Jack Ryan’s Quest 3 October 2013

Hunting Red October
In praise of Tom Clancy’s early work (and in criticism of his later work) on the occasion of his death.
[The Millions]

In Praise of Joe’s Shanghai 1 September 2013

Discovering The Small Miracle Of The Soup Dumpling
An appreciation of one of the deliciousest foods.

Thanks to Jason Kottke for the kind mention of The Pioneer Detectives on his blog!

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A few weeks ago I got to take part in a panel discussion about The Pioneer Detectives and cosmic anomalies at New America’s space in New York City.

C-SPAN’s Book TV kindly came and filmed the event and is broadcasting it on TV and on their website.


I spoke with the New America Foundation’s Cyrus Nemati in this podcast about The Pioneer Detectives.


Read C Max Magee’s kind announcement of publication of The Pioneer Detectives over at The Millions.

It was really a pleasure to work with Max and Garth Risk Hallberg at the Millions to produce, in Max’s words:

a scientific police procedural, tracking the steps of those who sought to unravel this high-stakes enigma. His thrilling account follows the story from the Anomaly’s initial discovery, through decades of tireless investigation, to its ultimate conclusion. The Pioneer Detectives is a definitive account not just of the Pioneer Anomaly but of how scientific knowledge gets made and unmade, with scientists sometimes putting their livelihoods on the line in pursuit of cosmic truth.

I hope you’ll check out the book, either at Amazon or on iTunes.

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.

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.

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]

Rand Paul’s Drone Delusion 7 March 2013

Many reasons to worry about drones, but killing Americans in America is not one of them
Why Rand Paul’s filibuster focused on the wrong points.
[Foreign Policy]

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

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

Why Didn’t We Know the Russian Meteor Was Coming? 15 February 2013
NASA Must Do More To Prepare for Catastrophic Asteroids. Much More. 14 February 2013
The book of primes 5 February 2013

A new largest prime number
And the significance of primes to mathematics.

CAPTCHA and the alternatives 31 January 2013

May it not rest in peace
Combatting spam and what it means to be human.

Alzheimer’s and space travel 3 January 2013

Does radiation cause Alzheimer’s?
We don’t really know, and it’s not clear how it affects space travel.

The Assurance of Chemists 5 November 2012

Are Gut Instincts Obsolete in Political Campaigns?
A skeptical response to the idea that social science techniques are useful and beneficent influences on politics.
[Zocalo Public Square]

Drunk on Gadgets 5 October 2012

Politicians don’t understand science and technology, so they expect it to do too much
Ignorance of science drives politicians to treat it like magic.