How Thumbsticks Came to Control the Modern World

It's no small feat translating a user's wishes into computer commands. Controlling massive robots in chaotic, fast-paced action of modern console games like Titanfall—and yet even children are able to intuitively tear through AI fodder in their digital mechs. How? Using dual analog thumbstick controllers. And they're… » 7/09/14 4:20pm Wednesday 4:20pm

How Hot Dogs Are Made and What's Actually Inside

After the steaks, chops, breasts, ribs, thighs, hams, tenderloins and briskets are removed, there's a fair amount of gristle, fat and offal remaining on a butchered animal, and early on, people realized this could be put to good use. One of these products is the hot dog, a classic of pre-cooked, processed meat. » 7/04/14 11:00am 7/04/14 11:00am

Why Crickets Make Such Excellent Thermometers

Unlike renegade mammals that live fast and play by their own thermal rules, cold-blooded reptiles and insects march to the beat of a more universal drum—ambient air temperature. You can see it in the speed at which ants walk and fireflies flash, or hear it in the cadence of a cricket's love song. Their melodies are so… » 7/01/14 3:00pm 7/01/14 3:00pm

Why People Think Friday the 13th Is Unlucky

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. » 6/13/14 8:00am 6/13/14 8:00am

How Historians Are Using Nuclear Fallout to Find Fake Art

Today's modern art forger is capable of producing fake works of art so perfect that even trained experts are unable to spot them. Even down to the most minute details of the pigments, binders, and canvass, these fakes are almost better than the works they're based on. But thanks to a byproduct of the Atomic age, the… » 6/10/14 2:00pm 6/10/14 2:00pm

How Leather Is Slowly Killing the People and Places That Make It

Though we may consider ourselves intellectually and technologically superior to our cave-dwelling ancestors, we still adorn our bodies, transports, and homes with the skin of conquered animals. But unlike the wholly organic methods used by our forebears, the modern leather industry is simultaneously killing the local… » 6/03/14 4:23pm 6/03/14 4:23pm

Finding, Treating, and Beating the Most Survivable Forms of Cancer

Being diagnosed with cancer is often compared to being kicked in the gut—by a Clydesdale. But if caught soon enough, many of the disease's 200 iterations offer more than even survival rates, five years down the line. It's by no means a clean bill of health, mind you, but there several forms of cancer that modern… » 5/21/14 4:00pm 5/21/14 4:00pm

What It Will Take to Farm Sunlight from Space

Whether they're producing voltage directly from solar rays or focusing them to melt salt like Ivanpah, even Earth's biggest and baddest solar power plants are hamstrung by all this damnable atmosphere getting in the way. But a new kind of off-world solar energy plant could soon provide the whole planet with plenty of… » 4/30/14 2:00pm 4/30/14 2:00pm

How We Could Save the World From Global Warming Before Our Time Is Up

We've blown our chances of fully counteracting the effects of climate change; recently-released reports from the International Energy Agency and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) provide plenty of evidence. But all hope is not yet lost, we've still got a small chance to keep from irreversibly poisoning our… » 4/16/14 11:00am 4/16/14 11:00am

How the American Dream Is Killing the American Electric Bill

In 2012, American homes consumed 3.65 billion kilowatthours (kWh) worth of electricity—up from 720 million kWh in 1950—more than double per household than our British counterparts, and second only to China. How did the American home become such an energy hog, despite so many advances in efficient appliances and… » 4/10/14 2:00pm 4/10/14 2:00pm

Why Freezing Yourself Is a Terrible Way to Achieve Immortality

What happens after we die? It's a question that has plagued the human mind since we first developed the concept of "death." The search for an answer—and, more importantly, a means of circumventing its effects—has encited organized religion and served to shape one of the foundations of human culture. » 4/01/14 3:00pm 4/01/14 3:00pm

How Global Warming Is Dissolving Sea Life (And What We Can Do About It)

The last time Earth's oceans were this acidic, a six mile-wide sulphur-rich space rock had just smashed into the Yucatan Peninsula, unleashing a deluge of acid rain that exterminated all sea life in the the top 400 meters of the water column. Now, some 65 million years after the Cretaceous extinction, human activity… » 3/25/14 3:00pm 3/25/14 3:00pm

Bugs Have Already Evolved Immunity to GMO Corn

Well that certainly didn't take very long. According to a study published Monday, the Western Corn Rootworm (actually a beetle larvae) has already developed a resistance to not one but two strains of generically modified corn thanks to the over-reliance and improper implementation of the crops by farmers in Iowa. » 3/19/14 11:20am 3/19/14 11:20am