Tate Williams

Science & Environment

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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 > 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 > 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
DuckTales+1

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
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For some older immigrants, ‘the Internet is everything’

There’s a growing body of evidence that the Internet can be an empowering tool for marginalized populations, and a recent study tells some striking stories of how it’s been used by one uniquely isolated community. In the early 1990s, when [...]

May 21, 2012 Science & Environment, Writing
AmundsenSouthPole

Scott, Amundsen and the persistent thrill of the “Race to the End”

The story of Scott and Amundsen racing to the South Pole at the dawn of the 20th century only gains dimension as time passes. The mythical (you could say tabloid) aspects are as captivating as ever, but it’s the humanity [...]

May 17, 2012 Arts & Culture, Science & Environment, Writing
800px-LSD-2D-skeletal-formula-and-3D-models

LSD helped treat alcoholism, according to analysis of 1960s trials

The patients, almost all of them men, were checked in for alcohol abuse sometime in the late 1960s. One day, instead of the usual therapy for addiction at the time, they were each taken into a quiet room, given varying [...]

March 10, 2012 Portfolio, Science & Environment, Writing