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Lifts of the Future Will Move Sideways Without a Single Cable

One of the biggest engineering challenges of building a towering skyscraper isn’t keeping the structure from falling over, it’s moving all the people around inside of it. To improve efficiency, and facilitate the construction of even taller buildings, Germany’s ThyssenKrupp has completely redesigned lifts so that they can move sideways now, too. Read More >>

drones
Watch These Drones Get Fried by Over a Million Volts

Tom Scott took a pair of DJI Phantom 3 drones to the University of Manchester’s High Voltage Laboratory, where they can manufacture lightning strikes measuring over a million volts. The goal was to see what happens to a drone were it to get struck by lightning while flown in a storm, and the results will probably surprise no one. Read More >>

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You’ve Probably Been to Null Island

A few hundred miles off the coast of Ghana is Null Island—the point of zero longitude and zero latitude. It’s not a real island in the physical sense, but data, photos, and whole people have been there, if only for a little while. How they got there comes down to shoddy programming. Read More >>

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Why Confetti is Video Quality’s Worst Nightmare

So you’re watching sportsball, and your team wins. The stadium fills with confetti, and the broadcast starts to look like total crap. Why does confetti make the players on your expensive TV look like Minecraft character? The answer lies in the nature of digital video compression. Read More >>

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Why Nuclear Fusion Reactors Won’t Blow Up

Nuclear fusion holds promise as a safe, clean source of energy to power our future. We’re probably decades away from using fusion as a viable source of energy, but some experimental reactors are already online. Read More >>

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Why YouTube’s Not Going to Run Out of Video IDs

IPv4, the internet address system born out of the birth of the internet, serves as a cautionary tale to always plan ahead: no one thought there would ever be more than 4.3 billion devices connected to the internet, only to be proved horribly wrong 30 years later. But YouTube planned ahead. Read More >>

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Playing With a Heavy Industrial Simulator Looks Like a Lot of Fun

I’ve always wondered exactly who is buying Train Simulator 2015, because driving around virtual heavy machinery without causing accidents isn’t really my idea of a good afternoon. But if that software is running in a fully immersive high-tech simulator, I start to understand the appeal. Read More >>

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Sometimes, Building a City in the Middle of the Desert Doesn’t Quite Work

Most big cities in the world grow over time; a few notable exceptions have sprouted pretty much out of nowhere. But for every Washington D.C, there are also vacant lots in the middle of the desert, waiting for residents who never came. Read More >>

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Simulating a Universe With a Computer: Yes, This is Complicated

The EAGLE Project isn’t some neo-Nazi project to bring a cloned Hitler to life; rather, it’s trying to simulate a universe inside a supercomputer. Yes, it’s exactly as complicated as it sounds. Read More >>

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Why One Random Web Address Can Crash Chrome

As it turns out, one sixteen-character URL is enough to bring Google’s mighty browser crashing to its knees. Here’s the computer science behind the bug. Read More >>

wtf
Express Exactly How You Feel With a Thousand-Key Emoji Keyboard

Sometimes a simple smile or frown is enough to convey the emotion of a sentence. But for those times when you need a more specific emoji, Tom Scott has transformed the 1,000+ keys on 14 combined keyboards into one monstrous contraption to help you quickly access those expressive little pictographs. Read More >>

monster machines
An Amphibious Weed-Cutting Boat Is the Only Vehicle I Would Ever Need

Normally, you wouldn’t think of a vehicle used to clean rivers as being particularly cool. But I challenge you to find one single thing wrong with this chainsaw-wielding boat/tank hybrid. Read More >>

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This is Probably the Weirdest Bridge in the World

I haven’t seen every singe bridge in the world, so I’m not happy calling this bridge-ferry-gondola hybrid the weirdest. But it’s definitely in the top five, and makes me question (once again) the sanity of Wales. Read More >>

science
Electric Cars Are Ever So Slightly Lighter With Dead Batteries

Drive your car until the tank’s empty, and it will probably be 45 kilos lighter (minus the six extra Red Bulls consumed). But drive an electric car until it’s out of juice, and on a much smaller scale, it will also have shed weight. Read More >>

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Why Leap Seconds Confuse Computers

On tuesday, time on Earth had a leap second. The planet’s computer systems survived unscathed, thanks to months of careful preparation by engineers. But here’s a concise explanation of why, left to their own devices, a collection of very expensive computers could’ve thrown a hissy fit. Read More >>