Soon you'll be backing up your hard drive using DNA

Think the memory card in your camera is high-capacity? It's got nothing on DNA. With data accumulating at a faster rate now than any other point in human history, scientists and engineers are looking to genetic code as a form of next-generation digital information storage. » 8/16/12 11:45am 8/16/12 11:45am

The Secret of Perfect Tightrope Walking

Tightrope walking - or tightrope motocross riding, as rather awesomely seen here - may seem like an impossibly complex skill of athletic ability and audacity. But a new mathematical model reveals one trick to mastering this seemingly arcane art. » 4/19/12 9:40am 4/19/12 9:40am

Do eternally optimistic people just have malfunctioning frontal lobes?

From an evolutionary perspective, excessive optimism is generally a bad idea. After all, if you're constantly assuming good things will happen, you'll probably be ill-prepared when bad things inevitably come along. Now scientists have an explanation...which isn't exactly flattering to the eternally optimistic. » 10/10/11 11:40am 10/10/11 11:40am

In the quantum world, you only need to have half the information to…

Even by the normal standards of quantum weirdness, this one is really out there. You can take a piece of quantum information and only teach half to another person...but you'll never be able to figure out which half they learned. » 8/01/11 9:20am 8/01/11 9:20am

Will the internet become a new archaeological record?

The internet preserves unimaginable amounts of data, including huge amounts of minutiae describing people's everyday lives. So here's the question: is this information worth saving for future generations to study, or is this the sort of data that's best forgotten? » 5/02/11 2:25pm 5/02/11 2:25pm

Information-powered device manages to cheat the laws of thermodynamics

The laws of thermodynamics tell us that all work requires energy. But a recent demonstration used only information, not energy, to control electric potential, apparently violating the laws of thermodynamics. Here's how they did it. » 11/22/10 5:00pm 11/22/10 5:00pm

The world as a giant tourist attraction

This map breaks down the overall touristyness of the globe by gauging the concentration of Panoramio photos. Big surprise - Panoramio users don't holiday in Siberia. [bluemoon.ee via Information is Beautiful] » 5/23/10 5:20pm 5/23/10 5:20pm

The Third World War Will Be Fought Over Information

In Brian Moore's update of WWII propaganda posters, nations are brought down not by armies and guns, but by blogs and tweets. Hang one up and show your support for net neutrality, Wikipedia, and information pirates. » 8/04/09 4:00pm 8/04/09 4:00pm

Digital Dark Age Could Destroy Our Cultural Record

You may be an internet celebrity today, but in 50 years nobody will remember you — not because your star faded, but because literally nobody can watch your YouTube vids. If you’ve ever lost all your digital photos in a computer crash or struggled to open a docx file in Windows 2004, you know that digital media isn’t… » 10/28/08 4:35pm 10/28/08 4:35pm

Turn the American Presidential Debates into Abstract Data Structures

You can watch the American presidential debates and allow Barack Obama and John McCain to move you emotionally, or you can convert what they say into easily-analyzed data structures. C-SPAN's awesomely wonky graphic designers have created several easy ways for you to analyze as objectively as possible which candidate… » 10/09/08 7:00am 10/09/08 7:00am

Edward Tufte's Information Age Rocketship

Edward Tufte is the guy who summed up the field of information design in one amazing book, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. He's also a sculptor, and last year conceived this behemoth scrap steel piece, called Rocket Science. This is the giant nose of it. Want to see the rest? » 2/07/08 7:00am 2/07/08 7:00am

Here's a picture of…