The Calculus of Carnage
Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, Jason Christopher Hartley is a member of the New York Army National Guard. After serving at Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks, Hartley was stationed in Iraq, where he maintained the controversial blog Just Another Soldier until he was forced to stop by his commander. He is the creator of "Surrender," a play based on his wartime experiences, as well as the author of the book "Just Another Soldier: A Year on the Ground in Iraq."
Question: Did you follow news and debate about the war?
Jason Christopher Hartley: I think in a lot of ways we don’t know so much what is going on. I mean we did read a fair amount of news. Well I should say, myself and a lot of my friends we would read a lot of news, but not really that much, and then what we experienced while we’re there is so… It’s like really the whole forest and the trees thing, where we could tell you a lot about our specific missions or anything like on a tactical level, but as far as like kind of more overarching, big-picture type stuff, I would… You back in America watch the news and probably have a better grasp of what is going on big picture-ish than we would have definitely.
Question: How many good guys do soldiers kill for every bad guy?
Jason Christopher Hartley: Well yeah, that’s kind of the drag and I guess really kind of the standard thing with combat is in my area roughly speaking every time… anytime there was any kind of engagement there would… and this is by my own non-scientific count. There would usually be about one combatant killed for three non-combatants killed, and by combatant I mean like good guy, bad guy, you know, insurgents, coalition forces. So the shooting starts, maybe a couple of combatants go down, tons of women and children get blasted in the process, which I think is… I don’t know. In my humble opinion, I think it’s kind of a statistic that isn’t looked at often enough. Combat is great and everything, but if you’re there ostensibly to help a people, but in the process of helping them you’re kind of like killing all of them. You know, it’s maybe someone should look at that more closely. Paul Rykoff, the executive director of IED, had a kind of a really good way of putting it, is that we’re creating enemies more quickly than we can kill them because you… You know you go into someone’s home. You kind of accidentally kill a lot of people. That’s never a good thing. You know you’re making enemies a lot faster than you’d like.
An Iraq veteran reflects on the disturbing ratio of enemies to innocents killed in combat.
Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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