Nov 13 2017

Why I’m quitting Uber

I was a very early user of Uber: I discovered it during an Apple Developer Conference week in San Francisco in 2010, when Uber was still in “beta”; some of the famous after-parties were using it to get developers to their often-obscure locations. As soon as it came to New York the next year, I …

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Apr 12 2016

WaitButWhy and Iron Man

Really first class article about Elon Musk, Tesla, SpaceX, energy use, and the future of the world. So on my visit to California, I had two goals in mind: to understand as best I could what Musk and his teams were working on so feverishly and why it mattered so much, and to try to …

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Apr 12 2016

Brain imaging during LSD use

Increased visual cortex cerebral blood flow (CBF), decreased visual cortex alphapower, and a greatly expanded primary visual cortex (V1) functional connectivity profile correlated strongly with ratings of visual hallucinations, implying that intrinsic brain activity exerts greater influence on visual processing in the psychedelic state, thereby defining its hallucinatory quality. Neural correlates of the LSD experience revealed by …

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Jan 04 2016

Glorious exhibit of the quest to determine longitude at sea

In many ways, this was the space program of the 18th century. The current exhibit at Mystic Seaport is glorious and mesmerizing. “For centuries, longitude (east-west position) was a matter of life and death at sea. Ships that went off course had no way to re-discover their longitude…With life-changing sums of money on offer, the …

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May 05 2015

Avenue Q does Lion King

What can I say? A charming and witty parody of the Lion King by the cast Avenue Q for the 2015 Broadway Cares’ Easter Bonnet Competition. They won best presentation. Hilarious: “…pink pajamas, penguins on the bottom…”

Apr 24 2015

Scientists find missing link in Yellowstone plumbing

Yellowstone is essentially like a boil on the earth: a giant pool of hot melted rock sitting just below the crust, or skin, of the planet, periodically reaching an explosive stage. Since the crust moves over time, past explosions have left scars in a chain across the North American continent. This giant volcano is very …

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Apr 22 2015

Old tech can be good tech

To the delight of the attendees at the conference where the results were announced, Jonathan Betts was able to announce that Clock B lost 5/8ths of a second over the 100 days – a phenomenal achievement and a tribute to Harrison. http://www.salonqp.com/updates/watch-news/john-harrison-guinness-world-record-clock-greenwich-observatory/

Aug 08 2014

Why I quit Amazon

I submitted this as feedback on my Amazon account today. I’ve been a long-time Amazon customer, since 1997 in fact, and have purchased thousands of dollars and dozens of items from you in the last 17 years. I’ve always been pleased with the utility of your website and the ease of purchasing books, music, and …

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Jul 07 2014

Peeling Sticky Tape Produces X-rays

Absolutely amazing to think that simply peeling everyday tape can produce high energy bursts such as  x-rays, but it does. As the scientists suggest, this is the simplest and cheapest way to produce x-rays ever invented.   Peeling Sticky Tape Produces X-rays

May 19 2014

Sun’s twin

A team of researchers led by University of Texas at Austin astronomer Ivan Ramirez has identified the first “sibling” of the Sun… Astronomers Find Sun’s ‘Long-Lost Brother,’ Pave Way for Family Reunion Elemental Abundances Of Solar Sibling Candidates  

May 19 2014

Earth’s biggest volcano

Covering an area roughly equivalent to the British Isles or the state of New Mexico, this volcano, dubbed the Tamu Massif, is nearly as big as the giant volcanoes of Mars, placing it among the largest in the Solar System…Located about 1,000 miles east of Japan…Tamu Massif covers an area of about 120,000 square miles.” …

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Apr 26 2014

Rediscovering the early images of space exploration

Once upon a time, NASA collected high resolution photos of the Moon and Earth on tapes, transmitted by early-generation satellites. Then they put the tapes away. Then the tape decks stopped working, and the companies stopped making them, and the engineers retired, and the tapes were forgotten. And then one day someone found an old …

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Apr 10 2014

All the water on Earth, shown as a drop…

I don’t know, I assume when I look at maps that the oceans are deep. I mean, the Earth is ⅔ water, and maps give the illusion that Earth is mostly water by volume. It isn’t. It’s mostly water by surface area. By volume? Just a drop. USGS Water Science School.

Mar 18 2014

Alan Turing was a genius in chemistry and biology, too

A theory of Turing’s regarding cell differentiation – all the more remarkable since he was a mathematician, not a biologist – has just been proved, 60 years after he killed himself following prosecution and conviction as a homosexual. This is the man who cracked the German WWII ciphers, devised the universally accepted test for artificial …

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Mar 17 2014

Historic confirmation of the Big Bang and cosmic inflation

Looks like the Big Bang theory has been essentially indisputably confirmed with the discovery of microwave echoes of “inflation”, the incomprehensibly rapid expansion of the universe from a dimensionless point to the size of a marble in a trillionth of a second. Big Bang’s Smoking Gun

Nov 17 2013

“Tesla Motors may make its own batteries”

It was only a matter of time for Tesla to come to this conclusion. Buying batteries from a foreign supplier left them vulnerable in the long term to single-source risk: suppose Panasonic had a fire, or raised its prices exorbitently? Not to mention that Tesla has no real control over the timing of manufacture or the …

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Nov 12 2013

iOS vs. Android: why Steve Jobs blew his stack

Jobs was betrayed by Eric Schmidt of Google even as Schmidt sat on Apple’s board. So much for “don’t be evil” (Google’s motto). Jobs had trusted Google’s cofounders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt was on Apple’s board. All three had been telling Jobs about Android, but they kept telling him it …

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Nov 12 2013

Yet Another Inane Post: “Is Tesla Motors Doomed?”

It’s getting tiresome seeing lazy blog posters trolling for readers by posting wildly overdramatic headlines. Like this one. One, Two, and Now Three Fires: Is Tesla Motors Doomed? No, Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) is not doomed… So why read beyond the first 6 words?

Oct 25 2013

Five Billion Years of Solitude

Reviews of a new book on astrobiology, the history of the earth, and our future. …in equal parts, a primer on the search for alien worlds, a biography of Earth and the life that inhabits it, and a story about how exoplanetology grew, and how, with the hour of its greatest triumph approaching, it fell …

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Oct 25 2013

Interactive clothing

Imagine clothes that change their look depending upon your mood – or the mood of your friend. Then read about Cute Circuit. In 2002, Cute Circuit released a shirt allowing two people to send each other hugs in different places. After getting a notification on their phone, the hug-receiver, who is ideally always near his hug …

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