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Damn Spam

August 6th, 2007 | Posted in The New Yorker, Articles | No Comments
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New Yorker Staff Writer Covering Science, Technology, and Public Health Issues; Author.

Michael Specter has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1998. His most recent book, “Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives,”  was published on October 29, 2009.  Specter writes often about science, technology, and public health. Since joining the magazine, he has written several articles about the global AIDS epidemic, as well as about avian influenza, malaria, and the world’s diminishing freshwater resources, synthetic biology and the debate over the meaning of our carbon footprint. He has also published many Profiles, of subjects including Lance Armstrong, the ethicist Peter Singer, Sean (P. Diddy) Combs, Manolo Blahnik, and Miuccia Prada.

Specter came to The New Yorker from the New York Times, where he had been a roving foreign correspondent based in Rome. From 1995 to 1998, Specter served as the Times Moscow bureau chief. He came to the Times from the Washington Post, where, from 1985 to 1991, he covered local news, before becoming the Post’s national science reporter and, later, the newspaper’s New York bureau chief. In 1996 he won the Overseas Press Club’s Citation for Excellence for his reporting from Chechnya. He has

has twice received the Global Health Council’s annual Excellence in Media Award, first for his 2001 article about AIDS, “India’s Plague,” and secondly for his 2004 article “The Devastation,” about the ethics of testing H.I.V. vaccines in Africa. He also received the 2002 AAAS Science Journalism Award, for his  article, “Rethinking the Brain,”  about the scientific basis of how we learn.

He lives in New York.

Download the PDF The losing war on junk e-mail.
by Michael Specter

In the spring of 1978, an energetic marketing man named Gary Thuerk wanted to let people in the technology world know that his company, the Digital Equipment Corporation, was about to introduce a powerful new computer system. DEC operated out of an old wool mill in Maynard, Massachusetts, and was well known on the East Coast, but Thuerk hoped to reach the technological community in California as well. Read more »

The Phone Guy

November 26th, 2001 | Posted in The New Yorker, Articles | No Comments
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Download the PDF How Nokia designed what may be the best-selling cellular products on earth.
by Michael Specter

Frank Nuovo seems somehow out of place on the frosty streets of Helsinki. Not lost, exactly, and certainly not unhappy, but different. Surrounded everywhere by tall blonds, Nuovo is a short, dark, carefully assembled man who looks as if he might be Jerry Seinfeld's younger, slightly more credulous brother. Read more »

No Place to Hide

November 27th, 2000 | Posted in The New Yorker, Articles | No Comments
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Download the PDF Why a satellite system may mean that we will never get lost again.
by Michael Specter

I recently bought a compass that slips over the band of my wristwatch. It's the size of a dime, cost less than ten dollars, and was designed for people who ride mountain bikes into the wilderness. I don't own a mountain bike, but I do own many compasses. Read more »

Search and Deploy

May 29th, 2000 | Posted in The New Yorker, Articles | No Comments
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Download the PDF The race to build a better search engine.
by Michael Specter

It's not easy to impress the people who fly into Scottsdale, Arizona, each spring to attend the annual PC Forum. The event, organized by the Internet impresario Esther Dyson, is held at a resort near the foot of the McDowell Mountains, and it has become a sort of digital Renaissance Weekend. Read more »

Your Mail Has Vanished

December 6th, 1999 | Posted in The New Yorker, Articles | No Comments
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Download the PDF What happens to the messages you never got?
by Michael Specter

Not long ago, I sent an E-mail to a friend of mine who works at The New Yorker. There was nothing unusual about that; I send a lot of E-mail. Read more »