Breaking the Ice on Technologies

Tag: Informative

Abortion Bans Create a Public Health Nightmare

Abortion Bans Create a Public Health Nightmare

On Friday, the legislature of Missouri passed a ban on abortions, among the most extreme of any state. It prohibits any abortions after eight weeks of gestation, putting it among the category of misleadingly named “heartbeat bills” that use fetal cardiac activity as a marker […]

The Unseen Victims of the Opioid Crisis Are Starting to Rebel

The Unseen Victims of the Opioid Crisis Are Starting to Rebel

April Grove Doyle, a 40-year-old single mom with metastatic breast cancer, pulled her car to the side of the road. Her face was flushed and her eyes puffy from crying, but she looked into the phone mounted on her dashboard and pressed the record button. […]

The Basic Physics of the Kilogram’s Fancy New Definition

The Basic Physics of the Kilogram’s Fancy New Definition

There is a new standard in town, and it’s sort of a big deal. This new standard is the definition of the kilogram, the unit of mass in the SI system—the International System of Units). It replaces the old definition of the kilogram that didn’t […]

Moondust Could Cloud Our Lunar Ambitions

Moondust Could Cloud Our Lunar Ambitions

In the public imagination, the American astronauts who landed on the moon five decades ago were square-jawed superhumans, not the types to worry about something as banal as housekeeping. But they did, obsessively. Each time they got back to the Apollo Lunar Module after a […]

Inside Swamp Works, the NASA Lab Learning to Mine the Moon

Inside Swamp Works, the NASA Lab Learning to Mine the Moon

This is a story about dust. Dust that can mold into the shape of an astronaut’s boot and remain unchanged for millennia. Dust that cuts like glass. Dust so fine that it brings billion-dollar machines to their pneumatic knees. Moondust. For Jason Schuler, a robotics […]

Inside Facebook’s New Robotics Lab, Where AI and Machines Friend One Another

Inside Facebook’s New Robotics Lab, Where AI and Machines Friend One Another

At first glance, Facebook’s nascent robotic platform looks a bit … chaotic. In a new lab in its palatial Silicon Valley HQ, a red and black Sawyer robot arm (from the recently defunct company Rethink Robotics) is waving all over the place with a mechanical […]

The Physics of Mississippi Flood Control

The Physics of Mississippi Flood Control

It’s amazing how you can live close to something for such a long time but never really see it. In my case, it’s the Bonnet Carré Spillway. It’s basically an overflow valve for the Mississippi River just upriver from New Orleans. When the river level […]

The Mystifying Case of the Missing Planets

The Mystifying Case of the Missing Planets

After the sun formed, the dust and gas left over from its natal cloud slowly swirled into the eight planets we have today. Small, rocky things clung close to the sun. Gigantic gas worlds floated in the system’s distant reaches. And around countless stars in […]

5G Networks Could Throw Weather Forecasting Into Chaos

5G Networks Could Throw Weather Forecasting Into Chaos

If you had a choice between a better, faster cell phone signal and an accurate weather forecast, which would you pick? That’s the question facing federal officials as they decide whether to auction off more of the wireless spectrum or heed meteorologists who say that […]

Now Ocean Plastics Could Be Killing Oxygen-Making Bacteria

Now Ocean Plastics Could Be Killing Oxygen-Making Bacteria

This planet has a problem with plastic. Not just the big masses of it accumulating in the Pacific, but with the tiny bits that are blowing into pristine mountaintop habitats. The flecks showing up in a range of sea creatures. The specks materializing even in […]