Tag Archives: war

The Aztec way of Life

Aztec, a +1000 page book, is the culmination of 12 years of historical research by its author Gary Jennings. First published in 1980, the book narrates the adventures of Mixtli, an aztec native, before & after the arrival of the Spanish conquerors in Mexico. The book serves as a window into a distant time, into an Aztec Empire capable of great beauty and cruelty. But most of all, Aztec demonstrate the unique philosophy of life and way of living of the aztec people.

Tenochtlitan - The Capital of the Aztec Empire

Aztec reminds of us of a time  where everyone believed in “fate”, a place where men coexisted peacefully with nature,  and a society in which money wasn’t the most important thing in the world.

Every time a aztec baby was born, his umbilical cord was cut off. If the baby was a girl, the umbilical cord would be wrapped around a piece of wood and buried under the house. (this should help the girl develop good household skills – the aztecs would say) If the baby was a boy, the umbilical cord would be wrapped around a small wooden shield and given to a warrior. The warrior would then proceed to bury the “shield” in a battlefield. (according to aztec tradition, this would give the boy the courage he needed to be a great warrior) This piece of buried umbilical cord was referred to as an aztec’s “tonali” or fate. The common aztec believe that their human fate was tied to their “tonali” and the will of the gods.

Like many ancient cultures, the aztec’s religion was deeply interwined with the elements of nature. The aztec gods manifested their will through meteorological and astrological acts. Just like the early Christians, the aztecs believed that man and nature where subject to the direct power and intervention of the God(s). But unlike the Europeans of the time who disdained nature, destroyed countless forests and abused of the Earth’s resources; the aztecs lived sorrounded by nature.

Unlike in today’s capitalistic society, money wasn’t  everything in the aztec world. As there was no official currency, the aztec’s often traded using gold powder, copper chunks, jade rocks, and chocolate beans. Honor, prestige, war and power – were more imporant than money. And the aztec tradesmen were members of a guild, known as the Pochteca, and always traded in the name and for the well-being of their Empire. (And unlike those working at Wall Street, these ancient traders would have never allowed their greed to destroy their nation)

And finally... the topic of human sacrifice

Why did the aztecs perform human sacrifices?

According to Aztec folkore, the world and its human inhabitants has been destroyed four times. The first time the entire human population was devoured by jaguars. The second time, destroyed by tornadoes and hurricanes. The third time, by a rain of fire. And finally, by a massive flood like Noah’s (but without survivors). According to aztec religion, these four destructions were sent by the gods because they were not pleased. The gods demanded a more constant supply of human blood, or else they would grow thirsty and destroy. From the aztec point of view, being sacrificied was an honor: they were giving their life for a good cause. Protecting the human race from further divine destruction.

Henceforth the problem: how can you sustain an Empire that constantly requires war prisioners for sacrifice?

The answer is easy: make “fake” wars. During times of peace, the six central Aztec nations would wage their own war simulation, called “Florid Wars”. Every year, 3 Aztecs nations would face off against the other 3 Aztec nations in an open field. The objective of these “Florid Wars” was not to kill the enemy, but to disable and capture prisoners. These “fake” wars would last several days, until all of the generals decided they had captured enough prisioners. Each army would then return to their own nation and commit massive “Florid Sacrifices”. And the gods were pleased.

MEMORABLE QUOTES FROM THE BOOK

Yes, at your age you expect a lot. You can go in any direction you choose. You can go alone or with company. Your companions might travel with you a short or long distance. But at the end of your life, no matter how full your wanderings and days have been, you must learn what everybody eventually learns […] No man has ever lived more than one life, which he himself as choosen and for the most part lived alone.

I believe that memories are the only treasure that humans can ever hope of owning forever.

We had wasted love, which is the most unforgettable waste of all. Time and love are the only two things in the world that one can’t buy, only spend.

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Highlights of the ART of WAR

The Art of War was written by a Chinese named Sun Tzu, more than 2,000 years ago. While originally conceived as a war-manual, its profound wisdom and knowledge have made the Art of War an all-time classic.

Sun Tzu´s advice inspired communist leader Mao Zedong to victory in China´s Civil War (1946-1950), and has become an a must-have book for the stock-market professionals of Wall Street. Besides teaching one how to become a great leader, the Art of War also contains great advice on how to read the minds of your opponents.

That being said, here are the most memorable quotes of the book:

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War is a matter of vital importance for the State: its the province of life or death; the path of survival or ruin. It´s ought to be studied profoundly.

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With the joy of overcoming difficulties, people forget the threat of death.

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The Five Virtues of a general:

  1. Intelligence
  2. Sincerity
  3. Humanity
  4. Courage
  5. Severity.

If he is so, his army will call him ¨The Respected One¨.

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There has never been a State that has benefited from a prolonged war. War is like fire; those who can´t put aside their arms are consumed by them.

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Winning 100 times in 100 battles is not the essence of hability. Submitting an opponent without fighting, is the true essence of hability.

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The most important element of war is attacking your opponent´s strategy.

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Five Omens of Victorious Men

  1. He who knows when to fight and when not to.
  2. He who knows how to use both, big and small troops.
  3. He whose army is united in spirit.
  4. He who is prudent and waits for the right moment to attack.
  5. He whose officials are competent and doesn´t have a meddling superior.

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Know the enemy and know thyself; and in a hundred battles you will never face peril.

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Being invincible depends one`s self ; that your opponent is vunerable, depends on him.

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When planning, never make useless movements. In strategy, never take a step in vain.

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Generally, being in charge of many is the same as being in charge of few. It´s a question of organization.

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Apparent confusion is a sign of adecuate order; apparent cowardness, of valor; apparent weakness, of strength.

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Make the enemy see your strong points as weaknesses, and your weaknesses as strong points.

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During the first hours of the morning, the spirit´s of the men are high. During the day, they waver. By the afternoon, their thoughts start wondering home.

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Don´t pressure a cornered opponent.

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A doctrine of war. Don´t assume the enemy won´t advance; be confident in your own preparation to confront him. Don´t presume he won´t attack; better yet, turn yourself invincible.

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How to read your Opponent

  • If the enemy is close, but hiding: he is in a favorable position.
  • When his messengers approach you with humble words, but he continues his preparations: the enemy will advance.
  • When his lenguage is deceitful and he advances slowly: he will retreat.
  • If his messengers speak too highly of you: the enemy wishes a ceasefire.
  • If out of nowhere, the enemy proposes a ceasefire: he is up to something.
  • If instead of advancing, the enemy parades his troops around: he is waiting for reinforcements.
  • If 50% of his troops advance and the other 50% retreat: the enemy is setting a trap.
  • If the enemy sees an opportunity and doesnt´t move: he is tired.

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When sorrouding your enemy, you must always leave an ¨apparent¨ escape route in sight. By showing the enemy´s men the possibility of fleeing, they won´t be obliged to ¨fight to death¨.

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The feats of a wise general surpass those of ordinary men because of previous knowledge. (intel/espionage)

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The best spies/informants are:

  • those who are intelligent but appear stupid
  • those who are intrepid but appear inoffensive

Or you can always be stupid... but appear intelligent

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The 25 Billion Dollar Hoax

The story about how 50 men staged the biggest hoax mankind will ever know. Before reading this post I would recommend reading last week´s – Possibly the Biggest Hoax in History, the background argument for this story.

So it begins…

January 11, 1969

Phone call from the CIA director Mr.Cushman to President Nixon

Mr. President. My board just evaluated NASA´s last report on the Apollo Program… the moon landing is not going to happen, at least not in this decade. Taking men to space – that NASA can do. But landing and extracting persons from the Moon is not possible at this moment. There are just too many risks, unsolvable variables and technical flaws. The 25 billion dollar fund is there, NASA just cant´t deliver the results…. Do we have your permission to initiate Operation Artemis?

January 13 , 1969

Phone call from President Nixon to General Westmoreland

General, an envelope containing the details of a future operation has been sent to your office. The information is highly classified and for your eyes only. Once you have read the briefing, dispose of the envelope and all it´s contents. A paper trail is never to exist, all proceedings must be carried out through personal contact, do I make myself clear?

January 14, 1969

Conversation from General Westmoreland to Colonel Smith

Conolel Smith, you are to seal all-access to the underground facilities of your base. Nobody, except the 20 selected officers for this operation gets in or out. Any irregularities in conduct must be dealt with accordingly. This is matter of national security, and defection will not be tolerated at any level. Our boys on Vietnam would really appreciate having the media off their backs for a couple days. And besides, we can´t let the commie bastards beat us to the Moon.

January 18, 1969

Conversation from Colonel Smith to the 20 elder officers

The task at hand is big: we must build the surface of the Moon. And we must do it in 5 months. Remember you have taken an oath to serve your country. You have also taken an oath of secrecy concerning all details regarding this operation. An oath that must follow you all the way to the grave. For your service and discretion you will be rewarded plentifully. But, if so much as a word slips out of these concrete walls, it will be your last. Do I make myself clear?

March 16, 1969

Conversation from Secretary of State Rogers to Dr. Thomas

Dr. Thomas, you will be appointed as the new Director of NASA. Seven men from our armed forces have been assigned to aid you in this operation. As soon as you take office, you are to make a public announcement of the upcoming moon landing. But more importantly, your priority must be convincing the rest of the staff at NASA that a moon landing is indeed possible. A team of experts has already been assigned to convert the current Air Force computer simulation program into a spacecraft simulator. If you are discreet and do a good job, you will be rewarded plentifully. However, should your cover be blown, the US government will deny any involvement in this affair and you will be prosecuted as an Enemy of the State.

March 21, 1969

Conversation from Director Thomas to his seven assistants

Fellow patriots. We must always keep in mind that we are performing an honorable service for our country. President Kennedy once made a promise to the American people, that we would get Man on the Moon before the end of the decade. We shall honor his memory, by keeping that promise. As for the operation, a manned spacecraft will be launched. A module will land on the Moon. But no men shall be aboard the module. The night before the moon landing, we must activate the computer simulation program at Launch Control Center.  We must also smuggle the negatives of the ¨landing film¨ into the spacecraft before it´s departure. The Army has supplied us with moon rock from Antartica, which we must insert into the cargo bay…. If we succeed, Fortune shall smile on each and every one of us. Rest be assured, failure is not an option. Do you understand?

March 31, 1969

Secure-line phone call from President Nixon to Neil Armstrong

This is the President speaking. Neil Alden Armstrong, I have been informed that you are the kind of man that would do anything for their country.

As Commander in Chief, I must ask you: is this true?

Would you be interested in bringing hope and glory to the hearts of millions of Americans worldwide?

Would you be willing to make history, have your name printed on every textbook as the first man to officially walk on the moon?

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Again, this is a WHAT-IF story: about how I imagine things would have gone down IF man never really landed on the Moon.

It´s easy to see why only around 50 people  would be allowed on the secret ——– ( CIA 5 , Goverment 3 , Army 22 , NASA 8, Astronauts 12) The smaller the number of participants, the least likely the hoax would ever be revealed.

I also believe that if said conspiracy were to be true, it would have not been done for lucrative purposes: rather it would have been carried out to

  1. Beat the Soviet Union in the Space Race
  2. Distract the American public from rawness of the Vietnam War

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10 Most Likely Apocalypses

Definiton of  “apocalypse”: any universal or widespread destruction or disaster. I present you the ten most likely Apocalypses of the XXIst Century.

10. Meteor Strike – 65,500,000 B.C.

The Chicxulub Impact. A space rock 9 miles (15 km) wide landed on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula 65.5 millions years ago, releasing  over a billion times the energy of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The impact generated a dust cloud that blocked sunlight for an entire year, killing almost all plant life on Earth. If China had no rice and the Americans were out of grain… dam, there would be hell to pay.

9. Maya Calendar – 500 B.C

This calendar has an end date: December 21, 2012. While the true reason is shrouded in mystery, there are many possible scenarios. Astrologist argue that it marks the beginning of some big changes in the galaxy and cosmos. Hollywood predicts radical climate changes and possible floods. Descendants of the mayans joke saying the inventor of the calendar ran out of stone to carve. My personal favorite is an alien visit to planet Earth.

8. St. John´s Apocalypse – 100 A.D

Written almost 2000 years ago, this is still the most widely believed version of the end of the world. The effects: No more sunlight, the moon turning red, meteors showers, granite rain, the ocean turning to blood, the river water becoming poisoned, millions of giant lobsters prowling the land, four horseman of the Apocalypse, giant earthquake, a Satanic dragon and two demon beasts. Personally, I  just can´t imagine technology  stopping the wrath of God.

7. Pandemic – 700 A.D

The first pandemic mankind suffered was at the hands of a bacteria called Yersinia pestis. More commonly known as the Black Death, this bacteria arrived in Europe during the 8th century and killed 50% of its population. Now a days, an outbreak of an evolved or weaponized virus could easily wipe out more than 70% of the world population. Many of these killer viruses are capable of being transmitted through the air: such as ¨Anthrax¨, ¨Smallpox¨, ¨Ebola¨ and ¨Marburg¨ viruses.

6. Nuclear War – 1949

Originally conceived to be the weapon that would give United States undisputed power over all countries, instead it turned into a nightmare for a whole generation of Americans. Through espionage, the Soviet Union got their own atomic bomb by 1949. Since then,  eight other countries have adquired nuclear arsenals. And with the US trying to stop Iran and North Korea from developing their own nuclear weapons, today the nuclear threat is as real as ever.

5. Solar Flare – Future

If a large solar flare manages to sprout exactly towards Earth´s direction, the results would be catastrophic. All human satellites would be damaged, all electric grids would be severely disrupted and the atmosphere temperature would increase a couple degrees. Without satellites, human communications would be severely disrupted for months. Several days without electricity would mean the death of millions and multiple nuclear leaks. And a sudden rise in temperatures would disrupt most sea life, sea currents and spawn violent climate changes.

4. Grey Goo Theory – Future

A nanobot is extremely tiny robot capable of repairing and creating any type of molecule out of raw matter. While still going through medical tests, these tiny robots might be able to one day cure cancer and repair internal organs. Seems pretty harmless, right? Well, the problem lies in the fact that nanobots deconstruct matter and can be programmed to build anything; including other nanobots. Thus, if a self-replicating nanobot were to be unleashed it would only take 72 hours before the surface of the Earth (and everything on top of it) would transform into a grey goo. (nanobots)

3. Machine Takeover (A.I) – Future

While still under development, Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is dream of many robotic scientists out there. At this exponential rate of digital growth, by 2029 desktop computers will have the same processing power as the human brain.  It is also predicted that by 1950, A.I. will reach a point where it is able to improve itself with unprecedented speed. This ability of computers to improve themselves and future advances in robotics will one day make Hollywood´s wildest fantasies look… not so wild.

2. Justin Bieber Internet Takeover – Near Future

As Justin Bieber´s musicvideo ¨Baby¨ nears the 500 million views on Youtube.com, there is only one question on everyone´s head: When will this Bieber madness stop? Soon, Justin´s takeover of the Internet will be inevitable. All websites will  forced to display his face in at least four places or face the risk of being forgotten. If children worldwide are worshipping this prepubescent kid, the future of music (and of the entire human race) looks bleak.

1. Sarah Palin becomes President – Near Future

The worts and most likely Apocalypse of all: Sarah Palin gets elected president of the USA in 2012. Palin is truly the biggest threat to world peace America has known since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Normally, I would think the American voters are too smart to vote for such candidate, but since the 2004 re-election of George W. Bush… heck, anything is possible.

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Don´t miss next week´s ¨10 Reasons NOT to vote for Palin¨

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Review ¨The Next 100 Years¨

A lot has changed in the last century. And, these changes don´t show any signs of slowing down.

Goverments paying inmigrants to come in? World War III? Mexico as a superpower? These are just a handful of predictions from George Friedman´s bestselling book ¨The Next 100 Years¨. Friedman is the Texan founder and CEO of STRATFOR, the world´s leading private intelligence company. So with a clear mind and open eyes, let´s take a glimpse at what the future might have in store.

Highlights of the Next Century

There is one basic principle in which Friedman bases his book on… The United States of America ¨superpower¨ status isn´t fading anytime soon. The Americans have merely hit a rough patch, but will continue being a superpower for decades to come. Trying to maintan it´s status as the #1 country in the world will be a task the US goverment will take very seriously.

2010s – USA / Islamic War

Whether United States is defeated or Iraq/Afghanistan remains a stalemate, that really won´t matter. As long as the Muslim world remains ethnically divided and fighting between themselves, it won´t pose a real threat to the US.

2020 – China´s expiration date

China´s current economical growth is the result of the country opening it´s market to capitalism. Such tremendous economical growth is causing stark differences between the rich coastal cities and poor central goverment. The coastal cities will eventually want more liberty. This in turn will leave the central chinese goverment two options: let the coastal cities drift away weakening the union or impose a more control over them. Both outcomes will cripple China´s economic power as a country.

2025 – Labor Force Crisis

Are you 18 and worried about finding a job? Don´t worry. By 2025, the ¨job crisis¨ will turn into a ¨labor force crisis¨.

With birth rate´s falling through out developed countries: a new laborforce will be needed to sustain the big, retiring ¨baby-boomer¨ generation. Currently, the birth rate of Europe and Japan is below the 2.1 child/woman ¨replacement level¨. This means that in a couple decades, developed countries are going to be filled with old people and lacking young ones.

European and japanese goverment´s will have to compete over inmigrants by offering them money and medical care packages. For the USA, whose birth rate level is higher, more lenient and open inmigration laws will solve the crisis. This increased flow of  inmigration and future innovations on robotics will help solve the 2025´s labor shortage.

2030 – Third Fall of Russia

Oh, yes! The Russians are back for a rematch. This next decade we will see Russia get economically stronger. This economic strength will in turn lead them to expand their military branches. With a strong military, the Russian goverment will then be interested in re-establishing the Soviet Union´s former sphere of influence in the Balkans and Eastern Europe.

Western Europe won´t help Eastern Europe, because Germany (EUs key player) depends too much on Russian gas. Thus Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe will turn to the USA for support. The United States will gladly ¨contain¨ Russia through its support of Eastern Europe (west), Turkey (south) and Japan (east).

The resulting ¨Cold War¨ will be very much like the last one, but shorter. This time a non-direct confrontation, alternative energy sources, a declining population: will all play agains´t Russia. Their economy will collapse, followed by their military. And once again Russia will disintegrate into an even weaker nation.

2050 – World War III

With Russia and China out of the picture, by 2050 the most powerful nations in order of strength will be

  1. USA
  2. Turkey: with a sphere of influence over the Middle East and lower Russia.
  3. Japan: with a sphere of influence over the Pacific and western China.
  4. European Union
  5. Poland: with a sphere of influence over Eastern Europe and Russia.

The Americans will see that its spot as the #1 country is being challenged by its former allies Turkey and Japan. The USA will do all it can to ¨contain¨ the expansion of these two countries. Turkey and Japan won´t enjoy feeling ¨contained¨ and will become secret war-allies. Japan will then stage a ¨Pearl Harbor¨ in space, taking down as many U.S satellites as it can. Then in less than 15 minutes, most of the US Airforce will be destroyed.

With Poland, China, and Britain as allies, the USA will strike back with it´s reserve forces. The result of the war will be determined by whoever controls the air and space. No nuclear devices will be employed (as they would be seen undesired by all). The European Union will remain mostly neutral.

After almost 2 years of war, by 2052 the USA will be able to take full control of space (high ground) and win. The war won´t  be a ¨total war¨ of societies destroying societies. Instead a peace treaty will be drafted in which the defeated nations won´t lose much and the USA (and allies) are allowed military control of space.

2060/2070 – Golden Decades for the US

Years of economic, technological and social prosperity.

2080 – Mexico´s Rise to Power

To be continued on next week´s post – ¨Mexico, a Superpower?¨


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