Monday, February 28, 2011

, , , , , ,


The credit for the invention of the number Zero goes to Indian mathematicians as early as 5th century, who used it widely in calculations, astronomy and astrology. Zero was spread by Arabians to the Europe and there on it was spread all over. Before this, all Europeans used roman numerical which were difficult to calculate on as they were in the form of Symbols, lengthy and had limits. The number Zero first appears in a book about ‘Arithmetic’ written by the ancient Indian mathematician Brahamagupta. The Zero signifies "nothing"; the current definition of the Zero identifies it as an "additive identity".

Mathematically; X + Zero = X

ergo: Zero is a number which, when added to another number, yields that same number.

When we go deeper, it becomes clearer that the things are much more complex. It wasn’t that somebody suddenly came up with the idea of the zero and the mathematicians throughout the world accepted it. Around 500 AD, Aryabhata, an Indian mathematician, devised a numbers system and the symbol he used for the number zero was also the number used to represent an unknown element (x). This system was confusing but the improvements continued and by 876 AD, the concept of zero was mostly understood and the symbol for it was ascertained.

The Indian mathematicians Bhaskara, Mahavira and Brahamagupta worked on this new number and they tried to explain its properties. Some were true and some were not.

For example, Bhaskara correctly that stated:

0 x 2 = 0


? x 0 = 0

but he was wrong to have supposed that n/0 = ?. If n/0 = ? were to be true there would arise results which don’t make sense. One of them was 1 = 2 = 3 . . .

The reason of this was that the Indian mathematicians could not conclude that no number could be divided by zero. The Maya people in present day Mexico knew and understood the concept of zero but because they were so much disconnected with the rest of the world civilizations, it had little impact on the rest of the world.

The concept of the Zero played a major role in seeing the growth of higher mathematics which was a major step in the history of Mankind. The Zero is also a synonym of the word "none". Although there are many stories that surround the invention of the Zero, studies show that the Zero was independently invented by a group of people from the Mayan civilization. At that time, the decimal system was in use just as it is today only that a space was left to indicate a zero up until the third century BC. There is also a claim that tracks the invention of zero back to 300 B.C in Babylon. All these inventions were independently made, and were not connected.

The ZERO is something beyond numbers or anything Mathematical.

The Hindu Vedas - the primary texts of Hinduism - and the Bhagavadgita - the battlefield conversations of Sri Krishna to Arjuna during the Kurukshetra War - you will know what is Zero and its significance.


* Shoonya means everything in this universe is 0, at a given point of time.

* ZERO was the one which paved way for the scientists to think as "what is further".

* ZERO indicates that the whole UNIVERSE is Zero when you understand life.

It is never ending because, as the Hindu culture from which it is derived, it is massive, dynamic & beyond all knowledge, wisdom & understanding.

Tuesday Bird is HERE

Sunday, February 27, 2011

, , , , ,


A daring rescue operation by Special Forces flew scores of British citizens out of Libya last night as the net closed in on Col Muammar Gaddafi.

A more descriptive headline might read:

"Special Operations Forces Swoop on Libya . . ."

This was a daring operation that no doubt involved a LOT of risk taking on behalf of British Special Air Service soldiers, but a thing like this is actually a combined arms operations involving all services, most especially logistical personnel.

Phases of an operation like this include issuing warning orders to the ground operators (SAS) as well as the air arm involved (RAF and RN); planning; reconnaissance; infiltration of the main body; actions on the objective; consolidation and preparation for exfil; exfiltration. Intelligence gathering and operational security (OPSEC) would be involved throughout each phase of the operation.

An advanced recon element would be launched - given present circumstances they may have inserted by air - either civilian air transport, helicopter or High-Altitude-Low-Opening parachute (HALO); personally I would prefer MH-47 Chinook because I can get a fully-loaded vehicle on board - you can't get very far in the desert without a truck. Presumably they had some stay-behind personnel from the embassy who could coordinate a lot of the above.

Of course all of the above is contingent upon a forward staging area and launch site - this has to be selected and coordinated with host country - in this case (presumably) the former British colony of Malta. At the same time the forward element is being launched, the main body is being assembled; equipment, aircraft and vehicles prepared; medical and life support supplies collected, and phases of movement coordinated - home station to forward operating base (Malta) to Libya and return. Fuel has to be coordinated and paid for to cover each leg of the operation.

Preparations have to be made for reception of the British refugees once they arrive in Malta; temporary accommodations (aircraft hangers, large tents, cots, toilets, showers, medical facilities, etc.). Feeding will probably be accomplished via takeout from local restaurants or airport caterers.

Meanwhile tasks for the advance (recon) party would include locating all potential evacuees and informing them where and when to assemble; locating and surveying suitable landing zone for the C-130 Hercules aircraft (primary, alternate & contingent); possibly acquiring ground transport for the evacuees; reconnaissance and security tasks while awaiting the arrival of the main body to include a steady stream of situation reports (SITREPS) from the ground, via encrypted satcom.

Last but not least all of the above involves an incredible amount of headquarters staff personnel to plan and coordinate, cut movement orders, and communicate, communicate, communicate . . .

There are very few militaries in the world capable of pulling off such a contingency operation - this time the UK shows us how it's done.

"Amateurs study strategy, professionals study logistics" - General of the Army Omar Bradley






OK let's take it from the top:

1) Unstable firing position = zero control of rounds impact downrange.

2) Firing 180 rounds on full auto is going to wear your bore out . . . make it look like YOUR backdoor after your first night in prison . . .

3) Now your forearm grips are on fire - congratulations Genius you just destroyed a perfectly good full-auto assault rifle . . .

4) On top of all that you're a member of the Hats-on-Backward Brigade . . . go away and come back when you're mature enough to wear your hat on the right way. In the meantime, perhaps you should seek a professional for some real combat military marksmanship techniques.

Today's Bird HERE


Saturday, February 26, 2011

, , , , , , , , , , ,


Mercenaries are in the headlines again, this week in the madness and insanity that is Qaddafi's Libya. My initial thoughts when I first saw this was that the North African Nutjob had a cadre of Eastern European professional soldiers as a sort of Varangian Guard, but as it turns out Qaddafi's personal foreign legion are basically a pack of thugs from Zimbabwe:

Tooling around in Tobruk, looking for some ass to kick.

Suspected African mercenaries stand in a room in a court in Benghazi as they are held by anti-Qaddafi protesters, February 24, 2011

If these guys are anything like any and every African soldier I ever trained, worked with or encountered on the battlefield; they've all got malaria, half of them can't read or write, and their only understanding of the Law of Land Warfare is that they're breaking every law in the book. No matter how hard you train them, in contact they revert to the "spray-and-pray" school of gunfighting and the safest place to be when they're shooting at you is right out in the middle of the street because they can't hit the broad side of a barn from the inside.

A dead Zimbabwean, formerly in the hire of Muammar Qaddafi

These are heathen savages, capable of the most horrific atrocities. To call them barbarians is an insult to all barbarians everywhere and the only thing professional about Qaddafi's mercenaries is the fact that they've been doing what they're doing for a prerequisite period of time. Their knowledge of tactics or gunnery starts at the buttstock of their Kalishnikov and ends at the business end.

Amongst Africans, the term "mercenaries" has mystic, almost supernatural connotations.

Despite the public's fascination with the subject, there's a lot of misunderstanding about the term "mercenary". Most people consider a mercenary to be a soldier that serves merely for wages. According to this broad definition, practically every member of every standing, professional army in the world is a mercenary - and I've actually heard American soldiers referred to in this vein.

A more selective definition is found in Webster’s Dictionary: "a mercenary is a soldier hired into foreign service serving merely for pay or sordid advantage." According to this criteria, every foreign national serving in the U.S. military - including yours truly - is a mercenary.

According to the definitions found within the Hague and Geneva Conventions; a mercenary is a professional soldier hired by a foreign army, as opposed to a soldier enlisted in the armed forces of the sovereign state of which he is a citizen, and is "motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the Armed Forces of that Party" (Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Convention of August 1949).

Non-conscript professional members of a regular army are not considered mercenaries even though they get remuneration for their service. Under this definition, even members of the French Foreign Legion and the Gurkha Regiment are technically not mercenaries under the Laws of Land Warfare, even though they meet many of the requirements of Article 47 of the 1949 Additional Protocol I; they are exempt under clauses 47(a)(c)(d)(e)&(f). Journalists tend to describe these soldiers as mercenaries regardless.

There ARE mercenaries out there; I have known a few. Adventurers, guns-for-hire, some of them I even consider professional counterparts, but more often than not their activities are of questionable legal or ethical nature. I myself have been called a mercenary but this is a stretch; I retired honorably from the military, and I work in the security profession. I am certainly not a criminal, and there are some things that I simply will not do for pay.

The notorious Thahan Phran (ทหารพราน; literally "Hunter Soldiers") - an irregular light infantry force which patrols the borders of Thailand - are considered mercenaries, although they are technically part of the Royal Thai Army, and they certainly are not foreigners.

Thai Tahan Prahn soldier on security perimeter.

The private security contractors in the hire of the U.S. Department of Defense or State Department are not mercenaries; they are technically no different than the private security manning the gates at U.S. government facilities throughout the United States - they not mercenaries anymore so than postal inspectors are Federal Law Enforcement.

On the other hand, Qaddafi's goons ARE mercenaries, although I consider them professionals only in that they serve for pay. And in light of the way these brigands are conducting themselves, they are not soldiers any more than the Khmer Rouge or Hitler's SS were; "uniformed organized crime" is how I refer to this kind of scum.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . SEAN LINNANE SENDS

, , ,


Tom Jones is a Charter Member of the Manliness Hall of Fame . . .

. . . trained by Elvis, a tradition of his show was the women in the audience THROWING THEIR PANTIES AND THEIR HOTEL ROOM KEYS AT HIM.

Saturday Bird HERE


Thursday, February 24, 2011

, , , , , ,


This took place in 2000, the last year of the twentieth century; the last year of our child-like naïveté - the year before the buildings came down. A tasking came down and somebody up at battalion said "Linnane is the guy for this!" and that's how I ended up doing the better part of a year living large and in charge out in the Middle of Nowhere:

" . . . . I wanted a mission, and for my sins, they gave me one. Brought it up to me like room service. It was a real choice mission, and when it was over, I'd never want another . . ."

My mission statement said something about patrols, so I took it to heart and I started going deep into the interior for a week at a time. I kept a patrol log, sent in coordinates of features not on the map; wells, oasis, cleared areas suitable to land fixed-wing aircraft. I always took a local with me - this turned out to be good planning on more than one occasion.

On this particular occasion I was in Choum, headed north to F'derik. We waited in Choum during the hottest time of the day. There was a whitewashed mud hut - it was a sort of caravanserai; the only furniture was Moroccan carpets. Everybody lounged around, sat with their backs up against the wall, and passed around this wooden bowl full of camel milk yoghurt, which isn't bad; it's the thick black line of flies all along the rim that are the bad part.

When it cooled off to a bearable 95°F everybody went outside to the trucks - a caravan had assembled - and made ready to make movement. You travel at night in the desert, part of the reason is it gets so hot in the middle of the day, the tires pop. One day I had to fix five flats - and that included breaking the tire off the rim, pulling the tube out and patching it, then putting the tire back on the rim and pumping it up - by hand - popping the bead and all - in the middle of the Sahara Desert in the middle of the day.

Anyway we were rolling across the desert track - there aren't any roads out there; it's all track - all these trucks full of Moors all over the place, it looked like a North African re-make of The Road Warrior.

The trick is to stay on track. The other trick is to constantly be checking your navigation. I was doing the dead reckoning thing and keeping an eye on the stars just to be sure we were heading in the right direction, but I wasn't too worried about it because everybody knows the Arabs have this uncanny sense of direction, right? It's like they always know where Mecca is, right?

WRONG. Turns out I was the only one doing any kind of nav checks out there. Around about the time I noticed we'd made a big circle about twice I called a halt to the Great Migration. Everybody dismounted and that was a LOT of everybody - there were at least twenty trucks in our convoy and each truck held between ten to thirty Moors. The leaders all assembled and I said in a mixture of French and bad Arabic, "Look, we've lost the track and we're going in circles."

What I picked up from them as they mumbled amongst themselves was, "This guy is the weirdest Frenchman ever been around these parts," and "He isn't French, can't you tell he's Egyptian?" That's the kind of Arabic they teach at Fort Bragg.

I said, "This is my good idea - let's just stop here and rest for a couple hours." It was already 0230. "Then when the wolf's tail comes" - the early, early morning pre-light just before dawn - "then we'll go on the track again, and this time we'll be able to see it, and we'll be in F'derik before it gets hot."

Everybody agreed to this, then split up to report back to their individual crowds. I pulled out my trusty poncho liner and threw my bag up against the tire of my truck and leaned against it, pulled the poncho around me to help beat the wind and try to get some shuteye. All around me there were clusters of people, making tea, having conversations, a group of them would get together and do a sort of line dance where they were all doing their prayers - "Allah-wuh-Allah-wuh-ak-b-a-a-a-r . . ."

It was like the Tribes of Israel in the Wilderness; there were hundreds of people all around me, huddled in little clusters all about me in the darkness, and it was dark as Sin. Suddenly it occurred to me that NOBODY KNEW WHERE I WAS; not the embassy, not the guys up at SOCEUR in Stuttgart or back at Bragg, none of my friends, my family . . .

. . . NOBODY . . .

I was out there - WAY out there - my life was in the hands of these strangers who were all around me . . . and not a SOUL I knew had any idea where on Earth was Sean Linnane.

If a snake had bitten me, I'd have been done.

I looked up at those stars - in the desert night the stars look like diamonds on black velvet - then the vast solitude of it all, and the reality of my situation - it all hit me all at once: my home & my people might as well be way out there beyond those stars, and I started feeling . . . SO . . . . . . ALONE . . .

The sensation of being out there - all by myself - surrounded by strange strangers . . . Stranger in a Strange Land . . . I felt SO . . . ALONE . . .

. . . I never felt . . . SO . . . LONELY . . . IN . . . ALL . . . MY . . . LIFE . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . SEAN LINNANE SENDS

Friday Bird HERE