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WhiteGhost

WhiteGhost wants to VJ

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11 hours ago, scalyfreak said:

I apologize to @WhiteGhost for allowing my inner history nerd to take over his challenge thread. :)

No worries :)  Military tactics and strategy is totally my jam so I am thoroughly enjoying this conversation

 

13 hours ago, scalyfreak said:

Details behind the spoiler in a wall of text that grew big enough to justify the spoiler. :)

All of that was very interesting and not wrong, just completely irrelevant.  Border walls cannot be sieged because there is no way to stop resupply from reaching the defenders.  Walls surrounding a fortification may benefit from higher walls (or they may not).  There are three key principles that come into play here.  You touched on the first one here:

 

11 hours ago, scalyfreak said:

the smaller the area the wall defends is, the more effective it will be.

This is the principle of efficiency of resource allocation

 

The longer a wall is, the number of people you will need to defend it increases exponentially because of the inefficiency of moving resources along it.  Therefore, in order for the wall to effective with less resources to defend it, the wall itself needs to be increasingly harder to breach.  Every well built fortress had multiple layers of defense so that if the first was breached, they would have additional defenses.  Even if they lost half of their fighting force, they remaining soldiers could effectively defend an inner keep because it required few people to defend it. However, no one just assumed that one wall would be sufficient, no matter how tall it was, and for good reason.  One single wall, no matter how tall or well defended would be considered sufficient for a fortress, and they are far more easy to defend than a long* border wall

 

* The Great Wall is more then 21,000 km long!!!

 

Law of diminishing returns

 

At a certain point, the higher the wall gets, the less benefit you will get from each additional inch.  A person who can get over a 100ft wall can most likely get over a 500ft wall.  The extra 400ft added to the wall then becomes meaningless.  In flat terrain, the point at which the law of diminishing returns kicks in is the height just above which a siege engine would be able to reach.  Because there is no limit to the height one can theoretically build a siege engine, in theory the height of a wall could be a major factor assuming the right terrain (flat, solid ground, clear avenues of approach, etc.).  In this particular case, though, the wall was built along ridgelines, which makes the use of siege engines all but impossible.  In this case, the law of diminishing returns kicks in at the height a ladder** would be able to reach.  Given that steel extension ladders had not been invented yet, the typical height that would be sufficient to avoid wooden ladders built out of the type of tree growing in that region would be approximately how high the wall was actually built.  I doubt this was a coincidence.

 

** grappling hooks and ropes could get higher in theory, but in reality the number of soldiers who could climb a rope in full armour (after having just climbed a very large hill) and still have the strength to fight at the top would most likely be insufficient to overcome a fully defended position.  

 

The third and most important principle is any defensive position is only as strong as its weakest point

 

This goes along with the law of diminishing returns and efficiency of resource allocation.  At some point, the wall will become high enough that it becomes more of deterrent that some other approach.  For some fortresses, they have few other weaknesses and so increasing the height of the wall makes sense.  In other fortresses, it wouldn't make a large difference because the enemy would just attack a weaker point. 

 

For the Great Wall, the gates were a much bigger weakness than the height of the wall.  Even if the wall had been built 900ft high and fully manned, it would still have been breached in the same manner it was when the Manchurians came through.  Because the wall acted as a border, it needed to have multiple entries and exits and when the invading army came through, they just smashed through one of the gates and came through.  The height of the wall was was already sufficient to redirect the attackers strategy.

 

Border walls as a defensive measure has been thoroughly debunked by military strategists and not because of the height.  No country has ever looked at the China model and thought "Yeah, that's what we need, just taller".  They are just not defend-able against large scale assaults, compared to the cost and resources required. Even the Chinese, when later dynasties decided they wanted to strengthen the wall, did not try to increase the height but decided to focus on length instead, because that was considered the bigger weakness that needed to be shored up.

 

12 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

I just want to throw gasoline on the fire and watch the discussion unfurl.

Haha, why am I not surprised :P 

 

11 hours ago, NicTheRugger said:

Somehow, I thought I had followed your challenge earlier but apparently did not! Even though we're near the end of the challenge, I'm following along for the last few days. Your goals are great, and I'm super impressed with your photos! I've always wanted to see the Great Wall in person. It looks amazing. That traffic though...

Hi, happy to have you along, but since I am off exercising due to my shoulder, you are going to be stuck reading nothing but random tangents like military strategy :D 

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1 hour ago, WhiteGhost said:

No worries :)  Military tactics and strategy is totally my jam so I am thoroughly enjoying this conversation

 

I think I am one of the few Europeans that enjoy talks about military strategy and guns

without being one of those weird kids I know that are obsessed with getting into the army :p

I might be wrong of course and just suffer lack of exposure haha.

 

In any case, carry on! :D 

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My interest in history is driven almost entirely by the people involved. Military tactics and strategy are fascinating to me because of what they imply about the people who invented and implemented them, not necessarily because of how effective they were. Politics changed as a result of impenetrable castle walls, who in turn came into existence because politics had changed... battle field tactics were influenced by who the soldiers were - local militia, or highly trained knights with the most advanced equipment available to  them?

 

The Roman army was famous for their shield walls, and their javelins, and the way their heavy armor and (for its time) unparalleled training regime allowed them to just steam roll over anyone who tried to stand in their way. This made them predictable and thus vulnerable to creative tactics, which in turn made Hannibal II of Carthage famous enough that Game of Thrones shamelessly plagiarized his victory at the Battle of Cannae for the Battle of the Bastards. What keeps me up reading about these things until early in the mornings is curiosity about the mindset of the Roman army generals and strategists. Depending on how you interpret their way of thinking, you can argue that with the way the world around Rome changed and evolved to adjust for their presence, while the Romans had no need to do so, as long as what they were doing continued to work, what happened at Cannae was inevitable.

 

If not Hannibal, someone else would have done something similar to the invincible Imperial legions, it was just a matter of time. The mindset and beliefs behind the strategic decisions before Cannae also explain why Rome retaliated as brutally as they did... they over-reacted because their view of themselves as the biggest military badasses as in the world had been destroyed, which caused them to freak out and consequently to lash out at Carthage.

 

 

11 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

This goes along with the law of diminishing returns and efficiency of resource allocation.  At some point, the wall will become high enough that it becomes more of deterrent that some other approach.  For some fortresses, they have few other weaknesses and so increasing the height of the wall makes sense.  In other fortresses, it wouldn't make a large difference because the enemy would just attack a weaker point. 

 

This is why, although the height of the wall definitely matters, a taller wall isn't automatically better. An obvious example is a stone fortress/castle with two walls encircling it - if the outer wall is too tall, it makes it harder for the defenders on the inner wall to see what is going on, not to mention they like being able to shoot over the defenders on the outer wall.

 

That said, there is a reason there are only two famous border walls in the history of Western and Eastern civilization - they're not effective enough to be worth the cost of building and maintaining them.

 

11 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

For the Great Wall, the gates were a much bigger weakness than the height of the wall.  Even if the wall had been built 900ft high and fully manned, it would still have been breached in the same manner it was when the Manchurians came through.  Because the wall acted as a border, it needed to have multiple entries and exits and when the invading army came through, they just smashed through one of the gates and came through.  The height of the wall was was already sufficient to redirect the attackers strategy.

 

Conveniently sending them straight to the wall's weak points - the gates. This seems like a design flaw. :huh:

 

This is also another drawback of a border wall compared to a castle. The latter can add a moat and a double portcullis, among other things, to mitigate the weakness of the gate.

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6 hours ago, scalyfreak said:

If not Hannibal, someone else would have done something similar to the invincible Imperial legions, it was just a matter of time. The mindset and beliefs behind the strategic decisions before Cannae also explain why Rome retaliated as brutally as they did... they over-reacted because their view of themselves as the biggest military badasses as in the world had been destroyed, which caused them to freak out and consequently to lash out at Carthage.

 

Cato the Elder after any speech on any subject:

 

"Moreover, I am of the opinion that Carthage ought to be destroyed"

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10 hours ago, scalyfreak said:

My interest in history is driven almost entirely by the people involved. Military tactics and strategy are fascinating to me because of what they imply about the people who invented and implemented them, not necessarily because of how effective they were. Politics changed as a result of impenetrable castle walls, who in turn came into existence because politics had changed... battle field tactics were influenced by who the soldiers were - local militia, or highly trained knights with the most advanced equipment available to  them?

Absolutely!  The human variable is what makes everything so interesting.  Brilliant (and/or lucky) commanders have shaped the battlefields that in turn shaped the world today.  

 

10 hours ago, scalyfreak said:

The Roman army was famous for their shield walls, and their javelins, and the way their heavy armor and (for its time) unparalleled training regime allowed them to just steam roll over anyone who tried to stand in their way. This made them predictable and thus vulnerable to creative tactics

This is still true today.  The events leading to Black Hawk Down came into place for almost the exact same reasons.  The US Rangers had optimized their snatch & grab tactics to be incredibly efficient, but this led to them being very predictable.  That the Rangers didn't get completely massacred is considered by military historians to be an amazing tactical victory (even though it was presented in the media as a devastating loss)

 

10 hours ago, scalyfreak said:

If not Hannibal, someone else would have done something similar to the invincible Imperial legions, it was just a matter of time.

This is very true.  And still holds true for today's militaries.

 

10 hours ago, scalyfreak said:

That said, there is a reason there are only two famous border walls in the history of Western and Eastern civilization - they're not effective enough to be worth the cost of building and maintaining them.

Although I wonder if Hadrian's Wall shouldn't be rebuilt.  Scotland needs to do something to keep the English out :P 

 

10 hours ago, scalyfreak said:

This seems like a design flaw

It's an inherent weakness in any solitary defensive line.

 

5 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Cato the Elder after any speech on any subject:

 

"Moreover, I am of the opinion that Carthage ought to be destroyed"

Oh, he wasn't bitter.  Not at all :D 

 

On the challenge front, I have done nothing whatsoever exercise-wise, not even running.  I am getting itchy to get back at it, though.  I did some cooking, including a really tasty bacon covered beef/lamb meatloaf, but that was counterbalanced by an entire tin of danish butter cookies and a batch of homemade tiramisu.  I have been practicing the ukulele most every day and even got in a couple of Duolingo Spanish sessions.  Nothing on drawing or researching video editing.

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22 hours ago, analoggirl said:

 

I think I am one of the few Europeans that enjoy talks about military strategy and guns

without being one of those weird kids I know that are obsessed with getting into the army :p

I might be wrong of course and just suffer lack of exposure haha.

 

In any case, carry on! :D 

Oops, missed your comment.  This may surprise you, but most of the Europeans I have discussed this topic with are similar to you in that they are fascinated with the topic but have no desire to experience it first hand. :) 

 

12 hours ago, scalyfreak said:

This is why, although the height of the wall definitely matters, a taller wall isn't automatically better. An obvious example is a stone fortress/castle with two walls encircling it - if the outer wall is too tall, it makes it harder for the defenders on the inner wall to see what is going on, not to mention they like being able to shoot over the defenders on the outer wall.

Thinking more about this, I wanted to add that another reason the inner wall was almost always higher is that if the outer wall was compromised, they would still have height advantage over the over-run fortifications.  The opposite (being on a shorter wall surrounded by enemies on a higher wall) would be like being fish in a barrel.

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6 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

 

Thinking more about this, I wanted to add that another reason the inner wall was almost always higher is that if the outer wall was compromised, they would still have height advantage over the over-run fortifications.  The opposite (being on a shorter wall surrounded by enemies on a higher wall) would be like being fish in a barrel.

 

If I remember correctly, the open space between the outer and inner concentric walls of a castle was often referred to as some version of "death trap" or "death hole" in the local language. Something about standing on the ground between two tall walls populated by your enemy's archers apparently leads to low very low survival odds...

 

This makes my want to research the average size of siege engines and compare it to the most common size of the open surface area between the two walls. :)

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9 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

Oops, missed your comment.  This may surprise you, but most of the Europeans I have discussed this topic with are similar to you in that they are fascinated with the topic but have no desire to experience it first hand. :) 

 

Living on half a continent where you can get a gun legally? Meh. I am just as susceptible to any other weapon in a dangerous neighbourhood. Or anywhere for that matter. Think I would feel safer if at least tasers were allowed but that is a sensitive discussion so I will stop it right here :)

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On 4/11/2019 at 10:34 PM, scalyfreak said:

If I remember correctly, the open space between the outer and inner concentric walls of a castle was often referred to as some version of "death trap" or "death hole" in the local language. Something about standing on the ground between two tall walls populated by your enemy's archers apparently leads to low very low survival odds...

Not sure what language that would be, but it sure is an accurate description

 

On 4/12/2019 at 1:13 AM, analoggirl said:

Living on half a continent where you can get a gun legally?

Not sure who you mean by this, because I don't think either of us live anywhere close to a continent where guns are legally obtainable

 

On 4/12/2019 at 1:13 AM, analoggirl said:

that is a sensitive discussion

Yep, weapons ownership is definitely a sensitive topic, and only tangentally related to military history/strategy.  It is something that I have very strong opinions about, though, so if we need a topic to cover the last three days of the challenge... :D :D :D 

 

Today was a great day.  It is our anniversary today so Ghostess skipped out of work and we both slept in until noon (I had to get up at 6:30 to get Ghostlet to school but came back to bed after).  We finished off the last of the meatloaf and tiramisu for lunch and then went out to a big mall way over on the East side of town (about 1.5 hours drive).  We did some shopping and found Ghostess a couple of nice summer outfits, then we went to an interactive magic show that was super cheezy but lots of fun.  Dinner was a nice Japanese style crab restaurant and then we watched a Hong Kong action movie called P Storm 4 which was actually pretty good.  I haven't seen the first 3 movies in the series (Ghostess has) but they did enough exposition that I was able to figure out the back story.

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22 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

Not sure who you mean by this, because I don't think either of us live anywhere close to a continent where guns are legally obtainable.

I just guessed what you meant by 'it' in "...but have no desire to experience it first hand. "

I.e. the thing that the gun fascinated Europeans do not want to experience. :p ...living in a "civilised" country where it can be legal/is even a constitutional right to carry arms. (Right?)

 

Yay a hornet's nest. As long as I am not the one kicking it! Conflict avoiding personality right here. I pick my fights. The gun debate has strong points on either sides so that is not a discussion I can really take a strong stand in so it is no fun debating me. :) Just saying. (See how I am dodging the bullet here...)

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On 4/13/2019 at 3:17 AM, deftona said:

Happy anniversary! All the coolest people have April anniversaries ;)

Thanks, I noticed that this seems to be the season for us nerds have anniversaries :) 

 

10 hours ago, analoggirl said:

I just guessed what you meant by 'it' in "...but have no desire to experience it first hand.

Ah, I see.  It was in reference to:

 

On 4/10/2019 at 4:32 PM, analoggirl said:

obsessed with getting into the army

Most people I know who enjoy discussions about military history, strategy (and even gun ownership) have little desire to experience military life firsthand.

 

On 4/13/2019 at 3:17 AM, deftona said:

And also let me kick that gun debate hornets nest :) 

10 hours ago, analoggirl said:

Yay a hornet's nest.

 

OK, y'all asked for it :P 

 

I am of the opinion that anyone who thinks guns should be banned should also be willing to take the position that supercars should be banned.  After all:

 

1. Both are designed for purposes that are illegal and dangerous

  • Most people who seek ownership do not really intent to break the law (although secretly they may harbor fantasies)
  • Anyone who obtains them with the intent to break the law could obtain them illegally anyway

2. Both are the cause of serious harm and death

  • Most of the harm and death associated with them is self inflicted
  • Most death and harm that comes to to others from them is due to negligence and accidents

3. Ownership of either is primarily for entertainment and there are places designed specifically so they can be enjoyed in a legal manner

  • There is an element of power/inflated ego associated with both 

Now, here comes my unpopular opinion:  Guns are a hot topic and supercars are not because supercars are only obtainable by the wealthy while guns are accessible to the lower classes even though supercars are statistically more likely to cause death or injury.

  • Although the vast majority of guns are used for entertainment (the self-defense argument is just a red herring) those in power do not want their toys taken away, but are more than happy to restrict the toys of the lower classes

 

Well, the challenge finishes up today so let me do a recap before the hornets make this place uninhabitable :) 

 

Primary Objective: Video Library - I was hoping to have narrated videos of each exercise but I ended up with GIFs.  On reflection, I am happy with this because GIFs load easier and reference is really fast.  It doesn't take much narration to know what is going on so a GIF library is sufficient.  I would still like to learn video editing skills, but that will have to come in a later challenge

 

1. Move - I was doing well in the beginning, but injury put everything on hold.  I will be back to working out next challenge

 

2. Shiny Hunting - Not much shiny hunting happened mostly because of the injury.  I feel like I am pretty close to getting baby knee giants, though so watch for those to come soon. 

 

3. Eat - This was kind of iffy.  I did cook a few times and enjoyed what I made.  I also ate a bunch of crap and my waist reflects that.  I am trying to decide if I am going to care about that, though, because although I am back up to my highest ever weight/bodyfat%, I am also fine with the way I look.  I guess for now I will just keep on keeping on and see where things go.

 

4. Shiny - This was a fun experiment but I didn't do as much as I had hoped.  For some reason I have a mental block about drawing, probably because in my mind it is something that requires a lot of concentration and focus, while things like ukulele practice and Duolingo are things that I can pick up and put down and do not require a huge block of time.  I know that drawing should be the same, but in my mind it just isn't and I don't know why.

 

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12 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

4. Shiny - This was a fun experiment but I didn't do as much as I had hoped.  For some reason I have a mental block about drawing, probably because in my mind it is something that requires a lot of concentration and focus, while things like ukulele practice and Duolingo are things that I can pick up and put down and do not require a huge block of time.  I know that drawing should be the same, but in my mind it just isn't and I don't know why.

 

I also feel that drawing requires to buffer enough focus time, and I will delay practice until time permits. In the end it doesn't always happen. Painting is even worse because of the setup and cleaning bit. Unless I plan a regular slot, like training, it's likely to be a bit on-off (for me at least).

 

Wishing quick recovery to the grumpy trap!

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7 hours ago, @mu said:

 

I also feel that drawing requires to buffer enough focus time, and I will delay practice until time permits. In the end it doesn't always happen. Painting is even worse because of the setup and cleaning bit. Unless I plan a regular slot, like training, it's likely to be a bit on-off (for me at least).

 

Wishing quick recovery to the grumpy trap!

I have come up with what I hope is a workaround for my next challenge, which is in the link below:

 

 

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On 4/15/2019 at 8:00 AM, Sloth the Enduring said:

Supercars should be banned, confiscated, and turned into guillotines.

That conversion wouldn't be difficult, just remove the seatbelts...

 

18 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

I heard these are also dangerous.

You know, I heard that too  :P

 

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Oh oh oh I struggle(d) with the drawing and painting things too!

 

Drawing: skip the drawing part. Color. Or do "modern art". Youll be done with it in 1 hour tops and it gives you the satisfaction of creating SOMETHING.

 

Painting: get water color pencils and "water brush pens". The first is dry and the latter lets you use just as much water as you need, but not enough to make a mess.  Brush cleans easily. Profit!

 

It is not ideal if these are not your most favorite media to create with, but given the length of time I WANTED to be draw/paint something, but would not because of the same reasons Mu mentioned... These solutions helped me out. Maybe they will work for you too.

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3 hours ago, analoggirl said:

Drawing: skip the drawing part. Color. Or do "modern art". Youll be done with it in 1 hour tops and it gives you the satisfaction of creating SOMETHING

This are some good ideas, but the whole purpose of picking up drawing is because I wanted to learn how to draw :)   It isn't something that is super important to me, but it seems so far that doodling is enjoyable enough so that's the plan for the time being.  If I ever decide I want more than that, these are all great options.

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On 4/17/2019 at 3:43 PM, WhiteGhost said:

This are some good ideas, but the whole purpose of picking up drawing is because I wanted to learn how to draw :)   It isn't something that is super important to me, but it seems so far that doodling is enjoyable enough so that's the plan for the time being.  If I ever decide I want more than that, these are all great options.

Right! Oops. Sometimes I just want to share an idea and do not read carefully. Good luck, then.

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On 4/23/2019 at 5:29 AM, analoggirl said:

Right! Oops. Sometimes I just want to share an idea and do not read carefully. Good luck, then.

No worries, they are certainly good ideas to keep in my back pocket :) 

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