Brian McConnell

The World In Your Language


The Fair Wage


The minimum wage was intended as a safeguard to prevent workers from falling into poverty, yet it has failed to keep up with the times because the decision to change it is a…


We Need An NTSB For Police


When you board an airliner in the United States, you’re far more likely to die of a heart attack in flight than in a crash. Air travel wasn’t always so safe, in its early days it was quite dangerous, but now we take it for granted that fatal accidents are an extreme rarity. Air travel didn’t become safe by accident, but because of a systematic approach to learning…


When A Startup Co-Opts A Community Event

Rewind to 2000. Napster was iTunes. Geocities was Facebook. The Pets.com sock puppet was appearing in Superbowl ads. Most people didn’t have cell phones yet. Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, several friends and I were bored with the available entertainment options, and decided to create a roaming field trip and party, which we ended up calling…


The Joule Standard

Energy as the basis for money


While Bitcoin’s future as a currency is hotly debated, it has proved one thing, that people are willing to experiment…


Day One At The Kepler Telescope Science Conference


I am spending much of this week at NASA Ames to attend the Kepler Telescope science conference. There’s a lot of exciting news coming from this years conference as scientists mine three years of Kepler data to determine how common potentially habitable Earth like planets really are (spoiler alert: quite common).


The Fair Wage


The minimum wage was intended as a safeguard to prevent workers from falling into poverty, yet it has failed to keep up with the times because the decision to change it is a…


A System To Prevent Accidents Like Asiana 214


While it will be some time before the final report on the Asiana Flight 214 accident is published, it is clear that loss of situational…


Hybrid Solar Electric Cars : Refueling With The Sun


What if you could charge an electric car simply by parking it in the sun? I’ve been keenly interested in the Tesla Model S, and was curious if it would make sense to incorporate solar cells into the vehicle body. I did the math on this, and was a bit surprised at the results.

Updated with footnotes below to…

The Entrepreneur Got Screwed, But Didn’t Have To


We’ve all read stories about blockbuster acquisitions like Instagram. They’re few and far between. But what happens when things go…


A Stage Coach To The Stars


The manned space program is at a crossroads. There is much confusion about where its going, and what its next destination will be. Will it be the Moon? a near…


Telecom Drones

How the U.S. can use drones to prevent dictatorships like Syria from cutting off communication.


News broke this week that Syria has largely shut down international communication channels, much like Egypt did during the Arab Spring. This is an ominous sign, and has prompted concerns that the Assad dictatorship is using the communication…