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.