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Category Archives: Technology

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 […]

Why does this feel familiar?

One of the creepiest Zuckerberg photos of all time, which he himself cluelessly posted on Facebook The sound of derisive laughter from the entire civilized world almost drowned out the din of the Washington circus. Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook will “pivot to privacy.” Yes, and pigs will pivot to flying. We veterans of the […]

Linux

Recently someone gave me a 10-year-old (or so) laptop that had been written off as dead. It was sold with Windows Vista, and it would no longer boot. I installed Ubuntu Linux on it and found that it works great. Bottom line: Free laptop. I’m a Mac loyalist and a conscientious objector to anything from […]

Rethinking the unthinkable

Those of you who recognize the quote in the image above will guess the subject of this post: thermonuclear war. The quote is from the 1983 classic film “War Games” starring Matthew Broderick. First of all, I’m not the only person with a renewed concern about nuclear weapons. It seems to be in the zeitgeist […]

The Apple watch EKG function

Apple released a bunch of software updates yesterday — 10.14.2 of Mac OS; 12.1.1 of iOS; and 5.1.2 of watchOS. The updates for the iPhone and the Apple watch enable the long-promised EKG function on the Apple watch 4. I’m going to guess that thousands of people who’ve never seen an electrical graph of their […]