The Command Post is Dead

soldiers in a tank from the animatrix

Great podcast episode (and article full of references) over at Mad Scientist Laboratory. This one on the command post of the future.

Today’s centralized command posts are incredibly vulnerable to enemy fire, while “Command Posts-in-Sanctuary” — those out of reach of adversary strikes — are limited by communications capabilities. To find an appropriate middle ground, we should adopt decentralized, mobile command posts that can support command and control and mask their locations and communications.

410. Sooner Than We Think: Command Post Survivability and Future Threats

Tell me – why do we need to have a command post these days?

I’m not sure that we do. We need to get much more comfortable operating decentralized. Leaders (commanders) need to give clear guidance and intent. They also need to be out there, on the ground.

They don’t need a big screen to look at.

But if they do want to look at the big screen, it will be in augmented reality, via headset, while on the move in their vehicle.

And these skills need to be trained. By going to the field. For more than three days at a time.


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Arab Idols and the Religions of Jahiliyah

This is such a simple and well put-together podcast. I love every episode.

On the eve of Islam, Arabia was a mixture of hundreds of competing tribal gods, monotheism, Christianity and Judaism.  Sorting the history from the legends of this pre-Islamic past remains a challenging task.

65 – (0.2) The Religions of Pre-Islamic Arabia

Photo: 2nd century AD relief from Hatra depicting the goddess al-Lat flanked by two female figures, possibly al-Uzza and Manat.


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The Kodak Conundrum

Two things from this recent IWI episode.

The first, on assessments:

“We are now aware of the technological ubiquity, and we are disproportionately relying on assessments of capabilty – raw capability – like we used to, rather than understanding use.”

Honorable Susan Gordon, SPIES, LIES, AND ALGORITHMS: US INTELLIGENCE IN A CHANGING WORLD ~23:00

This applies in lots of places – not just intelligence.

Second, is the “Kodak Conundrum.” I had never heard of that before, and after some searching, it references the demise of the Kodak company, and specifically, their failure to adapt to a rapidly changing world.

Simplifying here, but the problem is that Kodak saw themselves to be in the film business as opposed to the photography business. And they failed to adapt quickly enough.

Very similar to the Red Queen Hypothesis.

 “The railroads are in trouble today not because the need was filled by others (cars, trucks, airplanes, even telephones), but because it was not filled by the railroads themselves. They let others take customers away from them because they assumed themselves to be in the railroad business rather than in the transportation business. The reason they defined their industry wrong was because they were railroad-oriented instead of transportation-oriented; they were product oriented instead of customer-oriented.” 

Theodore Levitt, “Marketing Myopia”, Harvard Business Review, July-August 1960

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Propaganda is a tricky word

Episode 105 of the Cognitive Crucible – Tom Ken on Persuasion in the Developing World.

An interesting point on “propaganda” at about the 23:00 mark.

Western countries… dislike very much the idea of ‘propaganda,’ and God bless us. We shouldn’t do propaganda to the extent that propaganda means putting out false information. But, I don’t think that advocating for what the West offers, advocating for our liberties and so forth is propaganda. I think it’s just true, and we shouldn’t be afraid to say what we believe.

Propaganda is such a tricky word. And for a long time, it wasn’t even a bad word. Maybe a post for another time.


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The Importance of a Daily Writing Practice

nier replicant grimoire weiss

When I first started listening to the FTGN Podcast, I kept getting tripped up on the quote that opens each episode.

How do I know what I think till I see what I say?

Wait, what?

But when you stop and think about it, it makes sense.

How do I know what I think… until I see what I say?

We often don’t know what the next word will be that comes out of our mouth, until it shows up.

The same goes for thoughts. They’re in there, swirling.

A recent episode with Susan Cain explored this, especially in the context of writing.

Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking  joins the show to discuss her latest book Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole. Joe and Susan talk about the power of harnessing our pain and struggles and turning them into creativity, connection, and transcendence. 

S2,Ep36: Susan Cain-Finding Strength in Pain, FTGN Podcast

Joe and Susan discuss the process of journaling and “expressive writing.” This is where you literally just sit and write, whatever is in there – let it come out.

I’ve been doing variations of this for years. Ten minutes in the morning. Just write.

Often, thoughts and ideas emerge that I wasn’t aware of. Often, these turn into tasks, projects, or activities.

Other times, it’s nothing.

And that’s okay. It’s a practice.


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Fantastical Tactical Operations

the skulls female parasite unit

Episode 70 of the Kojima Frequency.

There’s a great conversation in this episode on the fantastical elements of the Metal Gear series.

I first got into Metal Gear because my upstairs neighbor had the game on the original NES and introduced it to me. I didn’t have an NES yet. The game seemed very “military.” My upstairs neighbor was a cop which somehow made the game seem more legit.

In the game, my job was to infiltrate this base, avoid detection, and use all kinds of special equipment.

The game was difficult and the plot was simple.

I fell in love with it instantly.

I was young, and I liked it because it felt somehow, realistic.

If there were fantastical elements of the original games, they never made an impression on me when I was young. It seemed to be a straight-laced military game.

❗️

Years later, when Metal Gear Solid was announced for the Playstation, I felt excited and validated. Most of my friends at the time didn’t know about the earlier games. They thought this was something new. I felt like an insider because I had played the original.

I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but from the early videos and articles I read in gaming magazines, I figured I’d be getting some kind of military infiltration simulation.

Something like the earlier games.

And that’s what I got.

Until the fight with Psycho Mantis.

Then, the game started getting weird.

I remember playing through the torture scene with Ocelot. My friend got up to get his turbo controller to help. And as if on cue, this happened.

I didn’t quite know what to make of it. I didn’t understand it.

The further I went into the game, the weirder it got.

I didn’t know why, but I liked it.

When Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty was released, I was already in the Army. I bought the game on release day and played through the tanker mission. But then work got in the way and I never finished it.

More years passed, and a friend sent me a copy of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater for my birthday when it came out, but it stayed in the shrinkwrap.

Too busy.

It’s only after MGSV came out that I returned to the series, and I’m better for it.

What I find fascinating about the series today is the way that everyone seems to have a personal relationship with it, but each is different.


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Informational Entropy

lord of the flies ending

Another good episode from the Cognitive Crucible, who I recently learned have their own YouTube channel.

This one discusses informational entropy, information “power” (something that I think we’re better at than we give ourselves credit for), and more.

There’s also a Lord of the Flies reference. Nothing wrong with that, I’ve used Lord of the Flies to make a point in the past myself.

Very interested to hear that Glen Edwards is a gamer, too.


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The Magic of Monkey Island

monkey island image nostalgia blue sky light

First time listening to the Triple Click podcast.

I’m a big Monkey Island fan, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who found the opening nostalgic when I originally played it, and the same is true today.


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Behind the GHOSTS IN THE MACHINE

Remember GHOSTS IN THE MACHINE?

Of course you do.

Here’s a conversation with the force behind it.

It’s a deep-dive on PSYOP, and worth a full listen.

Two excerpts, though.

First, what PSYOP really is…

We are the marriage of the sciences and the arts.

Ghosts in the Machine | Full Spectrum Special Operations (PSYOP)

And second, the most important lesson to be gleaned from the GHOSTS IN THE MACHINE video:

There’s a tendency for people to be very risk averse when it comes to information or videos or whatever, and I think what this has shown is that, it’s ok. It’s ok.

Ghosts in the Machine | Full Spectrum Special Operations (PSYOP)

100% full stop agree.

Today’s emergency is forgotten tomorrow. If we want to win we have to be brave and push.


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A return to jahiliyyah

painting of arab warriors charging

One of my favorite podcasts, The Golden Age of Islam, just returned after almost a year-long hiatus.

No judgment here. It happens.

This episode dives deep on Bedouin culture.

Like any religion, Islam was shaped by the culture in which it emerged.  The rules and values of the Bedouin – from the treatment of women to concepts of honor and leadership – would impact the Islamic society that grew out of Arabia.  In this episode, we take a look at that culture to understand what Islam preserved and what it changed.

64 – (0.1) The Bedouin Culture of Arabia

If you’re interested in the roots of early Islam, this is a great and accessible podcast. It is a must-listen for me.

Two fascinating things from this episode: 1) a discussion on anti-tribal poetry, which features lots of bragging and grandstanding – what Dr. DiMeo likens to ancient “epic rap battles,” and 2) the Bedouin concept of leadership succession, which was rooted in meritocracy, not bloodlines.

And of course, some ancient tribal code.

I against my brother. My brother and I against my cousin. And my cousin and I against a stranger.


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