The U.S. armed forces dominates the land, air, and sea. But it also must dominate the electromagnetic spectrum by jamming and counterjamming communications to remain effective on the battlefield:
It is well known that America’s military dominates both the air and the sea. What’s less celebrated is that the US has also dominated the spectrum, a feat that is just as critical to the success of operations. Communications, navigation, battlefield logistics, precision munitions—all of these depend on complete and unfettered access to the spectrum, territory that must be vigilantly defended from enemy combatants. Having command of electromagnetic waves allows US forces to operate drones from a hemisphere away, guide cruise missiles inland from the sea, and alert patrols to danger on the road ahead. Just as important, blocking enemies from using the spectrum is critical to hindering their ability to cause mayhem, from detonating roadside bombs to organizing ambushes. As tablet computers and semiautonomous robots proliferate on battlefields in the years to come, spectrum dominance will only become more critical. Without clear and reliable access to the electromagnetic realm, many of America’s most effective weapons simply won’t work.
PUBLISHED: Feb. 18, 2014
LENGTH: 19 minutes (4955 words)
An in-depth interview (via The Browser) with Wired co-founder and technology “protopian” Kevin Kelly about the future of sharing and tracking on the Internet:
The question that I’m asking myself is, how far will we share, when are we’re going to stop sharing, and how far are we’re going to allow ourselves to monitor and surveil each other in kind of a coveillance? I believe that there’s no end to how much we can track each other—how far we’re going to self-track, how much we’re going to allow companies to track us—so I find it really difficult to believe that there’s going to be a limit to this, and to try to imagine this world in which we are being self-tracked and co-tracked and tracked by governments, and yet accepting of that, is really hard to imagine.
PUBLISHED: Feb. 3, 2014
LENGTH: 36 minutes (9124 words)
A mathematician uses data mining and algorithms to find the perfect match on a dating site:
When the last question was answered and ranked, he ran a search on OkCupid for women in Los Angeles sorted by match percentage. At the top: a page of women matched at 99 percent. He scrolled down … and down … and down. Ten thousand women scrolled by, from all over Los Angeles, and he was still in the 90s.
He needed one more step to get noticed. OkCupid members are notified when someone views their pages, so he wrote a new program to visit the pages of his top-rated matches, cycling by age: a thousand 41-year-old women on Monday, another thousand 40-year-old women on Tuesday, looping back through when he reached 27-year-olds two weeks later. Women reciprocated by visiting his profiles, some 400 a day. And messages began to roll in.
PUBLISHED: Jan. 21, 2014
LENGTH: 11 minutes (2931 words)
Our story picks of the week, featuring the Hollywood Reporter, New York magazine, Wired, Oxford American and the New York Review of Books, with a guest pick by Teddy Worcester.
The author of nearly three dozen books on the decline of manufacturing in America, and a future in which innovation can’t save us but reducing our consumption might:
Most innovation is not done by research institutes and national laboratories. It comes from manufacturing—from companies that want to extend their product reach, improve their costs, increase their returns. What’s very important is in-house research. Innovation usually arises from somebody taking a product already in production and making it better: better glass, better aluminum, a better chip. Innovation always starts with a product.
Look at LCD screens. Most of the advances are coming from big industrial conglomerates in Korea like Samsung or LG. The only good thing in the US is Gorilla Glass, because it’s Corning, and Corning spends $700 million a year on research.
PUBLISHED: Nov. 26, 2013
LENGTH: 7 minutes (1807 words)
Health care workers are attempting to eradicate polio by penetrating remote areas in Afghanistan and Pakistan controlled by the Taliban:
Because all the Afghan polio cases in 2013 have been reported here in the eastern half of the country, these National Immunization Days have special importance in this region. As with the global campaign writ large, polio here has receded greatly over the past two decades but with serious setbacks along the way: Although cases dropped after the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, an outbreak in 2011 brought 80 new cases and a general sense of emergency. And so the eradication program—which is government-run but supported financially by who and unicef —ordered a “surge” in Afghanistan. They doubled the international staff and cracked down on underperforming and corrupt officials. This year, the surge has paid a huge dividend, in that the war-torn south of the country, for a long time the greatest problem area, now appears to be free of the virus. It’s the inaccessible areas in the east, where Jalalabad is, that are now the main concern.
PUBLISHED: Nov. 21, 2013
LENGTH: 17 minutes (4382 words)
Our story picks of the week, featuring The New Yorker, MIT Technology Review, BuzzFeed, Wired and Gawker, plus a guest pick by Andrew Pantazi.
A look back, and ahead, at how the Internet is evolving to capture our data—and what organizations will do with it next:
"There is no doubt that the Internet—that undistinguished complex of wires and switches—has changed how we think and what we value and how we relate to one another, as it has made the world simultaneously smaller and wider. Online connectivity has spread throughout the world, bringing that world closer together, and with it the promise, if not to level the playing field between rich and poor, corporations and individuals, then to make it less uneven. There is so much that has been good—which is to say useful, entertaining, inspiring, informative, lucrative, fun—about the evolution of the World Wide Web that questions about equity and inequality may seem to be beside the point."
PUBLISHED: Oct. 22, 2013
LENGTH: 16 minutes (4244 words)