Tag Archives: tech-history

Homo Faber

Even the children of homo sapiens can’t resist making things.   While walking through the local park, Menotomy Rocks, I came across this: It’s been there for years.    Every kid who walks by feels an urge to add a stick.   In … Continue reading

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“The Wright Brothers” and Thinking Straight

There are lots of reasons to love the story of the Wright brothers.  They came from nowhere to solve the great problem of flight, one that had defeated so many others.  They showed straight-up physical courage when flying these dangerous … Continue reading

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The Singularity Will Be Built Out of the Same Old Stuff

I work in a field, semiconductors, that is the paradigmatic example of the Singularity.  When people talk about technology zooming up the exponential growth curve, they’re talking about what I do.  Since the field began in the early 1960s, there … Continue reading

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Lead in Flint and RoHS

The scandal about lead in the Flint Michigan water supply reminded me of my own brush with lead issues.  In the 2000s a program started up in electronics called the Reduction of Hazardous Substances, RoHS.   It was intended to get … Continue reading

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A Plug for Doomed Engineers

In the early 90s I began collecting stories of engineers who came to bad ends.  That’s literally bad ends, as in executions and suicide, not just failed projects.    My own career was at a difficult phase at that time, … Continue reading

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“The Wind Rises”, As Did Japan

So why would Hayao Miyazaki, one of Japan’s greatest directors, chose to make his final movie about an obscure aircraft designer?  He has said that “The Wind Rises” will be his last, and he’s already 73.   None of his other … Continue reading

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Criminal Inventors

So the “Breaking Bad” TV series has ended, and with it the career of the chemist and criminal mastermind Walter White.   It was nice in a macabre way to see a technical person portrayed as dangerous and alluring, rather than … Continue reading

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