Bill: @LuckyLucky I think Stephenson covered that by some sort of reference to the center of mass of the fragments during the first part of the novel, which was still going round and round the earth. What happened after that I have no idea, because I, unlike John Derbyshire, had had quite enough after several hundred pages. When my wife asked about it, I said it was like a NASA spec that someone had spent the minimum effort on fictionalizing. Or something like that. Sure, I’ve read my share of hard...
Lucklucky: “At first there seems no cause for alarm.” What about tides? Would earth rotate faster?
CMOT: Hurray! Another intellectual wannabe discovers public choice economics!
Wow Just Wow: The whole thing is worth reading. The penultimate one-sentence paragraph stood out to me: “Sectional interest and animosity will deepen the irritation, and all hope of remedy is rendered vain, by the fact that public opinion at the North has invested a great political error with the sanction of more erroneous religious belief.” This is some American Malvern stuff right here. Sounds to me that they understood perfectly well they were dealing with a growing super-protestant...
Grurray: One thing that helped keep the British from advancing past coastal strongholds was a guerilla war in New Jersey.
Isegoria: I fixed the links. Thanks for noticing, David. Those permalinks were in the old Blogger style, from back in the day, not the new(er) WordPress style.
Abraham Blinkin: To correct a small point, the U.S. Constitution did allow “a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution” to be President, but the time of that adoption had long passed by 1861.
Slovenian Guest: Of course, parties would never intentionally conspire. Conspiracy isn’t a crime in and of itself in U.S. law, these aren’t the droids you’re looking for, and there is not even a smidgen of corruption anywhere!
Abraham Hagar: An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. – Gandhi