The precautionary principle comes up a lot when you're talking about the side effects of technology in the real world. When you don't have evidence that something is dangerous — but you suspect it might be — you could cite the precautionary principle as a reason to ban or limit the use of that thing. It's a messy idea, though, and I'm still not sure what to think about it. On the one hand, technology is often available before data on the wide-ranging effects of that technology are available. Do you use it or not is a legitimate question. On the other hand, following the precautionary principle in a blind sort of way can lead to things like this.
Christian Stangl (previously here) turned a common process into a gorgeous abstract short film using macro footage of things as they dry out. Life needs water. But this fluid tends to evaporate over time into a gaseous state. Drying out is a chemical process that takes hours, days or even weeks. Without enough water the… READ THE REST
Researchers closely studied the wings of two moth species from China and Africa, and found that their tiny scales form a "metamaterial" that absorbs bat sonar — thus becoming an acoustic cloaking device. Pretty darn cool. The paper is paywalled here, but Nature has a good lay-persons' writeup … The researchers measured the acoustic reflections… READ THE REST
Cody from Cody's Lab bought 10 kilograms of bananas at the store, then proceeded to extract 9 grams of potassium from them. He could have gotten about twice that, but his condensation device had a design issue that caused the condensate to solidify and clog the tube. Great fun to see him toss it in… READ THE REST
None of us are getting any younger. And while the ravages of time work differently on everyone, there seems to be one area where everyone from seniors down to the way-too-young start feeling discomfort first. Oh, that aching back. A lot of that may have to do with how many of us spend huge portions… READ THE REST
Sony, Variety, MTV, and The New York Times are on board. The Rolling Stones, Snoop Dogg, and Katy Perry too. Mercedes-Benz, Disney, and yes, even Star Wars. They're all instantly recognizable brands that use WordPress as the engine to run their iconic website locations. It's no exaggeration to call WordPress the engine that runs the… READ THE REST
To be clear, cigarettes are not illegal. But if you're a smoker in America, it can probably often almost feel that way. Anyone carrying a lighter or the visible bulge of a cigarette pack tucked in a shirt pocket is all but guaranteed to get some side-eye in 2020. But hey, we've all got our… READ THE REST