Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries from December 31st, 2012

Another 365

December 31st, 2012 · No Comments

I usually spend the day before New Year’s reflecting on the various triumphs and numerous failures of the preceding twelve months. To my chagrin, however, that just isn’t possible this year—the pace of dealing with two kids is more relentless than I had dared imagine prior to the Grand Emprette’s birth. I’ll have to settle […]

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“An Innocent Third Party”

December 28th, 2012 · 2 Comments

When we hear about the ill-advised nature of high-speed police pursuits, it’s usually in relation to injuries suffered by pedestrians or occupants of uninvolved vehicles. But Brian Werner, a Nebraska man who was paralyzed in such a chase, was actually a passenger in a car being pursued. He sued the state for damages and was […]

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The Simple Can Be So Difficult

December 27th, 2012 · No Comments

A few days before Christmas, a milestone of sorts was reached at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology: for the first time ever, a few eggs were cooked on a kerosene stove. This was significant not because of the quality of the meal produced, but rather because the stove generated eight watts of electricity […]

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The Power Down

December 21st, 2012 · 1 Comment

All that stands between me and a five-day vacation is a pair of 300-word Wired pieces. Let me get to that so I get to teaching Microkhan Jr. the finer points of falconry. Back here after the Christmas lull.

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Born to Greatness

December 19th, 2012 · 6 Comments

Alice Strick, the current world record holder in the Canadian-style one-foot high kick, is part of an athletic dynasty: her mother and cousin were also champions at the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics. While Strick’s feat in the clip above may seem effortless, I can assure you that it required near-superhuman athleticism. I know this because I […]

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Beyond Red/Blue

December 18th, 2012 · 1 Comment

As the map above shows, our nation’s pattern of monkey-ownership laws is not easy to predict based on geography alone. Reliably blue states such as Washington and Illinois have no problem with personal primates, while conservative bastions such as Louisiana and Georgia have enacted blanket bans. I can only guess that legislators react to specific […]

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Parallel Lives

December 14th, 2012 · No Comments

Ireland’s Travellers invite a fair amount of voyeurism on account of their reputation for physical toughness and petty crime. The conventional wisdom is that this social group has decided to remain distinct from mainstream Irish society, in order to preserve their unique cultural traditions. But German photographer Birte Kaufman, who has documented life in a […]

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Unequal Trade

December 12th, 2012 · 1 Comment

If you have even a passing interest in colonialist cunning, you owe it to yourself to check out the National Museum of Australia’s dynamite exhibit on Aboriginal breastplates. These were baubles that the European arrivals provided to Down Under’s native inhabitants, ostensibly to honor certain individuals for being community leaders. But the givers desired something […]

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Accept Your Fake

December 10th, 2012 · 3 Comments

One of the issues I’m grappling with on my in-development Wired story is how we’ll need to redefine the notion of authenticity in the era of ubiquitous 3D printing. If I can make a perfect copy of any object without leaving the comfort of my home, does the original lose its aura of value? That’s […]

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UNIVAC Could Have Saved Us

December 7th, 2012 · No Comments

Desperately wanted to do a West Papua post this morning, but a critical Wired deadline beckons. In my absence, please marvel at the UNIVAC promotional film above, in which the early computer is touted as the instrument capable of liberating our species from meteorological uncertainty. Ah, to think there was a time when the phrase […]

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Too Fat for the Fuzz, Cont’d

December 5th, 2012 · 1 Comment

After I microblogged this morning about overweight Indonesian cops, a treasured reader reminded me that Microkhan had covered this territory before. In July 2009, I wrote about the case of Chris Parent, a police officer in Bellevue, Nebraska, who was fired for being too large to perform his job properly. (See video above, which was […]

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Trompe L’Oeil

December 4th, 2012 · 3 Comments

As we recently explored in our post about wildlife strikes, even the most advanced technology cannot withstand Mother Nature’s meddling. Roller coasters are another case in point, as explained in this rather fascinating bit by a veteran amusement-park techie: A ride error is usually caused by an issue with the photo eye sensors…On Talon, the […]

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