Book launched

It’s been a busy few weeks. The book was launched last Monday at UCL: really appreciated all the enthusiasm of past and present students and colleagues. Also wrote a short piece about why the Theranos scandal could have been avoided if more people had asked the right questions, and a blog post for the Engineering Professors Council on how we can teach students how to do better research. Read More …

New paper: Being Analog

IMG_0957I attended the 3rd International Workshop on Optical SuperComputing in Bertinoro, Italy, back in November. I don’t get out so much these days, so I was pretty shocked when a total of 10 people showed up (or was it 11, you’d think I’d remember!) It’s a shame, because there is some interesting stuff going on in this field…

In any case, despite a couple talks delivered remotely, the program turned out to be pretty thin (perhaps not surprising given the attendance). So I offered to give a presentation about my stuff, even though it’s not strictly about optical. The talk, called Being Analog, was well received, so they asked me to write it up as a paper for Springer’s Lecture Notes on Computer Science (which had a deal to do the proceedings). Uploaded it today: so here it is, hot off the presses, if you’re interested.

Photo: The view out of my window from Bertinoro Castle.

Originally posted on Brains and Machines.

Why nano is still macro

Artists impression of a nanobot.In my review of Kurzweil’s The Singularity is Near,  I said that I felt the author’s ideas about nanotechnology were unconvincing. I’d like to elaborate on that now. I don’t claim to have huge expertise in the field: I’m not a chemist. But I have been following it for almost 15 years: I remember hearing Drexler talk about his work when I was based at MIT in the early 1990s and have had an interest in the subject ever since then. I’ve been editing a publication on the subject for several years and even refreshed myself in this area last month, attending a study trip on the subject for journalists in Switzerland. Read More …

Roses in January

Old roses are still hanging on in London's Hyde Park, despite it being January.Global warming seems to have been following me around lately.

It was pretty warm before I left London in mid-December. Then New York was a bizarre 60°F (16°C) almost every day I was there, the feeling was quite incongruous with all of the winter holiday lights blazing. Leaves were still on many trees and the idea of a white Christmas seemed laughable. Read More …

Men with guns and bombs

A stallholder at Night Vision 2006 demonstrating the use of the sights his company was selling.At the night vision conference I attended recently, I found myself in a new culture. I’ve written about technology that could be used for military applications for years, but almost always through academic and industrial institutions: so I’ve never been forced to really face up to what the technology was for. It’s one thing to know intellectually that the system you’re writing about is for night vision for soldiers. It’s another thing to see people testing them out by looking down the barrel of a gun. Read More …

Wissenschaft (Or you can’t take the terror out of the girl…)

Not a belt you'd want to be seen wearing in London.Last week I was visiting a laboratory in a medium-to-large town in the north of Germany, where I was given a belt to wear as part of an experiment. I don’t want to go into details of what the belt was for as it’s for a forthcoming magazine feature: I’ll say more in a later post once the article has been published. For now, let’s just say it was a kind of wearable computer, and the experiment involved walking around town wearing the thing. Which I did. Read More …