Category: "technology"

private and public flubs

February 8th, 2014
It's easy in such situations to engage in recrimination - they should have done this, or that, or the other thing, instead of what they did end up doing that led to the current disaster. But those are only symptoms. more »

up with science

July 20th, 2013
I have chided Science Friday's Ira Flatow for his tendency to equate interest in research on a given topic to the necessity that the best (or perhaps only) way to accomplish that end is via government agencies and the political process. This post points out private alternatives that are becoming a reasonable alternative to support to research scientists. more »

risk and uncertainty, particularized

July 4th, 2013
The prospects of space travel include the chance of going out in a blaze of exploding rocket fuel - a scenario in the news recently with the loss of three more GLONASS satellites that were sitting atop a Proton rocket at Baikonur Cosmodrome more »

up with space tourism

May 30th, 2013
That achievement is not something that "we" can claim as a culture - it is something the rest of us can marvel at from the sidelines, but the responsibility lies with the individual people who are actually doing it, people who are brave enough to risk their money on the venture, and the scientists and engineers and managers and bookkeepers and marketing people and hundreds or thousands of others who are contributing to that hoped-for success. more »

metrics run amok

March 4th, 2013
... in the fervor surrounding the French revolution they introduced such changes [to clocks] at the same time as arriving at the length for the original meter and mass of the original gram, and the grad measure of angles more »

when worlds collide, who pays for it?

February 24th, 2013
Insurance as a model for protection against asteroids - concentrate the costs to those that benefit most, and spread the gain across the entire population of the planet more »

Artificial Intelligence (2001)

February 19th, 2013
While the film opens some interesting questions, the second half leaves so many loose ends it looks like the producers failed to consider some of the most basic ramifications of the premise. more »


December 28th, 2012
I listen to a few podcasts, when I'm driving or walking around the city, doing laundry or working in the yard. Among them I find econtalk to be informative and engaging, due in part to the in-depth and calm discourse of the interview format between the diverse assortment of guests and host Russ Roberts. more »


September 19th, 2012
Among the recent news is a report in Nature Materials out of Charles Lieber's lab at Harvard, describing what they call "nanoelectronic scaffolds for synthetic tissues."  This sort of topic is liable for all sorts of hyperbolic rambling, so I'll try to restrain myself. more »

RIP, Space Cadet

August 28th, 2012
We might tell ourselves that the moon landing was about exploration and science, but perspectives of time and profession show the years of the space race in the context of the cold war. Those Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions were footnotes to the main story, that the United States could launch the biggest god-damn bomb in the history of the universe and land it in the middle of the Kremlin. more »