Perhaps it was the guy with the Viking helmet and face paint, the one who looked like he just left a 5th Century frat party. Maybe it was the sight of a violent throng scaling the walls of the U.S. Capitol, most of whom had clearly stocked up at the Trump merch store before setting off to topple a duly elected government. Whatever the reasons, the events of January 6, 2021 in Washington D.C. echoed those of August 24, 410 in Rome, both for their contemporary symbolism and for the lessons that one can teach us about the other.

Sixteen…


Abraham Lincoln, who called us to be touched by the “better angels of our nature” in a moment of crisis.

Tomorrow, the final chapter in our selection of the 46th president of the United States will unfold. It’s been a long, dark chapter in our history and it’s easy to give in to cynicism, anger and fear. It often feels like these three elements dominate our culture, having exiled what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature” to a naïve past. But our better angels aren’t in exile, even if our current president and a good portion of the country are deaf to their pleas. …


It’s an understatement to say that this is a extraordinary time. Uncertainly about the severity and duration of the crisis makes it all the more so.

I think it’s also safe to say that it is difficult for all of us both personally and professionally. From a business perspective, I’m sure that possibilities we had all been hoping or planning for in 2020 will not materialize. For others, the economic damage will be far more severe than just unfulfilled growth. …


When it comes to the asteroid threat, we must outperform the dinosaurs

Above the Yucatan Peninsula, 65 million years ago.

Fighter pilots have a saying — it’s the bogey you don’t see that will generally get you.

This maxim was on full display on February 15, 2013. That day, the astronomical world had its gaze fixed over the eastern Indian Ocean, off Sumatra, where Asteroid 2012 DA14 was due to give the Earth a relatively close shave, missing terra firma by just 17,200 miles, well inside the orbit of the moon (an altitude of 240,000 miles), and even those of geostationary satellites (22,000 miles). The asteroid measured 150…


A (very) brief history of the D Day landings in France

Note: After a few requests to put them all in one place, below is a compilation of several social media entries I posted on Instagram and Facebook on June 6, 2018, the 74th anniversary of D Day. They were intended to be a short and digestible account, readable but with enough detail and lesser-known personalities to be interesting to regular (non-history nerd) readers. …


Putting people on Mars

The Red Planet

The fifth annual Humans to Mars Summit, recently concluded in Washington, D.C., was an interplanetary tour-de-force. Produced by the international not-for-profit Explore Mars, Inc., the conference gathered distinguished panels representing multiple national space agencies, industrial titans, academic experts, the moon-walking Dr. Buzz Aldrin (who belongs in a category of his own) and others. Overall, the participants discussed and opined on the myriad of technological, psychological, physiological and political challenges presented by the epic goal of landing a human mission on Mars by the mid 2030s.

Listening to the back-and-forth, one inescapable theme began to emerge. The…


The End of the Beginning

Russian navy corvette Steregushchy, destroyer Nastoichivy and frigate Admiral Gorshkov anchored at Russia's Baltic Sea base.

Breathless talk of the End of Times has been a feature of right-wing America for some time, especially during the Obama years. Now the left is joining in. Many of us imagine stiff-armed seig-heils, swastika banners, and white hoods lining Pennsylvania Avenue on January 20. We cannot bear the image of Donald Trump occupying the office of Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt and Kennedy. We certainly did not support George W. …


President Woodrow Wilson asks Congress to declare war on Germany, April 1917. The debate, often heated, took four days but the legitimacy of the decision to launch America into a world war was unquestioned, as was the process by which the decision was made.

The end of the 2016 presidential election is finally in sight. It has been unpleasant, revealed deeper fissures than even the last eight rancorous years had laid bare, and revived fringe groups on the far-right which not long ago had seemed rightly relegated to the dustbin of history. Moreover the campaign has weakened the Republic itself. A November 3 New York Times/CBS poll found a large majority of Americans repulsed by the campaign, and significant numbers of Republican voters in particular questioning the legitimacy of the election process. …


The West is in retreat. A generation after their convincing victory in the Cold War the republics of the West are beset by fear and anger. Their peoples display a diminishing faith in civil institutions and an increasing sense of tribalism. Civil unrest, economic stagnation and deadlocked political systems feed these trends. So the Western republics which so recently stood atop the pile of history, littered with vanquished despotisms of all sorts, now veer from one crisis to the next, seemingly bereft of the strength to govern effectively. Some of our most basic institutions are unable or unwilling to conduct…


Dream Chaser, the sexiest of the new fleet of reusable private cargo haulers to the ISS. Credit: Sierra Nevada Corp.

Fans of the Alien movie franchise are familiar with the Hollywood trope of the evil mega-corporation. Space corporations may not yet operate interstellar commercial freighters like the Nostromo (yet), but last week they got a boost that would delight even the Weyland-Yutani Corporation. On January 14, America’s space agency took another step in privatizing the final frontier. NASA announced the winners in a second round of private sector competition to resupply the International Space Station (ISS). The move furthers private access to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) — an altitude once literally beyond the grasp of corporate America. New as it…

Mack Bradley

Father, business owner, writer, #NASAsocial alumnus, #STL Crime Commission member.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store