Science and Technology

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]

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]

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]

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]

How Gobbledygook Ended Up in Respected Scientific Journals 27 February 2014

The IEEE and Springer published dozens of algorithmically generated articles
What a slew of nonsensical publications says about the state of science.
[Slate]

Responding to the New York Times off-base math education editorial 10 December 2013

Math doesn’t have to be boring, but it does have to be math
The New York Times editorial board doesn’t understand the first thing about mathematics, and this is a big problem.
[Slate]

Chang’e 3 5 December 2013

The Second Space Race
Short voiceover of a photograph of China’s lunar rover.
[The Weekly Wonk]

PR Stunts 2 December 2013

Amazon Prime Drone Delivery? It’s Hot Air
Why Amazon won’t be delivering packages with drones by 2015.
[Slate]

How many nuclear weapons does China have? 11 November 2013

Consensus: China Offers Limited Deterrent
Probably fewer than 300.
[Aviation Week and Space Technology–Subscription Required]

Bard of Folly 21 October 2013

Book Review: ‘Command and Control’ by Eric Schlosser
A fantastic new book about nuclear weapons, and what it says about technology more generally.
[The American Prospect]

How High the Moon? 4 October 2013

Book Review: ‘Dreams of Other Worlds’ by Chris Impey and Holly Henry
Where the Milky Way’s missing arms went and other tales of astronomical discovery.
[Wall Street Journal]

America’s Last Nuclear test 3 October 2013

A photograph of divider
And the wacky names for other nuclear tests; a short voiceover.
[The Weekly Wonk]

Voyager, the Pioneer anomaly, and NASA’s good old days 15 July 2013

The modest, mighty Voyager and Pioneer probes are still generating news today.
An essay on what made the Voyager and Pioneer spacecraft great, with special emphasis on the Pioneer Anomaly, treated in more detail in my new book, The Pioneer Detectives.
[Slate]

Red Rover: Inside the Story of Robotic Space Exploration, from Genesis to the Mars Rover Curiosity by Rogers Wiens 12 May 2013

A Review
When does NASA take risks? How it’s still possible to improvise, and what it’s like to run a scientific instrument on Mars.
[Washington Post]

Eyes in the sky 3 May 2013

What the rise of the helicopter tells us about the future of domestic drones.
How to think carefully about the spread of drones.
[Slate]

Warp Factor 1 April 2013

An investigation
The saga of a NASA scientist who claims to be on the verge of faster-than-light travel.
[Popular Science]

The end of the “La-Z-Boy era” of sequential programming 20 March 2013

What comes after Moore’s law?
The challenge of parallelism.
[Zocalo Public Square]

Can We Teach Computers What “Truth” Means? 26 February 2013

It’s harder than it sounds
How artificial intelligence can inform ideas about logic.
[Slate]