The Future of Military Aviation: Non-Pilot Pilots

Two MQ-1 Predator aircraft in the hangar at Creech AFB, Nevada: March 2009

When I visited Creech Air Force Base, at Indian Springs, Nevada, six months ago, the first class of non-pilot UAV operators was still being trained. That class has now graduated, and the USAF's groundbreaking experiment with reinventing the concept of the military aviator begins in earnest.... more »

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posted: 01/10/2009 | comments »


Time for a Re-Think


Governors Island, New York, September 2009

Somewhat predictably, I'm not posting stuff here as often as I'd like (or had intended). This makes me officially Bad at Web2.0 and cyberspace has noticed: visitor numbers are slipping faster than Las Vegas's and the date of arrival of my first AdSense cheque has gone back to July 2043 (on a Thursday, I think). Something has to change. So here are the new rules I shall try to live by here.... more »

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posted: 30/09/2009 | comments »


OutKast, Pitchfork, and Being Right by Accident


Apologies for the interruption, [Memo to self: Must. Learn. To write. Less. But more. Often.] I've been busy. So have the people at Pitchfork, who've compiled a big list of the best music of the 00s. I dunno - rock mags and their lists, eh? Looks like I'm not the only one struggling to come to terms with the new demands the medium places on the material, if a future-proofed title still needs to resort to such tried-and-tested print-mag-in-a-quiet-week means of drumming up reader interest. Anyway, rather than find fault with their list - that would simply be to fall into their trap, after all - I'd like to applaud it. Or, at least, their Number One selection. Obviously, all such notions are similarly subjective and equally meaningless, but I like the idea of OutKast's Bombs Over Baghdad as the best song of the decade. What I don't like quite so much is that Pitchfork make such a hash of justifying their choice. ... more »

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posted: 21/08/2009 | comments »


Adapting to New Business Realities


You've got to prepare to be versatile - Council Grove, KS, June 2009

It occurs to me that I'd be more Web2.0 and put stuff up here more often if I'd just learn to do shorter, quicker posts. With that in mind, here's three things that occurred to me in the past 24 hours - one tangentially linked to the business of journalism, one about the Ashes, and one about Newcastle. If anyone's desperately disappointed by me not banging on for ages about any of these, please do leave a comment. I'm sure I can be persuaded. Don't all rush at once. ... more »

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posted: 18/07/2009 | comments »


Flying Legends - Duxford

Some photos from this afternoon's air show at Duxford, featuring the other flying B-17 (ironically, the Sally B, based at Duxford, isn't flying at the moment), the Aerostars display team, a replica of the 100-year-old Bleriot XI, and I make the reacquaintance of an old friend... or do I? ... more »

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posted: 11/07/2009 | comments »


Remember the Time

Michael Jackson, in rehearsal for the his O2 dates; Staples Center, Los Angeles, June 23 2009. Photo credit: Kevin Mazur/AEG/ 

Paul Lester and I were asked on Friday by The Guardian to try to gather reactions from musicians to the death of Michael Jackson, to be included in the paper on Saturday. Partly as a result of all the biggest stars and those most closely involved with Jackson issuing statements, maybe somewhat due to others with something to say being too busy speaking to Time, and (I suspect mainly) down to the news breaking during Glastonbury, with most of the UK's music business decamped to a field in Somerset and cursing their bad Blackberry reception, we didn't get very many responses in time for the deadline, so the quotes we got weren't included in the paper. But we were very grateful to those who did agree to speak to us, and it seems a shame if what they said never sees the light of day. So here are Ali Campbell, Alice Cooper, David Guetta, Mpho, Quincy Jones III (QDIII), Ronan Keating, Gary Kemp and Beverley Knight talking about their favourite MJ tracks, and ODIII speaking about his memories of the man he first met in 1977. ... more »

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posted: 30/06/2009 | comments »


Living Easy, Living Free


Some digital infrastructure last week; construction costs not pictured 

I've not read Chris Anderson's new book yet, but I enjoyed Malcolm Gladwell's review of it in The New Yorker. After being riled to the point of almost throwing it at someone while reading The Long Tail, I'd been fearing that the aura of the visionary that mystifyingly grew around the Wired editor would make his new book immune from criticism. But this time, it looks like enough of the people at the parade have been able to see that the emperor isn't wearing any clothes: the lion's share of the press I've seen so far for Free: The Future of a Radical Price (interesting that his publisher's page lists a different title to the one on the dust jacket) has been mixed or, in Gladwell's case, withering. ... more »

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posted: 29/06/2009 | comments »

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