Science & Technology

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How a Thrill-Seeking Personality Helps Olympic Athletes

One of the main draws of the Winter Olympics is the opportunity to witness some of the most exciting and nail-biting athletic feats. The daring events include the bobsled and downhill skiing. Then there’s the terrifying skeleton: Imagine barreling down a narrow chute of twisted ice-coated concrete at 125 miles per hour. Now imagine doing...

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Americans Are Saving Energy by Staying at Home

Information and communication technologies are radically transforming modern lifestyles. They are redefining our concept of “space” by turning homes and coffee shops into workspaces. (This article was written in a coffee shop.) Instead of going to the theater, many people sit in the comfort of their homes and stream movies. Online purchasing of food, groceries...

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Volkswagen Manipulated Study on Diesel Pollution Using Humans and Monkeys

Volkswagen, the world’s largest carmaker, along with BMW and Daimler, funded experiments in which cynomolgus monkeys and humans breathed in car fumes for hours at a time to produce scientific research data showing that the pollutant load of nitric oxide car emissions from diesel motors had measurably decreased, thanks to modern cleaning technology. We now...

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Reaching Rural America with Broadband Internet Service

All across the U.S., rural communities’ residents are being left out of modern society and the 21st century economy. I’ve traveled to Kansas, Maine, Texas and other states studying internet access and use – and I hear all the time from people with a crucial need still unmet. Rural Americans want faster, cheaper internet like...

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New Ways Scientists Can Help Put Science Back into Popular Culture

How often do you, outside the requirements of an assignment, ponder things like the workings of a distant star, the innards of your phone camera, or the number and layout of petals on a flower? Maybe a little bit, maybe never. Too often, people regard science as sitting outside the general culture: A specialized, difficult...

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Quantum Speed Limit May Put Brakes on Quantum Computers

Over the past five decades, standard computer processors have gotten increasingly faster. In recent years, however, the limits to that technology have become clear: Chip components can only get so small, and be packed only so closely together, before they overlap or short-circuit. If companies are to continue building ever-faster computers, something will need to...

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Is Warming in the Arctic Behind This Year’s Crazy Winter Weather

Seriously cold: The ‘bomb cyclone’ freezes a fountain in New York City. AP Photo/Mark Lennihan Damage from extreme weather events during 2017 racked up the biggest-ever bills for the U.S. Most of these events involved conditions that align intuitively with global warming: heat records, drought, wildfires, coastal flooding, hurricane damage and heavy rainfall. Paradoxical, though,...