clips
Extraditions to the US 2 July 2012
Learning Math From Software Is Like Learning Parenting
Skills From Second Life
29 June 2012
Why Johnny Can’t Add Without a Calculator 25 June 2012

Technology is doing to math education what industrial agriculture did to food: making it efficient, monotonous, and low-quality.
How and why graphing calculators, educational software, interactive whiteboards and the like undermine actual learning in elementary, middle and high schools.
[Slate]

What Economists Get Wrong About Science and Technology 17 May 2012
“Privatizing” Space 16 May 2012

Companies Shoot for the Stars, but Uncle Sam Still Pays the Bills
Why the false dichotomy of public versus private isn’t the real story with SpaceX’s launch. What really matters is competition.
[Zocalo Public Square]

Why Computers Still Can’t Translate Languages Automatically 11 May 2012

DARPA’s search for meaning
How researchers are trying to use semantic information in machine translation.
[Slate]

Is Science Really Moving Faster Than Ever? 3 April 2012

Why talking about the “pace of technological change” is a meaningless, counterproductive generality.
Part 1 of a debate on Slate with ASU’s Dan Sarewitz.
Part 2 is here>>.
[Slate]

Building a laboratory on a hill 15 March 2012

A review of Jon Gertner’s “The Idea Factory”
A new book about Bell Labs succeeds in evoking the excitement of the place, though falls short on its exposition of the underlying science.
[Foreign Policy]

The Nucleus of the Digital Age 3 March 2012

A review of George Dyson’s “Turing’s Cathedral”
In pursuit of hydrogen bombs, a math genius and a brilliant tinkerer in Princeton developed the modern computer.
[Wall Street Journal]

The Death of the Research Works Act 28 February 2012

Scientists’ Victory Over the Research Works Act Is Like the SOPA Defeat
Darrell Issa and Carolyn Maloney withdraw their support from a bill which would have limited public access to scientific papers.
[Slate]

The Other Academic Freedom Movement 11 February 2012

How scientists broke through the paywall and made their articles available to (almost) everyone.
Why extremely profitable scientific publishers lack a future, and why this is good for science as a whole.
[Slate]

NASA needs one “highest priority” not 16 of them 1 February 2012

More numbers, more problems
The flaws of a new National Research Council report on what direction NASA should take
[Slate]

Promise me the moon 31 January 2012

The emotional appeal of Gingrich’s space policy
The Republican presidential candidate wants to build a base on the moon. So do I.
[Huffington Post]

Phobos-Grunt, grunt. 11 January 2012

The U.S. Didn’t Shoot Down Russia’s Mars Probe. But It Could Have.
Strange accusations from the head of Russia’s space programme, and why they matter.
[Slate]

The competition mirage 9 January 2012

No One Can Win the Future
It’s wrong to pit U.S. and Chinese scientists against each other in a research arms race.
[Slate]

String theory 5 January 2012

The art and science of making violins
I spent some time with Tom King, a violinmaker in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He uses a combination of craftsmanship and technical analysis to make great-sounding, and beautiful, instruments. He once took several million dollars worth of violins to the hospital to get CAT-scanned.
[Stanford Magazine]

Chronicle of a War Foretold 5 January 2012

Violence Begets Violence in Mexico
How nobody understands what spurred 45,000 drug-related murders in Mexico, though Ioan Grillo’s new book El Narco does a good job of trying to.
[Zocalo Public Square]

The 40-year itch 5 October 2011

How to build a really awesome spaceship, maybe
Would-be space explorers, scientists, and a couple of crackpots gather at DARPA’s 100-Year Starship Symposium to try to get interstellar travel unstuck.
[Slate]

Atomic Dogs 28 September 2011
The Philosopher-Fisticuffers 14 September 2011

A review of Enrique Krauze’s new book Redeemers
Which consists of 12 profiles of Latin American figures, and is a good read.
[Zocalo Public Square]