What is your legacy?

Question: What is your legacy?

Jim Woolsey: I don’t know.  I don’t think my contributions have been important enough to be characterized as having a legacy.  I’ve enjoyed 22 years of law practice with a very fine firm as a litigator, mainly in arbitrations and before administrative law judges on things like technical subjects.  I have served in the government 12 years in these four different jobs.  The arms control work is still a little bit relevant, I guess.  It helped ease the Soviet Union down at the end of the Cold War.  Still in dispute to some extent, one of the things that Putin is today disagreeing with the west about is the terms of the treaty, the conventional forces treaty that I negotiated back in 1990.  But it’s hard to think of much of a legacy other than that – the arms control work.  I think that the energy work really looks to the future. If we handle this right, we can end up with innovations in energy such as plug in hybrids, and distributed generation of electricity from rooftops, and distributed production of things like cellulosic ethanol and renewable diesel, because you don’t need to do that in the Midwest where corn grows.  You can do it anywhere there’s waste or grass.  All of that I think would make our society a lot more resilient.  And that’s, I think, important; and resilient not only from the point of view of making it harder to attack as a terrorist, but resilient from the point of view of not producing nearly as much in the way of global warming gas emissions.  This chapter I just wrote for this collection in a book on global warming and national security has in it a dialogue between the ghost of John Muir and the ghost of George S. Patton.  I call them the tree hugger and the hawk.  It’s remarkable how much they agree on, and how much they want to do the same things, to their own surprise, for somewhat different reasons.  And I’m doing my best to point out both to my tree hugger friends and my hawk friends – and I consider myself both – that they have maybe different focuses and different historical interests; but what they should want to do overlaps a very, very, great deal.

Recorded on: 7/2/07

Woolsey cites his work on arms control and energy as his major contributions.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Think you’re bad at math? You may suffer from ‘math trauma’

Even some teachers suffer from anxiety about math.

Image credit: Getty Images
Mind & Brain

I teach people how to teach math, and I've been working in this field for 30 years. Across those decades, I've met many people who suffer from varying degrees of math trauma – a form of debilitating mental shutdown when it comes to doing mathematics.

Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

How KGB founder Iron Felix justified terror and mass executions

The legacy of Felix Dzerzhinsky, who led Soviet secret police in the "Red Terror," still confounds Russia.

Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Felix Dzerzhinsky led the Cheka, Soviet Union's first secret police.
  • The Cheka was infamous for executing thousands during the Red Terror of 1918.
  • The Cheka later became the KGB, the spy organization where Russia's President Putin served for years.
Keep reading Show less