Physicists Nail Down the ‘Magic Number’ That Shapes the Universe.
A team in Paris has made the most precise measurement yet of the fine-structure constant, killing hopes for a new force of nature.
The fine-structure constant was introduced in 1916 to quantify the tiny gap between two lines in the spectrum of colors emitted by certain atoms. The closely spaced frequencies are seen here through a Fabry-Pérot interferometer. As fundamental constants go, the speed of light, c, enjoys all the fame, yet c’s numerical value says nothing about nature; it … Read more
Who Is Satoshi Nakamoto, the Creator of Bitcoin?
Like a frustrating episode of Lost, there’s one too many clues and few, if any, answers.
For all of Bitcoin’s fabled transparency, a key piece of this bubblicious puzzle remains elusively opaque. Who the hell is Satoshi Nakamoto? Like a frustrating episode of Lost, there’s one too many clues and few if any answers. Satoshi, of course, is the one who started it all, unleashing his concept of a cryptographic, self-regulating … Read more
Floating Utopias for the Age of Rising Seas.
In 1962, haunted by the specter of nuclear annihilation, the sociologist Lewis Mumford penned a new preface to his book, The Story of Utopias.
A two mile-thick ice sheet in Antarctica is collapsing, which all but guarantees at least 10 feet of global sea level rise. That’s grim news for the 44 percent of the world’s population living in coastal areas, who now face the dire prospect of preparing for the coming tides. Developing the necessary engineering solutions, as … Read more
What the Near Future Is Actually Going to Look Like.
The biggest lie about the future is that it's going to look much different from today.
The biggest lie about the future is that it’s going to look much different from today. I mean, The Jetsons and Futurama are one thing, but in near-future portrayals—those shown in goofball blockbusters like I, Robot and Minority Report—the world is given a glossy, high-tech makeover. These futuristic landscapes suggest we’re about to see a … Read more
How Lasers, Radar, and Local Economies Are Helping Save World Heritage Sites.
The Global Heritage Fund is eager to employ novel technological approaches to the evergreen problem of protecting cultural history.
Archeology is often viewed as a painstaking science involving scalpels, toothbrushes, and methodically detailed notes. Well, to a large extent, that remains an accurate perception. But it doesn’t mean that lasers can’t be thrown into the mix too. The Global Heritage Fund, a non-profit based in Silicon Valley, is eager to employ novel technological approaches … Read more