Tag Archives: Michael Specter

Jan. 2, 2017 The New Yorker

Jan. 2, 2017 The New Yorker’s Ian Frazier wrote “Incident Report” about Captain Kirk and LaGuardia airport.

Michael Specter wrote “Rewriting the Code of Life” about MIT’s Assistant Professor Kevin Esvelt editing the DNA to fight Lyme disease.

Copyright 2017 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Nov. 16, 2015 The New Yorker

On Nov. 16, 2015 The New Yorker’s Jill Lepore wrote “Politics And The New Machine” about the history and increasing inaccuracy of political polls in American politics.

Michael Specter wrote “The Gene Hackers” about DNA scientists fighting disease using clustered regularly interlaced short palindromic repeats called CRISPR to “recognize invading viruses”.

John Seabrook wrote “The Invisible Library” about recover lost documents from Herculaneum scrolls. Many great works have been lost to history from the collapse of civilizations. Through accident or design some scrolls survive. It is fascinating that a 2000 year old Roman philosopher’s scroll who postulated that the world is made of atoms should be rediscovered by scientists using a particle accelerator based on his own theory. Profound karma. Makes you wonder how to ensure your work survives. One strategy is to widely distribute lots of copies in many kinds of media.

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jun. 1, 2015 The New Yorker

On Jun. 1, 2015 The New Yorker’s Ed Caesar wrote “House Of Secrets” about a huge house  north of London is being built and how no one knows who the owner is.

Michael Specter wrote “Extreme City” about Angola. Apparently oil companies control the government and rich people do not pay their taxes. Dissidents are held without trial. Infrastructure is crumbling. The environment is suffering. It would be terrible to live in a country like that.

Elizabeth Kolbert wrote “Why People Want to Get to Mars” about attempts to colonize the red planet. We may make human life on earth impossible. Some wealthy people think it would be a backup planet.

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Nov. 11, 2013 The New Yorker

On Nov. 25, 2013 The New Yorker‘s Michael Specter wrote “Climate by the Numbers” about David Freidberg’s Climate Corporation which can give farmers detailed information about the crops in their fields.

Nicholas Lemann wrote “Street Cop” about SEC chair Mary Jo White efforts to control Wall Street.

Copyright 2013 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Oct. 22, 2012 The New Yorker

On Oct. 22, 2012 The New Yorker’s Michael Specter wrote “Germs Are Us” about how most of the bacteria in the human body is essential to its functioning and good health. Sometimes powerful antibiotics wipe out helpful bacteria. Some scientists like Dr. Andre Goldberg of the UCSF Medical Center want to introduce bacteria into the body to fight disease.

Dan Osnos wrote “Boss Rail” about a how a terrible train accident in China happened.

Jonah Weiner wrote “Prying Eyes” about artist Trevor Paglen creating art that gets him into trouble with the intelligence community.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.


Jul. 9, 2012 The New Yorker

On Jul. 9, 2012 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “Mind The Gap” about the perplexing problem of employers who will not hire anyone who does not already have a job. This keeps unemployment high and economic growth low. If employers cannot find qualified candidates they need to have more realistic expectations. People can be hired and trained. Also, company websites have become so automated that it is unlikely a real human will look at a resume and hire someone. The talent is out there. Employers have to want it.

Michael Specter wrote “The Mosquito Solution” about controlling the spread of mosquito born diseases like yellow fever and Dengue fever. Pesticides and medications are becoming less effective protecting millions of people. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is already in the San Francisco Bay area. One solution is to genetically modify mosquitoes (OX513A) to interfere with their growing populations.

Nathan Heller wrote “Listen And Learn” about the crazy world of TED talks.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

May 14, 2012 The New Yorker

On May 14, 2012 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “Invisible Hand Greased Palm” about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of 1977. Multinational corporations used to engage in corruption like bribery without fear of prosecution at home. They have learned that corruption increases business costs. It can be fought with transparency and broad enforcement of existing laws.

Nick Paumgarten wrote “Here’s Looking At You” about the rise of drones and surveillance.

David Owen wrote “The Artificial Leaf” about Daniel Nocera’s efforts to use artificial photosynthesis to create sustainable energy. He wants solar powered electrolysis to separate the hydrogen atoms from oxygen atoms in water to create cheap energy.

Larissa MacFarquhar wrote “When Giants Fail” about Clayton Christensen who created the Innovator’s Dilemma.

Michael Specter wrote “Climate Fixers” about various risky strategies to stop global warming. The cure might be worse than disease.

Joan Acocella wrote “The English Wars” about the American Heritage Dictionary and changing usage in the English language.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

May 30, 2011 The New Yorker

On May 30, 2011 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “A Billion Prices Now” about policy makers not having enough accurate information to make timely decisions about the economy. Beginning with the New Deal, the government began collecting statistics to put together Gross National Product (GNP) that became today’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). To improve upon this, MIT economists Alberto Cavallo and Roberto Rigobin created the Billion Prices Project (BPP) which predicted the economic collapse of September 2008 two months before it showed up in government statistics in November. Having such information can help decide how much intervention or stimulus is needed. Of course it requires courageous politicians to act upon it.

Michael Specter wrote “Resistant” about the history of epidemics, vaccination and human rights. A plague can change history or destroy a civilization. Get your kids immunized.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Dec. 20, 2010 The New Yorker

On Dec. 20, 2010 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “Groupon Clipping” about Internet companies trying remain relevant or part of the next big thing like Google trying to buy Groupon.

Michael Specter wrote “The Doomsday Strain” about scientist Nathan Wolfe’s searching the world for new diseases and cures.

David Owen wrote “The Efficiency Dilemma” about US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and the idea that increasing energy efficiency might mean we just use more energy.

Pankaj Mishra wrote “Staying Power” about Mao Zedong’s rise in China.

Caleb Crain wrote “Tea And Antipathy” about the real Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution.

Copyright 2010 DJ Cline All rights reserved.