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Eric Kocher on Living the Surge

Topic: Living “The Surge”

Eric Kocher:  Yeah.  It was the surge, and it’s kind of what we started to do in my third tour, but we did do it fully, because I think there’s still that degree of separation where we kind of didn’t want anything to do with the Jundis, the Iraqi military.  Even though we’re supposed to train them, I don’t feel the U.S. in whole didn’t accept them with open arms like brothers, and that’s what I tried to do.  My first Iraqi platoon that I brought in with me, it was kind of overwhelming, because they kind of mimic the senior Iraqi, which doesn’t help you out that good for the mission, because they kind of go off on their own program and do their own thing.  What I kind of started doing is I realize if I integrate two Iraqis, two Jundis in each one of my teams, they’re going to mimic my team leader, and it’s going to be that much better.  So I was one of the teract, and we’re learning off them.  So it’s a mutual training for both of us.

Topic: Missing the MarkCard: How did you integrate Iraqis into your platoon?

Eric Kocher:  It’s the same thing.  They know...something simple.  You walk into Iraqi house.  They know where they hide the weapons.  They always have a stack of blankets in like their living room, their family room, and they usually put like an AK-47, you know, like four stacked up.  Well, for us, we’re like searching all over the place, you know, you bring in an Iraqi Jundi.  He reaches his hand right in and pulls out the AK.  We unload it.  You know.  They know all the little hiding spots, where everything goes.  They know how to pick out the
Wahabbists, because the way their haircuts, the way they carry themselves.  All the little details, you know, you’re trying to learn on your own, but now when you...‘cause we’re doing the same thing.  We’re imitating them.  We watch them.  We watch their body language,

Topic: Is “The Surge” working?

Eric Kocher:  I think it’s working to a point.  The problem is with our overall military, is most of these guys are young.  Let’s be honest.  The average age over there is 22, 23.  These guys only have one or two tours on them.  They have a lot to learn.  They don’t have the training that like a Reconnaissance Unit has or Special Forces or some of these units that I think are making very good changes.  You got a lot of guys going over just kind of shooting them up, especially when you get the reservist units over there.  They got 36 days of training in the entire year.  They’re like messing up like a lot of stuff over there.  I mean, you can see they’re the reserve units are the ones hitting the news with all the atrocities, and it’s not even their fault.  They think their doing the best job for what they’re trained for, but they’re not trained to be over there.

Generation Kill's Eric Kocher talks about integrating Iraqis into his platoon, and whether or not the surge is working.

Remote learning vs. online instruction: How COVID-19 woke America up to the difference

Educators and administrators must build new supports for faculty and student success in a world where the classroom might become virtual in the blink of an eye.

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Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • If you or someone you know is attending school remotely, you are more than likely learning through emergency remote instruction, which is not the same as online learning, write Rich DeMillo and Steve Harmon.
  • Education institutions must properly define and understand the difference between a course that is designed from inception to be taught in an online format and a course that has been rapidly converted to be offered to remote students.
  • In a future involving more online instruction than any of us ever imagined, it will be crucial to meticulously design factors like learner navigation, interactive recordings, feedback loops, exams and office hours in order to maximize learning potential within the virtual environment.
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Has science made religion useless?

Placing science and religion at opposite ends of the belief spectrum is to ignore their unique purposes.

  • Science and religion (fact versus faith) are often seen as two incongruous groups. When you consider the purpose of each and the questions that they seek to answer, the comparison becomes less black and white.
  • This video features religious scholars, a primatologist, a neuroendocrinologist, a comedian, and other brilliant minds considering, among other things, the evolutionary function that religion serves, the power of symbols, and the human need to learn, explore, and know the world around us so that it becomes a less scary place.
  • "I think most people are actually kind of comfortable with the idea that science is a reliable way to learn about nature, but it's not the whole story and there's a place also for religion, for faith, for theology, for philosophy," says Francis Collins, American geneticist and director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). "But that harmony perspective doesn't get as much attention. Nobody is as interested in harmony as they are in conflict."

Signs of Covid-19 may be hidden in speech signals

Studying voice recordings of infected but asymptomatic people reveals potential indicators of Covid-19.

Ezra Acayan/Getty Images
It's often easy to tell when colleagues are struggling with a cold — they sound sick.
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Octopus-like creatures inhabit Jupiter’s moon, claims space scientist

A leading British space scientist thinks there is life under the ice sheets of Europa.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute
Surprising Science
  • A British scientist named Professor Monica Grady recently came out in support of extraterrestrial life on Europa.
  • Europa, the sixth largest moon in the solar system, may have favorable conditions for life under its miles of ice.
  • The moon is one of Jupiter's 79.
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Supporting climate science increases skepticism of out-groups

A study finds people are more influenced by what the other party says than their own. What gives?

Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new study has found evidence suggesting that conservative climate skepticism is driven by reactions to liberal support for science.
  • This was determined both by comparing polling data to records of cues given by leaders, and through a survey.
  • The findings could lead to new methods of influencing public opinion.
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