The World's Offensive Place Names, Mapped

We've all sat in the passenger seat, notionally giving directions to a driver, but instead giggling at the slightly rudely named towns on the map. Fortunately, now you can find all those amusingly offensive place names, across the entire world, on one wonderfully juvenile interactive map. Maybe, perhaps, possibly a… » 7/11/14 7:30am 7/11/14 7:30am

Watch a Researcher Zip Line Over the Door to Hell For Science

The more biologists look, the stranger the places they find life. Whether it's in the boiling mud ponds of Yellowstone or in radioactive seams miles beneath the surface of the Earth, microbes seem capable of surviving just about anywhere. That's why one team is heading to the deep desert of Turkmenistan to see if life… » 7/10/14 12:00pm 7/10/14 12:00pm

20 Fun Facts About the Way We Drink, As Told By a Breathalyzer

Do you remember that handy little breathalyzer we reviewed last year that synced with your smartphone via Bluetooth? The BACtrack Mobile, as it's called, turns out to not just be a means of trying to outdo (or under-do) your friends' drunkenness, but it's also been gathering a whole lot of anonymous data over the last… » 6/13/14 5:00pm 6/13/14 5:00pm

Melting Arctic Ice Is Drastically Changing National Geographic's Atlas

When the the 10th edition of the National Geographic world atlas is released this fall, it will look markedly different from previous versions. That field of endless white usually covering the very north of the planet will be dramatically reduced to reflect the real-life shrinkage of the Arctic ice sheet. » 6/10/14 1:00pm 6/10/14 1:00pm

Zooming-In On Satellite Calibration Targets in the Arizona Desert

These optical targets in the Arizona desert were built for calibrating the cameras of a spy satellite network called the Corona program. Similar to the huge bar codes found across the U.S. southwest, also used for testing high-altitude cameras, these targets are glyphs meant to be seen from the sky: fixed points of… » 4/08/14 11:59am 4/08/14 11:59am

How Would You Redraw North America?

Billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper recently proposed splitting California up into six distinct states. Draper's plan is getting a good deal of ridicule in the press, despite the fact that it could actually make its way to California ballots in the next election. But it's easy to forget that throughout history,… » 3/27/14 3:21pm 3/27/14 3:21pm

Mysterious Underwater Rivers Criss Cross the Bottom of the Ocean

If you've ever made a trans-Atlantic call—or, heck, used the internet—then you might like to know a few things about the ocean floor. Mighty but enigmatic underwater rivers flow along the ocean bed. And it's telecommunications companies, who have to lay thick cables for transoceanic phone and internet connections,… » 2/26/14 10:40am 2/26/14 10:40am

The UK Is Crowdsourcing Its Next Map Of The Ocean Floor

Believe it or not, we don't know how deep large parts of the ocean off the British coast really are, and this is obviously not a good thing for the many sailors who cruise around those waters. A new project funded by the European Community is using technology to solve this problem—technology and lots of boats. » 2/18/14 7:40pm 2/18/14 7:40pm

Spain Might Jump Time Zones To Stimulate Its Economy

If your economy isn't doing so well, just jump into another time zone. This is the strategy pursued by Samoa, for example, which rather dramatically leapt across the International Date Line back in 2011 in order to align its work-week more closely with its Pacific neighbors; and a more local version of this might be… » 2/18/14 10:40am 2/18/14 10:40am

All Science Should Be Taught With Pop-Up Books Like This One

Securing his place as one of the greatest teachers of our time, Michael Molina's discussion of tectonic plates, continental drift, and how our world started out as one large land mass called Pangaea, is brought to life through this awesome educational pop-up book created by Yevgeniya Yeretskaya. » 2/06/14 9:40am 2/06/14 9:40am

The U.S./Mexico Border Is Infested With Underground Machines

The very fact that underground robots being used to patrol the U.S./Mexico border—a program now moving into its second decade—can be greeted with what amounts to a disinterested shrug is a good indication of how sci-fi our everyday lives have gotten. There are underground robots patrolling the edge of the country. » 1/21/14 4:25pm 1/21/14 4:25pm