Let's Talk About Whatever You Want Right Now

All that separates you and the blissful long weekend is one small stretch of Friday afternoon, and we're here to get you through it. Come shoot the breeze with the Giz crew—at least the ones still staring at their computers (like you). » 8/29/14 3:07pm Friday 3:07pm

America's first roller coaster began as a railway for transporting coal

If you're wondering how people first decided plummeting downhill inside a rickety box on wheels seemed like a good time, look no further than the Mauch Chunk Switchback Railway in Pennsylvania. What began as a railway for shooting coal down the mountain turned into a destination for thousands of tourists in the late… » 8/29/14 2:45pm Friday 2:45pm

Switzerland Puts Secret Bacteria in Cheese to Catch Knockoffs

In parts of Europe, where cheese is taken seriously as a source of national pride, entire labs are devoted to spotting knockoff Emmental and Gruyere. Switzerland has what may be the most impressive strategy yet: secret cocktails of bacteria, sent only to licensed cheesemakers, that work as living biological tracers. » 8/28/14 3:46pm Thursday 3:46pm

I Flew Like a Bird Using Oculus Rift

It should be a truth universally acknowledged that any man or woman using Oculus Rift will look like a dumbass. As awesome as it is to experience Oculus Rift, to everyone else, you are a crazy person with a black box strapped onto your face groping at thin air. And then I, of course, had to strap myself to some… » 8/28/14 2:12pm Thursday 2:12pm

How NYC Would Respond to an Actual Stay Puft Marshmallow Man Attack

It's been 30 years since the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man first squished through Manhattan. With Ghostbusters returning to theaters tomorrow for an anniversary run, we thought it appropriate to consider a very serious question: How would New York City actually fight an evil god in the form of a marshmallow man?… » 8/28/14 1:00pm Thursday 1:00pm

The Mystery of Death Valley's "Sailing Stones" Is Finally Solved

On a dried-up lake bed in Death Valley are dozens of rocks that have puzzled us for decades. The rocks have each left a dusty trail, evidence of some unknown force propelling them forward. Scientists have now finally observed the rocks moving and settled on an explanation: Thin ice and a gentle breeze. » 8/27/14 5:33pm Wednesday 5:33pm

Future Painkillers Might Be Made From Yeast, Not Poppies

Ever since humans first noticed the mind-altering effects of poppies, we've planted vast fields of the flowers to make drugs that range from the legal (morphine) to the illegal (heroin). Some of our strongest legitimate painkillers still originate in these large, unwieldy, and pesky-to-regulate poppy fields. But what… » 8/26/14 6:04pm 8/26/14 6:04pm

The Perfect Song for Driving Through the Night

The last thing you might expect to hear on an early 20th century period medical drama about corpse-stealing ambulances and childbirth gone horribly wrong is electronic music. The show in question, The Knick—or Steven Soderbergh and Clive Owen's Mad Men but with doctors—is by most accounts all right. The music is… » 8/25/14 7:00pm 8/25/14 7:00pm

A Gut Microbe Could Be the Key to Stopping Peanut Allergies

In the past few decades, food allergies have been increasingly and mysteriously on the rise. A possible explanation lies with our gut bacteria, which have been reshaped by our soap- and antibiotics-laden lifestyles. A new study in mice adds intriguing evidence: one particular type of bacteria prevents sensitivity to… » 8/25/14 6:00pm 8/25/14 6:00pm

The Somber History Behind These Wild-Looking Cube Houses

In villages all over Hungary you'll find cube houses—more or less identical in shape but painted in fantastical colors by their residents. While these houses may look utterly delightful and whimsical to our eyes, they're less welcomed in their own communities. In her book Hungarian Cubes, photographer Katharina… » 8/25/14 3:01pm 8/25/14 3:01pm

Istanbul Is Demolishing Three Skyscrapers to Preserve Its Iconic Skyline

Behind the Blue Mosque in Istanbul rise three stumpy luxury apartment buildings, recently completed and sold—only to be ordered demolished. The ruling from Turkey's highest administrative court to tear down the skyscrapers to protect the city's iconic views is remarkable, if a bit ill-timed. » 8/22/14 3:56pm 8/22/14 3:56pm

The Real Talent Behind Iggy's "Fancy" and Icona Pop's "I Love It"

Unless you've been living vacuum-sealed under a rock on the ocean floor, the hook to Song of the Summer 2014 "Fancy" has surely wormed its way into your ear. And last summer, you couldn't walk into a party without "I Love It" blasting to the stratosphere. These two insidiously catchy songs have one thing in common,… » 8/21/14 7:00pm 8/21/14 7:00pm

Why This Company Wants To Build Data Centers Next To Gas Storage Sites

The problem with data centers is excess heat. The problem with liquified natural gas terminals is excess cold. In a perfect world, one problem would neatly cancel out the other—which is exactly the world imagined by Massachusetts-based TeraCool. Coupling data with liquified gas could make a lot of energy sense. » 8/21/14 4:45pm 8/21/14 4:45pm

This Machine Destroys Seeds of Nasty Mutant Weeds In the Combine

Combines are a modern farming miracle, separating grain from chaff in a matter of seconds. But that chaff—often full of seeds from herbicide-resistant weeds—gets blown right back onto the field. Enter the clever Harrington Seed Destructor, which grinds the pesky and unwanted seeds into oblivion. » 8/21/14 2:37pm 8/21/14 2:37pm