Gun,” a film about Navy pilots, did wonderful things for Air Force recruiting. Real-life submariners found “Crimson Tide” to be “laughable.” Those are just two of the anecdotes loading up this Al Jazeera America story on the collaboration between Hollywood and the Defense Department. Full story

July 28, 2014

John Oliver on the Terrifying State of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Security on ‘This Week Tonight’

Is John Oliver’s “This Week Tonight” even a comedy show, fundamentally? Sometimes, it veers so far into scathing commentary that the satire and laughs take a back seat. Above, from Sunday night’s episode in a clip with NSFW language, Oliver goes on a 15-minute screed against the security of U.S. nuclear weapons that reaches this crescendo: Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 4:34 a.m.
Pop Culture

July 21, 2014

Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in ‘The Imitation Game’ — a Timely Film

Alan Turing is renowned for his work during World War II, but he could hardly be a more relevant figure in the national security world today. He cracked the “Enigma” code and was a pivotal figure in cryptanalysis, a subject at the heart of the current debate over the National Security Agency. He is considered the father of artificial intelligence, in a time when the autonomy of computers and robots is a topic of ongoing debate. (He’s also relevant to modern discussions about social issues.)

Above is the first trailer for the film “Imitation Game,” about his life, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. It will open the BFI London Film Festival in October.

Kim Jong Un Now Mad About Video of Him (Mostly) Dancing Well

The supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, takes himself pretty seriously. But you would think he might be pleased by a video of his head super-imposed on a bunch of people who, for the most part, have some serious dance moves. Full story

June 26, 2014

Welcome to the Club, James Franco and Seth Rogen — A Treasury of North Korea Threats

North Korea this week threatened “merciless” retaliation on the United States over the film “The Interview,” a comedy about the assassination of North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.

North Korea does this kind of thing a lot. In its own uniquely baroque style, it has threatened attacks on South Korea, Japan, Australia, and yes, the United States. (In the above propaganda video, a North Korean citizen dreams of America’s destruction to the tune of “We Are The World.”) Here’s a smattering of some of them, by no means exhaustive: Full story

June 23, 2014

When the Word ‘Hero’ Gets in the Way

Army Capt. Benjamin Summers says that calling everyone in the armed services a “hero” is hardening the military-civilian gap and impeding “a more nuanced appreciation of service and to produce better policy in Washington.”

Full story

June 17, 2014

Jon Stewart Skewers Iraq War Advocates for Skewering President Obama on Iraq

“The Daily Show” had a go Monday night at some of the advocates of the Iraq War who had erroneous understandings of the country and what war would bring and who are now criticizing President Barack Obama.

Ripping Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who talked before the war of “seeds of democracy” now saying Obama’s inaction is planting “seeds of 9/11,” Jon Stewart quipped: “They done swapped out our democracy seeds with the seeds of 9/11.” Graham isn’t the only lawmaker Stewart slams, with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also taking a ribbing.

A TED Talk on Military Propaganda

Scott Taylor runs the Espirit de Corps magazine in Canada. His TEDx lecture in the video from last week isn’t just about the Canadian military, though — it pays mind to the United States’ use of language and terminology during war, the United Nations’ during the conflict in Libya and even how Taylor was defined by the Iraqis who once held him hostage.  (h/t the Ottawa Citizen)


By Tim Starks Posted at 11:14 a.m.
Pop Culture, War

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