This Handsome Brick Facade Is Insulation That Snaps on Like Lego

We all like the idea of saving energy, but actually retrofitting an old house is a loud, messy, and expensive headache. So the Dutch company Energiesprond has come up with a way to make houses carbon neutral with easy, snap-on insulation and solar panels. It doesn't hurt that houses come out looking quite handsome,… » 10/30/14 2:51pm Yesterday 2:51pm

Report: Verizon's Tech News Site Will Ignore the NSA and Net Neutrality

Who doesn't want to have their own tech site these days? According to the Daily Dot, Verizon's recently launched SugarString will have two very conspicuous holes in its tech coverage: U.S. government surveillance and net neutrality. What a big fat coincidence that Verizon is embroiled in both. » 10/28/14 7:17pm Tuesday 7:17pm

A Cheaper Highway Guardrail May Be Malfunctioning and Deadly

It's the difference of just one inch. In 2005, the guardrail manufacturer Trinity Industries shaved that much off its guardrail design, saving the company $2 per guardrail head. It also neglected to report this design change to the Federal Highway Administration. Tens of thousands of these potentially deadly guardrail… » 10/28/14 5:12pm Tuesday 5:12pm

A Quantum Internet Connected By Cargo Ships Is Not as Crazy as It Sounds

Our internet has a physical infrastructure: thousands of miles of cables that criss-cross the oceans. The quantum internet, when it exists, will have a physical infrastructure, too. But you can't send quantum bits, "qubits," on fiber optic cables, so a group of physicists has proposed a bizarre solution: cargo ships… » 10/28/14 4:27pm Tuesday 4:27pm

Satellite Dishes Can Turn Toxic Waste From Fracking Into Clean Water

In the past few years, earthquakes in Oklahoma have been on the mysterious rise—the state has had more earthquakes than even California. Why? One big fat finger has been pointed at fracking, in which toxic wastewater is injected into wells that can leak and lubricate faults. We clearly need a better solution for this… » 10/27/14 3:45pm Monday 3:45pm

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 10/21/14 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 10/21/14 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 10/20/14 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 10/17/14 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 10/17/14 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