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Here Are the True Radiation Dangers in Your Environment

People are terrified that they’re being exposed to radiation all the time, whether from distant nuclear accident or the mobile devices snuggled against their heads. Generally, they are wrong. Here are the most radioactive objects in the world around you, and the truth about which ones cause health problems. » 8/17/15 11:31am 8/17/15 11:31am

Could You Charge an iPhone with the Electricity in Your Brain?

Ever since Morpheus explained how the machines use humans as batteries in The Matrix, we’ve been fascinated by the idea. But can the human body actually generate enough current to do anything useful? We decided to find out, by asking experts how long it would take a human brain to charge an iPhone. » 8/12/15 9:22am 8/12/15 9:22am

You're Using Neural Networks Every Day Online—Here's How They Work

If you use Google’s new Photos app, Microsoft’s Cortana, or Skype’s new translation function, you’re using a form of AI on a daily basis. AI was first dreamed up in the 1950s, but has only recently become a practical reality — all thanks to software systems called neural networks. This is how they work. » 7/13/15 11:03am 7/13/15 11:03am

How Did We Get to Pluto So Fast?

On July 14th, the New Horizons spacecraft will make history when it sails past Pluto, formerly known as the ninth planet. Even more incredible is how fast we got there. The spacecraft traveled 3 billion miles in nine and a half years. That’s about a million miles a day for almost ten years. How the heck did we do it? » 7/10/15 1:24pm 7/10/15 1:24pm

Everything You Need to Know About CRISPR, the New Tool that Edits DNA

CRISPR, a new genome editing tool, could transform the field of biology—and a recent study on genetically-engineered human embryos has converted this promise into media hype. But scientists have been tinkering with genomes for decades. Why is CRISPR suddenly such a big deal?
» 5/06/15 11:40am 5/06/15 11:40am

Why Is It Called "Rebooting"?

You hear the phrase all the time when you’re working with computers, especially on customer service calls: “Please reboot your computer.” Why do we use the word reboot to mean “turn it off and on again”? It all goes back to tech history — and to one of the most revolutionary aspects of these computing machines. » 4/24/15 9:01am 4/24/15 9:01am

The World's Biggest Physics Experiment Is About to Reboot 

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the most audacious physics experiment in human history. Now scientists are about to restart the giant particle collider for a new set of experiments. Last time, they did the almost-impossible and found the Higgs Boson. This time, they might find something even more exciting. » 3/20/15 9:21am 3/20/15 9:21am

9 Facts About Computer Security That Experts Wish You Knew

Every day, you hear about security flaws, viruses, and evil hacker gangs that could leave you destitute — or, worse, bring your country to its knees. But what’s the truth about these digital dangers? We asked computer security experts to separate the myths from the facts. Here’s what they said. » 3/04/15 11:11am 3/04/15 11:11am

How Not to Be Wrong When You're Talking About Smartphone Displays

A lot of amazing engineering and design goes into making your smartphone. And smartphone displays are one of the most important parts — they're your window onto the internet, and the world. But the technical terms we use to describe them can be pretty confusing. Here's how to sound like you know what you're talking… » 1/27/15 1:41pm 1/27/15 1:41pm

How Close Are We to Elysium-Style Exosuits?

Matt Damon's latest film, Elysium, is set 140 years in the future where society is divided between the elites, who live in a utopian orbital society, and the rest of us, who struggle in squalor down on the planet's surface. To combat this inequality, an unsung hero installs himself into a full-body prosthetic and… » 8/06/13 2:34pm 8/06/13 2:34pm

The Rainmakers: How Human Beings Control the Weather

Humans have been trying to control the weather since the day we traded in our spears for shovels. Cultures from every corner of the globe have worshipped rain-granting deities, and our sci-fi villains have been obsessed with flood and drought. But in the modern era, we no longer have use for the old water gods. We've… » 7/09/13 4:15pm 7/09/13 4:15pm