Forget High-Speed Rail: Elon Musk Wants to Build Something Far More Awesome

High-speed rail is so 20th century. Well, perhaps not in the United States, where we still haven’t gotten around to building any true bullet trains. After 30 years of dithering, California is finally working on one that would get people from Los Angeles to San Francisco in a little under 2 1/2 hours, but it could cost on the order of $100 billion and won’t be ready until at least 2028.

Event Recap: Former Intel CEO Craig R. Barrett on the Future of Moore’s Law

By Sarah Rothbard This post originally appeared on Zócalo Public Square. Zócalo Public Square is a partnership of the New America Foundation and Arizona State University; Future Tense is a partenrship of New America, ASU, and Slate. When Michael M. Crow, the president of Arizona State University, introduced Craig R. Barrett, the former CEO and […]

Neil deGrasse Tyson on Van Gogh’s Role in Space Exploration and Other Great Tales of Science

By Torie Bosch Science panels don’t normally involve a striptease, even a G-rated one. But on Saturday, March 30, Neil deGrasse Tyson took off his shirt to prove a point about the stars, science, and art. It happened at Arizona State University during “The Science of Storytelling,” a panel featuring Tyson, Science Friday’s Ira Flatow, […]

L.A. Times Magazine Story From 1988 Predicts Life in 2013

By Emma Roller If you haven’t yet, go check out this 1988 issue of the Los Angeles Times Magazine that predicted what life would be like for Angelinos in 2013. Hits: – Automatic water heaters and coffee makers – Cars with a “central computer” that includes “electronic navigation or map systems” – Teleconferencing from home […]

Coming Soon to a Sky Near You: a Pentagon-Backed “Bat Drone”

By Ryan Gallagher It’s not quite the Batplane. But a new Pentagon-backed autonomous “bat drone” that can use a long claw to pluck objects off of the ground is ready for deployment. Earlier this week, California drone developer MLB Company announced that it had completed a project, funded by DARPA, to develop a specialized “V-Bat” […]

Technophobes Beware: Google Glass App Offers Visual Fingerprinting

By Jason Bittel Think about the last time you recognized someone in a crowd without seeing their face. Did you even stop and marvel at all the visual cues your brain had to cobble together near-instantaneously? Or did you just think, “Oh cool, there’s Tim”? Now, using only a few smartphones and a little Google […]

Are Cyborg Humans (and Animals) Still True Life Forms? A Future Tense Panel Recap.

By Adam Sneed Cyborgs have arrived on Earth, but there’s no reason to worry. They’re nothing like the cold machine-men from The Terminator. Cybernetic technologies that integrate with the human body is something you could soon be able to try for yourself—in fact, you might even want to. Cyborgs and bionic life forms were the […]

Brain Plasticity: Can Eyes See Outside of the Head?

By Jason Bittel Recently, we have witnessed remarkable, fictional-sounding advancements in science and medicine. There’s a guy who can hear color, another with a bionic eye attached to his brain, and a woman fighting back against the debilitating symptoms of multiple sclerosis by placing electrodes on her tongue. But for our next trick, we’re going […]

The Curse of “You May Also Like”

By Evgeny Morozov Of all the startups that launched last year, Fuzz is certainly one of the most intriguing and the most overlooked. Describing itself as a “people-powered radio” that is completely “robot-free,” Fuzz bucks the trend toward ever greater reliance on algorithms in discovering new music. Fuzz celebrates the role played by human DJs—regular […]

It’s a Small Internet After All: The Whole Web Is Connected in 19 Clicks or Fewer

By Jason Bittel Everybody is familiar with “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” right? Well, according to a Hungarian physicist, the Internet works basically the same way. Despite there being something like 1 trillion pieces of Web out there (websites, hosted images, videos, etc), you can navigate from any one of them to another in 19 […]