Author Archives: jlredford

Musk Really Is Like Tesla, But Not In a Good Way

Although Elon Musk did not found or name Tesla Inc, he often gets compared to its namesake, Nikola Tesla. Both were from the provinces – South Africa for Musk and Serbia for Tesla – and made their fortunes in the … Continue reading

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“The Mountain in the Sea” – Aliens Among Us

In the last few years we have been learning an enormous amount about intelligence among animals. In particular, we’ve found that octopuses are startlingly smart. They use tools, they invent hunting techniques, they invent disguise techniques, and they are curious … Continue reading

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The Netherlands Would Be a Pretty Nice Future

The Washington Post today has a fascinating article about what would seem to be a dull topic: Netherlands Agriculture Technology. It notes that tiny little Holland, with the land area of Maryland and only 17M people, is the second largest … Continue reading

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Why Care That “The Rings of Power” Is Mediocre?

“The Rings of Power” is a new streaming series based on Appendix A of “The Lord of the Rings”. It gives the history of Middle Earth before the War of the Ring: the second rise and fall of Sauron, the … Continue reading

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Obscure Creators of the World #1 – Federico Faggin

The people we know about are usually the ones with publicity staffs. Their success depends on how widely known they are. This is obviously the case for sports figures, actors, musicians, and politicians, but also applies to technicals like Steve … Continue reading

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Ukraine v Russia Is a Tech War Like Union v Confederacy

In the 1860s the Europeans watched the American Civil War in horrified fascination. It had been almost 50 years since the Napoleonic Wars, when they had been in a real war with matched combatants. They had been mainly fighting colonial … Continue reading

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My Mother Was a Ukrainian Refugee

Let me start by encouraging you to support the Ukrainians in any way you can. I gave money to AmeriCares, a relief outfit that is sending medical supplies and personnel to help refugees in Poland. The International Red Cross was … Continue reading

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Following in the Parents’ Footsteps

I just read a fun steampunk-ish novel, Angelmaker, by Nick Harkaway (2012). It’s set in the present day, but takes place in a London that is just as ancient and weird as one would hope. A morose young man who … Continue reading

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Launching US Rockets From Soviet Bombers

In the last post I complained about how ugly the Soviet ekranoplans were. I’m glad I can now pass along a story about one of their really beautiful planes – the TU-160 supersonic bomber. It almost got used for doing … Continue reading

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Ekranoplans are Back! Maybe. The Regent Seaglider

The Soviets used to build the world’s biggest and ugliest airplanes: They called them by the ugly term “ekranoplans”, or “screen effect” in Russian. They flew low over water, and got lift from the cushion of air between the wings … Continue reading

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