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Stories by Scott Huler


The Robots Who Could Have Saved Fukushima Are Coming

This remarkable piece in IEEE Spectrum giving a timeline of the hellish first 24 hours at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant makes the expected observations: the entire crisis could have been averted with a couple of nineteenth-century or earlier engineering fixes: don't put your generators in the basement when you're in an area that might flood, and if your generators could be at risk during a crisis that would require evacuation, don't put your backup generators hundreds of kilometers away on wheeled vehicles that will have to fight the fleeing traffic, on ruined roads, to get to the crisis.But that's engineering: you always learn what's wrong by having it go wrong...

November 1, 2011 — Scott Huler

Awake in the City

Okay, so pretty much all of us live in cities now, or we soon will; that's a given. There's lots of good to come from that and plenty to worry about too.Something that people don't think about much, though, is that so many of us take urban living as an excuse to turn off our senses: when it’s time to observe our surroundings, to pay attention in that naturalist, scientist way, we jump in a plane or a car and go out yonder somewhere: state park, national park, even a local farm,where we whip out a Peterson’s Guide and wax lyrical over identifying a scarlet tanager or a rufous-sided towhee.Except, no: that’s exactly wrong...

August 16, 2011 — Scott Huler
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