Do I Stay Or Do I Go? The Eveleth Conundrum

  Two years ago, I wrote a story for The Atlantic about my obsession with the town of Eveleth, Minnesota. I’ve never been there. But I’ve visited it often on Google Maps. Often enough to know the town really well. To know the giant hockey stick, the city hall, the big church, the tattoo shop […]

A Moore’s Law Mystery

You know those things that people say as an aside? Things that aren’t their main point, but just kind of come out of their mouths. Fun facts, little anecdotes, steam of consciousness blips. I find that when I’m looking back at my notes from conferences, the things that pop out to me are, largely, those […]

Guest Post: The Mars Rover of Calculators

My cell phone battery only capriciously holds a charge. My laptop battery isn’t much better. In fact, it seems that I have to replace my computer every three years because something goes kaplooey. The current one no longer emits sound. Oh, the darned CPU fan still sounds like a wheezing freight train chugging up a […]

Guest Post: A new love for the very old

When I was young, my brother and sister and I caught salamanders in my grandparents’ garage and chased cats through the barn. The family farm was a big private playground, where we could poke at tadpoles in Nelson Lake (more like a large pond) and occasionally ride around on a giant lawnmower. More often than […]

Let a Vast Assembly Be

In 1908, a young Lithuanian immigrant named Pauline Newman got a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, then one of New York City’s biggest garment factories. She worked as a “cleaner,” trimming threads off the new clothes and boxing them for shipment. It was dull, tiring work, with bullying bosses who forced the workers to […]

Bell, Berners-Lee, and the Promise of New Technology

More than a century ago, Alexander Graham Bell recorded his voice on a waxed cardboard disc at a laboratory in Washington DC. This week, we got to hear this scratchy recording—and Bell’s voice—for the first time. Much of the recording involves Bell counting. He counts all the way up to 50, carefully enunciating each numeral. […]

Guest Post: Dumped! by Google

One recent Thursday morning, I logged into my email and made an alarming discovery. Instead of opening my inbox, Google directed me to a notice: Account has been disabled . . . . In most cases, accounts are disabled if we believe you have violated either the Google Terms of Service, product-specific Terms of Service . […]

Girl Swiping Finger on Screen

One of the annoying things about parenting is that experience is always ahead of science: Those of us raising kids today are dealing with circumstances, and dilemmas, that researchers will need years to understand. Maybe that’s why parents fortunate enough to afford iPads are fretting so much about how and how much our kids use […]