• 60 years ago, Sputnik shocked the world and started the space race

    60 Years On: The Silver Ball That Shook the World

    It was 8:07 p.m. on a Friday night in Riverhead, Long Island, when the operators at an RCA Communications outpost picked up a signal that had never been heard before on Earth. A sharp, insistent ... More >
  • Deep dive: How exactly the Apple Watch tracks swimming

    How Your Smartwatch Tracks Your Swim

    Last week I splashed into an underground university pool with an Apple Watch Series 3. As the company's wearable has matured, Apple has marketed it more and more as a fitness device, one that's, ... More >
  • Strange signals were just spotted coming from a distant galaxy

    The Radio Pulse No Astronomer Can Explain

    Long ago, 15 bright radio pulses emerged from a dwarf galaxy about 3 billion light years away from Earth. Last Saturday, a telescope in a remote area of West Virginia picked up those signals from ... More >
  • This mysterious ancient tablet could teach us a thing or two about math

    Is This The First Maths Textbook?

    Some researchers say the Babylonians invented trigonometry—and did it better. A long-debated tablet known as Plimpton 332, featuring 3,700-year-old scrawls from a Mesopotamian scribe, is the ... More >
  • Is my drinking normal, or could I be an alcoholic?

    Does Science Think You're An Alcoholic?

    The trouble with alcohol is that it's everywhere. We don't treat any other drug the way we treat alcohol, marijuana included, and in part that's because we mostly don't think of it as a drug. It's ... More >
Mary Beth Griggs
at 14:47 PM Nov 6 2017
Science // 

One of the layers of atmosphere that protects all life on our planet is the width of two pennies, and hangs out six to ten miles above the Earth's in an environment that human activity made extremely hostile. Every year when winter ends and warmer weather returns to Antarctica, chemicals that we put into the air rip a hole in the layer. But this year, that hole is smaller than usual.

Rob Verger
at 14:47 PM Nov 6 2017
Project Loon
Tech // 

It's been over six weeks since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, leaving millions without power or access to reliable communication.

Rachel Feltman
at 14:47 PM Nov 6 2017
Andrew Walmsley
Nature // 

  Not every announcement of a newly discovered species feels like a huge deal. Thousands of new critters get their names in print every year as they are catalogued and confirmed by scientists. But most of those are insects, or tiny frogs, or blobby, mysterious creatures from deep below the sea. Most of the organisms that have eluded scientific detection are, well, elusive, so most of them are small or incredibly alien in their habitat.

Stan Horaczek
at 14:47 PM Nov 6 2017
Microsoft
Gaming // 

Forza has long been a showpiece for the Xbox system. If you like shiny surfaces and bright colors, you're in for a treat.

Gavan Cooke/The Conversation
at 14:47 PM Nov 6 2017
Copyright Shutterstock
Nature // 

A beach in Wales recently faced an eight-armed invasion. Over 20 octopuses were reportedly seen crawling up New Quay beach on the west coast of the country, with many later being found dead after failing to make it back to the sea.

Mary Beth Griggs
at 14:47 PM Nov 6 2017
canPyramids mission
Science // 

In the upper reaches of Earth's atmosphere, a rain of high-energy radiation slams into the thin air. The impact creates a second shower of charged subatomic particles, like muons, which fall towards Earth, and then fall into it. They drift down through clouds and then through stone, with most halting in the sculpted, lithified skeletons of long-dead sea creatures. Others press on, passing again through air, through rock once more, and then through a photographic film.

Stan Horaczek
at 14:47 PM Nov 6 2017
Razer
Gadgets // 

Most of the time you hold your phone, you position it vertically. That makes sense for most apps that require scrolling or swiping, but we do it even when it's crazy—like when we're shooting video. Razer, however, designed its first smartphone with horizontal holding as a priority. The sideways orientation is better for gaming, watching content, using augmented reality, and shooting video that isn't a nightmare to watch, but is it enough to help Razer stand out in the wilderness that is smartphone competition?

Mary Beth Griggs
at 10:44 AM Oct 30 2017
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Travelling between the stars has been a dream of humanity for generations. But while our species might not be able to make that trek for a long while, there are some seasoned travelers whizzing around the galaxy, and one of them stopped by our solar system this week.

By Zach and Kelly Weinersmith
at 10:44 AM Oct 30 2017
Kelly and Zach Weinersmith

Thanks to recent advances in robotics, computing, and other technologies, a small but growing number of scientists and engineers think robot-made housing might finally be possible. In fact, not only is it possible, it may be far better. Robotic construction may increase the speed of construction, improve its quality, and lower its price.

Claire Maldarelli
at 10:44 AM Oct 30 2017
Sam Ward

Hacking the human body is all the rage these days. A few years back, scientists made waves by developing a technique (dubbed CRISPR) that literally cuts DNA at specific locations to edit out the genes that lead to disease. The implications for this are as enormous as they are diverse. However, the approach is far from perfect. And you'd really rather not have any errors when messing with something as permanent as the human genome.

Stan Horaczek
at 10:44 AM Oct 30 2017
Sony
Gadgets // 

This simulation of HDR vs. non-HDR playback comes from Dolby. The difference isn't always as pronounced.

Stan Horaczek
at 11:54 AM Oct 25 2017
Stan Horaczek
Gadgets // 

  I cut the cable cord roughly three years ago and I've never regretted it. I have, however, accumulated a small village of set-top boxes, media sticks, Chromecasts, gaming consoles, and just about any other HDMI-connected rectangle that can spit out a Netflix stream. For the past two weeks, however, I put all of them on hold and committed fully to the Apple TV 4K. At $179 (for the 32GB model, the 64GB box pushes the price to $200), it costs almost twice as much as the excellent Roku Ultra, which means it should do just about everything the average cord cutter desires.

Claire Maldarelli
at 11:54 AM Oct 25 2017
Pixabay
Science // 

When someone loses a loved one or endures a terrible loss, people might say they have a broken heart. But that's a figure of speech, of course, typically meant to describe the mental pain associated with losing someone extremely close to you. But a proverbial broken heart can cause physical symptoms, too. And sometimes, in rare cases, those physiological changes—often accompanied by other underlying conditions—can be life threatening.

Rob Verger
at 11:54 AM Oct 25 2017
Primer

Consider the job of an intelligence analyst—someone who has to sift through vast amounts of information and figure out the bigger narrative. The raw data this hypothetical analyst looks at could be anything from a report on the ground, to government statements, to items in the local media. The analyst's job—looking at data, synthesizing it in a report—is rich territory for artificial intelligence to help out, according to a new company called Primer.

Kendra Pierre-Louis
at 11:54 AM Oct 25 2017
Larry C. Price
Science // 

It isn't just air pollution that's a problem—water pollution like that pictured here in Bangladesh accounts for more than a million deaths per year.

 
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