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Alexis Madrigal

12 articles

American Aqueduct: The Great California Water Saga

“Too much is being asked of the Delta.”


How Netflix Reverse Engineered Hollywood

Unpacking the 76,897 micro-genres that make up the cinematic DNA.


Almost Human: The Surreal, Cyborg Future of Telemarketing

“This is a story about how the future gets weird.”


Not Even Silicon Valley Escapes History

What remains of the past’s cutting edge.


When the Nerds Go Marching In

How a team of 40 engineers helped reelect Barack Obama.


Earth Station: The Afterlife of Technology at the End of the World

A visit to the newly on-the-market Jamesburg Earth Station, a massive satellite receiver that played a key role in communications with space, and its neighbors in an adjacent trailer park.


Lasers for the Dead

A history of the gravestone laser-etching industry.


Why Are Spy Researchers Building a 'Metaphor Program'?

What IARPA's project calls for is the deployment of spy resources against an entire language. Where you or I might parse a sentence, this project wants to parse, say, all the pages in Farsi on the Internet looking for hidden levers into the consciousness of a people.

Think Globally, Destroy Locally: Environmentalism for the 21st Century

On the battle over solar farms in the Mojave desert. An excerpt from Madrigal’s new book, Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology.


Revealing the Man Behind @MayorEmanuel

How a journalism professor named Dan Sinker became the most entertaining part of the Chicago mayoral race.