Eugene Linden
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Latest Musing


Matt Taibbi, a journalist whose writing I admire, has joined the throng decrying the hypocrisy of pundits who write on the pages of the Washington Post (owned by a billionaire) that if billionaire Elon Musk buys Twitter it will be a threat to democracy. This is too glib. The problem isn’t b...



Fire & Flood
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Deep Past
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Articles by Category
endangered animals
rapid climate change
global deforestation

The Ragged Edge of the World

Winds of Change
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Afterword to the softbound edition.

The Octopus and the Orangutan
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The Future In Plain Sight
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The Parrot's Lament
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Silent Partners
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Affluence and Discontent
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The Alms Race
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Apes, Men, & Language
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Short Takes

May 11, 2022

HOW THE OPTIONS TAIL HAS COME TO WAG THE MARKET DOG: A Simple English Language Explanation of How Structural Changes in the Stock Markets Contribute to Whipsaw Movements in Prices.

Lately a string of violent price movements and reversals in the equity markets make it look like the markets are having a nervous breakdown. The last day of trading in April 2022 saw a 939 point drop in the Dow. The day before that, the Dow rose about 625... Read More
May 11, 2022

HOW THE OPTIONS TAIL HAS COME TO WAG THE MARKET DOG: A Simple English Language Explanation of How Structural Changes in the Stock Markets Contribute to Whipsaw Movements in Prices.

Lately a string of violent price movements and reversals in the equity markets make it look like the markets are having a nervous breakdown. The last day of trading in April 2022 saw a 939 point drop in the Dow. The day before that, the Dow rose about 625... Read More
August 15, 2021

Afghanistan: When Losing is Winning

The stunning, but entirely predictable, collapse of the Afghan military marks the latest installment of our failure to understand what wins wars. Short answer: it’s not weaponry; it’s morale. This pattern of failure goes back 60 years to Vietn... Read More
June 23, 2021

In an Interconnected World, Niches Get Big

There’s an excellent article by David Gardner in the online sports magazine The Ringer about niche sports and how social media allows the best players in tiny niche sports -- disc golf, trick archery, e.g. -- to make a living where these p... Read More
June 21, 2021

Go Figure

Governor Greg Abbott of Texas recently signed into law “Constitutional Carry” legislation that would allow any Texan over 21 who can legally possess firearms (which means in essence anyone without a criminal conviction or record of family viol... Read More
January 12, 2021

A Slippery Slope?

I’ve had some back and forth with some friends on the insurrection last week and the subsequent media bans. Some see a slippery slope towards censorship; I see a unique set of circumstances.  With regard to the invasion of the Capitol, it sp... Read More
November 22, 2020


As is the usual case with things Trump, his efforts to delegitimize the election are achieving the opposite. Each thrown out law suit, each recount, serves as another piece of supporting evidence, solidifying the meme that Biden's victory was rock sol... Read More
April 23, 2020

Relaxing COVID-19 Restrictions will Kill, not Save, the Economy

  [This is a more developed version of the previous Short Take} Those who want to relax mandates on self-isolation and social distancing to save the economy have got it exactly backwards. Reopen society too soon, and we risk destroying t... Read More
April 10, 2020

Covid Lunacy

So far Trump’s approach to the coronavirus seems to be a porridge of Keystone Kops, Don Corleone, and Boss Tweed. The results are bad, but thanks to the state governors and the Fed, the ship of state is leaking but afloat. Now, however, Trump seems ... Read More
March 2, 2020

A Glimmer of Hope in the Coronavirus News?

I’m usually the most apocalyptic guy in the room, but, maybe, there’s a glimmer of hope in the latest news on the coronavirus. If it’s been circulating in Washington state for several weeks, it’s probably also been circulating in a... Read More
November 11, 2019


  An oped involves extreme compression, and so I thought I’d expand on why I think the initial IPCC reports so underestimated the threat. Make no mistake, the consensus in the summaries for policy makers in the first two assessments did unde... Read More
June 9, 2019

GOP Scare Stories Point to the Real National Emergency

A couple of months ago, in the days before President Trump declared a national emergency to try and circumvent Congress and fund his Wall, a number of Republicans scrambled to articulate sufficiently horrifying examples of how others might misuse tho... Read More
July 8, 2018

In Memorium: Koko the Gorilla

Koko the gorilla died on June 19. She and a female chimpanzee named Washoe (who died in 2007) played an outsized role in changing how we view animal intelligence. Their accomplishments inaugurated deep soul-searching among us humans about the moral basis ... Read More
January 7, 2018

Thoughts On BLACK EDGE

I’ve just read Black Edge, by Sheelah Kolhatkar, which is about the huge insider trading scam that characterized Steve Cohen’s SAC Capital at the height of its power. I’m going to offer the thoughts it prompted in two parts. The first wi... Read More
December 28, 2016

On "The Girls" by Emma Cline

[Mild spoiler alert: the book is a fictionalized exploration of a girl who falls under the spell of a Manson-like cult. We all know how that story unfolded. In this Short Take I’ll be offering my reactions to the protagonist, Evie Boyd.]   ... Read More
August 26, 2016


Thirty-two years ago, I did a deep dive into political apologies and published it in the Wall Street Journal. The bottom line: apologies work for incumbents, but not challengers. I suspect we'll still be hearing them thirty-two years from now -- and t... Read More
August 19, 2016


This week Donald Trump did the smartest thing he has done in his feckless campaign. He apologized. Those of us appalled by the bloviating narcissist can only hope it doesn't work, but the evidence of history is that the political apology is powerful m... Read More
June 16, 2016

Trump and the Press

Mr. Trump has now yanked the credentials of several newspapers, magazine, and digital news sites. Apart from adding the role of a free press to the fast-expanding list of topics on which he reveals collosal ignorance, this also shows his complete naivety ... Read More
November 20, 2015

Just Wondering...

Why is it that the most gun-crazy states in the country are the most terrified of the prospect of taking in Syrian refugees? Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, all packed with citizens armed to the teeth, have governors scared witless by poor refugees w... Read More
July 5, 2015

Sins of the Mind

Some years ago the great biologist E.O. Wilson said that humanity was the first species to become a geophysical force. Indeed, we've become so consequential a presence on the planet that we now have to watch what we think lest our superstitions, fashi... Read More
November 30, 2014

Cashing in on Angst

  In this op-ed, published in today’s New York Times, I explored an enduring meme in American life. Our consumer society has banished religion and tradtions to the sidelines, leaving only one’s place in the meritocracy as a prop fo... Read More
November 10, 2014

The March of Folly

How is it, that afterthe debacle of Vietnam, we make the same mistakes in Iraq and then Afghanistan -- of fighting the war we were prepared to fight rather than preparing for the circumstances of the conflict at hand? Of course, it's not just u,s a... Read More
October 23, 2014

A Future We Don't Want

Since 1998, when The Future in Plain Sight was published, I’ve been watching the nine clues to future instability that I put forth in that book come into to the headlines one by one, and, unfortunately, way ahead of schedule. The basic argument i... Read More
August 8, 2014

When Nixon Resigned...

When Richard Nixon resigned forty years ago I was in Lesotho, a tiny, mountainous, eroded and overpopulated Kingdom that is entirely surrounded by South Africa. The project that brought me to Lesotho was my book, The Alms Race, which tried to answer th... Read More
July 12, 2014

It's Firefly Season

It's firefly season, high summer, pretty much my favorite time of year. My evening ritual this time in July is to head out to my favorite bench, nestled in a corner of the yard.  I usually bring a glass of wine: The cat's... Read More
May 29, 2014

Global Warming Denial Lite

             There’s more than one type of denialist behavior in the global warming saga. The loudest voices come from the “climate change is a hoax” crowd led by such mental... Read More
May 15, 2014


[I'm going to continue to bang this drum until I get it right! This appeared in The Daily Beast] In the first quarter of 2014, the economic impact of extreme weather related to climate change, combined with the inherent weakness of an economy s... Read More
April 24, 2014

In Defense of Raising Alarms

A good alternative to a bracing cold shower as a way of raising your heart beat in the morning is to read any review, oped, or editorial about environment in the Wall Street Journal. Today’s digitalis was served up by James Hoffman in his review ... Read More
April 13, 2014

Truly Bad Advice on Climate Change

 On Wednesday, April 9, the New York Times published one of the most exasperating op-eds I’ve yet read on climate change. Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger wrote that articles that link global warming to the rash of extreme weather e... Read More
March 17, 2014


Sunday night was very cold in my neighborhood north of New York City, maybe about 20 degrees Fahrenheit. I’d let out our adopted stray, Noodles, during the evening, and after dealing with a bunch of minor chores, had gone to bed. I woke up just b... Read More
March 13, 2014

Drought, Polar Vortex, and Climate Change

The Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media has put up a superb video in which climate scientists walk the viewer through the likely links between California's drought, the frigid winter in the Midwest and Northeast, and changes in the Arctic se... Read More
January 31, 2014

Another Whiff by the Network News

The NBC Evening News featured the California drought and the newly declared state of emergency as their second item in the program tonight (Jan. 31, 2014). They covered all the bases – an orange grower worrying that his trees would die, the exper... Read More
December 10, 2013

Bloomberg's Choice

Just published this op-ed in the Los Angeles Times. We won't realize how much we need a credible press that reports without fear or favor until we lose it, and that is happening gradually so that we may never notice the moment when we pass some fat... Read More
November 15, 2013


That didn’t take long. Recall that just a few weeks ago climate change deniers were crowing about the "missing" global warming because the latest draft IPCC report on the state of the climate noted that in the years since 1997 the rate ... Read More
November 6, 2013


If anyone ever deserved to lose an election it was Ken Cuccinelli in his bid to be governor of Virginia. In a repulsive display of abuse of power, he had earlier used his position as the state's attorney general to pursue a witch hunt against the d... Read More
October 19, 2013


Every now and then, the editors of The Wall Street Journal take flight to remind us of the meaning of the word casuistry. One such day was Oct. 1, the lead editorial jumped all over the latest IPCC report (a massive consensus document on climate change... Read More
October 18, 2013


I hugely enjoyed the movie Gravity. The vistas and effects, particularly in 3-D, are nothing less than stunning. Great survival story. But, there was one thing that bothered me, and it was not a little thing. In the film’s crucial scene, as Georg... Read More
September 20, 2013

The Crisis Six Years On

Because the collapse of Lehman in Sept. 2008 serves as such a convenient inflection point, it's easy to forget that the Great Recession started at least nine months earlier, and that the shadow banking system started to unravel more than a year ear... Read More
August 21, 2013

today's rant

this is today's rant. what I said. this is ... Read More
August 21, 2013

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