The Most Pressing Cybersecurity Issue

At least some measure of blame for why there is currently a proto-fascist on his way to the White House is that the emails of the Democratic National Committee (and several key advisors to Hillary Clinton) were hacked by a group linked to the Russian government. These hacks took the form of spearphishing, which is […]

Continue reading →

How (Not) to Regulate the Internet

In 2012, famous computer security expert Bruce Schneier worried about the rise of what he called “security feudalism.” This is the process by which users place their trust in a given vendor to safeguard their data and their devices — whether through automatic updates, automatic backups, required two-factor authentication, and so on. Echoing the old […]

Continue reading →

Jurisdiction in Space Is a Hard Problem

The Federal Aviation Administration has just granted permission (pdf) to Moon Express to send its first lander to the Lunar in 2018. It’s a big move: the first time a privately owned company has established concrete plans to send a commercial mission beyond Earth’s immediate vicinity, and it will most likely be the first attempt to commercially […]

Continue reading →

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 […]

Continue reading →

The Toxic Pathologies of American Foreign Policy

On foreign policy, the distinction between Democrats and Republicans is a lot smaller than many people like to think. There is a lot of political science explaining why, but I tend to see it as coming from two broad areas: the action bias (whereby taking action is always better than not taking action regardless of context), […]

Continue reading →

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 […]

Continue reading →

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 […]

Continue reading →

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 […]

Continue reading →