Sillamäe Again

Here’s a light but crabby post for a Saturday. Fits my mood.

I’ve spent a fair bit of time in Sillamäe, Estonia, and more thinking about it. So when a publication screws up the facts, I feel a need to respond.

This time, it’s Atlas Obscura doing a remarkable job of stuffing errors into a short article. Read More

A Different Time

After the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, the directors of the nuclear weapons laboratories on both sides quickly got together to work on securing nuclear weapons and the materials they are made from. They were supported by their governments. NATO helped. The cooperation was a marvelous thing to see and to experience. I had a small part in dealing with leftover Soviet nuclear problems.

In 1998, I traveled to Estonia to help deal with a former Soviet uranium-processing plant. I’ve written up my experience. Siegfried Hecker, the director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and a primary mover in the lab-to-lab cooperation, has collected the experiences of many participants in a two-volume set, Doomed to Cooperate. He has also set up a website for more information, which is where my story appears.

Check it out. The top photos are mine, of one part of the site in 1998 and in 2011.

 

Cross-posted to Balloon Juice.

Links – March 11, 2017

 

Jeffrey Lewis thinks that North Korea is preparing for nuclear war. The most recent test looks more like practice for war than testing missiles. Lewis and his group at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute at Monterey have been watching North Korea carefully and analyzing its photos of missiles and what it claims is a nuclear weapon. (photo of the latest launches from that article) More, with helpful diagrams.

Why Donald Trump should strike a deal with North Korea. Read More

Links – January 7, 2017

Donald Trump continues as a one-man DDOS attack on coherent thought. He has been tweeting at an elevated rate the past few days. I am trying to tune most of that out, but it does slow down my productivity. Since the guy is going to be President of the United States, it’s hard to ignore him. David Brooks captures the problem.

Here’s the intelligence community’s report on Russian interference in the US election.

Everyday authoritarianism is boring and tolerable. This post, from a scholar of comparative politics, is consistent with what I have been told by people who lived in the Soviet Union. It’s why we need to be extra vigilant about trends and actions by Donald Trump and his government. More from Daniel Nexon. Read More

Links – December 6, 2016

On the Donald Trump presidency and its effect on America:  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says we need to speak clearly about the dangers. Similarly, Vann R. Newkirk II says we must confront racism.

Evan McMullin ran for president as an independent. Now, on Twitter and in the New York Times, he is warning about Trump’s autocratic tendencies.

The president alone can order a nuclear strike. Alex Wellerstein summarizes the procedure.

The Heritage Foundation recommends that Donald Trump withdraw from all nuclear treaties as president. Steven Pifer tells us why that’s a bad idea.

Meanwhile, in Russia. Putin and pseudoscience.

Fascinating long read on an Estonian dialect spoken in Latvia and the people who have researched it.

Long read on religion, politics, and foreign policy in Iran.

Issues in South Asia for the next president. (photo from here)

 

Links – November 21, 2016

How much of a danger is a Donald Trump presidency to the United States? We simply don’t know. Trump has lied and contradicted himself. A few themes can be derived from what he has said, but he has also praised unpredictability as a virtue. The appointments he has announced so far give no confidence that the worst scenarios envisioned for his presidency won’t be realized. It is possible that his presidency will be merely chaos and division; here is what I consider a better-case scenario. But we must think about the worst-case scenarios, too, because they will be extremely damaging and very difficult to recover from. For that reason, you will see more of them here than the better cases, until I see additional reasons that up their probabilities. Read More

Links – November 2, 2016

Problems for the next president: North Korea. Assad’s phony farewell to chemical arms. Interview with Assad; hard to tell if he is self-deceived or trying to sell his line.

Attention Donald Trump: Strategic reasons for publicizing military offensives.

Estonia trains citizens for insurgency operations in case Russia decides to invade. The tactics recall those of the Forest Brothers who resisted both the Nazis and the Soviets. Photo from this article; I love seeing Estonia’s forests and countryside, hate seeing the idea of war there. Read More