The United States of Amnesia

August, 1966

Henry D. Thoreau, 7/12/1817

“Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.”

Die Rakete

From the earliest days of the Third Reich, when Wernher von Braun and other German army enthusiasts developed the tech that spawned the V-2 and, later, when they came to the United States and Soviet Union after WWII, helped create long-range missiles that doubled as astronaut launchers, big chemical rockets have held an outsized fascination. […]

B-21: Raiders of the Lost Mind

The minuscule number of Americans who take even a cursory glance, let alone a concerted gaze, at their nation’s fantastically expensive strategic weapons programs quickly run into the wall of secrecy that keeps all but a few officials in near total darkness. Even the Congressional Research Service, tasked with informing members of Congress about such […]

Heliocentrism is a BAD deal for geocentrists

Annals of anti-science.

Sound of One Hand Clapping: The Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site

The aptly named Ronald Reagan missile defense testing range centered in the Marshall Islands at Kwajalein Atoll was back in the news this week for the latest attempt to hit a mock ICBM launched there with an interceptor fired from California. Military officials called it a success, but longtime observers of this program know how […]

American Longevity

Of the ten U.S. counties where life expectancy has dropped the most since 1980, eight are in Kentucky, largely due to socioeconomic disparities. Wagering on all races on the 143rd Kentucky Derby Day program totaled $209.2 million, a 9 percent increase over the 2016 total of $192.6 million and an increase of 8 percent over […]

A Man, A Tan

Melanoma fans will rejoice over House passage of the Trumpcare bill, whose section 231 repeals Obamacare’s tax on tanning salons. From the very handy Congressional Research Service summary of the legislation, which it is reasonable to assume few if any House Republicans found time to read before voting:





Vinson Sails Into the Masalembo Triangle

American aircraft carrier strike forces are the nation’s most powerful expression of military might–being actually useful, unlike the nuclear triad. So when one of them figures prominently in an international crisis, the situation is presumed to be deadly serious. Or, in this post-factual era, not. That the USS Carl Vinson wasn’t anywhere near where the […]

There is only one “Cuban Missile Crisis”

My old New York Times colleagues (the emphasis here is on old) Bill Broad and David Sanger continue their cheer-leading reportage for American intervention in North Korea with today’s headline that the situation is a “Cuban Missile Crisis in Slow-Motion.” They didn’t coin this terrible analogy themselves, thank goodness, but quote a political scientist who […]