"The general feeling is horror."

Didn’t turn this one into a column as planned, but it’s worth a look. A social scientist who worked for the Clinton White House on modelling failed states, got a nasty surprise when he fed his model with US data.

A Civil War within the next 12 months.

Ten years ago, Professor Turchin pointed his model towards the future, and made an uncannily accurate prediction. Just like in the 1850s, crisis indicators were rising, he wrote in the journal Nature. They could be a reliable indicator of looming instability and "look set to peak in the years around 2020," he wrote. Speaking from his home in Virginia on Monday — the day before a member of an armed militia shot a protester beneath a statue of a conquistador in New Mexico — Professor Goldstone described these predictions as "scary as hell".

"The general feeling is horror," he said.

The full piece is here.