Climate Change Could Take the Air Out of Wind Farms

Big offshore wind farms power Europe’s drive for a carbon-free society, while rows of spinning turbines across America’s heartland churn enough energy to power 25 million US homes. But a new study predicts that a changing climate will weaken winds that blow across much of the Northern hemisphere, possibly leading to big drops in clean […]

McLaren Does Supercar Minimalism, Palestinians Reroute Around Waze, and More This Week in the Future of Cars

Bad problems can beget good stuff. In Virginia last week, residents and local news crews freaked out when a new dynamic tolling system meant to reduce congestion started charging $40 for a nine-mile ride. Sure that’s crazy, but give it a sec, transportation experts say: This kind of congestion pricing just might curtail traffic and […]

In 2018, TV Needs to Take a Cue From ‘SMILF’ and Embrace Smallness

In the final moments of SMILF’s debut episode, its strapped-for-cash, do-anything heroine Bridgette auditions for a small role in a PSA about post-traumatic stress disorder among veterans. Curious as to how she staged such a tear-inducing performance, she casually tells the director, “I was sexually abused by my dad, which also causes PTSD. So I […]

9 Sneaky Ways to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

Time is short and willpower is limited. As the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, you solemnly vowed to improve yourself in 2018. But now, as usual, it’s getting harder and harder to not retreat into your slothful ways. The best resolutions are the ones you don’t have to exert any willpower to follow. […]

Scientists Figure Out How to Make Muscles from Stem Cells

For the past several years, Nenad Bursac has been trying to make muscles from scratch. A biological engineer at Duke, Bursac came close in 2015, when his lab became the first to grow functional human skeletal muscle in culture. “Functional” being the operative word. Like the muscle fibers in, say, your bicep, the tissues could […]

Virgin Hyperloop One Is Bringing Elon Musk’s Dream to Life

To suck the air out of the DevLoop, Hyperloop One used a row of small pumps, housed in a metal building to one side. These are off the shelf components, typically used in steel factories or meat processing plants (it’s probably better not to ask for details). They can drop the pressure inside the tube […]

What’s Actually Inside a Tide Pod?

Armed only with social media and a good data plan, teenagers today can make just about anything go viral. Or, in the case of Tide Pods, go viral again. Jokes about eating the squishy, day-glo detergent packs have been racing around the internet since Procter & Gamble introduced the pods in 2012. I mean, come […]

Tencent Software Beats Go Champ, Showing China’s AI Gains

In March 2016, Alphabet’s DeepMind research group set a milestone in artificial intelligence when its AlphaGo program defeated professional Go player Lee Sedol, then fifth-ranked in the world, at the complex board game Go. Now China’s Tencent is claiming a milestone of its own in Go—and China’s ambitions in artificial intelligence. Last week, the company’s […]

Don’t Make Artificial Intelligence Artificially Stupid in the Name of Transparency

Artificial intelligence systems are going to crash some of our cars, and sometimes they’re going to recommend longer sentences for black Americans than for whites. We know this because they’ve already gone wrong in these ways. But this doesn’t mean that we should insist—as many, including the European Commission’s General Data Protection Regulation, do—that artificial […]

The Uber-Waymo Robocar Trial: Everything You Need to Know

As the motorcycle flopped into the California desert sand, a lanky, bespectacled engineer flapped his arms in distress. Ghostrider, the Yamaha built to drive itself, was disqualified from the Darpa Grand Challenge, about three feet from the starting line. Fortunately for Anthony Levandowski and his team of UC Berkeley undergrads, Ghostrider was not the only […]