The political, economic, and social regime of the peoples of the steppe are less well known than their innovations in war, in the areas of offensive and defensive weapons, composition or strategy, and technological elements (the saddle, stirrup, horseshoe, harness etc.) History contests each innovation but cannot succeed in effacing the nomad traces. What the nomads invented was the man-animal-weapon, man-horse-bow assemblage. Through this assemblage of speed, the ages of metal are marked by innovation. The socketed bronze battle-ax of the Hyksos and the iron sword of the Hittites have been compared to miniature atomic bombs. … It is commonly agreed that the nomads lost their role as innovators with the advent of firearms, in particular the cannon. … But it was not because they did not know how to use them. Not only did armies like the Turkish army, whose nomadic traditions remained strong, develop extensive firepower, a new space, but additionally, and even more characteristically, mobile artillery was thoroughly integrated into mobile formations of wagons, pirate ships etc. If the cannon marks a limit for the nomads, it is on the contrary because it implies an economic investment that only a State apparatus can make (even commercial cities do not suffice). (DeLanda 2010:67)
Whereas sedentary fields of science search for the eternal and immutable laws of nature, and treat matter as an obedient and domesticated substrate that faithfully follows those laws, nomad sciences treat matter not as an inert receptacle for forms that come from the outside (as in the so-called “hylomorphic model”) but as animated from within by its own tendencies and capacities. [Nota de rodapé 11: Ibid. p. 362-364.] Deleuze and Guattari use the term “affect” (or “affective quality”) to refer to capacities to affect and be affected, and the term “singularity” to refer to tendencies, such as the tendency of iron to melt at 1535 degrees centigrade. The term “singular” is used here not as the opposite of “plural” but of “ordinary”, in the sense that in a line of temperature values the points marking 1532, 1533, 1534 (and many other) degrees are ordinary, nothing special happening at those points, while 1535 degrees is remarkable or singular. Moreover, 1535 degrees centigrade is only a constant if we use a single parameter, temperature, but it becomes a variable once we add a second parameter, like pressure. Metallurgy is the example of a nomad science that Deleuze and Guattari discuss in most detail, partly because the blacksmith as a producer of weapons has had a long association with military assemblages, but also because metallurgy illustrates that special regime of deterritorialization that allows an organization (a workshop in this case) to feed on variation itself, as opposed to subsist on a diet of constants, routines, and homogenized material behavior. As they write: […] “It would be useless to say that metallurgy is a science because it discovers constant laws, for example, the melting point of a metal at all  times and in all places. For metallurgy is inseparable from several lines of variation: variation between meteorites and indigenous metals; variation between ores and proportions of metal; variation between alloys, natural and artificial; variation between the qualities that make a given operation possible or that result from a given operation… All of these variables can be grouped under two overall rubrics: singularities or spatiotemporal haecceities of different orders, and the operations associated with them as processes of deformation or transformation; and affective qualities or traits of expression of different levels, corresponding to these singularities and operations (hardness, weight, color etc.). Let us return to the example of the saber, or rather, of crucible steel. It implies the actualization of a first singularity, namely, the melting of the iron at high temperature; then a second singularity, the successive decarbonations; corresponding to these singularities are traits of expression – not only the hardness, sharpness, and finish, but also the undulations or designs traced by the crystallization and resulting from the internal organization of the cast steel. The iron sword is associated with entirely different singularities, because it is forged and not cast or molded, quenched and not air cooled, produced by the piece and not in number; its traits of expression are necessarily very different because it pierces rather than hews, attacks from the front rather than from the side… [Nota de rodapé 12: Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus, p. 408.] (DeLanda 2010:76-7)
DELANDA, Manuel. 2010. Deleuze: History and Science. New York: Atropos Press.