Searching for Satoshi

So it seems as if the famously pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto has finally been discovered – and his name really is Satoshi Nakamoto. At least that’s what Newsweek is claiming. But Newsweek isn’t the first publication to go searching for Satoshi – back in 2011, the New Yorker published a piece claiming that Satoshi was actually…

Assessing Assange

  So Andrew O’Hagan has written a looooong piece in the London Review of Books about his experience ghostwriting the still-born memoir of Julian Assange. What was ultimately published was an extremely odd book, for obvious reasons, so I dug up my review of the book from the time. A lot of the conclusions I…

Growing old in the age of social apps

  In the wake of Facebook’s gargantuan acquisition of messaging app WhatsApp, time to revisit a column I wrote for The Irish Times at the end of last year about the inevitable plurality of social apps. From The Irish Times, December 2nd, 2013 At a certain point, everybody who writes about technology has to attempt…

Fiscal cliffs and the metaphors of politics

  With the Republicans forcing the government shutdown this week, I was reminded of this piece from the beginning of the year, discussing the flawed metaphors we use to understand politics. FLOATING ON A SEA OF MISPLACED METAPHORS From The Irish Times, January 5th, 2013 It’s one of the oldest plot devices in the movies…

‘Trading Places 2’: The Aluminium Warehouse Caper

  From The Irish Times, Saturday, July 27th, 2013 I was reminded recently about a classic tale of greed and excess in the world of high finance, a narrative that exposes the moral turpitude so prevalent among bankers and brokers, and the high cost of the grotesque inequality that too often results from the machinations…

The costs and rewards of island-sized village life

SOCIAL CAPITAL YIELDS BIG DIVIDENDS My column from The Irish Times, Saturday, July 20th We tend to tell ourselves a lot of myths about Ireland and being Irish – it’s the best little country in the world, we basically invented having the craic, if only our weather was like this all the time our problems…

The homeopathic ruse of austerity

Given the conflicting reports we’re hearing on what sort of approach the ECB is encouraging regarding our debts, thought this might be a good time to run this column from last month.   THE HOMEOPATHIC RUSE OF AUSTERITY From The Irish Times, March 2nd, 2013  Let’s be honest. Who among us didn’t take a moment…

Exploring Obama’s Victory Lab

Barack Obama’s re-election has prompted a lot of shock among American conservatives, convinced they were about to get their man back in the White House. In some of the rancorous fallout, Mitt Romney’s ground game software, Project Orca, has come in for some serious criticism – this Ars Technica piece details how poorly it performed….

Who invented the iPhone?

So Apple won a sizeable victory against Samsung in the big patent trial of the year/decade/century. Fair play for originality, I think, but still no vindication for the barmy patent system. But as I put it in this recent Irish Times column, “if Samsung could have invented the iPhone, Samsung would have invented the iPhone”….

Growing up in Hamburg – The Beatles in St Pauli

“They’re just steel silhouettes, but instantly recognizable, an iconic lineup of four figures striking familiar poses with their instruments. Revelers passing through this busy intersection on Hamburg’s so-called “Sinful Mile” gravitate toward them, posing for photographs alongside the Fab Four: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and a drummer that represents both Ringo Starr and…