Once upon a time, you could crack open a radio, a telephone, a lawnmower, even a car, take it apart and figure out how it worked. No more. Pretty much everything we use these days comes with computer chips, which you can't really take apart. (I mean, you can, but all you'll find inside are a bunch of 1's and 0's with no obvious logic.) So car mechanics can snap a new chip into an engine, wait till it whirs and watch the gears come to life, but do they know what's going on in there? For most of us, chips are "black boxes." They work, but we don't know why.
Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 3:38 pm
By Tania Lombrozo
It's time to rethink whatever you thought you knew about how the right and left hemispheres of the brain work together.
Sometimes ideas that originate in science seep out into the broader culture and take on a life of their own. It's still common to hear people referred to as "anal," a Freudian idea that no longer has much currency in contemporary psychology. Ideas like black holes and quantum leaps play a metaphorical role that's only loosely tethered to their original scientific meanings.
Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 3:05 pm
By Thomas Andrew Gustafson
Cropland Capture's developers hope players will find where crops are grown amid Earth's natural vegetation in satellite images to shine a light on where humanity grows its food.
Credit Courtesy of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
There's no easy way to track all of the world's crops. What's missing, among other things, is an accurate map showing where they are.
But the people behind Geo-Wiki are hoping to fix that, with a game called Cropland Capture. They're turning people like you and me into data gatherers, or citizen scientists, to help identify cropland.
American pioneers saw the endless stretches of grassland of the Great Plains as a place to produce grain and beef for a growing country. But one casualty was the native prairie ecosystem and animals that thrived only there.
Some biologists are trying to save the prairies and they've picked a hero to help them: the black-footed ferret. In trying to save this long skinny predator with a raccoon-like mask, the biologists believe they have a chance to right a wrong that nearly wiped a species off the planet.
What would you pay for a fossil of two complete dinosaurs locked in what seems to be a fight to the death? An auction house put that question to the test with the dinosaurs, discovered in 2006 in the Hell Creek formation of Montana. It got an unexpected answer.
Originally published on Sat November 30, 2013 11:05 am
By Maanvi Singh
How to make dead fish look attractive? That's the challenge New York-based duo Shimon and Tammar Rothstein faced when they were hired to do the photography for famed French chef Eric Ripert's book <em>On the Line</em>.
Credit Photos by Shimon and Tammar, Courtesy of Shimon and Tammar
How to make dead fish look attractive? That's the challenge New York-based duo Shimon and Tammar Rothstein faced when they were hired to do the photography for famed French chef Eric Ripert's book On the Line.