Nicholas Thompson


Star Search

But JDAMs weren’t the brainchild of crack scientists toiling in some defense contractor’s generously funded skunk works. The person most responsible for their development was a 57-year-old Department of Defense program manager named Terry Little. Several years ago, Little was charged with coming up with finding a contractor and a contract to create something that… Read more »

Space Balls

Most major defense projects of the past two decades have come in late, over-budget, or both. Worse, our biggest outlays haven’t gone for technologies that are maximally useful in conflicts against the terrorists and rogue and hapless states that smart people have long considered our biggest post-Soviet enemy. We still spend vastly more on fighter… Read more »

Bright Lights, Small Villages

In most ways, Patriensa is just another tiny town amidst lush farming land in the Ashanti region of Ghana: a remote part of a remote country where per-capita income is less than a dollar a day. The day starts when the rooster crows and ends at about 9 p.m., when everyone has finished eating their… Read more »

Publisher Perish

Along with a large group of scientists—including Harold Varmus, the acclaimed former director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—Roberts has been pushing the buildup of a massive repository of scientific literature called PubMed Central, hosted by NIH’s National Library of Medicine. According to its advocates’ vision, PMC would allow anyone in the world to… Read more »