Charles Fishman
Charles Fishman
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Why now is the most exciting time in space in 50 years

Why now is the most exciting time in space in 50 years

advertisementadvertisementThe essential parts of an economy are intertwined by their very nature. There’s no point in having a food market if there are no farmers to supply food. But there’s no point in growing food until there are markets where you can sell it. And what is the right moment to go into the “food transportation” business, carting the freshly harvested produce from the field to the store? We’ve seen this in our own era: What was the point in creating high-speed internet service if there was no content online that required such speeds? Why bother creating YouTube if no one has...

September 22, 2020
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They Write the Right Stuff

They Write the Right Stuff

UPDATES: advertisementadvertisementAs the 120-ton space shuttle sits surrounded by almost 4 million pounds of rocket fuel, exhaling noxious fumes, visibly impatient to defy gravity, its on-board computers take command. Four identical machines, running identical software, pull information from thousands of sensors, make hundreds of milli-second decisions, vote on every decision, check with each other 250 times a second. A fifth computer, with different software, stands by to take control should the other four malfunction.advertisementadvertisementAt T-minus 6.6 seconds, if the pressures,...

December 31, 1996
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The System That Actually Worked

The System That Actually Worked

H that should make you shudder: What if, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the internet had buckled?What if, just as the medical-care crisis started to spiral in New York City, in Detroit, in New Orleans, the internet in those places had stopped working—an hour at a time, a couple of hours in the late afternoon? What if the internet had slowed to half its normal speed? What if it had worked only as well as the U.S. distribution system for toilet paper or N-95 masks did?“Oh my God,” says Avi Freedman, the CEO of Kentik, a company that helps big customers such as Zoom and Dropbox...

May 6, 2020
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