Stories of innovation from the past–historical discoveries, hunches, and revolutions
In 1856, American scientist Eunice Foote detailed the mechanics of what we now call the greenhouse effect. Yet we know very little about her. We don’t even know what she looked like.
I’ve been struggling to find an example of a branch of science that hasn’t been used for evil.
What are emotions? This isn’t just an academic exercise. It’s central to the question of whether we’ll ever build an artificial intelligence that experiences emotions just like we do.
When people say there’s more power in your pocket than was used to get to the moon, they’re right-but it took a surprisingly short amount of time for pocket calculators to become actual computers.
By relying on outdated science stating that all humans, everywhere, have the same six basic emotions, Silicon Valley could inadvertently create a world of homogenized experiences.
The story of guano is a story about what humans will do in the pursuit of keeping things just the way they are, regardless of the consequences.
I wish that the STEM fields weren’t so cloistered from the rest of the academy, and by extension, I wish STEM professionals didn’t wind up sectioned off, in labs and on dev teams, separate from conversations about historical context, or ethics, or the way their work shapes society. But I want to make sure this doesn’t rest on an idea that science owns objective truth–or that the grey spaces of the world should be obliterated.
Obfuscating a feature is obviously not a great solution, and it’s arguably a total betrayal of the principles I laid out above. But it was the best compromise we found between giving people information we knew they’d want, while not promising something we couldn’t deliver in a fair and equal manner.
The Franklin Expedition’s untimely demise may have been down to an unlikely suspect–tinned food
Nineteenth-century scientists faced a conundrum: How does light work? While they understood that light was a wave–Newton and others had proved that it behaves like a wave in water, refracting and reflecting in the same way that waves do–they began to theorize about what the wave traveled through. The main candidate toward the end of […]
The tactician Sun Tzu didn’t have drones when he wrote The Art of War more than 2,000 years ago, but his work foreshadowed the capabilities these remote-controlled airplanes now offer. He wrote that: “…to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence comes in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” […]
During WWII, British spies had a secret room in the museum for showing off new gadgets.
The story of the photo-sharing app is the latest part of the story of photography.
Unpacking the bundle of inventions behind that shiny black mirror in your pocket.
The hunt for Genghis Khan’s grave has led to a host of other discoveries.
Fans have always made pop culture their own–but key to modern fanfic is its sense of community.
One chef’s doomed quest to revolutionize home cooking.
The Hollywood actress was also one of the key inventors of the technology that became wifi
When her child was diagnosed with a rare disease, Sharon Terry made is her mission to enable researchers find a cure.