Blog Profile / Achenblog


URL :http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/achenblog
Filed Under:News / Independent News
Posts on Regator:593
Posts / Week:2.4
Archived Since:April 20, 2011

Blog Post Archive

The many, many, many unsung heroes of LIGO

There he is again, on the front page of the New York Times: Albert Einstein. A nice little head shot with the hair flying upward as the great man puffs on a pipe, no doubt pondering something mind-blowing. When big news breaks about gravity, or the shape of the cosmos, or the origin of the […]

LIGO Day in DC!

LIGO! I like saying that. LIGO! There’s a big presser scheduled for this morning at the National Press Club. Repeat after me: Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. I’ve already posted a backgrounder at SOS that gets into Aristotle and Galileo and Newton and Einstein. Read it here. I know there are boodlers who are into this […]

Product placement during the Lombardi Trophy presentation?

As you’d expect, the Achenbro in Denver was thrilled by the outcome of the Super Bowl, a game that neutral observers found ugly but was a thing of beauty for Broncos fans. I was pleased with the outcome as well,  having wagered that once again a great defense would beat a great offense. And as […]

A Friendly Blizzard

Finally getting around to posting some photos. Snowzilla was toothless in the grand scheme of things: I wanted to call it Snowfilibuster because of its duration (on and on and on), and in the end my hood got about 2 feet. Never lost power. Shoveled up a storm, as it were. Baked bread and make […]

New Hampshire forever (I wish)

New Hampshire’s road cuts are particularly fabulous in winter. You can see a great one coming from a mile away: A glazed wall of stone, the ice globular and seemingly flash-frozen. Every icy road cut is unique. I snapped the photo above at speed. Professional driver: Do not attempt. Every four years I seem to […]

In science, unfortunately, not everyone gets a trophy

Said it before but will say it again: There aren’t all that many Eureka! moments in science, legend to the contrary. There is much plodding ahead. There is tedious labor. There are collaborative efforts and incremental advances and minor tweakings of what has previously been established. In science, as in life, you spend a lot […]

“Ex Machina” and the Paper Clips of Doom

A while back I interviewed the film director Alex Garland, who stopped in Washington to promote his smart and thrilling science fiction flick “Ex Machina.” I wanted to include Garland in a story I was writing on artificial intelligence. Unfortunately, he didn’t make the cut by the time the 137th draft (approximately) of the story […]

Merry Holidays from the A-blog!

So it’s a little weird to have Porching Season bust out right at the Winter Solstice, and I’m not sure if we can even have a Yule Log this year since the temperatures on Christmas Eve are supposed to be in the 70s. But onward: We live in interesting times. For example, as seen in […]

“My neighbor. He did the San Bernardino shooting.”

When Enrique Marquez realized that his friend and neighbor Syed Rizwan Farook had used Marquez’s guns to slaughter 14 people, he went out and drank nine beers. At some point in this process of inebriation he posted a cryptic and garbled and, to his friends, disturbing message on Facebook — “I’m. Very sorry sguys. It was […]

At The Post these days you can read the writing on the wall

I don’t suppose many people care that we’re moving offices, but it’s a big deal around here. The Post has been at 1150 15th St. since the early 1970s. [Insert obligatory reference to Watergate coverage.] Not only are we moving out, but they’re tearing down the building. This injects a certain apocalyptic note to the […]

A Harvard professor says he can cure aging, but is that a good idea?

At the gene-editing summit, you can’t miss George Church. He’s the big guy with the bushy beard and wavy hair, someone who looks like he stepped out of an 18th century painting of “natural philosophers.” Church, who is 61, is among several hundred scientists, policymakers and thinkers on hand to discuss the powerful technology known […]

Einstein’s niftiest notion: General Relativity turns 100

It’s Einstein Tuesday! In honor of the 100th anniversary of General Relativity (which is, technically, Wednesday, because that’s the anniversary of the fourth in a series of lectures Einstein gave, and the one in which he finally got the dang thing right). Please trundle over to the Speaking of Science blog, where I have a […]

The Meaning of Life (hint: it’s not about your possessions)

[We interrupt our continuing coverage of terrorism, mayhem and rage — please see my story from Sunday on “soft targets” if you haven’t already — to bring you a blog item that asks a big question. This has been queued up for a couple of months, but I’ve been reluctant to publish it because it never quite […]

Ghosts of Glendalough

[This blog item is a work in progress.] Last week I dashed to Ireland for a conference and stuck around for a couple of days that could go in the ledger as “holiday,” and which involved renting a car and exploring the countryside, ancient ruins, seaside villages, friendly pubs never in a guidebook. I sat […]

Good writing is good technology

Today I reached a milestone: 25 years at The Washington Post. Wow! Can’t quite believe it. I’ve been truly blessed. Surrounded by amazing friends and colleagues. When I was a lad, I wanted to grow up and be a reporter for The Washington Post. Check that box! And to think it all began when [the […]

An epic quest for the ignition button, and other adventures on the road

My journey across the country did not go smoothly, but I shan’t complain. Out of respect for the explorers, the trappers and the forgotten tribes who dragged themselves across this vast continent, we must never whine about how long it took to fly to California. Still, when I got to San Francisco I felt a […]

What Trump (and the GOP) can’t do

“Govern.” It’s the loneliest verb in Washington. To attempt to govern is to run the risk of being called a sell-out. To govern — to pass laws, treaties, tax plans, budgets — almost invariably requires compromise in a country as polarized politically as the United States. But as my colleague Karen Tumulty (among others) reported […]

Can Mars, or any other planet, have just a little bit of life?

Is there life beyond Earth? I assume so, though there’s no solid data for it. What happened on Earth could happen elsewhere, one would think. NASA and most astrobiologists have been water chauvinists and carbon chauvinists, because, as I wrote yesterday on the SOS blog, water is so handy for biochemistry and carbon is terrific […]

This blog item will not be trending

Raw Story: Arnold Schwarzenegger to Take Over from Donald Trump on Celebrity Apprentice – lead item, Memeorandum, Sept. 14, 9:14 p.m.   A paradox of the Internet is that the more you know about what’s trending, the less you’ll know about what matters in life. I don’t mean this as a neo-Luddite rant. “Crowdsourcing,” in […]

Yellowstone’s three greatest virtues

You can’t walk 20 steps in Yellowstone without seeing the warning: “Be Bear Aware.” There are other signs instructing you to never hike alone or even in a pair but always with a least three people in the hiking party. You must make noise, such as by clapping or singing. You must always carry bear […]

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