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Stories by Michael Moyer

Metrocard Mathematics: Are Unlimited Subway Passes a Good Deal?

Unlimited, or Pay-Per-Ride? That’s the question posed by the New York Times City Room blog this morning, as New Yorkers confront the great algebraic unknown of August: are unlimited subway passes still a good value even if you’re going out of town on vacation?Perhaps the author, reporter Clyde Haberman, has been reading too much of his paper’s misguided screeds against mathematics education (nicely rebutted by my colleague Evelyn Lamb), but the column, titled “Doing the Metrocard Math,” never does the math.This is a shame, because the math is not all that difficult to do (despite the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s bizarre decision two years ago to change the base bonus from a nice, even 20 percent to an ungainly 7 percent)...

July 31, 2012 — Michael Moyer

Yes, Government Researchers Really Did Invent the Internet

"It's an urban legend that the government launched the Internet," writes Gordon Crovitz in an opinion piece in today's Wall Street Journal . Most histories cite the Pentagon-backed ARPANet as the Internet's immediate predecessor, but that view undersells the importance of research conducted at Xerox PARC labs in the 1970s, claims Crovitz...

July 23, 2012 — Michael Moyer

Mosquito Guts Implanted with GMO Malaria Assassins

Mosquitoes don’t cause malaria—the disease comes courtesy of the Plasmodium falciparum parasite. Yet mosquitoes do a fine job of spreading Plasmodium to about half a billion people every year.The parasite depends on mosquitoes for more than just transport, however...

July 17, 2012 — Michael Moyer

A Visual Guide to the Social Acceptability of Various Human-Machine Interfaces

Acceptable:Frowned upon:Only if you're a billionaire, and even then probably not a good idea:Please, no: The MH2 Wearable Humanoid Robot, developed by scientists at Japan's Yamagata University, "lives on your shoulder and can be remotely inhabited by your friends from anywhere in the world," according to Evan Ackerman at IEEE Spectrum 's Automaton blog...

May 30, 2012 — Michael Moyer

Amazing Video of Solar Eclipse Shows Sun's Structure

This time-lapse video of Sunday's solar eclipse highlights the Sun's outer layers: The photographer Cory Poole constructed the video by pasting together 700 photographs taken with a Coronado Solar Max 60 Double Stack telescope...

May 21, 2012 — Michael Moyer

The Mathematician's Obesity Fallacy

As I write, this interview with mathematician Carson C. Chow is the number-one most-emailed story on the New York Times Web site. Chow, a researcher at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, had no experience in the health sciences before he came to study the problem of why so many Americans are overweight...

May 15, 2012 — Michael Moyer

Slow-Motion Mayhem Video Sets Flour Aflame [video]

First, please enjoy this video of "Stupidity Captured at 2500 Frames per Second," preferably in full-screen view at high resolution. Take special note of the "Flour + Candle" segment that starts around the 2:50 mark: If, like me, you were left wondering how and why ordinary cooking flour would ignite in a giant fireball, allow me to share with you the strange science of explosive dust.We don't ordinarily consider all-purpose flour to be a flammable, and indeed, a cup of flour sitting on the kitchen counter poses no danger...

April 19, 2012 — Michael Moyer

Italy's Mount Etna Erupts Again [VIDEO]

A decade after a series of eruptions forced evacuations from the flanks of Mount Etna in Sicily, the volcano is acting up again. This amazing video shows the new flows: Mount Etna is an enigmatic volcano...

April 13, 2012 — Michael Moyer

Will Computers Ever Know Everything?

What was Alan Turing's greatest contribution? Here was a man who invented the idea of the modern computer, a man upon whose insights the information technology revolution firmly rests.

April 12, 2012 — Michael Moyer

Brain-Machine Interfaces in Fact and Fiction

AUSTIN, Texas—Use your brain to control the world. That's the promise of the brain-machine interface, a system that directly translates your thoughts into actions.

March 12, 2012 — Michael Moyer

Stop This Absurd War on the Color Pink

Last week Robert Krulwich, a co-host of the wonderful program Radiolab, Pluto'd pink. In a blog post he noted that pink doesn't occupy a slot in the familiar colors of the rainbow—there's no P in Roy G...

March 5, 2012 — Michael Moyer

Fermilab Set to Reveal "Interesting" Higgs Boson Results

VANCOUVER—Last fall, the Tevatron accelerator at Fermilab in Illinois shut down for good. The long-running accelerator had been eclipsed by the vastly more powerful Large Hadron Collider outside of Geneva, Switzerland, which since 2010 has been generating data at an impressive rate...

February 17, 2012 — Michael Moyer
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