Experiencing war and loss with Sebastian Junger and Tim Heatherington

Photo from Tim Heatherington's book Infidel  Photo from Tim Heatherington’s book Infidel

Author Sebastian Junger gave an interview to NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross on 18 April 2013 about Junger’s new film Which Way is the Front Line From Here? The Life and Times of Tim Heatherington.

Heatherington, a British photographer, became very close to Junger while they collaborated on the documentary film Restrepo, which Junger turned into a book simply entitled War.  At left, one can see the two at the Academy Awards show – soon after the show the two were to go to Libya together on an assignment for Vanity Fair.  Junger had a last minute change, Heatherington went on his own and was killed by shrapnel from a single (likely errant) 82mm mortar round.  Junger’s film is meant to be a tribute to his lost friend; the interview also holds great insight for anyone who spends their life in a way that touches war and warfare.  Here is a sample of his thoughts: Continue reading “Experiencing war and loss with Sebastian Junger and Tim Heatherington”

Bill Gates on Self-Study

[Note: see video here.]

Bill Gates: It’s an inspiration that one person [Leonardo da Vinci] off on their own, with no positive feedback, nobody ever told him, you know, it was right or wrong. That he kept pushing himself. You know, found knowledge in itself to be a beautiful thing.

 Gates scoffs at any comparison to the great Leonardo, but a look around his private office reveals a man equally obsessed with understanding his world.
 Charlie Rose: Can I look at these? [Referring to a shelf full of The Great Courses DVDs and CDs]
 Bill Gates: Sure. This is the weather one, “Meteorology.” My very first course that I watched was this geology course.
 Charlie Rose: This is a whole series on the joy of science? “Mathematics.” “Philosophy in the Real World.”
 Gates’ collection of DVDs contains hundreds of hours of college lectures that this famous Harvard drop-out has watched.
 Bill Gates: The more you learn, the more you have a framework that the knowledge fits into.
When he’s on the road, Gates – who’s a speed-reader — lugs around what he calls his “reading bag.” When he finishes a book, he posts his thoughts on his website, “Gates Notes.”
 Bill Gates: What I’ll do is, I’m reading these books.
 Charlie Rose: Oh, look at that.
 Bill Gates: I’ll take notes.
 Charlie Rose: Oh these are your notes already?
 Bill Gates: Right.
 Charlie Rose: Look at this.
 Bill Gates: I love to take notes on books. So I just haven’t written it up yet.
 Charlie Rose: How long will it take to read all of this?
 Bill Gates: Oh, a long time. Thank goodness for vacations. I read a lot.

Free Media Learning Opportunity: Sir Ken Robinson on teaching’s critical components ~ individuality, curiosity, and creativity

Sir Ken Robinson on education…

There are three principles on which human life flourishes, and they are contradicted by the culture of education under which most teachers have to labor and most students have to endure.
The first is this, that human beings are naturally different and diverse…

Continue reading “Free Media Learning Opportunity: Sir Ken Robinson on teaching’s critical components ~ individuality, curiosity, and creativity”

A Marine On Military Leadership

My good friend, roommate and classmate at West Point, Ben Middendorf, was recently awarded the Leftwich Trophy for “outstanding leadership” by the United States Marine Corps.  He’s a Captain in their infantry branch – he cross branched from the Army to the Marine Corps upon graduation.  To be honest, I’m not surprised that Ben would receive such an honor.  He is and likely always will be a great Marine officer – it helps that he truly loves what he does.  But what struck me was what he wrote about receiving the award, which, I think, goes to why he (and his men) earned it.  This ought to be the sentiment of every military leader:

To everyone who has congratulated me on the Leftwich Trophy, I do greatly appreciate it, but I don’t deserve it. This award is not about me. This is about the 157 Marines and Sailors of Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines and the other 40 Marines attached to us who fought the Taliban in 2012 in Northern Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
This is about Lance Corporal Colton Carlson who demonstrated extreme compassion while conducting humanitarian relief in Japan following the 2011 Tsunami. Twelve months later he put on his own tourniquet after losing both of his legs to an IED. On his way to the MEDEVAC bird he said to his fellow Marines, “guys, my life isn’t over, it’s just different.” As we mourned I thought, where do we get such men?

Continue reading “A Marine On Military Leadership”

Free Media Learning Opportunity: Stephen Biddle on the Study of War and Military Victory

[*Note: video available here.]

Stephen Biddle of the Council on Foreign Relations and (at one point) the U.S. Army War College, sat down with Harry Kreisler at UC-Berkeley in 2006 to talk about his work in general and his book Military Victory in specific.  However, in conversation about his career, he gave an interesting response to a question about his intellectual interests: Continue reading “Free Media Learning Opportunity: Stephen Biddle on the Study of War and Military Victory”

Free Media Learning Opportunity: Snider on Future Trends in American Civil-Military Relations

Dr. Don Snider, a former professor of mine at West Point, gave a riveting lecture to the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia on 2 April 2011.  To be honest, I got a little carried away with the notes I took – I’m not sure if I’ve ever transcribed so much.  But this was great stuff, so great, in fact, that I might just assign it next semester for my course. The 55 minute lecture makes for a great once-around-the-world on the subject (followed by 20 minutes of Q & A).

(at ~23 minutes)
Professions deal in expert knowledge.  Systematized, scientific body of knowledge theoretical and practical, it takes years to learn, it takes longer to practice. The surgeon is an example. But this is not just for expert surgeons. A platoon leader on patrol in Iraq, with X number of people in their patrol, an immense amount of information. And, a convoy leader, an immense amount of information in her head. Expertise about weapons, logistics, troop leading procedures, medical procedures…

Continue reading “Free Media Learning Opportunity: Snider on Future Trends in American Civil-Military Relations”

Free Media Learning Opportunity: Journalist Sebastian Junger on Loss in Combat

 

Author Sebastian Junger gave an interview to NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross on 18 April 2013 about Junger’s new film Which Way is the Front Line From Here? The Life and Times of Tim Heatherington.

Heatherington, a British photographer, became very close to Junger while they collaborated on the documentary film Restrepo, which Junger turned into a book simply entitled War.  At left, one can see the two at the Academy Awards show – soon after the show the two were to go to Libya together on an assignment for Vanity Fair.  Junger had a last minute change, Heatherington went on his own and was killed by shrapnel from a single (likely errant) 82mm mortar round.  Junger’s film is meant to be a tribute to his lost friend; the interview also holds great insight for anyone who spends their life in a way that touches war and warfare.   Continue reading “Free Media Learning Opportunity: Journalist Sebastian Junger on Loss in Combat”