Issue 26: from the South-China Sea to the ozone hole
World war 3, doomsday, ozone hole, 100 billion ICBM's and mental models
Welcome to this week’s issue of the Anti-Apocalyptus newsletter. Each week I send you five links about some of the most important challenges of our time such as climate change, weapons of mass destruction, emerging technologies, mass causes of death and great power wars. If you haven’t done so yet, feel free to subscribe at the button below, hit the heart button or share this email with anyone who could be interested.
WIRED decided to publish an excerpt of the novel 2034, written by writer Elliot Ackerman and US admiral James Stavridis. In it they describe how a third world war between China and the US might erupt, and explore some of the military themes and technologies behind it. As a work of fiction, it’s about similar to a Tom Clancy novel, but the themes it discusses are quite interesting. The authors note how in the Cold War, literary representations of a hot war helped avert it, so producing fiction about a possible Sino-US war could be a worthwhile avenue for preventing it.
TANK Magazine - Doomsday daybreak
Great essay by Thomas Moynihan (whose interview was already featured in this newsletter), about his latest book X-Risk. In it he discusses how the notion that humanity, and all life on earth, could go extinct has been a relatively recent idea, which only arose in the last few hundred years. Moynihan then charts how we came to this realisation, which science advances lay at the basis of it and why this thought of extinction is so important to our evolution as a species.
The Science of Fiction - What would have happened if we never fixed the ozone hole?
Fun, short newsletter about the hole in the ozone layer, and how regulatory action shrunk it. The ozone hole today of course is mainly seen through a lens of eighties and nineties nostalgia, but it offered a real threat to humanity, which we impressively managed to combat relatively effectively.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists - Why is America getting a new $100 billion nuclear weapon?
A great feature about the replacement of the US ICBM arsenal. These land-based, nuclear missiles have been largely the same since the 1970ies, and are now up for a massive billion dollar replacement. Yet there are strong doubts about how sane this is, and whether it might even endanger nuclear stability.
Interesting podcast interview with Zeynep Tufekci by Ezra Klein. Tufekci is a columnist and sociology professor, who has managed to be largely right about the COVID-19 pandemic, besides a range of previous topics. Which isn’t easy for someone in media. This podcast looks into which mental models she uses to make sense of the world.
I hope you enjoyed this newsletter. Feel free to send me comments or remarks by responding to this email. If you haven’t done so yet, please subscribe at the link below, hit the heart button or forward this email to anyone who could be interested.