Dan Gardner

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Oh! OH! I have an idea!!! How about ... Standard Oil? You like? twitter.com/verge/status/1…
Fair point. So release all documents and there will be perfect clarity. twitter.com/fbnewsroom/sta…
"We want it now. And if it makes money now, it's a good idea. But if the things we are doing is going to mess up the future, it wasn't a good idea." --Son of a dust bowl farmer @KenBurns' doc about the dust bowl is about risk. Now. Please watch. pbs.org/kenburns/the-d…
What people mean when they attack something as "historical revisionism" is that this particular revision is bad. Which it may well be. So say so. When you instead denounce "revisionism," you are saying to anyone who understands the study of history that you don't.
Super thread about historical fallacies. My favourite is the use of "revisionist" as condemnation. All historical writing is different than what preceded it. So it's all revisionist. (Although, I suppose, writing could merely repeat what is already written. But why bother?) twitter.com/mccormick_ted/…
Imagine the United States boosting exports of iron ore to Nazi Germany in 1942. That's how nuts this is. twitter.com/dwallacewells/…
I wrote that after the episode 2 of Squid Game. By episode 7, there are scenes that would make a Bolshevik think, "geeze, seems a little heavy-handed...." Still, entertaining. And I'd bet a billion Won the producers were influenced by The Prisoner. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Priso…
If you know what this is and it makes you smile, you're Canadian.
I visited the "Diefenbunker" last night. I find it a fascinating and unsettling reminder of a time when nuclear armageddon was such a presence in our minds that it spawned childhood nightmares I still vividly recall.
Thesis: Squid Game is the Das Kapital of 2021.
A lesson that applies to much more than transit: “One of the things we do wrong in transit is get excited about technology. We say, ‘This is what we want to use.’ What we should do is say what we want to do: Define the goal, and get technology to help.” bloomberg.com/news/features/…
Fascinating reading. And a great illustration of how genetics is changing other fields. twitter.com/CharlesCMann/s…
The closest I've seen to that are big, old family bibles that list family members births, marriages, and deaths. It's such a brilliant idea. We should all start scribbling in books (we own). With a date. Always include the date. 10/
...and this keeps going down through the centuries. There are now ten pages of entries, the last being the South African dealer who sold the book to @MollNot. 9/
An early 17th century owner wrote a short note saying where he bought it and how much be paid. It passed to a cousin who did the same. As did the next owner ... 8/
Another one for the bibliophiles: An old friend, @MollNot, is an English professor whose specialty is English so old it hurts the modern brain to read it. He got a 1568 copy of Gerard Leigh's "Accedens of Armory." The inscriptions are incredible. 7/
Incidentally, if you can read the preceding sentence without inserting "modern" before "major general," you won't be invited to my dinner party. If, however, you are now humming "in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral," I shall greet you with rum at the door. 6/
What I love about books (and other objects) like this is the unknown story. How did a Christmas present given in England by a Major General to his grandson wind up, 152 years later, in a church book sale in suburban Ottawa? I'll never know. It's delightfully tormenting. 5/
Who is Major General James Clarke? Born 1788, entered the Royal Navy in 1798 ... at, yes, age 10. Went many places, did many things, became Major General in the Royal Marines. bonhams.com/auctions/10739… And in Christmas 1869, he gave the most boring present ever to his grandson. 4/
But there is a wonderful surprise in -- of course -- the inscription: "Charles Clarke, a present from his grandfather, Major General James Clarke, for advancement (?) in his studies. Plympton, Christmas, AD 1869." 3/
A child expecting a playbook to involve play must have been crushingly disappointed. The language is as dense as Christmas pudding and less fun. As a parent, if my child actually understood and enjoyed it I'd be terrified of his freakish intelligence and bizarre disposition. 2/
For bibliophiles: My local United church has an annual book sale which always has a wonderful section of old books. I spotted this one immediately thanks to a colourful cover that is so very second-half 19th century. "The Boy's Playbook of Science," Routledge, 1869 1/
Whenever I feel guilty about buying another book, I like to remind myself that I just purchased 1-5 years of that person’s life for 26 dollars.
Retweeted by Dan Gardner
In realpolitik terms, I find China's behaviour puzzling. Such bald ruthlessness all but guarantees that other nations will seek protection in defensive alliances. Tactics like this will deliver little wins at great strategic cost.
Good for them. But this is China straightforwardly admitting it took these men as hostages. Both the behaviour and the willingness to have it seen as what it is speaks volumes about the government of China. twitter.com/DavidWCochrane…
It's worth noting that although conservatives tend to be bigger supporters of "tough on crime" policies, liberals and progressives often make the same mistake when it comes to crimes that particularly incense them. If you want to denounce, denounce. But don't think it will deter.
Politicians who think crime can be deterred with more severe punishment should reflect on this case, which underscores what criminologists have long known: Even educated, successful people don't generally make decisions on the basis of careful risk-benefit analysis. twitter.com/KenBoessenkool…
A story from Vanderbilt ICU doctor Wes Ely, about a patient who is five months pregnant and refuses to be treated for COVID because "it's not real." I can't stop thinking about it.
Retweeted by Dan Gardner
Exactly. Vague intentions make for excellent political marketing but they're worse than useless in delivering public policy that works. Specify the goal, measure the result, kill that which fails to deliver and promote that which does: This isn't fucking complicated. twitter.com/AlexUsherHESA/…
Historical question for the nuclear power Stans: Early ship-board reactors were (are) relatively small. On land, could they have been taken in the direction of SMRs in the 1950s and 60s? Why did nuclear facilities get so big?
The price of meeting #netzero is $100-150 trillion over 30 yrs. The good news is the money needed is now coming into place. $90 trillion of private finance is now committed to the net zero transition through the Glasgow Alliance for Net Zero #GFANZ @COP26 1/2 twitter.com/JasonBordoff/s…
Retweeted by Dan Gardner
Behold, the awesome combined power of identity and cognitive dissonance: "I am an X." A leading X says Y. "I think Y!" But Y contradicts Z, which you have always supported. "Let's get rid of Z!" twitter.com/RobSilver/stat…
There's much evidence like that. Despite being more widespread and fatal, particularly among the young, the flu pandemic of 1918 had remarkably little lasting effect on society or public memory. Were they more used to plagues? Numbed by a catastrophic war? Other explanations? 2/
What will the pandemic's lasting effects be? I don't know. But the great flu pandemic of 1918 gives reason to think it could be less than we assume. This a popular history of the 1920s written in 1931. It starts in 1918. The pandemic gets one passing mention in the whole book.
This is my political philosophy.
Or... both halves reflect legitimate aspects of the human whole and shifting views may be a reasonable response to current circumstances or one's own development as a person, whatever the direction, and it is hubris to declare one half the repository of all truth and wisdom. twitter.com/michaelcoren/s…
That's from a forthcoming article by @BentFlyvbjerg in Harvard Business Review. And a certain book that will appear next fall, barring personal catastrophe or civilization-ending destruction.
When Madrid massively expanded its subway system, the project was completed at half the cost and twice the speed of industry averages. Manuel Melis Maynar, the engineer responsible, had a rule: no new, unproven technology. Ottawa broke the rule and is paying the price. twitter.com/drakefenton/st…
That's a more powerful -- and cautionary -- way of telling that story than Bad Man take in the news. But it requires that we see, as Solzhenitsyn said, that the line between good and evil runs through every human heart. Which seems quite out of fashion today. 4/
...is a young man who saw the injustice clearly and joined with other Enlightenment figures to win a landmark victory against it -- but who, when given power and wealth, betrayed his ideals to support the injustice he once fought. 3/
Why is this enlightening? Let's say you accept the claim that Dundas did, as colonial secretary, cynically delay abolition to preserve slavery (and not, as some historians argue, as a short-term legislative tactic in support of abolition.) Then what we have in Dundas ... 2/
There's an aspect of the Henry Dundas story which is never mentioned but is deeply enlightening: As a young lawyer, Dundas made a fiery abolitionist case that convinced a Scottish judge that slavery under Jamaican law was unjust and slavery would not be recognized in Scotland. 1/ twitter.com/nationalpost/s…
Imagine you're very rich. You can afford to give away tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. How is it that you look around the world and conclude, "I should give it to the place with the $42 billion endowment"? But they always do... news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/…
Pierre Berton would be unemployed today. What does that say about where we are and where we're going? twitter.com/KenWhyte3/stat…
These machines are astonishing. A confident prediction: Aside from those employed to feed data into these "computers," they will render most of us unemployed by the year 2000. If not sooner. twitter.com/BBCArchive/sta…
Pierre Berton may be gone but he can still cast a spell, even on 12-year-olds.
And I hereby call on the Queen to repeal the law of gravity. For too long has it kept us down. twitter.com/StarCdnPoli/st…
If you're studying history to collect material for an indictment which you've already written, you're not studying history. Yeah, that's a subtweet. Of most people who discuss history on Twitter.
Canadian Shield sunset enhanced by high-altitude smoke from forest fires. (Not pictured: The beaver who slipped alongside shortly after I shot this and demolished my precarious balance between Zen and dread by slamming his tail on the water.)
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