science
Can Lasers Protect Buildings From Lightning?

The standard advice authorities offer when lightning starts crackling across the sky is for people to take shelter inside buildings. Through lightning rods affixed to the roof, electrical wiring, and plumbing that can direct the electricity away from occupants and into the ground, substantial structures offer protection. Read More >>

3d
Wild New ​Display Uses Fog as an Interactive 3D Screen

Engineers have built an interactive display using a tabletop system and mounted personal screens made of fog. Projectors light the fog for each user and a camera system monitors movements, allowing each person at the table to manipulate and share three-dimensional data. Read More >>

power
Ikea Just Bought a Wind Farm Big Enough to Power all of its US Stores

It takes a lot of energy to keep the lights on as you greedily pile cheap kitchen dongles and weird cookies into that blue bag, which is why Ikea is making a push to offset its total energy consumption by 2020. This week, it took a big step towards doing so by buying a wind farm in Illinois. Read More >>

science
Made for a Marathon: The Science of Long Distance Running

What drives people to run a marathon? Join Hayley Birch as she tackles 26.2 miles, aided by science. Read More >>

medicine
Train for Surgery Using Immersive 3D Holograms of Corpses

Computer-generated models are starting to let researchers and students peer into the body without needing a real human stretched out before them. Virtual dissection tables have been built at places like Stanford and the University of Calgary. Now, University of Michigan computer scientists and biologists have taken the technology another step forward, using projectors, joysticks and 3D equipment to build a floating holographic human that users can dissect, manipulate, and put back together as they wish. Read More >>

movies
How Steve Jobs's Passion Shaped Pixar Into an Oscar-Winning Studio

While Apple was Steve Jobs's first professional love, the Pixar animation studio that he helped foster was far more than a mere pet project. As Pixar President Ed Catmull explains in his upcoming book, Creativity Inc, Jobs's involvement with the studio proved a revolutionary experience for both parties. Here's a brief look at the Steve Jobs most people never got to see. Read More >>

art
How Optical Illusions Help Restore Art

New York City's streets were drained of colour on a recent cold and overcast March day. Their pallor—and that of the cars, trucks, and people occupying them—mimicked that depicted by Childe Hassam in his Winter in Union Square, an oil painting on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Read More >>

design
The Untold History of Where Barcodes Come From

When George Laurer goes to the shops, he doesn't tell the check-out people that he invented the barcode, but his wife used to point it out. "My husband here's the one who invented that barcode," she'd occasionally say. And the check-out people would look at him like, "you mean there was a time when we didn't have barcodes?" Read More >>

science
Mosquito Matchmaker: An Inside (Itchy) Look at Force-Mating Mosquitoes

The worst thing about feeding hundreds of mosquitoes on your own blood is not the itching – if you do it enough times, your body gets used to the bites. It's not even the pain, although it is always painful since the mosquitoes will use their snouts to root about your flesh in search of a blood vessel. Read More >>

power
Why is My Laptop On?

"Why is my laptop on?" does not seem like a complex question. But when I tried to answer it this week—to really answer it—I realised that I only kind of understood energy pretty well. Read More >>

image cache
Playing Star Wars at Home in Mexico City

Darth Maul has probably made you a coffee—at least if you've been to Mexico City. This is one conclusion you can draw from photographer Marcel Rius's Fanatic Wars. He's spent years documenting Star Wars cosplayers and collectors in Mexico, visiting their homes and putting together a visual answer to the question: how do you live with Star Wars? Read More >>

art
What Sunsets Painted Centuries Ago Reveal About Global Air Pollution

Dramatic sunsets are undeniably gorgeous, but they portend something ominous: millions of fine particles polluting the air. Researchers are now studying sunsets painted over the past 500 years to find clues to how our air got dirtier after the Industrial Revolution. Read More >>

science
How Malaria Defeats Our Drugs

In the war against malaria, one small corner of the globe has repeatedly turned the tide, rendering our best weapons moot and medicine on the brink of defeat. Ed Yong reports. Read More >>

space
Being a Celebrity Astronaut is Tougher Than it Sounds

For a brief period in the American saga, the astronaut was the man of the moment. No profession commanded as much awe and admiration. Widely regarded as the personification of all that was best in the country, the first astronauts were blanketed with the adulation usually accorded star quarterbacks, war heroes, and charismatic movie stars. Yet this was never part of NASA's agenda. Read More >>

design
Why Roller Coaster Loops are Never Circular

Many extreme roller coaster these days have vertical loops. Have you noticed that these loops are never circular? Why is this? Read More >>

happy hour
The Best Refreshing Beers for the First Weekend of Spring

Yesterday was the first full day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, which calls for celebration. On the equinox itself, you may have balanced eggs on end, or danced in a circle with bells on your legs, or simply admired the animated horticultural Google doodle. Today, however, it is time to update your Happy Hour beverage to match the season. Read More >>

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