Category Archives: Uncategorized

Nature Advances Fast When Humans Retreat

The last two months of quarantine have been beautiful here in the Boston area: This is the Boston skyline from Robbins Farm Park in my town of Arlington.   I have never seen it be this clear; there’s usually a white … Continue reading

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Some Firsts Who Were Women

The Web keeps throwing stories at me about remarkable pioneering women, so let me get down a few before It gets mad: First Known Author – Enheduanna, Ur, ~2200 BCE That is, the first writer whose name was recorded.  Seems … Continue reading

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Mad Science #7 – Radioactive Lighting

Charles Fraser-Smith had a problem.  He had a lot of problems actually;  he was the chief gadgeteer for the British espionage agency MI6 during WWII.  He was responsible for all the gear that agents would need on the Continent, from … Continue reading

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William Gibson Reading “Agency”

Gibson is on a book tour for his new novel, and I got to see him read from it and take questions in the First Parish Church in Cambridge. There was a big crowd! It was nearly full, largely with people … Continue reading

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What Has the US EV Tax Credit Cost?

Last month the US EV tax credit expired completely for Tesla. I happened to get my Model 3 lease just under the wire, and actually saved something. The dealership was really busy in the credit’s last few days!  The credit … Continue reading

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The Carboniferous and the Anti-Carboniferous Eras

Here’s a cool recent discovery – the reason the earth has so much coal is that it took fungi 60 million years to figure out how to digest lignin, the compound that gives wood its strength.  Before that the trees … Continue reading

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Mad Science #6: Nazi Fusion Fraud

I can’t believe I’ve never come across this story.   An actual Nazi scientist, Ronald Richter, was working on an actual super-technology, lithium-hydrogen nuclear fusion, in an actual secret lair, the island of Huemul, surrounded by razor wire, machine guns, and … Continue reading

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GM Abandons Green Cars, And Blue Staters

I’ve been a pretty satisfied customer of the Chevy Volt for three years now.  It’s a plug-in hybrid, meaning that it will go for about 50 miles on battery power and then switch over to a gas engine.   It’s quiet, … Continue reading

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A Heinlein Meme Started the Space Race

… according to the excellent Washington Post podcast Moonrise.  It’s an account of what led up to the Apollo 11 moon landing, starting with Robert Goddard, John W. Campbell, Sergei Korolev, and Wernher von Braun in the 1920s and 30s, … Continue reading

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Space Is Not That Big

So we just had the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, and there’s renewed interest in doing another landing on the Moon.  That got me thinking about space as the final frontier. How much is there out there really?  I added … Continue reading

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