Seriously now. Why don't people in central Oklahoma have basements to protect them from tornadoes? The answer, according to the engineers and geologists I spoke with for a column at Ensia magazine, is almost entirely cultural. In fact, people who study disasters say that all natural disasters are really cultural ones — created when environmental forces run headlong into complex human social systems. And that presents an interesting question: How do you protect people from tornadoes in a state where most people don't want a basement?
Is the human gaze a physical force? It sure feels like it sometimes. Princeton University researchers scanned subjects' brains to gain insight into why we subconsciously interpret "other people's visual attention as an invisible, force-carrying beam projecting from the eyes." This isn't about the paranormal investigations into whether you can "feel" when someone is staring… READ THE REST
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
For the uninitiated, bone conduction audio almost feels like magic. The concept that you can hear clean distinct music and other sounds with nothing physically filling your ears while no one else can hear a thing has a strange, vaguely sci-fi feel to it. Yet, the allure of hearing both music and the outside world… READ THE REST
Versatility isn't just an added feature in today's tech. It's now an absolute marching order. With our stash of EDC carry items growing seemingly daily, anything that gets added to your regular device rotation can't be a hyper-specialist. In fact, it not only has to serve one role with indispensable distinction, but it also better… READ THE REST
If there's anything Americans love more than guns, it's grilling. Putting the two together might be the biggest no-brainer in the engineering history of the nation. In fact, it's almost amazing that it took the world's most can-do country over 200 years to come up with one of its most logical extensions ever: the GrillGun.… READ THE REST