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This is the first in our package of articles about the Middle East revolts and the future of autocracy worldwide. Click here to read about the Muslim Brotherhood, here to read about Russia's deep despair, and here to read about Venezuela's lost generation. No one thinks about their own demise more than the leaders of China’s Communist Party. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and its Eastern European satellites, they have undertaken a massive effort to study why some one-party states survive while others fail.

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With the unveiling of the National Broadband Map last week, focus has again turned to broadband access. While the obvious conclusion from the map is that urban and suburban households are more likely to be in the service area of broadband providers, mere availability is not the only way to measure access.  Price and actual (rather than advertised) connection speeds are also very important measures of broadband access. A recent study by the Investigative Reporting Workshop (IRW) at American University highlighted how these factors can vary within metropolitan areas. While their methodology is n

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Someone, somewhere, has surely commented that you can tell a lot about a person from what he or she happens to find funny. For this reason, I have always thought that the roars of approval which greeted P.J. O'Rourke's jokes about homeless people said it all about the 80s.

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 Last week I wrote about how the mammoth cost overruns in Boston’s Big Dig project, among other things, continue to resonate when government proposes large scale public works projects.

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The Obama Factor

WASHINGTON--Memo to Democrats: You will be defined by President Obama whether you like it or not, so you might as well embrace him for the benefits he can bring you. Memo to Republicans: Talk a right-wing game in your ideological magazines and at your tea parties if that makes you happy. But to win elections, your candidates had better look like middle-of-the-road problem-solvers. Those are the two outstanding lessons from the campaigns for next Tuesday's governors' races in New Jersey and Virginia. Both parties would be smart to apply them in 2010. In Virginia, Democrat R.

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Yesterday the Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to begin writing “net neutrality” rules to prevent Internet providers from determining which content or services reaches their customers. Several weeks ago, Jeff Rosen wrote a magazine piece on network neutrality in which he argued that a lack of it can amount to discrimination, as well as restriction of free speech: The Comcast case is a model for the free-speech battles of the future, where Internet and wireless providers may want to favor certain content providers over others in order to maximize profits at the expense of con

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The Front

On July 25, Najibullah Zazi, a lanky man in his mid-twenties, walked into the Beauty Supply Warehouse in Aurora, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. The visit was captured on a store video camera. Wearing a baseball cap and pushing a shopping cart, Zazi appeared to be just another suburban guy. Of course, not many suburban guys buy six bottles of Clairoxide hair bleach, as Zazi did on this shopping trip--or return a month later to buy a dozen bottles of "Ms. K Liquid," a peroxide-based product.

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Net Cemetery

Network neutrality--that’s now the official policy of the Obama administration, announced last month by the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Julius Genachowski. It’s a development that could be more significant to the future of free speech than any milestone since the Supreme Court’s decision in New York Times v. Sullivan in 1964. The essence of net neutrality seems simple: Internet service providers should be required to treat all data equally and avoid blocking or delaying any sites or applications.

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The Usefulness of Cranks

Paradise Found: Nature in America at the Time of Discovery By Steve Nicholls (University of Chicago Press, 524 pp., $30) American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau Edited by Bill McKibben (Library of America, 1,047 pp., $40) Defending The Master Race: Conservation, Eugenics, And The Legacy Of Madison Grant By Jonathan Peter Spiro (University of Vermont Press, 462 pp., $39.95) A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir By Donald Worster (Oxford University Press, 535 pp., $34.99) A Reenchanted World: The Quest for A New Kinship With Nature By James William Gibson (Metropolitan Books,

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For months now, various right-wing bloggers and Glenn Beck have been trying to whip up outrage over Van Jones, Obama's green-jobs guru. Their accusations to date—that he's a secret communist, say—have been absurd and easily ignored. But all of the sudden Jones may be turning into a real political headache for the White House. Yesterday, he had to apologize for an old YouTube clip in which he called Republicans "assholes" for thwarting environmental legislation.

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