Jeffrey LewisGeeks and Wonks, Working Together

I am reminded of that Old Onion headline: Gaywads, Dorkwads Sign Historic Wad Accord.


About a week ago Greg broadcast a request for some website help. Six brave volunteers have managed to crank out a years worth of updates in a matter of days. I want to thank all of them for volunteering and let the readership know what we’ve accomplished together.

Nuclear Calendar Feed

Many of you receive the Friends Committee on National Legislation nuclear calendar. Perl guru Patrick Donahue wrote a program that will scrape the static FCNL page and create an RSS feed from the contents. That will allow those of us who prefer our news in the new-media format to make full use of the FCNL calendar. It’s also now possible to integrate this information dynamically into our websites.

Subscribe to the Nuclear Calendar Feed

The Minimum Means of Reprisal

HTML/CSS/Design guru Derek de Jong lovingly crafted a beautiful promotional page for my book about the history of China’s nuclear weapons program, The Minimum Means of Reprisal. The page is a nice visual overview of the book including some pull quotes, review blurbs and a list of links for ordering a copy in case you are having trouble sleeping.

Printable Article Pages

Derek has also created a new print stylsheet that automatically formats black and white versions of our blog articles when they are queued for printing. Go ahead give it a try — you know you want to.

Category Views in the Archive

It’s no secret that the category views in the archive have been broken for a very long time. Just so Greg didn’t feel left out of this frenzy he made substantial progress on that issue this week and there’s a temporary patch in place so they do in fact work now.

Our other Perl guru Jim Kelly created a script that will actually, permanently (finally) fix the problem for good. There’s a monster plan in action here for the whole archive section so stay tuned.

Email Subscriptions

For those of you who don’t use the new-fangled RSS but would still like to keep current on the latest ArmsControlWonk posts … you can now sign-up for an e-mail subscription and have new content delivered directly to your inbox.

At times like these, “administrivia” is a terrible name for a category. I am incredibly grateful to a team of volunteers who have kick-started the process of moving the blog into the next phase of its life.

The entire process has been a great example of teamwork among Geeks and a Wonk (and at least one person —Derek— making the transition back to wonk from geek.)

Anyway, the changes here are just the beginning of a series of improvements that we hope will ultimately make the blog much better.


  1. Lao Tao Ren (History)

    The question of whether Dr Jeffery Lewis, et. al. actually exists have been nagging this writer for sometime.

    Is he a figment of someone’s imagination, an avatar perhaps?

    Is the site as mysterious as (based in UK run by ‘volunteers’, perhaps like Chinese ‘volunteers’ that crossed the Yalu River)?.

    So the author decided to take the big plunge of calling Dr Jeffery Lewis and invited him out for a drink when he passed by Washington last week.

    Much to his surprise, Dr. Lewis actually answered the phone, spoke with a perfect mid-western accent, and even more surprisingly, he showed up at a DC watering hole.

    The author greeting him with, ‘Dr Lewis, I presume’, and lo and behold, there is the master arms control wonk in the flesh!

    But he didn’t just show up, he showed up in style, wearing a salmon colored T-shirt, khaki pants, and wearing glasses —- pretty close to what he looks like on the website’s picture.

    The catch: the author was nearly identically dressed, with khaki shorts instead of pants, and carrying the wonk’s indispensable laptop and cell phone. Had he showed up in light brown loafers and khaki pants, they would have been identically dressed.

    Imagine the conspiracy theorists explanations… that one or the other spied what the other was dressing prior to the meeting (idle NSA assets being deployed for this?) and one or the other went out of the way to show up in a matching outfit…. Or, perhaps that is the de facto wonk’s uniform as Dr Lewis suggested?

    Despite the best efforts of the author’s tricorder (much cruder than Dr McCoy’s), he was unable to determine whether Dr Lewis was really a robot. Perhaps he is like R. Daneel Olivaw who reached such perfection that is nearly impossible to ascertain if he is in fact a robot without examining whether he has a positronic brain! But he sure drank beer like he is real.

    In any case, a productive and enjoyable meeting ensured, with the author concluding that Dr Lewis and are actually run by live, real, people who really enjoy what they do.

    To the best of the author’s knowledge, after the meeting, no trace of polonium was left behind at the bar by either party.

    To the wonks, wonketts and geeks who maintain this site —- congratulations on a great job well done!

    PS. The author posted as ‘none’ in the past. In the future, the author will be known as LaoTaoRen and can be reached at

  2. paul

    The ‘book’ page is very nice, especially the graphics and design elements.

    However, I think it is a bit too ‘heavy’ — i.e. the (background) colors could be a /bit/ lighter (brighter) and the layout could use some more margin between the elements.

    But, very well done!

  3. Robot Economist (History)

    Good work guys. The site just keeps getting better and better.

  4. tBaum

    for some reason the feed burner link (to RSS the FNCL calendar) isn’t working for me….

  5. Greg (History)

    tBaum –

    I’m happy to help you troubleshoot.

    Please send us a note with the usual tech support details – description of the problem, what feed reader you’re using, what error message you saw, etc.

    Be sure to include your e-mail address so we can contact you with followup.

  6. SQ

    Nicely done to all! When it comes to a picture of Nixon with chopsticks, of course, any excuse will do.

  7. Danny (History)

    I edit the NuclearCalendar. Thank you for the RSS program. We have added a link on the NC website so people can subscribe from there. I subscribed to it using GoogleReader and it seemed to work fine.