Science & Technology
Since Galileo first discovered the moons of Jupiter and the phases of Venus, telescopes have gotten larger, more accurate, and more powerful. They're now installed all around the world from mountaintop observatories to suburban backyards. And over those 350 years, all of them have battled the same enemy: our Earth’s atmosphere.
Two mathematicians have uncovered a simple, previously unnoticed property of prime numbers—those numbers that are divisible only by 1 and themselves. Prime numbers, it seems, have decided preferences about the final digits of the primes that immediately follow them.
Several evenings a week, after a day’s work at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, Sergey Brin drives up the road to a local pool. There, he changes into swim trunks, steps out on a 3-meter springboard, looks at the water below, and dives.
Huddled in a coffee shop one drizzly Seattle morning six years ago, the astrobiologist Shawn Domagal-Goldman stared blankly at his laptop screen, paralyzed. He had been running a simulation of an evolving planet, when suddenly oxygen started accumulating in the virtual planet’s atmosphere. Up the concentration ticked, from 0 to 5 to 10 percent.
“Is something wrong?” his wife asked.
The rise of oxygen was bad news for the search for extraterrestrial life.
You do not want to go to Mars. At least, not with today’s engines powering the trip. A chemically propelled voyage would take 18 months, one way. During which time any combination of boredom, radiation poisoning, and cancer will likely kill you. Suppose you make it? Congratulations on being the first Martian to die of old age, because a return trip from the Red Planet is currently impossible without using wishful logistics like fuel harvesting.
Microsoft is releasing Hololens to developers in March and they should have their devices by month end. As part of the announcement they showcased some of the initial tools and games and this got me to thinking about the unusual things this device could enable. Games we’ve never thought to play before and uses that could be truly amazing. Let’s talk about some of these.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute have developed a new headlight technology that automatically and intelligently adapt to the current traffic conditions.
From nowhere, they appear as a sudden surge of power in the radio spectrum. Then, a few milliseconds later, they're gone—and as far as we could tell, they never come back. They've picked up the name "fast radio bursts," but nobody's entirely sure of what produces them. Follow-up observations have generally failed to find anything interesting in their direction, and the bursts didn't seem to repeat, leaving everyone who cares about these sorts of things a bit mystified.
Nine years ago, when the first iPhone was about to debut, not many people envisioned a revolution that would fundamentally change the shape of the game industry (for good or for ill). Today, as we await the impending release of high-end consumer virtual reality headsets from the likes of Oculus, Valve, and Sony, it feels like we're at a similar crossroads.
For the approximately 37 million people worldwide who are infected with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), the newest cocktails of anti-retroviral drugs have come a long way in beating back the retrovirus and keeping an infection in check. Still, those drugs are no cure. While the treatments snarl the viral assembly line and thwart new infectious particles from invading the body’s cells, HIV itself is still there, hunkered in the DNA of a patient’s genome until there’s an opportunity for a comeback—say, when a patient goes off their medication.