The world holds its breath as Japan’s damaged nuclear reactors continue to spew radiation. In the worst case, a cloud of radioactive material could be blown inland, endangering millions. The crisis has forced a reexamination of American nuclear policy.
The NOAA took 20 years to develop a reliable tsunamograph, an apparatus that provides accurate, real-time data on tsunamis. It consists of an anchored, ocean-bottom pressure recorder and a companion buoy (called DART, for Deep-Ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis). The recorder, sitting at a depth of up to 5,000 meters, measures changes in pressure due to changes in water level. The recorder transmits acoustic signals to the buoy, which, in turn, relays the measurements of wave height to satellites. This information is then used to forecast the progress of a tsunami. Although each tsunamograph costs a mere $200,000, there are only about 50 in operation worldwide. There are scarcely any in the middle of the Pacific, and practically none in the Indian Ocean. Each dot on the map above represents a single buoy, an object about five feet wide that resembles a flying saucer. Many countries, such as India and Indonesia, have resisted acquiring DARTs from the NOAA out of a sense of ...
When it comes to criminal cases, scientific evidence can seem like cold hard facts. But recently, advocates worry that both bad science and internal corruption is making forensics faulty—and innocent people are going to jail.
Content is supposed to be king. But in the world of electronic devices, Apple seems to be placing the crown on its own head, apparently believing that its iPad and iPhone are more important to customers than the books, movies, and music they store on them.
When authorities in Egypt shut down Internet connections during last week’s uprising, hackers around the world started scrambling to create a work-around. Before they could succeed, the blackout was lifted. But now people are worried that similar shutdowns might occur in countries like Jordan, Syria, and Yemen—and so hackers are working to set up alternative networks in those countries, just in case.
Considering that anxiety makes your palms sweat, your heart race, your stomach turn somersaults, and your brain seize up like a car with a busted transmission, it’s no wonder people reach for the Xanax to vanquish it. But in a surprise, researchers who study emotion regulation—how we cope, or fail to cope, with the daily swirl of feelings—are discovering that many anxious people are bound and determined (though not always consciously) to cultivate anxiety. The reason, studies suggest, is that for some people anxiety boosts cognitive performance, while for others it actually feels comforting.
It sounded like a panacea for climate change: “geo-engineering” the atmosphere to block some sunlight and counter global warming. Now scientists scrutinizing the approach say it could produce dangerous cascade effects, severely disrupting weather and agriculture—and might fail to block the worst of the greenhouse effects anyway.
For people who already have their hands full keeping up with Facebook, scanning Twitter tweets, and answering email too, here’s a heads-up. The cool kids and big egos of Silicon Valley are busy colonizing a new social network—and soon you may want to as well.
As protests continue in Egypt, the government has cracked down by suspending the country’s Internet service and disrupting much of the cell-phone coverage. Reporters Without Borders closely monitors how nations restrict the Internet access of their citizens. Here are the worst violators.
Cory Booker used Twitter to help dig out residents of Newark during the last blizzard. Now, with much of the Eastern Seaboard covered in snow, more Americans implored the mayor to come to their aid. While Booker can't be everywhere, ordinary citizens inspired by his example often heeded the call.
The history of televised fitness is almost as long as the history of television. From syndicated shows to videos on demand, exercise shows have been capturing our attention for years—and making their stars national icons. Here’s a look at some of the most notable figures and biggest milestones in fitness TV.
If you follow the news about health research, you risk whiplash. First garlic lowers bad cholesterol, then—after more study—it doesn’t. Hormone replacement reduces the risk of heart disease in postmenopausal women, until a huge study finds that it doesn’t (and that it raises the risk of breast cancer to boot). Eating a big breakfast cuts your total daily calories, or not—as a study released last week finds. Yet even if biomedical research can be a fickle guide, we rely on it.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has gone on a medical leave. With luck this will be temporary, like his last medical leave, in 2009, when Jobs, a survivor of pancreatic cancer, received a liver transplant. But what if he doesn’t come back? Ever since the previous time, people have wondered if the company could carry on without him.
NASA’s Spinoff 2010 report, which the agency publishes annually to promote the commercial applications of its investments in technological research, highlights a number of innovations that affect our lives every day. Here are some of the highlights.
With Apple CEO Steve Jobs back on medical leave—an indefinite one, unlike his last break—the company’s investors, $300 billion worth of them, are forced to envision a post-Jobs Apple. And they didn’t like the thought: shares fell as much as 10 percent before rebounding in overseas trading Monday.
The new year brings some radical new experiments in online media. First up is The Daily, a publication created by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. that’s set to launch this month. You won’t be able to read The Daily on a plain old Web browser. It will exist only as an app on the iPad (and, presumably, later on other tablets as well)—and you’ll have to pay $1 a week for a subscription.
It’s probably not going out on a limb to say that John Boehner’s waterworks—the man cries when his party wins control of the House, when he thinks about kids, when he walks down the House aisle to take the Speaker’s gavel—are not meant to reduce sexual arousal in women.
Tim Ferriss is one of those personalities you want to hate, a guy so wildly successful it’s almost comedic. His productivity manifesto, "The 4-Hour Workweek," was an instant New York Times bestseller when it debuted in 2007, despite Ferriss’s not knowing the first thing about publishing.
To any woman having surgery for breast cancer, the words she most wants to hear in the recovery room are, “We got it all.” But if she wants to find the surgeons who have the best track record on the most important measures, she might as well throw darts at a printout of oncologists.
My wife and I first noticed our friends’ preoccupation with autism and vaccines in late 2007, right around the time former TV star and Playboy Playmate Jenny McCarthy published the first of several bestsellers in which she claimed that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine had probably given her son autism.