Monthly Archives: April 2012

Back to the future: Private enterprise has got us racing into space again

IT TOOK less than one human lifespan, just 66 years, for humankind to go from our first powered flight to landing a man on the moon. But in the last decade we’ve given up on supersonic flight and grounded the space shuttle forever. There are no jetpacks zipping across the City skyline. Whatever happened to the future we were promised? Continue reading

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Filed under History, Innovation, Technology

A lesson from the age of the dinosaurs: Big isn’t beautiful in the long run

Asteroids happen, and being big won’t save you. In our current world of apocalyptic economic threats, that’s a lesson that seems worth re-learning. The latest version comes in a fascinating study of the fate of the dinosaurs from the University of Zurich and the Zoological Society of London. The paper’s abstract explains that the study offers a mechanism for “how mammals and birds, but not dinosaurs, were able to persist beyond the K–T boundary”, which is the infamous geological layer associated with the end of the dinosaurs and the beginning of the rise of our mammalian ancestors. Continue reading

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Filed under Economics, History

Publishing’s future hangs in the balance: This is no time to pick winners

IN THE tradition of digital success leading to massive antitrust lawsuits, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) this week filed a suit against Apple and five publishers for allegedly conspiring to keep ebook prices artificially high. Apple’s epublishing rival Amazon rubbed salt on the wound by promptly cutting its Kindle ebook prices even further. But no one should be too smug. The upturning of traditional publishing models has only just begun and neither Apple nor Amazon – certainly not a DoJ prosecutor – has the answer to where it will all end up. Continue reading

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Filed under Business, Innovation, Publishing, Technology