What Is the Future of the Internet?
Xconomy | July 2, 2019
On October 29, 2019, it will have been 50 years since engineers sent the first message over ARPANET, the US military-funded academic network that established the control and communications protocols behind today’s internet. At such moments, there’s an irresistible temptation to gaze both backward, asking how we got here, and forward, asking what the global network’s next half-century might be like.
Inside the House of Lies at Theranos
Xconomy | June 24, 2019
Before our eyes, the media industry is hijacking the Theranos story and turning it into a Silicon Valley-style true-crime spectacle, complete with beguiling villains and blood. Lots and lots of blood.
The Cambridge Monorail That Wasn’t
The Boston Globe | December 27, 2018
Cambridge, Massachusetts, was home to one of the world's first monorail systems — an experimental track in place from 1884 to 1894. What happened?
Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered by Brain Images
Flagship Pioneering | October 25, 2018
The Spanish neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal felt that to see an object properly—say, a Purkinje neuron, with its branches as luxurious as a sea fan’s—he needed to draw it. But his freehand pencil-and-ink sketches were not exact depictions of the cells he had so painstakingly stained and fixed under his microscope. They were interpretations; they were arguments. Cajal drew not just to see but to explain. Today, more than 80 years after Cajal’s death, neuroscientists have traded their pencils for electron microscopes and MRI machines. These new tools also produce mesmerizing, multi-colored, often computer-animated images—pictures that have fueled countless scientific papers and popular accounts of progress in brain science. But they represent a looming trap.
This VR Exhibit Lets You Connect with the Human Side of War
MIT Technology Review | December 6, 2017
…As I walk through three more virtual rooms and meet more combatants—gang members in El Salvador, a reservist in Israel and a Palestinian fighter in Gaza—I hear that shared hope flicker through in answer after answer. These men all have different stories, different traumas, and different allegiances. But their dreams are the same.
Beyond the Science Wars: Stories of a Shared Future
WBUR Cognoscenti | April 27, 2016
I’m steeped in a worldview that says evidence and experimentation are the keys to solving society’s big problems. But many of my fellow citizens seem to live in a different reality. This can be endlessly frustrating. We could be figuring out ways to slow climate change and adapt to its effects, but instead it feels like we’re still wasting time arguing about whether it’s real and what’s behind it. On bad days, it all leaves me feeling gloomy about the future of our country — and, indeed, our planet. But what if my frustrations are misplaced?
Jenna Pirog on Virtual Reality in ‘The Displaced’
Nieman Storyboard | January 19, 2016
For fully immersive storytelling, there’s a new tool in the arsenal, one that may force writers and audio producers to work harder if they hope to keep up. It’s virtual reality filmmaking. VR’s arrival as a powerful documentary medium was underscored late last year by the November 5 release of “The Displaced.” The New York Times Magazine’s 11-minute VR film chronicles the global refugee crisis from the point of view of three displaced children and their families in Lebanon, South Sudan, and Ukraine.