An Iraqi Artist Explains His Cyber-Masochism

Is Wafaa Bilal an artist or simply a masochistic attention whore? The Iraqi artist spent a month in a gallery last year, with a webcam and a paintball gun connected to the Internet, letting people from 136 countries shoot 65,000 paintballs at him 24 hours a day. Was this a publicity stunt? A soul-searching art… » 11/05/08 2:54pm 11/05/08 2:54pm

Coming Soon from China: Dystopic Futures, the Next Steve Jobs, and a…

Click to view » 8/15/08 9:00am 8/15/08 9:00am I'm a total sports nut. Olympic season makes my bones shiver with excitement. But this year, I took my mind off record-breaking swim relays and super-twisty gymnastics routines for a minute to consider the host country's techno-socio-political future. The opening ceremony confirmed my theory that China is …

Iron Man Is Being Created Right Now Across America

If your second thought while watching Iron Man (after "I think I have a crush on Robert Downey Jr. again") was "Why can't they make an Iron Man suit in real life?" then the US army and scientists in Madison, Wisconsin, are planning on making you very, very happy indeed. » 5/16/08 9:45am 5/16/08 9:45am

Smaller technology will undoubtedly be a blessing…

The Victorian-Era Supercomputer And The Genius Who Created It

The London Science Museum finally completed work on the Victorian era's greatest supercomputer, the Difference Engine No. 2, 120 years after the death of inventor Charles Babbage. This five-ton machine is currently traveling across the pond to San Francisco, and will go on display in America for the first time starting … » 4/18/08 3:30pm 4/18/08 3:30pm

12 Ways To Prepare For The Next Great Depression

Click to viewOur economic future could be even bleaker than you expect — and last year was the moment to unleash your inner survivalist. If the financial system suffers any more crises of confidence, credit gets even tighter, and the fed falls into a liquidity trap, we could be in for several hardscrabbling dystopian… » 4/11/08 9:10am 4/11/08 9:10am

Greatest MacGyvers of Science Fiction

The greatest science fiction heroes are resourceful, building high-tech devices out of whatever crap they find laying around. In the right hands, a paperclip and some bubblegum can become an interstellar wave modulator. The more ridiculous those moments of gadget improvisation are, the more they make you feel as if you … » 4/04/08 1:07pm 4/04/08 1:07pm

Virtual Reality Will Always Suck

Many futurists and science fiction writers are adherents of the theory that we're heading towards "Vearth," a state where the entire world is essentially replaced by a giant virtual reality made of "computronium." (Computronium is Charles Stross' jokey term for matter that's optimized for computing.) You see this fantasy… » 3/05/08 4:00pm 3/05/08 4:00pm

I Was Programmed by Tetris to be a Better Person

At a young age, my brain was hijacked by the game of Tetris. Now it helps me navigate through life. When I was in the sixth grade, my friend Chiyo and I used to play this addictive puzzle game—developed in 1985 by a Russian engineer—for hours on end with a single 100 yen coin at an arcade in Tokyo. We probably should… » 2/08/08 9:00am 2/08/08 9:00am

A Brief History of Reality Distortion Fields, Starring Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is the first non-science fiction character to possess a reality distortion field (RDF). Apple's MacWorld 2008 conference kicks off tomorrow with a keynote from Jobs, which leaves gadget lovers and iPod fiends white-knuckled on Tuesday morning as news of the next "insanely great" thing trickles out of Moscone… » 1/14/08 11:00am 1/14/08 11:00am