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What I’m Reading – July 2016: Terrorism, Warfare, iPhones, and Beavis and Butt-Head


A few of the articles I found most interesting in July 2016:

Recent Attacks Illuminate the Islamic State’s Europe Attack Network – The Jamestown Foundation

Although written in April, this is an amazing look into ISIS’s European network. This article discusses the personalities, organizations, and connections behind some of the most horrendous terror strikes of the past year. Attacking a network is the key to containing ISIS. This, combined with information operations discouraging new membership is the only way to defeat the aggressive ideology that has hijacked Islam and threatened the rest of the world.

Bloody Ramadan: How the Islamic State Coordinated a Global Terrorist Campaign – War on the Rocks

Another article on ISIS terrorism. This on ISIS’s operations during Ramadan 2016.

This one chart shows what Americans believe about protests and police responses – Washington Post

A great look at what Americans believe is appropriate action in response to social action. Some of it is absolutely scary. But it does speak to fear. There are many people scared of social movements. They believe police and other authorities should maintain the status quo no matter what. The sad thing is that is not how America was founded. But you can see how people disagree on engaging social movements can further infuriate the social movement.

Seriously, burning a flag should equal imposing martial law? Thank goodness for level-headed law enforcement.

Aren’t more white people than black people killed by police? Yes, but no. – Washington Post

In other article on social issues, the Washington Post explores the interaction of police with the black communities. When combined with the above article, we see how excessive use of force has activated a community. Which in turn leads to a social movement, which in turn causes friction in a society, which in turn activates law enforcement, who may or may not overreact.

Apple Patents Technology to remotely disable your iPhone camera at concerts – Hacker News

I have complained often about the annoyance of cell phones at concerts. Concert goers in the last five years have grown more and more inconsiderate of others by putting their phones in the air to record the show or their favorite song. This blocks the view of those behind them who don’t want to see the concert through the lens of a phone camera. So at first I was ok with this.

Then I realized this technology could be used outside of the concert venue. As the article mentions, it could be used to limit broadcasts from protests and other important social events. The ability to communicate against power’s overreach is far more important than the annoyance of not seeing a song performed at a concert. Through phones, the average citizen has acquired a very strong tool to level democracy. It would be scary if this was limited at the request of the music industry.

Stages of money laundering – OneStopBrokers

This is a 2015 post, but I just found it. It is an important look at how money goes from being illegally acquired and into the established financial system. The article used the terms used in the anti-money laundering field and has diagrams depicting the process. As criminal networks get more complex, understand their processes becomes more important. Check out the links to the step-by-step process:

The first stage in the washing cycle – Placement (video)
The second stage in the washing cycle – Layering (Video)
The third stage in the washing cycle – Integration

Political Warfare as Grand Strategy – Strategy Bridge

An exploration into using politics to influence Australia’s global interests. The article advocates the synergy between elements of Australia’s government to achieve Australia’s goals. This article aligns with many other articles that a realizing War as a constant effort against all adversaries. It is no longer defined by military operations.

I’ve said this before, but war is becoming more and more like business. Business is ever moving. It does not stop trying to win the market. There are always marketing campaigns. Always new ideas. And always progressive thinking. If not, the company is put out of business. Marketing has to talk to engineering, who has to talk to finance, who has to talk to senior management. Businesses have to think synergistically. Terror networks have adopted this model. Nation states should as well.

This article also reaffirms my idea that nations have think along the MEDIC scale (Military, Economic, Diplomatic, Information, Cyber). All of these elements have to be integrated both offensively and defensively for a nation to prosper.

Can social science yield objective knowledge? – Noahpinion

I don’t always agree with economist Noah Smith. I think a lot of times he shortchanges social impacts. But this time, I think he nails it. Social science is often gray areas, but it is measurable. We haven’t done a very good job because it is tough and it is relatively new, but social attitudes and reactions can be measured. That’s what marketing does. All the data acquired from social decisions in the commercial side can be used to measure how a person “buys into” political or social ideas. Know your product, know yourself, and know your audience.

I waited until I was 30 to go to college. Best decision ever. – Washington Post

Sometimes I read a line or a paragraph and wish I wrote it. Some lines are that good. This is one of those lines:

Even though I sometimes feel as though my educational history and résumé are held together with duct tape and spit, jury-rigged from years of experimenting and sheer determination, I know that my path, while untraditional, is mine.


Beavis and Butt-Head Russian Site

Last, but definitely not least, is a Beavis and Butt-Head tribute site in Russian last updated 1995. Why? Because it doesn’t suck. Huh-huh.