Yeah, yeah, Google street view’s pretty cool -- you can see the world and catch people making out, all from the comfort of your couch. But who needs Google now that you can buy the Bublcam?
Bubl is a Toronto-based company that just raised $300,000 on Kickstarter to market its 360-degree camera. (Its technology is the same used in Google street view; this is the consumer version.) For a mere $468 -- ha! pocket change! -- you can be one of the first to take 360-degree, high-def photos and stream panoramic videos live with something the size of a baseball:
This episode of Inquiring Minds, a podcast hosted by best-selling author Chris Mooney and neuroscientist and musician Indre Viskontas, alsofeatures a discussion of the surprising reasons that U.S. students are so bad at math (just 26th in the world, in a recent study). Plus, Indre takes apart a highly controversial new study purporting to show that male-female gender stereotypes are rooted in different wiring of our brains.
It's flu season. And we're all about to crisscross the country to exchange hugs, kisses, and germs. We're going to get sick. And when we do, many of us will run to our doctors and, hoping to get better, demand antibiotics.
And that's the problem: Antibiotics don't cure the flu (which is viral, not bacterial), but the overprescription of antibiotics imperils us all by driving antibiotic resistance. This threat is growing, so much so that in a recent widely read Medium article, Wired science blogger and self-described "scary disease girl" Maryn McKenna painted a disturbingly plausible picture of a world in which antibiotics have become markedly less effective. That future is the focus of McKenna's interview this week on the Inquiring Minds podcast:
Earlier this week, a pod of short-finned pilot whales wandered too far from their home range and started stranding themselves in the shallows and shoals on the Florida Coast. Ten of the stranded whales died, but there were 41 others of their pod still alive and still at risk of stranding themselves. But they wouldn't abandon the members of their pod who had died. The New York Times reports: Rescuers had difficulty on Wednesday trying to persuade the surviving whales to leave their dead podmates and head out to sea. In most cases, highly cohesive species such as pilot whales …
Chris Godfrey, design student, knows what gamers want: to play the games they got as presents on Christmas and not interact with other humans beings who are not currently also engaged in playing video games. Therefore, he created Christmas Tinner -- one can containing all the processed food a person would need to achieve some approximation of eating a traditional Christmas meal. It’s like the gum in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, except hopefully it will not turn you into a sugarplum.
The product consists of nine layers of processed festive food, including scrambled egg and bacon, two mince pies, turkey and potatoes, gravy, bread sauce, cranberry sauce, brussel sprouts or broccoli (for those who don't like sprouts) with stuffing, roast carrots and parsnips, and Christmas pudding.
Objections to this product: Salt content through the roof, eating home-cooked meals with extended family is sort of nice and occurs only a few times each year, what happens when the broccoli accidentally gets mixed into the Christmas pudding, why scrambled eggs??
If you have 1,000 pounds of cornstarch, some water, and a pretty big tub, you can mix up a batch of quicksand-like oobleck, and, if you're careful, walk across it without sinking. But biking? That's harder:
Can you beLIEVE the toilet’s design hasn’t evolved since the 1800s? Probably, because you aren’t as obsessed with potty humor as I am. (It’s OK. Few are.) But(t) now, at long last, three design students have given the shitter a makeover! Watch the throne:
This masterpiece, the Wellbeing Toilet, is the handiwork of several Brits who were inspired by World Toilet Day (November 18 -- how quickly you forget!). Their design won a U.K. plumbing company’s contest to create The Toilet of the Future. The other designs were uglier and more complicated; theirs looks like Homestar Runner, or a marshmallow wearing a hat:
An alliance of corporations and conservative activists is mobilizing to penalize homeowners who install their own solar panels -- casting them as "free riders" -- in a sweeping new offensive against renewable energy.
Over the coming year, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) will promote legislation with goals ranging from penalizing individual homeowners and weakening state clean energy regulations, to blocking the Environmental Protection Agency, which is Barack Obama's main channel for climate action.
Details of ALEC's strategy to block clean energy development at every stage -- from the individual rooftop to the White House -- are revealed as the group gathers for its policy summit in Washington this week.
About 800 state legislators and business leaders are due to attend the three-day event, which begins on Wednesday with appearances by the Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson and fellow Wisconsinite and Republican budget guru Paul Ryan.
In a just-released report, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has taken an extensive look at the scary side, the dramatic side … let's face it, the Hollywood side of global warming. The new research falls under the heading of "abrupt climate change": The report examines the doomsday scenarios that have often been conjured in relation to global warming (frequently in exaggerated blockbuster films), and seeks to determine how likely they are to occur in the real world.
So here's a list of some of the most dreaded abrupt changes (where abrupt means occurring within a period of a few decades or even years), and the probability that they'll happen — even if nothing like the Hollywood version — before the year 2100:
Disruption of the ocean's "conveyor belt"
As seen in: The scientifically panned 2004 blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow.
What would happen: The great overturning circulation of the oceans, driven by the temperature and the salt content of waters at high latitudes, transports enormous amounts of heat around the planet. If it is disrupted or comes to a halt, there could be stark changes in global weather patterns.
Chances it will happen this century: Low. For future generations, however, The Day After Tomorrow might be slightly less laughable (if still wildly exaggerated). In the longer term, the NAS rates the probability of a disruption as "high."
Back in the '40s, my grandmother lost her scholarship to college after the school found out she had attended a meeting run by a communist organization. Whoever made the call that my grandmother was a communist rabblerouser no longer deserving educational subsidy was clearly acting on bad intel. It would be hard to think of a more terrible communist than my grandmother: She loved playing the stock market.
As someone who enjoys hanging out with both spooks and radicals, I leave a greater trail of troublemaking by proximity than the people who snooped on my nana could have ever dreamed of. Selfishly, I wonder, thehow does this affect me? The epic growth of Homeland Security in the last decade has also led to a commensurate growth in people trained by federal intelligence agencies working for private intelligence firms. Wal-Mart's internal security department, for example, is filled with former agents from the C.I.A., the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other government agencies.