Link Archives

October 15, 2017

Inside X, Google’s Moonshot Factory

X is perhaps the only enterprise on the planet where regular investigation into the absurd is not just permitted but encouraged, and even required. X has quietly looked into space elevators and cold fusion. It has tried, and abandoned, projects to design hoverboards with magnetic levitation and to make affordable fuel from seawater. It has tried—and succeeded, in varying measures—to build self-driving cars, make drones that deliver aerodynamic packages, and design contact lenses that measure glucose levels in a diabetic person’s tears.

The purpose of X is not to solve Google’s problems; thousands of people are already doing that. Nor is its mission philanthropic. Instead X exists, ultimately, to create world-changing companies that could eventually become the next Google.

The female code-breakers who were left out of history books

And thanks to papers recently declassified, it is now known that during World War Two Elizebeth helped to smash a network of Nazi spies trying to foment fascist revolutions in South America – their ultimate goal being an attack on the US. Many of these spies were arrested as a direct consequence of her and her team’s work at the US Coastguard. However, for decades J Edgar Hoover and the FBI claimed more or less all the credit for this achievement. Elizebeth, sworn to secrecy and uninterested in publicity, stayed quiet.

October 10, 2017
September 20, 2017

In Amish Country, the Future Is Calling

But for people bound by a separation from much of the outside world, new tech devices have brought fears about the consequence of internet access. There are worries about pornography; about whether social networks will lead sons and daughters to date non-Amish friends; and about connecting to a world of seemingly limitless possibilities.

August 20, 2017

The Feynman Lectures are now freely available online

The Feynman Lectures is one of the most popular lecture series in physics. It’s a great resource for science enthusiasts, students, and teachers, and each lecture is just fantastic in general. Now, Caltech and The Feynman Lectures website have collaborated to put these lectures online completely free of cost.

The lectures themselves were first presented at Caltech in the 1960s by the legendary physicist Richard Feynman. The lectures have since been combined into a three-volume book. To date, about 1.5 million English copies have been sold, but now that it’s free, that number will probably stagnate.