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I am currently reading a book about Roughneck Nine-One which is about how a US Special Forces Team against a vastly superior force of Iraqis near the village of Debecka, won the battle. The Iraqi forces included tanks and armored personnel carriers. Any normal Army unit would have run from the battle but Army Special Forces Unit ODA 91 had a motto that said, "Nine One don't Run". Anyone can look this up. It happens to be a very well documented battle.

When I first picked up this book, I thought it would be a standard story of how a well trained US army smashed a Iraqi unit that was not as well trained and it was up until a point. There were certain points of that battle that it seems that the author does not talk about the unit's training but leads one to think some of this battle was won on "luck".

I think in one passage in the book, "Roughneck Nine-One", it describes how a Iraqi artillery unit was walking in High explosive rounds into their position. The third round that was fired by the Iraqis would have killed much of the special forces unit BUT instead of it being a high explosive round, it turned out to be a smoke round. The Iraqis dropped a smoke round that allowed the special forces unit to be hidden from forward observers allowing the unit to escape without casualties.

The author described this as both luck but also gave thought to the theory that if the Iraqis gunners had been better trained that his unit would be toast. I am the type of guy that believes in both explanations and niether explanation at the same time....

For those that believe solely in the theory that simply more training...more and better refined tools can ALWAYS win the battle led me to think about the theory of "Catastrophe of Infinite Regress"

I might be wrong but I think the author of that theory found that it was possible to eliminate much of random chance from whatever equation that one wants to designate but that no matter how hard one tries there is always at least some finite amount of random chance left in the equation.

The US Military calls such a thing the "Fog of War" whch basically means no matter how well trained the troops are they might eventually be faced with a unknown variable in a battle which they can not defeat.....sort of like the Joker in Batman...Batman won but you must ask yourself if Batman really did win because the Joker accomplished part of his "purpose" or "unpurpose" in suceeding to change a "good man" into a "bad man" in Two Face. For you see, Batman now is now forced to live a "lie" in order to maintain for the public a false perception of reality.

So did Batman "win"?? Well, I would say that it is just as easy to say Batman won as it is to say the Joker won or that both the Joker and Batman won or both the Joker and Batman lost. It just depends on how you look at it which falls back to the "Theory of Relativity" and Einstein which led to other questions which led to John Von Neuman to come up with the "Catasphrophe of Infinite Regress" but that is just my way of thinking which steps outside of Aristotelian logic.

Do you see how this all works now? It is easy for my brain to think this way because while many like to think using the "right" side of their brain which always thinks it is "right", I use more of the left side of my brain which is totally non-linear thinking and is outside the concepts of "right" and "wrong" while at the same time being part of them. Instead of going from point to point....I pattern my brain on quatumn mechanics in which there are some theories that believe in non-locality....which is a total violation of classical physics and Einstein. Some want to only believe what is taught in school and can not think outside the box or maybe it is just that people have been imprinted with a certain belief and adjust their "facts" to fit with their beliefs.

"Who is the Master that makes the Grass Green?", the Zen Master asks.

Some want to believe everything taught in school but I believe most schools are there to teach the student how to Read, Write, Math and how not to think. Descending on to the battlefield in a different direction in order to outflank the enemy.....

In another part of the book, "Roughneck Nine-One", the author shows how the unit was succesful in managing to drop a bomb on their own friendly forces. In a comedy of errors bombs meant for Iraqi tanks suceeded in blowing up a unit of supporting Kurds. Now some might say this was bad luck or some might say that you can not account for every random factor in an engagement but over time collecting data on many engagements, one can learn lessons and use data to determine odds of certain things happening. Time can increase the odds of having desired effects happening but only if you know what to look for. It is like a needle in a haystack the way I write, in code that some might take years to decipher. Like a drug addict, "Can you find the needle?" Well, the US military makes attempts to find the needle....looking for perfection. That is what all the training is for.....and it is interesting that the public percieves that the Iraq war was only about oil. Is that perception reality or is it the saying the "Map is not the territory" by Niels Bohr?

After so many years of fighting and so many lessons learned the US military still manages to bomb it's own troops occasionally. Despite all the smart bombs,laser guided munitions, and better tactics there appears to be some random factors not accounted for that allows this all to continue.

There are a lot of genuises on TMF and I am not being sarcastic when I say that but despite all of the collective brains within the community, there were many factors not accounted for in the current "crisis". Virtually everyone that I have read on TMF have been wrong on different theories and I believe many will continue to be "wrong" or those that have been "right" will eventually be "wrong".

I used to think that market noise was just the volume button being too high when watching Jim Cramer's show but I have come to understand that it is anyone giving a opinion on the market that is noise. What anyone says could be right; it could also be wrong, it could be both right and wrong; it could be niether right nor wrong.

As for me....I am just going to stick to the knitting. I think certain themes will play out long term and time is the great equalizer when it comes to odds. I am going to try to stay away from near term stuff....As a matter of fact, I do not get as much news as most people out here on ship. I have internet on this ship but it is painfully slow. Just writing this message is using up valuable time in which I could be finding information. I am not sure if less information from the official media is a good thing or not. In one way it is good since I am not driven into the panic state of mind that many seem to be in but on the other hand there might be reason to panic. I don't know. Maybe the information I get from non-local sources is a better use of my time.

Right now, I am in the middle of the ocean....of ideas. One that I recently invested in called Leucadia that is now in my price range. I love Leucadia because they are oddballs and invest in things most would not consider like Cresud and iron mines in Australia and Timber in Idaho and prepaid calling cards and gambling in the USA and Real Estate and Biotech companies. I don't know many investors that have both biotech and a company like Cresud in the same portfolio.

If oil is such a bad bet than I wonder why these guys spend time investing in things like Goober Drilling or why Bill Mann likes WTI???...just the type of questions I like to ask and Leucadia is just the type of odd balls I like...they go against the grain and don't worry about short-term results like many who are obviously focused on that. I see today that LUK is doing some interesting things with short term loans with people using CRESY as collateral...hmmmm.

I am starting to get a good collection of companies now...Names such as MVC, MKL, BAM, BIP, LUK, OTTR, CRESY and I might add SHLD again in a year or two. I love good capital allocators.

Me...I am not whining about the stock market. I am not gloom and doom. My motto is "Starrob don't Run"

Rob S
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