Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Science: I Name Thee...

An interesting article on the BBC news site about how military operations are named...

Now, everybody should already know that D-Day is not, in fact, and opposite to popular misconception, a name for a military operation. It simply denotes the day when one is supposed to begin. That one was known as Operation Overlord (or Neptune). It should also be obvious that the names are chosen at random, or at least as random monikers that will specifically not be easily associated with their content. But what did surprise me was that both UK and US military actually use computer programs for the purpose. And also that the US even have a set of rules (PDF) to follow. As well they should since operations Killer and Masher in Korea and Vietnam respectively, while most definitely not relating any operational secrets, are really too revealing as to other things that may go on - and the most unpalatable ones (if anything done in war can be). So, next time you are asked to fund (or endure) a military operation, rest assured that its name will be carefully chosen not to offend your sensibilities.

And that can only be a good thing, as hurt feelings are the most painful, aren't they...