The Futuristic Invisible Wall That Was Supposed to Protect Entire Towns From Missiles in 1959

When you hear about the concept of missile defense in space, your first thought might be Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, more commonly called Star Wars. But ideas for an invisible missile shield in the sky are much older than the 1980s. As just one example, we have this Sunday comic strip from 1959,…

Morbid Researchers Imagine a 'Best-Case Scenario' for Nuclear War, and the Results Are Grim

There are currently about 15,000 nuclear warheads on Earth—enough to blow our planet to kingdom come. It’s complete overkill, literally. But how many nukes is enough to deter an enemy? And how many nukes could an aggressor nation drop on an enemy before the effects of nuclear winter come back to haunt them? A new…

Scientists Match Pollution in Greenland’s Ice Sheet to Events from Ancient Greece and Rome

We tend to associate industrial pollution with the modern era, but human civilizations have been contaminating the planet for thousands of years. By drilling deep into Greenland’s ice sheet, an interdisciplinary team of researchers has chronicled the industrial waste produced by the ancient Greeks and Romans over a…

Winner of DARPA Robot Competition Partners with Weapons Company, AI Researchers Call For Boycott

Top researchers in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) have called for a boycott of the South Korean university KAIST after it opened a lab with the defense firm Hanwha Systems. Even if you’re not familiar with KAIST, you might know some of the school’s robots. The university won the top prize at the last DARPA…

How Physicists Recycled WWII Ships and Artillery to Unlock the Mysteries of the Universe

A million Russian artillery shells helped scientists discover the Higgs boson. And all over the world, remnants of World War II weapons are built into the most mysterious experiments in physics.

In the mid-1990s, physicists needed tons of a metal strong enough to withstand the massive magnetic fields of the house-sized…