All of TopherBrennan's Comments + Replies

How many people would be killed as a direct result of a US-Russia nuclear exchange?

When you say that US and Russian nuclear targeting doctrine has changed, I assume you mean "changed since the 1980s", since you reference research on nuclear winter. If that's your claim, your evidence for it appears to rest on a series of misunderstandings.

One of the most direct pieces of evidence I can give that this claim is wrong is comes from a report by the Federation of American Scientists, which shows how the categories of nuclear targets in US war planning have not changed significantly between 1976 and 2009 (p. 6, table 5):

http://l... (read more)

Hi Topher,

I really appreciate you engaging so meaningfully with the arguments on countervalue and counterforce targeting. It’s a critical factor in understanding how much harm a nuclear war would cause, so it’s important to get right.

I actually think we may not disagree as much as you seem to think (this makes me think my posts weren’t clear enough on some key points). I want to clarify my position on targeting strategies in the hope that we might tease out exactly how much we disagree:


Clarification 1: You note that the US and Russia would likely target e

... (read more)
High Time For Drug Policy Reform. Part 1/4: Introduction and Cause Summary

A lot of the heavy lifting in US law is being done here:

TLDR it's possible to get a license to do research with schedule I drugs, but the licensing hurdles are higher than those for prescribing even schedule II drugs (which in the US includes cocaine and methamphetamine). Those hurdles could be lowered in various ways, perhaps with reference to the general procedures for researching new drugs described here:

High Time For Drug Policy Reform. Part 1/4: Introduction and Cause Summary

Re: "change the medical classification of several drugs, such as LSD, MDMA (‘ecstasy’), psilocybin (‘magic mushrooms’), so it’s much easier to conduct research on their effects and use them in treatment of mental illnesses."

I'm not sure about other countries, but under the US Controlled Substances Act, theoretically no drug is off-limits for medical research. The problem is that getting approval to conduct research on schedule I substances is very difficult. So the solution doesn't necessarily require rescheduling—Congress could pass a law making it easier to get approval.

Thanks for this. I'm only really familiar with the situation in the UK. If you can dig up some info on how things work in the US and what looks like is required there, that would be really helpful!
High Time For Drug Policy Reform. Part 1/4: Introduction and Cause Summary

Wow. Thank you for doing this. After a quick skim, one question—re: the UK-style regime you mention addressing the fourth point in section 3, will you go into more detail on how that regime works in your next post?

We've rejigged the posts, sorry, so your comment now refers to text in the next part. We don't go into more detail on how the UK regime works. What was it you wanted to know exactly?