Blake Snow

content advisor, recognized journalist, bodacious writer-for-hire

As seen on CNN, NBC, ABC, Fox, Wired, Yahoo!, BusinessWeek, Wall Street Journal
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Tagged history

The world’s only superpower: Why the USA is so dominant

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The United States of America is the mightiest nation the world has ever seen. (Murica!)

Its economy is bigger than the next four national economies combined. Its military spends more than the next 20 nations combined. Its human rights and democracy record are admired throughout the world. And in terms of pop culture, it’s arguably the “coolest” nation on the planet.

So how did the United States achieve all this?

History buff Balaji Viswanathan makes a pretty convincing argument on Quora. Here are his reasons:  Continue reading…

Great nerd story (with bonus material on the difficulty of historical preservation)

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Getting an exact date, even for something as recently as 25 years ago, is hard to do, reports Frank Cifaldi. Not only do the victors get to write history, they often do it with faulty memories.

That said, I gotta think that remembering history is a lot more exact depending on the significance of the event — say remembering when a first shot was fired compared to the unassuming release of an iconic video game.

Still, humanity is lousy about keeping records. I’m no different.

Q&A: History, big government, and democracy

Barack-Obama-and-George-BushI often use vark.com to impatiently satisfy the many questions in my head. At least the ones I’m too lazy to Google myself. Yesterday’s question was as follows:

Are there historical examples of modern democracies successfully reducing the size of their governments, either on a federal, state, or local level?

One guy named New Zealand and “a few Scandinavian countries” without further explanation. Brendan from New York replied:

There are examples of US states that have done it (I think Connecticut trimmed down successfully during the 90s). Also, and this is crucial, there are examples of countries that successfully ensured that the size of government did not grow once all necessary services were in order. Canada is a prime example. It has a sizable government, but it has been excellent at maintaining its size while the Canada population has grown. Its government isn’t bleeding like a lot of European countries are. The key for any government’s solvency is to maintain high revenues. Consider Greece, where $18 Billion in tax revenue went uncollected due to tax evasion. That means that Greece spent $145 Billion, collected $108, and could have collected a crucial $18 B more. If a country can’t effectively collect taxes owed, it’s finished.

So you’re telling me there’s a chance?

This is what my “corporate” website looked like… five years ago

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Dateline: July 2004. By the color you would think I was selling hamburgers. By the home page copy you would have wondered, “what the crap does this guy do?” And by the cryptic stock photography, you would have thought I was either a motivation speaker or Chinese rice farmer—not a web designer, like I was at the time. Plus it had about eight too many pages. Funny how the look represents everything I currently despise about design (broad ambiguity). Incredible it was only five years ago. At least I had the insight to bet big on open source!