WWII – not the History Channel version

For a long time, watching the History Channel representing WWII as being all about the war in the Pacific and the Normandy invasion, I had the impression that all American historians are either idiots or liars, who for some reason ignore the largest part of the war. And yet, there were individual battles on the Soviet front, larger, in terms of troops and equipment involved, than the entire war in the Pacific and Normandy invasion combined.

Happy to see I was wrong – one of my favorite history podcasters, Dan Carlin, has a 4-part podcast, that I can’t recommend highly enough. If you’re into military history, listen: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. And in the show notes Dan has references to dozens of history books that present the true scale of that war. So, they do exist.

It seems that while the view on the scale of operations, and on who bore the main burden of that war, during and immediately after the war was fairly unbiased, during the Cold War there was a definite tendency to downplay the role of the Soviet Union in achieving the victory.

Not surprisingly, on the Soviet side there was a similar tendency to downplay the role of England,  and the U.S., both in active fighting and in support of Soviet war effort with equipment and supplies.

Why do the same stereotypes continue on TV, almost two decades after the end of Cold War? You tell me.

Published in: on February 19, 2010 at 4:00 am  Comments (5)  

English well speeched

Long time ago I had the pleasure of reading this book, and it moved me to collecting language mistakes.

Here’s what I found in LinkedIn today:


“Seeking Work Outside Ukraine For Professional Ukrainians”

During my career I have been a professional interpreter, educator, software developer, system administrator, enterprise architect, manager, etc. But one thing I have never been is a professional Ukrainian. Nor have I ever met one. What kind of professional occupation is a Ukrainian, does anyone know?

Ukrainian Professional. Professional Ukrainian. Seemingly small mistake  in ordering words, good for hours of fun and enjoyment.

Published in: on February 17, 2010 at 1:07 am  Leave a Comment  

Three things I like about you

Got a nice meme from Etat, according to whom the nice things about me are that I am a snowball in hell gun nut in California, engaging in a useless outdated hobby, and using very laconic sentences to write about both. Well, not in the same exact words 🙂

Please join the meme. Here’s how it works:

  1. You comment on this post
  2. I respond with three things about you that I like
  3. You copy this meme into your blog
Published in: on February 15, 2010 at 11:36 pm  Comments (3)  

Can’t invent things like this

No matter how good our jokes are, government realities will always be funnier:

Global Warming hearings are postponed due to heavy snowfall

H/T to Tam and Newbius

Published in: on February 10, 2010 at 5:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Rascals vs Scoundrels

Given that rather large number of my colleagues share common background with me, there’s lots of talk at the office about recent elections. My attitude to both these and previous elections in Ukraine is best expressed by Igor Guberman, who called politics a “fight of rascals vs scoundrels” (my humble translation doesn’t do the phrase “борьба мерзавцев с негодяями” full justice).

I think the best candidate for Ukrainian Presidency would actually be … Obama. He would cause a lot less damage there, and here’s why:

  • Bailout of the auto industry – since Ukraine has no auto industry that deserves mention, this won’t be necessary.
  • World apology tour – I guess, if he went to Poland and Israel to apologize for Khmelnitsky, to Turkey – for Zaporozhian Cossacks, and to Russia – for giving them Khrushchev and Brezhnev, it wouldn’t make the situation any worse.
  • Health care nationalization – well, that’s already done. And if would be subjected to that health care, he might learn a few things.
  • School visits with teleprompter – that will be a good thing, let school kids see the latest in equipment (yes, I know he used the equipment to talk to journalists, not to kids, that’s not the point).

How about it, Ukraine? Deal?

Published in: on February 9, 2010 at 8:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Global Warming strikes again

Apparently, there was some more Global Warming on the East Coast this past weekend. I haven’t seen any statements on why this also would be a fault of previous administration, which seems a bit unusual

Published in: on February 8, 2010 at 7:28 pm  Comments (2)  

Statistics, and other lies

Bob S has a great post on crime statistics, and on what appears to be falsification of those statistics by Dallas PD, and by one of Brooklyn precincts. In Dallas, apparently, some aggravated assaults are reported as lesser offenses, and in Brooklyn, there were reported cases of classifying felonies as misdemeanors and refusing to take complaints from victims.

Doesn’t surprise me one bit. If anything, I’m surprised that we don’t see more news like this from other PDs. I don’t think that this is some sort of  conspiracy to make gun laws (or some other laws) look good or bad. This seems to be a classic sign of a management problem:

As soon as any statistic starts getting used to measure people’s or department’s efficiency, and especially if it affects salaries or public image, some people will focus less on doing their job, and more on “gaming” the statistic. And, of course, reliability of said statistic starts circling the drain. Compensating for this is not an easy task. Basically, whoever is managing by statistics, has to identify the bad behaviors, add statistics that measure them, and replace the original statistic, as a performance measurement instrument, with an index that combines the original statistic and the additional statistics that measure the bad behaviors. This can become very complex.

Apparently some PDs either don’t understand this, or choose to ignore it.

Published in: on February 4, 2010 at 5:49 pm  Leave a Comment