When a United Airlines flight made an emergency landing this summer due to medical situations on board, as the oxygen masks fell down, some passengers’ phone cameras went up. But psychologists say the instinct to snap a selfie in a near-death experience isn’t all narcissism—it’s also about survival and…
You know the smell. It’s hard to describe, but the second you step on an airplane, a flood of familiarity flies up your nostrils. Airplane smell is equal parts comforting and off-putting. And it’s actually a little bit dangerous. But what is it exactly?
Driving a car is easy. Engine on, eyes open, foot on the gas and you’re all set. So why is it taking autonomous cars so long to learn?
You know that Louis C.K. joke about wifi on airplanes? He says, “It’s fast, and I’m watching YouTube clips. It’s amazing—I’m on an airplane! And then it breaks down.… And the guy next to me goes, ‘This is bullshit.’” It’s so true.
Our bodies are surprisingly resilient in many situations, but rapid acceleration is not one of them. While the human body can withstand any constant speed—be it 20 miles per hour or 20 billion miles per hour—we can only change that rate of travel relatively slowly. Speed up or slow down too quickly and it's lights…
Last week's downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over the disputed territory of Eastern Ukraine has set off worldwide outcries against the conflict, and calls to better defend commercial airlines from missile attack. But is it even possible to defend civilian jets against military-grade weapons?
Lithium's kind of a big deal. It powers everything from our gadgets to our cars—really our entire modern world. And that's not changing any time soon; some analysts estimate that demand could grow up to 25% over the next several years. But how does one harness the power of a metal that bursts into flame every time it…
Cars didn't always run on gasoline. Henry Ford envisioned his Model T's puttering along with tanks fully of ethanol. Early diesel engines ran on peanut oil. Of course, the discovery of massive petroleum reserves at the turn of the 20th century quickly put the brakes on that notion—why bother creating biofuel when…
So you want to build the Enterprise. Don't we all! Well good news: according to some quick, messy, napkin math, it's possible. Kind of. The bad news? It's going to be stupid expensive. But not unfathomably so! Start scrounging up your space-pennies.
Did you get a bunch of new gear today? Got some questions about how to use it?
The smell of a new car is intoxicating. It reminds us of money and shiny objects. It evokes that golden period before repeat coffee stains, moldy Tupperware, and our trunk's transformation into a Good Will depository change the way we feel about our car.
If you've driven across the US—or even across a state line or two—you've probably noticed that the roads you're driving on suck. They suck more more than a string of gas station bathrooms, more than hundreds of bug carcasses on your windshield.
When carbon fiber was first trotted out in solid rocket motor cases and tanks in the 1960s, it was poised to not only take on fiberglass, but also a whole host of other materials.