petdance sent me mail about Chicago.pm, life, and Phalanx---a lot of stuff has happened since I have been away.
The Phalanx project to improve tests on a lot of Perl modules takes its name from a formation on Greek dismounted warfare---a virtual human bullet that sliced through the enemy.
I got the chance to use a phalanx the other day. We were caught up on a highway north of Baghdad, and whenever traffic stops, the Iraqi drivers just switch to the other side of the road, the breakdown lanes, and the shoulder, then just keep going. This snarls traffic. We were able to get our four vehicles, all with turret mounted machine guns (one of them a grenade machine gun) around most of the snarls until we came upon a 10 lanes of traffic coming in our direction. There are only four travel lanes, two in each direction. Screw it---we formed our vehicles into a rectangle, looked as menacing as we can, and just started driving at the wall of traffic. We were playing chicken, four against several hundred. They blinked and we sliced through them, scraping a few cars in the process. I am amazed that it worked so well, especially since most Iraqis know we aren't really going to shoot them.