Monthly Archives: July 2024

EP 248 Timothy Clancy on the Israel-Hamas War

Jim talks with Timothy Clancy about the Israel-Hamas War following Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel. They discuss the sorting-out period that follows the end of an empire, Jerusalem as a perpetual battleground, 3 questions for understanding conflict, a missed opportunity for Jordan to take back the West Bank, what happened on October 7, recovering the sense of security, the scale of the atrocity, strategic limitations of bloodlust, unconditional surrender, grievance, pulling weeds vs addressing root grievances, the civil war between Fatah and Hamas, the story behind Yasser Arafat’s rejection of the potential settlement between the Palestine Liberation Organization & Israel, ways to invade a city, the increasing likelihood of a ceasefire, the difference between conventional & asymmetric warfare, the importance of contingencies & constraints, the arms supply from the U.S. to Israel, the increase of Western support for Hamas, alignment with grievance, the role of Indian & Bangladeshi bot farms in increasing Palestine-Israel tensions, the colonial narrative, a system for analyzing grievances, Timothy’s prediction for long-term trajectory, contingent factors of the rise of Iran, employment as a cure for grievance, Gaza as a feral city, and much more.

Timothy Clancy is an Assistant Research Scientist at START specializing in studying wicked mess problems, including violence and instability, as complex systems. Current research topics include understanding violent radicalization as a system, the terror contagion hypothesis for public mass killings, the emerging-state actor hypothesis for asymmetric and irregular warfare conflicts, and advancing methods for modeling social complexity through computer simulations integrated with AI.

EP 247 Sergey Kuprienko on Drone Warfare in Ukraine

Jim talks with Sergey Kuprienko, CEO and co-founder of Swarmer, about drone warfare in the Russo-Ukrainian War. They discuss the parallels between drones in Ukraine & the advance in aviation during World War I, the history of drone warfare in the conflict, Russia’s electronic countermeasures, the niche Swarmer occupies, autonomy for coordinated robots, pilots vs operators, swarm vs swarm warfare, AI vs human decision-making, greener warfare, distribution of ability among drone pilots, current production rates, the kill ratio, Russia’s brute-force industrial capacity, the mix of symbolic AI vs machine learning, working with D3 Capital, collective intelligence, computing hardware, the Russian use of smoke as a countermeasure, cybersecurity, extra-military applications, and much more.

Sergey Kuprienko is the CEO and co-founder of Swarmer, a software company for drone software.

EP 246 A.M. Hickman on Hitchhiking in America

Jim and A.M. Hickman trade stories about the pleasures and tribulations of hitchhiking. They discuss Andy & his wife’s recent hitchhiking honeymoon, how he started hitchhiking as a teenager, growing up in Utica, New York, the Adirondacks, multi-generational itchy-foot syndrome, “hobo college,” Jim’s earliest hitchhiking experience, hitchhiking on the East Coast, crazy happenings, fertilized chicken eggs, a four-year-old driver, psychoactive chemicals, a shift against hitchhiking in the Eighties, post-Covid leeriness, the decline in hitchhiking, finding odd jobs, the low cost of living on the road, Mormon country, ultra-light gear, the diversity of America’s traveling homeless, sleeping in a Honda Civic on a freight train, rescuing a fourteen-year-old hitchhiker in Eureka, California, and much more.

A.M. Hickman is an itinerant geographer from the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. He writes on Substack at Hickman‘s Hinterlands.

EP 245 Bob Levy on the Second Amendment and the Supreme Court

Jim talks with Bob Levy about the Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms, in the Supreme Court. They discuss Bob’s late-career move to law, never being too old to reinvent yourself, how Bob got involved in a pivotal Supreme Court case in establishing the modern interpretation of the Second Amendment, the text of the Second Amendment, District of Columbia v. HellerUnited States v. MillerUnited States v. Emerson, the scholarship around framing the Second Amendment as an individual right, the state of play of gun control in D.C. at the time, the handgun ban, handguns in the home for self-defense, the NRA case & a rookie error by the NRA’s lawyers, legal strategy in the Heller case, sufficient vs necessary conditions for exercising the right, the meaning of “well-regulated,” the specific holdings in Heller, the meaning of fundamental rights, Breyer’s dissent against Scalia’s opinion, the rational basis standard, McDonald v. City of ChicagoNew York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, “good moral character,” the murky precedent of striking down laws that weren’t present during the framing era, a strict scrutiny approach, speculations on the future of Second Amendment jurisprudence, ghost guns, and much more.

Bob Levy was, for 14 years, chairman of the board of directors at the Cato Institute. He is now chairman emeritus. Bob joined Cato as senior fellow in constitutional studies in 1997 after 25 years in business. The Institute’s Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies is named in his honor. He has also served on boards of the Federalist Society, the Foundation for Government Accountability, and the Institute for Justice. Bob received his PhD in business from the American University in 1966, then founded CDA Investment Technologies, a major provider of investment information and software. At age 50, after leaving CDA in 1991, Bob went to George Mason law school, where he was chief articles editor of the law review and class valedictorian. He received his JD degree in 1994. The next two years he clerked for Judge Royce Lamberth on the US District Court and Judge Douglas Ginsburg on the US Court of Appeals, both in Washington, DC.