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July 05, 2011

Overnight Open Thread

OMG: The US Army Spent $20 Billion Dollars on Air Conditioning in Afghanistan!?

Well that's what NPR is claiming in their report.

But of course when you dig into it it turns out that they're lumping in all kinds of things that aren't related to AC such as road building and fuel for aircraft. Oh and it's not even close to $20 billion.

Defense Department spokesman Dave Lapan says that in fiscal year 2010, the Pentagon spent approximately $15 billion on energy for all military operations around the world. The Pentagon says when it comes to Afghanistan, it spent $1.5 billion from October 2010 to May 2011 on fuel. That fuel was used for heating and air conditioning systems, but also for aircraft, unmanned aerial systems, combat vehicles, computers and electricity inside military structures.


But even if the US were spending a billion dollars just on air conditioning for the military it's still not necessarily a luxury item.

The US military after nearly a decade of combat in Afghanistan and Iraq is entering uncharted waters with respect to average time in combat for soldiers and marines. For many it's now higher than during WWII and puts experienced members at a much higher risk of combat fatigue and PTSD. And better living conditions including air conditioning are seen as a key part of preventing this.

During World War II, it was found that, on average, 200 days of combat would bring on a case of PTSD. After World War II, methods were found to delay the onset of PTSD (more breaks from combat, better living conditions in the combat zone, prompt treatment when PTSD was detected). Military historians note that successful, and often popular, commanders throughout history have paid attention to the physical well being of the troops, all in the name of "maintaining morale."

That's why combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan often sleep in air conditioned quarters, have Internet access, lots of amenities, and a two week vacation (anywhere) in the middle of their combat tour. This has extended their useful time in combat, before PTSD (or "bad morale") sets in. No one is yet sure what the new combat days average is, and the new screening methods are an attempt to find out. The army and marines are now confronting the fact that, for a large number of their combat NCOs, the limits are being reached. It's a lot more than 200 days in combat, but the army and marines have the majority of their most able and experienced NCOs approaching that limit.

So air conditioning (whatever its actual cost) isn't an indulgent luxury for today's coddled youth - the military believes that it's a necessity just as important as R&R, good food, and contact with home for maintaining morale and extending combat effectiveness.

US Ambassador Skips UK Event Honoring Ronald Reagan

Last night’s Guildhall dinner in honour of Ronald Reagan’s centenary was a truly glittering and warm occasion.

The British roasted lamb and the sunny Californian chardonnay evoked the close Anglo-US relationship of Reagan and Thostaer as much as the fine speeches by Condi Rice and William Hague.

But guests were left asking, where on earth was the American ambassador to London, Louis B Susman?

Apparently Ambassador Susman had better things to do such as collecting money for Obama's re-election and/or organizing his stamp collection.

Like S'Mores?
But don't have a handy camp fire? Then fret not and get yourself an Old Fashioned S'Mores Maker for just $39.


Airline Meals From Around The World
Sadly unless you're flying internationally airline meals are a thing of the past in the US. Here's what you get going from Shanghai to Seoul: Cantonese prawn curry with rice and vegetables. Smoked halibut and chicken. Melon mix for dessert.


How Star Wars Saved marvel Comics in the 70's
Despite their best efforts to miss out on it:

I was told—don’t know for sure—that George Lucas himself came to Marvel’s offices to meet with Stan and help convince him that we should license Star Wars. I was told that Stan kept him waiting for 45 minutes in the reception room. Apocryphal? Maybe. Roy would know. But if so, it still reflects the mood at the time. . . .

But, Roy got the deal done and we published Star Wars.


Some Classic Reno 911
Here Deputy Junior explains to the youngsters why jail bunks are now bolted to the floor.

Finns Score Record Three-Peat in Wife Carrying World Championships
And these couples look serious. But when the prize is your wife's weight in beer you would be too.

Ginger Jokes The Same As Racism?
Eh. Speciesist maybe - but is really racism to hate on near-humans?


The Yahoo AoSHQ group. You know the way.

Tonight's post brought to you by sex symbols:


Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to maetenloch at gmail. Otherwise send tips to Ace.

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