The Limits of Expertise

  Scott Reinhard, Expert Button (February 2010). Print at Scott Reinhard Co. Image source.   Last month Tom Nichols, professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War CollegeΒ  and a well regarded authority on Russian foreign policy and American nuclear strategy, published a thought-provoking essay on his blog titled “The Death of Expertise:” […]

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The Nomadic Survival Strategy: Salzman’s 20 Observations

  A Taureg nomad in the Sahara.  Photograph by Carsten Peter, National Geographic. Β© “The nomadic strategy is one means by which people adapt to thinly spread resources and to the variability of the resources across space and over time. It is also a strategy for avoiding other deleterious environmental conditions, such as extreme heat […]

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Introducing: The Mongol Project

The world before the Mongols. Map Created by Thomass Lessman for Wikimedia “I will now tell you all about the Tartars and how they acquired their empire and spread throughout the world.” – Marco Polo, The Travels [1] I suspect the Mongol Empire needs no introduction to the readers of The Stage. No conquests so […]

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A Few Stray Thoughts on World History and its Books

A popular 10th grade world history book by Elizabeth Ellis.Image Source. Earlier this week Al West wrote two short posts about world history and world history books that I found interesting. World history books? Mr. West does not like them: “Usually, they’re lacking in archaeological nous, have little or no accurate prehistoric content (a big […]

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Notes From All Over (August 2013) Wars, Graphs, and Biospheres

A collection of articles, essays, and blog post of merit. TOP BILLING “How To Lose a War: A Primer“Mark Safranski. Zenpundit.com. 28 July 2013. Since Pakistan is now attempting to get its victory over the United States in Afghanistan formally ratified, now seemed to be a good time to reflect on the performance of American […]

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Quick Hits: Life Before the Plow

No time for substantive commentary tonight, but I wanted to point my readers to four articles worth their time. All concern life before the Neolithic Revolution – that is, human society before the advent of agriculture and the civilizations built upon it.  There are many common misconceptions about hunter-gather societies. This is partly because there […]

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Far Right and Far Left – Two Peas in a Pod?

Infographic from Ty Morteson. Image Source.One might add “Governments consistently bails out corporate interests with tax-payer money” to the center of the diagram. Several months ago I published a post that describes how the extreme partisanship emanating from Washington is a really just a surface veneer that covers a plutocratic consensus lying beneath. [1] Ashwin Parameswaran, blogging […]

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Energy Use and Economic Growth: Some Basic Facts

In a recent post discussing what we know about energy consumption and economic growth in post-recession America, I wrote something that is not true: “History has shown that increases in energy efficiency lead to more energy consumption, not less.” [1] I will repeat: I made a mistake. I will take this opportunity to explain both […]

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The Power of Ideas in History: An Example From Antiquity

Han Gaozu- Deified Founder of the Han DynastyImage Source Many drivers shape the course of world history. With a few exceptions, I lend little respect to those works that try to explain all of history as the result of one great thing – geography, genetics, climate, culture, class conflict, freedom, or whatever. Usually there is […]

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