The Most Secure Computer is No Computer at All

In the best tv show ever made, Battlestar Galactica, humanity is at war against evil robots called the Cylons. The humans have big battleships that use very antiquated technology in order to protect themselves from hacking by the technologically-advanced Cylons. Using old hardware is their best defense. The Navy appears to be thinking something along the […]

Even More Centrifuges

As I mention in another post, the problem of getting functioning centrifuges in the poor world is a big one. While Dr. Oluyombo Awojobi created a centrifuge from old bicycle parts, Stanfor’d Manu Prakash has solved it in a different way — by using an ancient children’s toy called a whirligig:   See more in this […]

Nigerian Doctor MacGyvers his Amazing Clinic

One of the most important tools in medicine is a centrifuge, a tool which spins samples at high speeds to separate out matter. But what do you do when you don’t have electricity, or you can’t afford a traditional centrifuge? Public Radio International has a story about a Nigerian doctor who hacks the tools of […]

Reframing Problems to Create Solutions

  One of the most important principles of problem-solving is that changing the definition of the problem can help you come up with a solution. To illustrate this, I’m going to use a children’s story I read in grade school: A hero goes to steal a valuable treasure from a king. The king is protective of […]

The Death of Illusions

Over time, I’ve come to the conclusion that the death of our illusions is one of the hardest kinds of death. And so, even when our stories do not work, we cling to them anyways. We may refuse to provide help to alleviate suffering, because the type of help does not fit neatly enough into our […]