War Is Hell. Mary Roach Met the Folks Who Make It Less So.
These "white hat military scientists" try to keep soldiers alive and comfortable.
Talking from her home in Oakland, California, she describes how the British instituted fly-kill quotas in World War II; why Velcro is a sniper’s enemy; and how improvised explosive devices (IEDs) can blow apart a soldier’s sex life. (Meet the dogs who go into combat.)
I write about a particular military subset: white hat military scientists. I don’t cover weapons or strategies, building a better bomb or designing a submarine. It’s about the human entity: the soldier and everything that entity deals with—extreme heat, loud noise, fear and panic, food poisoning, and flies.
I got interested in the topic in an odd way. I was reporting a story in India on the world’s hottest chili pepper and in the course of my