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History

July 28, 2015

"Heart over Mind: The Death of JFK, Jr."

In this piece Eric Nolte, an "airline captain for a major carrier,"  makes two fine points. Here's one:

When the waves closed over the watery graves of Kennedy, his wife, and sister-in-law, calls began to arise for greater regulation of private pilots. But there were already plenty of regulations on the books to cover every facet of Kennedy's last flight. As I asked my friends, how would the government restrain anybody from getting in their cars and driving off a cliff? How does one regulate common sense? And more to the point, what are the hazards of granting government the power to attempt such regulation of horse sense?

We live in an era when most people assume that every new problem is properly open to solution by government regulators. Implicit is the belief that the regulators have enough power, information, and wisdom to meet any new challenge.

Young Kennedy's pitiful death illustrates some of the issues that arise from the question of government regulation and the hugely vexing and misunderstood question of the major political tension of our age: the questions of the political primacy of the individual versus the state, and the very purpose of government.

July 22, 2015

"The Wright Brothers: Even More Badass Than You Thought"

Not completely true: I, at least, always thought they were badass.

July 21, 2015

"The US capital has a short buildings problem"

Absolutely lovely case study of how the dead hand of dopey, ancient laws screws life up.

This situation, so anomalous among major American cities, came to pass because of a backlash against the construction of the 164-foot Cairo Hotel (now an apartment building) way back in 1894. 

July 04, 2015

"The Vision of the Founding Fathers"

A fine reading for the Fourth. Myron Magnet:

The Founders well understood, as John Adams reminisced in 1818, that it was a change in the “principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections” of Americans that had sparked the Revolution. They considered that new culture of freedom that had arisen among them in the decades before Lexington and Concord, along with the new Constitution they created, to be the most precious inheritance they bequeathed to future generations of their fellow citizens. That vision offers us an instructive standard by which to gauge the present.

July 03, 2015

"The floating turd mystery that still haunts NASA"

The headline got me.

"This Week in the Civil War: Lieutenant General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson (1824-1863) C.S.A."

Long, but I thought quite interesting

Thomas Jonathan Jackson was known as “Stonewall,” but “the Christian soldier” would have been a more appropriate title. his military experience was in artillery, yet he excelled as a commander of infantry. Soldiers adored him, despite the fact that he was a tight-lipped, stern-disciplined eccentric. Fellow generals were in awe of him because his silence concealed a fiery combativeness smoldering deep inside. Although he was in the field but two years during the Civil War, he more than any other individual became the radiant hope of the Southern cause. more astounding are the number of people – past and present – who assert that had he not died in 1863, his genius would have enabled the Confederate States to achieve their independence. Such was the mystique of Thomas J. Jackson.

June 29, 2015

"What are some examples of public policy and laws that produced totally unexpected results?"

I imagine this Quora discussion will get very, very long.

June 28, 2015

"The Seychelles – Gangsta’s Paradise"

Amazing. Or maybe not.

June 18, 2015

"Did China Discover America"

Zheng He certainly got around, but nope.

It is these detailed elements, however, that give the game away. Only Europeans represented the globe this way. European explorers completed travels like this over the course of hundreds of years, rather than Zheng He’s 30, which makes it almost impossible that his maritime voyage would have had such a specific grasp of river courses. The Arctic appears first on a Ming Chinese map only in 1593. And the world’s greatest mountain range was labelled as such only in the 19th century.

"What was the best battle strategy ever planned?"

Several interesting answers. Although ranked far down as I write, the answer about Cannae was the most interesting to me.

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