These Gold Star families capture their grief in stunning new book

The Knock at the Door, a new book from three women who lost loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan, goes through the women's stories of loss as well as the lessons they learned while recovering and rebuilding their lives. Their lessons aren't limited to other military families, though. They'll help anyone who has suffered a sudden loss.

The military has a very prescribed, formal process for telling Gold Star families about the loss of their service member. Two to three members of that branch of the military will receive word that they need to notify a family of a casualty. They carefully double and triple check the information. They ensure each other's uniforms are perfect. And then they knock at the door.

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At the Battle of Midway, key decisions shifted tides of war

Sailors, soldiers, and Marines at the Battle of Midway were given the unenviable task of ambushing a larger force while some of their own ships were heavily damaged in previous fighting. But the heroics of men deployed across the Pacific allowed a small American force to cripple the Japanese Navy and turn the tides of World War II.

This article was sponsored by Midway, in theaters November 8!

In 1942, a Japanese fleet of almost 100 ships, led by the architect of the Pearl Harbor attack, attempted an even more overwhelming attack that would have kicked the U.S. out of the Central Pacific and allowed the empire to threaten Washington and California. Instead, that fleet stumbled into one of the most unlikely ambushes and naval upsets in the history of warfare.

Thanks to quick and decisive action by key sailors in the fleet, the U.S. ripped victory from the jaws of almost-certain defeat.

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The fastest fighter jet in the world is over 50 years old

The fastest fighter jet in history is still in service, but it's not America's F-15s or F-22s, China's J-11, or even Russia's Su-57. Nope, the fastest fighter jet in the world is an old Soviet design that can rocket up to the edge of space and then scream around the planet like a banshee.

Fastest jet in the world? That's easy. Most people know it's the SR-71, the reconnaissance plane so fast it could outrun missiles. But the fastest fighter jet? Well, the Soviets created a fighter jet to chase down the SR-71 Blackbird, and it was so fast that it's still the fastest fighter jet ever built. And it's still in service today.

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Scientists want to give you artificial, robot muscles

Army researchers and visiting scientists are working on two avenues of research that could lead to robotic muscles that contract and move like biological ones. This would allow the construction of more quiet robots as well as drastically improve the efficiency and form of prosthetic devices and exoskeletons.

Remember that LS3 Mule robot the Marines tested but then decided against deploying because it was just too noisy for use on the frontlines? That was sort of crazy, right? But Army researchers are doing a large amount of work to make quiet, robotic muscles to reinforce soldiers, exoskeletons, and robots of the future.

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How the Space Force could conduct an airborne assault on the moon

So the Space Force wants to be a thing, huh? Well, if they want to be cool guys, they have to learn to do what paratroopers, Rangers, Recon Marines, Air Force pararescuemen, and Navy SEALs have all learned: How to parachute into enemy territory. It is, admittedly, harder when your target has little gravity.

Look, we all hope that Space Rangers will be elite, Buzz Lightyear-types but with tattoos and lethal weapons instead of stickers and blinking lights. But if they're going to be Buzzes, they have to learn to fall with style. And in the U.S. military, that means airborne school.

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What happened when the VC attacked a Special Forces base

In 1967, Viet Cong forces launched a 10-day assault on the Irregular Defense Group base at Loc Ninh in an attempt to wipe it out and to prepare for the Tet Offensive. The town of 6,000 bore witness to the battle as an entire communist division descended on a base with 11 Green Berets and a couple hundred South Vietnamese forces.

It was a small airbase on the border with Cambodia. It bordered a town of 6,000 that survived on the proceeds of local rubber plantations. The airbase was guarded by a few hundred South Vietnamese regulars supported by 11 U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers. But it would host a 10-day battle that would see hundreds of North Vietnamese forces killed while that tiny force held the ground.

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Russian propaganda has one surprising shortcoming

A new paper from the RAND Corporation looks into the problem of Russia failing to attract top talent to develop destabilizing propaganda. So, otherwise polished propaganda products aimed at everyone from Americans to Arabians to Romanians suffer from flawed word use, improper grammar, and more problems that make it less effective.

You ever seen those Google Translate music videos? Where singers or other entertainers sing songs that have gone through Google translate or another "machine translation" program? Whelp, it turns out, that's how Moscow often creates its lower-tier propaganda. It either uses Google Translate or low-rent translators who are not especially proficient in the target language, leading to a problem where anyone who can read at a middle school level or better is largely resistant to it.

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The NSA needs teenagers to protect democracy

What are you doing with your summer? While I'm riding roller coasters and you're planning your next all-expense-paid trip to JRTC, the NSA will be leveraging American teenagers to help protect U.S. secrets and conduct cyber attacks, espionage, and more against adversaries.

Remember your first summer job? This author's was as a door corp member, a host, at his local Waffle House. He was fine at that job and terrible as a waiter on Sunday mornings. But the NSA has a program for teens who want to make a bigger impact: Come to the NSA as an intern before college. And the benefits are better than what this author gets now.

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This is an actual Army guide to creating an entire arsenal

We're not talking how to drive a nail through a board or fold a newspaper into a shank. The Army's Improvised Munitions Handbook tells you how to make things like remotely fired mortar tubes, a shotgun, and even improvised explosive devices from supplies and trash. Oh, and it has been available online for decades.

Where should you turn if you want to bring down the man? If you want to destroy the pillars of an oppressive society, one of the best places you could turn is, ironically, the U.S. military. It has a guide on how to make land mines, mortar tubes, and even propellants for rockets right at home. TM 31-210 can help you become a full-on anarchist or, as the government would prefer, a resistance fighter in another country.

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