Is Dubner a Robot?

There are striking similarities...

The Anti-Malarial Bug Zapper

Nathan Myhrvold demos his anti-malaria laser at TED.

Contest Answer: What Was That Yellow Object?

Sulfur at the Athabasca oil sands mining facility.

Nathan Myhrvold, Mad Chef

Nathan Myhrvold is the Intellectual Ventures chieftain we wrote about in SuperFreakonomics; I.V. has plans to thwart, inter alia, hurricanes, malaria, and global warming. (He has also written for this blog occasionally.) Now he has let The N.Y. Times into his kitchen. It is not like any other kitchen you've ever seen; nor is the cookbook he is producing like any other that's been published:

Are Solar Panels Really Black? And What Does That Have to Do With the Climate Debate?

It seems inevitable that discussions of climate science would degenerate to being deeply politicized and polarized. Depending on which views are adopted, individuals, industries, and countries will gain or lose, which provides ample motive. Once people with a strong political or ideological bent latch onto an issue, it becomes hard to have a reasonable discussion; once you're in a political mode, the focus in the discussion changes. Everything becomes an attempt to protect territory. Evidence and logic becomes secondary, used when advantageous and discarded when expedient. What should be a rational debate becomes a personal and venal brawl. Rational, scientific debate that could advance the common good gets usurped by personal attacks and counterattacks.

Elf Problems

| You might have learned about the hidden elves of Iceland if you read the Michael Lewis article we blogged about recently. (Note: for Icelandic pushback to Lewis’s colorful tales, see here.) The Icelandic government apparently takes these elves very seriously, and often requires that new construction sites be certified as clear of elves before […]

The Truth About Peking Duck and Other Beijing Reflections: A Guest Post

Earlier this week, Nathan Myhrvold gave us his thoughts (and photos) from a visit to Shanghai. Here, as promised, is the second installment of his China trip, which takes him to Beijing. You will probably never look at Peking duck — or the Bird’s Nest — quite the same way again. His earlier posts on […]

Is Shanghai Turning Pro or Just Building High? A Guest Post

Nathan Myhrvold, the former chief technology officer of Microsoft, now runs the invention company Intellectual Ventures. He is a polymath’s polymath: a physicist by training who practices many feats of technology as well as dinosaur-hunting, intensive cuisine, photography, and other, more esoteric pursuits. Earlier this year he contributed three guest posts about his visits to […]

Eating Polar Bears Is Okay in Greenland

This is our third and final guest post from the very polymathic Nathan Myhrvold. The first two were Icelandic travelogues; this one takes us to Greenland. It includes some of the most stunning photographs we have ever seen. Iceland is a modern technological society which retains a frontier attitude. Greenland, on the other hand, really […]

How Iceland Went From Blood Feuds to Geothermal

The other day, we brought you a guest post by Nathan Myhrvold that chronicled his recent trip to Iceland. Here, as promised, is the next installment, equally fascinating, with equally stunning photographs. What is Myhrvold exactly? As he admits himself, it’s hard to say — but in this TED talk he does a good job […]