What Exercise Does For Your Big Dumb Brain

Exercise is good for you, duh. Perhaps less obvious is all the ways physical exercise is also good for your brain—how it improves memory, creativity, mood, and more. So even if you aren't looking to brag about marathon times or show off the body of a Greek god, you still have plenty of reasons to get off your butt. » 10/21/14 3:30pm Yesterday 3:30pm

Designing a SkyMall Catalog for the Near Future

The future will be—get ready for it—normal. That's the striking and entirely non-boring vision presented in TBD Catalog, which you might describe as a fictional SkyMall catalog from 2024. There are no dramatic utopian or dystopian predictions in this slim, blue volume, but it does contain a bizarre and fascinating… » 10/21/14 2:30pm Yesterday 2:30pm

That DNA Evidence Identifying Jack the Ripper Was Wrong After All

Last month, the notoriously dubious Daily Mail announced it had finally unmasked Jack the Ripper with DNA evidence. Now, in what's not that much of a surprise, it seems this all may have been a mistake. The scientist in the investigation made multiple errors, according to the Independent, the most damning of which is… » 10/20/14 6:15pm Monday 6:15pm

The U.S. Will Stop Funding Research into Making Mutant Super Viruses

Should scientists be allowed to create mutant viruses deadlier than natural ones? The White House waded into this controversy today with a surprising announcement to cut all funding to such studies, pending a thorough review of this risky research. » 10/17/14 7:08pm Friday 7:08pm

Philadelphia's Newest Park Is Built on Top of a Sewage Overflow Tank

Venice Island, which officially opened this month in Philadelphia, has all the amenities you might expect from a nice city park—gardens, basketball court, amphitheater—but also something unexpected: a 4 million gallon sewage overflow tank. And you know what? A park built on top of the sewer is a very good thing. » 10/17/14 3:56pm Friday 3:56pm

Belle & Sebastian: Piazza, New York Catcher

A couple years ago, I was leaving New York, the city I considered the center of the world, for San Francisco, a city I had only the vaguest impressions of from reading Joan Didion. (Naturally, I was composing my own version of a leaving New York essay in my head.) I also spent the time obsessively listening to Belle… » 10/15/14 7:00pm 10/15/14 7:00pm

Chicago was raised over 4 feet in the 19th century to build its sewer

In the middle of the 19th century, Chicago embarked on a quest to literally lift itself out of the mud. Water couldn't drain from the low-lying city, so its streets became impassable swamps. The most reasonable solution, Chicago decided, was just to raise the whole goddamn city by 4 to 14 feet. » 10/15/14 1:20pm 10/15/14 1:20pm

Scientists 3D Printed Self-Assembling Wood and Carbon Fiber

For the most part, our wood and carbon fiber objects are solid, inert, and boring lumps. They don't bend or curl—or at least, they aren't supposed to. But MIT researchers have created wood and carbon fiber specially designed to be dynamic, conjuring up visions of wood furniture that self-assembles out of the flat pack… » 10/14/14 4:13pm 10/14/14 4:13pm

The Air Force's Mysterious Spy Plane Is Landing After 2 Years in Space

For nearly two years, the Air Force's X-37B autonomous space plane has been circling around the Earth doing who knows what. Now it's finally coming back to Earth, carrying all its secrets with it. » 10/13/14 7:33pm 10/13/14 7:33pm

Scientists Are Creating the Coldest Cubic Meter in the Universe

It's hard to describe exactly how cold the coldest cubic meter in the universe will be. Frozen to just a blip above absolute zero—the temperature at which atoms cannot even vibrate—the CUORE experiment will try to nail down a tiny number that has long eluded physicists: the mass of a neutrino. » 10/13/14 4:00pm 10/13/14 4:00pm

What Do You Do on Your Phone When You're in the Bathroom?

Look, we all do it. Ever since smartphones made the rack of toilet water-sprayed magazines obsolete, our alone time in the bathroom has gotten a lot more interesting. How do you fill the one-to-three minute void when you're, um, voiding yourself? » 10/10/14 2:37pm 10/10/14 2:37pm

This Mountain Hut Looks Like an Ice Cube Perched in the Snow

With its sharp peak and angles, this mountain hut designed by Atelier 8000 both mirrors and complements the icy mountains surrounding it. To use the studio's evocative description, it sits like "an erratic block left behind by the retreating glacier." » 10/09/14 6:44pm 10/09/14 6:44pm

Ebola Airport Screenings Won't Do a Damn Thing

Along with shoe X-rays and toiletries in ziploc bags, we can now welcome fever checks as the latest addition to airport security theater. Today, U.S. officials announced they will screen passengers coming to five major airports from the African countries hit worst by Ebola—despite no real evidence that it will make us… » 10/08/14 5:46pm 10/08/14 5:46pm