The curse of the Potato, the joy Of grains

Maybe we need to be more precise about what we call a “blessing”:

But the fact that grains posed a security risk may have been a blessing in disguise. The economists believe that societies cultivating crops like wheat and barley may have experienced extra pressure to protect their harvests, galvanizing the creation of warrior classes and the development of complex hierarchies and taxation schemes.

Source: The sinister, secret history of a food that everybody loves – The Washington Post (by way of Facebook)

 

Cataphracts: Armored Warriors and their Horses of War | Ancient Origins

Whilst the armor of the cataphract was able to withstand attacks from swords and arrows, they seemed to be useless against blunt weapons. During Aurelian’s battle against the Palmyrenes, he had troops from Palestine armed with clubs and staves that were used specifically “against coats of mail made of iron and brass”.

Source: Cataphracts: Armored Warriors and their Horses of War | Ancient Origins

Follow the money: Apple vs. the FBI – Charlie Stross

The FBI thought they were asking for a way to unlock a mobile phone, because the FBI is myopically focussed on past criminal investigations, not the future of the technology industry, and the FBI did not understand that they were actually asking for a way to tracelessly unlock and mess with every ATM and credit card on the planet circa 2030 (if not via Apple, then via the other phone OSs, once the festering security fleapit that is Android wakes up and smells the money).

Source: Follow the money: Apple vs. the FBI – Charlie’s Diary

Great God In His Secret Pentagon Garden

In Africa there are cultures we only catch glimpses into through their scam emails. In the classic “dearly beloved” example we learn that they are devoutly Christian and that corruption and sudden regime changes are commonplace their. The following example is poignant in its naked appeal to naive aspirational greed, presented in a language that mixes conspiracy theory, religion and military authority:

This is Army Gen. Lieutenant Duncan (A.K.A ) No attack without solution, From Denver Colorado,l am part of the 12-man Ruling Council on the Earth, An International Security Assistance Force,

I will so glad if will join the Great Brotherhood Enlightenment Kingdom, where you found all kinds of happiness blessing joy in life,There is a great opportunity for you to get what you are seeking for in life,so i would need you to become a member of our Church of Great God Secret Garden Temple and get all you are looking for in life

It goes on to promise money, a car, a house, meetings with celebrities, dream vacations and VIP treatment in all the world’s airports for all who join, but cautions:

the group is not a fan club,a pen pal society,or a lonely heart group, it is a group of dynamic individuals who stand forth as the ultimate underground alternative -the Alien Elite.

While the mail promises that you can join via a local contact, it assures the reader that the only central administration office is Washington , D.C. in the U.S.National Capital Religion (NCR)

What I find sad, though, is that there is some merit to the post-colonial developing nation perspective this mail is appealing to, because the world really is being run by a Christian military superpower, so why can’t Uncle Sam be a good Prester John and give an ambitious African brother a hand?