The secret engine technology that made the SR-71 the fastest plane ever

On December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers flew the first airplane ever at 6.8 mph (10.9 km/h). Only 61 years and five days later, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird took off. It’s still the world’s fastest airplane with a speed of 2,193 mph (3,530 km/h.) This fascinating video explains its top secret...


Why the Pantheon Hasn’t Crumbled


The fact that the Roman Pantheon still stands is equal parts amazing and confusing. Built in Rome in the 2nd century AD, the Pantheon is a massive concrete building capped by an impressive 142-foot-high dome—the largest in the ancient world.Made entirely out of concrete, without the reinforcing support...


Study to Examine Effects of Artificial Intelligence


Scientists have begun what they say will be a century-long study of the effects of artificial intelligence on society, including on the economy, war and crime, officials at Stanford University announced Monday.The project, hosted by the university, is unusual not just because of its duration but because it seeks to...


William Gibson Sees the Future

“The thing to keep in mind,” William Gibson tells me when we meet in the quiet lounge of a Victorian-style hotel in Chicago, “is that I’m not actually predicting the future. I’m generating scenarios.” The setting is appropriate: The acclaimed science fiction writer often uses the...


Twenty Squares: An Ancient Board Game


Board games were popular entertainments in the ancient Near East. So what games did the Assyrians and the Phoenicians like to play? Part of the answer is in the very first room of the exhibition Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age, on an ivory...


Alien Lifeforms May be More Complex Than Anticipated


“We should be mindful that, however they may be encoded, lifeforms are likely to have differentiated on other worlds,” says Frank Rosenzweig, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Montana. “Therefore, we should be alert to the signatures left by these more complex forms of life.”When astrobiologists...


NASA’s coolest and strangest airplanes of the future


Most people don’t know this, but NASA doesn’t only work in exploring space. Its contribution to airplane technology—National Aeronautics and Space Administration—has been crucial to the development of safer, faster, more efficient travel. These are their coolest future concepts—some of which could enter service as soon as 2025.These concepts have...


Startup aims to bring Google-style AI to the masses


Richard Socher carries a resume that would seem to make him rather attractive to the giants of the internet.He just finished a PhD at Stanford University, where he explored a form of artificial intelligence called “deep learning,” teaching machines to recognise images and understand natural language...


Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind


Stephen Hawking: "Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete and would be superseded" Prof Stephen Hawking, one of Britain’s pre-eminent scientists, has said that efforts to create thinking machines pose a threat to our very existence. He told the BBC:"The development of...


Secrets of the Water Bear, the Only Animal That Can Survive in Space


The microscopic tardigrade—also known as the water bear—is the only animal that can survive the cold, irradiated vacuum of outer space. We talked to leading tardigrade researchers to find out what makes these little guys so amazing. Water Bear (Tardigrade), a tiny aquatic invertebrate, magnified...


Quest for Quantum Computers Heats Up – Scientific American


A 30-year slog to develop a useful quantum computer may finally be on the verge of paying dividends Quantum computing today is comparable to conventional computing in the years after the Second World War, when every device was a laboratory experiment that had been crafted...


Graphene Armor Would Be Light, Flexible and Far Stronger Than Steel


Who needs science fiction? Nature is a wealth of imaginative plot twists. Take carbon. Carbon is common. It’s the fourth most abundant element in the universe. And yet, carbon is also exceptional. It’s the elemental keystone of terrestrial life. It stores and releases enough energy...


Europe has good reasons to fear Google


With great power comes great scrutiny What the European Parliament is proposing sounds like Ayn Rand’s worst nightmare. Let’s take Google, one of the best and most cohesive set of web services we have, and fragment it into smaller businesses. Let’s introduce friction and bureaucracy...


This Investor Thinks Bitcoin Will Change EVERYTHING


Bitcoin will change a lot more than finance. It could also change how software is built and upend a bunch of today’s biggest web companies, argues Joel Monegro of Union Square Ventures. His argument starts with the block chain, the shared ledger where every Bitcoin...