"That iPhone provides some of the comforts and a sense of security that religious faith provides," said Robinson. "It promises to connect you to the world and to the transcendent. … Yet most people spend most of their time looking at the same five or six sites online — like Facebook — that primarily ... Continue reading

Petroleum politics

A new study by the Associated Press finds that during the past 36 years, US oil production increases did not correlate to lower US gasoline prices at the pump. When we produced more oil, the prices we paid for a gallon of gasoline did not drop. (see article here)The dishonest spin put on this ... Continue reading

Challenger: In memoriam

I was in my office that cold morning in 1986, puzzling out a way to print a dictionary using the UNIX Troff program, when my Dutch colleague, Gertjan, entered my office and said, "I think something bad has happened."For the rest of the morning we listened to the radio in horrified disbelief as ... Continue reading

Deep-water arrogance

"Americans have a lot of faith that over the long run technology will solve everything..." — Andrew Kohut, Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, as quoted in The New York Times, May 28, 2010. The first warning that something was wrong came from a loud exhalation of methane gas escaping ... Continue reading

Blind faith

When a Fail-Safe system fails, it fails by failing to fail safe. — John Gall, Systemantics: How Systems Work and Especially How They Fail, 1975. "I truly believe Metro is a safe system." — DC Metro General Manager John B Catoe, Jr., quoted in the Washington Post. A "fail-safe" automatic traffic ... Continue reading