June 4th, 2009


The Officers Are Crazy Too

As is amply demonstrated by ordering soldiers not to commit suicide.

Tackling War Trauma
How to handle traumatic war events has famously ranged from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address—exhorting survivors of fratricidal, in some cases suicidal Civil War battles to "resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain"—to General Patton slapping a soldier hospitalized for psychoneurosis, a term used in World War II for what is now called post-traumatic stress disorder.

Now we have a general screaming at soldiers back from multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan that they better not dare commit suicide. "It's bad for soldiers, it's bad for families, bad for your units, bad for this division and our army and our country and it's got to stop now. Suicides on Fort Campbell have to stop now," Brigadier General Stephen Townsend recently told 101st Airborne Division paratroops, according to news reports. Townsend is the commander at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, which "has recorded the highest rate of suicide in the army, with at least 11 confirmed or suspected suicides," Agency France-Presse reported in May.

They might as well order people to stop bleeding to death.
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Writer WIN: Vylar Kaftan on the Statistics of Diversity

vylar_kaftan has written a splendid post about diversity as represented in a writer's works. This includes actual statistics across several traits (race, sex, class, etc.) from the author's own material. I am impressed by the cleverness and relevance of this survey, and the amount of work invested; it shows that Vylar Kaftan is serious about exploring diversity while writing.

Warning: this could be a deep time-sink for prolific authors. I am attempting to resist the temptation to tally stats from some dozens of stories (not to mention thousands of poems). This would not be prudent at the beginning of my busy-season. But oh, it would be so cool to see what came out.

Off the top of my head, I think I have written at least nine sex/gender configurations, at least four or five human races plus loads of other species, at least six sexual orientations, a fair variety of ages (including immortal), probably covered most or all classes with a suspected majority in lower or middle, and both disabled and able bodies. Plus oddities like the dogsbodies who are not human but are taking the locational role of Australian blacks and social role of African blacks in America. Yeah ... trying to sort any of my doings into boxes usually makes the boxes run screaming. But it is kind of fun to watch them fleeing into the undergrowth.

If any of you folks decide to do this exercise yourself, I would love to see your numbers, and I suspect others would too. Please leave a link if you're willing to share.

Forensics Talk

Forensics Talk is a blog written by a forensics nurse, intended to explain various legal and medical concepts, issues, and incidents to the reasonably intelligent layperson. While this is not really my personal cup of tea, it does look like a gold mine for writers of mystery or other genres that benefit from precision in this field. Other folks interested in law or medicine might also enjoy taking a look.

Illinois Skies (aka Pictures That Don't Suck)

I did actually get some nice pictures from my camera. I happen to like cloudwatching, so I shot some photos of the sky during the first shoot. I think this camera will do an adequate job of photographing clouds. Following are some pictures from the evening of May 29, with a westering sun. Unfortunately I missed the bright orange penny of the sun caught between cloud and ground, as I was helping jump-start the lawnmower at that time.
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