Physics Model Determines Dynamics of Friends and Enemies

first_img Explore further ( — Sometimes friends can become enemies and enemies become friends, and it’s difficult to understand exactly how or why the changes took place. A new study shows that when the shifting of alliances and rivalries is interpreted using principles from social psychology, the overall behavior can be modeled as arising from an energy minimization process. The work is part of a growing line of research that uses tools from physics to analyze complex social systems. Be your best friend if you’ll be mine: Alliance Hypothesis for Human Friendship In these socially balanced and unbalanced configurations of a triangle, solid edges represent friendly relationships, and dashed edges hostile relationships. Image credit: Marvel, et al. In their study, Seth Marvel, Steven Strogatz, and Jon Kleinberg from Cornell University have used theories from social psychology to classify certain configurations of friends and enemies as being more stable than others. They show that these configurations can be represented by an energy landscape, in which the overall social stress corresponds to a kind of energy that relaxes as relationships shift between friends and enemies.In their model, the researchers used plus signs to represent friendships between two individuals, and minus signs when two individuals were enemies. Some configurations in a group were considered balanced, while others were unbalanced. For example, in a balanced configuration, the enemy of your enemy should be your friend, and the friend of your enemy should be your enemy. In the scientists’ model, these balanced configurations require less energy to maintain, and are the global minima in the energy landscape. The configurations of lowest possible energy are those in which all pairs in the network are friends, or in which the network is divided into two “rival factions”: two groups of mutual friends who are antagonistic toward each other.While this description of the lowest-energy configurations has been studied in previous work, the researchers found that the overall energy landscape is more complex than previously thought. Specifically, they found that “jammed states,” or local minima, occur when a configuration is trapped between adjacent configurations of higher energy, prohibiting it from moving toward the lowest energy state (a balanced configuration). When investigating the structure of these jammed states, the researchers found that these states form more often at lower energies, and higher-energy jammed states are structurally more complex than lower-energy jammed states. “Earlier work by Antal, Krapivsky, and Redner had shown that jammed states could exist, and so our interest was in developing a more complete picture of the possible energy levels and structures of these jammed states,” Kleinberg said said to “We find that jammed states can exist at surprisingly high energies, and that the pattern of friend/enemy relationships within a jammed state has an inherent complexity that increases as we move higher up the energy landscape.”These results provide a first look at how social networks can be viewed as energy landscapes that are driven by minimizing social stress (or, by the same token, increasing consistency in relationships). While this study reveals insight into the landscape’s local and global minima, in the future the researchers hope to better understand the large-scale structure. By doing so, they could possibly find pathways leading from the most entrenched conflicts toward states of reconciliation.“Our model is a theoretical one; it explores the consequences that follow logically from a few simple principles in social psychology, and it shows that these consequences can be surprisingly complex,” Kleinberg said. “We think it could help provide a guiding framework for reasoning about real-life social networks in which there is both friendship and conflict, and in particular it could provide a useful perspective for subsequent empirical studies aimed at interpreting the patterns of friend and enemy relations that one finds in real data.”More information: Seth A. Marvel, Steven H. Strogatz, and Jon M. Kleinberg. “Energy Landscape of Social Balance.” Physical Review Letters, 103, 198701 (2009).Copyright 2009 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Physics Model Determines Dynamics of Friends and Enemies (2009, December 2) retrieved 18 August 2019 from read more

Swipe Your Credit Card on a Cell Phone

first_imgBy plugging a small piece of hardware into a phone’s audio jack, users can swipe credit cards and transfer money without the need for an additional machine. Credit: Square. ( — With a small card reader that attaches to a cell phone, a new company is making it easier for small businesses and even individuals to accept credit card payments. The San Francisco start-up, called Square, which opened just last week, is headed by Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey. Currently, in order to accept credit cards, a business usually has a stationary credit card machine attached to a computerized cash register. For most medium and large businesses, the set-up works fine. But smaller businesses, such as street vendors, farmers markets, and even individuals having garage sales, often don’t accept credit cards. Square hopes that these types of sellers may find its new system to be simple enough to incorporate in their micro businesses.Square’s system consists of a small card reader that plugs into a phone’s audio jack. The reader is currently compatible only with the iPhone, but the company plans to make versions for Android and Blackberry, as well. To make a payment, a buyer swipes a credit card through the reader, provides a signature on the touchscreen, and has the option of receiving a receipt via email. Only the person receiving the payment needs to have an account with Square. The company hasn’t yet set account prices, but says there will be different levels for individuals who rarely use the system and for small businesses that use it more frequently. If the person paying with their credit card has a Square account, they can also enjoy extra features such as receiving a text message when their card is swiped, and customizing their swipe with an image that displays to the seller.As for security, the system uses encrypted protocols to send transaction information to credit card companies, and the device is subject to the same regulations as other payment systems. Credit card information is not stored on the seller’s phone. As noted in a recent article in MIT’s Technology Review, some people question how useful Square’s system will be. Issues such as fraud protection, robustness of the card reader, widespread ATMs, and a small potential market for the device could pose challenges for the new company. Nevertheless, Square is currently conducting pilot tests in major cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and St. Louis. The company plans to release a commercialized system in early 2010.More information: http://squareup.comvia: MIT’s Technology Review© 2009 Explore further Citation: Swipe Your Credit Card on a Cell Phone (2009, December 7) retrieved 18 August 2019 from This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. NTT to Launch ‘iD’ Credit Card Brand for Mobile Paymentslast_img read more

New invention can turn your plastic bags into fuel at home

first_img More information: ( — Plastic bags help you carry your groceries home, they make excellent liners for smaller-sized trash cans, and now they can help you to heat your home. A Japanese inventor has found a way to convert plastic grocery bags, bottles and caps into usable petroleum. Plastic bags are, of course, made from petroleum to begin with, but it is not the same kind of petroleum that is used in fuel. In order to turn home waste into home power the machine heats up the waste plastic and traps the vapors created in a system of pipes and water chambers. Finally, the machine condenses the vapors into crude oil, that can be used for heating on the home level. Opposition to plastic grocery bags grows © 2010 Many home users will be deterred by the initial cost, since the machine currently runs about $10,000. The developer hopes that the cost will be reduced as the demand for the device increases. The device is named the carbon-negative system and it is being sold by the Blest Corporation.center_img Explore further This is not the first device of this kind. A large power plant which is located just outside of Washington, D.C., is currently testing a similar process for use on the community level. This is simply the first device of this kind that is meant for use on a single-home scale. The machines conversion process can turn two pounds of plastic into one quart of oil, using only one kilowatt-hour of energy. The crude oil produced can then either be used in a power generator or be further refined into gasoline, though one would need a second machine to complete the refining process and create gasoline. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: New invention can turn your plastic bags into fuel at home (2011, February 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from read more

Stereolize creates a 234inch touch screen w video

first_img Citation: Stereolize creates a 234-inch touch screen (w/ video) (2011, March 31) retrieved 18 August 2019 from © 2010 More information: … ouch-screen-234.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Transform Pioneer’s Professional Plasma Display Into The Ultimate Presentation Tool With New Touch Screen Devicecenter_img ( — Touch screens are nothing new. The odds are that if you have a smart phone, then you probably have one in your pocket or purse right now. Have you ever seen one that is taller than you? Explore further You would have if you had been at the Microsoft display at CeBIT. Stereolize, a German presentations specialist company, decided to create a 234-inch touch screen for their display. While one may question the sanity of creating a touch screen so large that you need a scissor lift in order to touch all of it, the sheer scale of the screen is impressive, or at least it was to the visitors to the presentation area.You’re wondering if it is all really one display? After all, that massive scale can be achieved quite easily by merging a number of smaller screens together, but no, that is not the case. Stereolize actually created one super-large screen. The screen, which is better described as a touch screen wall is actually made from one large piece of security glass. This task, as you may have already guessed, faced two basic limitations: how large you can make a piece of glass before it collapses under its own weight and how to move a piece of glass that big. This was the largest screen that would meet both of those requirements.The screen was so big that it needed a half ton steel frame in order to support it, and its dedicated rear-projection foil. The screen featured a 30,000 ANSI Lumen projector and the touch function was supported by radartouch technology.last_img read more

Company solves gas nozzle dripping problem

first_img( — One of the hallmarks of the human race has been the myriad ways that single individuals or small groups respond when noting problems big and small. They may see something as a challenge or a glitch in the status quo, or simply as a way to improve on what currently exists using their intellect, their time and of course their energy, and because of that, things improve for everyone else. In just that vein comes a new kind of nozzle or nozzle attachment that solves the problem of dripping after the flow of a liquid has been stopped. We see it with our various types of water taps, but more often when transferring fuel from one container to another, especially when filling the gas tank of our cars and trucks. Citation: Company solves gas nozzle dripping problem (2012, June 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from The problem generally occurs because of the way we transfer our liquids such as gasoline. Rather than simply pour it, we prefer the convenience of a pump, hose and nozzle. This arrangement makes it easier to get the gas into our tank and to measure how much has been transferred. Unfortunately, it also leads to a tiny bit of leftover when the pump is turned off, which in most cases winds up as little drops of gasoline falling to the ground just before nestling the nozzle back into its holster. And that Canadian company Dram Innovations says, leads to some 500 million liters of gasoline dripped onto the ground and evaporated into the atmosphere worldwide every year. Explore further Silent nozzle extinguisher does not harm hard diskscenter_img © 2012 Phys.Org To solve the problem, the company has developed a nozzle technology that can be used to prevent drips of any type, but that focuses most particularly on gasoline dripping. They’re not saying of course, exactly how it works, but one part of it at least employs the use of a small screen similar to that used to disperse the flow of water from a faucet. They say their nozzle, which can be attached directly to the end of a hose to replace conventional nozzles, or added as an attachment could serve as both a convenience and a means of reducing pollution.The convenience factor comes in as consumers would no longer have to worry about drops falling on their hands, shoes, pant legs, etc. The pollution factor comes in due to the fact that when gasoline falls to the ground, it reacts with the surrounding air and produces ozone, and we all know what that does.The company hasn’t yet found a buyer for their nozzle but hope to attract the attention of consumers and then hopefully big oil companies who they say would benefit too, as lost drops impact the bottom line of gas station owners as well. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Study shows oxytocin spray promotes social bonding behavior in dogs

first_imgThe researchers suggest their study proves that oxytocin levels in dogs (and likely other mammals) are not related to just reproduction, but instead they appear to be a part of a process involved in bonding and promoting unity among group members. ( —A small team of researchers at Tokyo University has found that giving dogs oxytocin causes them to display stronger bonding behavior, both with people and other dogs. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes their experiments with several dogs and what their findings might suggest about the impact of oxytocin on mammals in general. More information: Oxytocin promotes social bonding in dogs, Teresa Romero, PNAS, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1322868111AbstractRecent evidence suggests that enduring social bonds have fitness benefits. However, very little is known about the neural circuitry and neurochemistry underlying the formation and maintenance of stable social bonds outside reproductive contexts. Oxytocin (OT), a neuropeptide synthetized by the hypothalamus in mammals, regulates many complex forms of social behavior and cognition in both human and nonhuman animals. Animal research, however, has concentrated on monogamous mammals, and it remains unknown whether OT also modulates social bonds in nonreproductive contexts. In this study we provide behavioral evidence that exogenous OT promotes positive social behaviors in the domestic dog toward not only conspecifics but also human partners. Specifically, when sprayed with OT, dogs showed higher social orientation and affiliation toward their owners and higher affiliation and approach behaviors toward dog partners than when sprayed with placebo. Additionally, the exchange of socio-positive behaviors with dog partners triggered the release of endogenous OT, highlighting the involvement of OT in the development of social relationships in the domestic dog. These data provide new insight into the mechanisms that facilitate the maintenance of close social bonds beyond immediate reproductive interest or genetic ties and complement a growing body of evidence that identifies OT as one of the neurochemical foundations of sociality in mammalian species. Credit: Noël Zia Lee, Wikimedia Commons Explore further A lot of studies have been conducted on oxytocin, a hormone that is naturally produced by most mammals. Because of its impact on behavior, the hormone has been given the unofficial name of Love Hormone—increased levels of it in humans has been found to occur naturally during sexual arousal and it’s also been found to cause people to be more social and less antagonistic. In this latest study, the team in Japan sought to find out if the same is true for dogs.To find out how a sudden increase of oxytocin might affect how a dog behaves, the researchers enlisted the assistance of 16 pet adult dogs and their owners. Each dog had a mist sprayed into its nostrils—for some the mist contained oxytocin, for others it was just salt water. Next, blood and urine samples were taken from the dogs every five minutes, in-between which, they were monitored to see how they interacted with first with their owners, then with other dogs.The researchers report that as expected, oxytocin levels in the dogs rose more than just the amount that was in the mist—their bodies produced more when detecting heightened levels. More importantly, they also report detecting noticeable changes in behavior of the dogs that received the oxytocin—with their owners, they pawed and sniffed more than the dogs in the control group, and attempted to hold eye contact more as well. In short, they demonstrated more pronounced bonding behavior. The researchers also report finding much the same thing when the dogs were allowed to interact with other dogs. They noted stronger bonding behavior regardless of whether the other dogs were the same breed or not. Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencescenter_img Spacefilling model of oxytocin. Created using ACD/ChemSketch 8.0, ACD/3D Viewer and The GIMP. Credit: Wikipedia. Veterinarian cautions pet owners of disease affecting both pets and humans © 2014 Citation: Study shows oxytocin spray promotes social bonding behavior in dogs (2014, June 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Three superEarths orbiting a cool dwarf star discovered

first_img More information: A system of three transiting super-Earths in a cool dwarf star, arXiv:1801.06249 [astro-ph.EP] present the detection of three super-Earths transiting the cool star LP415-17, monitored by K2 mission in its 13th campaign. High resolution spectra obtained with HARPS-N/TNG showed that the star is a mid-late K dwarf. Using spectral synthesis models we infer its effective temperature, surface gravity and metallicity and subse- quently determined from evolutionary models a stellar radius of 0.58 R Sun. The planets have radii of 1.8, 2.6 and 1.9 R Earth and orbital periods of 6.34, 13.85 and 40.72 days. High resolution images discard any significant contamination by an intervening star in the line of sight. The orbit of the furthest planet has radius of 0.18 AU, close to the inner edge of the habitable zone. The system is suitable to improve our understanding of formation and dynamical evolution of super-Earth systems in the rocky – gaseous threshold, their atmospheres, internal structure, composition and interactions with host stars. Kepler has discovered more than 2,300 exoplanets to date. Although the spacecraft lost its two reaction wheels in 2013, it was repurposed as K2 to perform high-precision photometry of selected fields in the ecliptic. Since then, the revived Kepler telescope has found nearly 200 extrasolar worlds.Now, a team of researchers led by Enrique Diez Alonso of the University of Oviedo, Spain, reports the finding of three new exoplanets from the data acquired by the K2 mission. The Kepler spacecraft observed the star LP415-17 between March and May 2017, during its Campaign 13. These observations allowed the team to discover that this star is orbited by three exoworlds. The newly detected planets were classified as super-Earths, as they have masses higher than Earth’s but lower than that of solar system’s gas giants.”We present the detection of three super-Earths transiting the cool star LP415-17, monitored by K2 mission in its 13th campaign,” the researchers wrote in the paper.Located some 267 light years away from the Earth, LP415-17 is a star of spectral type K with a radius of about 0.58 solar radii and approximately 35 less massive than our sun. It has an effective temperature of 4,258 K and was therefore classified as a cool dwarf. Alonso’s team identified a transit signal in the light curve of LP415-17. The planetary nature of this signal was later confirmed by follow-up observations with the WIYN 3.5-Meter Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona.According to the study, LP415-17 b, with a radius of about 1.8 Earth radii, is the smallest planet of the newly discovered trio. It has a mass of 4.7 Earth masses and orbits its parent star every 6.34 days at a distance of 0.056 AU from the host. The planet has an equilibrium temperature of 708 K.LP415-17 c is the largest and most massive planet in the system – it is 6.5 times as massive as the Earth and has a radius of approximately 2.6 Earth radii. At a distance of nearly 0.1 AU from the host, it has an equilibrium temperature of 583 K and an orbital period of 13.85 days.LP415-17 d has a radius of 1.9 Earth radii and is almost five times as massive as our planet. The exoworld has a semi-major axis of about 0.19 AU and it takes it 40.7 days to fully orbit its host star. The planet’s equilibrium temperature is 381 K.The researchers concluded that the newly confirmed planets could advance our understanding of formation and dynamical evolution of super-Earth systems in the rocky – gaseous threshold. LP415-17 and its planets could provide important hints about the nature of such systems, including their atmospheres and composition. Citation: Three ‘super-Earths’ orbiting a cool dwarf star discovered (2018, January 23) retrieved 18 August 2019 from © 2018 This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Three ‘super-Earth’ exoplanets orbiting nearby star discovered Explore further Phase-folded light curves of LP415-17 corresponding to planets b (top), c (middle), and d (bottom). Credit: Alonso et al., 2018. Using NASA’s prolonged Kepler mission, known as K2, astronomers have found three new “super-Earth” exoplanets. The newly detected alien worlds orbit the cool dwarf star designated LP415-17. The finding is reported January 18 in a paper published on the arXiv pre-print server.last_img read more

Fiveyear study reveals how much carbon Chinas environmental resources capture

first_img © 2018 China, as the researchers note, has undergone explosive economic growth over the past few decades, which has conferred many benefits. But it has also brought problems such as pollution, and more importantly, a substantial increase in the amount of carbon emitted into the air. To address this problem, the Chinese government has turned to its Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) to study the problem and hopefully to offer some solutions.One of the responses of the CAS was to establish a five-year research effort aimed at better understanding how much of the carbon emitted by the country is absorbed by environmental resources. The effort called for 350 researchers to collect soil and vegetation samples from across a variety of the country’s habitats. Samples were collected, the team reports, over the years 2011 to 2015, from grasslands, forests, shrubs and even farmlands.After combining and analyzing all the data, the researchers found that all of China’s combined environmental resources sequestered approximately 201.1 million tonnes of carbon each year for the time period studied. And that, they further noted, amounted to 14.1 percent of the total amount of carbon emitted by the country during the same time period. In a further breakdown, they reported that forests comprise approximately 80 percent of the environmental sequestration resources—crops accounted for 12 percent and shrubs for just 8.The researchers further note that the huge amount of carbon being sequestered by environmental resources is due in large part to programs implemented by the government over the past few decades. Such programs involved implementing restoration efforts to replant forests, reallocate croplands and to allow grasslands to recover from overgrazing. Such efforts, the researchers claim, accounted for approximately 36.8 percent of the total amount of carbon being sequestered by natural resources in China. They suggest efforts in that country show how much of an impact environmental intervention can have in mitigating carbon emission problems. Citation: Five-year study reveals how much carbon China’s environmental resources capture (2018, April 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from A large team of researchers has conducted a five-year research program in China aimed at measuring the amount of carbon sequestered by environmental resources in that country. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a subset of the group describes the study and what was found. Credit: CC0 Public Domain This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.center_img Reforesting US topsoils store massive amounts of carbon, with potential for much more More information: Jingyun Fang et al. Climate change, human impacts, and carbon sequestration in China, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1700304115AbstractThe scale of economic growth in China during the past three decades is unprecedented in modern human history. China is now the world’s second largest economic entity, next to the United States. However, this fast economic growth puts China’s environment under increasing stresses. China can be viewed as a massive “laboratory” with complex interactions between socioeconomic and natural systems, providing an excellent opportunity to examine how environmental changes and intensive human economic activities influence natural systems. This special feature explores the impacts of climate change and human activities on the structure and functioning of ecosystems, with emphasis on quantifying the magnitude and distribution of carbon (C) pools and C sequestration in China’s terrestrial ecosystems. We also document how species diversity, species traits, and nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) stoichiometry mediate ecosystem C pool and vegetation production. This overview paper introduces the background and scientific significance of the research project, presents the underlying conceptual framework, and summarizes the major findings of each paper.Press release Explore further Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Scienceslast_img read more

In Book Former Defense Chief Mattis Sideswipe

first_img“One Saturday night he saw me hoisting myself up to look out the barred window, eager to see what I was missing outside.” ‘What do you see, Jimmy?’ he said, lying back on his bunk.” ‘A muddy parking lot.'” ‘From down here, I see stars in the night sky,’ he said. ‘It’s your choice. You can look at stars or mud.'”He was in jail, but his spirit wasn’t.””You don’t always control your circumstances,” Mattis concludes about his jailhouse epiphany, “but you can always control your response.” His book is a compendium of circumstances often beyond his control. What makes it a compelling read is how this warrior-monk dealt with and learned from the jams he found himself in. His call sign, CHAOS, irreverently bestowed by a more junior Marine officer, is an acronym: Does the “Colonel Have Another Outstanding Solution?”The 1991 Gulf War was Mattis’ first battlefield experience. It would become his touchstone for how a winning war should be waged. As “the least astute battalion commander in the Marine Corps,” Mattis trained his charges — “my young wolves” — for battle in the desert of Southern California and the peaks of the Sierra Nevada farther north. “Each week,” he writes, “the blade got sharper. … My intent was to rehearse until we could improvise on the battlefield like a jazzman in New Orleans.” Relocated to the Saudi desert, Mattis would walk the lines after dark, chatting with his charges and learning their state of mind. “Troops will tell you things when they’re on guard duty at night.”Despite leading his troops into an ambush at one point after three days with almost no rest, Mattis took part in a clear victory: The U.S. chased the Iraqi army out of Kuwait during 100 hours of ground combat. “In my military judgment,” he writes, “President George H.W. Bush knew how to end a war on our own terms. … He approved of deploying overwhelming forces to compel the enemy’s withdrawal or swiftly end the war.” And, in a clear dig at Bush’s successors, Mattis added that Bush “avoided sophomoric decisions like imposing a ceiling on the number of troops or setting a date when we would have to stop fighting or leave.”A decade later, Mattis was itching to avenge the Sept. 11 attacks, but landlocked Afghanistan was not a place where the Marines — a maritime expeditionary force — could be expected to make a forced entry by sea. Still, he convinced his superiors that he could fly 4,000 Marines through 400 miles of Pakistani airspace separating Afghanistan and the Arabian Sea to a remote airstrip near Kandahar. “It never entered my mind that we might fail,” Mattis writes. “Marines don’t know how to spell the word. … Our lads were ready for the brawl.”But Mattis’ forced entry into Afghanistan soon had him clashing with Gen. Tommy Franks, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan. He writes bitterly of being told by Franks to hold his troops back from going after Osama bin Laden in the al-Qaida leader’s mountain hideout of Tora Bora. Rather than blaming President George W. Bush for not sending in the Marines, Mattis faulted himself for failing to “build understanding up the chain of command” of how his forces might have prevented bin Laden’s escape.Mattis’ thoughts on Bush’s decision to go to war with Iraq a year later were another matter. “Invading Iraq stunned me,” Mattis writes. “Why were we fighting them again?” Toppling the Iraqi army, which Mattis compares to “a tall, dead tree,” was the easy part. Left unclear, he writes, was what would happen after that. “I had no specific policy guidance.”The chafing by Mattis against his superiors is sharpest in his account of trying to seize Fallujah after four Americans were hanged and burned there by Sunni insurgents. With his forces poised outside the city for street-to-street combat, Mattis received the order to desist. Bush had decided to have American commanders work with local leaders to create an all-Iraqi security force for Fallujah. “I believe the President’s goal was idealistic and tragically mistaken,” Mattis writes, “based on misguided assessments that appeared impervious to my reporting.”Much of the general’s pushback is over restrictive rules of engagement that made little sense to him. “There are some jerks in the world that need to be shot,” he says he told his “lads” patrolling Anbar province. “Be polite, be professional — but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.”The book reprises other unbridled comments by Mattis. “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil,” he recalls telling an audience of sailors, Marines and civilian contractors in San Diego in 2003. “You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually, it’s quite fun to fight them. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up there with you. I like brawling.”The remark was widely reported and criticized. “Frankly, I was surprised and found their comments bizarre,” Mattis writes of his critics. “I never moderated my words or apologized. Knowing our enemies also read my words, I wanted them to know that America had troops who were not tormented about fighting people who murder in the name of religion or deny human rights to others.”Mattis was investigated in 2004 by a U.S. military team for possible murder charges after he ordered an airstrike on what he says was an al-Qaida team that had crossed from Syria into Iraq. His team’s account of killing 26 insurgents had been contradicted by the Guardian, which published a report alleging “that women and children had been the ones killed, because the gathering was actually a wedding party.” The official investigation concluded the airstrike Mattis ordered had in fact hit a war camp, and he was not charged. “But by then it was too late,” he laments. “The initial false reports had become ground truth; correcting it was not considered news. We had once again lost the battle of the narrative.”No administration catches more flak in this book than that headed by Obama. In a chapter titled “Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory,” Mattis describes a losing battle as head of the U.S. Central Command (appointed by Obama in 2010) to keep a contingent of 18,000 troops in Iraq. “Beginning with President Bush and continuing through the Obama administration, the White House was set on a total troop withdrawal, for political reasons,” he writes. “The National Security staff put no stock in our forecast that if we pulled out, the enemy would resurrect.”A visit to Iraq by Vice President Joe Biden in the summer of 2010 gets mixed reviews from Mattis. He quotes a teasing question Biden put to him there. “Know why you’re at CENTCOM?” Biden asks him. “Because no one else was dumb enough to take the job.”Mattis writes he found Biden “an admirable and amiable man” and liked him. But the vice president was not to be swayed. “He didn’t want to hear more; he wanted our forces out of Iraq. Whatever path led there fastest, he favored,” Mattis writes. “He exuded the confidence of a man whose mind was made up, perhaps even indifferent to considering the consequences were he judging the situation incorrectly.”When Obama announced in 2011 that U.S. troops were being withdrawn from Iraq, his assertion that “we’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq” rankled his military commander for the region. “The words ‘sovereign, stable and self-reliant’ had never been used by the Pentagon or the State Department,” Mattis writes, “and I had never seen them in any intelligence report.” Rhetoric, he concludes acidly, “doesn’t end conflicts.”Obama’s efforts to end the U.S. fighting in Afghanistan fare no better in Mattis’ account. He notes that while Obama had “however reluctantly” sent an additional 30,000 U.S. forces there in 2010, the president had also promised those troops would begin to come home after 18 months. “My thought was that ‘exiting’ a war was a by-product of winning that war,” Mattis writes. “Unless you want to lose, you don’t tell an enemy when you are done fighting, and you don’t set an exit unrelated to the situation on the ground.”Things went downhill from there. At a 2011 meeting with then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s Defense Policy Board, former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger asks Mattis what the larger strategy is behind the Pentagon’s force deployments. “I don’t know what our integrated strategy is,” Mattis recalls responding, “or specifically what it is for my region.” That earned him a chewing out from a “high-ranking DOD official.” Mattis says he ignored the scolding. “It had become too clear that I was supposed to sit quietly in the back of the bus as it careened off a strategic cliff.”Mattis also clashed with the Obama administration over its insistence on wanting “human rights to be the singular criterion for our foreign policy,” a stance that put Washington at odds with nations Mattis considered key allies, among them Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. “The Arab monarchies and strongman leaders were not reforming at the pace our human rights idealists insisted upon,” Mattis writes. “But those nations that had stood by us after 9/11 had records far better than those of hostile, oppressive regimes like Iran and Syria.”It was Mattis’ enduring enmity toward Iran that abruptly ended his tenure as CENTCOM commander. He criticizes the Obama administration’s failure to respond more forcefully to a 2011 failed plot to bomb a Georgetown restaurant where Saudi Arabia’s ambassador would be dining. While Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, publicly pointed at Iran’s Quds force as being behind the plot, “we treated an act of war as a law enforcement violation,” Mattis fumes, “jailing the low-level courier.”Late in 2012, Mattis writes, “I received an unauthorized phone call telling me in an hour, the Pentagon would be announcing my relief.” He did not go gladly. “I was leaving a region aflame and in disarray,” he writes. “The lack of an integrated regional strategy has left us adrift, and our friends confused.”We will possibly have to wait for another administration before learning Mattis’ thoughts about his 23 months as Trump’s defense secretary. But he lets some of those views slip toward the end of his book. “Nations with allies thrive, and those without wither,” he writes. “A polemicist’s role is not sufficient for a leader; strategic acumen must incorporate a fundamental respect for other nations that have stood with us as trouble loomed.”A parting shot? Perhaps. Mattis clearly has another book to write that many will be eager to read.Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit NPR. In Book, Former Defense Chief Mattis Sideswipes President… by NPR News David Welna 8.28.19 1:55pm It’s been eight months since President Donald Trump’s first secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, handed in his resignation.Now the retired four-star general has written his first book, co-authored by former Marine Bing West. Spoiler alert: Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead is not, as the title might suggest, a tell-all exposé of Mattis’ tense tenure at the helm of the Pentagon with Trump as commander in chief.”I’m old fashioned,” Mattis writes. “I don’t write about sitting presidents.”Mattis mentions Trump by name only four times, all in the prologue’s first two pages — each instance taking place prior to the president’s taking office. That said, he does imply criticism, without directly taking shots.”All Americans need to recognize that our democracy is an experiment and one that can be reversed,” Mattis writes. “We all know that we are better than our current politics.”Mattis’ maddening refusal to offer direct thoughts about Trump does not apply to past commanders in chief. His war stories — from liberating Kuwait to invading Afghanistan to battling insurgents in Iraq — are also a refighting of old battles with officers and others whose wartime guidance he portrays as deferring more to presidential whims than to theater-of-war realities.Enjoying his perch as a visiting scholar at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, Mattis never expected Trump to offer him the Pentagon’s top job. “I figured that my strong support of NATO and my dismissal of the use of torture on prisoners would have the President-elect looking for another candidate,” he writes. But when Trump, who had never met Mattis before interviewing him for the job, called him “the real deal” and asked that he join his Cabinet, the self-described political independent agreed on the spot. “In my view, when the President asks you to do something, you don’t play Hamlet on the wall, wringing your hands.”Trump may have believed he was hiring a latter-day Gen. George C. Patton, a made-for-TV war hero the president-elect would repeatedly refer to as “Mad Dog.” (That moniker, which Mattis abhors, goes unmentioned in his book.) Instead, what Trump got was the seasoned, well-read and thoughtful warrior-scholar who penned this memoir, the only Cabinet member who failed to laud his boss in front of TV cameras at the president’s first full staff meeting.”I did as well as I could for as long as I could,” Mattis writes. He left about halfway into what he expected to be a four-year tenure. “When my concrete solutions and strategic advice, especially keeping faith with allies, no longer resonated, it was time to resign, despite the limitless joy I felt serving alongside our troops in defense of our Constitution.”Mattis informs us this book has been in the works since he previously parted ways with his former commander in chief, Barack Obama. In that episode, he was fired in late 2012 as head of the U.S. Central Command.Call Sign Chaos is ostensibly part of the well-trodden genre of leaders keen to share their insights on what it takes to lead. “My purpose in writing this book, is to convey the lessons I learned for those who might benefit, whether in the military or in civilian life,” Mattis writes.And the book, indeed, is chockablock with insights and aphorisms about what it takes to be a good leader. It begins with a death-scraping tumble down a steep, icy ridge in Mattis’ home state of Washington when he was 20. Alone and badly battered, he refused a stranger’s offer for a lift home, opting instead to camp by himself for a couple of days and nurse his wounds. That fall, and his proud insistence on recovering alone, would be, as he writes, “a metaphor for my subsequent career in the Marines: You make mistakes, or life knocks you down; either way, you get up and get on with it. You deal with life. You don’t whine about it.”Or perhaps you write about it. Chapter by chapter, Mattis takes us through a steady rise through the ranks of the U.S. Marine Corps, an ascent he self-deprecatingly finds inexplicable. “Every time I made a mistake — and I made many,” he writes, “the Marines promoted me.” Mattis tells us very little about his personal life. There is nary a word, for example, about this lifelong bachelor’s broken engagement to a woman who could not countenance a life of constant relocations with a man dedicated to an often lethal job. He does disclose that as a “mediocre student with a partying attitude” at Central Washington State College in 1968, he served time in a local jail on weekends as punishment for underage drinking. There he met another inmate:last_img read more

Art celebrates the 70mm

first_imgA hauntingly intense photograph of actress Madhubala along with equally beautiful vintage portraits of Bollywood icons like Dev Ananad, Nargis, Pran and others are available at the United Art Fair (UAF) here.At the second edition of the Fair, which opened to a VIP preview here on 14 September, there is a good dose of tinsel town magic with artists and photographers finding their muse in the country’s film industry.Wearing a polka dot top and a half eaten apple in one hand, a photograph of actress Nutan staring at the camera with an open faced grin, has been priced at Rs 1 lakh, in the constellation of timeless photographs clicked by the late Jethalal H Thakker. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Thakker, came from Karachi after Partition and set up the India Photo Studio in Mumbai, which soon became a favourite amongst movie stars for Thakker’s ‘beautifully lit portraits which were intensely moody.’  ‘The stars would come and hang out in the studio and try out costumes and props which were not related to any movie.These collaborations between the photographer and the stars resulted in stunning images of the Bombay screen legends, which are also a terrific body of work exemplifying the grand studio-portrait style of the time,’ says Ram Rahman, one of the five curators of the UAF. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe limited edition archival photoprints in chiaroscurist lighting by Thakker are priced at Rs 1,00,000 each.In another section of the fair an entire wall is covered with still photographs of the ‘travelling truck cinemas’ found mostly in the rural areas of the country. The photographs clicked by filmmaker Dev Benegal, is part of research for his film Road that starred Abhay Deol and premiered at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival.Modified trucks that house cinema projectors and serves as a projection room often set up make-shift theatres in villages. Bengal travelled for a year with a transient cinema troupe that showcased different films in rural Rajasthan villages. Through a total of nine photographs, Benegal represents photography as a still film with titles like ‘A Family decades’ and ‘Into the night’ has been priced at Rs 60,000 each.Among a little over 300 artists, mostly young artists being showcased at the United Art Fair which features over 2500 works of art is young Delhi-based graphic designer Nikki Duggal.Nikki, whose narratives with themes include Bollywood films is showcasing her hand-screen prints on film posters featuring various screen villains.‘Am used to making narratives resonating themes such as Bollywood films resonating film posters but making them precious by using hand-screen printing techniques,’ says Nikki ‘The choice of villains is in itself reflective of India’s relationship with moving images.. the villains are equally feared on screen an adored off screen,’ describes the artist.Her screen-prints of posters like Sholay are priced between Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000.Spread over four halls at the Pragati Maidan, the art extravaganza has been put together by 6-member curatorial team helmed by gallerist and art collector Peter Nagy and comprises photographer and artist Ram Rahman, art critic Alka Pande along with Heidi Fichtner, Mayank Kaul and Meera Menezes. ptilast_img read more