Consider the zipper. British author Arthur C. Clarke is famous for noting, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” and the zipper certainly qualifies.
Survivor, Season 46: Mars
“Resiliency,” “Adaptability,” “Curiosity,” “Ability to Trust,” and “Creativity / Resourcefulness” are the “five key characteristics” of an astronaut, according to Dutch nonprofit Mars One. The organization lists these traits and other requirements (participants must be at least eighteen — and probably not too old, though they don’t list a hard upper limit — and be physically fit, etc.) on its how-do-I-get-to-go? webpage. The nonprofit, which plans to put the first humans on Mars in 2023, will open up its astronaut application process sometime in the first half of this year (get on the mailing list, Yalies who like getting into prestigious things!).
They say the hardest part of learning a new language is humor. But humor has been quick to worm its way into each “language” of the Internet.
Homemade Pi and Bite-Sized Chips
When I was a kid, my aunt gave me a book of science fair project ideas. The book was old — published no later than 1980 or so — and detailed everything from cloning plants (one of the easier ones) to building robotic laser cutters. Needless to say, I never did any of the projects. »
Outer Space on a Dime
NASA’s final space shuttle mission ended July 2011, to the sadness of countless nerds, science enthusiasts and people who simply believe in exploring the universe to better understand the mysteries of life. (I fall into the “nerd” category.) But why was this a big deal? Mostly, I think, because of some misconceptions. The end of »
Get bitcoins or die tryin
Does it ever make you nervous to realize that our currency system is backed by a government that’s over $16 trillion in debt? Or what about the fact that the Federal Reserve gets to put money into circulation on a whim? Or have you ever wished — and please, stop reading and take your moral »
From Aliens to Pringles
Perhaps you’ve heard of the “computer.” A sort of magical electro-abacus, the computer is capable of performing dozens of calculations per second and may one day fit inside a modestly-sized living room. Indeed, computers are used for everything from statistical calculations and word processing to playing text-based games or sending electronic mail to colleagues. But »
Are we alone?
Most scientists believe in aliens. In the 1960s, Frank Drake derived a formula calculating the likelihood of extra-terrestrial civilizations, and with current estimates at the formula’s parameters, that likelihood is very high. There are simply so many planets out there that some of them are bound to have intelligent life, right? Well, as physicist Enrico »
A Genethic Assessment
In 1953, James D. Watson and Francis Crick discovered the double-helix structure of DNA. Since then, science has continued to flex its control over life’s building blocks by creating DNA forensics, sequencing the human genome and, yes, cloning a sheep. Everyone knows that in The Future, we’ll test everyone at birth for genetic predispositions. Those »
Let’s get physical!
We live in a society that is glued to its laptops, iPads, smartphones and pagers. It’s rare when a concert isn’t interrupted by at least one ringtone, and if you don’t update your Facebook status at least five times during the course of a lunch, you’re not being social enough. The pocket and purse have »
The Future: The Sex Laws of Robotics
Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics (“Runaround,” 1942): 1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. 2) A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 3) A robot must »
I’m here to talk to you about The Future. Not “the future,” with its promises of six-figure salaries and daunting dinners with in-laws, but The Future, with its awesome spaceships and laser-powered cyborg pets and arbitrary capitalization. This is a future that’s been 20 years away for the past half-century, and I for one can’t »