Inelegant design

I had thought there was no way to top The Onion’s brilliant parody of Intelligent Design — “Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New ‘Intelligent Falling’ Theory.” But the Web’s hive brain has now done it, with the rise of the Flying Spaghetti Monster meme. This “Open Letter to Kansas School Board” appears to be the […]


Here’s a little tale of life in the 21st century. As I suffered through a bout of the usual seasonal cold last week, I found that my supply of my remedy of choice — a generic over-the-counter combo antihistamine and pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) — was running low. As I ran errands, I searched for this variety […]

Random links

I’ve been sick all week with a miserable cold — no fun, but hey, it does wonders for catching up with RSS backlog. ## GQ is not normally where I turn for quality reporting on the Valley, but look — they got John Heilemann to write about Google, and, well, it’s a great read. [via […]

Gene genie

There was considerable sense and occasional nonsense on tap last night at a panel discussion at UC/Berkeley inspired by a new essay collection titled “Living with the Genie: Technology and the Quest for Human Mastery.” (One of the book’s editors, Christina Desser, moderated.) The premise, as presented by panel introducer Michael Pollan, is that “we […]

Dept. of primordial ooze

I am not nearly enough of a physicist to understand the full implications of the possible creation at the Brookhaven National Laboratory of “a primordial form of matter” known as quark-gluon plasma. As reported in today’s Times, this “goo” last existed during the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang. What I can say for certain […]

Big Red

Every now and then, very rarely, we encounter a story that is simply all good news. Such was this bit from yesterday’s New York Times, reporting on a paper that is supposed to be online in Nature (but I couldn’t find it just now). The online headline — “Study Spurs Hope of Finding Way to […]

Walk right in

Sometimes good reporting is about just walking in. That’s what Noah Shachtman did over at Los Alamos National Laboratory: “There are no armed guards to knock out. No sensors to deactivate. No surveillance cameras to cripple. To sneak into Los Alamos National Laboratory, the world’s most important nuclear research facility, all you do is step […]