The Diamond Trade – Rough Cuts

‘Diamonds are Forever’, as the saying goes, imparts a sense of strength, legacy, and significance. From a geological point of view, diamonds, formed over millions of years, are indeed ancient and enduring. From a cultural standpoint, however, the concept of a mass market for diamonds in the form of wedding rings and like is a…

Ockham’s Guillotine – a conversation with James Bowery

In a time of crisis, anything seems possible. In today’s slow moving descent into globalism, which James Bowery describes as a system that turned us all into ‘mechanical turks’, the recent emergence of a global pandemic has thrown all previous assumptions into question and opens the possibility for something new. With a strong science background…

Entitlements – The High Cost of Good Intentions

In 1883, Otto von Bismarck enacted a series of stated-funded social programs geared towards offering direct financial assistance to poorer segments of German society. Often viewed cynically as an attempt at staving off socialist revolution in the working class, Bismarck’s system for the rapidly industrializing (and militarizing) nation has proven a model for many governments…

Korean Tiger – the Park Chung-Hee Era

In the West today, and throughout much of the 20th century, rapid Asian economic development was something that proceeded so consistently that it appeared as if by natural law. Like Japan before it and with China today, however, behind the scenes were often very driven leaders who, in South Korea’s case, seized power in a…

Italy – The Struggle for Nationhood

Italy is a country with the world’s highest number of world heritage sites, yet often finishes low on the list of best places for doing business. Historically Italy has sent millions abroad throughout Europe and the Americas, forming one of the world’s largest diaspora networks, yet today has one of the highest net immigrations in…

Cybernetics – Across the Grid

Cybernetics is a term that, broadly defined, encompasses nearly all human-system interaction. More narrowly, and with help of Hollywood, images of intelligent robots and computer-enhanced humans come to mind. But in the real world, and especially when it comes to dealing with issues of pervasive scale and self-reinforcing centers of power such as social networks,…

Podiums, Plagues and Politics – After Dark

With Superbowl LV having failed to garner much interest in dissident spheres, many were surprised to learn the Oscars – Hollywood’s annual coronation ceremony for the most approved-of messages and mediums – had come and gone as well. In an era of very real danger in the form of pandemic outbreaks and very fake politics,…

Invaders Within – Outbreak and the Threat of Bioweapons

With the threat of yet another virus spreading from China and the Chinese government effectively quarantining millions of people inside the city of Wuhan, the world is asking what is the threat of contagion given the rapid spread of symptoms and our increasingly globalized system. Theories range on the origin of the disease from poor…

Chernobyl – Meltdown of an Empire

Situated on the northern reaches of Ukraine in what was once the heart of the western Soviet empire, the Chernobyl nuclear exclusion zone now consists of nearly 3,000 square kilometers of pristine forest that is eerily devoid of any sizable human population. At the heart of this atomic wasteland sits the now defunct and still…

Day of Deceit – The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor

“December 7th, 1941 – a day which will live in infamy.” So said President Franklin Roosevelt in his speech to Congress in asking for a declaration of war against Japan, citing the attack on Pearl Harbor in which over 2,000 Americans were killed. Framing the event as an unprovoked attack on American soil, FDR led…