They can be martyrs on any given day, and traitors the next

September 27th, 2020

T. R. Fehrenbach explains (in This Kind of War) the Korean character, as he saw it:

The Koreans, North and South, are by any standard a brave people, but they are mercurial, rising one moment to extremes of exaltation, dropping quickly back into despair. They can be martyrs on any given day, and traitors the next. They have been called, not without reason, the Irish of the Orient. And in some cases, not even rigid Communist training, with its denial of basic human nature, can eradicate the nature of the Korean peasant.

When it became daylight, Senior Colonel Lee Hak Ku walked softly up into a small village held by the 8th Cavalry Regiment. Ironically, he had to awaken two sleeping American soldiers carefully in order to surrender. When they took him to the rear, the young, hard, square-faced North Korean was very cooperative with his interrogators.

He supplied them with whatever information they desired about his division. It did not matter, whatever he told them, because the division had been destroyed as a fighting force. Other prisoners, though of lesser rank, had told the same story.

His surrender so impressed General Walker that, when he heard the news, he phoned Tokyo from Taegu. Senior Colonel Lee Hak Ku was the highest-ranking Communist prisoner to be taken by the U.N. during the Korean War.

And in captivity, he would do more damage to the U.N. cause than he had ever accomplished while serving in the Inmun Gun.

How American are these One Billion going to be?

September 26th, 2020

Center-left Vox pundit Matthew Yglesias’ new book, One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger, is actually, Steve Sailer argues, two contradictory polemics:

The book is both a sensible call for making family formation more affordable for younger Americans, and a demented demand for tripling the population of the United States (currently one-third of a billion) via immigration, thus ruining the chances of tens of millions of actual Americans to afford marriage and children.

There’s really no way to reconcile Yglesias’ two requests:

  • We should figure out smart ways to make life a little less stressful for Americans so they can have children as well as careers; and
  • We should also encourage the rest of the world to crowd into the U.S. and horn in on the birthrights of American citizens.

[...]

Of course, mid-20th-century USA was far more unified, due to the immigration shutdown in the 1920s that wisely ruled that no interest groups would be allowed to use immigration to change the country’s ethnic balance. Hence, the political system was more cooperative and functional than today when Democratic pundits like Yglesias’ partner at Vox Ezra Klein alternate between boasting that immigration will bury whiteness and complaining that whites are paranoid about being replaced.

Now Democrats envision using immigration to alter the racial balance to achieve perpetual one-party rule.

One obvious problem with this plan, however, is that all the immigrant ethnicities would then turn on each other in a struggle to control the capital of the world. Why compete with the United State militarily if you can use your co-ethnic immigrants to simply subvert the USA from within (such as this week’s example of an immigrant NYPD officer arrested for spying for China on Tibetan exiles), especially if Washington were so foolish as to invite in two-thirds of a billion immigrants?

Germany would have liked to do that using German immigrants in 1917, but the self-righteous WASP ruling class proactively crushed any German-American resistance with heavy-handed assimilation methods, such as banning Beethoven concerts.

But these days the Chinese are slowly learning how to play the White Guilt card against America. In an era when extirpating the vanishing phenomenon of White Privilege obsesses the American establishment, it’s inconceivable that we would take effective steps to Americanize the tens of millions of new Chinese immigrants. Always remember, diversity is our strength! Foreigners are who we are.

So, how American are these One Billion going to be?

Indeed, one reason for this summer’s mania over whites supposedly oppressing blacks is because blacks vaguely realize that the white man’s days are numbered due to immigration. Once the immigrants take over, nobody will take seriously anymore African-Americans’ sad stories about George Floyd, redlining, and Emmett Till. So blacks had better guilt-trip whites fast into making expensive concessions because the next rulers of America sure aren’t going to fall for black tears.

The man who asked first got the air support

September 25th, 2020

When the 38th arrived in Korea, T. R. Fehrenbach explains (in This Kind of War), Peploe abandoned a mountain of baseball bats, footballs, and other peacetime athletic equipment, and marched for the Perimeter, where the front was 30,000 yards, many times what a regiment could hold:

At this time the Air Force was not flying planes out of Korean bases — they had withdrawn their fighter squadrons to Japan. This meant that the supporting aircraft could remain over the front for only limited times — and Peploe figured that the man who asked first got the air support.

The Air liaison officer with the 38th became resigned to being kicked out of the sack an hour before dawn. But when the planes arrived over the Naktong, he was ready with his requests, and the strafing, rocketing, and napalming ahead of the 38th cleared the way for its advance.

[...]

With the fighters spreading havoc ahead of them, Peploe and the 38th suddenly found themselves at the Naktong. All along the roads they had passed abandoned AT guns and enemy dead.

Looking at the wide, twelve-foot-deep Naktong before him, on 18 September Peploe called Lieutenant Colonel Swartz, Division G-3. “Where are the boats?” Swartz said, “There aren’t any boats.”

Peploe ordered Skeldon’s 2/38 to send patrols across the river and to secure a bridgehead on the west bank. A dozen of 2nd Battalion’s hard, eager young men stepped forward, volunteering to swim across and secure the far shore. These men stripped, and under the guns of their comrades went into the muddy brown water. Halfway across, one of the volunteers floundered and had to be rescued by another soldier. Hauled gasping back to the bank, he admitted he didn’t know how to swim.

Moving cautiously along the west bank, the patrol found no enemy. And hidden in a large culvert beside the river, they found a cache of NKPA weapons, several collapsible boats, and one large boat capable of carrying thirty men.

Two squads went across in the two-man rubber reconnaissance boats, while Peploe talked to Division HQ again: “Let me go across in force.”

At noon, Colonel Epley, Division Chief of Staff, gave him permission to cross one battalion.

Within three hours E and F and 2/38 had crossed and had taken the high ground a mile west of the river. Behind them, combat engineers built rafts to float over the heavy weapons, then a bridge for the regiment’s vehicles.

Striking the disorganized enemy by surprise, the advance companies took more than a hundred prisoners, including a major and seven other officers. They also captured more than a hundred tons of ammunition, and many arms.

After an ordeal of six weeks, American forces had at last broken out of the Pusan Perimeter

There’s only so much erosion a tax base can take before it starts to crumble from the inside

September 24th, 2020

A former Bloomberg mayoral campaign manager says that New York City is in deep trouble:

In local political circles, it’s now fashionable to scoff at doomsday predictions and say that just as New York City came back in the 70s, came back in the 90s, and came back after 9/11, it will now too. It’s fashionable to say that even if some traditional office-based industries cut back significantly, the cheaper rents will lead to an artistic and technological renaissance that will spark new industries, trends and energy that will make the city better than ever.

Unfortunately, that’s probably more wishful thinking than anything else.

What we’re facing now is different: the beginning of a far more transformational shift in how we work, in many ways echoing the flight of manufacturing from the United States in the mid-late 20th century. Until now, there was a basic assumption that most white-collar employees would work in an office. Only something like a six-month quarantine could have challenged a norm so ingrained in our society.

[...]

There’s only so much erosion a tax base can take before it starts to crumble from the inside. Great American cities like Detroit, Baltimore and Cleveland were all decimated by the flight of manufacturing. Despite some well-intentioned marketing campaigns to the contrary, none of them really ever recovered.

New York has always been resilient because we’ve always been the physical home of industries like finance and media, law and advertising and health care. And not just one industry like some insurance towns, but many industries.

But that’s only because the idea that you don’t have to be anywhere else never occurred to anyone before.

[...]

Short term, the answer is to do everything possible to keep the city as appealing as possible. That means investing in quality of life measures like trash pickup and graffiti removal. It means figuring out how to curb abuses by law enforcement against blacks and Latinos while still bringing down the rate of shootings.

It means making the city an attractive place to do business. If you want to save jobs and help working people, raising taxes and adding regulations will only have the opposite effect.

Longer-term, it means trying to use newly vacant office space to spur new industries. It means reducing the cost of operating municipal and state government so that spending meets what the new tax base can actually afford.

It means having a mayor willing to personally call every major employer to ask what she or he can do to make them happy here, rather than having a mayor who is constantly trying to drive jobs away. And it means knowing that none of this may be enough and having five more approaches ready to go.

The Division CG was frequently annoyed because he could not find Peploe in his office or near a phone

September 23rd, 2020

T. R. Fehrenbach describes (in This Kind of War), George B. Peploe, commander of the 38th Infantry:

Peploe felt soldiers should train in peacetime exactly as they trained in wartime. For an army has only two functions, to fight, or to prepare to fight. But Peploe faced the basic problem all officers who thought his way faced in the postwar years — hard, realistic training was unpopular, and it sometimes resulted in injuries.

While everyone admitted realistic training resulted in fewer dead upon the field of battle, a man injured or killed by accident on the training field soon had Congress down about an officer’s ears. And the people up above showed no willingness to back their juniors up. Many a general who would have walked up a hill blazing with enemy fire without thinking twice quailed in his polished boots on the receipt of a congressional letter.

Under the Constitution of the United States, Congress holds the power of life and death over the military, and no one would have it otherwise. History has shown very clearly that for democracy to continue, the people, and not the generals or even the executive authority, must have control over the military. The people must dictate its size, composition, and its use — above all, its use. But control does not imply petty interference.

The problem seems to fall eternally upon the ground forces. While few men, legislators or otherwise, have felt down the years that they could command ships of the line or marshal air armies without specialized training, almost any fool has felt in his heart he could command a regiment.

And throughout history, the men in the ranks have been the ultimate victims of such philosophy. In the eighteenth century, when the British Navy, hard-bitten, professional, and competent, ruled the waves, His Majesty’s regiments — “The thin red line of heroes, led by fools” — left their bones scattered across the world.

In the summer of 1950, while 80 percent of the officers of Peploe’s 38th Infantry had seen combat in World War II, many of his new fillers had never so much as thrown a live grenade. Some of them were not even infantry by branch. Immediately and energetically, Peploe went to work. He put his men in the field, and he was always in the field with them.

The Division CG, General Keiser, was frequently annoyed because he could not find Peploe in his office or near a phone.

The flash from the M72 FFE’s muzzle and back blast is less than that of an M9 pistol

September 22nd, 2020

U.S. Marine Corps’ new anti-tank rocket is its old anti-tank rocket, the M72 Light Assault Weapon (LAW), upgraded to destroy buildings and bunkers:

Equally significant, the M72 Fire From Enclosure (FFE) is designed to be fired from inside buildings, without the flash revealing Marine positions. [...] “When firing at night, the flash from the M72 FFE’s muzzle and back blast is less than that of an M9 pistol. The ability to fire from an enclosed position combined with reduced noise and flash allows Marines to maintain a covered and concealed position, reducing the enemies’ ability to identify the point of origin.”

The M72 FFE will come in two versions. The M72A8 anti-armor round will feature improved armor penetration. The M72A10 multi-purpose round is designed to destroy buildings and bunkers.

“The M72A10 incorporates an advanced warhead design with a multipurpose explosive and a self-discriminating fuse that operates in either fast- or delay-mode based on target construction,” said Richard Dooley, a Marine Corps project officer. “These advancements enable Marines to engage various targets, such as structures, bunkers and enemy personnel.”

The logistic tail continued to wag the fighting dog

September 21st, 2020

Throughout the war in Korea, T. R. Fehrenbach explains (in This Kind of War), the logistic tail continued to wag the fighting dog:

While certain commanders complained and warned, none ever took any effective steps to amend the front-to-rear ratio, which of course could not be done without drastically altering the logistical practices and standard of living of the United States Army. In fact, as the war progressed, the amount of supplies required to support the American troops increased. PX goods were assigned to every company, creating both a transport problem and a headache for some company officer who had better things to worry about.

Throughout the war, because of the continuing lack of motivation of U.S. personnel, every effort was made to raise morale by the supply of goods and luxuries to the troops. Unit PX’s carried tons of soft drinks and candy bars from battle to battle; they sold watches, cameras, and radios at tax-free prices, though the demand for these always exceeded the supply.

Actually, it was impossible to support overseas combat troops at anything like a decent American standard of living. The very nature and necessities of war forbade it. But every effort was made. Discussing the dozens of ships carrying fresh meats, poultry, and other goods from the States to Korea, one FECOM commander later wrote, “We can never again afford to support troops in battle with such logistic luxury.” But this commander took no steps to halt the trend.

Its wrongness would so annoy him that he’d tear it all up

September 20th, 2020

I haven’t read William Gibson’s Burning Chrome collection in decades, but I remember enjoying “Dogfight” — which I did not remember was co-written by Michael Swanwick:

One writer had control of the story for a month, during which he could write as much or as little as he wished. He do anything he wanted with it. Change the plot, change the characters, put things in and take things out. There were a couple of small details that Gibson took out that on the next pass I put back only to have him take them out, back and forth several times until at last Bill won. When you’re working with somebody good, this can be a very exciting process.

On one of those passes, I came to a section that could only be written by Gibson. Luckily, from my collaborations with Gardner Dozois, I knew what to do. With Gardner, I had only to write a bad imitation of his style and its wrongness would so annoy him that he’d tear it all up and, with enormous labor, write it the proper way. So I wrote a bad William Gibson pastiche and sent it back to him, confident he would redo it from top to bottom.

One month later, I got the story back, expanded, with not one word changed in the pastiche section. In the accompanying letter, Bill was effusive with praise for that section.

Oh crap. I knew that if I let that section go through unchanged, the deficiencies that Bill was blind to would be as obvious to the critics as they were to me. Only, because it was written in Bill’s voice (almost), blame for this would fall not on me but on him. And people would conclude that, whatever Bill had once had, he’d lost it.

So I spent much of that month laboring mightily to bring that section up to his standards. I succeeded, I believe, but oh man that was not fun.

(Hat tip to Travis Corcoran.)

The North Korean High Command concealed word of the landing from their men

September 19th, 2020

FECOM hoped that the enemy would be demoralized by the news of the Inchon landing, T. R. Fehrenbach explains (in This Kind of War), but evidence indicates that the North Korean High Command concealed word of the landing from their men fighting on the Naktong:

The NKPA was in far worse condition than American Intelligence dared guess. Enemy losses in early September had been enormous; they will never be known with complete accuracy. Some idea of what was left to the People’s Army in middle September can be gleaned from a captured daily battle report that showed one battalion of the 7th Division at the following strength: 6 officers, 34 N.C.O.’s, 111 privates, armed with 3 pistols, 9 carbines, 57 rifles, and 13 automatic rifles. There were 92 grenades left to the battalion, and 6 light machine guns, with less than 300 rounds of ammunition for each.

All in all, the People’s Army could not have numbered more than 70,000 officers and men by 15 September, of which less than 30 percent were the original veterans of Manchuria and Seoul. Morale among the new inductees was low — only the fact that anyone who showed open reluctance to fight was shot held the army together at all. Almost all divisions were suffering badly from hunger. But the fact that the men of the Inmun Gun knew that their own fanatic officers and N.C.O.’s would shoot them kept the South Korean conscripts from surrendering.

Mighty Mice in Space

September 18th, 2020

A research team led by Dr. Se-Jin Lee of the Jackson Laboratory in Connecticut sent 40 young female black mice to the International Space Station in December, to study muscle loss:

In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Lee said the 24 regular untreated mice lost considerable muscle and bone mass in weightlessness as expected — up to 18%. But the eight genetically engineered “mighty mice” launched with double the muscle maintained their bulk. Their muscles appeared to be comparable to similar “mighty mice” that stayed behind at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

The PNAS abstract explains:

Among the physiological consequences of extended spaceflight are loss of skeletal muscle and bone mass. One signaling pathway that plays an important role in maintaining muscle and bone homeostasis is that regulated by the secreted signaling proteins, myostatin (MSTN) and activin A.

Here, we used both genetic and pharmacological approaches to investigate the effect of targeting MSTN/activin A signaling in mice that were sent to the International Space Station.

Wild type mice lost significant muscle and bone mass during the 33 d spent in microgravity. Muscle weights of Mstn -/- mice, which are about twice those of wild type mice, were largely maintained during spaceflight.

Systemic inhibition of MSTN/activin A signaling using a soluble form of the activin type IIB receptor (ACVR2B), which can bind each of these ligands, led to dramatic increases in both muscle and bone mass, with effects being comparable in ground and flight mice.

It’s not just mice who have muscle-building myostatin-related mutations, but Belgian Blue cattle, Flex Wheeler, a German toddler, a Michigan toddler, and “bully” whippets.

The Navy and Marine Corps had never fully accepted the plan

September 17th, 2020

In the summer of 1950, General MacArthur began to think in terms of strategic goals and sweeping maneuver, T. R. Fehrenbach explains (in This Kind of War), rather than grinding infantry warfare across the face of Korea:

Admiral Doyle, who would command the naval forces, told MacArthur, “The operation is not impossible, but I do not recommend it.”

[...]

There were better landing sites in other areas, true, but none that could so quickly pinch the vital nerves of the enemy. MacArthur was willing to take risks, provided the campaign could be brought to a rapid close.

[...]

Whatever the early American participation in the Korean conflict had been, amphibious assault by X Corps was no small operation. It involved more ships and men than most of the island operations of the Pacific War, and it could be accomplished only because of the skills and knowledge acquired by the Navy and Marine Corps during that war.

The Navy and Marine Corps had never fully accepted the plan; yet they carried it out to perfection.

[...]

It had been decided to land a battalion of Marines on Wolmi-do early in the morning; they would secure the island and hold it while the falling tide forced the fleet to retire. Then, in late afternoon, the fleet would surge back into the harbor, throw its landing craft against the sixteen-foot seawalls surrounding the city of a quarter-million people. The amphibious assault could not begin until past 5:00 P.M., when the tide was high enough to float landing craft over the slimy mudbanks of the harbor, and this left the attacking Marines only two hours’ daylight to land and secure their beachhead.

[...]

It took Taplett’s men exactly one hour and twenty-five minutes to overrun and secure the rocky, caverned, 1,000-yard wide island.

The 5th Marine veterans killed or captured some 400 North Koreans of the 226th Independent Marine Regiment on Wolmi-do. They suffered total losses of 17 wounded.

[...]

At 1733 the first landing craft of the 5th Marines grated against the seawall just north of Wolmi-do, near the center of Inch’on. Marines piled over the wall on scaling ladders or poured through holes blown in the barrier by naval gunfire. Within minutes they were in Inch’on’s streets. After a brief, vicious fire fight along the wall, the enemy broke. Twenty minutes after touching shore, a Marine flare ascended into the sky, signaling the capture of Cemetery Hill, an initial objective.

[...]

There had been only 2,000 North Korean troops in the Inch’on area. By 0130 on 16 September, the Marines had completely ringed the city and taken each of their initial objectives. They had lost only 20 killed, 174 wounded, and 1 missing.

[...]

Unfortunately, many of these casualties had been inflicted by trigger-happy naval gunners aboard LST’s, who had fired into the 2/5 Marines.

[...]

While fighting still raged from barricade to barricade, and from street to street inside the Korean capital, MacArthur issued U.N. Command Communiqué Number 9 on 26 September. MacArthur stated that Seoul was recaptured.

[...]

However, for two more days inside the city, from Seoul Middle School to the Kwang Who Moon Circle, from the Circle to the Court of Lions in front of Government House, the Marines had their hands full mopping up. Official communiqués studiously ignored this action.

[...]

MacArthur spoke, briefly for him, but in his usual sonorous and dramatic style:

“Mr. President: By the grace of a merciful Providence our forces fighting under the standard of that greatest hope and inspiration of mankind, United Nations, have liberated this ancient capital city of Korea….”

[...]

Little, stooped, wrinkled Syngman Rhee rose to speak. The man who had spent the greater part of his life in exile, now aging badly but still active and courageous, for a few seconds could not speak for emotion. He held out his hands in front of him, clenching and unclenching his fingers, and blew on their tips. Only those who knew Syngman Rhee well understood why his hands worked when he was under emotional strain — over fifty years before, Japanese officers had tortured him by lighting oil paper pushed up under his fingernails, and had finished by smashing his fingertips one by one.

[...]

Before abandoning the ROK capital, however, the NKPA and Communist officialdom had wreaked a frightful revenge on the helpless bodies of the old men, women, and children of the families of South Korean policemen, government employees, and soldiers. Thousands had been shot or otherwise executed. And from this time forward, learning what had been done in their captured cities and towns, the ROK Army and Government showed no mercy to any Communist, whether NKPA, guerrilla, or sympathizer. To a certain extent, Communist frightfulness was repaid in kind.

ROK officials were adamant in their determination never again to allow a Communist-sympathizing underground to exist in South Korea.

Rarely are science fiction stories written by credentialed scientists

September 16th, 2020

John C. Wright highly recommends The Hidden Truth by Hans G. Schantz:

It is a gem of a book, a rare find, combining a charming coming of age story, diamond-hard science fiction speculation, a conspiracy thriller, a touch of trenchant political commentary, and, uniquely, a challenge written into a science fiction book of the reigning scientific orthodoxy of the day.

Rarely are science fiction stories written by credentialed scientists. Even more rare is one that proposes a revolutionary theory that questions the historical and theoretical roots of the standard model of modern physics, and no other book does so in the context of an action thriller.

[...]

If you liked Heinlein style juveniles, with their young men learning lessons about personal responsibility and integrity of character, and seasoned with brief avuncular lectures on topics ranging from electromagnetic theory to economic reality, then you are likely to enjoy this book.

[...]

Rumor has it that the author, Hans Schantz, is hard at work on the final volume, A HELL OF AN ENGINEER, but a hefty amount of public interest, and some book sales of the first three in the series, might stoke the fires under this boiler, and give him the spirit needed to complete the work in a reasonable time.

Sustained land warfare is extremely costly in blood

September 15th, 2020

As Americans discovered during 1861–1865, sustained land warfare is extremely costly in blood, T. R. Fehrenbach explains (in This Kind of War), and there has been a pronounced American distaste for such since:

It is probably no accident that no great American tacticians have evolved since the War Between the States, while at the same time American strategical thinking has been superb. Having been once in the forest, United States military men tended to see it rather clearly — they had trouble with the trees, but rarely got lost in them.

During 1941–1945, on the whole, German tactical execution of battle was superior to American; German officers and N.C.O.’s on unit level exhibited particular excellence in fighting. But throughout the war, American strategical planning remained first rate. While the Wehrmacht, under Hitler, floundered about from one crisis to another, American strategists never lost sight of their ultimate goal of destruction of the enemy.

Because Germans considered battle itself important, their technique was bound to be good, but they became lost in the trees, winning battles, losing the war. After the fall of France, Germany’s rulers never gave the Wehrmacht a clear, concise, strategical goal, because German planning never went beyond winning the West.

In the East, German planners again and again wasted their substance on transitory gains, while the Red Army never lost sight of its ultimate aim, which was to win the war politically as well as militarily. Significantly, while in 1942 Hitler struck deep in the Caucasus for oil, Russian military men always planned offensives for political effect, and for the control of populations. And while the Wehrmacht won many a tactical victory on the 1,800-mile Russian front, by 1942 it had no hope of controlling the Russian people, or of ultimate triumph.

Since the end of the Civil War, the United States has never been a massive land power. The ninety-two divisions raised in World War II never came close to matching either the almost four hundred of the Wehrmacht or the truly enormous field forces of the Soviets. But because the United States had Allies, such as Russians and Chinese, to keep the enemy heavily engaged on the ground, it was able to keep its commitment on land to a minimum.

If war is to have any meaning at all, its purpose must be to establish control over peoples and territories, and ultimately, this can be done only as Alexander the Great did it, on the ground. But because after the Civil War America’s Allies again and again took the terrible losses required to bleed the enemy, Americans gradually developed a belief in cheap victory.

In World War I, after Britain had suffered over 900,000 dead, and France more than 1,000,000, the United States threw her forces into the fray, to tip the scales at a loss of 50,000 killed in action.

In World War II, Russia lost more than 20,000,000 both military and civilian. Even agonized, stumbling France, in six weeks of 1940, lost more combat dead upon the field of battle — almost 500,000 — than did America during the entire war.

Without this sacrifice of our Allies all over the world, World War II could not have ended as it did, with the United States relatively unscathed.

More Americans died in thirty minutes at Antietam than died in thirty days of the Normandy beachhead.

But by concentrating to a large degree on sea and air power, the United States was able to add the strategic punch that knocked the Axis out of the war. Japan, particularly, as an island empire was peculiarly vulnerable to air and sea attack. And the main body of the Imperial Japanese Army, on guard against the Soviets in Manchuria, was never engaged by the United States.

It must never be forgotten that without the enormous holding power of American Allies, American industrial capacity of itself would not have been a determining factor. Even in 1944–1945, when the United States Army engaged an already strategically defeated Wehrmacht upon the ground of Europe, the effort strained the relatively small land combat power of America to the limit.

Acetaminophen increases risk-taking

September 14th, 2020

Acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol and sold widely under the brand names Tylenol and Panadol, also increases risk-taking:

In a series of experiments involving over 500 university students as participants, Way and his team measured how a single 1,000 mg dose of acetaminophen (the recommended maximum adult single dosage) randomly assigned to participants affected their risk-taking behaviour, compared against placebos randomly given to a control group.

In each of the experiments, participants had to pump up an uninflated balloon on a computer screen, with each single pump earning imaginary money. Their instructions were to earn as much imaginary money as possible by pumping the balloon as much as possible, but to make sure not to pop the balloon, in which case they would lose the money.

The results showed that the students who took acetaminophen engaged in significantly more risk-taking during the exercise, relative to the more cautious and conservative placebo group. On the whole, those on acetaminophen pumped (and burst) their balloons more than the controls.

The Americans were just beginning to fight

September 13th, 2020

By mid-September the NKPA had over run all South Korea except one tiny toehold in the southeast corner, T. R. Fehrenbach explains (in This Kind of War), but this toehold had given it unexpected trouble:

Its timetable calling for the Communization of all Korea by 15 August had been wrecked. Worse, the Inmun Gun, the People’s Army, had left the bones of its best men scattered along the Naktong River, and the survivors were rapidly bleeding themselves to death against American guns on the broiling hills and in the fetid valleys.

The People’s Army had almost shot its bolt. Less than 30 percent of the old China veterans remained, and these were dirty, tired, hungry, and in rags. Now only frequent summary executions and the threat of death could hold the newly drafted trainees in line.

[...]

The Inmun Gun had made its supreme effort, and failed — and the Americans were just beginning to fight.