Science

Nerdy New Mexico: Voyage through the Land of Engeekment

Yes, New Mexico is one of the 50 states. No, it's not just a big desert. Yes, it's the birthplace of the atomic bomb. No, our cacti don't have surrender arms (that's Arizona). Yes, Microsoft was founded here.

Over the next two weeks, I'm going to cram all my gadgets into a Prius (unfortunately, the DeSoto is in need of radiator repair) and run around the Land of Enchantment, soaking up all the geeky sights I can find.… Read more

New iPad app could help save endangered whales at sea

You might not think that an iPad could help save whales, but that's just what an app released today is designed to do.

Known as Whale Alert, the iPad app is designed to help ship captains avoid colliding with whales in congested shipping channels.

Specifically, the app, which was created in partnership between the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), private companies, academia, and the government, is meant to link "the bridge of a ship to the latest data about right whale detections and informs users when their vessels enter right whale management areas."

North Atlantic right … Read more

Cameron and Branson race to bring urgent attention to oceans

Did famed filmmaker James Cameron just do for the oceans what scientific experts have struggled to do for decades?

When "Avatar" and "Titanic" director Cameron piloted his custom submersible, the Deepsea Challenger, to the bottom of the Mariana Trench yesterday and became the first person ever to make a solo dive to the world's deepest spot, he shined a crucial spotlight on the field of ocean exploration.

In recent years, scientists have been shouting from rooftops around the world that unless humanity puts more energy into studying our oceans, we are at real risk of … Read more

OMG! That's a 45-foot paper airplane soaring over the desert

Everyone likes a good paper airplane. But how much do you love a 45-foot paper airplane?

The answer is clear: A lot.

And your love doesn't have to be unrequited, because the good folks at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Ariz., have not only built but also flown a 45-footer, achieving the feat earlier this week. (See video below.)

"It's not every day that a giant paper airplane is released high over the Arizona desert. In fact, it's never been done. But that's exactly what the Pima Air and Space Museum did,&… Read more

With 'Unchained Reaction,' the MythBusters go Rube Goldberg

For years, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman were known for one thing: being the "MythBusters."

But now, the two have launched a new show, Discovery Channel's "Unchained Reaction," "a new six-part series that pits two teams of varying backgrounds against each other to build an elaborate chain-reaction contraption."

Think giant Rube Goldberg machines--balls falling and knocking things into other things. Seesaws going up and throwing things into the air, each step in the process impacting the next, with each team vying to build the most impressive contraption in five tension-packed days. The … Read more

All aboard for Mars, just $500,000 a ticket

Not long ago, word leaked of a plan that could take anyone with an extra $150 million on a trip around the moon. So SpaceX founder Elon Musk's assertion today that he hopes to be able to take people on a round-trip to Mars for $500,000 signals a much better deal.

Musk told the BBC that he expects to unveil details of his plans sometime later this year or in early 2013. Essentially, though, Musk believes that with its Falcon 9 launcher and Dragon spacecraft, SpaceX may already have the base infrastructure in place that could get paying … Read more

Digital artists show their stuff in San Francisco

If you're a local fan of digital art, there's a good chance you spent at least part of your weekend at the Creators Project, a celebration of the art form that drew thousands to see a diverse collection of interactive installations here in San Francisco.

From 40-foot-tall latticework cubes filled with LEDs (see video below) to huge triptychs that converted people's body images into flights of fancy, the project showcased some of the best--and worst--digital art around. It also gave visitors access to a collection of films on the topic, and the chance to listen to a number of musicians, including the hit group, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. … Read more

At 10, SpaceX has changed space exploration forever

Happy 10th birthday, SpaceX.

On March 14, 2002, entrepreneur Elon Musk, one of the so-called "PayPal Mafia" members, launched his new company with a modest goal: to become a world leader in private space exploration.

Ten years later, SpaceX has achieved just that, especially after inking the 2008 deal that gave its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft the exclusive rights to take NASA's cargo to and from the International Space Station after the end of the Space Shuttle program.

But the company has had plenty of other noteworthy milestones, including its 2006 deal with NASA to … Read more

How cutting edge geolocation can change everything

AUSTIN, Texas--These days, smartphones seem like they're everywhere. And with their wide array of built-in sensors, those devices--iPhone, Androids, Windows Phones, and others--can provide us with more and more data about where we are and what's around us than ever before.

And yet, the devices sometimes still seem like they're caught in a very 1.0 era--they can tell us where we are, but that information may not be useful in any way beyond helping us get to where we're going.

But what if your iPhone could automatically give you your shopping list when you arrive … Read more

Business in space looks golden, says Lord British

AUSTIN, Texas--When Richard Garriott went to space, he lost money on the deal. Next time, he wants to make a profit.

In October 2008, Garriott, a well-known video game designer, traveled as a space tourist to the International Space Station.

The son of a NASA astronaut who grew up thinking everyone goes to space--because his neighbors all had been--his dream of following in his father's footsteps was dashed when he learned as a teenager that his eyes disqualified him for the job. "Being told I was not going to be allowed to go into space," Garriott said, &… Read more