Tate Williams

Writing

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Blue Ant > Brabus Maybach

“Most people don’t self-drive these,” Bigend said, pulling out onto Sunset, headed east. “Most people don’t drive them at all,” Hollis corrected, from the passenger seat beside him. She craned her neck for a glimpse back into what she supposed [...]

September 23, 2012 Arts & Culture, Geek, Science & Environment, Writing
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Blue Ant > The Curta

In a subplot of Pattern Recognition, Cayce Pollard uses a rare prototype of an early computing device as a bargaining chip for a crucial email address. She makes a straight offer to a menacing, drunken ex-spy — even trade, email [...]

September 14, 2012 Geek, Science & Environment, Writing
PopSci

1960 PopSci offers a glimpse into optimism, darkness of Cold War America

The most immediately notable thing about this 1960 issue of Popular Science I picked up a vintage market is the smell. It smells, heavily, of chlorine. Not just chlorine, it smells like an indoor whirlpool Jacuzzi, like filmy chlorinated water [...]

September 8, 2012 Blog, Science & Environment, Writing
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Blue Ant > Bibendum

Cayce Pollard in Pattern Recognition has a unique ability to judge how the market will respond to logos and brands. At the root of this rare talent, for which Bigend employs her, is a “phobic reaction” to trademarks she’s had [...]

September 5, 2012 Arts & Culture, Geek, Writing
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‘99% Invisible’ Uncovers the Hidden World of Design

Originally published in the East Bay Express, 2012 Roman Mars’ radio show and podcast is changing the way we look at design — and maybe the nature of public radio. By Tate Williams When people think of design, they usually conjure [...]

August 30, 2012 Arts & Culture, Portfolio, Writing
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Blue Ant > Faraday Pouch

Zero History operative Milgrim is kept on a tight leash by his handler Ollie Sleight. He supplies Milgrim with nothing but an unusual phone and what he calls a “Faraday pouch” for carrying his passport. Radio-frequency identification tags. They were in [...]

August 30, 2012 Geek, Science & Environment, Writing
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Blue Ant > The Rickson’s

Buzz Rickson’s Black MA-1 Bomber Jacket Cayce Pollard, brand-phobic coolhunter at the center of Pattern Recognition, adores her Japanese-made replica of a standard issue U.S. Air Force flying jacket. The Rickson’s is a fanatical museum-grade replica of a U.S. MA-1 [...]

August 25, 2012 Arts & Culture, Blog, Geek, Writing
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Blue Ant > Floating Bed

Hollis Henry stays at Bigend’s Vancouver apartment toward the end of Spook Country, and gets a mysterious warning call on the way there: “Do you have any piercings?” he asked. They took a right. “Excuse me?” “Piercings. If you do [...]

August 25, 2012 Geek, Science & Environment, Writing
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Blue Ant > I started a Tumblr

I’ve been wanting to start a Tumblr about a particular topic as a hobby because I have such an overabundance of free time. Nothing was really striking me, but I’ve been reading “Zero History” by William Gibson, and I remembered, [...]

August 23, 2012 Arts & Culture, Blog, Geek, Science & Environment, Writing
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Where do those songs stuck in your head come from? Everywhere.

Even something as tuneless as reading a psychology research paper can get a song stuck in your head. In my case, it was “Mistaken for Strangers” by The National, which has a quirky drumbeat that is particularly sticky. It’s like, [...]

June 2, 2012 Science & Environment, Writing