Breaking the Ice on Technologies

Tag: technology

A Major Proof Shows How to Approximate Numbers Like Pi

A Major Proof Shows How to Approximate Numbers Like Pi

The deep recesses of the number line are not as forbidding as they might seem. That’s one consequence of a major new proof about how complicated numbers yield to simple approximations. Quanta Magazine About Original story reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine, an editorially independent […]

The Bonkers Tech That Detects Lightning 6,000 Miles Away

The Bonkers Tech That Detects Lightning 6,000 Miles Away

If lightning strikes a few hundred miles from the North Pole, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Yes, because there’s a global array of sensors that’s always listening, pinpointing lightning strikes in time and space from as far […]

Even Physics Textbooks Tend to Get Friction Slightly Wrong

Even Physics Textbooks Tend to Get Friction Slightly Wrong

Sometimes you think you have a complete understanding of something and then BOOM—a simple problem throws everything out the window. Let’s consider a very basic physics problem involving pushing a block with a frictional force. These kinds of problems are common in introductory physics textbooks—but […]

A Strange Radioactive Cloud Likely Came From Russia

A Strange Radioactive Cloud Likely Came From Russia

On October 2, 2017, scientists from an Italian laboratory issued an alert: They had detected radioactive ruthenium-106 in the air in Milan. It was not enough to be dangerous, but it was certainly not natural. Other laboratories in the informal Ring of Five network of […]

Actually, Gender-Neutral Pronouns Can Change a Culture

Actually, Gender-Neutral Pronouns Can Change a Culture

For a question with so much riding on it—does using politically correct language actually make a person less of a jerk?—the test was deceptively simple. Here’s what you do: Show people a sketch of a cartoon person—circle-for-head, ovals for arms and body—with a dotted line […]

Catch Rockets With a Helicopter? Yep, That’s the Plan

Catch Rockets With a Helicopter? Yep, That’s the Plan

In the span of just four years, reusable rockets have gone from never-been-done to almost routine, at least at SpaceX. Blue Origin was the first to land a rocket booster, in 2015, after a suborbital flight to space. The following month, SpaceX landed the first-stage […]

A Rocket-Catchin’ Copter, a Radioactive Russian Cloud, and More News

A Rocket-Catchin’ Copter, a Radioactive Russian Cloud, and More News

A helicopter may soon catch a rocket, a radioactive cloud from 2017 has been pinned to Russia, and porn made a surprise appearance on a livestream. Here’s the news you need to know, in two minutes or less. Want to receive this two-minute roundup as […]

A Tax Credit Fueled the Solar Energy Boom. Now It’s in Limbo

A Tax Credit Fueled the Solar Energy Boom. Now It’s in Limbo

Many of the most successful companies in Silicon Valley can trace their origin to a garage, but for Ed Fenster, cofounder and chairman of Sunrun, it all started in the attic of his San Francisco home. The year was 2007 and Fenster, just a few […]

3 Animals Hurt By the New Endangered Species Act

3 Animals Hurt By the New Endangered Species Act

This story originally appeared on The Guardian and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. The Trump administration is scaling back the US government’s latitude to protect species nearing extinction, as world scientists warn that a biodiversity crisis will soon put humanity at risk. The […]

Microplastics Are Blowing Into the Pristine Arctic

Microplastics Are Blowing Into the Pristine Arctic

Welcome to the year of the plastic menace, a nonstop flow of terrible news about how the ocean and its organisms are choking on macroplastic, while microplastic particles—bits less than 5 millimeters long—are wafting their way to supposedly pristine mountaintops in Europe. It seems nowhere […]