The Professor, The Bikini Model And The Suitcase Full Of Trouble
A world-renowned physicist meets a gorgeous model online. They plan their perfect life together. But first, she asks, would he be so kind as to deliver a special package to her?
A Vision For Agriculture
Allowing cows out to harvest their own feed and spread their own manure is the most profitable means of producing meat and milk. But, somehow, agricultural science has encouraged farmers to mount a treadmill of increasing yields of milk or meat by increasing the amount of production per unit input.
The Last Giraffes On Earth
The planet’s tallest animal is in far greater danger than people might think. Until recently, giraffes have suffered from surprising scientific neglect. Few researchers have studied them in the wild, so even basic aspects of their lives remain mysterious.
An Olympic Hockey Hero, A Violent Crime And The Specter Of Brain Trauma
Forty years ago, Mark Pavelich played a crucial role in the U.S. hockey team’s triumph over the Russians. He is unquestionably the least understood of the ’80 Olympic heroes, and someone who may have been betrayed by the very sport he loved. Was there a steep cost for his lifetime on the ice?
The Invisible City: How A Homeless Man Built A Life Underground
After decades among the hidden homeless, Dominic Van Allen dug himself a bunker beneath Hampstead Heath, a vast open space that sits as a sort of green beehive haircut on top of metropolitan central London. His life would get even more precarious.
Alone On A Mountaintop, Awaiting A Very Hard Rain
Decades ago, Armenian scientists built a high-elevation trap to catch and study cosmic rays. Physics has mostly moved on, but the station persists — a ghost observatory with a skeleton crew.
The Empty Houses That Foreign Aid Built
After the devastation of the 2004 tsunami, aid agencies promised to rebuild Indonesia “better.” Fifteen years later, their failures are all too obvious. The disaster hit Aceh the hardest. The evacuation buildings are unmistakably the shiniest features of the city’s newly built landscape.
A Landmark Study On The Origins of Alcoholism
By studying rats in a smarter way, scientists are finally learning something useful about why some drinkers become addicted and others don’t.
The Outsize Influence Of Your Middle-School Friends
The ability to make and keep even one close friend has been seen as vital to children’s well-being for more than half a century. What has changed is that we now understand at a biological and even evolutionary level why that is so.
Diana Nyad Breaks The Waves
In her sixties, a swimmer revives an old dream: to swim from Cuba to Florida, 111 miles, the equivalent of five English Channel crossings, and the longest open-ocean swim in history. Nyad would have to contend with the strong currents and rough waves of the Gulf Stream, and with sharks and jellyfish.
The Girl In The Box: The Mysterious Crime That Shocked Germany
After class on Tuesday 15 September 1981, the first day of the new school year, a 10-year-old girl named Ursula Herrmann returned to her house in Eching. She never arrived. So began one of Germany’s most notorious postwar criminal cases, which remains contentious to this day.
The Dark Side Of Electronic Waste Recycling
Electronics can be hazardous when disposed of improperly, and the Basel Action Network, or BAN, investigates the underground world of the e-waste trade. The nonprofit group secretly embeds trackers in discarded devices, then hands them to recyclers to see where they end up, exposing bad practices in the process.
How A Single Mom Created A Plastic Food-Storage Empire
The story of Tupperware is a story of innovation and reinvention: how a new kind of plastic, made from industrial waste material, ended up a symbol of female empowerment. The product ushered women into the workforce, encouraging them to make their own money, better their families, and win accolades and prizes.
Key Change: How A Shifting Climate Is Transforming Florida
Rahawa Haile grew up surrounded by the beauty and kitsch of South Florida. Now she returns and wonders what happens when the places we love start to disappear.
How A Volcano In Hawaii Became A Battleground For Astronomy
Native Hawaiians are protecting the mountain of Maunakea, at the heart of Hawaii’s Big Island, from the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) at its summit, where the facility would join venerable observatories like the twin Keck domes and NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility.
The Data That Turned The World Upside Down
How Cambridge Analytica used your Facebook data to help the Donald Trump campaign in the 2016 election. A then little-known British company sent out a press release: “We are thrilled that our revolutionary approach to data-driven communication has played such an integral part in President-elect Trump’s extraordinary win.”
Can Computers Ever Replace The Classroom?
Derek Haoyang Li is the founder of Squirrel AI, an education company that offers tutoring delivered in part by humans, but mostly by smart machines, which he says will transform education as we know it. Other entrepreneurs are making similarly extravagant claims about the power of online learning.
Inside The West’s Plans For Arctic War Against Russia
Moscow is growing belligerent in its quest to pry open the icy route to the Atlantic. The U.S. and Britain are racing to catch up, but is it too late?
Inside X, Google’s Top-Secret Moonshot Factory
Within Alphabet, Google’s parent company, it is grouped alongside Deepmind in “Other Bets”, although in that metaphor, X is more like the gambler. Its stated aim is to pursue what it calls “moonshots” – to try to solve humanity’s great problems by inventing radical new technologies.