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?
The National Science Foundation announced that it will decommission and demolish the iconic Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. This comes after two cables suspending the telescope's 900-ton receiver platform above its massive dish broke while others are weakening. Completed in 1963, the Arecibo Observatory has been a key instrument in the development of radio… READ THE REST
A paper out of Oxford University, "Video game play is positively correlated with well-being", reports that playing video games makes you happy. The study tracked 518 players of Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville and 2,756 players of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Key findings include: • Actual amount of time spent playing was a small… READ THE REST
"Our couch was the front line and our patience was our weapon." Absolutely amazing coronavirus 'stay at home' spot from the German government, above. You might not think of humor as an effective way to drive home the message that staying at home helps slow the spread of COVID-19. But that's what's most amazing about… READ THE REST
For the Black Friday lovers out there, we understand this year is going to be hard for you. All the old rules about scouting doorbuster deals, camping out, and planning your post-Thanksgiving shopping tactics are no more this year. But don't worry – just because there's no physical doorbusting going on this year doesn't mean… READ THE REST
The Dead Zone isn't just a great Stephen King novel. It's also that unfortunate area in your house where WiFi signals go to die. Dead zones may be caused by actual physical barriers in your home, like a wall or a refrigerator. It could be that the distance between your router and that particular spot… READ THE REST
A kid in tech-savvy 2020 has a lot of plates to keep spinning. That avalanche of technology often requires making some difficult choices, like this one: what happens when you want to listen to music streaming from your phone and play a game on your Nintendo Switch? Since you're obviously going to be wearing headphones,… READ THE REST