Blog Profile / The Edge of the American West

Filed Under:History / US History
Posts on Regator:506
Posts / Week:1.3
Archived Since:April 9, 2010

Blog Post Archive

The Life and Death of Technologies

The dial tone is nearly a century old, leading the New York Times to do a magazine piece on it. The article is interesting, and you should read it, but it made me think of the life and death of technologies. Something like the dial tone has already largely disappeared from American life. Show More Summary

Introduction: The Leading Edge

Just in time for the American Historical Association meeting (or #AHA2014 as the cool twitter kids have it) I’m starting a new feature on this blog. Modeled after John Scalzi’s “Big Idea” pieces, this series will give historians a chance to submit a piece about their current project – dissertation, book, etc. Show More Summary

Evolution and Tribalism

The left blogosphere has been remarking on a Pew Center poll showing that Republican belief in evolution has been dropping over the last four years. Kevin Drum thinks it’s tribalism: I don’t think it shows that conservatives are becoming more hostile to science, or even more hostile to evolution. Show More Summary

The Military, Unleashed

This: Until the pendulum swings back and Congress proves willing to issue declarations of war in circumstances that permit no-holds-barred fighting, the military will continue to be asked to act with finesse. is a myth. There has never...Show More Summary

Right vs. Law

From the comments to this post, Mark Lafue’s quite reasonable comment: I am perhaps groggy and not thinking clearly, but are there ways in which freedom of speech is protected by laws not derived from the constitution? There are andShow More Summary

Unruly Academics, Part II

Felix Salmon has the same opinion of the Times article that I did: Which is why David Kocieniewski’s article about Craig Pirrong and Scott Irwin this weekend is such a disappointment. It’s currently doing very well on the NYT’s most-emailed...Show More Summary

Unruly Academics, Uppity Workers

Unruly Academics The New York Times has discovered influence peddling in academia, and it’s front page news: But interviews with dozens of academics and traders, and a review of hundreds of emails and other documents involving two highly visible professors in the commodities field — Mr. Show More Summary

In Wonderful News For Freedom Everywhere

dialing…867-5309 A judge has ruled that the NSA can, in fact, collect lots of random information about Americans. Goody: While robust discussions are underway across the nation, in Congress and at the White House, the question for this court is whether the government’s bulk telephony metadata program is lawful. Show More Summary


Alan Turing was pardoned by the Queen this past week. I use “pardon” because it is the official word, but the reality is that the British government should have begged forgiveness of Turing’s family. This blog has talked about Turing before. Show More Summary

The Guns of Fredericksburg

Flamethrower in action [Guest post! Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai of Angelo State University returns and is kind enough to write for Edge on memorializing the Pacific War in Texas. Post and photos copyright K. Wongsrichanalai 2013.] On the...Show More Summary

Your Flow Of Touch Screens And High Fructose Corn Syrup

The Duffelblog is the military equivalent of The Onion and frequently just as funny. Today, a (fictional) serviceman responds to a 1st grader’s letter: Despite my distaste for limp platitudes, I am, by all rights, a patriot. For this reason, I find your depiction of our nation’s flag with six stars and five stripes particularly offensive. Show More Summary

Military & Political History Linkage

Two military history links worth a look: Underwater D-Day Wrecks: A unique expedition to map sunken allied vessels off the Normandy Coast has revealed stunning never-before-seen images from beneath the waves. Using state-of-the-art sonar...Show More Summary

A Short And Probably Partial List Of Historical Analogies Currently In Heavy Rotation

Historical event or person with potentially applicable current parallel: Pearl Harbor – Benghazi Munich – The agreement with Iran. Cold War – Nelson Mandela, Communist! President Obama shakes hands with Raul Castro, COMMUNIST! WorldShow More Summary


Montgomery County weather alert included the following: If you must drive, please use extreme caution and allow plenty of breaking distance as pavement conditions remain unfavorable. Yes.

The Man In The Arena

Teddy Roosevelt, 1910: It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose...Show More Summary

Niall Ferguson, Redux

I would like to offer translations of parts of Niall Ferguson’s recent blog post. This: In any case, our 2010 letter did not make a prediction about inflation. What we said was: The planned asset purchases risk currency debasement and inflation, and we do not think they will achieve the Fed’s objective of promoting employment. Show More Summary

Everything Was New Once

A random tweet My toddler does not understand that all media isn't on demand. He has always been able to get any song/show any time on any gadget. — Farhad Manjoo (@fmanjoo) December 2, 2013 led to a snarky response on my part: My [daughter/son] has always been able to [insert cool new technology ten years ago]. Show More Summary


My beloved ordered a new phone last night, including the chance to inscribe something on its back. The choice wasn’t completely unlimited, however: This, of course, led to 10 minutes of trying different, NSFW things, and some giggling (or dignified chuckling on my part). Yes, we are ten years old.

Fun with Numbers

Shorter Jonathan Haber: If I just make numerical assumptions as favorable as possible, I can get a MOOC class completion rate up to 48%: Using the number Coursera sent him of “Total Registered Students” (i.e., the number of people who hit the Enroll button) as a denominator does indeed give you a completion percentage of 5 percent. Show More Summary

Snatching The Victuals From The Table, Or, The Munich Of The Middle East

Piece of Paper “The German dictator, instead of snatching the victuals from the table, has been content to have them served to him course by course.” Winston Churchill, October 5, 1938. Bret Stephens, at the Wall Street Journal, writes a…well…basically loses his mind: After World War II the U.S. Show More Summary

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