Technology

Iron Giant

One of America’s great machines comes back to life.

Star Power

What we don’t know about the sun may kill us—or erase our iPods.

The Need for Speed

In the wake of a horrific crash, should air racing be allowed to continue?

The Revolution in Photography

A new camera captures hundreds of images and lets you choose your own reality

The Voice in the Machine

Is lifelike synthetic speech finally within reach?

E. O. Wilson’s Theory of Everything

At 82, the famed biologist E. O. Wilson arrived in Mozambique last summer with a modest agenda—save a ravaged park; identify its many undiscovered species; create a virtual textbook that will revolutionize the teaching of biology. Wilson’s newest theory is more ambitious still. It could transform our understanding of human nature—and provide hope for our stewardship of the planet.

Hacked!

As email, documents, and almost every aspect of our professional and personal lives moves onto the “cloud”—remote servers we rely on to store, guard, and make available all of our data whenever and from wherever we want them, all the time and into eternity—a brush with disaster reminds the author and his wife just how vulnerable those data can be. A trip to the inner fortress of Gmail, where Google developers recovered six years’ worth of hacked and deleted e‑mail, provides specific advice on protecting and backing up data now—and gives a picture both consoling and unsettling of the vulnerabilities we can all expect to face in the future.

Meet the New Boss

Second Life’s creator wants to rewire how businesses run.

The Idea Factory

What happens when you gather the world’s most imaginative minds under one roof?

Replacement Therapy

Why our gadgets can’t wear out fast enough

The Light Fantastic

Streetlights are about to change the color of night—for the better.

Invisible, Inc.

Got an army you need to hide? With more than a million soldiers in a dozen countries wearing his camouflage patterns, Guy Cramer is now hoping to change how the Pentagon dresses. Inside the evolving science of concealment.

The Brain on Trial

Advances in brain science are calling into question the volition behind many criminal acts. A leading neuroscientist describes how the foundations of our criminal-justice system are beginning to crumble, and proposes a new way forward for law and order.

Is San Francisco Next?

Tokyo is more likely, says a scientist whose work on aftershocks may revolutionize quake forecasting.

The Rise of Backyard Biotech

Powered by social networking, file sharing, and e-mail, a new cottage industry is bringing niche drugs to market.

Are You Following a Bot?

How to manipulate social movements by hacking Twitter

A Vaster Wasteland

Fifty years after his landmark speech declaring television programming a “vast wasteland,” the author surveys the reshaped media landscape and lays out a plan to keep television and the Internet vibrant, democratic forces for the next half century.

What Perfection Sounds Like

Get ready for 3-D sound. A Princeton rocket scientist wants to bring it to your living room.

I, Robot

Mind vs. Machine

In the race to build computers that can think like humans, the proving ground is the Turing Test—an annual battle between the world’s most advanced artificial-intelligence programs and ordinary people. The objective? To find out whether a computer can act “more human” than a person. In his own quest to beat the machines, the author discovers that the march of technology isn’t just changing how we live, it’s raising new questions about what it means to be human.

How Skyscrapers Can Save the City

Besides making cities more affordable and architecturally interesting, tall buildings are greener than sprawl, and they foster social capital and creativity. Yet some urban planners and preservationists seem to have a misplaced fear of heights that yields damaging restrictions on how tall a building can be. From New York to Paris to Mumbai, there’s a powerful case for building up, not out.

The New Physics of Tennis

Unlocking the mysteries of Rafael Nadal’s killer topspin

Dirty Coal, Clean Future

To environmentalists, “clean coal” is an insulting oxymoron. But for now, the only way to meet the world’s energy needs, and to arrest climate change before it produces irreversible cataclysm, is to use coal—dirty, sooty, toxic coal—in more-sustainable ways. The good news is that new technologies are making this possible. China is now the leader in this area, the Google and Intel of the energy world. If we are serious about global warming, America needs to work with China to build a greener future on a foundation of coal. Otherwise, the clean-energy revolution will leave us behind, with grave costs for the world’s climate and our economy.

The Danger of Cosmic Genius

In the range of his genius, Freeman Dyson is heir to Einstein—a visionary who has reshaped thinking in fields from math to astrophysics to medicine, and who has conceived nuclear-propelled spaceships designed to transport human colonists to distant planets. And yet on the matter of global warming he is, as an outspoken skeptic, dead wrong: wrong on the facts, wrong on the science. How could someone as smart as Dyson be so dumb about the environment? The answer lies in his almost religious faith in the power of man and science to bring nature to heel.

Take the Data Out of Dating

Online matchmaking is getting better at telling us whom we ought to like—and that's not good.

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

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