Walter Murch is one of the best film editors in the world, and he got fired from Tomorrowland? That bodes ill. This is the guy who edited "The Conversation", a movie whose whole plot turned not on a phrase, not on a word, but on the inflection on one word. He's worked with everybody, so if he can't work with a young… » 11/25/14 8:01am Yesterday 8:01am

No, Kansas City is one of the best airports in the country! It has circular terminals wrapped around parking lots, so you only have to walk across the rim of the circle to get to the plane. None of this airport-as-mall stuff where you have to walk past half a mile of shopping to get to your actual goal. MCI is the… » 11/25/14 10:36am Yesterday 10:36am

What a find! A piece of glass like that used to be valuable enough that it was in use for 300 years, and then carried by hand across six thousand miles of desert. Yet today it would be used once and thrown into a landfill. In the best case it would be a trinket in a gift shop. There's the difference between the… » 11/24/14 7:21pm Monday 7:21pm

I foresee a new market for cardboard car cutouts to make parking lots look full. I remember a mayor of New York (Dinkins?) ordering fake curtains to be put on windows of tenements in the Bronx so that they would look less abandoned. In the 21st century, the scope of Potemkin-izing things expands vastly. » 11/21/14 9:43am Friday 9:43am

And my hero used this in his novel "Schild's Ladder" (2002)! It was a kind of Ice-9 effect that transformed space into a more efficient form. Naturally, the new universe immediately evolved life, which our heros interacted with by re-casting their minds into Turing machines in the new substrates. » 11/18/14 11:54am 11/18/14 11:54am

No mention the Phoebus Cartel? This was an international plan in the 1920s to reduce bulb lifetimes in order to boost sales: http://spectrum.ieee.org/geek-life/hist... . It sounds like crackpot conspiracy (and it even appeared in Pynchon's "Gravity's Rainbow"), but it was real and it made a lot of people a lot of… » 11/17/14 3:05pm 11/17/14 3:05pm

One way that AI is already being exploited for political purposes is to justify "secular stagnation". Many economists are saying that we will never get back to an economy that provides a reasonable living for most people because so many jobs have been made obsolete by near-intelligent robots. Give it up, middle class,… » 11/14/14 6:01pm 11/14/14 6:01pm

The movie was felt false not just in SF terms, but in emotional terms too. So this girl is upset that her father goes off in this heroic expedition? When everything around her is dying? This is her great emotional crisis? Kid, you need to knock off moping and get your shit together. Ditto her father - he's involved in… » 11/10/14 4:34pm 11/10/14 4:34pm

Here's some older data on how much college tech billionaires had: The Education of Billionaires. A few big names didn't get a BA, but there are a fair number PhDs as well. It includes only people in some kind of technology because "The ones in finance are just too maddening in these days of widespread financial crime." » 11/10/14 4:02pm 11/10/14 4:02pm

Face it, Mother Nature doesn't like us. She'll find a way to thin our population one way or the other, whether it's exterminating our food crops through blights, or going at us directly with viruses. It's no wonder that the healthiest people on Earth, the Icelanders, live in the place with the least biology. » 11/10/14 11:39am 11/10/14 11:39am

Farmers get high doses of these poisons, but the general public gets them too if they persist in the food chain. A heck of a lot of people could be getting a little nerve damage from little doses. Averaged over the whole population, that could be a larger effect than on the farmers themselves. No wonder all SF is… » 11/10/14 11:34am 11/10/14 11:34am

Here's a different experiment - were any of the studies mentioned in Wastebook done in Oklahoma, or directly relevant to the concerns of Oklahomans? If not, then we can hypothesize that the Senator's concern is not with federal spending in general, but federal spending that does not immediately benefit his… » 11/07/14 11:32am 11/07/14 11:32am