Article In Foreign Policy And Chernobyl Questions

I’ve got an article in Foreign Policy. It’s more than the headline – Anne I. Harrington and I look at the kinds of masculinity that have been associated with control over nuclear weapons and how Trump fits into that.

Also – I think this week’s was the third (?) in the Chernobyl HBO series. As I’ve said before, I’m not watching because I have no desire to see a dramatization of acute radiation syndrome. But I was on a rapid reaction team at Los Alamos to try to figure out if we could help as the news of the accident unfolded. So feel free to ask questions here, and I’ll try to answer them.

 








Early Warning Open Thread

I’ll be on a BBC Radio show on Saturday. It will be available on the internet afterwards. I will tell you about this again.

Open Thread!








Getchya Fresh News Here!

The New York Times reported today on a story you saw in Balloon Juice more than a month ago, based on accounts in Finnish media. A wealthy Russian businessman was buying up properties along an important Finnish sealane. The Finnish authorities raided those properties, which had some of the look of preparing for military action. Finnish government and business websites were then hit with a DDoS attack.

Anyhow, welcome to the party, New York Times!

And open thread!








The Bullying Swagger

May I modestly point out my second article in Pakistan Politico? The print edition was published last week, and the online edition went live today.

America First seems to mean breaking earlier agreements and imposing unilateral demands. There are no explicit statements of what happens if those demands are not met, and, in the case of North Korea, the demands have been fading as North Korea ignores them. So bluster and swagger are a big part of America First.

Let’s see how swagger and America First work out for the Khashoggi affair. I wrote the piece before that happened. Click over and read the whole thing.

 








Occult Open Thread

Good evening…

I put the remember-me checkbox back on the desktop site*, so now you have to humor me. 😈

*(If you would like to use the remember-me checkbox on your mobile device, you’ll have to scroll all the way down and request the desktop site.)

This caught my eye while browsing the local news: Why Do San Francisco Psychics Need Permits From the Police?

Fortunetelling isn’t just mentioned in the San Francisco police code. It gets its own section — starting with a rundown of all 70 things SFPD counts as fortunetelling.

This includes: clairvoyance, cartomancy, phrenology, tea leaves, tarot cards, coffee grounds, crystal gazing, astrology, palmistry, telepathy, and placing or removing curses.

“Fortunetelling,” the police code reads, “shall also include pretending to perform these actions.”

[…]

The application process for a San Francisco fortunetelling permit involves a background check, fingerprinting and even a public hearing. The fees are just under $350 — more than a permit for a masseuse, but less than one for a tow operator or walking-tour guide.

But why?

Unlike other Bay Area cities that require fortuneteller permits but don’t explain why, like Benicia and Lafayette, San Francisco says these permits are to help fight fraud. The police code says the regulations should “protect the public by preventing people who have been charged with deceptive practices from having easy access to persons who may be vulnerable to fraud or confidence games.”

Fair? Although…

Of course, when it comes to fortunetelling, the very notion of fraud is a subjective one.

Well, as long as it helps.

The S.F. District Attorney’s Office has received zero complaints in the last couple of years. The SFPD wasn’t able to say how many reports it has received about this kind of fraud recently, because fortunetelling fraud is not a unique category of crime it tracks.

Next, a shameless plug! Speaking of urbanite occultists, my new short story is now available for free online if you’d like to read it.

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