Inside the secret cities that built the atomic bomb

Both the U.S. and the Soviet Union created secret cities to house the scientists working in their nuclear weapons programs. Both nations went about this in very different ways and with very different, sometimes disastrous, results.

Wikimedia Commons/Big Think illustration
  • Highly secretive, closed cities were used during the Cold War to develop nuclear-grade plutonium and uranium.
  • Oak Ridge and City 40 — two such cities — highlight the world-altering impact of nuclear weapons.
  • Vacationing in the East Ural Mountains? Bring a Geiger counter.
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So, China has put a railgun on a warship. Should America be worried?

Pictures of the secretive and extremely high-powered weapon have appeared on Chinese social media. 

A railgun being fired in 2008 U.S. military tests

China has put a railgun on a warship. That sentence alone might trigger the heebie-jeebies in some members of the American military. It's the first time any nation has ever put such a powerful gun on a warship. But there's more to the story than that. 

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How game theory solves tough negotiations

Want to tax corporations without scaring them off, outsmart a calculating kid, or get rid of the world's nuclear warheads? Think like a game theorist.

I want something from you. You want something from me. How will we act out those agendas in a strategic situation? Unravelling and understanding this scenario is how game theorists make a living. Economist Roger Myerson, who co-won the Nobel Prize for his foundational work on game theory, defines it as "the study of mathematical models of conflict and cooperation between intelligent rational decision-makers," and while the theory was born in the field of economics, it by no means stayed there. Today, game theory can be applied to everything from biology and international relations, to interpersonal relations like friendship and parenting. Here, philosopher and game theorist Kevin Zollman applies the science of strategic thinking to three questions: how can a parent get a kid to clean their room, how can we reduce the number of nuclear warheads in the world, and most pertinently in America at this moment: how would a game theorist respond to the Trump administration's corporate tax cuts? Kevin Zollman and Paul Raeburn are the authors of

The Game Theorist's Guide to Parenting: How the Science of Strategic Thinking Can Help You Deal with the Toughest Negotiators You Know--Your Kids

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The Primer on Russia's "Active Measures," Its Information Warfare Strategy

KGB-era "active measures" are still being used by Russian intelligence agencies today, according to experts.

Russian President Vladimir Putin salutes officers 18 February, 2004 in Plesetsk, where he came to watch the launch of spacecraft Molnia. (Photo credit: MAXIM MARMUR/AFP

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How America and Russia Can Avoid Cold War 2

The United States and Russia are longtime geopolitical adversaries looking for a new way forward.

The Cold War between the U.S. and Russia is either over for good or a new round is about to begin. As most things today, it all depends on whom you choose to believe. You can (and should) soberly agree that Russia hacked the American Presidential election and in some part helped elect Donald Trump, who has been consistently sympathetic to Russia himself, has had business interests there, featured Russia-friendly advisors in his campaign and potentially as part of his administration, like the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, known for his close relationship with President Putin from his days running Exxon Mobile. It just makes sense Russia would prefer this kind of candidate over the antagonistic Clinton.

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