Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

Community Reviews
posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday October 10 2017, @01:36AM   Printer-friendly
from the swords-are-technology dept.

I have been reading The Japanese Sword Column and thought it may be of niche interest to other Soylentils. It is written by Paul Martin, a noted British expert of Japanese swords. From the introduction:

Along with cherry blossoms and Mount Fuji, the Japanese sword has become one of the enduring symbols of Japan. It has experienced centuries of warfare, evolved through Mongol invasions, survived the introduction of the musket, the end of the samurai era, modernization, and confiscation and destruction by the Allied forces following World War II. They are an anachronism in modern society, yet they continue to be made. They are an integral part of Japanese culture.
Today, I feel very fortunate that we have access to Japanese swords and can observe the artistry of blades that were previously only accessible by Japan's ancient military and social elites.

I particularly enjoyed the July 25th article, The Changes in the Shape of the Japanese Sword. The articles are short, update infrequently and have plenty of pictures of museum-quality swords. A good fit for those with a casual interest in the subject.


Original Submission

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
(1)
  • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday October 10 2017, @01:54AM (35 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 10 2017, @01:54AM (#579548) Journal

    "They are an anachronism in modern society"

    An armed society is a polite society.

    --
    #eatyourliver #WalkAway #CTRLLeft
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:12AM (15 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:12AM (#579557)

      The obvious rebuttal is Texas.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:34AM (10 children)

        You've never been to Texas, I take it. Not being polite down there will get your ass handed to you by whoever's handy to do so.

        --
        "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
        • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Tuesday October 10 2017, @01:59PM (8 children)

          by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 10 2017, @01:59PM (#579789) Journal

          No it won't. The most it would draw is a withering, "Well, Bless Your Heart!"

          The rest of that Texas bravado stuff is a myth.

          --
          Washington DC delenda est.
          • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:12PM (7 children)

            I dunno where you get your ideas about this but you're simply wrong. I grew up around and currently work with Texans. Three out of any four of them will happily and immediately knock you on your ass for being a shithead in their presence.

            --
            "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
            • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by Phoenix666 on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:55PM (6 children)

              by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:55PM (#579832) Journal

              They're all hat and no cattle. It's posturing for posturing's sake, the same way Italians in New York posture about how tough they are. They're not tougher than anyone else. Up close and in reality they're the same as anyone else, in that some are tough and most are not.

              Texans are the same way. I spent summers in El Lago near Houston as a teenager. My uncle was a chemist for Shell at their big refinery near Galveston. We had a lot of opportunity to explore the state from Corpus Christi to Beaumont. (Of course here's the juncture where you reply that all the Texans from Corpus Christi to Houston to Beaumont are pussies and fake Texans, and that only real Texans live in El Paso or Crawford or something, right?) In all that time and area I never saw any sign that Texans are tougher or more resilient than anyone else, but rather enmeshed in cocoons of big cars, big houses, and big churches with air conditioning that insulate them from anything rough and tough.

              When I think of Texans, I think "coddled."

              --
              Washington DC delenda est.
              • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday October 10 2017, @03:49PM (3 children)

                Did I say they were tougher or more resilient than anybody else? No. I proclaim them to be pussies them yearly when UT plays OU. I said they were less tolerant of rudeness, which is absolutely true. It's a quite common trait around the south and southwest but I think Texas probably takes the blue ribbon in the "mind your manners or spit teeth" contest.

                --
                "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
                • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Tuesday October 10 2017, @07:11PM (2 children)

                  by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 10 2017, @07:11PM (#579983) Journal

                  As New Yorkers would say, it's a "schtick." For normal Americans, it's a "rep." They like to play it up, but there's little to it. Once they might have been intrepid, when they were fighting the Mexican army and founding the Republic of Texas, but they're as fat and pampered as the rest of the country now.

                  Also toughness comes in many forms. I've met little old ladies in Brooklyn who'd cut the balls off your tough-talking Texans in a twinkling. They'd smile as they did it.

                  --
                  Washington DC delenda est.
                  • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday October 10 2017, @08:39PM (1 child)

                    Did you even read what I just said? I specifically excluded toughness and yet there you go harping on like I was talking about it. Strawman much?

                    --
                    "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
                    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 11 2017, @07:18AM

                      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 11 2017, @07:18AM (#580328)

                      Did you even read what I just said?

                      Um, no. Why do you ask?

              • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday October 10 2017, @05:56PM (1 child)

                by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 10 2017, @05:56PM (#579930) Journal

                I'm not going to argue about where the "real Texans" live, but I've met enough of them. They have a lot in common with the mountain people in Wyoming, Montana, and various other people who live away from the big cities. Yeah, those backwood people are tough. They don't survive if they aren't tough.

                All the same, I'll take Buzzard's side on the single issue he has raised. If you're a rude, arrogant ass, Texas is one of the last places you want to run at the mouth.

                I'll also give you a free anecdote. I've spent more time than I would have liked to spend in and around Dallas. Got to talking with one of those old hard nosed ranchers north of Dallas once. I asked him if there were any real Texans left in the Dallas-Fort worth area. He and I agreed that there were probably a few dozen left, but they were hard to find among all the Yankees living there now.

                Oh yeah. All hat and no cattle? That reminds me of another rancher I met southwest of Dallas. A bit less than 500 acres, and not one single cow. But, he had something like a quarter million turkeys. Turkeys. I couldn't believe my eyes. Somehow, "ranch" just didn't seem appropriate to me.

                --
                #eatyourliver #WalkAway #CTRLLeft
                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 11 2017, @07:21AM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 11 2017, @07:21AM (#580329)

                  the mountain people in Wyoming, Montana

                  If you EVER dare to compare Texan "All Hat, No Cattle" Urbane Cowboys to Montanans again, you will indeed have your ass handed to you! Wyoming, well that is just Texas with an actual winter.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 11 2017, @03:56AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 11 2017, @03:56AM (#580275)

          Nor you, I suppose, given that your ass is still attached?

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:38AM (3 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:38AM (#579571) Journal

        Maybe you can cite all the public shootings in Texas? Luby's, you say? I invite you to watch a video, to hear precisely WHY no one in Luby's was armed that day. Listen to the lady, carefully. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sEYGcXSmpQ [youtube.com]

        --
        #eatyourliver #WalkAway #CTRLLeft
        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:52AM (2 children)

          Well there's Waco. Oh, wait, that was government murderers not civilian murderers.

          --
          "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @06:53AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @06:53AM (#579679)

            Speaking of Government Here's a manual on how to make a full-auto sub machinegun.
            https://mega.nz/#!hPhQULhJ!upgCjT1m5oWRBk4PPGTaX9pyjbtn6KXHacYCQPStxv4 [mega.nz]

            • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday October 10 2017, @06:00PM

              by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 10 2017, @06:00PM (#579934) Journal

              The file you are trying to download is no longer available.
              This could be due to the following reasons:
              The file has been removed because of a ToS/AUP violation.
              Invalid URL - the link you are trying to access does not exist
              The file has been deleted by the user.

              --
              #eatyourliver #WalkAway #CTRLLeft
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:19AM (13 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:19AM (#579558)

      Is it correct to apply that principle to a feudal society?

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:35AM (12 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:35AM (#579570) Journal

        Why, yes, it is correct.

        How do you think royalty survived all those hundreds of years? They denied the serfs access to weapons. In the land of the blind, a person with sight can be king. In an unarmed society, an armed man can make himself the king. In an armed society, everyone is a king.

        --
        #eatyourliver #WalkAway #CTRLLeft
        • (Score: 2) by jelizondo on Tuesday October 10 2017, @03:27AM (9 children)

          by jelizondo (653) on Tuesday October 10 2017, @03:27AM (#579595)

          You will never find a lone wolf becoming King, my friend. It is always a band of armed men led by the would-be king.

          Also you will find that tactics and weapons are very important, Hernan Cortes conquered Mexico and Pizarro, Peru with a small band of soldiers who had better weapons and tactics than the natives.

          Someone already mentioned Waco, what good were their guns against the government agents? Are you willing to bet your shotgun against an armored carrier? Are you willing to bet your assault rifle against a Hellfire?

          Even with guns, we're doomed against the government, unless we rise by the hundreds of thousands and are willing to die by the thousands. Think about it.

          • (Score: 2) by rylyeh on Tuesday October 10 2017, @04:34AM (1 child)

            by rylyeh (6726) <kadathNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday October 10 2017, @04:34AM (#579621)

            If we Do rise up to die -
            Can I use a frenh small-sword?

            Democracy, is thankfully more plastic than that.
            Most of the time, non-violent protests on a massive scale only result in getting gassed, or beatings about the head if involved.

            Ha! https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/road-peace/facts-are-nonviolent-resistance-works [ncronline.org]

            --
            O friend and companion of night, thou who rejoicest in the baying of dogs {here a hideous howl burst forth}...
            • (Score: 2) by rylyeh on Tuesday October 10 2017, @04:37AM

              by rylyeh (6726) <kadathNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday October 10 2017, @04:37AM (#579623)

              French. French small-sword. Similar to the modern Epee' with the triangular blade. Alas - no museum replicas for triangular blades - yet.

              --
              O friend and companion of night, thou who rejoicest in the baying of dogs {here a hideous howl burst forth}...
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @05:04AM (2 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @05:04AM (#579639)

            Cortez had the advantage of being foreign - he was granted access to people he wouldn't have been if he had been local.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @08:07AM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @08:07AM (#579692)

              You mean, like Melania?

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12 2017, @06:25PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12 2017, @06:25PM (#581262)

                Some people diss rap.

                But some of the best rappers do insane shit, like history lesson songs.

                You think I jest?

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5M7MZh_bvjg [youtube.com]

                Learn about Cortez, and how he tricked the Mayans... through song*!

                *unless you're a schmuck who says rap aint song, in which case, whatever, just go listen

                Thank me after! :)
                -AC#1

          • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:13PM (1 child)

            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:13PM (#579799) Journal

            Waco? There were no soldiers at Waco. The people in the compound relied on the walls to protect them. Poor fools - they should have had at least a field engineer among them, to explain that the walls were no defense, whatsoever. In fact, events proved the walls to be a greater danger than anything. If those people were relying on guns, there was remarkably little shooting from those guns.

            --
            #eatyourliver #WalkAway #CTRLLeft
            • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday October 10 2017, @04:03PM

              ...there was remarkably little shooting from those guns.

              Kind of the point. They weren't looking to hurt anybody. They got massacred for wanting the means to defend themselves.

              --
              "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Phoenix666 on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:13PM (1 child)

            by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:13PM (#579800) Journal

            I don't know much about the particulars of Pizarro's conquest of Peru, but Cortes didn't manage it because he had better weapons and tactics than the natives. He got incredibly lucky with the timing of the myth of Quetzalcoatl and his arrival, which forestalled a vigorous reaction from the Aztec empire. Cortez was also seized upon by the Tlaxcala as a way to shake off the Aztec yoke of oppression. The Aztecs demanded huge numbers of human sacrifices from their vassals, which does not for a happy, secure empire make. So Cortez's numbers and military power were swiftly augmented by his new native allies. Even then the Aztecs would have kicked all their asses if they had tucked in and attacked. Instead they weren't sure what to do because of the legend and portends that kept the Aztec hierarchy off-balance, and they let Cortez walk into Tenochtitlan where they promptly imprisoned Moctezuma. Even then, the Aztecs rallied and drove the Spanish off and would have defeated the invasion, except diseases unwittingly brought by the Spaniards broke the Aztec resistance under Cuauhtemoc.

            So a lot of things broke the Spaniards way. They got really lucky. But they did not do it with superior arms and tactics.

            --
            Washington DC delenda est.
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12 2017, @06:28PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12 2017, @06:28PM (#581265)

              Cortez *knew* about the religious timing, and planned critical events around it. Isn't this tactics? To say the equivalent of, "on xmas day they'll all be celebrating, so we can attack then, when they have not girded?"

        • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Tuesday October 10 2017, @04:30AM (1 child)

          by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday October 10 2017, @04:30AM (#579618)

          He was King because God Said So.
          That's why he could sleep in a tent surrounded by thousands of armed peasants, who were certainly going to get hurt while he watches tomorrow's pointless ego battle, and not get turned into a porcupine.
          The King's personal guard was no match for his army turning on him. It's not the weapons that kept him on the throne.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12 2017, @06:32PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12 2017, @06:32PM (#581269)

            Yeah. Those peasants? Turns out a huge number were Lords. Ie. stakeholders. They could even treat war as business, directly by ransoming captures, and indirectly by taking tribute or ransacking conquered people, or being installed in 'new' baronies etc. in conquered (nb. not 'occupied'!) lands. Even in the flattest king-led army, there would have been a tier of well equipped warriors and below them their men-at-arms or footpads. Kings didn't conscript off the field, "you, you and you, take up swords and follow me."

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by moondrake on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:45PM (4 children)

      by moondrake (2658) on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:45PM (#579825)

      1) Japanese culture and language puts a lot of emphasize on politeness, quite the opposite of the US and the English language.
      2) Arms were (and are) _heavily_ regulated, with guns being outlawed and only the samurai class having the right to bear arms (which became quite ceremonial until even that was abolished during the restoration).

      I know you have an agenda to push, but this is the living example of something opposite to what you say. If I did not know better I would think you are being ironic.

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday October 10 2017, @05:41PM (3 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 10 2017, @05:41PM (#579917) Journal

        So, you're saying that Japan has intentionally re-established it's caste system, and only the Samurai are permitted to own these swords?

        --
        #eatyourliver #WalkAway #CTRLLeft
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 11 2017, @07:26AM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 11 2017, @07:26AM (#580331)

          No, Runaway, that is not what he is saying. Try reading it again. Or perhaps, have one of your kids read it to you, and explain what it means. This is not the first time you have had this difficulty with reading comprehension. Is this a recent development, or have you always been semi-literate? If it is recent, you might want to have a medical professional check it out. Could be a sign of early onset dementia.

          • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday October 11 2017, @01:23PM (1 child)

            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday October 11 2017, @01:23PM (#580442) Journal

            Alright, child - explain this to me: "2) Arms were (and are) _heavily_ regulated, with guns being outlawed and only the samurai class having the right to bear arms"

            --
            #eatyourliver #WalkAway #CTRLLeft
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12 2017, @06:40PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12 2017, @06:40PM (#581271)

              arms are not only guns.

              samurai could wear weapons, including swords and knives and bows.

              samurai were DEFINITELY not afforded the right to bear firearms!

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Hartree on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:58AM (40 children)

    by Hartree (195) on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:58AM (#579579)

    It's a bit of dissonance that swords are sometimes held with near reverence by those who are utterly revolted by guns. Both are designed for killing and little else unless they are just ornamental version.

    It's a bit like some of the people on my FB friends list who decry religion, but give great deference to Shamanism or Buddhism. I wonder if they've decided they are sciences. ;)

    Humans are weird and will rationalize almost anything to square it with their beliefs (or perhaps more importantly, the beliefs of their peer group).

    • (Score: 2) by coolgopher on Tuesday October 10 2017, @03:09AM (21 children)

      by coolgopher (1157) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 10 2017, @03:09AM (#579583)

      Actually, depending on precisely what guns you're talking about, a sword is worse than a gun. A gun may have a genuine use in hunting for food. A sword on the other hand only has human warfare as its use.

      In modern society there shouldn't be a need for either to be carried by the common person on a day-to-day basis, but people being dicks makes it seem like a reasonable idea at time.

      • (Score: 5, Funny) by takyon on Tuesday October 10 2017, @03:14AM

        by takyon (881) Subscriber Badge <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Tuesday October 10 2017, @03:14AM (#579586) Journal

        I killed some deer with an ebony sword in Skyrim.

        --
        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 2) by jelizondo on Tuesday October 10 2017, @03:19AM (7 children)

        by jelizondo (653) on Tuesday October 10 2017, @03:19AM (#579588)

        Sorry to disagree, swords have a ceremonial value, i.e. the coronation of a Queen of King [wikipedia.org]. I do own a sword for ceremonial purposes and I have given as a gift a katana, not with the intent to kill a human being, but because my friend collects such things.

        Now guns, ¿in what ceremony is someone presented with a gun, other than military ones?

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday October 10 2017, @03:20AM (3 children)

          You think the King/Queen things aren't military?

          --
          "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
          • (Score: 2) by jelizondo on Tuesday October 10 2017, @03:30AM (2 children)

            by jelizondo (653) on Tuesday October 10 2017, @03:30AM (#579598)

            Really, I forgot about Queen Elizabeth serving in the armed forces...

            • (Score: 3, Informative) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday October 10 2017, @04:24AM

              Mechanic for the Brit army, wasn't she?

              --
              "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
            • (Score: 3, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday October 10 2017, @01:57PM

              by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 10 2017, @01:57PM (#579787) Journal

              You are being sarcastic, and may not appreciate a few facts thrown at you. But, here ya go, just the same - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_service_by_British_royalty [wikipedia.org]

              There is a tradition that the male members of England's royalty will serve. Some have actually served, others have sheltered behind ceremonial titles and functions. But, we can equate the Queen to our Commander in Chief. She has ceremonial functions to serve, and she is senior to all the admirals and generals.

              --
              #eatyourliver #WalkAway #CTRLLeft
        • (Score: 2) by coolgopher on Tuesday October 10 2017, @04:58AM (1 child)

          by coolgopher (1157) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 10 2017, @04:58AM (#579635)

          And just what do you think a sword symbolizes in such ceremony? It sure isn't kittens and daisies.

          You're off on a tangent here though - we're discussing the actual, primary use of these weapons. Anything can be symbolized and ceremonialized. There's no difference between giving a collector a gift of a sword or a gun, if that's what they're collecting. Guns are used for celebratory reasons too (e.g. weddings). Doesn't change what they're designed to do.

        • (Score: 2) by t-3 on Tuesday October 10 2017, @05:10AM

          by t-3 (4907) on Tuesday October 10 2017, @05:10AM (#579641) Journal

          Guns are fired off on the Fourth of July and New Years, at military funerals, presented during ceremonies for heads of state etc. Weapons have always had a place in ceremony, because our modern societies are still tightly linked in memory to the feudal past, and strength=violence to the animal brain.

      • (Score: 2, Disagree) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday October 10 2017, @03:19AM (11 children)

        Right, because when seconds count the police are only minutes away. This civilized society everyone's so proud of is no safer than any other throughout history. The strong still prey on the weak. I'm disinclined to remove equality of deadliness from them even were there not other extremely good reasons to have an armed populace.

        --
        "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @04:14AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @04:14AM (#579607)

          is no safer than any other throughout history

          Do you have a reference for that?

          The first link I came across directly refutes that claim.
          https://www.vrc.crim.cam.ac.uk/vrcresearch/paperdownload/manuel-eisner-historical-trends-in-violence.pdf [cam.ac.uk]

        • (Score: 2) by coolgopher on Tuesday October 10 2017, @04:48AM (1 child)

          by coolgopher (1157) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 10 2017, @04:48AM (#579630)

          Note that I wrote "shouldn't be", as opposed to "is". People are still assholes.

          To quote Dark Helmet - "I'm surrounded by assholes!"

        • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Tuesday October 10 2017, @12:42PM (7 children)

          by LoRdTAW (3755) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 10 2017, @12:42PM (#579746) Journal

          The strong still prey on the weak.

          You seem to be stuck in a nature documentary. Most armed criminals are weak and need a weapon to level the playing field with the truly strong. Why do you think guns are so prevalent among them?

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday October 10 2017, @01:34PM (4 children)

            Because they're extremely efficient and because your prey, and the competing predators, are also fairly likely to have them. Throwing away a more efficient means of violence isn't anything but foolish for either predator or prey.

            I know many a mother tried to teach us that violence never solves anything. They lied though. It has been proven so many times throughout history that it can solve things quickly and efficiently that the statement itself can only come from those who place wishful thinking above observable fact.

            --
            "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
            • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Tuesday October 10 2017, @03:59PM (2 children)

              by LoRdTAW (3755) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 10 2017, @03:59PM (#579866) Journal

              My argument was against your wording: "The strong still prey on the weak." My argument is the criminal is weak because they steal the hard work of others. They are opportunists. They aren't fearsome warriors whose combative skills outmatch their prey/victim. No. You usually have some scrawny little shit with a gun or knife going around looking for drug money. Their strength comes from the weapon.

              • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday October 10 2017, @04:20PM (1 child)

                Fair enough. I can appreciate a good bit of pedantry.

                --
                "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
                • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Tuesday October 10 2017, @06:19PM

                  by LoRdTAW (3755) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 10 2017, @06:19PM (#579944) Journal

                  The wording bothered me as it portrays armed criminals as fearsome warriors when it's almost always the exact opposite. It takes work to become a strong person which runs counter to the criminals opportunistic nature.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @05:24PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @05:24PM (#579906)

              Or, said another way and in the spirit of TFR

              “A sword is a weapon. The art of swordsmanship is learning how to kill. That is the truth. What Miss Kaoru says is sweet and innocent talk that only those whose hands have never been stained with the blood of men can believe. But, to tell you the truth, I much prefer Miss Kaoru’s sweet and innocent talk over the truth, indeed I do!”

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:05PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:05PM (#579795)

            You are an idiot. Even without a weapon, most violent criminals are stronger and faster than their victims. A weapon just makes it easier,

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Arik on Tuesday October 10 2017, @03:20AM (12 children)

      by Arik (4543) on Tuesday October 10 2017, @03:20AM (#579590) Journal
      Yes indeed, in fact as another poster already mentioned, it's worse than that. Firearms are in the same category as bows and spears and axes - they're useful tools that can be used for many things, sure you can kill someone, but you can also hunt for food or you can split wood or something else quite different. Swords are good for nothing else, by design. This is precisely why they came to be symbols of warrior classes or castes around the world, even though said warrior classes actually didn't actually fight with swords so very often. In battle they were sidearms, something you could pull out in an emergency after losing your main weapon.
      --
      "This font is your font, you can't see my font."
      • (Score: 2) by t-3 on Tuesday October 10 2017, @05:16AM (1 child)

        by t-3 (4907) on Tuesday October 10 2017, @05:16AM (#579645) Journal

        To be fair, the axes, spears, and arrows used in combat were very different from their hunting-use counterparts. You wouldn't want to try chopping wood with a battleaxe, the blade is optimied for cutting armor and flesh.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Arik on Tuesday October 10 2017, @03:15PM

          by Arik (4543) on Tuesday October 10 2017, @03:15PM (#579842) Journal
          The blade on a made-for-battle axe is indeed different from a utility axe, and it's different mostly in one specific way. It's thinner which clearly implies lighter, and thus more wieldy.

          This change does mean they are no longer ideal for chopping wood - but you can still use them for that. You say "you wouldn't want to try chopping wood with a battleaxe" but in fact I've done it, it works just fine in a pinch.

          And of course many times the axe that appeared on the battlefield really was a woodsmans tool, not a specially built battle-axe.

          --
          "This font is your font, you can't see my font."
      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Tuesday October 10 2017, @05:55AM (7 children)

        by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 10 2017, @05:55AM (#579659)

        IIRC, the weapon of choice when hunting bears was a sword. Don't know what kind, but that also makes a sword a hunting weapon.

        --
        Put not your faith in princes.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @10:57AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @10:57AM (#579723)

          Ref? I think mostly a spear was used.

          • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:18PM

            by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:18PM (#579804) Journal

            Spears were the primary weapon ("boar spears"), short swords to close in and finish the animal.

            --
            Washington DC delenda est.
        • (Score: 2) by Arik on Tuesday October 10 2017, @04:30PM (4 children)

          by Arik (4543) on Tuesday October 10 2017, @04:30PM (#579877) Journal
          "Boar swords" were a thing, used for a short period in a relatively small area so they don't appear to have been all that useful. But they did exist.

          They're kind of on the line of even being 'swords' though. They're spears for men who think they're too noble for a spear, relatively late along in the medieval period, and they're what you would get if you took a boar spear to a swordsmith and said "I want this, but all steel, no wood."

          They're more like steel spears than swords. And as spears, they aren't that great. Short and heavy and oddly balanced. Still, as a sword, they're worse. Sort of like a very thrust-centric late period rapier, only shorter. But not lighter.

          I don't think these things were really tools. They were status symbols, expensive toys for some rich man who was so obsessed with displaying his wealth he didn't want to touch wood.
          --
          "This font is your font, you can't see my font."
          • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Tuesday October 10 2017, @11:23PM (3 children)

            by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 10 2017, @11:23PM (#580152)

            I didn't say "boar". I said "bear". I agree that I always heard of the weapons being used against boar as spears. (Whether they were heavy metal or not depends, among other things, on the time period.) If actual swords, even highly modified ones, were used against boar I didn't know about it.

            --
            Put not your faith in princes.
            • (Score: 2) by Arik on Wednesday October 11 2017, @12:42AM (2 children)

              by Arik (4543) on Wednesday October 11 2017, @12:42AM (#580185) Journal
              Well I was trying to give your assertion the benefit of the doubt, and a boar sword is as close as I can get.

              I've never heard of anyone using a sword to hunt bear outside of fantasy rpgs. Nor does it make any sense at all. Swords are typically optimized for use against unarmored or lightly armored humans. Bears are fearsome giants with natural armor tough enough to hold against weaker modern firearms. Slicing through that hide with a typical cut-and-thrust sword would be slow and tiring work, assuming a dead bear. A live one wouldn't stand there and let you try it. There are specialist swords that *could* work, like the boar sword, but it would be even less of a sane choice against a bear than a boar.
              --
              "This font is your font, you can't see my font."
              • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Wednesday October 11 2017, @05:04AM (1 child)

                by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday October 11 2017, @05:04AM (#580294)

                Possibly I'm wrong... I know that that's what the thing I read said, but I don't know how accurate it was. (And I can't check since it just "something I read a decade ago".)

                OTOH, there's all sorts of "recent" history in the US where people ended up fighting a bear with a long knife, which was essentially a sort of sword. I believe both Daniel Boone and David Crockett reported doing so. Of course Davy Crockett was a liar and spinner of tall tales...so you can't really trust what he reports.

                --
                Put not your faith in princes.
                • (Score: 1) by Arik on Wednesday October 11 2017, @05:27AM

                  by Arik (4543) on Wednesday October 11 2017, @05:27AM (#580301) Journal
                  Winding up fighting the thing with your bowie after everything else failed? Yes, I could believe that's happened - very rarely. On the other hand it's just a great motif for storytelling so it probably made it's way into lots of tales while happening quite rarely. But as a deliberate plan? Going out with the idea you would use that knife in the 'hunting' phase rather than the later 'butchering' phase would be utter insanity. Simply mounting the bowie knife securely to a nice long spear-shaft would make it orders of magnitude more useful. Your best shot at taking down a bear with a blade like that would be to force it straight through the roof of the mouth, even with a decent spear that would be a feat, doing it with a knife would essentially mean you're already at wrestling distance from him - and most likely already dead or dying - before you're even close enough to try.
                  --
                  "This font is your font, you can't see my font."
      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:04PM (1 child)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:04PM (#579794) Journal

        You do realize that swords predate any sidearm by thousands, and more likely, tens of thousands of years? Firearms are only about 500 or 600 years old, I believe. Hmmm - how 'bout 650 years?

        http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/technique/gun-timeline/ [pbs.org]
        1364 - First recorded use of a firearm.
        1380 - Hand guns are known across Europe.
        1400s - The matchlock gun appears.

        --
        #eatyourliver #WalkAway #CTRLLeft
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by Arik on Tuesday October 10 2017, @03:28PM

          by Arik (4543) on Tuesday October 10 2017, @03:28PM (#579847) Journal
          "Sidearm" != "Firearm"

          side·arm
          ˈsīdärm/
          noun
          noun: sidearm; plural noun: sidearms; noun: side-arm; plural noun: side-arms; noun: side arm; plural noun: side arms

              1.
              a weapon worn at a person's side, such as a pistol or other small firearm (or, formerly, a sword or bayonet).

          Swords were worn as sidearms for millenia before firearms were invented, and even for centuries after firearms were being used as the early versions were single-shot affairs with little power and considerable reload times, so the need for a sword (or similar melee weapon, long knife, hatchet, etc could fill the role) as sidearm was greater than ever. Firearms only started to be worn as sidearms after reliable repeating models developed, and even as late as the Phillipines-America war, at which point they were being issued revolvers as sidearms, it was commonly reported that they had emptied their weapons and been forced into melee without time to reload, and so the men often supplemented the official kit with a melee sidearm. A sword, if they were lucky enough to get their hands on one.

          --
          "This font is your font, you can't see my font."
    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Tuesday October 10 2017, @04:40AM (2 children)

      by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday October 10 2017, @04:40AM (#579625)

      The crossbow was decried for a long time for the same reason as the gun is.
      You need to take the sword to your enemy, and defeat him. With a gun or a crossbow, any weakling can kill an experienced trained warrior or 59 innocents.
      There is little honour in the kill, when you just pull a trigger from a distance. There is no fun in the battle, and too many die.
      Ancient battles didn't systematically kill thousands. Play chess with a few humans. Lose as many as the bad harvest requires or the other side will bear. Claim victory and resume next year.

      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Tuesday October 10 2017, @05:58AM (1 child)

        by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 10 2017, @05:58AM (#579660)

        That's a really whitewashed view of history. Attila wasn't the only example to prove you wrong. Of course, his troops also went through the armored Christian knights like grass through a goose, so that's more about tactics than about weaponry, but it sure wasn't "only a couple of thousand got killed".

        --
        Put not your faith in princes.
        • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Tuesday October 10 2017, @04:17PM

          by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday October 10 2017, @04:17PM (#579872)

          There were orders of magnitude more battles between counts, dukes and other locals chiefs, than major invasions on the Alexander/Rome/Attila scale. The fact that you could list the big campaigns demonstrates that.
          And a lot of the really big conquests' battles turned into either sieges or quick shows of overwhelming force by one of the sides.
          Yes there were plenty of battles with thousands of dead or dead-soon to process afterwards. But that wasn't anywhere near the majority, because losing thousands of soldiers is a desperate and consequential move (Pyrrhic victory).

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @09:22AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @09:22AM (#579708)

      I see nothing wrong with romanticizing the process of killing. humans or animals.
      you do have to admit though that it's a lot harder to slaughter (either people or animals) with a sword than it is to slaughter with a machine gun.
      you can probably decide on the distinction, and then you can decide whether sword lovers are hypocrites or not.

    • (Score: 2) by darkfeline on Wednesday October 11 2017, @04:00AM

      by darkfeline (1030) on Wednesday October 11 2017, @04:00AM (#580278) Homepage

      Swords are used more for ceremony than for warfare. Remember that swords weren't actually very common weapons compared to polearms, and for the past few decades have been carried almost entirely for ceremony.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @08:21AM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @08:21AM (#579694)

    After all you children are done discussing the Second Amendment and Pirates vs. Ninjas, could we have some discussion of the technology of the Japanese sword?

      It is not over-hyped, in actuality. The carbon content of the blades were controlled by a process of forge welding cast iron (very high Carbon content, up to 5%) to wrought iron (almost no carbon), and then drawing the billet out and stacking it upon itself to be forge-welded again, basically kneading the metal until the proper alloy was achieved, and at the same time removing or distributing any other impurities that could cause flaws or weakness. And a single blade would be composed of several different parts of differing carbon content, again forge-welded into a single blade.
            And don't even get me started on the differential hardening and tempering techniques, which were not only functional, but aesthetic as well. Best blades in the world, for at least a thousand years, rivaled only by Damascus blades. The West could not even reliably make steel until Bessemer.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @11:21AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @11:21AM (#579726)

      I think my fascination with the japanese sword comes from reading Musashi and imagining the grace and focus of movement that can be achieved if the sword is good enough.
      If I think about it, it's a pretty violent and gory book, but I never thought of it that way.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:11PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:11PM (#579796)

      Hah. Doesn't come close to my +3 diamond edged mithril sword, made by dwarves a thousand years ago.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:48PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @02:48PM (#579826)

      It is over-hyped, if only because there's just ludicrous amounts of hype. The technology _is_ very neat, mind, but the mysticism around it is huge.

      Do keep in mind that the techniques used are there to make up for the poor quality of the steel available. European swords at the time were made from higher quality material (even the non-Damascus ones), so they didn't need to go the same lengths to get a, well, weapons-grade weapon.

      It does go to show the lengths humans will go to in order to overcome the limitations of what they've got at hand, even if (especially if?) the goal is killing other humans.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 11 2017, @07:33AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 11 2017, @07:33AM (#580333)

        European swords at the time were made from higher quality material (even the non-Damascus ones), so they didn't need to go the same lengths to get a, well, weapons-grade weapon.

        You really, really have no idea of what you are talking about, do you? European "steel" of the Muromachi-jidai? Ha! 愚かな外国人!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @04:36PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10 2017, @04:36PM (#579880)
(1)