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Articles by Scott Huler

Scott Huler writes about science and culture. He is the author of On the Grid. He blogs at Scientific American's Plugged In. On Twitter: @huler.

Featured Article

There’s a lot not to love about The Dark Knight Rises, the crazyish new chapter in the latest Batman cycle: a series of actions and explosions so unconnected that they make a Rorschach test look like a syllogism by comparison; Marion Cotillard’s death scene, which lacked only her eyes rolling up and her tongue lolling sideways from her mouth to equal those put on by toddlers on playgrounds; and Christian Bale’s Batman growl — close your eyes and you think Cookie Monster is saving Gotham City.

One thing the movie got right, though, is its focus on the infrastructure systems that serve as the beating and vulnerable heart of our urban existence. Every major plot point directly relates to the built environment and the networks that make every element of our lives possible.

In a world where almost everyone seems committed to ignoring those systems — believing that sewers maintain themselves, that roads grow free like the dandelions, that we get new communications devices free every few months like cereal box prizes — it seems perfectly reasonable and perversely satisfying that the only people who recognize their centrality to our lives ar... Read more