Kelsey Deatherton Profile picture
War, robots, & other bad futures. Military tech writer, opinions my own. Cohost @thunderouspod. Unitarian Universalist. He/him. Fam: @alymaybe, @stellahthedog
eDo Profile picture Joshua Cypess Profile picture 3 added to My Authors
22 Oct
This is good and important distinction, which has me thinking why "hypersonic" as a catch-all falls short. (Especially since I tend to love catch-alls for terms).

But by grouping on speed, we miss huge distinctions in trajectory and maneuverability, which matter much more.
It's a parsing I've attempted here popsci.com/technology/dar…
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22 Oct
Here's two news stories about Honolulu police using Boston Dynamic's Spot to "screen individuals at homeless sites on Oahu" for COVID khon2.com/coronavirus/hp…
"If you’re homeless and looking for temporary shelter in Hawaii’s capital, expect a visit from a robotic police dog that will scan your eye to make sure you don’t have a fever." amp.wbur.org/news/2021/07/3…
In Singapore, police used a wheeled robot to patrol "foreign workers dormitories" in 2020 htx.gov.sg/news/featured-…
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21 Oct
calmly cracking open my skull so that takes like this can pour out
What China demonstrated is a modern application of a Cold War technique. The technique had its origins in evading missile defense, a technology the US continues to pour billions into while most other countries don't bother. What would the US gain from FOBS popsci.com/technology/chi…
There's lots of angles to take on an arms race but the biggest one is "what defense does this new weapon bypass" and if the answer is that it's an elaborate way around a thing the other country isn't doing, then you don't need to do it.
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6 Oct
We live in IP, its power seems inescapable — but then, so did the divine right of kings.
The Ones Who Would Adapt Omelas
The Left Hand Of Content
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4 Oct
"There is no conceivable reason why anyone in this chamber, on either side of the aisle, should stand in the way of U.S. support for this life-saving defense to be fully ready for the next attack."

Such a line is only possible if you take the weapon out of the context of war.
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13 Sep
If you're a connoisseur of police whining, this ABQ Journal story about how sad police are about adhering to a DoJ consent decree is full of gems.

Like this one, about investigation every time a weapon is drawn and not just every time it is used.
abqjournal.com/2428379/exitin… The settlement agreement also requires that the department h
Here's a complaint that police can't spend more time on the streets because they have to spend so much time instead doing paperwork about use of force.

Look, there's a simpler answer than removing the decree, and it's "not using force so much." Medina told the Journal in a recent interview that exit inte
The all-but-overt subtext of Bassan's remarks is that police can be trusted to do violence without accountability, which is what people in his district who complain to city councilors call them for. Albuquerque City Councilor Brook Bassan, whose District 4 is
Read 6 tweets
5 Sep
from the March 12, 2008 Anaconda Times, or the DoD newsletter for Balada Air Base (Anaconda Logistical Support Area).

Among everything else, the Pentagon might be the largest collection of adults that use the phrase "bad guy" as professional jargon.

dvidshub.net/publication/is… HEADLINE: You can run but you can’t HIIDE [Photo by Staff
*Balad Air Base
Biometrics as a first point of state legibility. This is from Public Affairs in 2012: dvidshub.net/news/91089/bri…

"The local Afghan people do not have birth certificates or social security cards, so it’s rare that any of them have any form of identification at all."
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4 Sep
It's Zozobra night! Time to celebrate everyone's favorite 1920s stunt that is now on its 97th year as civic ritual. koat.com/article/zozobr…
It is fun to imagine wha rituals invented in the 2020s will be celebrated in the 2120s, but I imagine it'll be "now we burn the effigies of the people who burned the world."
Playing "we didn't start the fire" before this is an inspired choice. (Yes it is 80s themed, it's been decade themed every year since 2014 except 2020, which was COVID themed with murder hornet cufflinks)
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31 Aug
"When you see this image in print or online, know that it is the image the military hand-picked to capture the end of the US ground war in Afghanistan."

I wrote about DVIDS, military public affairs, and how the images available shape media about war.

athertonkd.substack.com/p/creating-the…
We've had a lot of speculation in the last month about "did the American public even know there was a war on?", so I wanted to take a look at the timeline of military image production in Afghanistan, which fell gently in 2012 and sharply in 2014. athertonkd.substack.com/p/creating-the… "DVIDS images in selec...
Prior to 8/14, the US military produced hardly any images about Afghanistan in 2021. The exit was a low-media affair. The number of images skyrockets in the second half of August, after other media captured pictures of the fall of the Islamic Republic. athertonkd.substack.com/p/creating-the… A chart of "DVIDS Imag...
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23 Aug
[staring at the lives of millions upended by decades of US-led war]

Is evacuating 1/760th of the population enough to say the president is a good boy? He's at 1/1268th so far, or well less, if we count how much of that evacuation is foreign nationals.
What the US owes the people of Afghanistan is reparations and full uncontested right to live in the US if they want it, for as many people as possible want it. If we must make it a numbers game, 500,000 people is about twice as many as have died in the war since 2001. Start there
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20 Aug
looking for an explanation of bullet physics and found this remarkablly plain language @AlexYablon article from 2017 thetrace.org/2017/06/physic…
@AlexYablon Is there a small arm that regularly fires above 1,100 meters per second? I'm digging around but possible there's just a good database of this information I've overlooked
another normal evening of work for everyone's favorite weapon describer who just doesn't happen to know a ton of specifics off-hand about bullets
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18 Aug
DVIDSHub now has a brand new "Afghanistan Withdrawal" tag, with 35 public domain images posted dvidshub.net/feature/Afghan…
The Department of Defense, image conscious and with more ability to shape its perception than most, is offering a pretty curated selection of images from Kabul and Qatar, orderly, neat, with clear signs of control. It's a story being told deliberately dvidshub.net/search/?filter…
I used DVIDShub a ton for my work, in part because public domain govt-produced images are the least likely to ever result in image takedowns or legal consequences for misuse.

There were no DVIDShub images of Afghanistan from August until the 14th, though.
Read 14 tweets
18 Aug
it's not great that WWII is like one of three references people make, but it's maddening that the massive and well-documented history of the immediate post-war just dribbles out of people's brains like so much extraneous pink goo
though I suppose if I was proposing a blanket stance of "all prisoners of war should be executed instead of released," a clear and obvious warcrime, I would want my knowledge of what happened after WWII to probably stop before we got to Nuremberg
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15 Aug
"How did public opinion change on a war from 2001 to 2021" is a question worth asking, and it's also one which means talking about the ways in which administrations can persuade people of its policies, even if the persuaded later become disillusioned.
I'd argue that the most durable feature of the push towards war, and towards sustaining that war, was a specifically articulated point of revenge, followed by an incredibly hubristic promise that endless violence remaking the world abroad would permanently prevent tragedy at home
In the space between, where the first war was most brought up as a justification for the second, expressing doubt of the mission became a slight to the dead and an insult to the ideals promised in this expansive vision of remaking.

There was a belief in the ability to remake.
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1 Aug
I'd be curious to see if State parses this differently, but as I've been writing (and trying to understand this) a "one way explosive UAV" reads as an existing reusable drone model loaded with explosives, likely somewhat remotely directed while in flight athertonkd.substack.com/p/kettering-bu…
One way to look at this (leaning on the template from Army of None) is when in the process targeting happens, how much time there is between launch and detonation, and what if anything can change the target selection in flight.
Read 4 tweets
1 Aug
in my ongoing quest to play only FPSs that make the player experience the absolute futility of any individual action in war, I think Verdun does it pretty well. Few games really capture a feel-bad like failing to put on a gas mask while stuck in barbed wire.
I especially appreciate the part that either there's no tutorial or I missed it, which was fine when I was a rifle-toting grunt but caused real harm to my team when I became the NCO and didn't know how to call in fire support. Whoops. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verdun_(v…
I also have yet to figure out how to use the bayonets in the game, so it's not just great at demonstrating "a bayonet is a tool with a worker on each end of it," I got to experience "a bayonet is a tool with a worker on each end of it, if that worker can figure out how to stab"
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19 Jul
Here's the Ghost Robotics dog-shaped machine, patrolling an airbase in Florida popsci.com/story/technolo…
here's me on the Marines testing a legged robot back in 2015 popsci.com/marines-test-r…
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27 Jun
here's what I wrote back in March the last(?) time the United States bombed Iranian-linked groups in Syria and Iraq, one of the increasingly routine parts of the how we do Forever War, now discontents.substack.com/p/our-weekly-d…
"the operating logic of the Forever War: it is politically easier to do some violence, in the name of an impossible-to-achieve end, than it is to do no violence." discontents.substack.com/p/our-weekly-d…
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27 Jun
"Wars become endless when a belligerent adopts objectives it doesn’t have the capability to achieve, but isn’t at risk of facing defeat."

Here's the fundamental truth about the wars being fought by the US today. They're structured to be endless.

newamerica.org/international-…
The generals don't need defending but the argument that generals are holding back a victory that would have been won by increased violence from lower ranks ignores how the entire war is structured. "More permissive on warcrimes," Trump's big military doctrine, didn't change that.
"The degree of explicit and winking endorsements of violence against these imagined enemies fluctuates with the news, with elections, and with other media attention. It endures as the foundation of an entire political understanding of the world." athertonkd.substack.com/p/foreverwarcu…
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21 Jun
has, uh, anyone in the Army seen "The Boys"
screenshots for when someone gets around to googling what happens in the show
aaaaaand deleted
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21 Jun
the 2004 election map broke every brain and we've been living with that hell ever since
"Dismantling the Union, however, would be a permanent solution to what is essentially a transitory political problem." newrepublic.com/article/152347… Americans have the right to alter their political structures
As for the actual substance of Nate's question: assuming states survive a secession attempt when the federal government holds a standing military up to and including a nuclear arsenal, the form of government will be that decided at gunpoint (or, best-case scenario, by riot).
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