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Why Do We Go to Space, Anyway?

September 25, 2013 The space program was forged from paranoia and fear. Our first rockets were weapons. Our first moves into the world beyond our own were motivated by competition. But when we finally got ourselves into space -- when we first traveled around our lonely planet, and took our first bounding leaps ...

49% of the Links Cited in Supreme Court Decisions Are Broken

September 24, 2013 In March of 2001, Timothy Scott, the sheriff's deputy for Coweta County, Georgia, and Victor Harris engaged in a high-speed car chase. Scott had caught Harris, then 19 years old, speeding; Harris got scared and raced away. The two ended up driving -- one in flight, the other in pursuit ...

Facebook's Advice to the NSA

September 20, 2013 Last week, Facebook sued the government. "We are joining others in the industry," Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch wrote in a post on the company's website, "in petitioning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to require the government to permit companies to disclose more information about the volume and types of ...

Mark Zuckerberg's Advice to the NSA: Communicate

September 19, 2013 Last week, Facebook sued the government. "We are joining others in the industry," Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch wrote in a post on the company's website, "in petitioning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to require the government to permit companies to disclose more information about the volume and types of ...

Why Voyager 1's Entrance Into Interstellar Space Is Such a Big Deal

September 12, 2013 This afternoon, NASA made a big announcement: Its Voyager 1 spacecraft, launched from Earth 36 years ago, has entered interstellar space. Nerds the world over -- your correspondent included -- proceeded to freak out. This is big. But why, you ask, does it matter that Voyager 1 is no longer, ...

Good News! The UFO Just Spotted From the Space Station Was Not Really a UFO

August 20, 2013 This morning, astronaut Chris Cassidy looked out the window of the International Space Station. He saw the usual thing -- the vast expanse of the visible cosmos, unimpeded by the Earth's blurring atmosphere -- and then he saw a thing that was less usual. A bright thing. A vaguely spherical ...

Good News, Future Colonists! Mars Meals May Feature Nutella

August 15, 2013 On the northern slope of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, on a barren lava field at 8,000 feat above sea level, six researchers have spent the last four months living in a dome. And, when venturing beyond the dome, wearing space suits. And, beyond that, sleeping. And eating. And ...

How a Cat Helped Pioneer New Postal Service Technology, Circa 1897

August 14, 2013 Before people relied on a theoretical series of tubes for the exchange of interpersonal correspondence, they used tubes of a more literal variety. Starting in 1897 and lasting until 1953, the New York City Post office moved mail across the city using, in part, an intricate system of pneumatic tubes ...

A Trip Through a 3D-Modeled Brain

August 8, 2013 Brains are, by design, incredibly dense. Whether a particular brain belongs to a human or a mouse, it features layer upon layer of matter that twists and turns and is almost incomprehensible in its complexity. Our minds are a little bit mind-boggling. Which is what makes the video above, produced ...

You Know What's Better Than a Twin Study? A Twin Study Conducted in Space

August 7, 2013 Growing up, twin brothers Mark and Scott Kelly shared a lot -- even for twins. They took the same AP Biology class. They were co-captains of their high school swim team. They worked some of the same jobs. Even into adulthood, the brothers shared things. They both became captains in ...