All posts by chris

Bumpy Flight

The holidays are rolling around again, and the time is fast approaching to book your flight home.  But this year you're ahead of the curve.  You've combed all the travel sites, checked your fare alerts, sold some plasma, and pulled the trigger on that window seat you've had your eye on since mid-August.  Well done. […]

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Golden Gatekeepers

In the mid-1970s, the University of California, Berkeley, found itself in some hot legal water over graduate school admissions.  It turns out that the university accepted almost 2.5 times as many men as women to its graduate programs in the fall of 1973, which led to some accusations of gender discrimination.  Actually, it wasn't just […]

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Pandemic

Vampires are near and dear to our hearts around here.  But not too near.  On second thought, stay away from our hearts.  At any rate, vampires have come to loom large in the popular consciousness over the past few years --- books, comics, movies --- they're everywhere.  That said, nobody has ever managed to catch […]

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The Triplets of Cellville

If your phone is on, then somebody --- or at least something --- knows where you are.  Whether for local business searches, geosocial networking, targeted marketing, or even emergency response, location-based mobile services have become so ubiquitous that now we mostly notice them only when they're absent.  But have you ever wondered how those services work? […]

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Prisn

In June of 2013, it came to light that the United States government had been tapping into the records of the world's largest internet and telecommunications companies, on a startling scale, to gather information about people who might represent a threat to national security.  One of these programs, codenamed PRISM, included direct access to the […]

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Droidlocks

Lately there's been a lot of buzz in mathy circles about PINs, ever since tech consultant Nick Berry was kind enough to point out, via some awesome and aesthetically pleasing analysis of a few million compromised numbers, just how terribly unimaginative we are at choosing the security codes that unlock, e.g., our checking accounts and alarm systems.  (Spoiler Alert: […]

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