Nota Bene #63

Hot links from recent days: “I breastfeed my dad” … Station’s merger with Fox costs Denver its Cinco de Mayo parade … Damn those Mayans and their calendar! … Jeff Huber on sticker shock and awe … Imagine, if you will, an all-female society that reproduces by cloning … David Broder on Obama’s first 100 days … Ye olde medieval astronomie … Bill O’Reilly meets his match … Speaking of simple forms of life, slime molds surprise scientists … Lost Benjamin Franklin letters discoveredEarth II: Electric Boogaloo … Nate Silver: When hope’s the enemy of change … Arbor Day links: Lost forests of America; forest fighters of Peru; how does climate change affect trees? … “My bullied son’s last day on Earth” … Breakthrough could shrink computer chips … James Dobson: Forget family, let’s focus on the Beltway … Time for a new theory of gravity? … Paul Woodward on power, humiliation and torture … Tons of released drugs taint US water … Sy Hersh breaks a sad new story … The “Achilles’ heel” of aging … South Africa’s at a crossroad, writes Shashank Bengali … Aiming for 800 MPH—on land … Drudge goes into hiding … Afghanistan’s first national park … A Tampa kid’s pitched 4 straight no-hitters; he goes for no. 5 tomorrow … Andy Worthington’s terrible truths about CIA torture memos … The Sun is the dimmest it’s been in a century … Famed legal scholar doubts his faith in the free market … Female anchors pan the Fox-ification of MSNBC … Gen. Petraeus: What I learned in Iraq and how it will help me become president … The US and China signed billions in business deals today … Sean Penn applauds a president tough enough to smile … Neil Jackson discusses peak oil with Dr. Colin Campbell … And its father smelt of elderberries … Would Reagan share today’s Republican obsession with gay marriage? … Space-based solar power is coming … Obama governs, Drudge screams, everybody wins, says Steve Kornacki … A black hole spewing water vapor? … The general who probed Abu Ghraib says Bush officials guilty of war crimes … Gitmo torture memos—for kids! … And finally, if you’re craving grilled meats and quality footrubs, step on over to Jones’ Good Ass BBQ. ∞

Brave New World Order

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.

Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527)

by Jeff Huber

A new world order began when the Berlin Wall came down in late 1989.The next new world order began when the U.S. Army staged the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue after the fall of Baghdad in late 2003.A brave new world order, the one we’re now in the early stages of, began in late 2008 when the U.S. economy dropped down a rabbit hole that may go all the way to China.The trajectory should look familiar; it traces a path taken by hegemons throughout the ages, straight to the cliff they fell from.As with great powers before us, the military might that created our empire has become became the instrument of its downfall.

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The Deproliferator: Not missile — but prevent — defense

deproliferatorAt Rethinking Nuclear Weapons, independent nuclear scholar Ward Wilson wrote about the recent Carnegie International Nonproliferation Conference. Even though it began the day after President Obama’s Prague speech. . .

What surprised me was the number of speakers who talked about the difficulties of “getting to zero.” This year [almost] everyone seemed to see some serious problem that lay ahead and was anxious to expand on it. … many seemed suddenly to be gripped by fears and doubts about a world without nuclear weapons. There seemed to be a widespread desire to set lots of complex and difficult-to-achieve preconditions. [Two years ago] most of the speakers were anxious to make a world without nuclear weapons at least a stated goal. This year it seemed as if everyone was anxious to distance themselves from that goal.

I don’t know how this makes me feel about the disarmament establishment. Continue reading