Daily Archives: December 15, 2009

I, for one, welcome our new cephalopod overlords

Octopi have now joined the exclusive club of  ‘tool using animals’.  Particularly interesting since they don’t use it for food procurement like most others in the club but for shelter.

h/t Boingboing

Winning the war one happy ending at a time

Really, one doesn’t know where to begin with this story.

A Swedish army gender adviser in Afghanistan has taken the Armed Forces to task for only employing local men to perform massages on troops stationed in Mazar-E-Sharif.

I truly understand how important it is to be as comfortable as possible when you’re deployed far from home in a hostile environment (Hey, I’ve been to Texas) but really, massages?  And no offense to the fine men of Afghanistan (I made a number of friends there) but I can say with a high degree of confidence that I never met one that I would have wanted to give me a massage.  Apart from that, however, just think of the optics.  Isn’t there already an impression that we’re decadent Westerners looking to corrupt the salt-of-the-earth Afghans (and others)?  Do we really need to add fuel to the fire by hiring masseuses?

…Gender Field Adviser Captain Krister Fahlstedt of Afghanistan force FS17 took exception to an army contract specifying that on-base massage services should be provided exclusively by men.

Yeah, the only thing that could make this story better is the help wanted ad asking for Afghan women to come to the local military base where they could rub down Western soldiers for money.  I’m sure that won’t get lost in translation, even assuming this doesn’t turn into some sort of hanky-panky hotel (and there’s plenty of precedent for that sort of activity).

So they have ‘Gender Field Advisers’ (please tell me that’s an additional duty and not a full time assignment) to weigh in on who should be massaging soldiers in a war zone (correct answer:   no one) in the name of gender equality and meanwhile, the Swedish military is unable to properly equip its female soldiers:

Despite the fact that they’ve been part of the Swedish Armed Forces for decades, female soldiers still have no choice but to don men’s underwear or risk the perils of combat in flammable civilian bras and panties.

“Nothing has been designed with women in mind. All the sizes are too big: from boots, protective vests and shirts to the shoulder straps on our AK5 assault rifles.”