“What is it about operating in Afghanistan that leads people to adopt false names—and ludicrous ones, at that? We already had ‘Britney Spears’ among the many dubious registrants for last summer’s elections. Now, as Wired’s Danger Room reports, there’s this, from a Senate Armed Services Committee investigation into Blackwater, the company that has been going by the name Xe: ‘More than 200 AK-47s were taken out of Bunker 22 [an armory that held weapons meant for the Afghan National Police] in September 2008 and signed for by a Paravant/Blackwater employee named ‘Eric Cartman.’ Some of the weapons apparently withdrawn by our favorite South Park character were unaccounted for for months afterward, according to the committee.’ Would Eric Cartman make worse use of them than the average Blackwater contractor? (There apparently isn’t one by that name, by the way.) Or ‘Paravant contractor’—Paravant being another assumed name for Blackwater. Senator Carl Levin, the chairman of the committee, said in a briefing for reporters that there was ‘no meaningful distinction’ between the two—but what is ‘Paravant’ supposed to suggest? Paramilitary advantage, paranormal vantages, par avion?”
Pando is a stand of aspen in Utah that is 14,000 years old and weighs 12 million pounds. Humans threaten to end its long reign.
The monsoon rains were not always so reliable.
The “attention economy” corrupts science.
“Salvator Mundi” sold for a record-breaking $450 million in 2017, but is it really as valuable as people were led to believe?