There and back again and there again 5 July 2016

Why I love the Lord of the Rings trilogy
A summer reading enthusiasm.
[Slate]


New Directions 24 June 2016

On the way to Desert Storm, U.S. troops stopped in California in order to buy consumer GPS units at local stores.
A review of “Pinpoint” by Greg Milner and “Finding North” by George Michelsen Foy.
[Wall Street Journal]


The All-American iPhone 9 June 2016

What would it take to make iPhones in the US?
A thought experiment; doing so profitably is possible.
[MIT Technology Review]


Drones can photograph almost anything. But should they? 21 April 2016

What Justin Trudeau got wrong about Quantum Computing 18 April 2016

A video of the Canadian Prime Minister giving an apparently impromptu riff on quantum computing had a few mistakes in it.
This is a critique not so much of his minor errors, but of the media storm which treated his lecture as a sign of genius.
[Washington Post]


Why Bernie Sanders has Donald Trump to thank 11 February 2016

Drone-based film-making 16 November 2015

Why good drone art is necessary
A review of the New York Drone Film Festival.
[The Economist]


Drone strikes and international law 22 April 2015

Fallout reaches the ivory tower
NYU law school students react to Harold Koh’s support for targeted killings.
[The Economist]


Civil disobedience in the air 15 April 2015

A man landed a gyrocopter on the Capitol lawn
Some thoughts on why this sort of thing shouldn’t be prevented by computer software.
[Washington Post]


Regulating Persistence 19 March 2015

Why persistent surveillance must be regulated
A brief response to Obama’s call for comment on drones and privacy.
[The Economist]


Beware the ‘Big Data’ Gospel 27 February 2015

More debunking of the idea that ‘data’ can always be a tool for rigorous & disinterested analysis
A follow-up to my earlier CNN article, responding to a couple of poorly reasoned critiques
[Weekly Wonk]


Reflections on the 90th Anniversary of the New Yorker 19 February 2015

On first looking into Trow’s essay
A reminiscence of the first time I read “Within the Context of No Context” and why you should read it too
[Weekly Wonk]


The FAA’s new rules on Small Drones 16 February 2015

A quick reaction to the FAA’s notice of proposed rulemaking
The new rules are tardy and incomplete but could have been much worse.
[Quartz]


Alibaba’s Teabag Stunt Doesn’t Prove That Drone Delivery Works 4 February 2015

Another drone PR stunt
A Chinese companies scheme to deliver tea doesn’t mean the logistics or economics of delivery via drone will be real anytime soon.
[Slate]


The big dangers of ‘big data’ 2 February 2015

Don’t fall in love with every bit you meet
An essay about how the obsession with data is undermining social structures in government, business and life.
[CNN]


Why Are Drone-Makers Helping Governments Crack Down on Drones? 28 January 2015

DJI’s brute force regulation through software
The dangers of users lacking control over the devices they use, as illustrated by one drone-maker’s reaction when one of its aircraft crashed on the White House grounds.
[Slate]


A small step backward for mankind 5 November 2014

Why America needs to embrace a culture of risk in order to build the next-generation space program.
How and why to be resilient in the face of failed spacecraft, and the loss of life.
[Foreign Policy]


Sayur Manis: Delicious, But Also Deadly, Greens From Borneo 14 August 2014

Eat too much of it raw, and it can cause lung failure
Also known as sabah veggie, and a multitude of other names, sayur manis tastes like spinach crossed with asparagus
[NPR]


Book Review: ‘The Interior Circuit’ by Francisco Goldman 9 August 2014

Ka Wong Seng looks as if it fell into a Chinatown wormhole and emerged complete with roasted duck.
Review of Goldman’s memoir of Mexico City, which I think does not succeed in its aims.
[Wall Street Journal]


Not So Offal: Why Bone Soup, A ‘Perfect Food,’ Tastes So Meaty 16 July 2014

In praise of Tulang Soup, the most delicious thing I ate in Singapore
Trying to figure out the richness of bone marrow
[NPR]