• Recent Stories

  • Technology

  • The Day Vehicles Started Driving Themselves

    Fri, 19 Mar 2004

    Behind Remember, if you will, that not all that long ago the very idea of a self-navigating vehicle was mostly the stuff of SciFi. It certainly seemed fairly preposterous in 2004, when I had the opportunity to witness the first-ever autonomous vehicle race, held in the Mojave Desert, by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency(DARPA). So it was remarkable then that the winning vehicle had managed to travel was 7.4 miles on its own, just as it is remarkable today how quickly these robot vehicles have evolved since then. Here is my account of that day. Click to Read More...

    The Long Running Feud Between vi and EMACS users

    Tue, 04 Dec 2001

    EMACS Like fight-fatigued battalions who come to a temporary truce but refuse to give up the war, vi and EMACS users keep an uneasy standoff in many Linux communities. When pressed, most people familiar with both editors will say the difference between the two is primarily one of speed vs. flexibility. But why has this difference of views remained a divisor of programmer culture for more than four decades now? Click to Read More...

  • Music

    Pie in the Sky: How Crack the Sky Became Famous in Nowhere but Baltimore

    Wed, 12 Jul 1995

    A 1975 was the Indian summer of progressive rock. Procol Harum and King Crimson released their respective swan songs. ELP, Yes, Pink Floyd and Genesis were still popular. Younger art rock upstarts like Kansas, 10CC, Supertramp, and Gentle Giant were weighing in with strong new releases. Crack the Sky, from a small steel town 30 minutes west of Pittsburgh, was then one of most promising of these young upshots. Click to Read More...

    Patsy Cline and the Paddle

    Fri, 18 Dec 2015

    An Patsy Cline, in today's parlance, gave zero fucks. I feel a certain kinship to Cline, if only because I attended the same school she did, Gore Elementary, 12 miles west of Winchester, Virginia (though I attended 30 years after she did). Back up against the Blue Ridge Mountains, Gore is a tiny unincorporated town, mostly a few buildings coalescing around a single road breaking off Route 50. Many of the refined folk in the nearby metropolis of sorts, Winchester, had looked down on Patsy Cline, as being from the wrong side of the tracks, even after she became famous. Click to See the Tracks She Was on the Wrong Side Of...

  • Technique: A Digital Diary

  • Liquor in the Front, Poker in the Rear

    Tue, 20 Nov 2018

    The Some dirty truths about running a newspaper:I am sorry to hear of the passing of the Village Voice, and for, my own kindred, the Baltimore City Paper, both of which folded last year. But I am pretty cynical about attempts to revive them. Quarter-page ads from the local coffee shops were not what drove those newspapers. My advice for anyone foolhardy to try to start an actual print newspaper or magazine these days? Find a source of dirty money to keep the books healthy. Click to Read More...

    The Path to Totality

    Fri, 06 Apr 2018

    Road I would not recommend driving 1,400 miles in approximately 30 hours. But if you must do it, it helps to have a speedy set of wheels. Our goal was to experience the eclipse in its entirety, to get under the path of totality as its darkness cut a swath across the United States mid-day August 21, 2017. Others had made plans, procured camping spots and sleeping bags for the night before. We had a Ford Mustang to get us there, and get us back, through a 30 hour day all in order to experience the 3 minute micro-day of pure planetary discombobulation within. Click to See...

  • Photos Essays

    Friends of John Sargent

    Wed, 26 Aug 2015

    The Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray remained young while his portrait aged in an attic. John Sargent (1856-1925), in a way, pulled off the opposite trick, preserving on oiled canvas the full beauty and animism of people who are now all long deceased. Sargent painted portraits of his friends, often trading a payment for freedom of artistic direction, which allowed him to more accurately capture their personalities. Tight with Claude Monet, Sargent often borrowed techniques from impressionism to make his work more dynamic and subtle. The results remain almost eerily vivacious over a century later. Click to See

    Better Life Through Medicine


    Photos As a teenage fuck-up who had recently (and barely) graduated high school, I, of limited opportunities, joined the U.S. Army in the summer of 1983. I had never been outside the northeast U.S., and after advanced training, was first assigned to Fort Lee, New Jersey. Cool, I thought, I would be close to my girlfriend, who lived not too far away in Harrisburg, Pa. But then, in would I would later understand to be in true U.S. Army fashion, a last minute phone call came in: I would be instead be dispatched to South Korea, a place that seemed for my lovelorn heart to be on the other side of the planet. Click to See

  • Book reviews and author profiles:

  • Sexism in Silicon Valley

    Thu, 27 Feb 2020

    The Susan Fowler's "Whistleblower" should be required reading for any Silicon Valley start-up founder, or any company exec for that matter. The sexism/misogyny Fowler experienced at Uber and elsewhere derailed her career, multiple times. But it also damaged these organizations as well, in terms of lost talent and, later on, public goodwill. Click to Read More...

    Darwin by the Fire

    Wed, 16 Jul 2014

    Origin Sometimes a piece of writing so closely describes the truth, that it itself becomes the truth. Charles Darwin's " On the Origin of Species," first published in 1859, made its argument so thoroughly, so absolutely, it literally willed evolution into being in the human consciousness. Click to Read More...

  • Feature writing about life in Baltimore: Baltimore City Paper, Baltimore Magazine
  • Bushwick Nation: (Editor, Web Admin) Pop culture blog about life in Bushwick
  • Spock Science Monitor: (Editor, 2006-2008) Burning Man's longest-running (mock) newspaper