World's Fair

Archives for July, 2009

Not the best title for a post, and by best, I mean most accurate. If you’d like to get to the bottom of it, though, try this new dispatch over at McSweeney’s: “The Elevator to Room 1028.” It has elevators. It has intrigue. It has secrecy. It has stacks of books. And it has elevators.…

Tim LeCain, a professor at Montana State (in Bozeman) and a talented scholar in environmental history and the history of technology (“envirotech“), has just published Mass Destruction: The Men and Giant Mines that Wired America and Scarred the Planet. Although I’ve not read it yet, I’m familiar with LeCain’s work in general (having read prior…

I haven’t been here much, but I did begin a new series over at McSweeney’s called “Days at the Museum.” It’s a limited-run set of dispatches (summer-length, let’s say) about research at the Smithsonian and related miscellany. Tuesday was the first one, called “Ronzoni All the Way Down.” This is the central image of the…

Alas, I have a book cover to share for Notes from the Ground! I’m pleased with it. I was even brought to use an exclamation point just there. It happens, I know it, it happens, people judge these things by their covers. I don’t say so to be cutesy or play the cliche. I’m just…

What is a transmon qubit?

Science Scout Twitter Feed Somebody recently tweeted the term “transmon qubit” to the Science Scout twitter account, and (for the life of me) I cannot wrap my head around what it is exactly (other than a piece of delicious sounding science jargon). As far as I can make out, it has something to do with…

I realized of late that I am more a fan of Malcolm Galdwell’s reviews than his articles. It’s possible I’ve even poked fun of Gladwellian articles in the past (“I Dream in Malcolm Gladwell“). But oh boy did I enjoy his recent review of Chris Anderson’s Free: The Future of a Radical Price. Anderson, the…

Among other things, John Stuart Mill wrote about deliberation in a democratic society. It’s the philosophy that a strong democracy is one whose members are actively involved in the functioning of that government. This, as opposed to a passive, distanced, and unreflective citizenry. Engagement and participation into the activity of the society offer benefits in…