That time I had dinner with FBI agents and Soviet defectors

That time I had dinner with FBI agents and Soviet defectors

During the ‘80s, I continued to accompany my husband to tech conferences and continued to always see a row of Soviet “scientists” furiously taking notes in the back.

To satisfy my curiosity, I began to learn about how the Soviets developed their own technology and how the US succeeded or failed at maintaining its strategic advantage with technology. My research turned into a book, The New Wizard War, published in 1988.

While writing the book, I met FBI agents, US customs officials, Soviet defectors, and academics who studied US economic and intellectual property law.

Read more about this experience and how we can connect the dots from the past to predict the future in the latest issue of my Substack newsletter, out today:

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What’s Earth Day Got To Do With Anything?

What’s Earth Day Got To Do With Anything?

Photo by: University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability

The problem with old people is that they act as if they’ve seen it all. I see that, too.

Earth Day is upon us and social media fills our screens with calls to action against all sorts of environmental evils: carbon emissions, deforestation, fossil fuels. Everyone wants in on the act: The Department of Commerce invites its employees to post photos of their outdoor activities, New York City will close its streets to cars for a day, and Google is sending its subscribers digital wallpaper with images of green trees and pristine clouds. Businesses, universities, city governments, and world leaders rally around a day we celebrate in much the same way as Valentine’s Day: Hallmark displays its Earth Day cards next to its Easter cards.

Earth Day wasn’t always this mainstream or fashionable. Or domesticated.

The first Earth Day occurred 52 years ago. It originated at the University of Michigan and I was there. You’d be surprised to see who was there and what they did.

This is an excerpt from Robyn’s latest Substack newsletter. To read the entire article, subscribe here.