Recommended Reading (2010-11-14)

A member of the New York Institute of Technology R.O.T.C. pauses during the New York City Veterans Day Parade on November 11th, 2010.

This tool is just awesome. Using a combination of immediate troop reductions in Iraq and Afghanistan (to 30,000 by 2013), drawdowns in Asia and Europe, reduced spending on nuclear weapons, returning most taxes to Clinton-era levels, increasing Medicare and retirement ages to 68, and the elimination of farm subsidies, I managed to balance the budget not just by 2030, but by 2013, with a healthy surplus of $200 billion. And we get to keep the Navy and the Air Force (via Lawyers, Guns & Money).

– Starbuck explains the little differences in transitioning from the UH-60 Black Hawk to the LUH-72A Lakota (the Eurocopter).

– Transport for London rolls out a life-size mockup of the new bus replacements. They look gorgeous, much more like the old Routemasters. Hop-on/hop-off. A window for the stairs. And the No. 23 was my bus in London.

– Philip Kennicott examines options for securing the Washington Monument (via Schneier).

– Apparently J.R.R. Tolkien and Salvador Dali were both “anarcho-monarchists.” Perhaps that is the ideal form of government:

Tragically—tragically—we can remove one politician only by replacing him or her with another. And then, of course, our choices are excruciatingly circumscribed, since the whole process is dominated by two large and self-interested political conglomerates that are far better at gaining power than at exercising it wisely…

Yet our system obliges us to elevate to office precisely those persons who have the ego-besotted effrontery to ask us to do so; it is rather like being compelled to cede the steering wheel to the drunkard in the back seat loudly proclaiming that he knows how to get us there in half the time.

– Military history is not dead yet. In fact, it’s getting better.

– Purdue University offers an earth-smashing simulator. It’s not as detailed as I’d like – way lacking in the visual devastation effects department – but reveals interesting results nonetheless (via Discoblog).

And from the past week at Automatic Ballpoint:

Before France entered into its own relation spéciale, Britain and America used to play nice with each other’s atomic weapons. President Obama drops a bombshell of his own on his passage to India.

People are living beneath Las Vegas. The TSA has ruined all air travel. How can one remain optimistic in the face of so much bullshit?

We remember what was fought for. And we’re sorry it turned out to be for this.