Blog Archives

Stratospheric Balloon Startups Want to Make It Easier to Fly to the Edge of Space

Fast launches and low prices could make giant helium balloons a more practical option for scientists who want to experiment at altitude.

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China’s Central Bank Has Begun Cautiously Testing a Digital Currency

The People’s Bank of China has developed a digital currency that’s designed to scale to the number of transactions made every day across the country.

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Tesla’s New AI Guru Could Help Its Cars Teach Themselves

Andrej Karpathy, Tesla’s new director of artificial intelligence, will help the company’s vehicles teach themselves to drive.

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Uber’s Other Big Problem: Driverless Cars Aren’t Ready Yet

Its new CEO will inherit many problems, but a business plan based on the elusive dream of driverless cars is the largest.

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New Model of Evolution Finally Reveals How Cooperation Evolves

By treating evolution like a thermodynamic process, theorists have solved one the great problems in biology.

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Trump Promises a Federal Technology Overhaul to Save $1 Trillion

Trump also suggested he might relax his stance on immigration, as a way to get tech leaders to help his cause.

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The Unaffordable Urban Paradise

Tech startups helped turn a handful of metro areas into megastars. Now they’re tearing those cities apart.

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In Sharp Rebuttal, Scientists Squash Hopes for 100 Percent Renewables

Nearly two dozen researchers critique a proposal for wind, solar, and water power gaining traction in policy circles.

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This Startup Is Making Virtual and Augmented Reality So Crisp It Looks Real

Varjo’s prototype of a VR headset shows much clearer images in the center of the display, a much-needed advancement that could help consumer adoption.

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Why Bad Things Happen to Clean-Energy Startups

New technologies for storing power from wind and solar farms will be key to a clean-energy future. But Aquion Energy’s recent bankruptcy shows the market challenge of making that happen.

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The Best of the Physics arXiv (week ending June 17, 2017)

This week’s most thought-provoking papers from the Physics arXiv.

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First Large-Scale Analysis of the Ripple Cryptocurrency Network

Transactions on the Ripple cryptocurrency network are entirely transparent. That clearly reveals the network’s strength—and its weaknesses.

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Apple Isn’t as Late to Automated Driving as You Might Think

Several companies have a head start in building self-driving cars, but Apple has a surprising amount of relevant experience.

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In China, a Store of the Future—No Checkout, No Staff

Wheelys tests a 24-hour store run entirely by technology.

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Wait, Why Does Trump Want to Change America’s Air Traffic Control System?

The president is right when he says that the nation’s air traffic control system is old and is taking a long time to modernize.

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Clean Energy Is About to Become Cheaper Than Coal

The inflection point has already been reached in the West, and by 2021 solar will be cheaper than coal in China.

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Baby Genome Sequencing for Sale in China

Chinese parents can now decode the genomes of their healthy newborns, revealing disease risks as well as the likelihood of physical traits like male-pattern baldness.

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Tim Cook: Apple Isn’t Falling Behind, It’s Just Not Ready to Talk About the Future

The Apple CEO tells us what he thinks about Silicon Valley’s gender problems, President Trump’s policies on the environment and immigration, and why his company gets a bad rap on AI.

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This Marimba-Playing Robot Invents Surprisingly Nice Tunes

With influences including Beethoven, the Beatles, Lady Gaga, and Miles Davis, its creations combine classical and jazz.

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Virtual Reality’s Missing Element: Other People

VR can be the basis of a new communications industry if the technology becomes less insular and isolating.

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