When the Submersible Is Lost in the Trench

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1. Woods Hole lost its Nereus remotely operated sub on a 10,000 meter dive

"Everything was going fine. Two sets of pushcores were in the sample basket, and we’d recorded nearly two hours of video transects, plus more of individual animals that thrive in the hadal environment at the bottom of the Kermadec Trench. We’d just completed collecting a sea cucumber for the respirometer and were getting Nereus ready to head to the underwater elevator. Then the camera feeds abruptly went dark, and we lost communication with the vehicle."

 

2. A German perspective on Google in the form of an open letter from a publisher to Eric Schmidt.

"16 years of data storage and 16 years experience by tens of thousands of IT developers has established a competitive edge which can no longer be offset with economic resources alone. Since Google bought 'Nest' it knows in even more detail what people do within their own four walls. And now Google is also planning driverless cars, in order to compete in the long term with the car industry from Toyota to VW. Google will then not only know where we drive our cars but how we are occupying ourselves when we are in the car. Forget Big Brother – Google is better!"

 

3. A history of modern travel ... in suitcases

"Sadow's patent, as you might have guessed, was the crucial innovation of the wheeled suitcase. 1970 may seem remarkably recent for such a useful development. (A wheeled trunk was patented in 1887, and a wheeled suitcase in 1945—those initial models simply didn't catch on). We have to remember that aviation had only recently become truly widespread, though: in the two decades before the patent, flights had increased their passenger totals by ten times, from 17 million in 1949 to 172 million in 1969. That year was also the year that set records for the most hijackings in a year, with an astonishing 82—a fact which contributed to increasingly strict baggage checks that funneled passengers through longer lines on the way to centralized security checkpoints."

 

4. A museum exhibition of reaction gifs

"Email, text message, chat, and any number of social websites and mobile apps focus conversation primarily into text, supplanting the many nonverbal cues like rhythm, intonation, volume, and gesture that humans have used to communicate for many millennia. But over the last few years, the reaction GIF has emerged as a form for communicating with short moving images in response to, and often in lieu of, text in online forums and comment threads. These animated GIFs consist of brief loops of bodies in motion, primarily excerpted from recognizable pop culture moments, and are used to express common ideas and emotions. Understood as gestures, they can communicate more nuance and concision than their verbal translations. While many reaction GIFs are created, deployed, and rarely seen again, some have entered a common lexicon after being regularly reposted in online communities."

 

5. You won't believe how rigorous this analysis of hard-boiled egg peeling is. 

"So I tested the pressure cooker method, multiple times with multiple eggs in each batch, using different pressure cookers, different timings, and different cooling methods. Dozens and dozens of eggs in total. Not only that, but I tested it side-by-side with boiled and steamed eggs, and to get really scientific about it, I went double-blind, with one test administrator (who did not know which eggs had been cooked by which method) handing cooked eggs in random order to a third party who peeled them all (also with no knowledge as to the cooking method for the eggs he was peeling). All of the eggs were rated on ease of peeling (1 = easiest to peel, 10 = most difficult), and were observed for surface damage after peeling."

 

Today's 1957 American English Usage Tip

bethink has constructions & meanings of its own, 'to stop to think' (of, how, or that); 'take it into one's head' (to); 'recall,' 'consider,' 'call to mind,' 'remind oneself' (of, how, that), always reflexive. It can never serve as a mere ornamental substitute for think; NOT They will bethink themselves the only unhappy on the earth

 

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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