Sep 19, 2012

The starship project aims high

Never mind the constraints of the miserable present: the shrinking budgets, the lost opportunities, the collapsing morale. Thinking is free, so let’s think really big. Let’s think about … building a starship in the year 2112. Well, I’ve already been thinking about that for ...

Aug 30, 2012

Going to the moon still matters

When the first man on the moon died Saturday, U.S. President Barack Obama tweeted: “Neil Armstrong was a hero not just of his time, but of all time.” Armstrong’s final comment on Obama, on the other hand, was that the president’s policy on manned ...

Aug 16, 2012

Civilians sweep up in Egypt

Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi’s spokesman did not mince words. He said that the “retirement” of all the senior military commanders in the country represented the completion of the Egyptian revolution. And guess what? The rest of the officer corps accepted Morsi’s decision. Even as ...

Aug 6, 2012

Fat chance of war over the Arctic's resources

Russian television contacted me the other night asking me to go on a program about the race for Arctic resources. The ice is melting fast, and it was all the usual stuff about how there will be big strategic conflicts over the seabed resources ...

Jul 31, 2012

Smell of untaxed trillions

One of the best tax-avoidance tactics in the late Roman Empire was to sell yourself into slavery. You didn’t really have to work as somebody’s slave, of course — it was more like rock star Hotblack Desiato being “dead for a year for tax ...

Jul 26, 2012

Syria's minority prospects

In war, moral power is to physical as three parts out of four, said Napoleon, and the past few days have seen a sudden and drastic shift in the balance of moral power in Syria. The bomb that killed the three most senior members ...

Jul 21, 2012

A telling tale of two Koreas

What has been happening in North Korea recently is straight out of the “Hereditary Dictatorship for Dummies” handbook. Kim Jong Un, the pudgy young heir to the leadership of one of the world’s last communist states, is removing powerful people who were loyal to ...

Jun 30, 2012

Mexicans ready for a change

There’s no point in talking about who’s going to win the Mexican presidential election on July 1. Enrique Pena Nieto is going to win it. What’s more interesting is why he’s going to win it. Pena Nieto, the candidate of Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party ...