Chris Higgins is the author of The Blogger Abides and writes for This American Life, The Atlantic, Breakfast on Mars, and The Magazine. You can follow him at chrishiggins.com.
John Markoff is best known for his reportage at The New York Times, as well as a series of books on popular technology (Cyberpunk and Takedown are both great). Markoff has been a print journalist riding the wave of technology for over twenty years -- he knows his technical stuff, and he's broken a lot of big stories over the years.
Markoff gave a talk at last year's EG Conference in Los Angeles. In it, he shared some anecdotes of his career in journalism: a series of stories that he thought were... READ ON
Over the past few months, some exciting (perhaps heart-stopping) action has played out on the world financial stage. There's a credit crunch, a mortgage crisis, commercial paper is frozen, banks are failing, and T-notes are the new mattresses. What does it all mean? I admit, I know nothing about finance, and hearing the increasingly dire news reports wasn't really helping to break it down in terms that I could follow. Until I discovered what's happening over at National Public Radio and Public Radio... READ ON
Mad Men is a fantastic drama currently running its second season on AMC. It has racked up a bunch of awards, and rightfully so -- all aspects of the production are excellent, and the show also appeals to a broad cross-section of ages (all the way from grownups to old people...sorry kids). The show is set in the very first years of the 1960s, and the production is carefully designed to use period-appropriate sets, clothes, cars, everything. The attention to detail is stunning, and is often cited as a... READ ON
The Obama presidential campaign made waves last week when it announced Obama '08: The Official iPhone Application. This free application hit the iTunes App Store Top 10, and has generated nearly 700 reviews so far. Whether you're an Obama supporter or not, it's an interesting move: the campaign is using technology to decentralize the campaign effort, effectively turning thousands of individuals across the nation into micro-call centers. This effort is likely to be mirrored by future campaigns, and I... READ ON
Darwin@Home is a computer program created by Gerald de Jong to model evolution. While it aspires to be a general-purpose evolution platform, at the moment it does something pretty remarkable: it takes virtual creatures designed by humans and evolves them until they can walk.
Because Darwin@Home's creatures are non-biological, they can have all kinds of strange body plans -- they aren't limited to the bodies we're familiar with in Earth-based biology. In the video below, de Jong shows a series of... READ ON
In last week's article I talked about my initial experience with sleep apnea: going to a sleep disorders clinic and being evaluated for risk factors. After going through that process, I was prescribed a one-night sleep study operated by a local university hospital. In this entry, I'll share some specifics about that study -- if you're considering going in for one, I hope to allay some fears and give you some tips.
First off, what is a sleep study? The technical term is a Polysomnogram, and it's... READ ON
Rodney Brooks is one of my favorite scientists: he's brilliant, accomplished (his research led to the Roomba vacuum cleaner robot), and full of predictions. Brooks is a master of robotics, having designed a wide variety of robots over the years, and he also made a memorable appearance in one of my favorite documentaries (the title Fast, Cheap and Out of Control came from a research paper of his). So it's fair to say that I'm a fan.
Brooks gave a TED Talk on robotics in 2003, and it's just been posted... READ ON
In honor of Google's tenth birthday*, the search engine has posted a version of itself as it appeared in January 2001 (the earliest available index). It was a simpler time: only 1,326,920,000 web pages were in the index. Today it's over 8 billion, though Google stopped revealing the exact number in 2005, saying the index size was "meaningless." Doing a search on the 2001-era index reveals how much the web has changed since then. For one thing, there's no mental_floss blog! There is a mention of the... READ ON
Suzanne Vega's catchy tune has made her "Mother of the MP3" -- though it took a while. Vega wrote "Tom's Diner" as an a cappella song way back in 1982. By 1984 it has been released on an obscure folk compilation, and didn't appear on Vega's studio albums until 1987's Solitude Standing. In 1990, the song was remixed by The DNA Disciples, adding a danceable beat and instrumentation -- this version hit the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #5 in the... READ ON
The Criterion Collection is known for excellence. The Criterion folks assemble "important classic and contemporary films" and releases them on DVD (formerly Laserdisc), often restoring the film from original negatives, working with directors, and including lots of bonus materials in the process. Criterion was established in 1984, and had to transition from Laserdisc to DVD in 1998. Just a decade later, times are changing again, and Criterion is about to move their collection to high definition Blu-ray... READ ON
Michael Jackson’s 1988 autobiography Moonwalk was edited by Jackie O.