Why Would You Want to Live in an Orbital Habitat?

This post is part of an on-going series. See the other posts here. There is a great post over at SF Signal by author Rob Boffard, about the feasibility of constructing a large-scale permanent habitat in orbit over Earth. It’s a neat thought experiment: Getting stuff into space, and keeping it there, is hideously expensive. Even something […]

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The Problem with Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson

Spolers Below It says something that the first person Neal Stephenson thanks in his acknowledgments is Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, for the time he spent employed at Bezos’ asteroid mining company. What that something is can be debated: I think it is a great signpost of where Stephenson comes from: a technocratic, libertarian background that […]

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A Quick Thought on Russia and Ukraine

I’ve mostly avoided commenting in a long, written form about the Russian invasion of Ukraine for a variety of personal and professional reasons (including a desire to avoid the troll army that gets mobilized whenever the topic is brought up). But there is an aspect of the domestic U.S. conversation about that war that I […]

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Afghanistan Should Inspire Skepticism of Syria

On Sunday, all American and British combat operations in Helmand province officially ended. It was a long time coming, as Helmand has long been a thorn in the side of both country’s militaries: resistant to the magic COIN dust, extremely violent, and politically unstable. It has been the scene of some of the worst excesses […]

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The False Promise of a Crystal Ball

If there’s one theme that could define President Obama’s foreign policy the last six years, it is his tumultuous relationship with the US intelligence community. The IC is Obama’s favorite target when Things Go Wrong: usually because they did not use their crystal ball to correctly predict the future. It is that misperception — that […]

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The ISIS Hysteria

The ISIS problem in Iraq and Syria is getting worse. The most recent reports suggest there is a steady stream of recruits not just locally, but from Turkey, traveling into the country to fight. The threat ISIS represents (a growing, financially self-sustaining terror state that is destroying countries, imprisoning thousands, and brutally murdering thousands more) […]

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The Action Bias of National Security Punditry

As unspeakable horrors continue to emerge from the areas controlled by ISIS, so too are the demands for the American government to “do something.” Though understandable, these demands actually represent a self-destructive impulse in punditry, and often lead to poor decision-making that results in disastrous consequences afterward. The action bias is a phenomenon were people […]

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Violence and Threat

The filmed execution of American journalist James Foley continues to reverberate in the United States. For many, it is their first relatable example of the brutality employed by the militant ISIS group — their first sense that the men who rampage through Syria and northern Iraq are, in a very basic way, fundamentally evil. But, […]

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