Technology and the City

CITY JOURNAL ………… Technology built the world’s great cities. As Lewis Mumford chronicled in his 1961 opus, The City in History, technology played the central role in expanding the metropolis, beginning in the Middle Ages and accelerating with the Industrial Revolution. But will digital technology—specifically telecommuting, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic—finally hollow out New…

Green Energy’s Overseas Dependence

NATIONAL REVIEW …………    Children scrabbling with bare hands, never mind shovels, and carrying bags of rocks is not the image Elon Musk wants for his wildly successful green-car company. So, in early June, Tesla signed a deal with global miner, Glencore, to help “ethically” source an increased supply of cobalt.

The Global Economy’s Fuel Gauge

CITY JOURNAL …….. China is about one month ahead of the United States in exiting the Covid-19 shutdown. That country’s rush-hour traffic jams now equal or exceeded pre-lockdown levels, even in Wuhan. This quick reversal happened despite claims that telecommuting would “change everything,” especially old-fashioned commuting and, thus, oil demand.

Silicon vs. Viruses

CITY JOURNAL SPRING 2020 ……..  Will Covid-19 be seen, in hindsight, as a technological tipping point for telecommuting and other forms of remote interaction, including of the medical kind? Has the technology improved enough, given all that has happened in tech since 2009—an Internet century ago? Consider some bellwether indicators.

The Auspicious History — and Future — of Basic Science Research

NATIONAL JOURNAL ……..  With every crisis, whether a pandemic or manmade or natural disaster, politicians and pundits invariably get around to calling for a Manhattan Project. This powerful imagery of putting “big science” to work to tackle big challenges comes, of course, from the success of that World War II effort and after that its Cold…

Our love of the cloud is making a green energy future impossible

TECH CRUNCH ……..  An epic number of citizens are video-conferencing to work in these lockdown times. But as they trade in a gas-burning commute for digital connectivity, their personal energy use for each two hours of video is greater than the share of fuel they would have consumed on a four-mile train ride. Add to this,…