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John Dale Ryan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

General John Dale Ryan (December 10, 1915 – October 27, 1983) was the seventh Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. As chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, General Ryan served in a dual capacity. He was a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which, as a body, acts as the principal military adviser to the president, the National Security Council, and the Secretary of Defense. In his other capacity, he was responsible to the Secretary of the Air Force for managing the vast human and materiel resources of the world's most powerful aerospace force.

Ryan is the subject of one of President Richard Nixon's more severe rants.[1]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Is Music A Universal Language?


this video is sponsored by Skillshare. hey, welcome to 12tone! in 1826, a periodical called The Ladies' Monthly Museum published an article about the composer Carl Maria Von Weber where they described music as "the universal language of nature". a decade later, the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote that "music is the universal language of mankind." this sentiment has been repeated many times in the centuries that followed, and it's not hard to see why: the idea that the art of music somehow transcends cultural boundaries, allowing communication and understanding between people all over the world, is certainly a romantic one, but is it true? well, the question of whether or not music is actually even a language to begin with is probably better left up to the linguists, so I'll skip it and just dive right into the real heart of the quote: is music universal? and the answer, sadly, is no. sorry. but how can that be? I mean, I'm sure we've all heard that music is, at its heart, basically just math, and math doesn't care where you grew up. the same numbers are prime whether you're in New York or Shanghai, so how can music not be universal if it's built on something as objective as math? well, I'll let you in on a secret: the math that music is built on doesn't actually work. that pains me to say 'cause music math is like my favorite thing, but if I'm being completely honest, it's hard to deny that it's all a bit of a mess. like, take intervals. at a mathematical level, an interval is really just a frequency ratio: if one sound wave is hitting your ear twice as fast as another, you've got a 1:2 ratio, which is what we call an octave. another common ratio is 2:3, which we're told is a perfect 5th, but here's the thing: if you go play a perfect 5th on a piano, you won't actually hear a 2:3 ratio. or, at least, you probably won't, because modern tuning doesn't have any. and this isn't just 'cause we're too lazy to tune it correctly: this is about a fundamental conflict between math and art. it's fairly easy to prove that a system can't simultaneously have both perfect octaves and perfect 5ths, or perfect perfect 5ths anyway. music names are weird. point is, the entire history of Western tuning is basically just a series of attempts to work around this gaping hole in the numbers. early systems often involved just distorting one of the 5ths and then hiding it between rarely-used notes so no one would notice, but that creates problems with some of the other intervals, and these days what we do is just pretend the 2:3 ratio is slightly smaller than it actually is so that the whole thing fits together neatly. but which solution we're using doesn't really matter: the point is that we have to make decisions. we know it's impossible to get everything we want, so we're forced to make sacrifices, and which aspects we're willing to let go of says a lot about what sorts of music we want to make. for example, one reason modern tuning tweaks all its 5ths a little bit instead of just completely ruining one of them is that we've decided it's important to be able to easily change keys, so we need to be able to use all the notes equally. that's not a mathematical decision, though: it's an artistic one, and it's one that different cultures at different points in history have made, well, differently. but music is more than just math: it's a means of expressing emotion, and since people tend to experience roughly the same set of emotions, maybe music can help us communicate our feelings when we don't have the words to describe them directly. I mean, we've all heard that major scales are happy and minor scales are sad, right? And that goes back to the math thing: major intervals tend to be much simpler ratios than minor ones, so they sound more consonant and thus happy. sure, we saw the math didn't quite work out, but our ears are pretty good at adjusting for slight variations, so as long as we're in the ballpark, shouldn't that sense of consonance translate across cultures? well, first of all, the idea that major is happy and minor is sad is… not wrong, exactly, but definitely an oversimplification. like, here's a short little melody I wrote. listen to it and try to identify the implied emotion. (bang) I mean, it's definitely minor: it's basically just a walk down the D minor scale. but is it sad? that's not the word I'd use. it feels adventurous, maybe even triumphant, and if you're not getting those same emotions, well… that kinda proves my point too, doesn't it? but more importantly, the very idea of consonance isn't necessarily universal. most of the big musical cultures in the world have some concept that certain combinations of notes sound more pleasant than others, but what exactly that looks like varies a lot. at the extreme end, studies with isolated Amazonian tribes have shown that at least some of them exhibit literally no preference between traditionally consonant and traditionally dissonant sounds, so this and this were both rated as equally pleasant. this implies that even our most fundamental reactions to music are at some level learned through exposure, and they don't come already programmed into the human brain. but for me, the biggest argument against the universal language theory lies not in the Amazon, but somewhere a little less… physical. that's right, we're going on a field trip the world of experimental music. I just did a whole video on it, so we're not gonna dive too deep here, but that's fine 'cause I only need one example: Pendulum Music by Steve Reich. in it, speakers are placed face up on the floor and microphones swing freely across them, creating feedback when they get close. as the name implies, Reich believes this is music, and I would agree with him, but a lot of people don't. whether experimental pieces like Pendulum Music actually count as music is still pretty hotly debated to this day. but here's the thing: if music was a universal language, don't you think we could at least agree whether or not someone was speaking it? and this goes the other way too, which brings me to the Adhan, or the Muslim call to prayer. you've probably heard it before, and if you're not Muslim, there's a good chance you thought it was sung, but it's usually not even considered music. and that matters, because music is traditionally forbidden in mosques. but it's not just not music because they say so: the Adhan is delivered with a specific style of recitation that is structurally very different from the Arabic concept of singing. This is, of course, a complex issue and as a non-Muslim I'm probably not the best person to get into the details, but my point is that we have this thing that Westerners might hear as music but to the people making it not only is it often not considered music but it's culturally important that it's not, and imposing musicality on the Adhan from the outside just because we can't tell the difference is inaccurate, insensitive, and potentially offensive. but again, if music is a universal language, that really shouldn't be possible. before we wrap up, it's worth noting that I'm far from the first person to contemplate this question: in fact, this entire video was inspired by a post by Dr. Linda Shaver-Gleason over on her blog, Not Another Music History Cliché. it's a great blog, and if you're at all interested in music history or musicology I'd definitely recommend checking it out: there's a link in the description. Dr. Shaver-Gleason was even kind enough to review this script for me, so huge thanks to her for that. but back to the question, this is all dancing around an uncomfortable truth: while music may not be a universal language right now, it's kinda becoming one. for various historical reasons, the Western musical tradition has spread its tendrils across pretty much the entire planet. again, researchers had to turn to isolated Amazonian tribes to find people who hadn't already been exposed to Western musical ideas. more and more cultures are incorporating Western concepts, especially in their popular music, and if that trend continues maybe one day we'll reach a point where music truly is a universal language, spoken the same by all humanity. but if that day ever comes, it will be nothing to celebrate. it'll mean the death of musical traditions that have survived for thousands of years, and the culture of the world will be poorer for their loss. so no, music is not a universal language, and I really hope it stays that way. if you want to learn more about the myriad ways humans have found to make music, I'd recommend this video's sponsor, Skillshare! Skillshare is an online learning platform with over 20,000 lessons in just about everything. one I'd recommend is a course on Tuvan throat singing called Find Your Voice Of Nature: I've mentioned it before, but it seemed relevant here, and it's a really interesting look into a very different musical culture. Skillshare is offering two free months of premium membership to the first 500 12tone viewers to click the link in the description, and while you're there, why not check out the rest of their massive collection of educational resources? they've got lots of great stuff about all sorts of topics, so no matter what you want to learn, Skillshare's probably got a course on it. plus it's affordable: premium membership starts at less than 9 bucks a month, and that's after the two month free trial which, again, link in the description. and hey, thanks for watching, and thanks to our Patreon patrons for supporting us and making these videos possible. if you want to help out, and get some sweet perks like sneak peeks of upcoming episodes, there's a link to our Patreon on screen now. you can also join our mailing list to find out about new episodes, like, share, comment, subscribe, and above all, keep on rockin'.


Early life

John Dale Ryan was born in Cherokee, Iowa, on December 10, 1915. Following graduation from Cherokee Junior College in 1934, he entered the United States Military Academy. He graduated in 1938. He next attended flying school at Randolph and Kelly fields, Texas, and received his pilot wings in 1939.

Military career

Ryan remained at Kelly Field as a flight instructor for approximately two years. From January 1942 until August 1943, he was director of training at Midland Army Airfield, Texas, and was instrumental in establishing an advanced bombardier training school. His next assignment was as operations officer for the Second Air Force at Colorado Springs, Colorado. In February 1944, he was transferred to Italy, where he commanded the 2d Bombardment Group and later became operations officer for the 5th Bombardment Wing, Fifteenth Air Force. While commanding the 2d Bombardment Group he lost a finger to enemy anti-aircraft fire. Later on, this resulted in his nickname, sometimes used derisively, "Three-fingered Jack."

Ryan returned to the United States in April 1945, and became deputy air base commander, Midland Army Air Field, Texas. In September, he was assigned to the Air Training Command at Fort Worth and Randolph Field, Texas, where he remained until April 1946, when he assumed duties with the 58th Bombardment Wing and participated in the Bikini Atoll atomic weapons tests.

From September 1946 to July 1948, he was assistant chief of staff for pilots of the 58th Bombardment Wing and then Eighth Air Force director of operations. For the next three years, he commanded the 509th Bombardment Group at Walker Air Force Base, New Mexico. Between July 1951 and June 1956, Ryan commanded the 97th Bombardment Wing and the 810th Air Division, both at Biggs Air Force Base, Texas, and the 19th Air Division at Carswell Air Force Base, Texas.

Ryan became director of materiel for the Strategic Air Command in June 1956, and four years later assumed command of SAC's Sixteenth Air Force in Spain. In July 1961, he was named commander of the Second Air Force at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.

In August 1963, Ryan was assigned to the Pentagon as Inspector General of the Air Force. One year later he was named vice commander in chief of Strategic Air Command and in December 1964, became commander in chief. He was assigned as commander in chief, Pacific Air Forces, in February 1967.

Ryan was appointed Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force in August 1968, and Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force in August 1969. One of the more controversial moves of his tenure was the disbandment of the U.S. Air Force Pipes and Drums, the only free-standing, full-time pipe band in the U.S. armed forces.

Ryan's tenure as commander of PACAF and Air Force Chief of Staff also engendered controversy when he was described as one of a group that helped destroy General Jack Lavelle's career after Lavelle gave fighter pilots permission to shoot back at bona fide threats, something previously denied them by rules of engagement. This was also related to the court-martial of Colonel Jack Broughton, after Broughton attempted to protect one of his pilots who shot back at an anti-aircraft position also in apparent violation of rules of engagement. Ryan's "undue command influence" later resulted in the overturning and expungement of Broughton's conviction by the USAF Board for the Correction of Military Records.[2]

Awards and decorations

Presenting Distinguished Flying Cross to his son, Captain Michael E. Ryan (right), 1969.
Presenting Distinguished Flying Cross to his son, Captain Michael E. Ryan (right), 1969.
Personal decorations
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with four bronze oak leaf clusters[3]
Width-44 white ribbon with width-10 scarlet stripes at edges, separated from the white by width-2 ultramarine blue stripes.
Army Distinguished Service Medal[3]
Silver Star with bronze oak leaf cluster[3]
Width-44 crimson ribbon with a pair of width-2 white stripes on the edges
Legion of Merit[3]
Distinguished Flying Cross with bronze oak leaf cluster[3]
Air Medal with silver oak leaf cluster
Width-44 purple ribbon with width-4 white stripes on the borders
Purple Heart
Campaign and service medals
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four bronze campaign stars
World War II Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Vietnam Service Medal with two bronze service stars
Service, training, and marksmanship awards
Air Force Longevity Service Award with silver and two bronze oak leaf clusters
Foreign awards
French Legion of Honour, Commandeur Medal
French World War II Croix de Guerre with bronze palm
Chinese Order of the Cloud and Banner, 1st Grade with Special Grand Cordon
Chinese Order of the Cloud and Banner, 2nd Grade with Grand Cordon
South Korean Order of National Security Merit, Tong-il Medal
National Order of Vietnam, Commander
National Order of Vietnam, Knight
Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm
Great Star for Military Merit, Chile
Greek Order of the Phoenix, Grand Cross
Spanish Order of Aeronautical Merit, Grand Cross with Red Decoration
Brazilian Order of Aeronautical Merit, Grand Official
Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Award
Vietnam Campaign Medal

Other achievements

In December 1962, he joined a select group of athletes, who have been successful in their professional careers since their college football days, when he was chosen a member of the Sports Illustrated Silver Anniversary All-American team. He received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska, on May 30, 1966; and an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Akron, Ohio, on June 5, 1967.

In July 1971, Ryan became the first foreign dignitary to receive the Golden Wings of the Philippine Air Force. Additional foreign decorations are Chilean Military Star of the Armed Forces, Class of Great Star for Military Merit.

Ryan's son, General Michael E. Ryan, also held the position of Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. Unlike the elder Ryan's career as bomber pilot, the younger Ryan and his brother who was killed in a USAF aircraft mishap in 1970 were both fighter pilots.

Family and death

Ryan died of a heart attack on October 27, 1983 while hospitalized at the Air Force's Wilford Hall Medical Center adjacent to Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas.[4] He was later buried with full military honors at the United States Air Force Academy Cemetery in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was survived by his wife, the former Jo Carolyn Guidera, his son, then-Major (later General) Michael E. Ryan, and a daughter, Patricia Jo Ryan. Another son, Captain John D. Ryan, Jr., was killed in 1970 when his F-4 Phantom II crashed on takeoff.


  1. ^ "Richard Nixon, Spiro T. Agnew, Henry A. Kissinger, and Thomas H. Moorer on 19 May 1972". Retrieved 2018-12-22.
  2. ^ Broughton, Jack (2007). Rupert Red Two: A Fighter Pilot's Life from Thunderbolts to Thunderchiefs, Zenith Press, ISBN 978-0-7603-3217-7
  3. ^ a b c d e "John Dale Ryan". Hall of Valor. Military Times. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  4. ^ AP. "Gen. John Ryan, 67; Ex-Chief of Air Force". Retrieved 5 April 2018.

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Gen. John P. McConnell
Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force
Succeeded by
Gen. George S. Brown
Preceded by
Gen. Thomas S. Power
Commander, Strategic Air Command
Succeeded by
Gen. Joseph J. Nazzaro
Preceded by
Lt Gen. William H. Blanchard
Inspector General of the United States Air Force
Succeeded by
Lt Gen. Keith K. Compton

This page was last edited on 22 December 2018, at 15:03
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