DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE: Nuclear Treaties: Unwrapping Armageddon

Conn Hallinan
Friday November 09, 2018 - 02:46:00 PM

The decision by the Trump administration to withdraw from the Intermediate Nuclear Force Agreement (INF) appears to be part of a broader strategy aimed at unwinding over 50 years of agreements to control and limit nuclear weapons, returning to an era characterized by the unbridled development weapons of mass destruction.

Terminating the INF treaty—which bans land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of between 300 and 3400 miles— is not, in and of itself, a fatal blow to the network of treaties and agreements dating back to the 1963 treaty that ended atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons. But coupled with other actions—George W. Bush’s decision to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) in 2002 and the Obama administration’s program to upgrade the nuclear weapons infrastructure— the tapestry of agreements that has, at least in part, limited these terrifying creations, is looking increasingly frayed.

“Leaving the INF,” says Sergey Rogov of the Institute of U.S. and Canadian Studies, “could bring the whole structure of arms control crashing down.” -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: No One Can Predict the Future

Jack Bragen
Friday November 09, 2018 - 12:42:00 PM

No one can predict the future; and no one can read your mind. We can anticipate future events, but if we think we know what will happen, much of the time, we will be wrong. A person can not predict how another person will act. Nor can we even predict how we, ourselves, will act. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE:Ten Midterm Takeaways

Bob Burnett
Friday November 09, 2018 - 11:11:00 AM

The results of the 2018 midterm election are in. Democrats achieved some, but not all, of their objectives. Here are ten takeaways from the November 6th results. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday November 09, 2018 - 12:44:00 PM

The Life and Death of a Berkeley Bot

It's become a common sight in these parts: small, driverless robot delivery vehicles heading for the UC campus stuffed with food and drinks.

And so it was on Thursday, October 25, at about 11:45 when a small Kiwi food-bot tumbled over a curb at the intersection of Shattuck and Allston Way.

The picnic-basket-sized bot fell onto the street and lay immobilized on it's side, its wheels whirring uselessly.

Suddenly, a concerned Berkeley high school student stepped from the curb, picked up the bot, and set it back on its wheels. Then he paused to give it a friendly, reassuring pat. (The whole scene played out like one of those Dignity Health "Human Kindness" commercials on TV.)

The little bot stood on the pavement for a moment, looking stunned and confused. And then, to the delight of the noontime crowd, it sparked back to life and bravely resumed its programmed mission, heading across the intersection . . . .

And right into the path of a red, white and blue Erhet Plumbing truck.

A shocked crowd of pedestrians gathered around the shattered remains, somberly recording the tragedy on their smartphones. -more-