Why the T-34 is the best tank of all time

The soviet T-34 wasn’t nearly as elegant as the German panzers it engaged, but it had what really counted: good basic design and there were lots of them–in Stalingrad, they rolled out of the factory and started blasting away at the Nazis a few minutes later.
 
The T34 had some great things going for it-most notably sloped armor.  If you remember your trig, by sloping the armor, the effective thickness is greatly increased.  a T-34 could take a lot of damage, especially from the earlier german tank guns.  The T-34 also had a rather uncomplicated drivetrain which could be serviced in the field (as opposed to the panzers) and once they sorted out the gearbox problems, they were pretty much unstoppable.
 
Why am I talking about this?  in life things come along that knock you back, but if you have thick enough ‘armor’ and can keep rolling along, you’ll eventually make it through.  As they say, "when going through hell, keep going"

what the US should learn from July 4th

Why does the US celebrate independence day?  because George Washington and company won the war.  Had the British won, Franklin’s quip "we will most certainly hang separately" would be a prophetic footnote to the founding fathers execution.
 
The lesson the modern-day George W should learn is: the insurgents have the advantage.  Very few times in history have the insurgents failed to tire out the power and win their freedom.  The Russians (and the Soviets) only pacified regions by mass executions and deportations, and now that Moscow is no longer capable of laying down the law, these regions (Chechnya for example) have broken away.
 
Several historians have made the point that long wars destroy democracies (see LaFeber’s The Deadly Bet).  Powell understood that (see The Powell Doctrine), but he didn’t get it right.  You can win a war like WWII with a clear end-you go to Berlin, the nazis strike the swastika and you break out the Vodka with the Red Army.  In Iraq and Afghanistan it’s a whole different game.  Hussein is in the dock and his cadre are either in prison or dead, but the enemy is militant islamist insurgents.  they’re everywhere, and they can strike anywhere (London, New York, Bali…)
 
The only solution is to pull the rug out from underneath them, which is pretty hard to do (and almost no one would have the nerve to even consider it).  The way to solve the insurgent problem is to knock out religion (the organized component and the faith component).  educate people to be free thinkers (globally).  Religion is the opiate of the masses and most people won’t give it up easily, but to move on to the next stage of understanding, we as a species must abandon faith.

the view from the podium

I was going to do my first olympic tri yesterday, but due to weather conditions, they made it a run-bike-run duathlon-which made my day-I’m not a swimmer.
 
run 1: 5km .. 20:55
bike: 40km .. 1:16:20
run 2: 10km .. 46:26
 
officially that put me in 2nd place in M 25-29, but by non-duplication I was bumped up to 1st in category! yay!
i would have been even faster on the bike, but I thought i was supposed to turn and go around a loop thing, but it turns out I wasn’t so lop ~1 min off the bike
 
Kristine did well, winning F20-24 handedly.