Rough Diplomacy

Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA)

It is the policy of the United States that U.S. Defense personnel should not be sent to foreign countries unless sufficient status safeguards are assured. Status of Forces Agreements (SOFAs) are the means by which this policy is given effect. They define the legal status of U.S. Department of Defense…

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Usable Intelligence.

The success of any mission depends just as much on the planning and intelligence behind it .By 1908, the time was right for a new kind of agent to protect America. The United States was, well, united, with its borders stretching from coast to coast and only two landlocked states left to officially…

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the inner-workings

Designer  Jacob O’Neal  of  Animagraffs.com  has created a series of animated graphics that explain the inner-workings of a handgun. Check them out. Former police officer Justin Freeman answers the question originally posted on Quora: “What Should You Do If Someone Puts A Gun To Your Head?” We have summarized some of his best tips on how…

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The World’s Biggest Political Brawls -WSJ

The World’s Biggest Political Brawls 2/10/2017 7:01AM     WSJ -embeded content The U.S. Senate is no longer the setting for fisticuffs and fracases that it once was—but in many countries, politics can still get physical. Photo: Getty Images

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Roman Forces in Britain

Letters Home from the Roman Forces in Britain The Vindolanda tablets (also known as Vindolanda Letters) are thin pieces of wood about the size of a modern postcard, which were used as writing paper for the Roman soldiers garrisoned at the fort of Vindolanda between AD 85 and 130.   These kinds…

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Faking it: Ancient Counterfeiters:Viking Swords

The Vikings had every advantage that one could think of in combat. Their ships were some of the fastest on the oceans. Their weapons were some of the finest in the world, and their culture provided the perfect background for fine warriors. It’s no wonder that they conquered so much…

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Submitting to Public View

In August 1772, a hurricane ravaged the West Indies—and a young Alexander Hamilton picked up a pen to write about it The resulting letter would inspire the residents of the island where Hamilton lived to pool their money for a scholarship to send him to the future United States of…

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Rico Act

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. It also refers to the prosecution and defense of individuals who engage in organized crime.…

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Nuclear-powered brawl

On the outside, the main building of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan – or parliament – is a picture of calm. Two rows of neatly-trimmed shrubbery and trees line the courtyard leading to the stately-looking, white building with a Republic of China (Taiwan) flag on top. But inside, the picture is very…

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Éamon de Valera:  Man of Mystery

De Valera under arrest by British troops following the Rising. http://irishamerica.com By Robert Schmuhl, Contributor February / March 2016 Éamon de Valera, the dominant political figure of Ireland’s 20th century, was an enigmatic figure to the end of his life.    Éamon de Valera was sentenced to death for his…

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The Irish Potato Famine, prelude to Easter Rising & Troubles.

A controversial look at how the “Great Potato Famine” of Ireland in the 19th century. It was not a famine as there was plenty of food other than potatoes. The British government stood idly by and let millions of Irish die in what is called genocide. A blight upon the…

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The Troubles

Whether it’s in the Middle East conflicts , crime ridden American cities, or the tension by the two Koreas, the efforts to quell the violence always use  North Ireland as an example. That being said, North Ireland is treading that peace carefully, as some still think it incomplete. The history…

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How to Stop a Tank

NATO has joined the YouTube “do-it-yourself” brigade — detailing how to trap advancing tanks . The minute-long video, complete with wire-frame graphic guides and drone footage, was uploaded yesterday. It is titled “How to stop a tank using felled trees.” The accompanying screed explains the technique, where large trees are…

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Operation Shamrock and Thin Thread Origin

“Thin Thread,” was  a NSA program through the agency which could gather and analyze enormous amounts of Internet and telephone traffic and encrypt the identities of people in the U.S. so their privacy was protected.   National Security Agency (NSA), U.S. intelligence agency within the Department of Defense that is responsible for cryptographic and communications intelligence and…

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Thin Thread Exposed

As a pioneer of the now-defunct ‘Thin Thread’ program, which upheld the privacy of US citizens, Binney broke away from the NSA after witnessing what he saw as the erosion of privacy rights under the banner of national security. Wiebe, equally disgusted by the NSA’s blatant disregard for the rule…

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How to Decode an Ancient Roman’s Handwriting

The paleographer Roger Tomlin has helped to illuminate the history of Roman-controlled Britain through his readings of everyday texts. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY MOLA Between 2010 and 2014, archeologists digging in London’s financial district, on the site of a new British headquarters for Bloomberg, made an astonishing discovery—a collection of more than four…

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The Great Fire of London

In the early morning hours, the Great Fire of London breaks out in the house of King Charles II’s baker on Pudding Lane near London Bridge. London was a city of medieval houses made mostly of oak timber. Some of the poorer houses had walls covered with tar, which kept…

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The Great Fire of London pt 2

Monday , September 3, 1666 marked the beginning of organised action towards the Great Fire of London , even as order broke down in the streets, especially at the gates, and the fire raged unchecked. Bloodworth was responsible as Lord Mayor for co-ordinating the fire-fighting, but he had apparently left…

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Spies, Lies,and Double Agents, code name Tricycle

Sifting through declassified documents from World War II — as well as hotel bills, letters and long-forgotten memoirs are the traces of  the remarkable life of British double-agent Dusko Popov. There was only one appropriate codename for a playboy double agent who had a penchant for ménage a trois. But…

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Stockholm Syndrome

Stockholm Syndrome is defined as “…a condition that causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors as a survival strategy during captivity.” While observers would expect the victims to fear and hate the captors who imprison and threaten them, the reality is that some don’t. In this case the victim…

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Fluid Dynamics Encrypt 10% of the Internet

Encryption is a key to cyber safety in today’s world ,but it’s extremely  difficult for computers to generate truly random numbers needed to keep a good bit of the internet secure. To help alleviate this issue cyber security firm , Cloudflare  references an array of lava lamps which line an  Entropy Wall at…

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Silk Road

The Silk Road was dominated at first by Chinese silk destined for European aristocracies and then spread to other commodities  beginning  around 250 BC. It has threaded through Afghanistan for centuries. Afghanistan’s location, equidistant between the China Sea and the Mediterranean, made it a strategic ancient crossroads. The silk Road is…

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Cutting Edge : French Revolution Bals des victimes

The Revolution and the Reign of Terror devastated French society, and then receded. In their place they left a weird, chaotic society with a very strange form of chic and an even stranger form of fashionable lady. The French Revolution was kickstarted by food shortages, but political change failed to…

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King of Torts, Mr. Jamail

Joe Jamail, a celebrated Texas lawyer who had flunked civil negligence in law school and barely passed the bar exam but went on to dazzle his profession by winning gargantuan judgments — including Pennzoil’s $10.5 billion award against Texaco in 1985, then the largest in history — died  in Houston.…

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Madman Theory

In 1969, Richard Nixon, about eight months into his Presidency, grew frustrated with the North Vietnamese leadership. The President wanted to negotiate an exit from the Vietnam War, but his adversary’s terms were unyielding. Nixon thought that he needed the Soviet Union to pressure North Vietnam; he also believed that…

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Game Theory : Prisoner’s Dilemma

Prisoner’s Deliemma is by far the most famous example of Game Theory because it is one of the best ways to understand some basic game theory principles. The prisoner’s dilemma is a game that concerns two players — both suspects in a crime. They’re arrested and brought to a police station.…

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Game Theory : Nash Equilibrium pg 1

In society today , it is suggested that what people identify as a nerd, is actually someone who knows their own mind well enough to distrust it.  Its someone who takes out societal bias to make decisions by the application of algorithms based off Game Theory. John von Neumann and…

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Game Theory : Nash Equilibrium pg 2

Game theory’s development accelerated at a record pace during World War II. Though it was intended for economics, both the United States and the Soviet Union quickly saw its value for forming war strategies. via GIPHY Early in the Cold War, the Eisenhower administration viewed nuclear weapons like any other weapon in the arsenal available for…

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Edward Harty

It was the 1950s,  young architects were imagining a new, post-War Britain. Edward Hartry though had more reason than most to believe that life could no longer rely upon old blueprints. He was Polish by birth, making a future as naturalised British citizen after a war that had made a…

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Destructive Interference

From the what-could-possibly-go-wrong department: Scientists have now managed to write executable code into DNA that is theoretically capable of infecting any computer that reads it. It’s not quite accurate to call it a virus, though this could be the closest to a virus  software has ever come. It consists of replication…

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Catalonia braced for violence as Spanish judge orders seizure of medieval treasures

For more than two decades, the medieval treasures of Spain’s Sijena Convent have been at the center of an ownership battle between the autonomous communities of Catalonia and Aragon. Now, the 44 artifacts kept in Catalonia’s Museum of Lleida have become a flashpoint in the independence crisis, as Aragon takes…

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Natale di Roma : Birth of Rome

Historical groups evoke ancient Roman tradtions with Natale di Roma. Every year in the city of Rome is a celebration of it’s beginnings. The holiday is Natale di Rome, or Birth of Rome. 2018 ,will mark the  2,771 year anniversary Rome. Rome is now the capital city of Italy. 2,000+ years ago…

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Spies,Lies and Double Agents : Klaus Fuchs

  Klaus Fuchs was just one of the many eccentrics chosen to work on the Manhattan Project. People remembered him as being serious, quiet, and earnest. He was also a spy — whose eventual capture lead to both the Red Scare and the arrest of the Rosenbergs. When choosing scientists…

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Salerno story

Salerno story In September 1943, 191 soldiers of Montgomery’s 8th Army downed guns and refused to take part in the battle for Salerno in southern Italy. It was the biggest wartime mutiny in British military history. The mutineers were all members of the Tyne Tees (50th)and Highland (51st) Divisions. Prior to the mutiny all bar…

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Silas Deane : Patriot Destroyed

Silas Deane, was Connecticut delegate to the Continental Congress, shortly, after he was ousted from his seat and was sent as the first American envoy to Paris in 1776. on a secret mission. The Committee of Congress for Secret Correspondence, was then formed . It’s members were Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Harrison,…

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Revolutionary Colors

When there is a revolution a name or image is usually added to the movement to distinguish the characteristics of change. The White Revolution (  انقلابسفید‎‎ Enqelāb-e Sefid) In the 1960s and ’70s the shah sought to develop a more independent foreign policy and establish working relationships with the Soviet Union and Eastern European nations. …

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The Calcio Storico, The Most Brutal Sport on Earth

The Calcio Storico – ‘historic football’ – is an ancient form of football from the 16th century, which originated from the ancient roman ‘harpastum’, and is played in teams of 27, using both feet and hands. Sucker-punches and kicks to the head are prohibited but headbutting, punching, elbowing, and choking…

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Shaolin Senator

We have no background on this awesome clip other than the fact that the commenters insist it’s from Korea (and the day we can’t trust the info we get from YouTube commenters is the day we retire from the Internet). What we do know is it appears to be a…

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The Celtic War Queen Who Challenged Rome

Boudica slaughtered a Roman army. She torched Londinium, leaving a charred layer almost half a meter thick that can still be traced under modern London. According to the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus, her army killed as many as 70,000 civilians in Londinium, Verulamium and Camulodunum, rushing ‘to cut throats, hang,…

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