Articles by Alex Burns


The New Republic‘s AJ Goldmann praises director Michel Gondry for his successful transition from avant-garde video clips to major feature films. For Goldmann, Gondry’s ‘signature’ is to use ‘traditionally small-screen gimmicks’ and…


‘The recent National Intelligence Estimate‘s conclusion that Tehran stopped its efforts to develop nuclear weapons in 2003, together with the significant drop in Iranian activity in Iraq, has created favorable conditions for…


Slate‘s Chris Wilson examines a Web 2.0 myth: the social media dimension of Digg and Wikipedia’s content. Exhibit 1: Palo Alto Research Center’s Ed Chi ‘who determined that 1 percent of Wikipedians…


Wired Magazine’s Chris Anderson outlines a “freeconomics” business model: digital technology, deflationary prices, externalities and network effects. Anderson uses King Gilette and Carver Mead to justify his business model, and includes a…


‘In cognitive science, incidents of brain damage are nature’s experiments. If a lesion knocks out one ability but leaves another intact, it is evidence that they are wired into different neural circuits….


‘For those of us who have followed Julian Schnabel’s larger-than-life career as an artist for nearly thirty years, watching his new movie The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a doubly extraordinary…



Salon Magazine’s Juan Cole casts a critical eye over counter-terrorist claims that Al Qaeda is using virtual worlds such as Linden Labs’ Second Life to recruit terrorists. Instead, Cole argues that counter-terrorist…



The Guardian‘s Jonathan Glancey profiles visonary architect Richard Rogers who ‘would like everyone to live an enjoyable, playful life, to inhabit likable, environmentally sound buildings in vibrant, intelligent cities.’ Amongst Rogers’ challenges:…


The Washington Post‘s Charles Matthews reviews Mark Harris’s Pictures at a Revolution (New York: Penguin Press, 2008) on the 5 Best Picture nominees for the 1968 Oscar awards. Harris captures a ‘disruptive…


‘On a surprisingly mild January afternoon in Harlem, the day of the Democratic primary in New Hampshire, my barber predicted that Senator Barack Obama would win by a landslide. He shut off…


An excerpt from Robert Fripp‘s diary (6th February 2008): The first necessary foundation of craft: reliability. The second: repeatability – beginners’ luck is fine for beginners. The third: response-ability – our capacity…


‘Over the past six years, the Pentagon has requested $778.6 billion in “emergency war funds,” in addition (as a “supplemental”) to its ever-growing annual budget. Congress tends to approve this request, with…


‘Sometimes, it’s the small and apparently irrelevant details contained in UFO reports that open up whole new avenues of study, revealing a cluster of intriguing possibilities. Certainly, I found this to be…



‘It was only a few months ago that American was laughing at Hillary Clinton’s absurd sense of inevitability. Remember the “Saturday Night Live” sketch in which Hillary (as played by Amy Poehler)…


‘The objects of devotion are seemingly limitless. Some are defined by culture, and appear as figures, crosses or mandalas; others are expressed through different mediums, such as chanting, painting and mathematics. (Yes,…





‘Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama shift focus to Texas, where both are trying to win support from the state’s Hispanic and black constituencies ahead of early voting on March…


‘Hillary Clinton has been calling Barack Obama a plagiarist. Now she can call him a thief. Obama won the Wisconsin primary by stealing support from blue-collar workers, previously a key Clinton bloc….


‘Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) decisively defeated Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) in today’s Wisconsin Democratic presidential primary, scoring a ninth consecutive victory over the New York senator and ramping up the pressure…