Sotto Voce.

"Qui plume a, guerre a." — Voltaire

Archive for the ‘Life the Universe and Everything’ Category

The “Right to Repair” and the Profit Bubble —

I was reading an article on the subject of the “right to repair” movement a little while ago and it got me thinking about why this apparently commonsense concept comes across as almost quixotic in a country that prides — or used to pride — itself on its self-reliance. First of all, while I understand […]

Did Steven Moffat Just Pull off a Two-Decade-Long Prank? —

When it was revealed that Jodie Whittaker would be the thirteenth Doctor, I was thrilled — I’ve been waiting for this ever since 1981, when Tom Baker wished good luck to his successor, “whoever he — or she — may be.” But of course, being something of an old-school Whovian, I recalled that this is […]

Star Trek: The Motion Picture … in One Minute —

Something I whipped up this evening in response to a recent discussion in the Facebook group of the Star Trek TNG podcast “The Greatest Generation.” The topic was a 20-minute fan edit of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. One of the participants raised the question: Is it possible to make a fan edit of the […]

Why I Showed Up for Science —

I say “showed up” rather than “marched” because we arrived at the Ellipse by the Washington Monument early, around 9 am, and left shortly after noon, as the crowds were really starting to come in. As we joined the thin stream of departing early birds — soaked, cheerful, signs streaked with runny ink — we […]

Cap Bands —

I broke the cap band on the Majestic and thought I’d use my blunder as an opportunity to explain how manufacturers used to install bands on fountain pen caps. My production values continue to gradually improve. The better lighting and magnification are thanks to Cyclops the Lamp, and I now have a mic stand so […]

The Monsters are Due on Pennsylvania Avenue —

“The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men. “For the record, prejudices can kill, and suspicion can destroy, and the thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of […]

Keyboards and the Future of Computers —

At Apple’s recent special event announcing its latest MacBook Pro lineup, SVP Phil Schiller introduced the new Touch Bar feature by explaining that it was designed to provide a dynamic and adaptive replacement for the row of physical function keys that has accompanied computer keyboards since the early 1970s. Why, he asked, should interface design […]