For an in-class exercise, I like asking students: “What’s your utopia?” I tell them that utopias aren’t fashionable these days; “utopian” is generally employed in a derogatory sense, meaning naively optimistic
Americans are flocking to a film that celebrates a soldier who killed lots of people during the U.S. war in Iraq. Meanwhile, a growing number of Americans want the U.S.
In a previous post, I poked my nose into the debate over whether climate change will precipitate more conflict. I offered a half dozen objections to predictions that more warming means more war.
“To honor a fallen peer and adjust to life outside the war zones, four men linked by combat journey by foot from Washington, D.C., to Pennsylvania.” That is how HBO describes Sebastian Junger’s new documentary, The Last Patrol, which HBO is airing Monday night.
Is chimpanzee violence a product of nature or nurture? Genes or environment? Two weeks ago Nature published a report, "Lethal aggression in Pan is better explained by adaptive strategies than human impacts," in which 30 primatologists came down on the side of nature.
Reported in Scientific American this Week in World War I: September 12, 1914 The Battle of Heligoland Bight took place in the North Sea on August 28, 1914.
In a chaotic Libya or a post-war Iraq, achieving individual safety and the most basic of health care might seem to be the best any government or aid organization could hope for.
Fisticuffs have broken out in The Guardian between two intellectual big shots, philosopher John Gray and psychologist Steven Pinker. The fight, which features lots of rhetorical flourishes and high dudgeon, addresses a serious issue: Is humanity achieving moral progress?
U.S. coalition forces killed at least 1,201 children in Iraq between 2003 and 2011. And that brings me to American Sniper, whose real-life “hero,” Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, was a child killer.
The approach of Thanksgiving, that quintessential American holiday, has me brooding once again over slanderous scientific portrayals of Native Americans as bellicose brutes.* When I was in grade school, my classmates and I wore paper Indian headdresses and Pilgrim hats and reenacted the "first Thanksgiving," in which supposedly friendly Native Americans joined Pilgrims for a [...]
For a professional blowhard, there is no worse fate than being ignored. So I’m always—well, almost always—delighted when my posts get pushback, especially from people who are smart, well-informed and thoughtful.
Questions over the best way to protect civilian aircraft from surface-launched missiles have reemerged in light of the recent Malaysia Airlines tragedy over the Ukraine.
The political unrest reverberating throughout the Ukraine has prompted its top scientists to send out a plea for peace. Since the crisis escalated last week, after Russia moved to establish control over the largely Russian speaking Crimean peninsula in southern Ukraine, it has fueled fears that the conflict will boil over into military action between [...]
Reported in Scientific American—This Week in World War I: September 19, 1914 The Belgian field army retreated into the fortified city of Antwerp only 16 days after the Germans had invaded.
On this blog, in my book The End of War and elsewhere (see Further Reading and Viewing), I have knocked the deep roots theory of war, which holds that war stems from an instinct deeply embedded in the genes of our male ancestors.
As many as 20 percent of war veterans return from combat in Afghanistan and Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or major depression, according to a 2008 report from the RAND Corporation.
Once again, U.S. leaders are beating the war drums–or rather, beating them harder, because when in recent memory have the drums fallen silent?
Reported 100 years ago in Scientific American The invasion of Belgium by the German army, in a bid to outflank French forces, led to Britain declaring war on Germany this week a century ago.
2015 has begun with horrific violence: the slaughter in Paris, allegedly by Muslim extremists, of the staff of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
I was going to let the demise of Muammar Gaddafi pass without comment—after all, what does the murder of this tyrant have to do with science, right?