Yearly Archives: 2012


It’s been two weeks since the storm called Sandy hit the East Coast, with devastating effects on both people and infrastructure. I have some remarks to make about just one aspect of the damage: the prolonged power outage in parts … Continue reading

Posted in modern life, technology | 1 Comment

Fly me to the end of the alphabet

When I got to the Raleigh-Durham airport for a flight home last week, I was confronted with the following list of departures—almost half of which were actually nondepartures: I wasn’t surprised by the numerous cancellations and delays (flagged in red). … Continue reading

Posted in computing, statistics, technology | 8 Comments

On the sunny side

The invented etymology of posh—which says it’s an acronym for “port out, starboard home”—is utterly bogus. Nevertheless, when I book airline seats I always try to get a window on the shady side. Photography is easier with the sun at … Continue reading

Posted in photography | 3 Comments

Remember the memristor?

Less than two years ago, I was reading and writing about a new kind of passive circuit element—the memristor, a companion to the resistor, the capacitor and the inductor. (See the bit-player coverage, a bit-player followup and my American Scientist … Continue reading

Posted in computing, technology | 5 Comments

Dancing with the Spheres

In my latest American Scientist column I’m packing spheres again. The goal this time is to maximize the number of contact points where spheres touch each other. For example, four spheres in a tetrahedral cluster have six contacts; this is … Continue reading

Posted in computing, featured, mathematics | 5 Comments