1. American security and the balance of power

    American security depends on the balance of power in Europe and Asia. If a single power were able to dominate the continent (France under Napoleon, Germany under Wilhelm II or Hitler, the Soviet Union), it would also be strong enough to threaten the US.

    As Jefferson put it: the enduring …

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  2. Conservation of energy

    A few days after my latest post, John Robson hadn't responded, so I asked on Twitter whether I'd persuaded him that CO2 traps heat. He replied:

    In a jar, sure. Have I persuaded you the climate is a lot more complicated than a jar?

    I was hoping for a little …

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  3. Louis Halle on power vs. force

    Louis Halle, The Cold War as History (1967):

    ... real power is always something far greater than military power alone. A balance of power is not a balance of military power alone: it is, rather, a balance in which military power is one element. Even in its crudest aspect, power represents …

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  4. John Robson on global warming

    If you didn't know anything at all about the shape of the earth, and you just looked around you, how could you tell that the earth isn't flat? You can't see the curvature of the earth, so it's natural to think of the earth as a flat circle supporting the …

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  5. Checking the reliability of information

    There's a lot of partisan misinformation on the Internet. This isn't a new problem. Orwell wrote in 1945:

    Much of the propagandist writing of our time amounts to plain forgery. Material facts are suppressed, dates altered, quotations removed from their context and doctored so as to change their meaning. Events …

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  6. Reason and explanation

    In Enlightenment 2.0 (2014), Joseph Heath describes how conservatives in the US are hostile to experts, and prefer feelings (also known as "common sense") over reason. (If this makes you doubt Heath's even-handedness, he and Andrew Potter also wrote a book criticizing the Left's idea that political change will …

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  7. About me

    I'm a software developer based in Vancouver, Canada. I'm married, with two children.

    I'm interested in politics and history, especially 20th-century history, diplomacy and war, good government, and Canadian politics. How did we get into the nuclear arms race? What were the causes of the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent …

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