Geek stuff

A recent technology quarterly about new quantum innovations, published in The Economist, referred to a disturbing development in quantum sensor technology: Military types are interested, too. “You can’t shield gravity,” says David Delpy, who leads the Defence Scientific Advisory Council in Britain’s defence ministry. Improved gravity sensors would be able to spot moving masses under […]


One convincing argument made by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (author of The Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness) is that we intuitively misjudge the importance of the newest information, which is actually the most likely to be trivial and wrong. I wrote about this before. It’s an especially important point in the Trump era, where I […]


This is an interesting case: Spyware’s Odd Targets: Backers of Mexico’s Soda Tax Related: Protecting your computer Dealing with some MediaWiki malware Google’s new malware notifications Black Code The Stuxnet worm The Storm Worm


Arguably for millennia, but certainly since the industrial revolution, technological development has been driving changes in labour practices. This has been accelerated by globalization and automation and is likely speeding up as sensors and artificial intelligence improve and costs fall: Both for individuals and governments, it’s hard to discern what this means when planning for […]


LED bulbs are dramatically more efficient than incandescent or halogen lamps, and beat out compact fluorescent bulbs in terms of how quickly they turn on and avoiding toxic contents. These bulbs, which are now widely available in large hardware stores, plug directly into a socket that would previously have taken an incandescent bulb and include […]


Having ads on this site is pretty awful for several reasons. The site is plugged into Google via both analytics and advertising. For people not running an ad blocking plugin, this often leads to ads which are unappealing and often offensive. If you don’t want Google to know everything you (or everyone with access to […]


Carrying around and being close to transmitting radios makes me nervous. They may be programmed to harm their owner from the outset, or reprogrammed by private hackers or government forces. They are the means through which ubiquitous surveillance is maintained, alongside agreements and clandestine action against fixed-line phone and internet providers. Perhaps the most important […]

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My first four sessions of the beginner Judo course at Hart House have been challenging and stimulating. I think I have already doubled the number of pushups in my entire adult life. It means not attending weekly climate change meetings, but a break to focus on my PhD research seemed to be necessary anyway. Things […]


Still, at a fundamental level, it is important to recognize that the military commands controlling U.S. nuclear weapons have been asked to do the impossible. Peter Feaver has used the phrase, the “always/never dilemma” to describe the twin requirements placed on U.S. military commands. Political authorities have demanded, for the sake of deterrence, that the […]


Bruce Blair’s Strategic Command and Control: Redefining the Nuclear Threat (1985) effectively demolishes some of the core ideas in U.S. nuclear strategy. The book is largely focused on command, control, communications, and intelligence (C3I) and emphasizes how, while the U.S. raced ahead with developing vast numbers of nuclear weapon systems, it does not have a […]