Chandra Shekar Ambekar

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A Star in a Bottle

An audacious plan to create a new energy source could save the planet from catastrophe. But time is running out.<p>Years from now—maybe in a decade, maybe sooner—if all goes according to plan, the most complex machine ever built will be switched on in an Alpine forest in the South of France. The …

Nuclear Energy

What Good Is Wall Street?

Much of what investment bankers do is socially worthless.<p>A few months ago, I came across an announcement that Citigroup, the parent company of Citibank, was to be honored, along with its chief executive, Vikram Pandit, for “Advancing the Field of Asset Building in America.” This seemed akin to, …

Finance

How Today's Computers Weaken Our Brain

At 10 <i>P.M.</i> on September 22, 1912, Franz Kafka, then a twenty-nine-year-old lawyer, sat down at his typewriter in Prague and began to write. He wrote and wrote, and eight hours later he had finished “Das Urteil” (“The Judgment”).<p>Kafka wrote in his diary, “I was hardly able to pull my legs out from …

The Tweaker

The real genius of Steve Jobs.<p>Not long after Steve Jobs got married, in 1991, he moved with his wife to a nineteen-thirties, Cotswolds-style house in old Palo Alto. Jobs always found it difficult to furnish the places where he lived. His previous house had only a mattress, a table, and chairs. He …

Cheap Words

Amazon is good for customers. But is it good for books?<p>Amazon is a global superstore, like Walmart. It’s also a hardware manufacturer, like Apple, and a utility, like Con Edison, and a video distributor, like Netflix, and a book publisher, like Random House, and a production studio, like Paramount, …