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Articles by Edward Tenner

The Improbable Practicality of the Humanities Friday, September 5, 2014
Prospects for the humanities can be more promising than ever.
Peanut Butter’s Many Inventors Friday, August 15, 2014
The popular product illustrates both the opportunities and the risks of intellectual property.
Big Data: Here to Stay, but with Caveats Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Criticism of big data is due to three paradoxes. For starters, it's ubiquitous but hard to define.
The Refrigerator's Cool Century Thursday, July 3, 2014
The home refrigerator, a vital but modest technology, is 100 years old.
Bernard Mandeville, Psychiatrist in the Marketplace Saturday, May 10, 2014
Published 300 years ago, what made The Fable of the Bees radical wasn’t the idea that the passions could serve the public good. It was that the burgeoning ...
Could Computers Get Too Smart? Friday, February 7, 2014
Some scientists and philosophers worry that artificial intelligence may someday make humanity superfluous.
Higher Education’s Internet Revolution Thursday, December 26, 2013
The biggest surprise about Massive Open Online Courses is how conservative they are.
Tomorrow's Technological Breakthroughs: Hiding in Plain Sight? Thursday, November 28, 2013
A look back at the Depression era reminds us to be skeptical of the technological pessimism of some leading economists today — few people foresaw just which ...
The Value of Scientific Prizes Wednesday, October 2, 2013
As the number of prizes for scientific achievement rises, the debate over their effects on scientists and science continues.
Dreams of a New Atlantic-Pacific Passage Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Nicaragua’s legislature has approved a plan for a canal to rival Panama’s. But with challenges including financial viability and seismic stability, the canal ...
The Perpetual Passion for Paper Thursday, May 16, 2013
Paper is becoming less important in some respects, but its strengths — prestige, utility, permanence, and security — are more essential than ever.
How Economic Nationalism Bites Back Thursday, January 17, 2013
History suggests protectionism has many more failures than successes.
An Unnatural History of the Electronic Mouse Thursday, October 25, 2012
Technology marches on and the mouse is done for, or so we are told. But what if history had been different?
Apple, Disney, and Dreams of Corporate Utopias Friday, September 28, 2012
Steve Jobs and Walt Disney: Revered founders and their plans for radical buildings.
The Fine Art of Resilience: Lessons from Stanley Meltzoff Tuesday, July 24, 2012
How should artists respond originally to changing technology and fashion?
Facebook and the Importance of Being Unimportant Monday, June 4, 2012
Many companies make things you'd never discuss at a cocktail party, yet are indispensable for other things that you would.
Markets, Risk, and Fashion: The Hindenburg’s Smoking Lounge Friday, May 4, 2012
The idea of a smoking lounge immediately under 7 million cubic feet of flammable gas should seem ludicrous. But it wasn’t.
Titanic and the 1% Friday, April 6, 2012
What’s striking in thinking about class differences in the age of Titanic is not the similarities to inequality in our own time, but the chasm.
The Naked and the Dead: Weegee’s Lessons for Today Friday, February 24, 2012
One of the 20th century’s best-known cultural entrepreneurs was a proud member of the 99 percent: Arthur Fellig, better known as Weegee.
Why I’m an Adbooster Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Here’s why champions of the 99 percent should applaud advertisers.
The Dismal New Science of Stagnationism Wednesday, October 26, 2011
If the future is behind schedule, it may be because the world’s major financial institutions and venture capitalists have not been backing the right ideas.
Wizards: Cupertino vs. Menlo Park Saturday, October 8, 2011
Vaclav Smil’s article ‘Steve Jobs Is No Edison’ will offend many, but it raises important questions that need answers.
Suiting Ourselves Wednesday, April 18, 2007
For a symbol of conformity, the archetypal men's garment has a remarkably rich history.