Best Of The Web
“If things had gone just slightly differently on a tense night in 1983, today would be the 35th anniversary of the start of of World War III, for whoever was left alive to observe such an occasion. 6:00 Eastern Time on September 25, 2018 marks the moment when one man’s decision saved the world from nuclear war.
At just after midnight in Moscow, on September 26, 1983, a siren’s wail split the air in the Serpukhov-5 nuclear early-warning facility, a secret bunker just south of Moscow. The red screen across the room from Lt. Colonel Stanislav Petrov’s glass-walled office, usually blank, flashed a single ominous word: START. The computer system responsible for processing data from the Soviet Union’s Oko launch-detection satellites warned that the United States had just launched a single intercontinental ballistic missile at the Soviet Union. It would strike in 12 minutes.
Petrov picked up the phone in one shaking hand and called his superiors in the Soviet Air Defense Forces. False alarm, he told them. It didn’t make sense for the U.S. to have launched a single missile; the reading had to be a bug in the new early warning computer system, which Petrov the software engineer didn’t yet completely trust. He had just set the phone back on its cradle when the system flashed a second warning, then three more. Five nuclear missiles were, according to the satellites and their computer system, flying on high ballistic arcs toward the Soviet Union. The computer system calculated the probability of attack at 100%.”
JJ Best Of The Web
"Like many Western analyses of the Middle East, they reduce Iraq’s complex internal conflicts to catchall explainers of ‘sectarianism’ and ‘tribalism’ – presuming that some groups of people are intrinsically primed for antagonism."
" he's a loser in the precise sense that his singular accomplishment in American public life has been to lose a Senate race to the stupendously unpopular Republican Ted Cruz."
"While applauding the social impetus, Israelis are divided in opinions on an American-based initiative and question its grammatical integrity."
A look at the networks that churn out nonstop, formulaic Christmas movies; the actors who star in all of them; and the fans who can't stop watching.
"The Department of Homeland Security wants to use credit scores to determine immigration cases. That sets a dangerous precedent."
"Traffic. Congestion. Pollution. Hours-long commutes. What if you could leave it all behind and trade it in for an environmentally friendly and energy-efficient personal copter—all without a pilot’s license?"
"“But Qutb saw something else. The dancers in front of him were tragic lost souls. They believed they were free, but in reality they were trapped by their own selfish and greedy desires.”"
Cliches can be used as a political tool. "Prefabricated language helps everybody from prime ministers to CEOs disguise what they really want to say."
"Santa is nothing but stress for families who don’t believe in him. Trying to keep other kids from finding out the truth can cause a holiday-season-long headache."
"Umami is hard to describe in words. In the New Yorker, Hannah Goldfield defines it as “that deep, dark, meaty intensity that distinguishes seared beef, soy sauce, ripe tomato, Parmesan cheese, anchovies, and mushrooms..."
"The designer babies have thus been called the “future-we-should-not-want” for each new reproductive technology or intervention. But the babies never came and are nowhere close. I am not surprised."
"Thousands of secular Israelis became newly observant and joined Haredi communities in the 1970s and ’80s. Now, their children and grandchildren are searching for a place of their own."