The Most Symmetrical Objects in the World
If you’ve ever tried to give yourself a haircut, you know just how hard it is to make something precisely symmetrical. We value symmetry so highly in part because it’s really hard to achieve. Here are five of the most symmetrical objects humans have ever crafted, and why they were so hard to make. Strikingly […]
Humanity’s Most Problematic Attempts to Get All the Water
Survival shows are running amok. The contestants are naked; they’re two out-of-shape guys in the woods; they’re stuck on an island. Despite differences in attire or setting, one thing remains constant: For every survivor, finding potable water is the first order of business. But the challenge doesn’t end there: First they find water; then they […]
The Tricks Used by Pilots, Surgeons & Engineers to Overcome Human Error
When Germanwings Flight 4U9525 crashed into the French Alps in March it did not take investigators long to determine the likely reason: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had allegedly been suffering from depression and may have crashed the plane as a means to commit suicide, taking hundreds of people along with him. But that doesn’t tell the […]
Meet the 17-Year-Old, Award-Winning, Rube Goldberg Parts Manufacturer
Technology:Tommy George and the Agents of SHIELD shot a Nerf ball and erased a whiteboard.
How a Snowflake Turns Into an Avalanche
Technology:Meet the avalanche engineers of the Subzero Laboratory.
A Material So Dark That It Looks Like a Black Hole
Even when applied to a highly reflective surface like aluminum foil, Vantablack renders the entire surface, including creases, all but invisible.Surrey Nanosystems via Wikipedia Color is such a powerful and evocative sensation—one of the first that we learn to describe as children—that we don’t often think about what it really is. In a sense, color […]
This Iconoclast Injected Life Into Artificial Body Parts
Technology:Laura Niklason recognized that synthetic organs can't grow without mechanical stress.
Animals Bow to Their Mechanical Overlords
Technology:Robots are infiltrating insect, fish, and bird communities—and seizing control.
Living in the Long: Art & Engineering Peers Into Our Future
When was the last time you awoke right at the first peak of day? Or put away your work simply because night was falling? We are less and less tied to rhythms of natural time, living instead in the glow of computers and smartphone screens. Our days and nights roll by, marked as much by […]