I write about the intersection of science, technology, and culture.
I started my career over 15 years ago at the free weekly San Francisco Bay Guardian. Later I worked as a contributing editor at Wired, and then founded the science and science fiction blog io9 at Gawker Media. I was editor-in-chief of io9 for 7 years, then became the editor-in-chief of Gizmodo. Since then I’ve served as culture editor at Ars Technica, and in 2019 I became a contributing opinion writer at The New York Times. I write a monthly column about futurism for New Scientist, and have also published in The New Yorker, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, Popular Science, 2600, and many other fine publications.
Currently, my journalistic obsessions include archaeology, urban studies, environmental science, human evolution, artificial intelligence, bots, social behavior in non-human animals, and online communities. I also write about movies, TV, and books in the scifi/fantasy genres. I like it when speculation is pragmatic and reality is fungible.
Recent cool stuff
new york times
4.10.2019 / Why we need Game of Thrones
04.2017 / The Secret Lives of Google Raters / And, a week later: Google rater fired after speaking to Ars Technica about work conditions
08.2017 / Robots Need Civil Rights Too
a selection of classics
The Ashley Madison Fembots Series
In late 2015, I did a realtime data analysis of the leaked Ashley Madison “data dump,” which included company emails, part of their membership database, credit card transactions, and source code. It was particularly interesting because in my first article I misunderstood an odd data anomaly in the membership database — and when readers pointed out the misunderstanding, it led to an even more bizarre discovery, which you can read about in Part III and Part IV. You can read my whole Ashley Madison data dump series in these articles on Gizmodo:
Part II: The Fembots of Ashley Madison
During the seven years I ran io9, I wrote hundreds of articles. Read them here. I've included a few highlights.
08.2014 / What gentrification really is (Part 1) and Here's what happens when white people move into your neighborhood (Part 2)
02.2014 / The truth about geeks and cats
12.2012 / Corvids: The birds who think like humans
08.2012 / How to write about hermaphrodite sex
01.2008 / io9's 2008 manifesto
The New Yorker
09.19.2013 / Liquid Fuel, From the Sun
08.2011 / Three Spacecraft that Refuse to Quit
New york times
03.2007 / Herding the Mob — Online Reputation Hacking Can Be Big Business
Companion article on Wired News called How I Bought Votes on Digg.
Hear me talk about these articles on NPR’s Future Tense.
11.2004 / Sorry, Your Vote Has Been Lost, Hacked, Miscast, Recorded Twice — The Trouble with E-voting
You can hear me talk about this story on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation.”
The San Francisco Bay Guardian
From 1999 to 2008, I wrote a weekly column about technology and culture that was syndicated in a number of free weekly papers. It started in the Silicon Valley Metro, and later its home base was the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Many are now only available via the Wayback Machine, so thanks to the Internet Archive for keeping the deep history of web journalism alive.