Breaking the Ice on Technologies

Tag: Informative

The Odd Physics of Rey’s Backflip in *Star Wars: Episode IX*

The Odd Physics of Rey’s Backflip in *Star Wars: Episode IX*

[embedded content] What the heck does “The Rise of Skywalker” even mean? Some people hate trailers because they spoil the plot. For me, it’s more like an appetizer to get me ready for the show. Of course, in this case I’m talking about Star Wars […]

Offshore Wind Farms Are Spinning Up in the US—At Last

Offshore Wind Farms Are Spinning Up in the US—At Last

On June 1, the Pilgrim nuclear plant in Massachusetts will shut down, a victim of rising costs and a technology that is struggling to remain economically viable in the United States. But the electricity generated by the aging nuclear station soon will be replaced by […]

AI Could Predict Death. But What If the Algorithm Is Biased?

AI Could Predict Death. But What If the Algorithm Is Biased?

Earlier this month the University of Nottingham published a study in PloSOne about a new artificial intelligence model that uses machine learning to predict the risk of premature death, using banked health data (on age and lifestyle factors) from Brits aged 40 to 69. This […]

A Blazing Hot Coal Seam Shows How Microbes Can Spring to Life

A Blazing Hot Coal Seam Shows How Microbes Can Spring to Life

Just past the intersection of Centre and Locust in Centralia, Pennsylvania, the microbiologist Tammy Tobin turned the wheel of her aging Prius sharply to the right. As the windshield wipers whipped furiously back and forth to fend off the driving sleet—a reminder that winter had […]

Crispr Gene Editing Is Coming for the Womb

Crispr Gene Editing Is Coming for the Womb

William Peranteau is the guy parents call when they’ve received the kind of bad news that sinks stomachs and wrenches hearts. Sometimes it’s a shadow on an ultrasound or a few base pairs out of place on a prenatal genetic test, revealing that an unborn […]

Estimate the Pulling Force of Boston Dynamics’ Robo-Dog Army

Estimate the Pulling Force of Boston Dynamics’ Robo-Dog Army

[embedded content] When Boston Dynamics shares a new robot video, my robophobia levels increase just a little bit. I don’t know why. There is something about these robots that get into the uncanny valley for me. This particular video is both fascinating and disturbing. It’s […]

Move Over, San Andreas: There’s an Ominous New Fault in Town

Move Over, San Andreas: There’s an Ominous New Fault in Town

U.S. route 395 is a geologic master class disguised as a road. It runs north from the arid outskirts of Los Angeles, carrying travelers up to Reno along the eastern flank of the Sierra Nevada. On the way, they pass the black cinder cones of […]

Ancestry.com’s Racist Ad Tumbles Into a Cultural Minefield

Ancestry.com’s Racist Ad Tumbles Into a Cultural Minefield

On Thursday, the world’s largest DNA testing company, Ancestry.com, pulled a video advertisement amid a cascade of criticism on social media. The ad, titled “Inseparable” and cinematically shot to portray a gauzy, gothic moment on the streets of the antebellum South, depicted a white man […]

China Finds Phone-Wielding Tourists and Telescopes Don’t Mesh

China Finds Phone-Wielding Tourists and Telescopes Don’t Mesh

If a giant telescope observes the universe, and no one around can take a picture of it, does it really exist? The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope—located in Guizhou, China—will have to find out. New regulations, put into effect in early April, ban (among other […]

New York’s Aggressive Climate Law Takes Aim at Skyscrapers

New York’s Aggressive Climate Law Takes Aim at Skyscrapers

On Thursday, the New York City Council voted into law a sweeping set of rules to fight climate change, a metropolis-scaled version of a Green New Deal. And if the lawmakers and policy wonks who built the bills have their way, they’ll be a model […]