I’m not sure how many people noticed, but Clive Thompson — one of my favourite technology and science writers — returned to blogging this week. Clive writes regularly for the New York Times magazine, and his most recent piece was an excellent look at Twitter and the phenomenon of “ambient awareness” that such social-media tools allow, and why that’s a good thing. Clive’s blog Collision Detection used to be a treasure trove of those kinds of observations, drawn from scientific journals and various news articles, and after seven months of absence (which he says he will explain later), he is back to blogging.
In analyzing and describing complicated things, Clive has a great way of humanizing things as well, often with just a simple turn of phrase. Take one of his more recent blog posts, about a study of how flies avoid the fly swatter when you’re trying to kill them. First, Clive describes how he returned home from vacation to find his house full of flies and how frustrating it was to repeatedly miss them, and then he describes what the study says about how to avoid this problem:
“Dickinson suggests that to kill a fly you should â€œaim bit forward of its location and try and anticipate where the fly will jump when it first sees your swatter,â€ which seems kind of nuts: What sort of crazy latent ninja abilities do you need to harness to anticipate where a fly is going to jump?”
Welcome back, Clive.