Tag Archives: Army

The Atlantic Book Review – War Play: Video Games and the Future of Armed Conflict

The Atlantic published my book review of War Play by Corey Mead:

Riffing off the expression “all but war is simulation,” Mead considers weapons that are highly mediated, like Reaper and Predator drones piloted by soldiers using monitors and computer controls. As war itself turns to simulation, when buttons replace triggers and blades, and when killing is removed several orders from civilians and even from soldier-executioners, who is morally responsible for wrongful death or even “successful” “targeted strikes”? Who, in this surreal and oddly precise version of Ender’s Game, is ultimately culpable? When war becomes even more unseen, when it slides ever-more toward computerized management and best-guess threat assessment, will we be more disposed to wage it?

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War And Sports Shape Better Artificial Limbs

Last year I posted about the technological advancements of prosthetic limbs. Patients have been electing to remove more of their healthy flesh so that they can be fitted with more athletic and functional extremities. James Dao continues the story.

Rehabilitation programs that revolve around sports and athleticism help amputees emotionally recover from lost arms and legs. Even when wounded soldiers or civilians were not athletic before the injury, playing sports after sustaining one offers immense confidence and physical resilience. The reporter also discusses the scientific leap that has greatly improved the quality of prosthetics. “Computerized knees and ankles” Dao writes, “adjust to terrain and activity.” “Lighter and more malleable materials have allowed amputees to wear synthetic legs longer — and even run marathons.”

The author mentions two caveats to these developments. Quoting a physical therapist and an anthropological who studies military rehab programs, Dao reminds us that “traumatic stress disorder or anxieties about employment” cannot be treated with athletic programs alone. He also teaches us that the cost burden for soldiers is covered by the military, which offers extensive treatment and a variety of artificial limbs for various physical activity (skying, climbing, swimming.) For civilians however, their options are much more limited. “Buying an advanced device can cost more than $30,000; customizing them for various sports costs thousands more,” Dao reports.

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