This Huge Engineering Project May Be Our Best Chance At Colonizing Space

Space colonization has reached an impasse, for reasons far more fundamental than a lack of money for the Space Shuttle program. There is simply no way humans can travel easily offworld without using massive amounts of rocket fuel to escape the gravity well — and that’s both expensive and environmentally unsustainable.… » 6/15/15 2:06pm 6/15/15 2:06pm

You Can Thank Genetic Engineering For Your Delicious Cheese

It used to be that making cheese meant killing cows. Young cows, specifically—a few days old, at most. The stomach of an unweaned calf produces enzymes that turn liquid milk into good, hard, flavorful cheeses like Parmesan and Cheddar. These enzymes, called rennet, are secreted by mucous membranes that line the calf’s… » 6/15/15 11:57am 6/15/15 11:57am

What Would Happen If All Our Satellites Were Suddenly Destroyed?

Since their inception 60 years ago, satellites have gone on to become an indispensable component of our modern high-tech civilization. But because they’re reliable and practically invisible, we take their existence for granted. Here’s what would happen if all our satellites suddenly just disappeared. » 6/04/15 11:00am 6/04/15 11:00am

The Surprising Connection Between George R.R. Martin And Frank Miller

About 30 years ago, both superhero comics and fantasy novels went through a startling narrative transformation. In comics, narrative captions replaced thought balloons. In books, authors started writing “tight” third person narrative, instead of “omniscient” or first person. Why did this happen?
» 5/28/15 11:00am 5/28/15 11:00am

Darwin Predicted This Animal's Existence Decades Before Its Discovery

Here’s a great Charles Darwin story you may not have heard before: In 1862, the famed naturalist foretold the discovery of an unusual animal, based on his observations of a species of orchid endemic to Madagascar. The creature was ultimately discovered in 1903—some 20 years after Darwin’s death. » 5/13/15 12:00pm 5/13/15 12:00pm

Your Doctor Probably Has A DNR. Here's Why You Should Consider One, Too.

Most patients receiving end-of-life care want to avoid aggressive attempts to prolong their life, but medical culture and practices often contradict these wishes. Part of the problem is due to confusion surrounding do-not-resuscitate orders. Here’s what patients really need to know about the “no code.”
» 5/06/15 12:05pm 5/06/15 12:05pm

A Glimpse Inside The Secretive World Of Human Cannonballs

Once she has lowered herself into the mouth of the cannon and slid down to the base of the barrel, Gemma “The Jet” Kirby performs a series of breath-synchronized movements that seem more suited to yoga or lamaze than to one of the deadliest stunts in circus history. This sequence is the culmination of hours of… » 4/30/15 11:32am 4/30/15 11:32am

How The Most Daring Plan Of WWI Turned Into A Military Disaster

This coming Sunday marks the centenary of one of WWI’s most infamous campaigns: Gallipoli. It was an audacious attempt by the Entente to break the European deadlock with a master stroke. Instead, it quickly turned into a hellish ordeal and a resounding defeat. Here’s why Gallipoli seemed like a good idea at the time… » 4/20/15 11:10am 4/20/15 11:10am

Want To Create A Matriarchy That Works? Learn From Animals

We tend to think of nature as being both brutal and patriarchal. Animals struggle to survive and mate, and we assume that means that males will dominate. But some non-human species actually have matriarchies, that work out pretty well. Here's what nature can teach us about the secrets of making matriarchy work. » 4/07/15 11:37am 4/07/15 11:37am

How To Identify The Long-Lost Corpse Of A Famous Historical Figure

The remains of Richard III were recently reinterred after the Plantagenet king was discovered beneath a car park. And this year, researcher announced that they may have discovered the remains of Don Quixote author Miguel de Cervantes. But when a corpse has been missing so long, how do you identify the remains? » 4/02/15 9:00am 4/02/15 9:00am