Now just imagine the pudding

Getting something wrong in the first sentence is generally not a good sign, as demonstrated by the usually detail-oriented Katherine Mangu-Ward in this piece:

The Pentagon’s brownie recipe is 26 pages long.

Um, no. The milspec [pdf] that governs brownies — and oatmeal cookies! — is indeed 26 pages long, but what we think of as the “recipe” is a single section that covers less than three pages. Everything else is just definitions and legalese.

And besides:

Through hard experience the Pentagon has discovered that means detailed contracts and specifications. Having to go such a route undoubtedly adds cost to each individual item, but it lowers cost in the long run by avoiding issues such as having to destroy a million MREs because they aren’t shelf stable… The reason the specs are written in such stilted language, a source of Ms Mangu-Ward’s ire, is because it is a contract and lawyers will shred anything with any sort of ambiguity, which then adds cost again.

Having eaten a few MCIs in my day — chronologically, the MCI falls between the old C-ration and the newer MRE, though the “C-ration” designation persisted well into the MCI era — I am compelled to point out that there’s a lot to be said for infernal consistency.



  1. ak4mc »

    21 May 2010 · 10:06 pm

    Well, I can’t say a recipe that’s three pages long inspires much confidence either.

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