Category Archives: modern life

Methuselah’s choice

My late friend Stan Ulam used to remark that his life was sharply divided into two halves. In the first half, he was always the youngest person in the group; in the second half, he was always the oldest. There … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics, modern life, social science | 7 Comments

The Right Click

For a few hours yesterday the front page of the New York Times was stealing right clicks. If I right-clicked on a hyperlinked headline (or option-clicked, or made a two-fingered tap on the trackpad), I did not get the usual … Continue reading

Posted in computing, modern life | 4 Comments


As a high school kid in the 1960s, I wrote a snarky term paper arguing that retirement is wasted on old people. By the time you get your promised years of leisure, you’re too worn out to enjoy them. So … Continue reading

Posted in modern life | 3 Comments

Driving the dreamboat

Slide behind the wheel of this dreamboat. Push the electronic control button. Then sit back and let transistors take over. There’s something curiously tentative about this vision of the future of motoring, as seen from 1964. You’re invited to push … Continue reading

Posted in computing, modern life | 6 Comments

Only correlate!

I’m not actually a shill for Google Labs, although it may seem that way from all my recent (and ongoing) attention to the Google Ngram Viewer: four posts (1, 2, 3, 4) and an American Scientist column, so far. What … Continue reading

Posted in computing, modern life | 6 Comments