Can Cheap Computing Put the Internet Everywhere?
As our lives become increasingly surrounded by devices and objects that can communicate, collect, and transmit data, we’re brushing up against the advent of the so-called Internet of Things. Known as IoT in tech-speak, it promises to connect our refrigerators with our toasters, our lights with our thermostats, and our fitness monitors back with our refrigerators.
New Fossils Push Back Earliest Single-Celled Skeletons 200 Million Years
Life has been making its own hard parts for at least 810 million years, about 200 million years longer than previously thought. It’s the first occurrence of what scientists call biomineralization, and it could give us deeper insight into both the evolution of living things and Earth’s early climate.
Life Needs (Some) Radiation
In 1987, a group of researchers in France discovered something peculiar. When they protected single-celled organisms from background radiation—the sort that comes from cosmic rays and radioactive rocks—the creatures’ growth was stunted. Colonies that receive a background dose of radiation actually grew more quickly than their shielded brethren. That’s radiation—not vitamins, not nutrition, not anything people generally suggest you should get more of.
Simple Physics Solutions to Storing Renewable Energy
As renewable energy sources like wind and solar drop in price and become competitive with new fossil fuel plants—something which has already happened in Africa and China—grid operators will need better tools to balance supply and demand. More detailed and accurate weather forecasts will certainly help by predicting when and where sun and wind will be plentiful. But more than that, energy storage will play a key role keeping the grid flexible and adaptable
Taking Politics Out of Climate Change
More than half of ten predominantly Republican states in the Great Plains are running initiatives that reduce humans’ contribution to global warming. But policies were rarely framed as climate change programs. Instead, in an effort to attract more universal support, policies that mitigated climate change were branded as economic development, sustainability, resource management, or public health initiatives.
The 100-Year-Old Idea That Could Change Flight
Inspired by birds, bats, and the Wright brothers, engineers are building the next breakthrough in aviation.
The Transportation Revolution Is Happening Faster Than You Think
Self-driving cars could deliver us a comparatively utopian future, where trips are quicker and the environmental impact is far lower.
Did the Universe Start with a Bounce Instead of a Bang?
For a few physicists, the Big Bang wasn’t the beginning of the universe.
Rather, they say, the universe existed before that point, stretching forever into the past as well as the future. While the universe is expanding today, it was contracting in the time before the Big Bang. In this picture, the Big Bang isn’t so much a bang but a bounce, a moment when a shrinking universe reversed course and began to grow.
Hitting the Brain’s Reset Button
While not a classical psychedelic in terms of its chemical structure or effects, MDMA-assisted therapy is closely modeled on earlier work with LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin, the main psychoactive ingredient in “magic mushrooms.” Those drugs, too, are seeing a resurgence of interest in their use as medicine.