Politics

THE HUMAN CONDITION AND THE 21st CENTURY

The phrase “the human condition” has come to mean many things to different people, but here it simply refers to what history has shown to be the inescapable features of being human.  In this essay we take a look at current trends, what they foretell for the remainder of this century, and how the characteristics that make us human might affect the evolution of those trends.

PDF:  THE HUMAN CONDITION

Biology
General Interest
Politics

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A NUCLEAR BOMB WORTH MORE THAN ITS WEIGHT IN GOLD

In the December 2013 issue of Physics Today David Kramer tells us—in an article titled A nuclear bomb worth more than its weight in gold?—that “some critics of the B-61 life extension program question whether the program is necessary.” And, “Representative John Garamendi (D-CA) questioned why the B-83, a newer bomb that officials acknowledge won’t need a life extension for at least 10 years, shouldn’t replace the B-61”. Strangely enough the article omits the principal reason why the administration may think the B-61 is worth more than its weight in gold.

The article appears in Physics & Society 6 Feb 2014.  The link is:

http://www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/201401/b61.cfm?utm_source=fpsnewsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=FPS+News+Jan+14&renderforprint=1

The MS with better quality figures and equations is available here: P&S-EPW-nid

 

Nuclear Policy
Physics
Politics

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HAS THE WHOLE WORLD LOST ITS HEAD?

We surely have the means to deal with the locally rational but globally nuts dilemma, the question is whether we collectively have the will to do so. This perhaps is the most important problem we face in the 21st century.

USA Today Magazine-Nov 2013

General Interest
Politics
USA Today Magazine

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Spring Has Sprung, but the Middle East Remains a Muddle

USA Today Magazine (January 2013)

 

The Arab Spring was a dramatic result of a policy failure on the part of Arab countries. For many decades they have used the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to divert the attention of their own citizens, the so-called “Arab street”, from their own economic and domestic failure to deliver a decent life to their people.

USA TODAY Jan2013

General Interest
Politics
USA Today Magazine

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More to Fear than Fear Itself

 

Memo to the 1%: Be Careful What You Wish For

In the late 1960s and early 1970s large swaths of American cities burned. It could happen again, and this time it might not be restricted to poor areas.

USAToday Mag-Sept12

General Interest
Politics
USA Today Magazine

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Deployed Nuclear Weapons and Force Structure-II

Recently, Sir Menzies Campbell wrote in the Financial Times that British nuclear doctrine should be redrawn in ways that might no longer require the Trident submarines that are currently the basis of Britain’s nuclear deterrent.  It was maintained that doing so would require abolishing the so called “Moscow criterion” that presumably drove force level requirements.

This “Nuclear Question” was the subject of the lead editorial of the Financial Times on May 19th.  In response, I submitted the following letter that was published in the 22 May 2012 edition:

Weakening Britain’s nuclear deterrent could come at a cost

Your 19 May editorial Nuclear Question lays the appropriate ground rules for the debate on the future of Britain’s deterrent: ‘First, Britain must not scrap its nuclear arsenal’, and most importantly, it ‘should only do so in multilateral negotiation with other powers. Second, it must stick to a sea-launched deterrent’  But the issue of the ‘Moscow criterion’ is a bit of a red herring.

During the cold war, Soviet ‘sophisticated air defenses’ had no capability against warheads delivered by ballistic missile and were not a factor in U.S. targeting. I doubt that this has changed.  The defense-offense balance would, however, dramatically shift if Britain eliminated its ballistic missile deterrent and relied instead on cruise missiles carried on conventional attack submarines to replace the Trident system.  A deterrent based on cruise missiles could well require higher force levels to compensate for their vulnerability.  Using cruise missiles, because of their range limitations, could also require the attack submarines carrying them to operate in areas where they would be more vulnerable. And last, but not least–and this alone should rule out their use–there is the confusion that would be introduced by any cruise missile launch: is the missile carrying a nuclear or conventional warhead? Bad idea.

While four Trident submarines would still be required for operational reasons (yes, one should always be at sea), the real issue is how many missiles must each submarine carry and how many warheads need be on each missile.  In the end, maintaining the Trident missile system may well be Britain’s most cost effective deterrent for the future.”

General Interest
Nuclear Policy
Politics

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THE INVISIBLE HAND

IF THE INVISIBLE HAND OF THE FREE MARKET IS DEAD, HAS CAPITALISM BEEN BURIED ALONG WITH IT?

We now have more than enough evidence that the “invisible hand” does not exist, and it is time that this hoary belief is replaced by something better—a new contract between the general public, the wealthy, and the government.

USA TODAY MAGAZINE-JANUARY 2012 (pdf)

General Interest
Politics
USA Today Magazine

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The American Condition: The Party’s Over-Maybe for Good

By June of 2010 the GDP of the U.S. had recovered to a few percent higher that it was in the first quarter of 2007, while employment was five percent lower than it was in that first quarter. Why?

USA Today Magazine March 2011.

The Party’s Over-Maybe for Good

General Interest
Politics
USA Today Magazine

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BORN SECRET: The H-Bomb, the Progressive Case and National Security

By A. DeVolpi, G.E. Marsh, T.A. Postol, and G.S. Stanford.

Born Secret looks at the widely publicized Progressive magazine case and the U.S. government’s then unprecedented attempt to prevent publication of an H-bomb design culled by a journalist from unclassified materials. The book, originally published by Pergamon Press in 1981, has long been out of print and the authors have decided to make it available to the general public and those having an interest in the Atomic Energy Act and the First Amendment. After the court proceedings ended, the authors also donated a copy of the complete unclassified in camera file to the University of Chicago Libraries.

The file is a PDF of approximately 300MB. To download, click here.

ERRATA for BORN SECRET

The following 6.5 MB file has been reformatted and corrected. Born Secret-Reformated with corrections-updates

Books
General Interest
Nuclear Policy
Politics

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From Hiroshima to Today

This is a Convocation Lecture given at Monmouth College on 18 November 2003. It was given in the context of Technology and the Human Condition and is still relevant today.

MONMOUTH COLLEGE LECTURE

General Interest
Nuclear Policy
Politics

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