The most popular artificial material on Earth isn’t steel, plastic, or aluminum — it’s concrete. Thousands of years ago, we used it to build civilizations, but then our knowledge of how to make it was lost. Here’s how we discovered concrete, forgot it, and then finally cracked the mystery of what makes it so strong.
Ugh. You’re up an hour early, your body hates you for it, and even a gallon of coffee can’t get your day on track. Daylight saving sucks. But you know the worst part? It doesn’t have to be like this.
From powering airplanes to replacing nuclear energy, algae has been touted as a green energy miracle. So if our waterways are already filled with the stuff, why isn’t it filling the world’s skies with biofueled planes? Algae is a tricky creature that presents a lot of challenges and misconceptions. Here’s why it’s…
Being wary of Friday the 13th is much more than a quaint superstition observed by a few uneducated people in distant, unreachable towns and hamlets. In the United States alone, it is estimated that between 17 and 21 million people dread that date to the extent that it can be officially classified as a phobia.
Everybody knows not to shine laser pointers in your eye. They could damage your vision! (Emphasis on could, since your eye’s blink reflex would probably protect your retina.) But what if you were an evil villain determined to make a death ray? How many laser pointers would it take to create a deadly weapon?
Today is the deadline for US retailers to switch over to a payment technology called EMV. That means you’ll have to start verifying your credit card with a chip, as well as a swipe. We talked to payments industry experts about how EMV works, what’s happening today, and what it means for the average shopper.
The need to find fuel to generate energy is a profound drive within the biology of all living organisms: we all need food to survive. So it’s not surprising that our bodies have such a complex system to control food intake, driven by hormones.
When a United Airlines flight made an emergency landing this summer due to medical situations on board, as the oxygen masks fell down, some passengers’ phone cameras went up. But psychologists say the instinct to snap a selfie in a near-death experience isn’t all narcissism—it’s also about survival and…
“Screw you Apple, where the goddamn hell is my middle finger emoji?” can soon be conveyed in far fewer characters, thanks to the middle finger emoji that’s coming to your iPhone. But why did it take so long? Here’s how those middle fingers—and all emoji—make their way to your screens.
Whatever you do, don’t press that button. It’s a trope that’s spanned pop culture for generations—and the real world, too. But where did this Big Red Button come from? And why does sick curiosity compel us to mash it down?
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.
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.
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.
#?&%! Why do some URLs look like cuss words in comic books? We have the answer.
Radioactivity stirs primal fears in many people—but an undue sense of its risks can cause real harm.
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.
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?
With the world population projected to soar past the 11 billion mark by 2100, we’re going to need to find some creative new ways of putting food on the table. The latest science-powered plan to feed the world? Hacking photosynthesis.
You know the smell. It’s hard to describe, but the second you step on an airplane, a flood of familiarity flies up your nostrils. Airplane smell is equal parts comforting and off-putting. And it’s actually a little bit dangerous. But what is it exactly?
Before he shot nine black Americans at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, 21-year-old Dylann Roof posed for photos holding a symbol of racial hatred. The same symbol that’s worn on t-shirts, wrapped around beer coozies, intertwined with American pop culture. Even if the flag is removed from South Carolina’s…