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Category Archives: Technology

Can we have some nice things now?

Pete Buttigieg at Washington Union Station. Source: Wikipedia. With “Amtrak Joe” in the White House, and the new U.S. secretary of transportation wanting to lead the world in high-speed rail (we’re now 19th) can we Americans now have some nice things? To people like me, who have ridden thousands of miles on trains (President Biden […]

Our own fresh taste of the 14th Century

The Covid-19 virus. Source: Wikipedia By historical standards, this plague has been a mild one. So far, worldwide, about 2.3 million people have died from Covid-19. The most fatal pandemic in recorded history was the Black Death, which peaked in Europe between 1347 and 1351. The Black Death killed between 75 million and 200 million […]

Understanding 5G

Source: Apple A great many articles have been written about 5G. Few of those articles are technical enough to help you understand the arguments over 5G safety. In addition, few of those articles are technical enough to help you understand which 5G cell phone is right for you, and which 5G cellular provider (such as […]

Industrial art

Click here for high-resolution version. From the moment I took these guys out of their boxes, I was eager to shoot their portraits. Justrite has been in business for 115 years. You can buy Justrite oil cans as antiques, including, of course, on eBay. The new cans seem to be even better made than the […]

Virtual emigration, anyone?

My 20-year-old Sony headphones, well worn but still working Ken, who is now back in Scotland after being stuck in the U.S. for six months during the Covid-19 lockdown, writes: “I can’t tell you how detoxed I already feel from U.S. politics…. No more Trump signs, no more awful religion, no more right wing madness…. […]

A flood of new data about prehistory

Who We Are and How We Got Here. By David Reich. Oxford University Press, 2018. 368 pages. During the past ten years, gene sequencing machines have become available that are thousands of times cheaper to operate than earlier machines. The analysis of human genes can yield an astonishing amount of information about prehistory, an area […]

I’ve changed browsers

Periodically I go on a tear about Internet security. I take a look at everything — the browser I’m using, the browser’s security plug-ins, my Mac’s firewall, and pretty much everything I can think of. I check to see if there’s anything new that might help. The Brave browser is pretty new. Version 1.0 of […]

Why you need a private VPN server

To my regular readers: This is a nerd post that won’t interest most of you, for which I apologize. However, about half of the connections to this blog come from Google, from people who have searched for a topic that I have written about. This post is mainly for readers from Google who are interested […]

Redundancy and its cousin, resilience

The cockpit of an Airbus A380. Notice the symmetry and redundancy, with two of everything (including the pilots). Wikipedia photo. Quick now: How many hearts does an octopus have? Answer: Three! However, two of the hearts are not backup hearts, exactly. Rather, the three-heart system is an element of octopus engineering that offloads pumping blood […]

Boeing: It’s even worse than we think.

Wikipedia photo I have long been fascinated by aviation. Though I never got a pilot’s license (I chickened out), I have about 45 hours of flying time as a student pilot. On my trip to Scotland last fall, I was eager for the opportunity to fly from New York to Edinburgh and back on Boeing’s […]